St-Estephe Wine Region Summary
The northernmost appellation within the Medoc, Saint-Estephe is home to wines that bear some resemblances to those of Pauillac to the south; robust, structured and complex blends which cast a spotlight on Cabernet Sauvignon.
What differentiates it from many Left Bank communes is the high concentration of rich clay soils perfectly suited to growing Merlot - planted in greater proportion here than in neighbouring Pauillac, and sometimes making up more than half of the final blend for producers like Chateau Cos d’Estournel.
Terroir is also marked by cooler, wetter earth; meaning Saint-Estephe estates shine particularly in hot, dry years and are resistant to drought. Red wines here are deep and dark, characteristically tannic and unyielding in their infancy, greatly benefiting from years, ideally decades, of cellaring.
Saint-Estephe has just a handful of classed growths, including Second Growth chateaux Cos d’Estournel and Montrose, and Third Growth Chateau Calon-Segur. This has been to the favour of enthusiasts who recognise that many wines here are the equal of, or better than, a great many in other parts of the Medoc and yet are often more approachably priced.