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Chateau Boutisse

Enjoy the sumptuous Chateau Boutisse 2009 at an exclusive 1-night only dinner in Singapore on Wednesday 24 July 2019. To join the dinner, click HERE.

‘Spicy, fragrant and complex with a peppery character that could almost be Rhone. Plenty of sweet fruit to balance with a long, opulent and juicy style. Very enjoyable, very immediate and full of potential – seriously good!’ Jancis Robinson.

‘Ours is a family story. We have a St-Emilion Grand Cru that we are continuing to develop. We want to take it to the next level. To prove that we have a great terroir. We work with our hands in the wine and our feet in the vineyard and the soil.’

A succession planning activated in one’s lifetime.

Marc Milhade has put in words what his heart and skills as a winemaker have invested in Boutisse. He continues where his father left off, because Xavier Milhade used to make the wine. The ideal parent any child can ask for, Xavier – although still active in the family business which he heads – has put Marc entirely in charge of Boutisse. To let his son make the wine as he sees fit without any interference. This is succession planning activated in one’s lifetime. The family story does not end there. Marc Milhade’s sister Elodie is in charge of sales of Chateau Boutisse and also of the family négociant business with her father.

‘Carmenère brings deep colour and spicy notes, an asset to the style of our wines,’ winemaker Marc Milhade, whose family are proprietors of Chateau Boutisse.

The Milhade family acquired Chateau Boutisse in 1996 and patriarch Xavier made the wine from 1997 until Marc took over with the 2005 vintage.

boutisse is a rough-hewn stone that is placed, lengthwise, into a wall. It is an appropriate name for a property on the plateau of St-Emilion which has a lot of limestone in the ground. Not unlike the chalk in Champagne, limestone acts as a sponge which retains and also releases (but never too much) water to the vine. The first known reference to Chateau Boutisse as a vineyard is in a 1783 map of Guyenne by Pierre Belleyme, a geographer of the realm. It is more than likely that wine-growing and other farming activity had existed considerably earlier. This is because Druids had settled in what is now St-Christophe-des-Bardes, where Chateau Boutisse is located, more than a thousand years ago. The drive from the medieval town of St-Emilion to Boutisse is one of the most pleasant imaginable. This is rural France with a picture-postcard view at every turn of the steering wheel. Except most people don’t write anymore. Texting is just not the same.

The 25-hectare vineyard is planted mainly to Merlot (85%) because, apart from limestone, the terroir also includes clay. The other varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Carmenère (2%). Rare both on the Right and Left Banks, the last variety may well be the secret weapon of Chateau Boutisse. Carmenère was neglected after the phylloxera because it is more sensitive to cold spring weather and is even later ripening than Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Its quality was, however, never in doubt. Médoc magistrate and vineyard owner Armound d’Armilhacq made this observation, in 1867, of Carmenère:

‘Its flavour is excellent. The taste is even better than the two Cabernets. The wine it produces reflects these qualities. It is mellow, yet full and rich in body. It has a rounder flavour. It lasts about as long and, with age, improves toward perfection.’

The first known reference to Chateau Boutisse as a vineyard is in a 1783 map of Guyenne by geographer Pierre Belleyme. The St-Emilion Grand Cru is located in St-Christophe-des-Bardes where, more than a thousand years ago, Druids had settled. 

For Chateau Boutisse the average blend of the grand vin is 85% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Carmenère (the second wine is Baron de Boutisse). Although only comprising five per cent, the Carmenère effect can be telling. (It’s like a dash of mango juice completely altering the taste and texture of a fruit cocktail). The effect has not gone undetected. Jancis Robinson, one of the world’s most respected palates, has this to say of Chateau Boutisse 2015 at JancisRobinson.com:

‘Spicy, fragrant and complex with a peppery character that could almost be Rhone. Plenty of sweet fruit to balance with a long, opulent and juicy style. Very enjoyable, very immediate and full of potential – seriously good!’

Both stainless-steel tanks and oak are use to vinify Chateau Boutisse. In the modern cellar, small, squat thermo-regulated tanks optimise the cap:juice ratio for greater extraction. Part of Boutisse is fermented in 500-litre barrels. Extraction is achieved by manual punching down or by rotating the barrels. According to Marc Milhade, ‘the results are concentration, sweetness, soft tannins, length and a better integration of the wood.’

Boutisse may refer to a rough hewn header stone, but there is nothing remotely rough about Boutisse the silky wine.

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