France | Saint Estèphe, Bordeaux
The St-Estèphe appellation is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separating it from the iconic Château Lafite-Rothschild.
With only five Crus Classés St-Estèphe is considered the least "sexy" of the Médoc's famous four appellations; however, it has an abundance of high quality bourgeois growths and as such is a rich source of undervalued clarets perfect for wine enthusiasts to explore and enjoy.
Most wines from St-Estèphe have always been well structured and with natural longevity, but it was often essential to buy only the best vintages and wait a decade or more before drinking them. Modern styles now have more lushness of fruit which allows the wines to be enjoyed when relatively young. The increasing use of the Merlot grape as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and a change in vinification practices has provided richer, fruitier wines that are eminently drinkable in most vintages.