Les Astéries, Saint Emilion Grand Cru
“Very focused with the sophistication that could only come from 80-year old vines. Wonderful.”
LES ASTERIES was the first of the micro-cuvée wines in our ‘Single Vineyard Series’ based on the côtes that hug the town of Saint Emilion – the land of the Saint Emilion Grand Crus Classés. The vines survived the frost of 1956 and date back over eighty years. Prior to our purchase they were a component of CHATEAU FONROQUE.
Wine Enthusiast En Primeur - Roger Voss
“This is a structured, mineral wine that is dense and complex. Black plum skins and dark berry flavors push through the serious tannins. The wine still has to balance, but its potential is considerable.” ”
Decanter Magazine En Primeur- James Lawther MW
“17.75/20 POINTS (92/100)
“From a parcel with 90-year-old vines near Fonroque. Only 300 cases. Perfumed nose with dark fruit, violet and spice notes. Lovely weight of fruit with finely edged tannins behind. Great persistence - long, clean, minerally finish. Clear stamp of the limestone terroir. Drink: 2020-2034” ”
Vinous En Primeur - Antonio Galloni
“The 2014 Les Astiéries emerges from a parcel on chalk adjacent to Le Carré and is completely different in style. Beams of salinity and acidity give the wine much of its energy. Violets, lavender, smoke, tar, licorice and plums are all racy and exquisite in the glass. The 2014 is opulent yet retains gorgeous nuance for such a big wine. The blend is 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc.” ”
The Wine Advocate En Primeur - Neal Martin
“The Les Asteries 2014 is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc populated with 90-year old vines on limestone soil, alongside younger vines that Jonathan Maltus planted when he acquired the vineyard around 2002/2003. It has one of the most complex sets of aromatics from Maltus, with blackberry, boysenberry and limestone scents that are clearly more terroir-expressive than La Carré. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and, tensile in the mouth, it is quite sappy towards the finish. This is a very fine wine.” ”
Wine Enthusiast, Barrel Sample, Roger Voss
“93-95:This is a mineral wine, with black cherry and plum fruits that are sustained by acidity. The wine is taut and nervy, as well as complex and concentrated. A very fine wine that will certainly age. — R.V. (4/1/2014)”
Wine Spectator, Barrel Sample
“88-91 Points: Fresh and direct, with a beam of cherry, violet and raspberry fruit. The lightly spiced finish hangs nicely. This is pure, with subtle length. —J.M.”
Wine Advocate, Neal Martin
“89-91 POINTS : The Les Asteries is a blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc picked 14 and 15 October. It has a refined bouquet, nicely focused with small dark cherries, boysenberry and cassis, touches of sandalwood. The palate is a little sharp on the entry, grainy in texture, structured and chalky with a tensile finish. This is a fine Asteries from Monsieur Maltus. Tasted April 2014. ”
James Suckling, in Barrel tasting
“90-91 POINTS : Juicy and delicious with a salty, blackberry and dark-chocolate character. Medium body.
Matthew Jukes, En Primeur 2013
“POINTS 17+ : (83 Merlot, 17 Cabernet Franc)
This is a delicious wine with lovely juiciness initially but it then closes down and descends into impressive length and minerality. Certainly more buoyant and flirtatious than the other wines in the portfolio this is a long, sleek wine with a fascinating future.
The Wine Doctor, Chris Kissack
“POINTS 15-16/20 : Merlot 83%, Cabernet Franc 17%. Alcohol 12.8%.
Merlot picked on October 14th, Cabernet Franc on October 15th.
A perfumed wine, with an almost flinty mineral seam on the nose, and a floral perfume over dark fruits, black cherries in particular. Very supple presence, but that minerally seam to the start and midpalate is evident here. The palate is broad, with great fruit, dark and seamless as per the Maltus style. The tannins are broad, ripe, almost velvety in their presence, with lovely structure. Fine composition and correct acidity, all very smartly composed.
Jean-Marc Quarin, En Primeur 2013
The Wine Cellar Insider, Jeff Leve
“88-90 POINTS : From 83% Merlot and 17% Merlot, the wine reached 12.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.49. Minerally, floral and black cherry aromatics move quickly to a stone-driven, black raspberry layer of fruit and stone.”
Richard Hemming, Jancis Robinson
“POINTS 15 : 83% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc. Blackcurrant, very bitter and hard-edged. Lacking flesh. Drink 2016-2026.
Tim Atkin MW, En Primeur 2013
“POINTS 92 : Often the more mineral of Jonathan Maltus’ two single vineyard wines, this blend of Merlot with 17% Cabernet Franc is taut and refreshing, showing a touch of reduction, stylish oak and a long finish. Another wine that benefits from lower alcohol in 2013.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“POINTS 89-92 : The 2013 Les Astiéries is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Veins of chalk-infused minerality support an expressive core of dark raspberries, wild flowers, crushed rocks and mint. Tightly wound and vibrant to the core, the 2013 impresses for its pure tension and energy. This is a terrific showing by any measure. Les Astiéries emerges from a parcel on Saint Emilion's plateau. This is the most pulsating and energetic of Jonathan Maltus's 2013s. The blend is 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc.
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar
“POINTS 88-90: (83% merlot, 17% cabernet franc; 3.6 pH, 4.85 total acidity, 12.7% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. Lovely perfumed red berries, minerals and violet on the nose. Then slightly austere on the palate, with mineral-tinged red berry flavors lifted by lively acidity but tough tannins emerging at the back. I like this wine's pure delivery of fruit, but it is considerably leaner and tighter than usual. Les Asteries is always the most European-styled of Jonathan Maltus's wines and usually one of my favorites in his lineup, but not this year, as some of the other wines have a little more fruit in 2013. Also, my experience is that Les Asteries doesn't change much over the years (unlike Le Dome, for example), or does so at a snail's pace, so with this specific wine, it's tempting to say that what you see at the Primeurs is what you'll get with bottle age.
Robert Parker, in barrel tasting
“POINTS 87-89: A blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc, this 2013 offers intense minerality along with notes of crushed chalk, wet stones, red and black currants, and a spicy character. With crisp, zesty acids, medium body and good depth, this is an excellent effort from proprietor Jonathan Malthus. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.
Robert Parker, barrel samples
The 2012 Les Asteries, composed of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc planted in limestone soils, is one of the top wines in Maltus’s 2012 portfolio. It possesses a deep ruby/purple color along with copious aromas of crushed rocks, spring flowers, blue and black fruits and a hint of licorice. The wine is medium to full-bodied, surprisingly rich, ripe and full-throttle. Readers who love minerality in addition to copious quantities of ripe fruit and power will love this effort from a challenging vintage. It should keep for 10-11 years. This micro-production (around 450-500 cases) estate is owned by Englishman Jonathan Maltus.”
“POINTS 17.5/20 (91/100)
Characterful as usual, the minerality of the limestone plateau clear. Tannins covered with sweet, ripe fruit. Good depth. Firm, dry finish.
Drink: 2020 - 2028
Taster: James Lawther MW
Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss
Barrel sample. Tight, firm and mineral in style, this wine is dark with expressive tannins cast over black fruits. As always, the wine is a complex expression of its fine terroir. — R.V. (4/9/2013)”
Neal Martin, Wine Journal
The Les Asteries has a well defined, lifted dark cherry and liquorice-scented bouquet that is bright and perky! The palate is medium-bodied with svelte ripe tannins, very pure with wonderful minerality and tension on the crisp finish. This is one of the best Les Asteries that I have tasted. Tasted April 2013.”
(80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc): Good full ruby. Bright mineral and floral nuances lift the red and dark fruit aromas. Clean, fresh, lively flavors of raspberry, dark plum and blackcurrant linger impressively on the smooth, mineral-tinged finish. "An exercise in Burgundy," said Jonathan Maltus, and I agree. Some of the vines at Les Asteries are 80 years old. A very good showing.
Robert Parker In Bottle Review
“92 POINTS - This single-vineyard wine emerges from 80-year-old vines that survived the brutal frost that destroyed much of the Right Bank in 1956. Very low yields produced a wine (only 450 cases) that is largely Merlot (80%) with some Cabernet Franc (20%) in it. Deep black and red currant fruit intermixed with spice box, earth and background forest floor and graphite make for a medium to full-bodied, rich, supple-textured, delicious St.-Emilion to drink over the next 10-12 years. Robert Parker ”
James Suckling In Bottle
A beautiful wine with a pretty balance of fine tannins and ripe fruit. Medium to full body, fresh acidity and a long, flavorful finish. Remains subtle and reserved. Drink or hold.”
“POINTS 89–92. This has a distinct, red licorice frame, with kirsch and crushed cherry and nicely imbedded sweet spice notes on the finish. Solid.—J.M.”
“POINTS 91–93 This is a dark and dense wine, with big tannins and a solid structure. It shows great weight, with an intense minerality. —R.V.”
Jane Anson, South China Morning Post
“POINTS 92 83% merlot, 17% cabernet franc, 13.7%ABV. This is pumped up, for me I feel the heat on this one, the extraction doesn't feel as controlled. For me, Le Carre is a clear winner this year (although in most years Le Carre is a style that I prefer, so not an enormous surprise to me).”
“FOUR STARS Fairly powerful rendering of this limited edition wine. Limestone terroir shows. Dark fruit and graphite notes. Builds to a firm finish. Drink 2018-2028. (17 points)”
“POINTS 15.5-16.50/20. A single-vineyard cuvée, from 80-year old vines between Fonroque and Clos Fourtet. Really vibrant fruit character on the nose here, with a fresh, bright, lightly acid and floral forest-fruit style to it. The texture on the palate has a creamy presence, but there is a great depth of substance behind this which is enticing. The fruit remains fresh despite the texture and tannic core it hides. An impressive wine which will cellar very well.”
“POINTS 93-95. Composed of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc, the 2011 Les Asteries ranks alongside the 2009 and 2010. One of the bigger wines of the vintage, it exhibits an inky/purple color as well as notes of graphite, roasted coffee, melted chocolate, creme de cassis and kirsch. It is an impressive, thick, rich offering that can be drunk early in life or cellared for two decades.”
Tim Atkin MW
“Les Astéries POINTS 93. This micro-cuvée from Jonathan Maltus is another first rate wine: big, bold, flashy and svelte with dense, chocolatey fruit, lots of oak, notes of tobacco and fresh leather, a hint of smoked meat and smooth, succulent tannins. Easy to drink young, but worth cellaring, there will be tiny quantities of this wine. 8+ years.
Stephen Tanzer's Int. Wine Cellar
“POINTS 91-93.Deep ruby. Penetrating, pure nose of merlot on limestone, showing perfumed black fruits and minerals. Deep, pure and long on the palate, with strong minerality complicated by a floral element. Finishes smooth and soft, with a pretty violet note. These vines are barely a hundred meters from Jonathan Maltus's Le Carre but here there is a thinner layer of clay over very hard limestone. I usually give Les Asteries the nod over Le Carrè, but perhaps not in 2011.”
Wine Enthusiast in Bottle
“94 POINTS: Structured and firm, this is a dark chocolate and black fruit-driven wine with solid tannins and enormous density. It has a mineral texture with a dry core surrounded by juicy berry fruits. A powerful wine, it promises a long-term future. Drink from 2018. Cellar Selection. —R.V
Robert Parker, in Bottle Tasting
“POINTS 93 : This single vineyard cuvee from Jonathan Maltus is planted with 80-year-old vines that somehow survived the famous frost of 1956. Rooted in a thin layer of clay over limestone, they have produced a sensational dense ruby/purple-colored 2011 offering fragrant notes of forest floor, spring flower, lavender, creme de cassis, and a subtle touch of smoke. Broad, savory, rich and brilliantly executed, this wine can be drunk now or cellared for 12-15 years. The composition is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
“FIVE STARS - Superb wine – a blend of elegance and power. Fine, fresh aromas – blueberry, violet and mineral notes. Clearly limestone terroir, the palate fresh and defined but endowed with generous fruit. Firm but finely honed tannins. Long, persistent finish. 2018-2030.”
“POINTS 91-94 - Another tiny production offering from proprietor Jonathan Maltus, this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc is produced from a single vineyard situated near La Carre. The 2010 reveals notes of powdered rock as well as red and black fruits, moderately high tannin, good acidity and a fresh, lively, medium to full-bodied personality. Although slightly austere, it has not fleshed out from its late malolactic, but it looks very impressive. Give it 2-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 15+ years. Drink: 2013/28.”
Neal Martin, Wine Advocates
“POINTS 92-94 - From Jonathan “Le Dôme” Maltus, Les Asteries is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc with fine mineralité on the nose and great purity. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth tannins, quite tense, good acidity with a touch of blackberry leaf on the finish. This is expressing its terroir better than recent vintages, very refined and natural. Drink 2013.
Wine Cellar Insider
“POINTS 90-92 - Les Asteries 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc in the blend produce a minerality, licorice, black raspberry and chocolate, full bodied, structured, tannic, wine.”
Jane Anson, South China Morning Post
“POINTS 95+ - Again a tiny plot of just one hectare. I love this one, this has the tunnel of acidity that gives silkiness to the fruit, cuts through the richness, really a wonderful balance, far more my style of wine, the elegance here gives an effortless sense of balance, even at 14.65 alcohol. Drink 2018-2030.”
Ian D'Agatha , Steven Tanzer's IWS
“POINTS 92-95 - Medium dark ruby. Fruity, pure aromas of raspberry, graphite, white pepper and violet. At once rich and linear, offering a wonderfully vibrant expression of raspberry, red cherry and graphite. The long, sweet finish shows a steely, peppery quality. This wine comes from 80-year-old vines situated on very thin clay over hard limestone, which survived the frost of 1956. I like this wine's purity and the fact that the cabernet franc, even though compromising only a small part of the blend, makes its presence felt.”
“POINTS 92–94 - This is rounded, ripe and densely tannic mineral wine that’s very intense. It’s structured, firm and promises long aging. –R.V.
“POINTS 91-94 - Very lively, with lots of enticing blueberry, violet and plum aromas and flavors. There's nice focused grip on the back end, with ample length. Very solid. —J.M. ”
Wine Spectator in Bottle March 2013
“POINTS 94 : This has yet to soak up its toast, as a warm bread note coats the core of black currant, raspberry and bitter cherry notes. The long finish is wrought with iron and chalk and needs some time to soften. Rather raw and backward still, but with minerality to burn in the cellar until this gets together. Best from 2016 through 2030. - JM”
Neal Martin, in Bottle
Tasted at Château Teyssier. The Les Asteries has a very seductive bouquet with macerated black cherries, blueberry and cassis that blossom in the glass. The palate is well balanced with fine tannins, showing a little more flesh than the Le Carré. It is nicely focused, grippy in the mouth with hints of christmas cake towards the finish. Excellent. Tasted November 2012.
Wine Enthusiast in bottle
“94 Points : Austere and severe, this single-vineyard wine is very much a product of its limestone terroir. It has a mineral intensity that pushes through the tannins and blac currant fruit, giving a powerful, dark character. Firm and structured, this is a wine for the ling term. Cellar Selection. R.V”
Robert Parker en bouteille
“Points 96 : This formidable wine has loads of structure, an undeniable chalky minerality, big, rich blackberry and creme de cassis fruit, with hints of spring flowers, tar and licorice. Magnificent and pure, this is a killer example of St.-Emilion that is full-bodied and capable of lasting 25-30 years.
Another micro-estate with production well under 500 cases, Les Asteries has produced a 2010 made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc that comes from another parcel of land close to Clos Fourtet with vines nearly 70 years old.
“POINTS 95-97: A tiny, single vineyard wine from Jonathan Maltus, the 2009 Les Asteries is the finest effort I have tasted among the nearly half dozen vintages offered to date. From a vineyard that was once part of Chateau Fonroque, it boasts a dense purple color, a big, sweet perfume of graphite, blueberries, and blackberries, full body, abundant glycerin, beautiful density and succulence, as well as a sumptuous, long (40-45 seconds) finish. Sadly, there are only 300-350 cases of this beauty. It should evolve for 20+ years.”
“90-92 Points: With the Merlot picked on 8th October and the Cabernet Franc two days later, matured in 100% new oak with 14.2% alcohol, this has a well defined nose of blackberry, violets, a touch of cassis and limestone, perhaps a little more harmonious than the Le Carre, the palate is full-bodied with sturdy, robust tannins, but I like the balance and the symmetry here, very good weight on the finish, firm structure, fine minerality with a long, rather backward finish that suggests this should be laid down for several years after bottling. Tasted March 2010”
“90-93 : 2009 Saint Emilion (and 80/20 blend of merlot and cabernet franc) Bright ruby-red. Delicate, perfumed, calcaire nose shows a chalky mineral quality to the pretty aromas of strawberry, blueberry and exotic spices. Enters taut and focused, with slightly austere red berry, almond and vanilla flavors projecting captivating purity and energy. Not an especially fleshy wine but ultimately silky-smooth and wonderfully light on its feet, finishing with very fine-grained tannins and lingering perfume. These vines are planted on a thin layer of clay over very hard limestone. The merlot here was picked on October 8 and the cabernet franc on October 10, yet there is no hint of overripeness. For fans of minerally Right Bank wines, the nose alone is reason enough to buy this wine by the case.”
“2009 Les Astéries POINTS 17/20 : Extremely dark purple with lilac and violet hints. Intense notes of elder with perfumed Cassis, nicely sweet but not too dominating, behind fine spiced notes of wood and discrete roasted coffee aromas. Aromatic palate, rich extraction, not as fat as the other Maltus wines, nut aromas in fine sandy extraction, but with good backbone in a discrete green grape seed furnished final. 2013-2024”
“4 STARS. 17.5 points. Rich and concentrated with crushed-berry aromas and flavour. Smooth and ripe on the palate but with a minerally lift and length provided by the terroir. Firm, dry finish. A blend of charm and power. Drink 2016-2028.
“POINTS 90-93. Floral and mineral aromas,with pretty dark fruits. Full-bodied, with a sleek and racy mouthfeel and a long, caressing finish. —J.S.
South China Morning Post
“POINTS 95 - As with Le Carre, this is a small 1 hectare plot, 350 cases. 80% Merlot/20% Cab Franc, vinified by same team, in same way, so the difference is terroir. Slightly richer, more textured tannins in this one. This is the more masculine version of Le Carre. Damson richness comes through clearly, but it is more mineral, tighter, more precise than its brother. More ‘European’ in style.”
“POINTS 92–94 - A beautifully structured wine, offering powerful tannins along with the ripest, perfumed fruit. It balances rich fruit with an intense mineral structure. Impressive - R.V.”
Robert Parker (in bottle)
“POINTS 98. From vines sitting on hard limestone, this wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc that offers prodigious levels of extract, richness, complexity and overall harmony. A fabulous wine, with black fruits galore intermixed with a liqueur of crushed rocks and spring flowers, the wine has plenty of tannin and is best cellared over at least 4-5 years and consumed over the following two decades. This property, owned by Jonathan Maltus, is located 100 meters from his Le Carre, and of course the nearby Clos Fourtet, which produced a perfect wine in 2009. Drink 2016-2036.”
Wine Enthusiast (in bottle)
“POINTS 93. An impressive wine. It is very structured, dominated at this stage by young tannins. It will always be a firm wine, while the excellent dark plum fruitwill give it weight and richness. Age this powerful wine for at least six years. — RV.”
James Suckling (in bottle)
“POINTS 93. The pure fruit in the nose is so attractive, with crushed blackberries and blueberries. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long juicy finish. Give it time. But so yummy now.”
Derek Smedley, MW
“POINTS 95 - Drink 2015-35 - Merlot 83%, Cabernet Franc17%
The freshness of raspberry and red cherry is backed by exotic spices and some toasty oak. It feels quite lean with racy mineral and red fruit freshness all very sleek. As the fruit is ripe there is enough sweetness on the mid palate to balance.”
“POINTS 94-96. A limited cuvee fashioned from the hardest type of limestone (called Asteries), this blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the brilliance of this 2008 is no doubt due to the tiny yields and extremely old vines (some of which pre-date the killer frost of 1956). The wine exhibits an inky/purple color, incredible density, and notes of graphite, barbecue smoke, blackberries, and creme de cassis. The oak component is well-concealed, and the huge tannins are remarkably sweet and well-integrated. This stunning St.-Emilion should evolve for a least a decade.”
Decanter - Bordeaux 2008 Tasting Notes
“POINTS 17.5. Elegant, fragrant with a touch of class. Long and linear but with a solid depth of fruit. Powerful tannins finely honed. Fresh, minerally note on the finish. Drink 2016-2026.”
Derek Smedley MW
“POINTS 89-93. The age of vine shows in the complexity of flavours that is there on both nose and palate. First red fruits show followed by a mix of black, bright bilberry and richer plum. The fruit is lifted by mineral raciness, the underlying freshness ensuring length of flavour.”
“POINTS 93-94. The vines from here used to go into Alain Moueix’s Chateau Fonroque. The vines themselves date back to the 1930s at their oldest points, and are 85% merlot, 15% cabernet franc. The terroir is thin clay over hard limestone (calcaire asteries is the hardest kind of limestone, hence the name). Takes a little more time to kick in than Le Carre, there is a pause before the flavours start really opening up and working. Then lovely acidity and those slightly pinching tannins that tell you there is a great age ahead. Both of these wines (the ‘sisters’) are aged in 100% new oak.”
“From old vines that used to go into Fonroque, this has a more feminine nose than La Carre, touches of cassis and violets. Nice definition with a little crème de menthe developing. Very elegant on entry and then those tannins lacquer the back palate. Very pure, very tight-fisted as once would expect but lingering nicely towards the finish. Good length. A little more tension than Le Carre. Very fine. Tasted April 2009.”
“POINTS 91-93. Tight and taut, the austere tannins offer density, minerality. It is all in the promise here, obviously a wine designed for aging.-R.V.”
Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast
“Points 93 With its classic mineral edge, dusty tannins and firm, dry structure, the wine has a core that weighs well with the severe texture. As a contrast, the fruit underneath is ripe and juicy. A wine for several years’ aging.
Ronert Parker in bottle
“POINTS 93 - A superb effort, the dense purple-colored 2008 offers a beautiful nose of new saddle leather, kirsch, black currants, licorice and spice box, medium to full body, ripe tannins, a luscious texture and a long, layered mouthfeel and finish. Sadly, this beauty is very limited in availability. It should drink well for 10-15 years. Drink: 2011 – 2026.
Robert Parker on eRP, Who's Next, May 2008
Decanter, April 2007
“4 STARS. Dense purple-red, robust, velvety and smoky nose, rich flavours with a touch of minerality from the limestone soil, very good length and purity. Drink 2012-20. (18/20 points)”
Neil Martin on eRP, April 2008
“POINTS 87-89. A blend including 85% Merlot from 80-year old vines, vinified in wooden vats, with 12 days cold maceration, pigeage then pumping over and a turbo-pigeage. A deep black/purple colour. The nose is very ripe, just lacking the delineation of the Le Carre with ripe plum and macerated black cherries. The palate is very sweet and ripe, sappy, ripe tannins with a well-defined, again quite floral, violet-tinged finish. Fine. Tasted April 2008.”
Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, April 2007
“POINTS 90–92. Les Astéries, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Dense, dark wine, with bitter chocolate and licorice flavors, packed into a powerful structure. For the year, this has power, but it still finishes freshly, lightly. —R.V.”
Stephen Tanzer's, May 2008
“POINTS 87-90. (85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc) Good full ruby. Brooding aromas of violet and licorice, lifted by chalky minerality. Fine-grained and vibrant, offering a fleshy texture and good dark fruit flavor intensity. Very much a calcaire wine. Finishes with broad tannins and good sweetness and lift.”
VinVino Life rates Bordeaux 2007, March 2007
Robert Parker WA#170 2006 Bordeaux - The Top 152 Wines of the Vintage, May 2007
“POINTS 89-91. This tiny garagiste operation produces approximately 300 cases of wine from a single vineyard that was once part of Chateau Fonroque. The pure, plush, fleshy 2006 is surprisingly opulent and exuberant for the vintage, displaying abundant fruit along with smoky, berry, herb, crushed rock, and flower notes. It is soft, generous, and ideal for drinking over the next decade.”
“POINTS 93+. It was not included in my February report on the bottled 2006s, but the 2006 Les Asteries, which I rated 93+, is a backward, mineral-laced effort displaying considerable austerity. However, it is packed and stacked in the mouth. This is a 2006 that has completely closed down, but it is oozing with potential. I do not think it will ever achieve the greatness of the 2008, but it is a noteworthy success for the vintage. Cellar it for 3-4 years, and drink it over the following 15.”
Decanter, April 2007
“4 STARS. Deeply extracted fruit with a very fine minerally backbone, fine and grippy, very pure, great vineyard personality from very old vines, 2011-18.”
Neal Martin on ERobert Parker, April 2007
“POINTS 91-93. I just prefer this to Jonathan Maltus’s other super micro-cuvée Le Carré. A wonderfully defined, minerally nose with a touch of iodine and blueberry. The palate is full-bodied, beautifully balanced and imbued with a seductive velvety texture. Very focused with the sophistication that could only come from 80-year old vines. Just 300 cases made. Wonderful.”
Francois Mauss, GJE, Posted on eRobertParker April 2007
“... Also an outstanding Astéries (St Emilion Grand Cru).”
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - May/June 07
“POINTS 89-92. (75% merlot with 25% cabernet franc interplanted) Bright medium ruby. Spicy dark cherry, black raspberry and violet on the nose. Rich and broad but at the same time stony and classically dry, with lovely inner-mouth perfume and energy. Impressively dense but light on its feet, conveying a powerful impression of minerality. Finishes long and aromatic, with broad, sweet tannins. A highly promising 2006, from a parcel of 80-year-old vines on thin clay over limestone, purchased from Chateau Fonroque by Jonathan Maltus prior to the 2004 harvest.”
VinVinoLife - July 2007
Wine Enthusiast, April 2007
“POINTS 90–92. Named after the limestone, Astéries, which dominates this small vineyard. The wine is mineral, tannic, somewhat austere at this stage, with dry tannins. —R.V.”
Wine Spectator, online March 2009
“POINTS 90. Offers raspberry, sweet licorice and fresh tarragon on the nose. Full-bodied, with refined tannins and a lovely mouthfeel and texture. Goes long and far on the palate. Very well-made for the vintage. A beauty. Best after 2012. 300 cases made.”
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
“POINTS 90-92. This 100% new oak-aged cuvee had just finished its malolactic fermentation when I tasted it. A blend of 85% Merlot (from 70-year old vines) and 15% Cabernet Franc, it exhibits aromas of white chocolate, espresso roast, sweet blueberry and raspberry fruit, an enticing texture, moderate tannin, and a long finish. Consume it during its first 12-16 years of life.”
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate #176, April 2008
“POINTS 95. Part of the garagiste efforts from Jonathan Maltus, Les Asteries is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 reveals spicy, oaky aromas intermixed with scents of chocolate, blackberries, espresso roast, and graphite. This thick, juicy, modern-styled St.-Emilion offers impressive concentration, purity, and depth in its flamboyant personality. Very impressive! Anticipated maturity: 2013-2025”
The Compelling 2005 Red Bordeaux Revisited? Prior to Bottling, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #170 May 2007
“POINTS 92-94. A blend of 85% Merlot (70-year-old vines) and 15% Cabernet Franc, the 2005 Les Asteries possesses abundant amounts of deep black currant fruit intermixed with notions of white chocolate, espresso roast, terrific sweetness, and a full-bodied, powerful mouthfeel. This textural, voluptuously-styled wine offers loads of flavor as well as dramatic interest. It will be drinkable by 2011, and last for at least 15-20 years.”
Decanter, April 2006
“5 STARS. Velvety black-red, viscous and rich on the glass, superb concentration, almost the essence of what a Saint-Emilion Cotes should be, small berry fruit that explodes on the palate and is then carried by a backbone of minerality to a caressing finish before the firm fresh tannins kick in. Exceptional quality. Drink 2010-25. (19 points)”
Gil Lempert-Schwatz, WineVegas
“Massive wine with quite reductive nose, almost Pavie-like in density, nice long finish.”
James Suckling, Wine Spectator
“90 POINTS. Dark purple in color, with aromas of tar, licorice and ripe fruit. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a mineral, blackberry and light toasty oak finish. Extracted, but should come round in bottle.”
Joseph, Metcalffe, and Smedley
“POINTS 91-94. The brightest and best of Jonathan Maltus's single estate wines, with lovely, dense minerality mingled with ripe red fruit flavours. Tannins are gloriously gravelly and acidity bright.”
Neville Blech – Bacchus & Comus
“POINTS 96. Les Astéries St.Emilion Grand Cru 2005. (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc). This is from a single vineyard that is situated next to Clos Fourtet. The vines are over 70 years old - planted before the 1956 frosts. There is big black fruit on the palate - good finesse but with more grip and minerality, producing terrific balance and a long, complex finish. Only 300 cases made.”
Stephen Tanzer's, May 2008
“POINTS 92. ($190) Bright ruby. Complex nose melds black raspberry, tobacco, minerals, smoke, espresso, cinnamon, licorice and nutty oak. The palate offers an almost syrupy intensity of sweet fruits, with complicating notes of minerals and game and excellent definition. Dense, broad and sexy wine, finishing with excellent length. On this tasting, this was my favorite 2005 from the Jonathan Maltus portfolio, which also includes Teyssier, Grand Destieux, Laforge, Le Carre and Le Dome.”
Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar
“POINTS 90-92. Black-ruby color. Wild, raw crushed blackberry on the nose. Extremely dense and primary, with a powerful mineral spine and firm acidity giving the dark berry flavors sharp definition. As penetrating as this is today, it's also fat, rich and seductively sweet. An excellent showing for this mini-cuvee (300 cases), which comes from a parcel of 80-year-old vines on thin clay over chalk purchased from Chateau Fonroque. The vineyard is 75% merlot with 25% cabernet franc interplanted. The first vintage was the very good 2004, but this vintage is at another level.”
Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post
“POINTS 93. Of all of Maltus’s single vineyard quartet, my own taste tends to favour this one. It is the most gloriously opulent of the four wines, yet it features a backbone of granite-like austerity. This mineral heart is a crucial counterpoint to the massive ripe mid-palate weight of fruit. This fruit bomb transcends unctuous pitfalls, presenting a pitch perfect balance between opulence and accessibility.”
Wine Enthusiast Magazine
“POINTS 94. Dark-hued and concentrated, this wine also has a considerable mineral character, along with intense bitter chocolate and dark plum skin flavors. It’s juicy, but also broody, massive and dominated by its solid tannins. Keep for 5–10 years. — R.V.”
VinVino, Gregor Drescher
“POINTS 93-94. Les Asteries Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2005”
VinVinoLife - July 2007
“94 POINTS. This garage Bordeaux wine is made by maverick winemaker Jonathan Maltus, who buys plots and slices of land wherever he recognises individual terroir character. He then makes wines from these plots, rather than under a chateau brand. In many ways he is turning small corners of St Emilion into Burgundy. This is sultry dark fruits draped over granite outcrops. Dazzling.”
Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine
“4 STARS. From a single hectare on 'Asteries' (rock limestone) soil between Chateau Fonroque and Clos Fourtet, cropped down to four bunches per vine (15hl/ha), this is a pure vineyard rather than a 'garage' wine. Huge colour, high extraction of black fruits, totally hedonistic palate but almost Saint-Estèphe grip on the finish, fresh and very, very long. Potentially a 5-star wine. Drink 2010-25.”
Tomas Clancy, The Sunday Business Post
“The vines from which this wine are made are planted in soil resting on the hardest form of limestone.This wine, shown in an En Primeur form, is probably the highlight of Maltus's extensive range. Opulent, deep-pocketed fruit shines out over a gorgeous clean mineral base. It is not just expressive of the terroir, but of the foundations of Bordeaux's most beautiful town.”
“A Single Vineyard St-Emilion from Jonathan Maltus, with Merlot predominating at 83 per cent, and new out this year. It's dense, savoury and sweet-fruited, with rich, blackberry and blackcurrant flavours, and firm, grainy tannins. Very good acidity lightens the load. It's taut and racy, with elegance and poise. 2010-2020.”
Because the LES ASTERIES vineyard is old and planted in an epoch when pumps were manual, it is planted on what the French call a panache basis — a complete mixture of Merlot and Cabernet Franc (estimated 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc). Our forebears harvested all of the varieties together in order that the mix happened right at the beginning, and required less pumping! The soil/terroir is a very thin layer of clay over an extremely hard limestone. The cropping level is a very low; 30 hl/ha.
LES ASTERIES receives two to three runs of green harvesting – at fruit set and veraison – ensuring that only the most perfect handpicked berries get into the vats. On arrival at the winery the grapes are sorted – firstly by bunch and then, after destemming, grape by grape. Only conveyors are used to transport the grapes and the wine is fermented in wooden vats after extreme cold maceration. The wines undergo malolactic fermentation in new French oak, and are barrel-aged in an air-conditioned cellar at 18 °C.
LES ASTERIES exhibits a fantastic mineral quality which is in keeping with a belt of terroir that passes through from CHATEAUX BELAIR, CANON, and CLOS FOURTET. We named the wine LES ASTERIES after the hardest form of limestone – calcaire à astéries – on which the vineyard is situated. It is unlike any other wine that we make.
WHAT THEY SAY
98 POINTS, ROBERT PARKER, THE WINE ADVOCATE
"From vines sitting on hard limestone, this wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc that offers prodigious levels of extract, richness, complexity and overall harmony. A fabulous wine, with black fruits galore intermixed with a liqueur of crushed rocks and spring flowers, the wine has plenty of tannin and is best cellared over at least 4-5 years and consumed over the following two decades. This property, owned by Jonathan Maltus, is located 100 meters from his Le Carré and of course the nearby Clos Fourtet, which produced a perfect wine in 2009. Drink 2016-2036."