Château Fleur Cardinale, 2014

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This beautiful property in Saint Émilion is very much a family affair. It was bought in 2001 by Dominique and Florence Decoster after Dominique decided it was time for a change and sold the businesses that he owned including one making porcelain in Limoges that he had run for 27 years. In the last decade they have been joined by son Ludovic who manages the estate and his wife Caroline who looks after sales and marketing.

As soon as they had bought it the Decosters set about improvements seeking the help of expert consultants including neighbour, the famous ‘garagiste’ winemaker and consultant Jean-Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud. Changes including uprooting some underperforming vines, reduces yields of the remaining ones and creating a new winery with modern equipment that would allow them to vinify each parcel separately to reveal the estate’s qualities in detail. The reward was promotion to the status of Saint Émilion Grand Cru in 2006, confirmed again in 2012.

The Decosters are very committed to sustainable production and the estate is in transition to organic certification and in addition no effluent is released into the environment while for every case sold (about 10,000 p.a) a tree will be planted in Tanzania.

Horsey folk may like to know that the name dates from 1975, when the then owner named the estate after two races horses that he had owned, Fleur and Cardinale.


An estate that has been transformed by the passion, commitment and investment of the Decoster family since 2001. 2014 was a good vintage which was particularly favourable for Cabernet Franc in St Émilion. This has classic aromas of plum, black cherry and blackberry with subtle notes of cedar and vanilla. Tannins are there to give weight and structure but don’t intrude harshly at all. Good length too.


93/100 Jane Anson in December 2019. Up to a full quarter of Cabernet Franc in this vintage, which may have helped bring the alcohol degree down a little. Gorgeous balance, juicy and rich, with blackberry and black cherry. It has plenty of St-Émilion signature, with a powerful gourmet edge as is so often the case with Fleur Cardinale but is elegant and in no way overdone. Flexible tannins, lovely texture; really a wine that is getting into its stride, and here the minerality is clearer, something that can get lost when alcohol levels creep up too high. What you get here instead, is a slightly raspy slate edge to the finish which is extremely moreish. Drinking Window 2020 – 2040.

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