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Words of Sommeliers

Julia Scavo


Thomas Barton Réserve Saint-Julien

Appellation Saint-Julien Contrôlée

Julia Scavo

7th Best Sommelier of the World ASI 2019
Best Sommelier of Romania 2018
3rd best Sommelier of Europe 2017
Master of Port 2

Thomas Barton Réserve Saint-Julien

Deep ruby colour with purple tinges, bright and clear.

The nose is clean and delicate, demanding breathing. Of a moderate intensity, it shows concentrated red fruit – strawberry, cherry, centred on a black fruit backbone – blackcurrant, blueberries. Herbal aromas remind the mint, ripe capsicum and some blond tobacco. The oak maturing brings some vanilla and cocoa, a toasty hint. Still very juvenile, in a developing phase, the wine is fresh, well defined.
The palate is dry, acidity is elevated, and so are the tannins, dusty, ripe, with a firm touch. The alcohol is moderate and the structure, digest, centred on freshness. The fruit is intense: cherry, raspberry, strawberry as well as black fruit – blackcurrant and blackberry. The whole is complimented by herbal notes. The oak maturing is present, making the tannins feel firmer, the aromatic influence is chocolate-like, with a hint of vanilla. Cocoa lingers on the finish. The wine is of a moderate plus structure with elegancy brought by the silky texture together with fine, well-defined aromas.
I would let it breathe for half an hour, at least, in a decanter. Tasted in 40 cl glasses, it preserves the fineness, but tannins still show relatively firm. A 45 cl glass with larger aromatic chamber and wider contact service would help soften the tannins, and so would ageing. It definitely need some 3-4 years to reach full development, ageing potential would be around 7-10 years.
A good wine, relatively restraint in its youth, complexity will develop with age and intensity can reveal after decanting. The fine and airy aromatic profile with both fresh fruit and fine herbal character is perfectly balanced with the silky texture. Although the couple acidity and tannins is still a bit firm, which is normal for such Bordeaux in their youth, the whole is harmonious with the Saint Julien elegancy footprint. Digest, with integrated oak maturing both in terms of flavours and structure. Length and potential sustain its quality. As said above, it would be interesting to wait another 3-4 years to awake its whole personality.
When it comes for food and wine pairings, if I had to choose a French classic dish, it would be lamb chops rosemary and thyme coated, oven baked root vegetables. One of the lamb’s meat compounds id “thymol” molecule which together with the rosemary and thyme crust finds an aromatic echo with the wine’s airy, minty, herbal scent. The texture of the lamb’s chops is both firm and melting, with typical personality which provides the perfect mouthfeel for the fresh, lean and still firm structure of the wine. The oven backed root vegetables bring a smooth touch, to better digest the tannins. Moving to Romanian cuisine, pork belly, mashed white beans and with caramelized red onions and sweet paprika topping would be an interesting pairing in my opinion. The pork belly would be slow cooked which plays a lot upon the texture to integrate the tannins of the wine, the fatty character brings a savoury character and aromatic support. The traditional mashed white beans bring mouthfeel and link with wine. The sweet paprika remind the capsicum flavours from the Cabernet basis and the sweet, caramelized red onions are there for a crunchy touch and sweet hint to smoothen the whole. For family cuisine and a more daring pairing, I would pair that with duck “sarma” (rolled cabbage leaves), slowcooked to obtain a smooth and confit character and soften the acidity of the sour cabbage used. Some creamy polenta on the side can bring more texture and soak more of the acidity or digest the tannins.
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