Château Clos de Sarpe is a nine-acre producer in St.-Emilion. The Beyney family purchased it in 1923 and today it is run by a the third generation of the Beyney family, Jean-Guy Beyney and his wife Christine. Production is less than 1,000 cases a year and the blend is approximately 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. The second wine is Charles de Sarpe. The wine consultant here for some years was Jean-Philippe Fort, one of Michel Rolland’s assistants. Robert M. Parker Jr. has rated the wines with scores of 90 pts or more and notes that “this offering is meant for those with 19th century tastes, as the proprietor believes in full extraction and huge tannin.”
Saint-Émilion is on the east side of the Dordogne River. At 13,400 acres it is one of Bordeaux’s largest appellations, and perhaps its most picturesque. It is also home to what has been called “the garagiste” movement of upstart, tradition-defying winemakers who produce artisanal wines in styles that are unconventional for the appellation. The village of Saint-Émilion dates from the middle ages and it sits on low hills, surrounded by ancient walls. Like its neighbor Pomerol, Saint-Émilion was not included in the famous Bordeaux classification system of 1855. But a century later a ranking system was put in place, and unlike the classification system for the Medoc, the Saint-Émilion system is reviewed every ten years, meaning that estates can be upgraded or downgraded. There are three rankings: Grand Cru Classé, Premier Grand Cru Classé B and Premier Grand Cru Classé A, with the final ranking being the best. Such legendary Saint-Émilion estates as Châteaux Ausone and Cheval-Blanc are Premier Grand Cru Classé A, along with Châteaux Pavie and Angélus, both added to the classification in 2012. Wines in this appellation are primarily Merlot, mixed with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.