With most well-regarded Pomerol's easily clocking in at over $100 retail, finding classic, benchmark expressions has become almost a thing of the past. The Bourotte family, owners of Bonalgue and the recently acquired Clos du Clocher, has been quietly putting together a portfolio of Bordeaux to watch in recent years, slowly making improvements and acquisitions.
The 9.41-hectare vineyard of Chateau Bonalgue is planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The vines are located just northeast of Libourne. The vineyard has a terroir of sand, gravel, and clay with bits of iron in the soil. The vineyard, which is divided into 3 large parcels is planted to a vine density that ranges from 6,000 to 8,000 vines per hectare. The higher levels of vine density are found in the newer plantings. The vines are on average, 25 years of age.
To produce the wine of Chateau Bonalgue, vinification takes place in 13, temperature-controlled, stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of vats and French oak barrels The estate has plans to update their cellars and increase the number of vats to allow for more parcel by parcel vinification.
This is an earlier-drinking style of 95% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc. All hand-harvested and aged 18mos in 50% New French Oak. Medium to deep ruby red colour. The nose exudes expressions of new oak, dry spices, floral hints and wild red berries. Good grip on the palate, dense fruit and a fresh backbone, ripe and rounded tannin, floral red fruit.
The generosity of Merlot on this early-ripening terroir brings an exuberant expression to the wine; ripe grapes bring a silky, velvety texture in the mouth, and a strikingly aromatic nose. Bonalgue is open and engaging when young (2-6 years); it doesn’t close down, but after a few years of ageing (7-15 years) reveals its more sophisticated side without ever losing its voluptuous nature.
91 Points Robert Parker
This over-achieving estate is one of the most consistent performers in Pomerol. Always a well-made, fleshy, succulent, hedonistic wine.
92 Points Jeb Dunnuck
Made by the young Jean-Baptiste Bourotte, the 2015 Bonalgue is a ripe, downright sexy Pomerol that does everything right. Offering medium to full-bodied richness and loads of ripe fruits, dried flowers, leather, and even a hint of meaty/bloodiness, this 100% Merlot has no hard edges, a beautiful, opulent texture, and a great finish that keep you coming back to the glass. I like it today but it’s going to cruise in the cellar for 10-15 years.