Beginning with his first vintage at Tertre Roteboeuf in 1978, François Mitjavile didn’t need long to grow his (staunchly!) unclassified estate into one of the most respected names in St Emilion.
Part winemaker, part philosopher, Mitjavile is one of the great characters of Bordeaux. He could be considered almost Burgundian in his approach - the opulence and grandeur are for his wines, not his front gate, the cellars are not gilded halls and statues.
Mitjavile generally picks late, uses 100% new oak, and produces no second wine. Truly one of the personalities of the region.
The 2018 Tertre-Rôteboeuf is a rich, heady Saint-Émilion. Ripe, flamboyant and creamy, the 2018 captures all of the opulence of the vintage. Black fruit, bittersweet chocolate, spice, new leather and tobacco gradually open in the glass, but the 2018 is a dense, plush wine that needs time to show all it has to offer. The bouquet displays a bit of reduction, so opening the wine in advance and possibly decanting, are advisable. As always, François Mitjavile crafts one of the most distinctive wines in all of Bordeaux.
96 points, Vinous (March 2021)
The 2018 Tertre Rôteboeuf, which I never tasted from barrel, has a typical bouquet of red fruit, dark chocolate, clove and hints of game and mint. Strangely, it reminds me of recent releases from La Rioja Alta, and I mean that in a good way. The palate is sweet on the entry and deftly disguises its 16° alcohol. It is well balanced with fine acidity and touches of sour cherry and tobacco on the finish. A hedonistic wine, but as is so often the case apropos of François Mitjavile’s château, it is brilliantly disguised.
95 points, Vinous (March 2021)
The Le Pin of Saint-Emilion, the 2018 Château Tertre Roteboeuf is another exotic, sexy, singular wine from the Mitjavile family, whose vineyard is ideally situated on the eastern side of Saint Emilion. The 2018 isn't far off the style of the 2016 yet is perhaps even more exotic and up-front, offering a wild nose of white chocolate, black cherries, green tobacco, bacon fat, exotic flowers, and vanilla bean. Brilliantly concentrated on the palate, it has silky, polished tannins, a rather muscular, structured style, thick aromas and flavors, and a great finish. This is another genius effort from François Mitjavile that's in the same league as the 2005, 2010, and 2016. There's nothing else out there that comes close to resembling the wines from this estate! It needs 5-7 years of bottle age and will evolve for 30 years or more.
98 points, JebDunnuck.com (March 2021)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.