Sociando Mallet: dinners in Germany

It is often said that Château Sociando Mallet is one of those estates that makes a mockery of the 1855 Médoc classification.

It was not recognized back then. Although its origins date from as far back as a century or two before - as you can read on Chris Kissack’s excellent Wine Doctor website - it probably was not producing wine regularly enough in the century leading up to 1855. Or perhaps the brokers had not paid enough attention? Although many (if not most) estates from the famed classification today live up to their monikers (which has not been always the case), if you seek fine Bordeaux wines today, do you use a 19th century guide?

The same can be said for a wine like Raymond-Lafon in Sauternes.

Anyway, I recently tasted the 1995 and 2001, and am again reassured of the fine quality you get from this estate, and its general capacity to age very well.

Here is an estate where most critics agree, from Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson to Decanter Magazine’s tasters: a fine Medoc terroir located directly above the Gironde (“seeing the river”) over gravelly soils that allow for perfect water drainage yields superlative wines at prices that - though climbing in recent years - appeal to consumers. In this day and age of ever more expensive classified Bordeaux, this is a good thing.

Here some notes from a (partially) blind tasting last year at the estate: Sociando Mallet – Connections to Wine

Anyway, I have been enthusiastic enough to finally organise some tastings with the estate in Germany at the beginning of October, so if any Europe-based Berserkers are interested, here are the locations and dates. Do let me know if you want to go!

At the Maingau in Frankfurt on Thursday 4 October

At the Petersberg in Königswinter/Bonn on Friday 5 October

At the Brenner in Berlin on Saturday 6 October

Vintages should be the following:

1995 and/or 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006 or 2008, 2009
La Demoiselle (second wine) 2010, 2009

Cheers from Strasbourg,


Thanks for your informative post.

I have some of the 1995 and haven’t touched it for years. I may have missed your description of it on your web site: could you expound a bit on your iimpressions of this wine?


It would be great to include some older vintages in your tastings if at all possible. 82, 85,86, 89,90 are all drinking pretty darned well now and are actually mature. (even 86) somewhere in the archives are some notes from a tasting of ours within the last 2 years or so. I don’t really drink much Bordeaux anymore, but sociando has been a great friend over the years, and thank god it has remained somewhat in the shadows and reasonable affordable over most of that time.

Panos, I’ll echo what John just suggested - assuming you are working with the chateau in staging these dinners, I can tell you from multiple personal experiernces that the '86 & '89 Sociando’s are very fine bottles of wine, and while I agree with John that they are both mature, they also strike me as wines that will have a lengthy stay on the plateau of maturity, and should dtrink fine for another decade at a minimum.

Thanks for the replies. Yes, the chateau is bringing the wine, but I am not sure that they want to bring out vintages before 95, since for them, they want to promote wines that are on the market. So that is a drawback. I occasionally organise such tastings and sometimes participants bring older bottles - this happened for example a couple of years ago in Düsseldorf for a Gruaud Larose tasting, where participants brought a 1982 and a 1990, while the chateau brought a 1989 and a 1986. So there is no harm in asking Sociando do to so.
As for the 95, Doug, it is drinking nicely today. The last time I tried it was at the beginning of the year, and it was over a dinner so I did not take careful notes, but has arrived at what one could call a fine “mid stage”, where you still have fruit but the tertiary elements are showing up, like cigar box and cedar plus some notions of leather.
Good grip, which is typical of the 95 vintage, as the tannins are abundant but approachable now.
A few years back the 1995s on the Left Bank were rather closed, but some have been making lovely showings! For example, I used to always prefer Pichon Comtesse 96 over the 95, but the 95 is opening up and getting better and better. Have not ever actually tried the Sociando 96 however.

These have never been easy wines, I find them very masculine and often quite austere but very rewarding. What I did find surprising was how high the yields were, regularly 70 hl/ha, amazing given the concentration in the wine.

Just opened a bottle of the 1986, still a tough wine, but beginning to soften, although a decade from its apogee. Potentially a low to mid ninety point wine, but will leave the rest for another few years. BTW, the one to avoid is the 2000.

I’ve had the 2000 Sociando-Mallet 3 or 4 times, and I’ve not found it any more green than say the 1996 or 2001. Indeed, I’ve really enjoyed it. Last year, I had both the 2000 and 2001 side-by-side from half-bottle, and I liked them both equally (and more than some older vintages like the 86 which seemed to be drying out).

Yet, others who tolerate green pretty well, single out the 2000 vintage as problematic. Bottle variation? Not sure what’s going on with that.

I have had the 2000 SM two or three times now and have found it quite to my liking every time. The most recent was this past spring and my wife who can’t stand any olive or bell pepper flavors thought it was fine and did not notice any issues. I have also wondered if there were different lots or something everytime I read notes and how much they all differ.

I have a fair amout of tolerance for green, but I have had the wine three times (twice blind) and and found the levels way beyond my tolerance. When we visited, they too have found the wine flawed but had no explanation for it.

Count me as one who has several bottles of the 2000, have to be very careful with the food pairings due to the overwhelming bell pepper taste. Brought this to thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago and was a complete mismatch with the traditional dinner.


Thanks for replying: excellent description of the 1995. I can certainly see opening one up now. It’s been 6 years since the last tasting, so I’m optimistic.


Love Sociando, including its on and off (by bottle and vintage) green streak. I’ve gone through 4 bottles of the 2000, and the more air it gets the better. The '96 is still pretty tough.

I like the 2001 right now, but really think it’s much too early. The 2003 is drinking well, but also has tons and tons of time left.

Thanks for the input on the '01. How much longer would you wait on that one, David?

For me another 5 years.


Greetings. Just an update on the vertical if perchance anyone may be in Germany beginning October…
The vintages featured will be now 1989, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010 plus the second wine 2009 and 2010.
As for the 2000, this has me perplexed, quite like the Figeac 2000 has me perplexed! In both cases, perhaps the 2001 will prove a superior vintage… I also like the 1999 Sociando a lot.

I’m another fan, though I haven’t tasted many from recent years.
The following is a note from 4.5 years ago. At that time the '90 was also outstanding but not as ready as the '86. I’ve had the '86 twice since and it remains a treat, still with grip.

  • 1986 Château Sociando-Mallet - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/28/2008)
    Sociando vertical (83-86-88-89-90-96); all good, but the '86 was my favorite for drinking now. Still youthful color, remaining tannin perfect for rack of lamb. Excellent concentration and balance. There was a minty component I’ve noted before, but that’s the only thing New World about the wine. It will live a long time further, but not sure it will get any better than it is now.