TN: 2000 Chateau Sociando Mallet Cuvee Jean Gautreau

The 2000 Sociando Mallet “normale” is a bit of a controversial wine. Notwithstanding what most would say is a modestly solar vintage, Sociando Mallet pulls off a wine more reminiscent of a 2011 Loire Chinon. Heavy pyrazine note in some bottles. While I have liked some bottles, loved even a couple, I will admit that I have also popped a few that were even too much for this yak palate. I mean, really, even I like some fruit in my wine. Ocassionally.

This 2000 Jean Gautreau Cuvee - at least in theory - should not drink the same. This cuvée is reputedly made from the best barrels personally picked by Jean Gautreau himself, matured in 100% new French oak, and being a more Cab-dominant cepage. Neal Martin calls it 70% Cab, 20% Merlot and 10% Franc.

While this bottling is substantially better than the normale, it still has very forward green and herbaceous notes. Also throws a lead pencil note as well, followed by dark fruits and cassis, resembling more of an old school Pauilliac, really. The palate is dense, mouth-coating. Quite a full-bodied wine, and if anything, probably still 5 or so years away from its peak drinking window. Big chalky tannins, firm acid structure and still some escalated extraction, clearly calling for more time to integrate. The acids and light salinity really keep this wine quite fresh despite its weight. I’m sitting here first glass in after 1.5 hours in a decanter. Saving 1/2 of the bottle for tomorrow. Digging what I see here but needs time.

(92+ pts.)

Ok now on glass three, better and better…


Is that a ram’s horn to sprinkle biodynamic dust on the Medoc?

Boar’s tusk! We are country folk down here.

You know what’s a trip about Sociando? It’s so flippin reliable and affordable but it never soars. I have plenty in my cellar but it’s a bit like the Jim Nantz of Bordeaux. Ban?

Really appreciate your note and the helpful information Robert, I assume this was the Winebid bottle from but a few weeks ago?

I’ve had the both the 1997 and 2006 recently. The ‘06 had a very long way to go, and the 97 was surprisingly fine on day 1, then kind of fell apart on day 2. Initially, a few tasters felt it was among the best 97s they had ever tried (how’s that for a backhanded compliment?)

On the other hand, I just finished a half case of 12s, which, without the oak or density of the Jean Gautreau, were actually drinking perfectly fine in the present and should stay on a long plateau.

I agree with Matthew’s comment above. Sociando always pleases but rarely turns heads, which come to think of it, isn’t a bad definition of a cellar defender.

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You’re having a run of good bottles! Great stuff - keep the notes coming! I think I may have enjoyed this more than you did because for me the 00 is up with the best JGs. I’ve only got one left so I think after reading this another five years are in order.

I’m not surprised the 97 JG is so good - because the normal SM was too (might still be good today from a magnum). I’ve never tried a 97 JG but would certainly grab one if I saw it at auction.

I agree that SM is not for everyone, but I think the JG cuvée is a lot more universally appealing. As you say, in some vintages it is of the highest possible quality - and that quality transcends the style of the wine. I’ve never come across anyone who doesn’t like it, on the rare occasions I serve it to family or friends. Luckily for us, the JG cuvée is so little known outside the world of geeks that auction prices are usually quite reasonable still.


The regular '97 Sociando is a favorite of mine…had it 2x last year…def. at apogee.

While it can be hard on a business’s bottom line, the occasional fumble like 00 S&M is almost a badge of honor in my book, proof that they’re making ‘real’ wine.

Not surprisingly given our shared parentage (who got the good looks again?), but I agree with Robert: in some select vintages, Sociando Mallet is thrilling stuff.

Correct bottles of the 82, 86, and 90 are magic, combining all the things I love about old school, mature claret with an extra gear of wild, feral, chaparral energy that I find irresistible.

In a somewhat more tame style, the 95 is extra good and I’m a big fan of the 96, 01 and 05. My experience with vintages post-05 is much more limited.

Mixed in are the more pedestrian 89-90 pt wines, but these have their place in my cellar too.

This thread just prompted me to snag 3 bottles of the ‘14 Cuvée Jean Gautreau for $90/each… en magnum!

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I had my last 1990 this past weekend, and it might be the best Sociando Mallet I’ve had, and I didn’t feel that way several years ago when I opened a bottle. It’s in a perfect drinking window now.

I’m so excited by that note I may not be able to stand up for a good five, ten minutes.

Ha, wait until you try the 2001 JG!

OMG does it rock. Actually, the 2001 normale is my fave SM up until we get to 2014. I’ve gone through a ridiculous amount, and like an idiot, did not save more for even the longer haul.

Bummer, I just looked, and 2001 is one of the few I don’t have good access to over here. I did pickup a case of 2003, which will also be my first S-Ms. I know it’s not a great vintage but I got a good price on it, and I’m pretty confident I’ll like the wines.

I like the 2003. Obviously from a very warm year, but still nice. Those far Northern Medocs, especially St Estephe, faired better than most of Bordeaux. I also like the 2003 Jean Gautreau.

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