Saint-Esteve is an alluring estate forlorn among old pine trees, wild shrubs and expansive vineyards (doh, what else), found up a track off the D611 between Montséret, Thézan and Portel. Eric and Sylvie Latham took it over, including 55 ha of vines (140 acres), in the mid-80s and are now making some attractive chunky reds from Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre. Their 2006s, selected and noted below, are showing especially well. Eric and Sylvie also have a big five-bedroom gîte available to rent in the summer: see website for info. Links to updates at the bottom.
Tasted in Oct. 08 and Feb. 09:
2005 Corbières - smoky ripe nose, a tad oxidised but has some depth with that old-fashioned style; firm yet quite rich, beginning to fade a bit although shows attractive savoury cheesy mature notes, drinking now. €4.50 85-87
2006 Corbières - livelier than the 05 with spicy menthol fruit and cherry & liquorice notes; attractive rounded fruit v grip on the finish. 87+
2006 Ganymède Boutenac - I found the 2005 Ganymède a bit too firm, rustic and lacking charm. However, the 2006 is spicier showing good depth of black cherry and olive with liquorice edges; firm-textured and powerful with chocolate hints and nice lingering fruit. Needs a couple of years. 89
Latest updates: here (2009 vintage report, June 2010) and here (Boutenac & 2010 vintage report, May 2011).
11200 Thézan-des-Corbières. Tel: 04 68 43 32 34, www.chateau-saint-esteve.com.