This is an excellent, often undervalued cru bourgeois property in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of the Médoc. The origins of Le Crock’s name are still mired in speculation, with different theories including the old Médoc word for ‘crow’ and an adaptation of ‘croc’, the French word for ‘hook’, which also provides the root of the words crochet and croquet.
The estate has a long history, with winemaking beginning sometime around the late 18th century, when it was purchased by a well-respected family of Dutch wine brokers. They owned Le Crock for 115 years, until it was bought in 1903 by the Cuvelier family, who also own second growth Léoville Poyferré in Saint-Julien and Moulin Riche. It is currently run by Didier Cuvelier.
Located just north of Cos d’Estournel, the 32.5 hectares of vines are partly planted on good gravel soil next to Montrose, and partly on heavier clay. They have an average age of 37 years.
In the cellar, the wine benefits from the expertise not only of renowned consultant Michel Rolland but also Léoville Poyferré’s talented in-house oenologist, Isabelle Davin. Grapes are hand harvested before being vinified in a mixture of stainless-steel and concrete tanks, with different plots being fermented separately for precision.
The blend is 55% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 10% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot, which spends 18 months in barrels, a quarter of them new oak. Blending occurs six months into the ageing process, and before bottling the wines are fined with egg whites.
It has always been a wine with lots of body and character, especially for claret lovers who are prepared to keep it for seven to 20 years, but has gained in elegance and finesse in recent years.