Bordeaux: Look for The Union Label!!

Who Knew There Was A Union??

Galius Union Founder


Saint Emilion, a medieval village listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is famous around the world thanks to its prestigious appellations and great wines. The town’s beautiful architecture embodies a long history in which men and women have always sought to preserve their unique identity.

One of them, Robert Villepigue – an agricultural engineer from Saint Emilion – managed Château Figeac from 1905 to 1928 and later acquired Château Cadet Piolat. Robert Villepigue came up with the idea, very innovative in Bordeaux at the time, of establishing a cooperative cellar in Saint Emilion. So, during the 1930s economic crisis, he brought together 6 winegrowers to create the Saint Emilion cooperative. The project became reality in 1931, and the first cooperative in Bordeaux made their first wine in 1932. The cellar’s main role was to unite several vineyard estates in order to share the means of production, winemaking, and sales – mostly in bulk.

Today, the Union de Producteurs represents slightly more than 12% of the entire Saint Emilion AOC. Currently over 150 growers and 700 Hectares of Vineyards.
Over the years, the Union de Producteurs de Saint Emilion has worked hard to perfect the quality of their wines, as evidenced by the certifications they have obtained

2016 Galius St. Emilion Grand Cru

Galius Vineyards

Galius Front

Galius Rear

The wine world and me have been raving about 2015 Right Bank Bordeauxs and I have heard great things about 2016. I thought I would test a 2016 from St Emilion that is part of the “Union”.

The influence of Gallo-Roman culture in the southwest of France was mainly due to the presence of the Roman soldiers who, having received a parcel of land as war bounty, exchanged their swords and spears for pickaxes and sickles. The name of the centurion Galius figures amongst one of these first farmers who, as he dug into the Saint-Emilion chalky plateau, planted the first vines in that area.
Originated from a strict selection of the best Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion plots, Galius is one of their flagship products, well-known for its quality, its qualitative regularity and its character. 

The 2016 is 83% Merlot blended with 17% Cabernet Franc. 14% ABV. All coming from Clay and Limestone Soils Harvested by plots and grape varieties selections
Gravity flow winemaking with temperature control. Aged in French oak barrels (50% new oak barrels) from 12 to 14 months

My Review

Galius Glass w Bottle

Galius Glass Side

Before I even go any further to review the wine I want to mention why many times I hate points and ratings and Gold and Bronze medals. Some ratings even for a very good quality wine like this Galius are just down right SILLY… Check out his Decanter Magazine Rating on this one:

Galius Decanter Rating

Yes….97 Points…LOL!! I am not saying my review or all the other reviewers who sampled this wine didn’t score it in a normal range but I will tell you off the bat, this is NO 97 Point Wine. On with the review

The wine is deep purple in the glass and star bright. It displays a medium plus viscosity due to the 14% ABV and Oak Aging. It blossoms open pretty quickly in the glass only 25-30 minutes. Very floral, very ripe black and red fruits of blackberry, cherries, plums with a wonderful, shitake mushroom backdrop with hints of vanilla coming from the wood. On the palate, intense plums and juicy yet silky fruit coating the palate to a strong tannin grip ending with exotic spices and pleasant tartness on the long finish. This wine needs a few more years of ageing but it is very approachable now. I think the tannins will soften up over time and more complex layers will develop in time. I can’t think of a better Ribeye Steak Wine especially with some caramelized mushrooms and onions than this. At just under $30 I think the QPR is pretty spot on. I will score this Wine 257 Points out of 1 million lol… Just Kidding. I am in the lines of other reviewers besides Decanter and it is a solid 90 Points out of 100.  A well made wine with great fruit. 

The Summary

There are plenty still on the market of 2015’s for even lower prices than this. I think this wine coming from a Union Co- Op is a great example of how good 2016’s will be as well in Bordeaux. It’s a big, ripe, delicious example of St Emilion Grand Cru and it is not at everyday prices but I would stock up on  few to try and also lay down for a few years in your wine fridge or cellar. This one has many years left of enjoyment. A definite wine I would recommend !

Grape-fully yours, Larry

Look For The Union Label (UDPSE)

Galius Union

5 thoughts on “Bordeaux: Look for The Union Label!!

  1. Decanter Magazine has never reviewed this wine. The 97 points refers to Platinum Award at the Decanter World Wine Awards (2018)

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