Cyrille Thienpont showed the range of wines that the Thienponts manage on the Right Bank at a comprehensive tasting at Château Pavie Macquin earlier this month. The jewels here are in St Emilion and include Château Berliquet, Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Pavie Macquin itself and Château Beauséjour [hDL]. These wines look very good indeed in 2014. Larcis Ducasse has beautiful ripeness and seduction, Pavie-Macquin power and strength and Beauséjour fantastic purity. The Nicolas Thienpont properties in the Côtes de Francs [Château Puyregaud and Château La Prade] and the Côtes de Castillon [Château Alcée] are also very much worth considering in 2014. On the question of whether the vintage is a year for the Cabernets [Franc especially so here on the Right Bank] Cyrille Thienpont sees that is it just as much a question of soils as varieties. Cabernet Franc from the best terroirs is very good indeed and benefitted the most from the September and October sun, but in the right spots the Merlot has succeeded well too.
Clearly 2014 was a challenging growing season in St Emilion as it was elsewhere in the summer months [when there was no summer] and it seems there was a little more rain here then than in Francs and Castillon [and the Left Bank appellations too]. Much work was needed therefore in the vineyards at that time to mitigate the heavy rainfall and the grey conditions. The sunny weather that began in late August and which continued pretty much until mid October totally changed the face of the vintage. This dry weather concentrated the juices and the hot temperatures refined the tannins saving the vintage from mediocrity [or worse]. You can’t replace the missing heat of July and August entirely even despite the autumn summer and this has resulted in greater aromatic freshness and nimble acidities in the wines. This combination of freshness and ripeness is genuinely enticing and an attractive prospect for the consumer where the prices are right.
2014 is the first vintage in which the newly planted vineyards at Château Berliquet have come on stream. The nine hectare vineyard has enviable terroir positioned on St Emilion’s limestone plateau outcrop with sunny exposure. There is minerality and finesse here in Berliquet in 2014 as well as freshness.
Château Larcis-Ducasse has a gorgeous position on the Côte Pavie [which adjoins Château Pavie]. This extremely sunny, southern exposure produces fruit of great ripeness that turns into wine with a silky, caressing quality. There is plenty of matter and extract to Larcis Ducasse in 2014 but there is also that voluptuous satin aspect to the fruit which is irresistible here.
Château Pavie-Macquin 2014 showed especially well on the two occasions I tasted it. This is a powerful and strong wine and is impressive. The property has excellent terroir on the St Emilion plateau.
Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire [winemaker] have been managing Château Beauséjour [héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse] since 2009. The results have spoken for themselves. Beauséjour is a small property [6 hectare] on St Emilion’s plateau with a variety of exposures. There is terrific purity to Beauséjour in 2014 and this looks to be one of St Emlion’s most exceptional wines.
Château Trimoulet is a 16 hectare property run by Cécile Jean and David Dumont. Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire have been working with them since 2011. Trimoulet is satisfying and textured St Emilion in 2014.
I’ve also included the notes on the Thienpont properties in Francs and Castillon. This are usually very good value red wines with plenty of extract and polish. Château Puygueraud and Château La Prade are impressive in 2014 as is Château Alcée in Castillon [near to the highly regarded Château d’Aiguilhe]. Château Les Charmes-Godard is a great value white wine with plenty going as is the white produced at Puygueraud. Both are worth seeking out and drinking young.
The following wines were tasted at Château Pavie-Macquin on Friday April 3, 2015. Berliquet, Larcis Ducasse and Pavie Macquin were also tasted earlier during primeurs week and I’ve included those notes too. The wines showed a fraction better at Pavie Macquin, partly I suspect because I had more time to taste and consider them.
Château Puygueraud [Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux].
Lovely colour; deep at centre; earthy purple at edge; ripe; minerality; black fruits; black cherry; textured aromatics; perfume; creamy entry; plums and blackcurrants; ripe; textured red; nice palate; good mid palate; very good extract and grip on the finish. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec]. Tasted 3 April ’15 at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89+
Château La Prade [Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux].
Mid depth; purple edge earthy; chalky; black cherry more mineral tones; chalky; nice sweet entry; ripe fruit; black cherry; textured again; more solid feel in the middle. Nice finish. Density at the end. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3 April ’15 at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89
Château Alcée [Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux].
Deep and saturated look; earthy purple at edge; nice fruit; creamy but fresh; cherry and plum; full; little fruit cake note; texture; mid palate; cream but also minerality; nice depth; full. Serious. Nice fruit on the finish. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90+
Château Trimoulet, St Emilion Grand Cru.
Deep-ish mid depth; ripe black currant and plum; minerality too; bright; nice sweet entry; purity; texture on the palate again; nice wine; some chalk texture; nice grip and chew. Fine finish. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89+
Château Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé.
Deep in the middle; earthy purple at edge; black cherry; minerality; nice lift and spices; nice ripe fruit; supple; perfume a bit; cherry some plum tones; nice length at the back. Good length and elegant finish. [75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon,14% alc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2019-2030. 89-91+ [Earlier tasting note] Deep and saturated colour; fresh at edge; some gloss and depth; sweet ripe entry to the fruit; some purity; needs to fill out a fraction; quite mineral and wet rock; plenty of extract and chew with nicely pure fruit; good length; impressive length. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 89-91+
Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Deep and saturated colour; bold and glossy; ripe and glossy; creamy fruit with that satin quality; cassis; ripe plums and cherries; some degree of voluptuousness on the nose; black chocolate and spices too; creamy; some oak to integrate; plenty of fruit; texture; lift; substantial and plenty of extract but glossy and voluptuous. Nice chew and saturated. Textured finish. [85% Merlot 15% Cabernet Franc alc14.1]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2020-2035. 92-94+ [Earlier tasting] Deep colour on nose; ripe and satiny nose; little strawberry; sublimated red fruits; depth of fruit on the palate; oak influence but integrated; this is substantial St Emilion; grip and freshness too. Very good effort. Length. Larcis Ducasse is fast becoming a favourite St Emilion of mine in the rich and ripe category. Drink 2020-2030. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 91-93+
Château Pavie Macquin, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Deep and saturated look; purple at edge; manages to be fresh; strong and deep; powerful aromas from the fruit [importantly]; black fruits; spices; black cherry; plum; dark chocolate; sweet attack from the fruit and nicely integrated oak; very nice mouthfeel; powerful wine. Lots of extract and matter; but comes together neatly on the finish. [85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2022-2035. 92-94+ [Earlier tasting] Deep and saturated look; full and substantial aromas; quite bold and big on the palate; plenty of matter and fruit; nicely handled; balanced yet bold; ripe and supple tannin but plenty of extract here; this will last the course; big and full St Emilion but not over-cooked in the slightest. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2032. 92-94
Château Beauséjour [héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], St Emilon Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Deep and saturated; vibrant purple at edge; perfume; layers of fruit; quite pent up; wonderful stuff; spices; black cherry; plums but really creamy; layers and attractive stuff; nice entry; sweet fruit; purity and clean; nice width and mouthfeel; creamy at the edge but minerality too. Chalky note on the end. Lots of material – spicy finish. Very concentrated but fruit is sweet and attractive. Lovely stuff. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2022-2035. 94-96+
Château Puygueraud [Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux]
Pale silver/gold; brilliant; taut; citrus; tight; pear drop and candy; with lees notes but concentrated; zesty; lees notes; grapefuit and citrus tones; vibrant and zesty. Hand harvested. [55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2016-2020. 87-89+
Château Les Charmes-Godard [Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux]
Pale silver gold; ripe grapefruit; softer and rounder; some candy; more weight on the palate; grapefruit; mouthfeel; some grapefruit and lees; nice round style. Spicy finish some grapefruit. Nice finish. [50% Semillon, 25% Sauvignon Gris, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, hand picked, aged and fermented in 500l oak barrels]. Drink 2016-2022. 87-89+
Tags: Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2014, Castillon, Chateau Alcée, Château Beauséjour [héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], Chateau Berliquet, Chateau La Prade, Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Chateau Pavie Macquin, Chateau Puygueraud, Chateau Trimoulet, Côtes de Bordeaux, Cyrille Thienpont, David Suire, Francs, Nicolas Thienpont, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé