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Bordeaux 2015: Pessac-Léognan White

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0998Pessac Léognan has had a very good vintage for its white wines in 2015. The growing season was almost ideal, with good weather during flowering ensuring good fruit set; the ensuing summer drought conditions were ameliorated by rainfall in late July and August and a dry early September allowed for a trouble-free harvest. Cooler than average September temperatures also helped preserve acidity in the fruit. While there are not the aromatic profiles of 2011, 2012 and 2013, there is weight and depth here in 2015. Some properties are even comparing the vintage to 2010.

Excellent whites have been produced at Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Château Pape Clément, Château de Fieuzal [a marvel], Domaine de Chevalier, Château Carbonnieux [a classic], Château Malartic Lagravière, Château Olivier and Château Bouscaut [I’m always a great fan]. At the value end Château La Louvière and Château Picque Caillou look very good, as does Château Rahoul in the Graves district.

The following whites were tasted largely at the UGCB event at Château Malartic Lagravière as well as at the properties listed on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

Château Bouscaut, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Pale silver/gold; fuller; waxy style with full aromatics; classic Bouscaut; great body on the palate; worked and almost fat but I love the depth here and the texture; will be excellent. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2027. 91-93+

Château Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Silver/green; lovely fresh Carbonnieux; a beauty; some lanolin and smart confectionary tones; pear drops; depth to the palate and intensity; love the dryness too; nice body and will fill out a touch. Another excellent white. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 91-93

Domaine de Chevalier, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Silver/green; racy with minerality; depth; saline edge; apple note; tightly coiled on the palate; racy style – more Puligny than de Fieuzal’s Corton; candy and peardrop notes here on the palate too; will blossom during elévage. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 92-94

La Clarté de Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan

Pale straw; flecks of silver/green; lovely saline note; minerality; some citrus tones; lime; nice weight and freshness; a good mouthful; has weight but not plodding. Refreshing on the end. Saline touch on the finish. [27% Sauvignon, 73% Sémillon, 14.3% alc]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 91-93

Château de Fieuzal, Pessac Léognan

Washed grey/green; lovely aromatics; tight but deep; opens up to reveal passionfruit and lime notes; white melon; very attractive indeed; bold and racy palate with texture; will broaden with age; excellent length. Wonderful. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2028. 93-95+

Château de France, Pessac Léognan

Washed colour; some apple and lees notes; fresh and zippy on the palate; fresh finish too. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2023. 86-88

Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac Léognan

Silver/light gold; Cox’s apples on the aromatics; little apricot; some oak; breadth on the palate; ripe and sweet fruit; easy and forward style. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90+

Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Again silver/green; legs; deep; some wax; little lime and citrus notes; beautiful palate; very fine; has depth and race; some spearmint on the end; nice length. Wonderful minerality. [69% Sauvignon, 31% Sémillon, 14.3%]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 95-97+

Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac Léognan

Pale straw; mineral; spearmint; pear drop notes; tight palate with depth; will fill out. Like the balance here in the white. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 100% new oak ferments – some in 225 litre, some 500 ltr]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 89-91+

Château Latour-Martillac, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Washed silver; saline; appetising; oyster shells; lacks a bit of definition; more elegant style on the palate. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89

Château La Louvière, Pessac Léognan

Pale Straw; fresh cut grass; some lees; appetizing; pear drops; palate has attractive texture with zip and life; nice mouthful which promises to be excellent. [100% Sauvignon Blanc]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 90-92+

Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Pale silver/fleck of green; more wax and lanolin notes; vivid and appetizing; depth; some oyster shell; saline freshness too; more race than Clarté but this is fuller than Haut-Brion blanc; nice acidity; length on the palate; freshness on the end. [67% Sémillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 14.6% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 94-96

Château Malartic-Lagravière, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Pale silver; some flint; apples; zesty; some roundness; tight and satisfying on the palate; mineral tones. [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2027. 90-92

Clos Marsalette, Pessac-Léognan

Silver/green; lovely pear drop and candy style; some grapefruit and lees notes – vibrant; waxy palate; nice texture; soft; nice twist on the finish. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière, 6/4/16. 90-91+

Château Olivier, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Pale silver; some oyster shell; little zip; fresh palate; zippy; appetizing; some minerals; has life and zip. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89+

Château Pape Clément, Pessac Léognan

Pale straw; white melon; peach; attractive aromatics; fruit salad; weighty palate; nice texture; this will work very nicely; fractionally behind de Fieuzal but a great wine. [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2028. 92-94+

Le Petit Haut Lafitte, Pessac Léognan

Fresh silver look; less notes; some grapefruit tones; attractive palate; soft; nice citrus quality with some grapefruit and limes; nice to drink now. Made largely from the estate’s younger vines from the vineyard plateau. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 50% new oak]. Tasted 7/4/16 at Smith Haut Lafitte Drink 2018-2023. 90-92

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan

Silver; really sparkles in the glass; melon; white peach; seductive aromatics; lovely ripe palate; beautiful; lovely balance; harvest started 1st September; estate comparing this to the 2010; minerality on the finish. A delicious beauty. Has freshness too. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 5% Sémillon, 11ha for white, 50% new oak.].. Drink 2019-2027. 95-96+

Château Picque Caillou, Pessac Léognan

Pale straw; waxy; some grapefruit tones; some lees; wax on the palate; classy; pretty good effort. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89+


Château de Chantegrive, Graves

Pale silver; grass; lees; citrus notes; grapefruit; some oyster shell notes; lacks a bit of depth but fresh and attractive. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2018-2022. 86-88

Château Ferrande, Graves

Pale green/straw; apple; less expansive than Chantegrive; zesty palate with some zip but lacks concentration. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2021. 85-87

Château Rahoul, Graves

Silver; steely and racy aromatics; mineral; will open up with some age; fresh and correct; not big but will fill out during elevage. Likely good value. [74% Sémillon, 19% Sauvignon Blanc, 7% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 88-90+


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