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Bordeaux 2016: Côtes de Bordeaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

I tasted a good range of Côtes de Bordeaux at the annual Grand Cercle tastings during primeurs, held at Château Montlabert in St Emilion. First impressions of Bordeaux 2016 on the right bank was of a vintage defined by impressive texture and freshness with slightly more modest alcohols than usual. It is an interesting companion piece to the beautiful 2015 vintage. Excellent flowering conditions [in an otherwise damp start to the growing season] encouraged a good fruit set. The drought conditions which occurred in the high summer were relieved by period of brief but productive rain on 13 and 20 September. October was sunny and dry. Castillon stood out for me with very impressive efforts from Château Alcée, Château Cap de Faugères and Château d’Aiguilhe in particular, but there are some very good wines in all the Côtes de Bordeaux appellations. I was also struck by the quality of the wines in Francs from Nicolas Thienpont at Château La Prade and Château Puygueraud, as well as at Château de Franc. There a few wines that were characterised by comparatively high acidity and grip. I think these will settle nicely though and I’d be interested to see them further down the track.

The following wines were tasted on Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd April, 2017 at the Grand Cercle and at Château Canon-La-Gaffelière and Château Pavie-Macquin.

Château Alcée, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Again lovely colour; healthy looking; real density in the middle; slight minerality here again; that limestone influence; layered and very polished – along with d’Ag – these are two of the most impressive Castillon’s…very velvety fruit on the palate; wonderful purity; really nicely layered; extract but nicely composed and polished; nicely extracted; nice fruit and good texture; has grip and also freshness. Nice length too. [92% Merlot, 8% Cab Franc]. Tasted at Pavie-Macquin 1/4/17. 91-93

Château Ampélia, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deepish; fresh and clean; some violet lift; freshly sawn wood; good fruit here with freshness and grip; will be pretty good. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 87-89

Château Cap de Faugères, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid depth; red purple; more bubble gum and blackcurrant; little confected but has some lift; some red fruits; cleaner entry; more sinewy but has sufficient fruit alongside the tension; acidity quite marked. Sinewy. [85% merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 89-91 

Château Clos Chaumont, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid-depth; some violet lift; Bordeaux style; quite fresh in style; elegant; some grip and sap; mid weight Bordeaux and will work well. Sappy finish. [53% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 87-89+

Château Côte Montpezat, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid depth; fruit and wood; nice; some violet lift; sour cherry; very pronounced acidity; grip; rather lean at present but should fill out during elévage. [70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 85-87

Château d’Aiguilhe, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; colour tight to the rim; nicely layered and clearly deep; lovely fruit quality here; spices some of the fruitcake notes; lovely nose; little mineral too; some molasses and tar; excellent on the nose; sweet entry to the fruit; glossy fruit; spices and satin notes; plenty of structure evident; chew here; needs to round out in elévage; more matter than in ’15? Finishes a little short but expect this to fill out given the colour and the volume of fruit on the nose. Matter here. Tannin [ripe]. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted at Canon-la-Gaffelière 1/4/17. 91-93

Château de Franc, ‘Les Cerisieres,’ Franc, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid depth: pretty dark; pretty fruit – very jolie; nicely composed; feels vibrant; some violet and plum; relatively elegant Bordeaux; not too high in acidity at the end. Will work well. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 88-90+

Château Fougas Maldoror, Côtes de Bourg, 2016

Deep-ish colour; deep at centre; lots of fruit; gutsy; some violet and plum fruit; little freshly sawn wood; earthy note; quite tough with rather grippy acidity on the palate; I’d expect this to round out but a bit coarse at present; has elements; bit disjointed. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 85-87

Château Haut Bertinerie, Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid-depth; earthy; savoury aspect; some wood; quite pronounced acidity; rather grippy; needs to settle; lacks bit of concentration [or the acidity masks the fruit]. See how it shapes up. [60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon] Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 84-86.

Château de Laussac, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Bold colour; again fresh and clean; little sour cherry; wow! Rather grippy and fresh; high in acidity; has vigour but quite tart at present. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 84-86.

Château de Laussac Cuvée Sacha, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Mid-depth; little geranium; some sawn wood; rather tart entry; sappy with strong acidity; feels under-ripe here; chewy; chewy and sappy. Quite tart. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 82-84

Château La Prade, Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Lovely saturated colour; but healthy edge; harmonious aromatics; cherry; nice and clean; certain minerality; lovely purity on the palate; really balanced and moreish; tannins very subtle as is the freshness; nicely balanced; certain minerality again; has texture but not at all forced; almost Burgundian quality to the extraction etc. Good finish. Nice twist on the end. Good length too. [88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted at Pavie-Macquin 1/4/17. 90-92

Château Puygueraud, Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deep at centre; healthy looking; attractive fruits on the nose; little reticent at first; bright fruit; soft entry; attractive and harmonious; nicely complete with good extract; texture; certain modesty; fresh with texture; some wet rocks; acidity good on the finish. Freshness but also has matter. [80% Merlot, 15% Cab Sauv, 5% Malbec], Tasted at Pavie-Macquin 1/4/17. 88-90

Château Reynon, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deepish centre; tight to edge; violets notes; little geranium; some extract; nicely balanced; some tension here; fresh, elegant style. [81% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 86-88+

Château Veyry, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deepish; little reductive; nice clean fruit beneath; plum; Bordeaux; some cream; fruit; little sawn wood note; grippy and elegant. Will work well. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 87-89

Clos Puy Arnaud, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Deepish; legs; strawberry jam; lifted; quite unctuous; has depth and layers to the nose; some strawberry jam; undergrowth; forward; pretty good effort; little chew on the finish but should settle well. [65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted Grand Cercle 1/4/17. 88-90+

White

Le Blanc d’Aiguilhe, Bordeaux Blanc, 2016

Grey colourless; fresh; saline; oyster shell; candy and pear on the palate; some spices; round; fresh finish. [600 bottles, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, harvest 15.9.16, 17hl/ha]. Tasted 1.4.17. Drink 2017-2021. 88-90

Château Puygueraud,  Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Pale straw; fresh; spices; little peardrop; some citrus tones on the palate; zappy and zippy; good stuff! [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted 2.4.17. Drink 2017-2021. 88-90

Château Les Charmes-Godard, Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2016

Fuller, less fruit driven; some oyster shell; crisp and refreshing; little lanolin; quite fresh; attractive with more bredth on the palate. [50% Semillon, 30% Sauvignon Gris, 20% Sauvignon Blanc]. Tasted 2.4.17. Drinkl 2017-2022. 89-91+

 

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