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Bordeaux 2016: St Estèphe

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

There is no doubt that 2016 is a brilliant year for St Estèphe. The dry summer and sunny harvest conditions played to the strengths of the terroir here. I’ve already marvelled at the harmony and balance of the wines at Château Calon Ségur, Château Montrose and Château Cos d’Estournel in this vintage, but, as ever, there are a bevy of other wines at lower price points that have produced wonderful red wine. Château Beau-Site, Château Le Boscq, Château Capbern, Château Le Crock, Château Domeyne, Château Haut-Marbuzet and Château Meyney, to name a few, have all made excellent wines. St Estèphe is really an appellation to seek out in 2016 [as in 2014 too]. It is also one of my favourite Bordeaux appellations.

The following wines were tasted back in April 2017 at various events during the primeurs period. There are a few important omissions here [Château Cos Labory, Château Phélan Ségur, Château Lafon-Rochet, Château Ormes de Pez and Château de Pez] that I hope to correct in the coming months. Nevertheless I hope you find these notes below useful. The balance is terrific in many, and quite a few properties have made wine that is up there with 2009, 2010 and 2014 – all great St Estèphe vintages.

Château Beau-Site, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and dark core; earthy; attractive ripe fruit; spice; some fruitcake; pain grillé notes; black fruits on the palate [plums, blackcurrants]; nice acidity on the finish. Good balance. Will work really well. Tasted at Cru Bourgeois 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91

Château Le Boscq, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated core; opaque; intense; resin; black fruits; concentrated in this vintage [like sister property Château Belgrave further south]; lovely ripe fruit on the palate; very full and voluptuous; plenty of extract to soak up the oak; lots of fruit. Excellent Le Boscq. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2023-2033. 90-92+

Château Calon-Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; legs; very pretty; wonderfully integrated oak with very fine blackcurrant aromatics; very focused; blackcurrant cassis; intense and pent up; very mineral this year; tension in the wine too; comes together at the end; will be very good; very fine tannins on the end; good freshness. Exceptional length. Potentially perfect St Estèphe in the making here. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 100% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH 3.6, TA 3.75, 14% alc]. Drink 2024-2040. Tasted 3/4/17. 96-100+

Château Capbern, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep saturated colour; tight to edge; purple; minerally; pure cab; purity; warmth at the edge; lovely violet lift; mineral schist; has body; full in style; that mineral and schist notes; lots of extract; nicely balanced; chew and extract; first use of Cab Franc – good quality and aromatic. [69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH 3.7, TA 3,5, 14% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted 3/4/17. 91-93+

Château Clauzet, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Dark and saturated look; colour tight to rim; ripe jam and cherry notes; lifted and intense; some earth and spice notes too; lots of matter and extract and oak; works well. Good, tasty St Estèphe. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91+

Château La Commanderie, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Dark and saturated look; very rich and dark; almost porty; certainly rich fruitcake; full and extracted palate; notes of fig and raisin; feels a little overdone; fruit left on the vine. Lacks freshness. Might have been the sample. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2027. 84-87?

Château Cos d’Estournel, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; opaque at core; beautiful; really precise; lovely seam of tight fruit; black cherry, some graphite; beautiful plum tones; layers of flavour; voluptuous, supple and remarkably deep; a new ‘epic’ here in fact; smoky characters; lovely fruit purity and length; really polished and refined. [76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.07% alc, TA 3.3, pH 3.66 IPT 69 60% new oak; 45% of production]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2045. 96-100

Château Le Crock, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Lovely depth; healthy looking; deep and saturated; lovely fruit on the nose; focused and precise; layers; pent up; schist; great mineral tones; nice polished entry; very mannered as usual; nice chew and depth with depth; good acidity and structure; nice texture and fresh acidity. Gives a real spring in its step. Harmony and precision. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+

La Dame de Montrose, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and dark; arterial here; earthy purple; colour tight to the edge; more plum fruits; perhaps more subtle than the Tronquoy’s bouncy style – more demure but still waters run deep; lovely fragrant perfume; complexity; graphite notes too; very focused; some wood noted on the palate; just picking up a fraction; but plenty of lashings of fruit; quite well structured with texture; [52% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2030. 93-95

Château Domeyne, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; tight to rim; purple; ripe and composed nose; really accomplished; deep and quite seductive; full, plum and satisfying St Estèphe; really good stuff; nice texture; some schist; some black fruit but very supple wine in the middle; works well.  [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Good effort. Sappy, full and satisfying. Tasted 4/4/17. 89-91 

Château Haut Marbuzet, St Estèphe 2016

Lovely colour; deep and tight to edge; plummy and deep; quite pure; cherry and plum; very deep; sweet fruit; plums and cherry – black cherry; summer compote; really nice and juicy; acidity – terrific flavour and style – excellent effort. Chew at the back and length. Chewy but plenty of depth. [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93+

Château Lilan Ladouys, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Black looking, tight to rim; inky; schist and mineral; clean and clear fruit; fresh with attitude; needs a bit of aeration; solid and tannic finish. Good if uncompromising St Estèphe. Should improve further in barrel. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2023-2030. 87-89+

Marquis de Calon, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; tight to the rim; big lots of fruit but very mannered wine; lots of fruit; terrific nose; schist and mineral tones; but really pure fruit aromas; great palate; had nice depth and tension; freshness here; lots going on; excellent narrative; has sap and life from the younger Cab. Has nice texture. Good length. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH3.6, TA 3.8, 14.2% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted 3/4/17. 92-94+

Château Meyney, St Estèphe, 2016

Black and arterial; tight to rim; deep and dark fruits; some perfume from the Petit Verdot; earthy blackcurrant cassis and plum tones; seductive; little reductive note; big and ballsy; chewy and they have gone for it on the palate; lots of matter and extract; chewy tannins; has scale and brawn; needs to settle but loads of extract and matter. Should settle in the cellar. Potentially remarkable Meyney. Tasted 2/4/17. Drink 2024-2035. 92-94+

Château Montrose, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2016

Arterial; very dense and deep; impenetrable; profoundly deep; lovely purity; very very deep indeed; profound beauty here; layers and layers aromatically; goes on and on on the nose; full entry; some wood; lots of fruit; lashings of cassis, blackcurrant and plum fruit; laden but pure and polished; supple quality to the profile; so full but with real zip and freshness too; deliciousness to the wines. Really great extract. This wine is extraordinary. Impressive stuff. Different to ’10, more like ‘14 but will give both a run for their money. A quietly epic Montrose. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 13.3% alc]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2026-2046. 98-100

Pagodes de Cos, St Estèphe, 2016

Mid depth; glossy looking; earthy purple at edge; mineral quality to the plum fruit; cherry but perfumed again; more emphasis on the cherry; precise; attractive; cool entry; precision and polish; black cherry; nicely poised and composed. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46.5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 13.02% alc, TA 3.3, pH 3.61, IPT 65, 30% new oak; represents 55% of production]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2036. 93-95+

Château Petit Bocq, Cru Bourgeois, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; dark centre; worked nose – oak, black fruits; fruitcake spices; full, ripe and fat on the palate; oak; this works well; tannins good; not drying. Works very well. Tasty. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 88-90+

Châteaurilhan, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; intense; resinous; thick and rich; rather arterial in style; liquorice; new world profile almost; ripe fruit; lashings of it; sweet oak; lacks a little middle; chewy finish; needs more emphasis in the fruit…oak is the ingredient at present. Tannin at the end. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2037. 85-87

Château Tronquoy-Lalande, St Estèphe, 2016

Deeply coloured; opaque; colour tight to the rim; lovely aromatics; packed with ripe juicy cherry fruit; some graphite too; this is very pretty and bursting with fruit; sweet attack; ripe fruit; very generous; lovely texture; a beauty; cherry some spicy plum; layers of flavour and fruit; has life and bounce too; really satisfying; well handled extraction; lashings of fruit; plenty of length; exciting Tronquoy. Best Tronquoy I’ve had at primeurs I reckon. Loaded with fruit but with plenty of zap and life. [58% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 92-93+

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