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Bordeaux 2019: La Mondotte, Canon-la-Gaffelière & Clos de l’Oratoire

Written by JW. Posted in Uncategorized

2019 looks like a strong vintage for the properties of Stephan von Neipperg. His right bank estates, headed by La Mondotte and Château Canon-la-Gaffelière have succeeded well. The vintage here reminds me of the freshness and balance of the wines in 2016. La Mondotte has all its usual plush beauty, but there is great depth to this wine. For me it is up there with the very best St Emilion in 2019. Clos de l’Oratoire has produced another excellent wine. It is laden with sumptuous black fruits but also has joy and life. In fact, all these 2019s show freshness across the board. At the trail-blazing Castillon property, Château d’Aiguilhe, another fine red has been produced. It has excellent depth and minerality, alongside a racy Sauvignon Blanc. Over in Pessac-Léognan, Clos Marsalette has deep, earthy blackcurrant tones and produced a full-bodied, candy and pear drop scented white.

The following wines were tasted in June from full bottle samples sent over to the UK. They were tasted in good conditions, shortly after arrival. Hope you find the notes useful.

Clos de l’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Deep and lush looking; legs; vibrant purple at edge; ripe plums; black cherry; fresh; evident depth and layers here; more reticent than 2018 initially but still a seductive seam of black fruit on display; lovely fruit entry; suave; mid weight; nicely handled; quite moreish on the palate; not overdone in the slightest; quite a zesty red in fact; fresh finish; overall really positive and refreshing Clos de l’Oratoire. This wine is alert, bright and vibrant. [81% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 56 hl/ha, 30% new oak, harvested 23 Sept -7 Oct, 30 day cuvaison]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2038. 91-93+

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Deep but not as deeply coloured as Clos de l’Oratoire seemingly; backward initially; Cabernet tones emerge; leaf; spices; savoury characters; needed to be coaxed at first but after half an hour this was stylish and complex aromatically; spices; black cherry and plum; some sweet Cuban tobacco notes; fresh entry to the palate; has lots of zest and elegance; evident zap and life; fully organic now here; reminds me of grand cru Burgundy almost here. Like the 2016 here. Great depth and length. Opened up wonderfully over a few hours. [49% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 51 hl/ha, 60% new oak, harvested 19 Sept – 7 Oct, cuvaison 35 days]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2026-2045. 95-97+

La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Opaque and glossy; colour super tight to the edge; lovely seam of sweet black fruits; immediately enticing; wine rarely reaches much greater heights than this; what a beauty; this sample is certainly on song; beautiful seam of fruit; super pure and sleek; entry sweet and substantial but also super polished; this has structure, fruit and weight – but also exquisite freshness and twist on the palate; that classic iron fist in a velvet glove; real freshness on the end; super stuff. Great length too. In fact an almost endless finish. A marvellous foil to 2018. Again closer to 2016 in style. Returning to the bottle two hours later, the fruit continues to sing – this is a dreamy and voluptuous wine – amazing! Fully organic here again. [79% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 51 hl/ha, harvest 19 Sept – 7 Oct, cuvaison 35 days]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2028-2045. 97-100+

Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux

Le Blanc d’Aiguilhe, Bordeaux Blanc, 2019

Pale silver with hint of grey; racy; quite fine and sleek; mineral with a saline touch; refined pear drop and candy tones; very taut in the nose; really zesty entry to the palate; lovely lees contact; racy; this is a beauty; really zappy and ultra fine. Like this a lot! Lovely zap on the finish. Presumably this is all Sauvignon? [It is]. Really tangy and refreshing. [100% Sauvignon Blanc, 44hl/ha, 17 Sept – 18 Sept, 25% new oak]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2021-2025. 91-93+

Château d’Aiguilhe, Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, 2019

Mid depth but glossy looking in the glass; legs; mineral; sturdy; not giving anything away initially; cherry notes on further aeration; some eaux de vie and schist; opens up in the glass; more Morello cherry; freshness; stone fruits; still quite pent up at present; nice entry on the palate; still holding back a bit; palate a little closed but structure and extract there; freshness on the end and finishes well. An hour later and this was really singing, displaying ripe cherry and plum tones alongside some wild strawberries [great Bergman film by the way]. Shows its usual delicacy and freshness with lots of perfumed fruit and a zappy finish. [88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 56 hl/ha, harvest 19 Sept – 5 Oct, 35 day cuvaison and 30% gets new oak]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2023-2040. 91-93

Pessac-Léognan

Clos Marsalette, Pessac-Léognan, 2019

Palest straw; waxy at first; quite full; some citrus notes behind; like this; whiff of lychee; attractive; little white candy; fuller than the d’Aiguilhe on the nose; pear drops and candy; attractive and full palate; less overtly zesty than d’Aiguilhe but with broader flavours; less lively feels lower in acidity; though there is good race on the finish with some tang. Presumably large chunk of Sémillon here? [Yes!]. [53% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Sémillon, 56 hl/ha, 30% new oak, harvested between 12-14 September]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2021-2028. 90-92+

Clos Marsalette, Pessac-Léognan, 2019

Deep and opaque; red black at edge; colour tight to edge; legs; lovely deep and ripe earthy blackcurrant aromatics; enticing; some black cherry and mocha tones too; fruit is lush and lovely; some black chocolates; lovely sweet entry to the fruit; blackcurrants; damp earth; dark chocolate notes; extract and tannin; ripe; little gutsy on the finish. Some grip. Of the vintage and the terroir. Good stuff. [50% Merlot, 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, 54 hl/ha, harvest 20 Set – 5 Oct, cuvaison 28 days and 35% new oak]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2023-2033. 90-92+

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