François-Xavier Borie’s Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste is one the vintage standouts for quality and value in 2013. There is plenty of creamy blackcurrant fruit on offer and the wine is generous and, surprisingly for the vintage, full in the middle. There’s real delicacy and harmony here. It is easily one of the most enjoyable Pauillacs. Château Haut-Batailley shares these qualities to a degree, although it is a little more modest and some oak needs to integrate further during elévage. Lacoste-Borie, Grand Puy Lacoste’s second wine, is bright and vigourous with plenty of upfront fruit.
There is no doubting the cool start to the year here at both properties. After a cool spring, early summer was hardly any warmer. Between May 20-26 average morning temperatures were between 7-9C, and the afternoons reached just 14-15C. Flowering was late and took place [June 15-20] in very changeable conditions with alternately hot and wet weather. July and August were dry and sunny and allowed some catch-up for the vines. By mid-veraison [the colour change of the berries] Borie described the fruit as ‘ fairly uniform’ in ripening. The humid and wet weather from mid September onwards meant they [as others] had to reassess their harvest strategy to protect the Merlot from the threat of rot. At Grand-Puy-Lacoste, picking began on September 30 and ran through to October 11. The harvest was brought in between October 2-10 at Haut-Batailley.
The Borie family seem to have a consumer oriented pricing model here and both properties are usually priced well for their quality. 2013 is no different. If you were considering buying anything from the left bank this year, then Grand-Puy-Lacoste [at £340 per dozen] looks one of the smartest buys available.
The following wines were tasted at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste on Friday, April 4, 2014.
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
Deep and saturated at centre; healthy looking; very attractive blackcurrants, purity and sweetness here; substance here and really nice glossy blackcurrant tones; creamy blackcurrant fruit on the palate with nicely integrated oak; very composed and defined indeed for the vintage; very good balance and good acidity; real delicacy here and very complete; elegant wine; moreish; good length on the finish. Excellent effort in the context. Up there with Lafite and Mouton qualitatively. [80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 75% new oak, 31hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2030. 90-92+
Chateau Haut-Batailley, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac
Mid depth; healthy look; earthy purple at edge; attractive and composed on the nose; some perfume and blackcurrant spice; very open aromatically; round and elegant on the palate but with some substance in the middle; little wood here to integrate; blackcurrant fruit and spice; some menthol tones and spicy Cab; good-ish length. Good effort. [76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 60% new oak, 31hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89+
Mid depth; elegant; fresh and lifted; quite jolly; lots of fruit on the nose; grippy palate; fresh and bright. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2016-2023. 85-87+