The estate of Clos L’Eglise in Pomerol is run by Hélène Garcin Lévêque, and her family have been the custodians of this estate since they acquired it in 1997, writes John Willis. The property, which dates back to the 18th Century, used to be 14 hectares, double the size it is today. The missing half went to form part of Château L’Eglise Clinet in 1954. The size of Clos L’Eglise is small (even by Pomerol standards) with only 5.9 ha under vine at present. Tasting the vintages from 1997-2016 was a fantastic insight into the overall philosophy of this estate and shows the general improvement of the wines across the period. A genuine sense of place, of terroir, comes across in the wines of this ambitious Pomerol, something to which many properties aspire but sometimes fail to achieve.
Posts Tagged ‘2005’
I’ve recently been reunited with eight cases of Bordeaux that have been kindly stored in a friend’s cold cellar in Gloucestershire for half a dozen years. Much of it is pretty decent Bordeaux that finally coming into bloom from the 2005 vintage. There are also some 2006s, 2003s and 2000s from what are often seen as ‘lesser’ properties but which have provided wonderfully enjoyable drinking. The question that I’ve been asking myself as I’ve been reacquainting myself with these wines six years on is whether my taste for Bordeaux has changed…
In 2016 Pauillac has had the most collectively exciting vintage vintage since 2010. The texture of the tannin is remarkable and the balance is incredibly appealing. I’d go as far to say that, on the basis of the wines I tasted, this is my favourite vintage here since 2009. It has some of the qualities of 2005 and 2000 but the tannin feels more supple than both of those vintages to me [and tannin management has come a long way in the last ten to fifteen vintages]. My only caveat is that, owing to a shortage of time I missed out on tasting some old favourites including Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Lynch Bages, Château Pichon Longueville and Château Pichon Lalande. I hope to taste these wines in the not too distant future and will update this post when I do. In the meantime, here are my notes on fifteen wines from Pauillac in 2016. It includes notes on all the first growths and Château Pontet Canet.
Château Latour surely represents the pinnacle of winemaking achievement in Bordeaux. The majestic terroir beside the Gironde, the expertise of the technical and administrative team led by Frédéric Engerer as well as the general wherewithal and financial largesse of owner François Pinault all have coalesced to make Latour arguably the greatest red wine in the region. It has many rivals and is sometimes eclipsed but it is surely the benchmark to which all of Bordeaux’s [and the world’s] greatest Cabernet producers aspire. In 2016 Château Latour delivers the goods in spades but as it doesn’t do en primeur these days, you will have to slum it with their latest cellar release, Latour 2005. It is wonderful and built to last a century.
Well I’ve booked my plane ticket and car rental for Bordeaux’s busy primeurs week at the beginning of April. There has already been a fair degree of hype surrounding the quality of the 2015 vintage since harvest, with comparisons already being made with 2005, 2009 and 2010. But as with the last few years it will surely be price that is the major determinant of the success of Bordeaux 2015. With a very uncertain global economic outlook, the hope must be that prices won’t be much up on 2014 and surely offered at a substantial discount to the physically available 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages? This probably won’t happen of course, partly because that hasn’t happened for almost a decade with the 2008 vintage being the last offered to customers at an attractive price en primeur.
Château Angludet and Château Cantemerle are two of the best value fine red Bordeaux’s you can pick up. Cantemerle, classified a fifth growth in the 1855 classification, regularly produces top class claret and has been on particularly impressive form in the last decade. This Haut-Médoc is located in Macau, just to the south of the Margaux appellation. Château d’Angludet [now simply labeled Angludet] is a very well-known old Margaux property that was pretty much brought back from the dead by the late Peter Allan Sichel after he purchased the ailing property in 1961. Today the wine has been taken to even greater heights by his son Ben Sichel. It is undoubtedly one of the best value chateaux of this large and heterogeneous appellation. The property has excellent terroir and neighbours Château Giscours and Château du Tertre.