2016 completes an exciting trilogy of vintages here in Pomerol. It is the quality of the Cabernet Franc that shines through in many of the wines, though excellent conditions during the flowering period also benefitted the predominant Merlot, insuring good fruit set and homogeneity. Clay soils also afforded protection against the summer drought. Overall Pomerol 2016s display wonderful fruit tones with succulent tannins and goodish acidity. A truncated trip here meant I had no chance to review the wines of JP Moueix or look at the UGCB wines in detail. The following notes on eighteen wines cover the line up shown principally at the Grand Cercle as well as Pomerols made by Jean-Luc Thunevin and those amongst the consultancy wines of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest.
Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Franc’
2016 looks to be a very good vintage in Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac. These wines traditionally have more sinew and elegance than some of the other right bank districts. The vintage plays to these strengths. The fruit qualities are attractive, nicely fresh and aromatic. These are nimble wines, not in the least overblown, but with good depth, fine acidity and very attractive texture to the tannins. The picks? There is good homogeneity here, but at the very top end Château Dalem, Château de la Dauphine, Haut Carles, Château Moulin Haut Laroque, Château de la Rivière and Château La Viellle Cure look excellent in Fronsac as does the well-known Château Gaby in Canon-Fronsac.
I think Château Cos d’Estournel just has it this year. It will be a close run thing I’m sure, but at this early stage it fractionally pips Château Montrose in producing the finest St Estèphe in 2015. Undoubtedly this is the best wine made here since Aymeric de Gironde took over the day-to-day running of this Michel Reybier owned estate in 2012. Last year the 2014 was impressive, but this year Cos 2015 has a plush voluptuousness that is irresistible. The purity is dazzling, the precision remarkable. This wine belies the patchy September weather here that literally rained on St Estèphe’s parade.
Didier Cuvelier is rightly proud of Chateau Léoville-Poyferré 2015. This is extremely fine St Julien. While it doesn’t surpass the remarkable wines made here in 2009 and 2010, it is undoubtedly excellent. It feels a little backward at present, so consider that it will need a decade before it starts showing its real form. Cuvelier compares it a little to the 2001 here. Château Moulin Riche benefits from the same expertise as Léoville Poyferré but comes from different twenty-hectare terroir in St Julien. It is not to be confused with Pavillon de Poyferré, the second wine of Léoville Poyferré. Moulin Riche is well structured and fine in 2015.
Margaux has had a great vintage in 2015. The quality is wonderfully homogeneous this year. The wines have attractive perfume and exciting purity. Many display exceptional balance and in most cases nicely judged extraction. The appellation is topped by Château Margaux and Château Palmer, but it’s fair to say that qualitatively Château Brane-Cantenac, Château Giscours and Chateau Rauzan-Ségla are not much behind. Many reviewers have spotted the quality of Giscours this year in particular. It is exceptional. Yet the real beauty of Margaux in 2015 is that there is quality across the range. Many properties have made some of their potentially best ever wines. Still, whether these justify some of the price rises [up as much as 44% on 2014] remains to be seen.
Château Haut-Brion is one of the wines of the 2015 vintage. It has remarkable depth and a wonderfully succulent texture. There is power but there is also restraint. Château La Mission Haut-Brion is typically the drier and more obviously tannic of the two at this stage. There is prodigious scale here in La Mission, though I usually underrate it young. The wine definitely has the structure for three to four decades of ageing and will probably need a decade in bottle to emerge. Expect Haut-Brion to come up for air sooner. The rare whites here require the usual superlatives. At this stage for me La Mission Blanc is slightly weightier with Haut-Brion Blanc displaying a fraction more race and zip, which mostly reflects their respective blends, the former Sémillon dominant, the latter Sauvignon dominant. Both are remarkable. Ah, if only I could afford these wines…