The MW Institute lined up sixteen leading St Emilion chateaux from the 2010 vintage last November, a small but revealing snapshot of the region’s wines. The best had attractive texture and exhibited lots of fruit, weight, extract and tannin. Some were giddy with alcohol. Overall the elements certainly feel denser in the glass in 2010 than in 2009. The vintage also feels a little closed by comparison with a similar line-up to last year, and there is perhaps more chew to the tannins than in ’09 too. Top of the group for me were Clos Fourtet, Château Belair Monange and Château Larcis Ducasse. Château Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc, Château Figeac, Château Pavie Macquin, Château Canon and Château Canon-la-Gaffelière are also impressive. There were also beautifully glossy efforts from Château Berliquet, Château Grand Corbin and Château La Tour Figeac.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot’
2012 is a very good vintage in St Emilion. There are lovely fruit tones to the wines and many have an attractive freshness that keeps them nimble. The wines are generally ripe and forward and many are good to drink already, though the best will age nicely in the medium term. I was especially impressed with Château Canon, Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Château La Dominique [a real beauty], Château Figeac, Clos Fourtet, Château Pavie-Macquin [very strong], Château Troplong-Mondot and Château Trottevielle.
Overall St Emilion is something of a mixed bag in 2013. Quality is better than you might expect given the dreadful vintage, conditions that were especially tricky for Merlot, the district’s principal grape. It was badly affected by poor weather at flowering, which reduced yields and led to poor fruit set; later the humid conditions at vintage and the threat and rapid onset of rot [botrytis] also adversely affected the variety. Still St Emilion has made a number of attractive and well-made wines. But there are plenty of disappointments too. Some are thin and over-worked; others hollow. Quality follows terroir and those with cash. The best wines have forward and attractive fruit flavours and some are competitively priced. While it’s a complex picture, overall the wines of St Emilion are probably a more immediately appealing and joyous bunch than their left-bank counterparts in 2013.
St Emilion proves a difficult appellation to generalize about in 2009. Clearly some truly great wines have been made here. Angélus, Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Belair Monange are absolute beauties. Many other properties have made forward and delicious wine but quite a few remain as thick, ponderous and extracted as they did early on. Maybe this is as it always is in St Emilion.
Now the wines are in bottle St Emilion seems to have faired better in 2011 than the Médoc. These are solid wines with plenty of fruit, weight, chew and grip. Things are by no means homogeneous though. One thing to keep a beady eye out for in St Emilion is over-extraction. There are properties that are pushing things too much in this vintage, though the best proprietors mercifully have kept their foot of the gas in the cellar.
There can be no doubt that outside Pomerol, St Emilion has put in the strongest performance in 2012. There is great beauty to the best wines. The vintage was not without its own problems of course as detailed in earlier posts – various heavy bouts of rain in October; the difficult start to the growing season which lead to uneven and protracted flowering; the risks of mildew in early July and botrytis in October. The most attentive and diligent have triumphed and the quality of the best Merlot is stunning.