Not for the first time does Pessac-Léognan stake a claim to making the most consistent and attractive wines in a single Bordeaux vintage. No mean feat when you’re producing dry white and dry red. Bordeaux 2010 is clearly a vintage of superlatives at the top level, but across the board here in Pessac-Léognan there are excellent wines. You can’t escape the vintage character – why would you want to – so there’s plenty of extract, density and tannin in the reds but there’s also wonderfully bright, refreshing acidity. That too makes the whites even better for me than in 2009, with a bit more freshness and zip, though 2011 probably trumps both [for whites].
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Carbonnieux’
In 2011 Pessac-Léognan is a game of two halves. The whites are very attractive, the reds completely irregular. In tricky wet vintages, Pessac-Léognan, with generally well drained gravelly soils, succeeds. Look at 2007 when the region produced some good wines compared with other districts. Drought vintages seem to be more hazardous here and 2011 is in reality a vintage of considerable drought and with other fluctuation for good measure too.
Graves and Pessac-Léognan looked strong in 2009 at the primeurs tastings and the wines look extremely composed now they are in bottle. The white wines are big, not delicate or especially aromatic, but powerful certainly. Chateau Pape Clément, Chateau de Fieuzal, Domaine de Chevalier, Chateau Malartic-Lagravière and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte are super but Chateaux Carbonnieux, Bouscaut, Olivier, La Louvière and Latour Martillac were also very good. Overall the reds have moved on very well indeed and Chateau Pape Clément and Chateau Haut Bailly are remarkable and of first growth quality. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte and Chateau Malartic-Lagravière are close behind. The truth is that there are excellent wines all over the appellation and I was also impressed with Larrivet Haut-Brion, Olivier, La Louvière. At the value end Chateau Pique Caillou also looked a good buy. I only had time to taste the Graves whites and de Chantegrive and Rahoul looked good.
Out of all the Bordeaux appellations Pessac-Léognan’s wines are probably the most immediately appealing in 2010. The vintage has given richness and plushness to the reds but grip and acidity that makes the wines feel fresh, lively and complete. The whites have power and concentration as well as more acidity than in 2009. They should age well and yet provide attractive, positive drinking in their youth. Overall hardly anyone put a foot wrong here that I could see, white or red. In that sense it is probably the most complete and satisfying of all the appellations tasted in the primeurs week. Yes St Emilion and Pomerol [which I’ll post my notes on soon] have produced terrific wines in 2010, with St Emilion looking better than 2009 for me, but the consistence in Pessac-Léognan is quite amazing.
Here’s is a brief summary of the top Bordeaux 2009 wines I tasted in late March and early April. Big caveats here in the selection. Although I did taste 160 plus 2009s, I didn’t get to all the Chateaux I wanted to in the trip. The most notable omissions in the Médoc were, Cos d’Estournel, Montrose, Latour, Pontet Canet, Ducru, Las Cases and Palmer, in Pessac-Léognan Haut-Brion and La Mission, in St Emilion Cheval Blanc and Ausone and the JP Moueix properties in Pomerol, obviously Pétrus, Lafleur-Pétrus and Trotanoy. I tasted most of the Sauternes with the exception of d’Yqyem and Climens. These taken together are clearly an important bunch! I hope to visit these properties in the coming months so news on them will follow when I do. Anyway, here are the scores of my best so far. Hope it’s useful.
In 2009 the red wines of Pessac-Léognan and Graves are characterised by a lot of colour, fruit and tannin. Generally they are very good to excellent in quality with lots of fresh fruits and richness, some more layered on the palate than others, and the tannins, while pretty big, are not generally over extracted and are very ripe.