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 ‘Chateau La Pointe’
I spent a second day in St Emilion, starting at Château Pavie-Macquin to taste the range of wines that Nicolas Thienpont crafts as well as listening to a review of the climatological aspects of the vintage. It was an opportunity to hear Stéphane Derenoncourt discuss his thoughts on 2016 as a ‘miracle’ vintage. He sees it as the third in a trilogy of impressive vintages starting in 2014. Next up was Château Angélus to look at their stable of wines and discuss the vintage with Hubert de Boüard as well as examine the expanding range that he consults for. This gave me an opportunity to taste the first of a series of seriously impressive wines from the left bank in Pauillac and the Haut-Médoc. I then completed tastings at the Grand Cercle held at Château Montlabert. Here I assessed a dozen or so St Emilion Grand Cru Classés [generally exciting and homogeneous] as well as tasting more wines from the left bank appellations St Julien, Pauillac, Margaux and the Haut-Médoc. My overall feelings was how exciting this vintage is for both right and left bank, perhaps left especially.
Pomerol has produced some delicious wines in 2015. Alongside St Emilion, the various Côtes de Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan and Margaux, Pomerol has succeeded wonderfully in this vintage. At the Union des Grand Crus tastings held by Château Beauregard many impressed, especially, Château La Bon Pasteur, Château La Cabanne, Château Clinet [very seductive], Château Gazin, Château Petit-Village, Château La Pointe and Château Beauregard itself. At the Pomerol Seduction tasting at Clos du Clocher, Château La Conseillante looked a beauty, while Château Rouget and Clos du Clocher looked pretty good. At the Grand Cercle tasting Château Feytit-Clinet was delicious and Château La Commanderie and Château Vieux Maillet impressed. Tasted separately Le Clos de Beau Père is also impressive.
Day four on the primeurs trail saw me return to the right bank. There is no doubt that 2015 is at its most consistent and impressive in St Emilion. Arriving at Château Pavie, appropriately enough I thought in a Napa Valley-like fog, it was actually interesting to see how they had opted for comparatively modest extraction here this year. Yes there was substance and extract, but also composure across an exciting range. Pavie itself is genuinely impressive, as is Bellevue-Mondotte [quite ravishing], Pavie-Decesse and Monbousquet [much better than its 2014]. I was also struck by the quality of their Castillon, Clos Lunelles. Château Cheval Blanc was up next. Chalk and cheese of course with Pavie. There is wonderful beauty and elegance here in this 2015 offering from Cheval Blanc, which comes from its unique terrior that borders Pomerol. The wine reminds me of their 1985. Pierre Lurton is very excited by the quality. They are comparing to 2010 and 1998, in terms of the dry, yet cool maturity [more on this later].
Whilst the incredible Indian summer undoubtedly turned around the fortunes of the 2014 vintage, the growing season in Pomerol was not without its challenges. Stormy showers punctuated much of June, July and August and, in terms of overall rainfall throughout the year, it was one of the wettest since in a decade. Despite the rain, the sunny and generally dry conditions that characterised September and October, were sufficient to successfully ripen the Merlot and were particularly beneficial to Cabernet Franc, which looks to have succeeded very well 2014. As always success depended on terroir and diligence. There is great vibrancy in the best wines, which show genuine style and verve, but in a few cases there also appears some dilution.
The highlights from Wednesday’s 2014 tastings were the juicy, appetizing quality of the Pomerols shown at JP Moueix and the depth and breadth of the white wines in Pessac-Léognan. In St Emilion there are some impressive wines [Figeac, Cheval Blanc, Clos Fourtet] but there is some inconsistency – some reds are a little extracted relative to their fruit. The best had bright vivacious qualities, and there was certainly a voluptuous aspect to the set of Neipperg wines shown at Canon-la-Gaffelière. There was plenty of extract, matter and acidity on display amongst the reds at the UGC event held at Château Smith Haut Lafitte. I generally enjoyed the more composed and harmonious – Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Olivier, Pape Clément and Smith Haut Lafitte were especially impressive.