I missed out tasting many of the big guns in Pomerol in 2017. The sixteen that I did taste at the Grand Cercle and elsewhere felt fresh, elegant and mid-weight. Overall they were not as plump and enticing as the wines produced in the excellent 2015 and 2016 vintages in Pomerol. They were evidently handled well in the cellar nevertheless. Generally the wines seemed unforced and balanced. My picks? Château Beauregard, Château Feytit-Clinet, Château La Clémence, Château Mazeyres, Château Maillet, Château Le Moulin, Château Nénin, Château Vray Croix de Gay and Le Clos du Beau-Père particularly impressed among the relatively limited number I tasted. Evidently Merlot suffered from the frost in particular in Pomerol. The Cabernet Franc appears to have come to the rescue, resulting in the finesse and elegance found in many of the samples. I hope to taste more Pomerols on forthcoming trips to the region.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Le Moulin’
I used to save the best to last. When I first started visiting the cellars of Jean-Luc Thunevin I’d turn up at the end of primeurs week. What a fool I was. Now it’s the first place I head to in St Emilion. It was interesting hearing Jean-Luc’s thoughts on the 2017 vintage. In places unaffected by frost, on the best terroirs he reckons it’s the equivalent to 2014 and even 2015 in places. Importantly Château Valandraud itself was not affected by the late April freeze. Other properties that Thunevin advises were, including some of his own properties such as Clos Badon in St Emilion and Le Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol. If volumes are down, in many cases quality is good to very good, judging from the wines tasted in Thunevin’s cellars. I love the energy that he manages to generate in his own wines and for Valandraud fans [read Jean-Luc fans] his 2017s do not disappoint.
Many of the red wines tasted during my visit to Bordeaux this April had freshness, engaging aromas, juicy fruit flavours, reasonable depth and generally soft tannins. On this basis 2017 is surely a good vintage? Well yes. For the best properties we’re talking of wines with elements of 2014, 2012 and 2008, possibly a combination of all three in certain places. Things are more exciting for the whites [it looks to be a brilliant year] and Sauternes too has excelled again. But these generalisations hide a somewhat heterogeneous vintage.
Saturday morning started in the cellars of Jean-Luc Thunevin. It’s always a tasting that I look forward to. Thunevin is candid about the late April 2017 frost which hit the right bank hard. Some of his properties and those he consults for were unscathed, some were left slightly affected, and others have been decimated. In some the effect is simply on volumes, in others it has also affected quality and style. I’ll write in more detail on St Emilion in a future post but the good news is that qualitatively Château Valandraud is excellent. It has wonderful perfume and layers of fruit. For me it is up there certainly with the 2012 and the 2014. St Emilion Grand Cru Clos Badon is in good shape [but very low production]. Jean-Luc’s Pomerol Le Clos du Beau Père also looks good.
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.
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.