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.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Nenin’
An early visit to Château Palmer was a great start to day three on the 2017 primeurs trail. The morning was sunlit once again [it would get up to 25C later] and Thomas Duroux was in good form, as were both Alter Ego and Palmer. If 2017 Palmer is not in the league of the fab 2016s or 2015s here, this is seductive Margaux. The consistency the property now achieves is remarkable, in large part due to Duroux’s attention to detail and their biodynamic practices. I’ll write in more detail on Palmer and what they are up to soon [natural yeast ferments, seriously low sulphur use – it’s all fascinating}. Although Duroux sees Palmer ’17 as its own beast, it reflects elements of 2014 with the tannic structure of ’08 he reckons. For me the grand vin was nimble with great perfume.
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.
Ten 2010 Pomerols presented last November by the MW Institute were developing wonderfully, showing just how great the vintage is for the appellation. As with many other Bordeaux 2010s there is seemingly [even] more matter, structure and density to the wines than in 2009. If the latter vintage offered opulence, then 2010 shows power and scale. Despite the concentration, a number, including a stand out effort from Château Beauregard and a gorgeously forward Château Petit Village, are drinking beautifully already. At the very top end, brilliant wines from Château Clinet, Château La Conseillante, Château La Fleur-Pétrus and Château Trotanoy still need some time in bottle. Château Gazin and Château Nénin, in particular, have both made fabulous wine, Nénin perhaps their best ever in recent vintages.
Overall in 2013 Pomerol has not made wines as good as in 2011 and 2012. Perhaps the quality lies somewhere between 2007 and 2008, though the acidity seems more marked than in both those years. There are successes but also disappointments. At the Cercle Rive Droite tasting, Pomerol was outplayed by the St Emilion Grand Crus Classé shown. At the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux tasting the standard felt better, but if the wines were more consistent, they felt a little compact, sometimes lacking expression, strange in an appellation not usually shy in coming forward. Not even Pomerol’s natural exuberance can quite defy the gravity of the 2013 vintage it seems.
A dozen 2009 Pomerols were shown by the MW Institute last November. I can say hand on heart that the wines were an absolute joy. Many will repay further cellaring but pretty much all of them can be enjoyed already for their youthful vibrancy and lush fruit. Clinet, La Conseillante, L’Eglise Clinet, Gazin and La Fleur-Pétrus have produced tremendous wines here but there’s real excitement too at the ‘lower’ echelons. For me Clos René, La Pointe and Petit-Village have produced fabulous Pomerol while the likes of Beauregard, Nénin and Domaine de Eglise, whilst perhaps not in the same league, have produced wonderfully appealing, positive wines.