St Julien offers purity and clarity in 2014. The wines show beautiful blackcurrant tones and are fresh and vivid. The best have very good length and structure. Tannins are sophisticated and ripe. Some properties are comparing the vintage to 2005 and 2006, and, while the wines don’t quite have the weight and concentration of 2009 and 2010, they are nevertheless vivacious and appealing. Top of the list are Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Saint-Pierre. Right behind are Château Gruaud Larose, Château Branaire-Ducru, Clos du Marquis and Château Léoville Barton. Château Gloria and Château Lalande Borie are excellent and offer good value for the consumer.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Saint-Pierre’
2010 is a very strong vintage in St Julien. The scale and grandeur of the wines, evident during primeurs and after bottling is still apparent. These are big scaled, long-term St Juliens that, once again, provide an exciting counterpoint to the heavenly, enticing wines made here in 2009. Unlike that vintage, 2010 still has much to reveal, and a number of wines are comparatively quite backward. The Léovilles are impressive here as ever. There is an exceptional effort from Château Léoville Poyferré, a currently rather backward but nevertheless impressively concentrated Château Léoville-Las-Cases and, a fraction behind, a very classical Château Léoville Barton. The real show stopper was a stand-out effort from Château Saint-Pierre which is wonderfully seductive. Château Langoa Barton, though a notch or two down from this, is very impressive. Classical and nicely composed wines have been made at Château Beychevelle, Château Branaire-Ducru, Château Lagrange and Château Talbot.
I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly knocked over by the showing of the wines of St Julien in 2012 despite two detailed passes of the commune on separate days. Yes the best are correct enough and will make decent wine, but many don’t set the pulse racing, or offer the immediate charm of the best properties in the Margaux or Pessac-Léognan appellations or the potential of the even better wines on the right bank. Overall they feel a bit joyless, like the vintage rain has dampened their spirits. Unless they are released at prices less than available vintages now, few make sense as an en primeur purchase today.
St Julien has made an extremely serious fist of 2010. It’s the polar opposite of 2009 and possesses a weight, density and integrity all of its own. It feels like a hypothetical blend here of 2005 and 2000 with a bit of 1986 thrown in, though far better handled in the vineyard and in the cellar than ’86 was in those days. Now in bottle, these wines mean business, and you’ll be keeping them there a while. They need ten years age minimum, twenty at the top level, but at maturity they have the potential to be remarkable. If 2009 is considered a latter day 1959, then, in time, could 2010 be the 1961 of its generation?
Once again the overall feeling here in St Julien is of wines that have shut down, drawn into themselves and left their raw elements exposed. This is probably as you’d expect in a fairly cool, ‘classical’ Bordeaux vintage like 2008. There is sufficient depth of fruit in most of the wines for them to develop well in the medium term and you do feel that they need that time, now that they are caught out in No-Man’s Land, with all their hard edges poking out.
Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases is fantastically good in 2011
St Julien is one of Bordeaux’s most homogenous red wine appellations and the quality level is uniformly high. Once again in 2011 this commune didn’t reach the giddy heights of 2009 or 2010 but if priced correctly this could be a good vintage for consumption. That said at the top end Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases fantastically good, a wine made from extremely low yields and what was an extremely dry vintage overall. For me it tops the commune and is up with the very best wines of the vintage. Its strength and density are reminiscent of Latour, which it neighbours of course.