Château La Fleur de Boüard and Le Plus de La Fleur de Boüard are excellent this year, amongst the most impressive wines yet from this estate owned by the family that run Château Angélus. Domaine des Sabines is ripe and creamy with plenty of extract and matter. While there is a lot to sink your teeth into there is a glossy polish to the wine that’s a trademark of anything Jean-Luc Thunevin has a hand in. By contrast, Château de Bel-Air is a Lalande de Pomerol from the JP Moueix stable. It is light and fresh with the emphasis on sappy fruit and bright acidity in 2015.
Posts Tagged ‘Lalande de Pomerol’
So what are the principal characteristics of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage? Firstly there is a real beauty to the fruit tones in the red wines this year. Time after time, especially on the Right Bank but also on the Left I kept writing ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘delicious.’ There is freshness, despite pretty high alcohols in the main. The vintage is almost a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but with less evident structure and weight than those vintages. For me it recalls 1985 in terms of that vintage’s early beauty and freshness – and ‘85 remains in great shape today. But the 2015 vintage is by no means homogeneous. In fact there is considerable variability. What is in no doubt is that ‘15 is terrific in St Emilion. There is concentration and delight in so many wines there this year. It has also been strong vintage in the surrounding Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, especially Castillon and Francs.
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].
There was some variation amongst the 2014 Lalande de Pomerol’s tasted in Bordeaux last month. A number are extremely impressive. Top of the list here would be Château La Fleur de Boüard [and sibling Le Plus], Domaines des Sabines and Château Les Vieux Ormes. I also enjoyed the tension and elegance in Château Siaurac, the grit and chew of Château de Chambrun and the plushness of Château Grand Ormeau. To varying degrees the other wines felt a little lean and harder edged. You’d imagine these will fill in and round out after elévage, so it would be good to look at them again further down the track.
Château Angélus is magnificent in 2014. The wine is very pent up and tightly packed with fruit but it has wonderful precision and focus on the palate. The tasting experience comes together beautifully on the finish. It is a seamless narrative, if that doesn’t sound woefully pretentious, and it makes Angélus one of the most impressive wines from the right bank in 2014. It also represents the thirtieth vintage of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, who, despite this achievement, still looks youthful in his distinctive flowing silver locks. The quality of La Fleur de Boüard in Lalande de Pomerol is also excellent in 2014. Good wines also produced at Château Bellevue and Château Daugay in St Emilion.
There is no more informal, carefree primeurs tasting to be had than the one on offer in the speakeasy St Emilion cellars of Jean-Luc Thunevin. ‘JLT’s own range of properties is laid out on a bench before you, followed by those he consults for and distributes [and there’s a multitude of these]. You’re given a set of large glasses, a table between some stainless steel tanks and it’s time to help yourself. If the approach is refreshing, the wines are even more so – glass after glass of provocative, exotic, remarkable Bordeaux passes nose and lips. It’s a purists nightmare but a hedonists dream. And sat at the top of the Thunevin tree is Château Valandraud itself. The wine is as much a statement about the man and his ambitions as it is an expression of terroir, [though that is perhaps true of all great wine] and, frankly, who cares when the stuff tastes so damn good. And Valandraud 2014 is damn good in my book.