In 2016 Pauillac has had the most collectively exciting vintage vintage since 2010. The texture of the tannin is remarkable and the balance is incredibly appealing. I’d go as far to say that, on the basis of the wines I tasted, this is my favourite vintage here since 2009. It has some of the qualities of 2005 and 2000 but the tannin feels more supple than both of those vintages to me [and tannin management has come a long way in the last ten to fifteen vintages]. My only caveat is that, owing to a shortage of time I missed out on tasting some old favourites including Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Lynch Bages, Château Pichon Longueville and Château Pichon Lalande. I hope to taste these wines in the not too distant future and will update this post when I do. In the meantime, here are my notes on fifteen wines from Pauillac in 2016. It includes notes on all the first growths and Château Pontet Canet.
Posts Tagged ‘Les Forts de Latour’
Château Latour surely represents the pinnacle of winemaking achievement in Bordeaux. The majestic terroir beside the Gironde, the expertise of the technical and administrative team led by Frédéric Engerer as well as the general wherewithal and financial largesse of owner François Pinault all have coalesced to make Latour arguably the greatest red wine in the region. It has many rivals and is sometimes eclipsed but it is surely the benchmark to which all of Bordeaux’s [and the world’s] greatest Cabernet producers aspire. In 2016 Château Latour delivers the goods in spades but as it doesn’t do en primeur these days, you will have to slum it with their latest cellar release, Latour 2005. It is wonderful and built to last a century.
Pauillac has had a very good vintage in 2015, though there is some variability. The best wines have considerable depth and beautiful fruit tones. The acidity is good and the tannins are wonderfully ripe. In some cases heavy September rain showers knocked the edge of things a bit here relative to other appellations. In some cases 2014 felt a more powerful vintage in Pauillac. That is also the case in neighbouring St Estèphe. That said, the general delicacy of the wines and the delicious fruit tones make 2015 Pauillac a very attractive vintage for a great many châteaux here.
Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t find any more complete an expression than at Château Latour, conjured from its unique terroir adjacent to the Gironde on Pauillac’s southern border with St Julien. Although Latour no longer releases wine to sell en primeur, it still shows samples of the previous vintage each April, along with the wines the château is currently releasing. This year was the mouthwatering prospect of the 2010 Pauillac de Latour, Les Forts de Latour 2009 and Château Latour 2000 [pictured] – a cross section of perhaps the finest ever recent vintages for this property. In this formidable company the 2015 made a good impression, despite the vagaries of the weather in September here in the northern left bank. 2015 Latour has plenty of extract but displays wonderful harmony and the flattering aromatic qualities that mark this vintage.
My last day of tasting Bordeaux 2015 started in Pessac at 8am at Château Haut-Brion. The Domaine Dillon wines are impressive in 2015. This is the easily the finest vintage for Château Quintus, their St Emilion. It is intense and substantial. Château La Mission Haut-Brion is bold and tannic [and 15.1% alcohol], Château Haut-Brion itself is simply gorgeous. It has structure and succulence. Beautiful on the nose, it has wonderful mid-palate richness. It also weighs in at 14.9%, but in neither did I notice the alcohol. Their rare whites have weight and freshness. Next up was Château Haut-Bailly. It has produced a typically pure and substantial 2015. The fruit tones are beautiful [lovely Cabernet] and the palate is well structured.
2014 looks to be a strong vintage in Pauillac. I’ve already reported on the outstanding wines from Château Latour, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Pichon-Lalande, Château Duhart-Milon, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Pontet-Canet. At the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux event held at Château Lynch-Moussas [pictured], Château Lynch-Bages and Château Pichon Longueville were equally impressive, while Château Batailley was extremely fine. Good wines have been made at Château d’Armailhac, Château Clerc Milon and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse.