Château La Conseillante has made a beautiful wine in 2019. It goes to emphasize just how wonderful this vintage is on the great terroirs of the right bank. It has a boatload of juicy fruit, depth but also remarkable freshness. It is fleshy with a positive finish and the most seductive, sweet tannins. It is a wonderful combination. Although I still have yet to taste many wines from Pomerol in this vintage, La Conseillante looks to be in great shape. Bravo to the Nicolas family and their winemaker Marielle Cazaux. This is finely judged winemaking expressing wonderful terroir.
Posts Tagged ‘Merlot’
Château Laroque has produced another sophisticated wine in 2019. It is less coquettish than the 2018 here, but it is super refined with greater classicism and definition. There are layers of ripe fruit on the palate which has a savoury twist. It is quietly terrific. It marks the fifth vintage for director David Suire, who is taking this well-positioned historic property from strength to strength. I’m not quite sure how he manages it. He also has a hand-in Château Beauséjour and Château Larcis Ducasse with Nicolas Thienpont. A busy man clearly. His dedication at Laroque is certainly paying off. This 2019 is another great buy for the savvy consumer of Bordeaux.
Margaux was an appellation that was also affected by the frosts in April 2017. Château Angludet, for example, made no wine at all. Others properties have had volumes reduced, but more importantly, blending components affected. This variation in experience will amplify the appellation’s overall diversity of style. Margaux is a large geographical district and covering such diverse terroir the wines are always somewhat heterogenous. The best at the UGCB’s 2017 in bottle tasting last autumn showed freshness but also substance. Some lacked middle and flair. Across a pretty big sample [16 wines] Château Brane Cantenac and Château Rauzan-Ségla were tops with Château Lascombes and Château Kirwan not that far behind. Very good wines were also made at Château Cantenac Brown, Château Monbrison and Château Siran [in very different styles]. Château Marquis de Terme, Château Dauzac and Château Ferrière produced good wine too [again in contrasting styles]. That said, do search out 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 over 2017 which are finer and generally more consistent vintages. 2015 and 2016 are especially fine in Margaux and worth the premium.
This is a small snapshot of bottled 2017 to draw conclusions from but these notes can be augmented by observations I made initially about the appellation during primeurs, found here. Again, frost affected Pomerol estates mostly in terms of volumes and blends. There is variation [one of the characteristics of the vintage] but a number of excellent wines have been made. There is something tremendously decadent about top Pomerol, and for me Château La Conseillante really wowed at the tasting, alongside a seriously impressive Château Clinet. Château Petit-Village looked very good as usual, not that far behind at all. I’ve been impressed by the improvement of Château Beauregard in recent vintages. This is testament to work that has been undertaken in the vineyard and the cellar there, as well as the product of a vintage when Cab Franc has shone through, which Beauregard has extensive plantings of. Château Le Bon Pasteur was also good. The misfire for me was Château Gazin, which felt a little austere in comparison with its peers.
I love Château Latour. It has to be one of the most remarkable wines in the world. It is the gold standard to which other ambitious producers of [predominantly] Cabernet Sauvignon all aspire to emulate, if not in style, certainly in substance. That legendary California winemaker Paul Draper spoke frequently of Latour when working on Ridge’s own super Cab, Ridge Monte Bello in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as the Bordeaux he most admired and took inspiration from. The no expense spared approach, financed by billionaire entrepreneur François Pinault, is beyond the pockets of many producers, of course. The same affordability question is true of the grand vin itself. A single bottle of Latour, even in an average year, is still typically more expensive than a top-label washer dryer or fridge freezer. Remarkably, there are even more expensive Cabernets in the world than Latour, but rarely any better. I’ve pulled together notes taken over the last two years at the property – a baker’s dozen of wines from the estate, spanning a number of vintages between 2018-2006.
Finally notes taken on wines tasted at the Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé tasting in London last year. While the majority of these were 2018s that I’d missed during primeurs week, it was also a good opportunity to look at other recent vintages. In Margaux, Château Rauzan Ségla had made a sublime wine in 2018, so too Château Branaire-Ducru and Château Léoville Poyferré in St Julien. In Pauillac, Château Pontet Canet was astonishing, paralleled in different ways by extraordinary wines at Château Montrose in St Estèphe and Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac-Léognan.