Overall St Emilion is something of a mixed bag in 2013. Quality is better than you might expect given the dreadful vintage, conditions that were especially tricky for Merlot, the district’s principal grape. It was badly affected by poor weather at flowering, which reduced yields and led to poor fruit set; later the humid conditions at vintage and the threat and rapid onset of rot [botrytis] also adversely affected the variety. Still St Emilion has made a number of attractive and well-made wines. But there are plenty of disappointments too. Some are thin and over-worked; others hollow. Quality follows terroir and those with cash. The best wines have forward and attractive fruit flavours and some are competitively priced. While it’s a complex picture, overall the wines of St Emilion are probably a more immediately appealing and joyous bunch than their left-bank counterparts in 2013.
Posts Tagged ‘St Emilion Grand Cru Classé’
Château Canon has made refined and voluptuous wine in 2013. It always relies on purity and balance rather than exotic dances to entice. I’m intrigued by these parades just as much as anyone, of course, [there’s room for all!] but it has to be said there is something about the class and the finesse that stands out like a beacon at Canon pretty much year in, year out. On the mid palate this wine is very nicely done indeed and in that respect it reminds me of Clos Fourtet. What’s more Canon has been released at a sensible price [around £370/$620 per dozen], fractionally lower than the current cost of a case of the 2007 [2013 is clearly superior]. So is this top-notch Bordeaux to seriously consider this year?
Good terroir and extremely low yields have enabled Stephan Von Neipperg’s St Emilion properties to turn in good performances in the challenging conditions that the 2013 vintage presented. There is gloss and plushness to the wines as well as attractive sap and freshness. They may not have the length or richness of the big years here but in the context they are impressive wines.
Nicolas Thienpont describes the 2013 vintage as a ‘winemaker’s nightmare.’ The honesty is refreshing. Still despite the bad dreams and insomnia the properties he manages in St Emilion with his son Cyrille and winemaker David Suire have performed pretty well in 2013. There is surprising richness to Château Larcis Ducasse, genuine plushness to Château Pavie Macquin and sinewy purity to Château Beauséjour[Duffau-Lagarrosse]. Château Berliquet is sweet, ripe and quite fleshy in the middle. Just how did they manage it?
It must be great to have a business card with Clos Fourtet on one side and Château Poujeaux on the other. Matthieu Cuvelier has. He and his father Philippe clearly have an eye for smart purchases. The family bagged Clos Fourtet in 2001 and Poujeaux in 2008. Neither were exactly in the doldrums at the time but both properties have perhaps since produced some of their finest wines under their new ownership. A visit during primeurs week in early April to taste the 2013 vintage also provided the opportunity to taste the Cuvelier’s most recent acquisitions, Château Côte de Baleau and Château de Grandes Murailles, as well as Clos St Martin, all St Emilion Grand Crus Classé.
There can be no doubt that outside Pomerol, St Emilion has put in the strongest performance in 2012. There is great beauty to the best wines. The vintage was not without its own problems of course as detailed in earlier posts – various heavy bouts of rain in October; the difficult start to the growing season which lead to uneven and protracted flowering; the risks of mildew in early July and botrytis in October. The most attentive and diligent have triumphed and the quality of the best Merlot is stunning.