Not for the first time does Pessac-Léognan stake a claim to making the most consistent and attractive wines in a single Bordeaux vintage. No mean feat when you’re producing dry white and dry red. Bordeaux 2010 is clearly a vintage of superlatives at the top level, but across the board here in Pessac-Léognan there are excellent wines. You can’t escape the vintage character – why would you want to – so there’s plenty of extract, density and tannin in the reds but there’s also wonderfully bright, refreshing acidity. That too makes the whites even better for me than in 2009, with a bit more freshness and zip, though 2011 probably trumps both [for whites].
Posts Tagged ‘UGCB’
Overall Pomerol has produced some very vibrant wines in 2011 despite a tricky growing season. Maybe the clay soils that the region is famous for helped guard against the early drought and heat spikes. September rain too undoubtedly affected some and rot would have been a concern. There is variability here, however, particularly among the less well known estates. Some display under ripe characters, others have over extracted, some, it seems, are green and extracted. It’s the usual 2011 story then, here ,as elsewhere. Making the best wines needed laborious work in the vineyard, the grapes required strict selection at harvest and the resultant wines suited a gentle hand in the cellar.
The vagaries of the 2011 season effected St Emilion in pretty much the same way as it did the rest of Bordeaux. A precocious start in spring got the vineyards off to a flying start. Extremely high temperatures at the end of June, recorded at 44C in the shade at Chateau Figeac, caused problems and would have stalled vine growth. Cooler and wetter weather in July and August helped spur things along but clearly the fluctuating climatic conditions necessitated a huge investment of labour in the vineyards in terms of canopy management and the like to maintain a healthy crop. There was also some localised rain at harvest which would have proved problematic although here, as elsewhere, September was generally sunny and warm.
Chateau de Camensac held the UGCB Haut-Médoc tastings
The top estates here have been great buys in the last few vintages. 2009 especially is an exciting vintage for the Haut-Médoc. I’m afraid it’s hard to get terribly excited about these wines in 2011. The best are lively, sappy wines, but even at a discount, you’re probably better paying more for the 2009s and 2010s still on the market. The highlights are clearly Chateau La Lagune, very much worth considering if the price is right [and way better than most efforts in Margaux too] and Chateau Belgrave which is also usually good value. Chateau Citran, Chateau Beaumont and Chateau de Camensac have also made pretty good wines, along with Chateau La Tour Carnet, if you can get past the lifted Magrez style. The big disappointment here is Chateau Cantemerle. It may come together but why bother? There’s still a lot of their extraordinary 2009 on the market for just a few quid more.