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.
Posts Tagged ‘Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux’
For me the wines of the Haut-Médoc performed much better than I feared during primeurs 2013. Expecting the worst, I was generally encouraged and came away feeling that many had made the best of the poor hand the growing season had dealt them. There were casualties though. Château Malescasse and Château La Lagune will not release 2013s. Nevertheless Château Cantemerle [as ever], Château Belle-Vue and Château La Tour Carnet have produced good wines. Château Cissac, Château Belgrave, Château de Camensac and Château Larose-Trintaudon were also encouraging and should offer good value.
The Margaux appellation has struggled more than most in 2013. A great many wines tasted at the Union des Grand Crus tasting were in a kind of no-man’s land. The delicate fruit tones of 2013 had been worked too much in quite a few cases, rendering them chewy and extracted yet with puckering levels of acidity. Some very good wines have still been made. I’ve posted separately on Château Margaux and Château Palmer. Both stand out as beacons of hope but neither are what you might call affordable. Elegant efforts from Château Angludet, Château Giscours and Château du Tertre are pure and vigorous and worth considering if you’re a Margaux fan [like me]. Château Rauzan-Ségla and Château Brane-Cantenac, Château d’Issan and Château Lascombes, should also work out well too. The disappointments seem more to do with approaches to the vintage in the cellar as much as the problems that 2013 presented itself. In some respects many of the Margaux wounds are self-inflicted.
Pessac-Léognan usually comes up tops in a difficult Bordeaux vintage. Certainly there is no doubt that the best reds here in this appellation are amongst some of the most impressive 2013s. Interestingly too, qualitatively speaking, both Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion [pictured here] appear to have been knocked of their respective perches this year. For me Château Smith Haut Lafitte has surpassed both, while Château Pape Clément and Château Haut-Bailly, also felt fractionally superior. Certainly these three properties together have succeeded admirably in conquering the difficult conditions of the vintage.
The clues were there. Fewer big gun proprietors stood behind the tables at this year’s Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting. Some château regulars to Covent Garden were missing completely. And the braying roar of excitement from the trade that accompanied the 2009 and 2010 in-bottle tastings was missing here, replaced by a low, gentle, pinstriped murmur, ‘What on earth are we going to do with this vintage?’ I’m exaggerating a little because there were some good Bordeaux reds from 2011 on offer at the tasting, though relatively few set the pulse really racing. The real joy in this vintage is amongst the whites, particularly the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, and the dry whites from Pessac-Léognan, though that’s not much consolation for a region mostly concerned with red wine production.
I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly knocked over by the showing of the wines of St Julien in 2012 despite two detailed passes of the commune on separate days. Yes the best are correct enough and will make decent wine, but many don’t set the pulse racing, or offer the immediate charm of the best properties in the Margaux or Pessac-Léognan appellations or the potential of the even better wines on the right bank. Overall they feel a bit joyless, like the vintage rain has dampened their spirits. Unless they are released at prices less than available vintages now, few make sense as an en primeur purchase today.