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Bordeaux 2018: MW Institute St Emilion Tasting

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

A relatively small spread of 2018s were on show at the MW Institute back in late ’22. There is evidence that some of the wines shown were shutting down a little. This was certainly true of Château Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Fonplégade on the basis of the tasting. Château Troplong Mondot ’18 lies somewhere between its almost over-the-top past and a more elegant future. Under the tenure of Aymeric de Gironde since 2017 it now most definitely driven by the emphasis on finesse and poise, but this ’18 feels a little closer to the former than the latter. Château Figeac is clearly on a roll. The wines in recent vintages here have been breath-taking, but so too is the asking price these days. Domaine Dillon’s Château Quintus has yet to really grab me to be honest. On the showing at this tasting the wine was of almost Zinfandel-like portiness. The 15.5% alcohol is very noticeable.

Bordeaux 2018: MW Institute St Estèphe Tasting

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

In a warm year St Estèphe is always going to do well. The percentage of clay soils really helps deal with drought and heat extremes, and the proximity of the Gironde river helps ameliorate hot temperature. There is no doubt that this appellation has produced some of the best wines of the vintage. Only four wines from the appellation were shown at the MW Institute’s 2018 Bordeaux tasting [way back at the end of 2022], but they did show two of the possible wines of the vintage. Château Cos d’Estournel is wonderful, full of finesse and poise. It’s currently quite tight and needs some more time, but this is a very refined and polished effort. Château Montrose is monumental. It is beautifully pure and close to perfection. Although the prodigious Château Calon Ségur wasn’t on show at the MW Institute’s 2018 tasting, I’ve been struck by the magical quality of that wine several times. I’ve also recently tasted Château Meyney which has lots of extract and tannin. It needs time but is very impressive.

Bordeaux 2018: MW Institute Pauillac Tasting

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Now returning to my 2018 MW Institute tasting notes from a while back. Cabernet Sauvignon arguably reaches its apogee in the Pauillac appellation. There were two great efforts [from the Pichons] in 2018 here, however I feel that overall the wines here are fractionally less consistent than in 2016 and 2019. Château Pichon Baron has produced a thrilling wine, which has great power and depth. Château Pichon Lalande has more delicacy but is nevertheless its equal. Behind these was a strong effort from Château Pontet Canet, a property that has been on a biodynamic footing for at least a decade now. Though some recent vintages have had a few critics complaining about Pauillac typicity here, this 2018 Pontet Canet is full of finesse and classicism. I’m a great fan of Château Grand Puy Lacoste and the 2018 is forward and attractive, though way off their fabulous 2016. Château Lynch Bages is big and bold. It is for the long haul but you get a lot of bang for your bucks here and I expect that to improve a lot in bottle. It needs a decade.

Bordeaux 2023: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

I’ve already posted thoughts on a number of leading properties in St Emilion in 2023. In addition to these visits, I also spent a morning tasting blind those St Emilion Grand Cru Classés at the Grand Cercle press event. I’ve included detailed thoughts on these properties in this post in addition to my earlier notes. Combined there are reviews here on just under thirty wines from the appellation in 2023. At the Grand Cercle event I was especially impressed with Château Grand Corbin Despagne, Château La Croizille, Château de Pressac, Clos Debreuil and Château Destieux. These wines had depth and style and fine texture. I also enjoyed Château La Marzelle and the biodynamic Château Fonroque. Overall, these Grand Cru Classés are different stylistically to the wines made at these properties in 2022, reflecting the elegance of the 2023s overall. While they lack the concentration and sheer volume of the ‘22s, they offer delicacy and more evident freshness and are by no means lacking concentration in their own right. It will be fascinating to follow the progress of the ’22 and ’23 vintages in St Emilion down the years.

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