This is a small snapshot of four wines from St Estèphe. I did look more comprehensively at the appellation in 2019 during primeurs and you can read the report here. Château Lafon Rochet continues to develop well. It was fabulous from cask and remains a seriously impressive wine, one of the best of the last decade. Château Phélan Ségur is polished and balanced, with creamy aromatics and plenty of extract but it remains nicely polished. Château Ormes de Pez felt a little closed at the tasting, but offered up plenty of chunky fruit on the palate. Château de Pez felt a little angular and pinched on the finish, but I expect this will come good with some time in bottle.
No surprise given what I’ve posted on St Julien in 2019, but Pauillac too has crept into its shell following élevage and bottling. These are strong wines in this excellent vintage, with plenty of extract, alcohol and acidity. Again many will need a decade before they bloom but all the elements are there for a set of classical yet powerful Pauillacs. Of those shown by the UGCB, top of the tree is a monumental effort from Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. This was breathtaking from cask and it continues to show spectacularly well in bottle. Château Pichon Baron is not at all far behind and displays wonderfully pure blackcurrant aromatics. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a beauty, almost seductive in the company of the other properties, and continues to show what a great value wine ‘GPL’ is. Château Batailley‘s 2019 is glossy and intense, chalking up another success at this ever improving estate.
Well, certainly don’t rush to open any of your 2019 St Julien. I reckon most of them need at least another five years in the cellar before you consider opening them. Many need a decade and I’d expect all of them to be in rude health twenty years from now. In contrast to Margaux and the Haut-Médoc in 2019, St Julien it seems the wines have retreated into their shells. There is lots and lots to them. These are layered and extremely concentrated wines, but currently they are tight as hell. Perhaps this is all in order in any event. This appellation does produce some of the longest-lived Bordeaux, along with Pauillac and St Estèphe. Nevertheless the 2019 vintage here feels much more akin to 2005 and 2010 than to 2009, 2016 or 2018. Obviously any tasting is just a snapshot, but currently these wines are in a slumber. Quality-wise, as ever this appellation is extremely consistent.
The Margaux appellation undoubtedly showed best on the day of the UGCB tasting. It might be that these are now retreating a little but in November 2021 so many of these were lush and flattering to taste. While there are a wide variety of soils in this large and diverse appellation, the wines felt surprisingly homogeneous. The picks? Château Brane Cantenac was knockout. This is a voluptuous 2019 with layers of creamy blackcurrant fruit on the palate with additional notes of plum and black cherry. Château Lascombes is full and lush as usual, showing plenty of delicious ripe fruit but nicely in balance. I was also seriously impressed by wonderful efforts at Château Angludet and Château Monbrison. Angludet looks to be delicious already and has real finesse and freshness. It reminds me of the 2005. Monbrison has clearly made the best wine since their remarkable 2009 [a case of which I have almost worked my way through entirely].