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Bordeaux 2008 at four years: Pessac-Léognan

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

This was without question the most exciting commune for reds at the 2008 MW Institute tasting. The same was also true in 2007. The wines are structured but have depth and complexity and overall feel pretty attractive and tasty. With one exception, unlike the other Left Bank appellations, there wasn’t the sense here that the wines were in retreat. Rather the wines seem to be developing well in this vintage. So if you were looking for an appellation to stock up with then do look at 2008 in Pessac-Léognan. The prices are still reasonable, the wines look good, some are drinking nicely already, and they have the structure and depth to take a bit of age.

Chateau Haut-Brion showed extremely well as did an opulent Chateau Pape Clément alongside Chateau Malartic-Lagravière in a similar style. Domaine de Chevalier was full and enticing, Chateau Haut-Bailly deep and full of potential and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte had bags of fruit and style. Chateau de Fieuzal and Chateau Bouscaut also looked good. Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion was the only wine that was a little dumb and tricky to assess. It has plenty of extract and guts but the tannin felt dry. If past performance is any guide La Mission should be fine and is just at an awkward stage. Chateau Olivier was the only marginal under-performer. It lacked flesh and finished a little short.

Chateau Bouscaut

Mid depth; polished look; mineral tones, some resin and cassis, later with chocolate; red fruits on the palate; quite dense and inky; ripe flavours and purity here but good structure beneath. Good wine. 90

Domaine de Chevalier

Deep and arterial looking; saturated; layers and depth to the nose; nice seam of blackcurrant fruit and toasty oak; very full and enticing; ripe full palate too; this is really looking good; lots of flavour and bite. Structured and with grip but plenty of flesh on the bones. This looks very good indeed. 92+

Chateau de Fieuzal

Quite saturated in colour; plump, earthy style on the nose; lots of fruit; pretty deep with mocha notes; pretty ripe palate with lots of red fruits lots of depth, grip and structure. Very good effort. 90

Chateau Haut-Bailly

Deep at centre; earthy blackcurrants; some leaf, spices and chocolate; attractive with some complexity; spicy blackcurrant tones on the palate – captures the vintage nicely; good acid, in fact grippier and more obviously structured than Malartic-Lagraviere and Pape Clément. More traditional styled and longer term. 92+

Chateau Haut-Brion

Mid depth; some gravel, earth, oak and leaf; nice rose petal component; layered and very attractive nose; very complete and attractive palate; some earth, blackcurrant and tobacco, spices and herbs too with espresso tones on finish. Quite elegant. Complete and very well mannered overall. 95+ 

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Mid depth; very closed and dumb on the nose. some chalk, minerality, cream and oak resin. Chewy palate, lots of extract and material. Spicy notes. Tannin dry at this stage. Very closed, firm and grippy, though clearly substantial  Difficult to read this now. Has tasted better. Ugly duckling stage here. 91+

Chateau Malartic-Lagravière

Deep and saturated look; inky with lots of red fruits; high octane in the mould of Magrez at Pape Clément; very polished palate with lots of extract and grip; textured and good; big and extracted with chewy tannins but plenty of fruit here and excellent length. 93+

Chateau Olivier

Mid depth; bright; spicy red fruits alongside some bell pepper, capsicum notes; initially bright fruit on the palate with some leafy development but lacks a bit of flesh and finishes short. 86

Chateau Pape-Clément

Very dense and saturated in colour; as sexy on the nose as Mouton in it’s way; very layered and very showy; this wine is fabulous and irresistible; inky layers on the palate with sweet oak; ripe, earthy notes too; lots and lots of layers here. This is really well done. Lots of extract and length. One of the wines of the vintage surely? 94+

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

Deep, saturated colour; very intense looking; lots of red fruits on the nose, chalk and chocolate; depth; palate saturated and chewy; red fruits, dark chocolate, espresso notes on the finish; acid is hidden but covered in rich fruit. Impressive. 92+

Domaine de Chevalier has made a really good red wine in 2008

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