Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux 2008 at four years: St Julien

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Once again the overall feeling here in St Julien is of wines that have shut down, drawn into themselves and left their raw elements exposed. This is probably as you’d expect in a fairly cool, ‘classical’ Bordeaux vintage like 2008. There is sufficient depth of fruit in most of the wines for them to develop well in the medium term and you do feel that they need that time, now that they are caught out in No-Man’s Land, with all their hard edges poking out.

The usual trio of Léovilles look goodish – Poyferré probably has the edge over Barton and Las Cases, itself brooding and backward and a little difficult to fathom at present. Chateau Beychevelle was a surprise – I’d expected this to be all sullen and resentful but it looked good, though with dryish tannins. Chateau St Pierre was fresh with the stuffing to last. Chateau Lagrange, usually a safe bet, is once again. It felt clean and complete. I wasn’t convinced by Chateau Gruaud Larose or Chateau Talbot in 2008. The crowd-pleasing Chateau Gloria was missing from the line up sadly.

Chateau Beychevelle

Mid depth; some red fruit, savour; opens up quite well – blackcurrant seam – some stalky cool harvest Cabernet tones; earthy, blackcurrant cassis on the palate; little dryness here to the tannins but there is fruit. 88

Chateau Branaire-Ducru

Mid depth; some wet stone, chalk qualities; earthy blackcurrants again; little angular on the palate, or at least not currently that expressive; does open in the glass and there is purity to the fruit. 87-88

Chateau Gruaud Larose

Mid red; quite light at core; feral and earthy as usual, very savoury with some blackcurrant; quite developed palate with tobacco and savoury tones and a touch of animal meal, spices and grip. The earthy tones – terroir or winemaking? 87

Chateau Lagrange

Mid depth; some leafy blackcurrant fruit with spices; sweet and ripe palate; quite dry on the finish but pretty good effort. Clean fruit and complete. 89+

Chateau Langoa-Barton

Mid depth; blackcurrant pruity; quite fresh; palate quite compact and firm in acid; chewy and tight. 88+

Chateau Léoville-Barton

Deep looking in the glass; some lift and minerality but feels pretty closed; palate dense, more yielding than the aromatics; promising blackcurrant fruit, structure and some acid. Nice palate with depth and structure. 90+

Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases

Deep; some chalky minerality; some red fruits; little dumb; minerals, spices and chewy tannins; quite dry on the finish. Feels a bit austere and compact at present. 88+

Chateau Léoville-Poyferré

Pretty deep and saturated looking; earth, blackcurrants; quite polished with a bit of lift; pure palate, quite strong fruit; not that seductive, more ballsy; little awkwardness at present; chewy and dense but hardness here. Disjointed phase but lots of potential. 90+

Chateau Saint-Pierre

Pretty deep and serious looking; depth, cassis, blackcurrants – pretty serious. Some seductive qualities and pretty deep and layered nose; nice blackcurrant cassis; deep; feels quite fresh with a pretty dry finish. Plenty of guts here though to make it work. 90+

Chateau Talbot

Quite dark at core; some strawberry notes but otherwise feels a bit neutral; some cream; quite grippy palate and feels a little hollow. Lacks depth of fruit and chew. Not austere, just hollow. 85

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