Four properties hardly constitutes a thorough investigation of St Estèphe in 2011 but given the vagaries of the weather, especially the disasterous hail storm on the eve of harvest, these properties at least appear to have wrestled a victory of sorts from the teeth of defeat. I was particularly impressed with the elegance achieved at Château Lafon-Rochet and Château Phélan Ségur. Chateau Ormes de Pez has turned in a typically sturdy effort. Chateau de Pez is a little angular at present but it’s not forced or over-extracted.
The hail at the beginning of September affected Merlot more than the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. The key was not to panic, though that’s more easily said than done obviously when your entire harvest is at stake. There was an immediate fear of rot which led some to pick quickly but the subsequent conditions were dry enough for those who waited to harvest good Cabernet, which would appear to provide the backbone of these wines shown by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux in London last month.
Deep-ish colour; attractive glossy Cabernet aromas; some stalky undergrowth beneath; palate nicely judged; not extracted or forced; real elegance here. Tannins round and well handled. Good effort from Lafon-Rochet I reckon, which not only had the topsy-turvey weather to deal with but savage hail just prior to harvest. Drink 2016-2026. 88+
Château Ormes de Pez
Deep looking; strong blackcurrant aromas; resin; feels sturdy; Cabernet flavours dominate the palate with blackcurrant tones; ripe fruit here. Solid and sturdy if a little unexciting. Drink 2016-2026 87
Château de Pez
Mid depth; blackcurrant aromas, wet stones and earth; little less flesh on the bones than Lafon-Rochet; some angularity here [the vintage] but fruit not forced or dry. Drink 2016-2023. 86
Deep-ish; clean and pure cassis and blackcurrant tones; little leaf; Cabernet again dominates the palate; stalky note; quite complete overall; acid shows in the grip but a reasonably polished effort for the vintage. Drink 2016-2026. 87