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Bordeaux 2016: Château Durfort-Vivens

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

I’ve missed out on tasting Château Durfort-Vivens for the past few years during primeurs. I’m very sorry that I have. Durfort-Vivens is now biodynamically farmed and their 2016 looks to be a fantastic wine in the making. The emphasis is on the most beautiful aromatics. The delicacy of the wine on the palate is alluring. Yet this intriguing combination also hides power and scale. It is the best wine I have had recently from this property that has superb terroir adjacent to Château Rauzan Ségla, Château Palmer and Château Margaux. Château Ferrière and Château La Gurgue also looked very good indeed when tasted at the property. They have that beautiful Margaux perfume.

Gonzague Lurton owner of Château Durfort Vivens was very excited by the quality of the wine here in 2016. The biodynamic approach, not an inconsiderable challenge, was tested by the mildew threat in the early wet growing season, especially towards the end of May. The beginning of June brought superb weather and allowed for quick, uniform flowering. June was hot and dry, July similarly dry if a little cooler. Mid September, as elsewhere, brought a little rain that helped final phenolic ripening. This was followed by an Indian summer with cool nights preserving aromatic freshness in the grapes [captured wonderfully in the wine]. Yield were low [35hl/ha]. Merlot was picked on 23, 27 and 28 September and Cabernet Sauvignon between 12-18 October. The wine will spend 18 months in oak, 60% of which is new. As I’ve said for me this is the best young Durfort-Vivens I have tasted. The aromatics are beguiling, the tannins succulent and the power deceptive.

I also looked at two properties with a family connection owned by Claire Villars Lurton, Gonzague’s wife, Château La Gurgue and Château Ferrière [I also tasted Château Haut Bages Libéral in Pauillac and Château Domeyne in St Estèphe – more on these shortly]. La Gurgue looks to be excellent value Margaux with bright cassis and blueberry fruit tones and beautifully textured tannin. Chateau Ferrière is typically appetizing Margaux [the vineyards border Chateau Margaux itself]. The approach is organic [as at La Gurgue]. The wine has lots of inky, blackcurrant Cabernet aromatics with creamy, textured tannins. Good stuff.

The notes were taken during a trip to Chateau Durfort-Vivens on 4 April, 2017. I was also very interested to hear of Gonzague Lurton’s winemaking project in Sonoma, Acaibo. More on this in a subsequent post.

Château La Gurgue, Margaux, 2016

Deep and saturated look; bright fruit; cassis and blackcurrant notes; some violets; little blueberry jam; really attractive; intense and pent up; sweet ripe qualities but intensity here; like this; textured fruit; nicely balanced with good acidity. Nice texture. Grip but succulent. Will work well. [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 20% new oak, organic]. Drink 2020-2028. 90-91+

Château Ferrière, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2016

Lovely deep healthy colour; beautiful plum fruit; clean and precise; lovely blackcurrant freshness; depth; very appetizing; this has a lovely aromatic profile; ripe entry; little correct note but works well – has zap and acidity; creamy fruit and texture again; little tighter on the finish. Inky blackcurrant finish. Intense. From certified organic vineyards on clay/gravel soils with some limestone. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 91-93+

Château Durfort-Vivens, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; lovely look; vibrant purple at edge; very intense and deep; saturated aromatically – simply joyful aromatics; really lush on the palate but has that remarkable tension that makes things so attractive; beautiful; texture on the palate; really good texture and depth; layers of flavour; this is deep and layered; lovely wine; savoury/spicy notes. Best ever Durfort for me. [94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot]. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2023-2040. 95-97+

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