The wines of Nicolas Thienpont are always amongst the purest and most impressive I taste each year in Bordeaux. This purity comes across in their own wines – the seriously good value Château Puygueraud and Château La Prade in Francs and Château Alcée in Castillon. But it is his tending to the wines and winegrowing of the St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classés, Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Pavie Macquin and Château Beauséjour [Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], with his son Cyrille Thienpont and winemaker David Suire that perhaps, understandably, commands the most attention. The wines here have been wonderfully impressive in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 trio of vintages in St Emilion. In 2018, they are knockout.
The early season cold conditions and the rain that characterised May and June in 2018 were worrying, according to Thienpont. Although the flowering period was reasonably stable temperature-wise and the fruit set was good, the vintage looked to be a late one. Then from mid-July until November there was an effective drought period, and with accompanying high temperatures, [if not up to the torrid levels of 2003], a potentially late harvest turned pretty much into an early ripening one. Talk about a reversal of fortune. From mid-August to mid-September, hot days alternated with cool nights, preserving freshness and aromatics, whist allowing for the development of sugars and the ripening of the tannins. The dry vintage conditions then allowed for the harvest to be undertaken in an unhurried manner.
The results speak for themselves. Château Pavie Macquin has amazing purity and depth. It is undoubtedly one of the most impressive young wines I have had from this property. Evidently the Cabernets at Pavie Macquin [20% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon in this blend] contribute significant power and length, varieties that evidently really enjoyed the dry, sunny September conditions. The Merlot here is no slouch though, either, showing how this variety succeeds on the best terroirs even in dry and hot vintages.
Château Larcis Ducasse, if a little reticent at first, showed wonderful fruit tones on the palate with real delicacy and grace. The purity here again is tremendous. This is St Emilion for lovers of ultra top notch Grand Cru Burgundy.
Finally, to Château Beauséjour. This wine is utterly brilliant in 2018. I can’t see how a sample of young Bordeaux could taste better, frankly. This wine is thrilling in its purity. The aromatics are fabulous and the fruit feels endless on the palate, but the wine also remains remarkably moreish. Potentially perfect? Overall a stunning set of 2018s.
The following wines were tasted at Château Pavie Macquin in April 2019.
Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Deep; bright in the glass; colour tight to rim; fruit little pent up to start with; some perfume; quite solid almost but then unfolds; beautiful plum tones emerge; this wine is a little deceptive on the nose as the palate is laden with fruit; lovely purity; beautiful tones; has grace and depth; velvet and satin quality to the palate; great texture; lovely length; real persistence. Length. Delicacy. Lots of depth and a great finish. [89% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2024-2040. 95-97
Château Pavie-Macquin, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Deep and dark; opaque at central; fully laden with fruit on the aromatics; that strength from the Cabernets influences the nose but the Merlot is strong – it’s the terrior as much as the variety that speaks; great entry; full; polished; suave; still glossy however; tannins nicely handled; really caressing; great length; and finish. Very sturdy and powerful. This works very well. Great length with fantastic length and grip. Best young Pavie-Macquin I’ve had? Will be long-lived but with a wide window of drinkability. [78% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2026-2048. 96-98
Château Beauséjour [Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Deep and saturated; really deep, wonderful fruit on the nose; really stylish; beautifully pure; terrific palate; has real delicacy with fabulous texture and depth; this is great stuff! The purity is the key here; such wonderful plummy fruit that goes on and on; marvelous texture to the tannins. A wonder. Overall fabulous length and freshness. Utterly fantastic. A potentially perfect Bordeaux in the making? [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. 98-100
Tags: Bdx18, Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2018, Cabernet Franc, Château Beauséjour [héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Chateau Pavie Macquin, Cyrille Thienpont, David Suire, Merlot, Nicolas Thienpont, St Emilion, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, vin, wine