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Bordeaux 2018 In Bottle: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Alongside St Julien, Pauillac is one of the most consistent appellations in Bordeaux. On the basis of the eleven shown by the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux [UGCB] in October, 2018 is an exciting vintage for Pauillac. The fruit is sweet; the tannins ripe and super soft. Oodles of blackcurrant fruit and cassis gives the taster the classic stamp of the commune but also obviously of a super ripe year. In some ways these 2018s reminded me of the 2009s at a similar stage. Ultimately I think the Pauillac 2019s that follow will pip this vintage in terms of freshness and overall sophistication but, nevertheless, the 2018s are excellent. The vintage has produced enjoyable wines here that will provide pleasure early on yet importantly have the fruit to last. No surprises in the top wines. For me Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Lynch Bages lead the field, with Batailley up there too, continuing its excellent run of fine vintages in this past decade.

The following wines, in alphabetical order, were tasted in October at the UGCB event at Church Hall, Westminster. I hope you find the notes useful.

Château d’Armailhac, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid-depth; earthy purple edge; quite ripe black fruits; pent up; some schist; this has layers and opens up well; blackcurrant; some pencil; like the purity; clean and fresh; blackcurrants; this works well on the mid-palate; has depth and succulence; this is a vintage that is very approachable here. Nice texture to the tannins and weight. Good length. Best d’Armailhac in a while for me. Drink 2023-2038. 93+

Château Batailley, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; earthy purple; ripe blackcurrants; has purity; depth; clean and attractive; lovely Pauillac; blackcurrants; really precise; clean palate; nice depth; this works well; Batailley strong in 2018; has depth and structure and warmth; tannins supple; quite full and textured. Reminds me of their successful 2003 but with more finesse. Drink 2025-2045. 94+

Château Clerc Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; blackcurrants; some earth but clean; ripe; sophisticated; clean entry; has freshness and life; think this will age well; really nice texture on the palate with precision and clarity. This is moreish and very good. Nice tension. Lovely on the end. Drink 2026-2045. 94+

Château Croizet Bages, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; stalky blackcurrants; doesn’t have the apparent depth of the other Pauillacs; goodish though – in fact quite open and enjoyable already; soft and easy; lacks a bit of middle but this is easy going, relaxing Pauillac that is quite forward and low in acidity; spices and blackcurrants dominate; will be early maturing. In fact you can drink this already. Drink 2021-2035. 88+

Château Duhart Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; deeper at core; blackcurrant; spices; some tobacco notes; cassis here too; sweet almost satin quality to the aromatics; nice entry; mid weight; has freshness; there is some chew and bite here; blackcurrants; some savoury qualities to the fruit on the palate; works really well. Nice length on the palate. Good stuff. Blackcurrant finish. Great length. Super stuff. Drink 2022-2040. 94+

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; ripe fruit; deep; some fruit cake spice and plum pudding notes; this works well; has good depth; strong and works well; sturdy; full entry; has lots of depth and chew and plenty of fruit; lacks the finesse here but is good; less fab length than the Duhart Milon tasted alongside but good nevertheless. Finishes well with blackcurrant notes. Drink 2023-2040. 91+

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Deep core; legs; purer; blackcurrants; very classic Pauillac but stylish; opens up; has purity; more on the blackcurrants than the plum pudding here; lovely blackcurrant purity infact; opens up in the glass; pure entry on the palate; very stylish; has chew and depth; plenty here; spices from the oak; this needs time but has balance; and depth; works well and has a good future ahead. Nice finish and depth. Lovely finish. Excellent Pauillac from the estate that never fails. Drink 2025-2045. 95+

Château Lynch Bages, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Deep and arterial; saturated; tight to rim; sturdy at first and pent up; some liquorice; blackcurrant fruit emerges; cassis and blackcurrants emerges; bold palate; this needs time; thick and ripe; lots of depth and extract with the sweetest of tannins but plenty of them; chew and extract here. Will work well but needs time. Some coffee notes on the finish. Concentrated and serious. Drink 2028-2048. 96+

Château Lynch Moussas, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Mid depth; loose at edge; leafy blackcurrant notes; some savoury qualities; works well; little attenuated given the company; chunky palate that lacks finesse; also lack a little depth in the middle by comparison with the best. Soft and easy finish. Stablemate Batailley much more interesting in 2018. Drink 2021-2035. 88

Château Pichon Baron, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Deep and saturated; healthy looking purple red at edge; spicy blackcurrants; depth; sweetness; very attractive already; some oak here too; sweet ripe entry; lovely palate; plenty of ripe blackcurrant fruit; oodles of it; has real depth and chew; works well. Up there at the very top. Lovely finish. Great length. Drink 2024-2050. 97+

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

Deep core; saturated; glossy; legs; layered and unctuous; this has lots of puppy fat; really rather seductive on the nose; sweetness; blackcurrants; spices; layered; lovely cool blackcurrant fruit on entry; has seductive quality; really impressive; more caressing and carries its weight and alcohol well. Inky blackcurrant fruit on the finish. Work really well. A beauty. Drink 2025-2050. 97+

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