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Bordeaux 2018: St Julien MW Institute Tasting

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

St Julien has put in a very strong performance in 2018. This is a relatively small and very consistent appellation and the terroirs here have clearly succeeded in this tricky, unusual vintage. At the very top of the quality tree are the Léovilles [in a line-up sans Ducru]. Château Léoville Las Cases is tremendous but Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Léoville Barton are close behind. Château Gruaud Larose is almost on an equal footing and has made impressive wine. Château Lagrange, Château Langoa Barton and Château Branaire-Ducru are also very impressive. Château Beychevelle shows lots of finesse and Château Talbot continues its good run of decent form. Buy any of these and you will not be disappointed.

The following notes were taken at the MW Institute’s annual Bordeaux tasting in November 2022. I hope you find the notes useful. Château St Pierre and Château Gloria, along with Château Ducru-Beaucaillou were not shown.

Château Beychevelle, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dark; intense and tight to the rim; layered black fruits on the nose; some spice; textured palate which shows finesse and works really well. This is nicely balanced St Julien. [14.7%, 50% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc]. Drink now-2045. Tasted Nov ’22. 92+

Château Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dark; nice clarity on the nose; purity here – blackcurrant cab; some smoke and freshly dug earth; sweet entry on the palate; ripe fruit; ripe and rich St Julien. [14.5% alc, 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2025-2045. Tasted Nov ’22. 93+

Château Gruaud Larose, St Julien, 2018

Deep and saturated; thick and rich with blackcurrant notes; stalky element; lots of flesh on the palate with black fruits and nice texture; chewy finish but lots of depth here. Excellent. [14.5% alc, 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2025-Tasted Nov ’22. 94+

Château Lagrange, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dark; sturdy and brooding aromatics; full inky, blackcurrant fruit; palate plenty of fruit which has been nicely extracted; tannins considerable but supple. This is another impressive Lagrange. [14.5% alc, 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted Nov ’22. Drink 2026-2045. 93+

Château Langoa Barton, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dense looking; resin, blackcurrants and ink; brooding and traditional; this works for me; palate shows ripe fruit and round tannins; real purity and nicely done. A beauty. [13.5% alc, 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Nov ’22. Drink 2028-2055. 93+

Château Léoville Barton, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dark; colour right up to the edge; black fruits; some resin and plenty of extract; thick and rich; palate surprisingly caressing – dense but pure and clean finish. Excellent length. Super stuff. [14% alc, 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot]. Tasted Nov ’22. Drink 2030-2060. 95+

Château Léoville Las Cases, St Julien, 2018

Very deep and sense looking; sturdy and a little dumb at first but clearly deep; blackcurrants unfurl; super fresh on the palate and has life with real depth and style. Inky and fresh. Lots here. Finesse too. A beauty. [14.5% alc 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Nov ‘22. Drink 2028-2058. 97+

Château Léoville-Poyferré, St Julien, 2018

Deep and saturated; colour right to the rim; ripe and opulent on the nose; layers of blackcurrant fruit; quite dense palate with lots of extract and tannin; rich; bags of tannin but sweet and ripe. This is impressive. [14.5% alc, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlotr, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Tasted Nov ’22. Drink 2028-2052. 96+

Château Talbot, St Julien, 2018

Deep and dark; some meal, spice; ripe with lots of extract on the palate with plenty of spices and sweet tannin; this continues a reasonable recent run of form at Talbot. [14.5% alc, 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted Nov ’22. Drink 2026-2045. 91+

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