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Bordeaux 2019: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

A baker’s dozen from Pauillac feels a sufficiently good cross section from which to draw conclusions. And on the basis of these, Pauillac has had a pretty sensational year in 2019. Stylistically the very top wines feel like a combination of 2009 and 2010, with a fraction less extraction and even greater emphasis on purity. I’ve already posted individually on remarkable wines from Château Pichon Lalande and Château Pichon Baron but exceptional Pauillacs have also been made at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Batailley. These are real crowd pleasers in 2019. Both châteaux have extremely popular followings and have been well priced too in this release campaign. Batailley continues its run of great form across the decade. It has finesse, sophistication and purity. Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a real treat. It has wonderful fruit and texture. Surely ‘GPL’ remains the best value fine wine in all Bordeaux? Talking of value, do consider Château Fonbadet and Château Pibran in 2019. Both have produced impressive wine. Other successes include Château Lynch-Moussas and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. 2019 is also a good vintage to consider so called ‘second wines’ by the looks of it. Lacoste Borie from Grand-Puy-Lacoste is wonderful, Pichon Lalande’s Reserve was knockout and Les Tourelles de Longueville and Les Griffions from Pichon Baron also impressed.

The following wines were tasted from sample bottles sent to London in June 2020. There are some significant omissions here, which I hope to correct in the autumn [if we can ever get back into France without a quarantine].

Château Batailley, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2019

Bold looking; legs; little reticent aromatically at first compared to sibling Lynch-Moussas; cassis and blackcurrants emerge; evident depth; fine and refined on the palate; impressive Cabernet purity; savoury notes; Batailley is certainly getting more Rolls-Royce; really polished palate which is nicely reserved but which has excellent extract and balance; this is super fine Batailley which has something of the 2016 about it; chew on the end but really great balance and length. Very impressive. This estate goes from strength to strength. Nicely priced release too. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2045. 93-95+

Château Fonbadet, Pauillac, 2019

Deep at core; early purple at edge; sweet ripe blackcurrants; cassis and new oak nicely interwoven; this is appealing Pauillac; very up front, lifted oak and fruity; oak is a little noticeable perhaps but there is lots of blackcurrant fruit; lovely cassis notes; little tight on the palate initially; there is some texture here and also structure; focused and inky with plenty of blackcurrant fruit; this works well. Has length. Good value Pauillac. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2038. 89-91+

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2019

Deep at centre; earthy purple at edge; little closed at first; some spice; savoury blackcurrant notes with some Merlot tones; opens up nicely; ripe cabernet tones; seemingly mid-weight; Cabernet tones on the palate; earthy; little dry in the middle but there is plenty of extract; tannins quite present; chewy and inky finish. An hour later the wine had opened up really well – lots of blackcurrants fruit and cassis tones on the palate. Will settle well. [53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2040. 90-92+

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2019

Deep at core; fresh and earthy purple at edge; mineral; blackcurrants; some smoke; lovely; some of the pencils and graphite; cool and focused; opens up; focused seam of pure blackcurrant fruit; this is wonderful; lovely; super polish; lovely fruit; again sweet entry; lots of fruit; jam packed; plenty here; but the gentle approach here really pays off; lovely fresh texture; so moreish; blackcurrants; spices; lovely texture to the tannins. GPL is such great Pauillac. No more reliable high quality wine in Bordeaux than this – and usually it is affordable en primeur. Lovely length. Super stuff. [83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2050. 95-97+

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron, Pauillac, 2019

Mid depth; quite dark at core but less deep than Les Tourelles seemingly; quite gutsy on the nose; some oak; plenty of extract; blackcurrants; some wet stone; oak influence; sweet entry to the palate; plenty of ripe fruit here; more extract and matter than Tourelles and Pibran; sweet fruit though and soft tannins; blackcurrant finish. This works well. [59% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 60% new oak for 18 months]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 90-92+

Château Haut-Bages Monpelou, Pauillac, 2019

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; ripe black fruits; some tar and asphalt; Pontefract Cakes; liquorice notes; earthy; good entry; nice attack; quite bold and positive on the palate; some wet rock; less caressing and full as Lynch Moussas; works at the price point; savoury and satisfying Pauillac; some bite and grip at the end; honest if old-fashioned Pauillac [in a nice way!]; chew to the tannins but the finish feels positive. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-3032. 87-88+

Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, 2019

Mid depth; looser to the rim but still purple; blackcurrants; graphite; stylish and quite polished; like this – such a joy; quite layered and extremely well mannered; little oak at the edge; pretty blackcurrant fruit; some violet lift; savoury; fresh as a daisy; lovely entry; sweet fruit; nicely focused and polished; ripe and moreish; this works really well; lovely balance to the wines here; such a beauty; mid weight but this would be an excellent buy for drinking. Lovely appetizing wine. Good length too! [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 90-91+

Château Lynch-Moussas, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2019

Mid depth; deeper at core; earthy purple at edge; lovely pure ripe Cabernet aromatics; impressive; lovely cool blackcurrants; love the purity; feels impressive Lynch-Moussas to me; sweet entry; ripe; lovely Cab tones; very good; the classic pencil shavings; but with nice tannins ripe and fruit enveloping the structure; an anniversary wine for the Castéja family [one hundred years of ownership] and they have evidently pulled out all the stops. Really excellent Pauillac that should prove good value for money. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2040. 91-93+

Château Pibran, Pauillac, 2019

Deep at core: purple at edge; fresh plums and black cherry; blackcurrant too; emphasis on the fruit here; suave; fresh still; stone fruits; like this; almost fruit pudding tones but not at all heavy; like purity; entry softer; this feels more Merlot driven Pauillac; has freshness on the palate; plenty of fruit in the middle; tannins have some grip. Overall though fresh and positive. The wine opened up wonderfully displaying blackcurrants, cassis, some pain grillé tones and ripe plums. This is very fresh and positive Pauillac. [53% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% new oak for 18 months]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 91-93

Château Pichon Baron, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2019

More purple at the edge than Les Tourelles; beautiful aromatics; textbook Pauillac blackcurrants, cassis and more; sumptuous aromatics; seam of pure blackcurrant fruit and cassis; oak nicely interwoven; blackcurrant tones really leap out of the glass; some mineral notes too; really opens up; a beauty [this is surely another 100 point wine here potentially?]; so seductive; entry on the palate is cool; plenty of super refined fruit; simply fabulous composure and poise; wonderful; layers of flavour; blackcurrants; some mineral and graphite but the silkiest of tannins – yet there is a lot of extract here evidently. Wonderful expression of Pauillac. Terrific length. Brilliant wine. [87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 80% new oak for 18 months, representing 49% of production]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2028-2055. 97-100

Pichon Comtesse Reserve, Pauillac, 2019

Deeply coloured; vibrant purple at edge; lovely sweet, ripe blackcurrant fruit; very open; some black cherry notes too; very juicy – bursting with fruit in fact; creamy qualities here too; purity comes across; beautiful; great entry; more lush blackcurrant fruits; freshness too and a certain elegance and poise; real finesse; really polished on the palate; quite caressing; little oak on the finish; freshness. On song on the day. Little more chew on the very finish but this is a very supple wine. Real twist of acidity at the end punctuates this. Later the aromatics really opened up – lovely sweet ripe blackcurrant tones alongside black cherry and kirsch notes. This is really substantial, layered and with a wonderful texture. [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 14.4% alc, pH 3.7, press wine 10% Yield 42 hl/ha, 40% new oak for 12 months]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2038. 93-94+.

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac 2019

Deeply coloured; vibrant purple at edge; cassis; fresh blackcurrants; depth; lovely blackcurrant purity here with a savoury note; ripe and really enticing blackcurrant fruit; lovely entry on the palate; has really delicacy and supple qualities on the palate; lots of blackcurrant cassis tones; tannins are super mellow and melted; there is real delicacy here and lovely length. Super pure this Pauillac, with the most creamy and lush blackcurrant imaginable. Has concentration and texture but also tension in the mid palate. Great length with blackcurrant and espresso notes on the finish. One of the best Pichon Lalandes ever I reckon, certainly of recent years to my palate. Such terrific and precise extraction. The wine opened up terrifically, later revealing some graphite and menthol alongside the blackcurrants. Oodles of fruit here. Sensational. [71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 14.1% alc, pH 3.75, 13% press wine, 42 hl/ha, 60% new oak for 18 months]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2028-2050. 98-100

Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac, 2019

Deeper and substantial in the glass; legs; colour tight to rim; lovely creamy blackcurrant jam tones; very intense fruit compote notes; little jam; almost unctuous; cassis for sure; palate has depth; earthy blackcurrants and plums; plenty of fruit and extract; lacks acidity but very full and tannins savoury and supple; some ink on the finish. This has a lot of texture. Good stuff! [68% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 30% new oak for 12 months]. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

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