Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

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Bordeaux 2023: Côtes de Bordeaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The Grand Cercle always organise a very professional press tasting at Château de la Dauphine in Fronsac. It’s a great opportunity to taste the breadth of the wines made across Bordeaux, especially on the right bank. Amongst the Côtes de Bordeaux tasted with such a wide variety of terroirs [Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs] and approaches to winemaking, unsurprisingly there was heterogeneity. The most impressive 2023s for me at the Grand Cercle event from Castillon were Château Côte Montpezat, Château Veyry and Clos Puy Arnaud. Tasted elsewhere Château Alcée and Château d’Aiguilhe where also very good from Castillon. In Francs, Château La Prade and Château Puygueraud were excellent. Château de Haut Coulon looked good in Cadillac. Outside of these other 2023 Côtes de Bordeaux often felt lean and a little angular. These probably will flesh out during élevage, so it would be important to taste these wines again down the track once they are bottled.

Bordeaux 2023: Château Canon-La-Gaffelière, La Mondotte et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Stephan von Neipperg has a great set of properties on the right bank. The reputation is based very much on what he has achieved over the past forty years at Château Canon-La-Gaffelière as well as the epic heights that the tiny La Mondotte vineyard can surmount. I’m a fan of their St Emilion Cru Classé Clos de l’Oratoire which has improved significantly in the last decade. The wine I can afford to drink most often at home is their over-achieving Château d’Aiguilhe in Castillon. The 2016 is currently drinking spectacularly well. The Neippergs also own Clos Marsalette in Pessac Léognan, which produces good value red and white wines. So how did the Neipperg stable of wines fair here in the 2023 vintage?

Bordeaux 2023: Clos Fourtet

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

It was great catching up with Matthieu Cuvelier at Clos Fourtet back in April. It’s now been twenty years since the Cuvelier family bought this stunning Premier Grand Cru Classé St Emilion property. It sits on exceptional terroir atop St Emilion’s limestone plateau just beside the town of St Emilion itself. It has gone from strength to strength under their management and recent vintages here have widely been seen as exceptional. It’s also been just over a decade since they purchased Grand Cru Classé, Château Côte de Baleau and sixteen years since they acquired Château Poujeaux, the jewel in the crown of left bank appellation Moulis. The Cuveliers have proved diligent custodians of these properties, fine tuning the approaches and getting the absolute best from these terroirs. These improvements have also been to the benefit of consumers as prices haven’t risen sharply in relation to quality. Clos Fourtet remains more reasonably priced than some other leading St Emilion properties and Châteaux Poujeaux remains one of Bordeaux’s great fine wine values. So how have all these properties faired in 2023?

Bordeaux 2023: Château Valandraud et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Turning up to Château Valandraud is always a mouth-watering prospect. There are fewer wines now on tasting at the refurbished château than there used to be at the tiny cellars beside Jean Luc Thunevin’s home in St Emilion, but it’s still one to get the juices going. While focus is always on the hedonistic Valandraud grand vin itself, I always spend at lot of time looking at the entire range, which is where the value here lies. I’ve been visiting his cellars now for over a decade during primeurs and I’ve been consistently impressed by Domaine de Sabines in Lalande de Pomerol, Clos Badon in St Emilion and Le Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol. These wines do not disappoint in 2023, though there is a freshness and lightness of touch this year in keeping with the vintage. Jean Luc continues to consult for lots of properties on the right bank and I was particularly impressed with Château Mangot this year, alongside Château Sansonnet. What of Château Valandraud itself in 2023? It is inky and bold and definitely needs time.

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