All three of the top Moulis châteaux have performed well in 2019. Château Chasse Spleen is typically fresh and vibrant, always leaner than its rivals, but the extra richness of the vintage has supplied more middle than usual with nice texture on the palate. This will age well and needs three years or so to get set I reckon. Château Poujeaux has more evident depth and structure and feels well built for the long-haul, if currently rather tannic and grippy on the finish. You have five years at least to wait here. By contrast, unless it has shut down in the past six months, Château Maucaillou appears already attractive now, with plenty of red and black fruits on the palate [raspberry and plum tones]. You can decant this now and enjoy the lush fruit. The wines of Moulis continue to provide excellent value red Bordeaux. They also develop exceptionally well in bottle.
Apologies for the nine month delay in getting these detailed notes up on wines from the Haut-Médoc in 2019. I blame pressure of the day job. Overall 2019 was a very impressive vintage for the wines of this district, and they showed particularly well at the UGCB tasting the November before last. The picks? Château La Lagune was very impressive, certainly one of the best wines here in over a decade and almost up there with the beautiful 2005 in my book. Close by Château Cantemerle has also made a very good wine in 2019. Château Belgrave and near neighbour Château de Camensac in St Laurent [close to the St Julien appellation] were also excellent. The former structured and sturdy, the latter fresh and pure. Château La Tour Carnet is typically lush and flamboyant too. I’m a great fan of Château Beaumont and Château Citran and both deliver fresh and positive wines in 2019. Overall, this appellation is a provider of very good value reds and these Haut-Médoc’s will provide a lot of pleasure for the Bordeaux lover over the coming years at a decent price.
A tasting of wines from 2019 put on by the UGCB last November reinforced my impression of the fine quality of this vintage. I majored on the left bank, having covered the right bank more comprehensively during primeurs tastings back in 2020. Looking over my notes, the wines have certainly retreated into their shells since bottling. Many were quite backward and reticent, especially in Pauillac and St Julien. During primeurs, I felt like 2019 was a mythical blend of 2010 and 2009. They had the intensity of the former with the fruit and texture of the latter, with overall finer tannin and less extraction than back then. Right now I’m wondering if 2019 isn’t closer to a modern 2005, that is to say pretty serious, structured and long-term but with sweeter tannin texture than ‘05. Still, this is a generalisation and that comparison is not true in all cases by any means. Not all Pauillacs and St Juliens were backward for example and there were some especially lush wines in Margaux and the Haut-Médoc for instance. So it’s a complex picture. If you’ve tucked into 2019 [like me] there is certainly nothing to worry about, except that you might have to wait a little longer for the wines to open up than we first imagined. I’ll obviously follow up with more detailed posts by appellation, but in the meantime what were the overall highlights?
Hopefully you weren’t holding your breath. The delay in getting Part 2 of my review of the Grands Crus Classés of St Emilion up and published was due to a combination of COVID over the winter break and then the volume of other work in January which blew me off track. Anyhow, finally here is my summary of the second tranche of twenty-one 2018s St Emilion classed growths tasted last September. Again, these are a generally rich and ripe set of wines, some quite precocious, and many already a joyful drink. Alongside these, properties also showed one other vintage. As in my earlier piece, the 2016s really impressed, but so too did many 2017s. So what are the picks?