What a vintage for Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. The Grand Vin has extraordinary depth in 2019. It is a giant in terms of extract and structure. The fruit is so compelling and the tannins so supple, it must surely vie to be amongst one of the wines of the vintage, along with that other left bank stunner Pichon Lalande [more on that wine shortly]. This Ducru is clearly a legendary wine in the making. It feels more evidently tannic than the other potential ‘hundred pointers’ in 2019 but what a wine. It’s a fitting tribute for the 300th anniversary vintage here [yep Ducru has been around since 1720]. La Croix de Beaucaillou looks really good in 2019 too. It is wonderfully plush and refined. There are also some additions to Bruno Borie’s line up here with the release of St Julien Le Petit Ducru [effectively replacing Lalande Borie] and a new Haut-Médoc, Madame de Beaucaillou, both of which also impressed.
The Grand Cercle sent half a dozen wines from its members in the Graves region from 2019 vintage. The Graves is an excellent district to find good value Bordeaux and this is evidently true in 2019 which is clearly a successful vintage here. Since the creation of the Pessac-Léognan appellation in 1987 the Graves appellation faded into the background a little, as all the region’s historic and well-followed properties were decanted off into the new appellation. I’m most familiar with the Château Rahoul, Château Ferrande and Château de Chantegrive in this district, all members of the Union des Grand Crus, as well as Clos Floridene through the UK’s Wine Society. Château Brondelle, Château Crabitey, Grand Enclos du Château de Cérons and Château Haura were new to me. I have also included notes on Le Prélat de Pape Clément from Bernard Magrez and Château d’Uza, sent by Jean-Luc Thunevin.
Château Pape Clément has produced very impressive red and white wines in 2019. This property always packs a lot of joy and appeal into its wines. The white is seductive with plenty of depth and style while the red displays fabulous creamy black fruits and has super length. I was also impressed by both versions [white and red] of Clémentin de Pape Clément this year. I’ve written separately on Smith Haut Lafitte and the super fine quality of the wines there. Amongst other wines tasted from Pessac-Léognan, amongst the reds Clos Marsalette and Château Haut Bacalan impressed. Enjoyable wines have also been made at Château Haut-Lagrange, Château de Rouillac, Château de Rochemorin and Château de Cruzeau. Amongst the whites Clos Marsalette also stood out for its finesse. There was plenty of zap and life in the white Château de Cruzeau and Château de Rochemorin, while Château Haut-Lagrange produced a white with weight and substance.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte has once again come up with the goods in 2019. The whites are rich and full bodied and the reds have the characteristic plush quality that is a signature here. The Grand Vin red is fabulous. The fruit is super seductive and joyful and there is considerable depth to the wine. Stylistically technical director Fabien Teitgen reckons it’s three quarters 2016 combined with a quarter 2015. Certainly the 2019 has greater freshness and more acidity over the coquettish 2018 here, the result of the fractionally cooler conditions in August and September in 2019. Overall, despite these vintage differences, there is remarkable consistency here, year after year. Under the ownership of Florence and Daniel Cathiard, Smith Haut Lafitte has become one of Bordeaux’s benchmarks for brilliance and this is true again in 2019.