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.
Of the 2019 Pomerols that I tasted back in June, a number of good to very good wines have been produced. Top of the tree for me is an undoubted beauty from Château La Conseillante that I have already devoted a post which you can read here. This is amongst the very best of the vintage of the wines I’ve had a chance to look at. The rest of my Pomerol tastings were limited mainly to members of Le Grand Cercle. Amongst these Château Mazeyres, Château Maillet and Château La Clémence [all pictured here] really impressed me. Mazeyres is worth a special mention. This wine is crafted on a biodynamic basis by Alain Moueix and it stood out for its effortless clarity and purity [something which can also be said for Mouiex’s other property Château Fonroque in St Emilion]. There was also a very good performance from Château Lécuyer. Château La Commanderie and Clos Vieux Taillefer were good and solid, if rather chunky. Domaine de L’Eglise, from the Borie-Manoux stable, was sturdy and well-made and Château La Croix du Casse soft and forward.
Clearly a brilliant set of wines have been made in Lalande de Pomerol in 2019. There was real consistency shown amongst the wines sent by members of the Grand Cercle. It makes for a great double act with the 2018s tasted last year. They are high in extract and flavour and alcohol but they maintain good balance. Château Grand Ormeau had gorgeous aromatics with lots of seductive ripe black fruit on display. Château Maine Chaigneau Cuvée JS was creamy and sophisticated with real delicacy. Château Tournefeuille was also positive and full, alongside an unctous Château St Jean de Gué. Château La Sergue also impressed with lots of spicy, briary fruit. Château La Fleur de Boüard and Le Plus de la Fleur de Boüard were tasted earlier in June. Both are super impressive in 2019.
Half a dozen wines tasted from Montagne St Emilion and Lussac St Emilion in 2019 showed impressive fruit and structure. I was particularly struck by the quality of the de Boüard wines in Montagne St Emilion, Château Clos de Boüard and La Dame de Boüard. Chateau Messile-Aubert also showed finesse and had good texture. In Lussac St Emilion, Château de Barbe Blanche showed plenty of velvety fruit and felt pretty lush. Château La Rose Perrière was intense and spicy, and if it lacked finesse, it had plenty of enjoyable fruit. The following wines were tasted in London in June from samples sent by Le Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux and Château Angélus. Hope you find the notes useful.