In 2011 Pessac-Léognan is a game of two halves. The whites are very attractive, the reds completely irregular. In tricky wet vintages, Pessac-Léognan, with generally well drained gravelly soils, succeeds. Look at 2007 when the region produced some good wines compared with other districts. Drought vintages seem to be more hazardous here and 2011 is in reality a vintage of considerable drought and with other fluctuation for good measure too.
Posts Tagged ‘2011’
Chateau de Camensac held the UGCB Haut-Médoc tastings
The top estates here have been great buys in the last few vintages. 2009 especially is an exciting vintage for the Haut-Médoc. I’m afraid it’s hard to get terribly excited about these wines in 2011. The best are lively, sappy wines, but even at a discount, you’re probably better paying more for the 2009s and 2010s still on the market. The highlights are clearly Chateau La Lagune, very much worth considering if the price is right [and way better than most efforts in Margaux too] and Chateau Belgrave which is also usually good value. Chateau Citran, Chateau Beaumont and Chateau de Camensac have also made pretty good wines, along with Chateau La Tour Carnet, if you can get past the lifted Magrez style. The big disappointment here is Chateau Cantemerle. It may come together but why bother? There’s still a lot of their extraordinary 2009 on the market for just a few quid more.
I’m a Margaux lover but this appellation is utterly frustrating in 2011.The wines of merit are outnumbered by the disappointing here by a margin of almost 2 to 1. What’s gone so wrong? It was a challenging year of course but so it was for everyone else. Margaux, as one of the largest blue chip appellations, has a far wider variety of soils and terroirs than say Pauillac or St Julien, so this probably accounts for some of the irregularity. The drought conditions through the first half of the season, followed by topsy-turvy weather, cool summer but with a huge heat spike, would have also caused more problems in the vineyards here than elsewhere. This would have been especially the case on the lighter, gravelly soils that Margaux is famous for. So we’re talking about dealing with grapes with an unusual degree of irregularity in ripeness. Sorting in the vineyard, selection in the winery all would have been essential, even at those estates that had managed this tricky growing season well.