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Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Franc’

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.

Bordeaux 2023: Château Laroque

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Well, the secret is well and truly out now. Château Laroque is no longer an insiders wine. Everyone it seems has cottoned-on to the increasing quality of the wines made at this St Emilion property and what great value they are. Laroque has enviable terroir on a variety of limestone soils in St Christophe des Bardes. It’s a large property and the wines historically were always good but the catalyst for the transformation here is the arrival of Laroque’s director David Suire just before the harvest in 2015. For almost a decade now, he has quietly been getting on with making the property one of the most exciting prospects on Bordeaux’s right bank. It will come as no surprise to those that know him. The clues perhaps lie in his winemaking background with Nicolas Thienpont at Château Larcis Ducasse and formerly at Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse. David Suire to my mind is one of the brightest stars in the St Emilion firmament. He is also wonderfully engaging and honest man with a teasing sense of humour. So how is Laroque in 2023 and what are Suire’s thoughts on the vintage?

Bordeaux 2023: Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Pavie Macquin and the Thienpont wines

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

“The source may be beautiful, but the true beauty lies in the accomplishment.” It’s the quote that starts Nicolas Thienpont’s 2023 vintage booklet. Often primeur guides are full of hot air but in this case his statement couldn’t be more deserved. Thienpont, who has been making wine on the right bank for forty years, knows the lie of the land here probably better than anyone and he has been giving expression to its varied terroirs with a gentle but guiding hand. He and his team [son Cyrille, winemaker David Suire and consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt] look after the winegrowing and winemaking at Château Larcis Ducasse and Château Pavie Macquin. Nicolas and Cyrille also run the over-achieving Thienpont family properties in Castillon [Château Alcée] and in Francs [Château Charmes Godard, Château Puygueraud and Château La Prade]. If there’s a common characteristic to all these wines, it is the quest for purity, a kind of generous purity, and that’s Thienpont’s touch. So, what’s the take here on the 2023 vintage in Bordeaux’s right bank and just how good are the wines?

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