There is no doubt that 2019 is an excellent vintage in St Emilion. There are many fabulous wines displaying beautiful fruit, concentration and supple tannins. Alcohols are high – fifteen degrees is not uncommon – but many wines still retain surprising freshness. With potentially high tannin levels, the foot has been held off the gas in the cellar by many properties, showing a more nuanced approach to winemaking here than perhaps a decade ago. It shows how the heady days of over-extraction appear to be behind us in the appellation. If 2019 doesn’t quite have the exuberance of 2018, or the heavenly balance of 2016, it could be seen as a hypothetical blend of the two, or a combination of 2009 and 2010, but without the late picking and extractive practices that characterized that period.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Angélus’
Hubert de Boüard de Laforest thinks their 2019 might just snip what he describes as their ‘baroque’ 2018 at Château Angélus. Certainly the wines are quite different. There is greater freshness in Angélus 2019, which has real focus on the palate and a suave quality to the tannins. It is fractionally lower in alcohol than 2018 [14.4% as opposed to 14.7%] and overall the impression is of a complete and classy grand vin. Carillon d’Angélus too looks super good. The emphasis is on the Merlot here and there is a terrific seam of black fruit running through the wine. The Number 3 is zappy and fresh with the accent on the fruit. Amongst the other proprietary wines that the de Boüards are behind, Château Bellevue is wonderful. Lashings of creamy black fruit hide a significant structure. In Lalande de Pomerol, Château La Fleur de Boüard is a delight, with plenty of fruit and zap, while sibling Le Plus is fantastically concentrated. Over in Montagne St Emilion I was particularly taken by a fine and savoury Dame de Boüard which impressed. It shows the beauty of the Cabernet, alongside the Merlot, in this vintage.
We’re off! The samples are coming in. The Zoom chats are being had. The wines are being released thick and fast. Shortly I’ll be reporting my on first thoughts on Bordeaux 2019. Do watch this space! The hype says it’s another great vintage, less baroque than 2018 perhaps, more a foil like 2010 was to 2009, or 1990 was to 1989. In some cases properties believe the vintage is better than 2018. It certainly continues a pattern of talented twins in the past decade, which most recently featured 2015 and 2016. We seem to be set sail on a sea of fine vintages of Bordeaux these days. Climate change, modern winemaking and viticultural developments are all playing their part, genuinely raising the bar in this blessed wine region, in every fine vintage. But climate is more extreme too. There is more frequent drought, reversals of season, devastating frosts or hail. Things are getting Biblical the world over, as we wake up to the realities of global warming. Then in swings COVID-19, devastating us with loss of life and economic paralysis. With primeurs tastings cancelled this year in Bordeaux, my coverage will be necessarily more episodic than usual. Many properties are happy to send samples, some not. I have good tasting set up at home, but obviously it’s a poorer facsimile than darting about Bordeaux and tasting in situ, especially given the fragility of infant wine.
Many delicious wines have been made in St Emilion in 2018. This is a vintage with the most sumptuous, sublime fruit. While the wines do not have the magical balance of 2016 or 2015, with their fresher acidities, on the best terroirs there are a range of wines here that rival 2009 in character for sheer exotic ripeness and joy, but without the evident over-extraction that characterised the appellation a decade ago. Yes, these are wines with plenty of tannin, enviably ripe tannin, and in all but a few cases I would confidently expect the wines to settle by bottling. As in 2009 this will be a vintage that will drink well from the very beginning, but that has the evident structure to last.