There’s no doubt that many of the Haut-Médoc 2016s are now hitting their stride. There are a great many wonderful wines to be had at good prices in this appellation which deliver a lot of satisfaction. Amongst the small range shown at the MW Institute’s 2016 tasting at the end of 2021, Château La Lagune, Château La Tour Carnet and Château Cantemerle showed really well. Château Belgrave had a lot of depth and structure but felt like it needed a year or two more at the time of tasting. Separately I’ve since had Château Sénéjac and Château Citran 2016s recently and they have impressed too. The following notes were taken at the MW Institute tasting in December 2021. I hope you find them useful. The wines should have continued to open up and develop nicely since then.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Belgrave’
Apologies for the nine month delay in getting these detailed notes up on wines from the Haut-Médoc in 2019. I blame pressure of the day job. Overall 2019 was a very impressive vintage for the wines of this district, and they showed particularly well at the UGCB tasting the November before last. The picks? Château La Lagune was very impressive, certainly one of the best wines here in over a decade and almost up there with the beautiful 2005 in my book. Close by Château Cantemerle has also made a very good wine in 2019. Château Belgrave and near neighbour Château de Camensac in St Laurent [close to the St Julien appellation] were also excellent. The former structured and sturdy, the latter fresh and pure. Château La Tour Carnet is typically lush and flamboyant too. I’m a great fan of Château Beaumont and Château Citran and both deliver fresh and positive wines in 2019. Overall, this appellation is a provider of very good value reds and these Haut-Médoc’s will provide a lot of pleasure for the Bordeaux lover over the coming years at a decent price.
A tasting of wines from 2019 put on by the UGCB last November reinforced my impression of the fine quality of this vintage. I majored on the left bank, having covered the right bank more comprehensively during primeurs tastings back in 2020. Looking over my notes, the wines have certainly retreated into their shells since bottling. Many were quite backward and reticent, especially in Pauillac and St Julien. During primeurs, I felt like 2019 was a mythical blend of 2010 and 2009. They had the intensity of the former with the fruit and texture of the latter, with overall finer tannin and less extraction than back then. Right now I’m wondering if 2019 isn’t closer to a modern 2005, that is to say pretty serious, structured and long-term but with sweeter tannin texture than ‘05. Still, this is a generalisation and that comparison is not true in all cases by any means. Not all Pauillacs and St Juliens were backward for example and there were some especially lush wines in Margaux and the Haut-Médoc for instance. So it’s a complex picture. If you’ve tucked into 2019 [like me] there is certainly nothing to worry about, except that you might have to wait a little longer for the wines to open up than we first imagined. I’ll obviously follow up with more detailed posts by appellation, but in the meantime what were the overall highlights?
I was fortunate enough to have bought a reasonable spread of Bordeaux en primeur in 2005. At the time of purchase in 2006 there was a lot of hype surrounding the vintage. At that stage it was being compared to legendary vintages, like 1961. In many ways, it had been the first vintage since 2000 to really shout about in Bordeaux. The 2003 had its admirers of course, Parker amongst them, and that heatwave year made some thrilling wines – but it was also very inconsistent. I didn’t get the chance to taste the 2005s during primeurs, but those that did told me that, whilst it was evidently very promising, it was also somewhat tricky to judge with all the fruit, tannin, oak and acidity. Over the intervening years, I wonder if the vintage has lost some of its lustre, certainly relative to 2009 & 2010? There is an interesting piece from Jancis Robinson here worth a read from a few years back. So now that the vintage is sweet sixteen, just how are some of the wines faring?