Overall St Emilion is something of a mixed bag in 2013. Quality is better than you might expect given the dreadful vintage, conditions that were especially tricky for Merlot, the district’s principal grape. It was badly affected by poor weather at flowering, which reduced yields and led to poor fruit set; later the humid conditions at vintage and the threat and rapid onset of rot [botrytis] also adversely affected the variety. Still St Emilion has made a number of attractive and well-made wines. But there are plenty of disappointments too. Some are thin and over-worked; others hollow. Quality follows terroir and those with cash. The best wines have forward and attractive fruit flavours and some are competitively priced. While it’s a complex picture, overall the wines of St Emilion are probably a more immediately appealing and joyous bunch than their left-bank counterparts in 2013.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Cheval Blanc’
The notes that accompany Château Cheval Blanc in 2013 describe the vintage as ‘a minefield’. There were casualties. The team here produced no Château Quinault L’Enclos this year after a late July hailstorm effectively destroyed the crop. The hail missed Cheval Blanc but the other myriad meteorological hazards that affected the growing season could not be escaped. Even with great terroir, a dedicated team and all the resources available in the winemaking world, Cheval Blanc remains a delicate effort in 2013. Measured and not at all forced, it will doubtless fill out during elévage, but it will always remain elegant in style.
St Emilion proves a difficult appellation to generalize about in 2009. Clearly some truly great wines have been made here. Angélus, Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Belair Monange are absolute beauties. Many other properties have made forward and delicious wine but quite a few remain as thick, ponderous and extracted as they did early on. Maybe this is as it always is in St Emilion.
There can be no doubt that outside Pomerol, St Emilion has put in the strongest performance in 2012. There is great beauty to the best wines. The vintage was not without its own problems of course as detailed in earlier posts – various heavy bouts of rain in October; the difficult start to the growing season which lead to uneven and protracted flowering; the risks of mildew in early July and botrytis in October. The most attentive and diligent have triumphed and the quality of the best Merlot is stunning.