The joyride around Bordeaux 2016 culminated once again with some remarkable wines in the Haut-Médoc. These were led by Château Palmer, which in 2016 has produced a Margaux to rival last year’s beauty. Overall you would have thought that the dry and hot conditions would have been difficult on some of the gravelly and lighter soils in both Margaux and in Pessac-Léognan, the two key appellations in which I dedicated a large part of my final day tasting. While I did notice a little more variability (some jam/raisin qualities in a couple, over-extraction in others] I was generally very impressed with a great number of wines. Once again the aromatics, the fruit tones and seductive qualities of the tannins were remarkable at the top end. I also explored the Haut-Médoc appellation in some detail. There are a great many wines of interest here in 2016 for the consumer. The vintage appears to rival 2009 and 2010. Stylistically it is almost a hypothetical blend of those two vintages [perhaps with some 2014 thrown in], but with generally more moderate alcohol levels. Time will tell as to 2016s precise place in the pantheon, but it’s obviously a very exciting vintage. Still, dark Brexit clouds mean that this vintage will obviously be released into an uncertain and possibly very different future.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Durfort-Vivens’
Seventeen wines from the Margaux appellation in 2010 were shown by the MW Institute late last year. While there’s variation, generally the wines shown were very impressive. They have vivid fruit characters and show attractive tension and freshness. Once again there is more structure, grip and tannin evident in the wines than in 2009 so, in general, these 2010s need more time in bottle to show their best. At the top end Château Margaux [pictured here] has produced a 2010 every bit as good as its 2009. It is a fabulous effort. This is closely followed by an extremely plush and concentrated wine from Château Palmer, perhaps even better than their glorious 2009? Château Brane-Cantenac and Château Giscours are both beautiful. They show depth, purity and elegance. Château Lascombes is typically lush and forward while at the other end of the scale Château Rauzan-Ségla is dense and long term. Structured, balanced wines have also been made at Château Durfort-Vivens, Château Ferrière, Château Kirwan and Château du Tertre. Château Prieuré-Lichine and Château Rauzan-Gassies are full and gutsy.
Originally I was impressed by the overall quality of the Margaux appellation in 2012 during primeurs. Last month’s UGCB tasting in London has done nothing to shake the belief that many properties here have, by and large, made a set of enjoyable, reasonably full and delicious wines. There is appetizing vigour and sap in the best but plenty of plush Merlot fruit in evidence too. This variety really succeeded in 2012. It gives a forward and attractive aspect. There is elegance – this is not a set of blockbuster wines by any means – but the balance and harmony is striking. The vintage clearly plays to the virtues of the appellation. Early maturing Margaux for sure, these wines are generally more homogeneous and enjoyable for me than 2006, 2007, probably 2008, and certainly 2011 and 2013.
There’s always a degree of heterogeneity in the Margaux appellation. It’s one of Bordeaux’s largest with a variety of terriors and approaches. Still the 2009 vintage here seems to get a little more harmonious each time I return to it. Some of those wines that felt disjointed have settled in bottle. A few remain as over-wrought and over-worked as they did early on but, as you’d expect from an appellation that can really seduce, there are some beauties here in 2009. The highlights? Château Rauzan-Ségla is a first growth in all but name. It has terrific power. Château Palmer, qualitatively a premier cru year in year out, has produced another powerful wine. And bona fide first growth Château Margaux is unsurpassed in 2009. It is one of the wines of the vintage. Further down the chain, there are attractive, good value wines to be had too.