Alongside St Julien, Pauillac is one of the most consistent appellations in Bordeaux. On the basis of the eleven shown by the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux [UGCB] in October, 2018 is an exciting vintage for Pauillac. The fruit is sweet; the tannins ripe and super soft. Oodles of blackcurrant fruit and cassis gives the taster the classic stamp of the commune but also obviously of a super ripe year. In some ways these 2018s reminded me of the 2009s at a similar stage. Ultimately I think the Pauillac 2019s that follow will pip this vintage in terms of freshness and overall sophistication but, nevertheless, the 2018s are excellent. The vintage has produced enjoyable wines here that will provide pleasure early on yet importantly have the fruit to last. No surprises in the top wines. For me Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Lynch Bages lead the field, with Batailley up there too, continuing its excellent run of fine vintages in this past decade.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste’
A baker’s dozen from Pauillac feels a sufficiently good cross section from which to draw conclusions. And on the basis of these, Pauillac has had a pretty sensational year in 2019. Stylistically the very top wines feel like a combination of 2009 and 2010, with a fraction less extraction and even greater emphasis on purity. I’ve already posted individually on remarkable wines from Château Pichon Lalande and Château Pichon Baron but exceptional Pauillacs have also been made at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Batailley. These are real crowd pleasers in 2019. Both châteaux have extremely popular followings and have been well priced too in this release campaign. Batailley continues its run of great form across the decade. It has finesse, sophistication and purity. Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a real treat. It has wonderful fruit and texture. Surely ‘GPL’ remains the best value fine wine in all Bordeaux? Talking of value, do consider Château Fonbadet and Château Pibran in 2019. Both have produced impressive wine. Other successes include Château Lynch-Moussas and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. 2019 is also a good vintage to consider so called ‘second wines’ by the looks of it. Lacoste Borie from Grand-Puy-Lacoste is wonderful, Pichon Lalande’s Reserve was knockout and Les Tourelles de Longueville and Les Griffions from Pichon Baron also impressed.
There is certainly a lot of freshness to the wines in Pauillac in 2017. This is not a generous vintage here for me though. There is a degree of austerity in this vintage, and some properties are decidedly on the angular side. The picks? An impressive wine has been made by Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste. It stood out in the appellation at the UGCB tastings last autumn. I’ve scored the other leading properties slightly below GPL, including Château Duhart Milon, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Pichon Baron and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. They have all made good wine but they must be seen as modest in relation to the quality of the wines made at these properties in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Château Batailley is also up there for quality, alongside Château Haut-Bages Libéral and both have made decent Pauillac. I was particularly disappointed by Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon to a lesser degree. Both lacked middle and felt on the austere side. Château Grand-Puy Ducasse also lacked flesh.
2017’s a funny old vintage in Bordeaux. It feels to me like this year is the least successful of the past decade, assuming we forget about the washout 2013 vintage. That’s not to say that there aren’t a number wines that are really impressive now that the 2017s are in bottle. Last October’s annual Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux tasting in London showed some excellent wines in Pomerol and St Emilion, perhaps more so than in the other communes, but there were fine wines to be found in all the appellations. That said many lacked a bit of charm, seemed somewhat austere and lacked mid-palate concentration. Yes, they are fresh. Yes, the acidity is bright and some have a decent zap about them, but, overall, it’s hardly a vintage that sets the pulse racing. The same couldn’t be said for the experience that the vignerons themselves faced in the early part of the growing season in 2017 when devastating frosts wiped out entire crops in St Emilion and Pomerol and did much damage elsewhere, notably in parts of Pessac-Léognan and the Haut-Médoc. Some properties didn’t make any wine at all. It was certainly a nerve-jangling time for growers. Looked in that light, perhaps we must actually see 2017 as something of a success.