Way back in early September the Association de Grands Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion put on a tasting high up above London at Landing Forty Two in the remarkable Leadenhall Building. The views were impressive. So were many of the wines. Ostensibly it was an opportunity to taste the joyful 2018 vintage, but each producer also offered an additional, older vintage. This was fascinating. For me it also confirmed the superlative quality of the 2016 vintage in St Emilion, but also the quality of some of the rather unsung 2017s. In fact, there were quite a few properties to my mind that performed better in ’17 than they did in ’18 – and that was no mean feat given the challenges of the frost that so badly affected the former vintage. Given that some 45 different chateau were represented at the tasting, I’m dividing my report into two parts. This one contains notes and thoughts on some twenty-four properties [and forty-seven wines], starting with Château Barde-Haut and ending with Château Franc-Mayne [essentially half of them alphabetically].
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau La Commanderie’
This is a very small snapshot of the wines from Pomerol in 2020. They all showed good colour and generally had plenty of fruit. Château Feytit-Clinet was a beauty, displaying sensuality and satin-like fruit qualities. I was also impressed again with Château Mazeyres from Alain Moueix, a leading biodynamic producer who makes wonderfully fresh and clear Pomerol. Château La Commanderie, Château Lécuyer, Château Taillefer and Château Vieux Maillet have also made attractive Pomerol in 2020, showing substance but also elegance. Château La Clémence, Château Le Moulin and Clos Vieux Taillefer have produced solid wine but without the excitement of the rest.
For a second year running trips to Bordeaux have been complex. Once again, the châteaux have been sending barrel samples. Of course, there are concerns about the air freighted wines being in top notch condition when they arrive. It’s a compromise. For me, better to taste and exercise your judgement, than not taste anything at all. So there are caveats to reviewing Bordeaux these days, but given this, what does 2020 look like? The heat and drought of the summer, combined with varying quantities of rain at the end of the growing season, have resulted in a generally impressive vintage. Overall it is a good partner to 2018 and 2019, and marks a trio of fine vintages. On the basis of the few hundred wines I’ve tasted it’s the least consistent of the three. In general, it doesn’t have the coquettishness of 2018, nor the excitement and magnificent texture of the 2019s. It does have plenty of substance, the fruit is generally supple, the tannins creamy, and alcohols that are a tad lower than the last couple of years. But 2020 seems a more heterogenous vintage than the two before it, so it is not as straightforward to understand as those seemed. There is a hollowness to some and a lack of aromatics in others. Prices are slowly being released. You’d certainly not want to be paying more than you did for your 2019s. Ideally, given the economic uncertainty, and the volume of fine Bordeaux available in bottle, savvy châteaux should be selling this at a decent discount to make sense of an en primeur purchase.
Of the 2019 Pomerols that I tasted back in June, a number of good to very good wines have been produced. Top of the tree for me is an undoubted beauty from Château La Conseillante that I have already devoted a post which you can read here. This is amongst the very best of the vintage of the wines I’ve had a chance to look at. The rest of my Pomerol tastings were limited mainly to members of Le Grand Cercle. Amongst these Château Mazeyres, Château Maillet and Château La Clémence [all pictured here] really impressed me. Mazeyres is worth a special mention. This wine is crafted on a biodynamic basis by Alain Moueix and it stood out for its effortless clarity and purity [something which can also be said for Mouiex’s other property Château Fonroque in St Emilion]. There was also a very good performance from Château Lécuyer. Château La Commanderie and Clos Vieux Taillefer were good and solid, if rather chunky. Domaine de L’Eglise, from the Borie-Manoux stable, was sturdy and well-made and Château La Croix du Casse soft and forward.