Several wonderful red wines have been made in Pessac-Léognan this year but the real successes are amongst the whites, not just up at the highest echelons but further down there are many refreshing, fruity white wines to be had too. The very best are rich, weighty, almost fat, with a fraction less zip than 2011, but very attractive nevertheless. The reds? I found them a little bit of a mixed bunch. There is no doubt that the wet weather caused problems for the Cabernets as it did elsewhere. Some of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, while certainly ‘fresh’, were often angular in tannin, and many are a bit ‘grippy’ and ‘chewy’, even despite the fat, ripe Merlot on offer. My overall feeling with these is that you need to tread carefully. That said, it’s clear that great effort was put in by proprietors to try and make the very best reds they could in a challenging year, one that got increasingly so as the harvest progressed.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau La Louvière’
Not for the first time does Pessac-Léognan stake a claim to making the most consistent and attractive wines in a single Bordeaux vintage. No mean feat when you’re producing dry white and dry red. Bordeaux 2010 is clearly a vintage of superlatives at the top level, but across the board here in Pessac-Léognan there are excellent wines. You can’t escape the vintage character – why would you want to – so there’s plenty of extract, density and tannin in the reds but there’s also wonderfully bright, refreshing acidity. That too makes the whites even better for me than in 2009, with a bit more freshness and zip, though 2011 probably trumps both [for whites].
In 2011 Pessac-Léognan is a game of two halves. The whites are very attractive, the reds completely irregular. In tricky wet vintages, Pessac-Léognan, with generally well drained gravelly soils, succeeds. Look at 2007 when the region produced some good wines compared with other districts. Drought vintages seem to be more hazardous here and 2011 is in reality a vintage of considerable drought and with other fluctuation for good measure too.
Graves and Pessac-Léognan looked strong in 2009 at the primeurs tastings and the wines look extremely composed now they are in bottle. The white wines are big, not delicate or especially aromatic, but powerful certainly. Chateau Pape Clément, Chateau de Fieuzal, Domaine de Chevalier, Chateau Malartic-Lagravière and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte are super but Chateaux Carbonnieux, Bouscaut, Olivier, La Louvière and Latour Martillac were also very good. Overall the reds have moved on very well indeed and Chateau Pape Clément and Chateau Haut Bailly are remarkable and of first growth quality. Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte and Chateau Malartic-Lagravière are close behind. The truth is that there are excellent wines all over the appellation and I was also impressed with Larrivet Haut-Brion, Olivier, La Louvière. At the value end Chateau Pique Caillou also looked a good buy. I only had time to taste the Graves whites and de Chantegrive and Rahoul looked good.