There’s lots of freshness, structure and grippy fruit evident in the wines of St Julien now they are in bottle. 2011 doesn’t have the excitement of the two glorious vintages that preceded it. In fact it’s a bit of a freezing cold shower by comparison. What we seem to have are elegant, tightly structured reds that should work out OK in the mid-term but there is certainly a lot of grip and acid present in most of the wines just now. Perhaps more than any other appellation, save for Pauillac, [notes up next], these wines demand time in the cellar [though not too much time mind]. In five to eight years they should make reasonable medium weight wines though many will still be introspective and lean.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Léoville Barton’
I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly knocked over by the showing of the wines of St Julien in 2012 despite two detailed passes of the commune on separate days. Yes the best are correct enough and will make decent wine, but many don’t set the pulse racing, or offer the immediate charm of the best properties in the Margaux or Pessac-Léognan appellations or the potential of the even better wines on the right bank. Overall they feel a bit joyless, like the vintage rain has dampened their spirits. Unless they are released at prices less than available vintages now, few make sense as an en primeur purchase today.
St Julien has made an extremely serious fist of 2010. It’s the polar opposite of 2009 and possesses a weight, density and integrity all of its own. It feels like a hypothetical blend here of 2005 and 2000 with a bit of 1986 thrown in, though far better handled in the vineyard and in the cellar than ’86 was in those days. Now in bottle, these wines mean business, and you’ll be keeping them there a while. They need ten years age minimum, twenty at the top level, but at maturity they have the potential to be remarkable. If 2009 is considered a latter day 1959, then, in time, could 2010 be the 1961 of its generation?
Once again the overall feeling here in St Julien is of wines that have shut down, drawn into themselves and left their raw elements exposed. This is probably as you’d expect in a fairly cool, ‘classical’ Bordeaux vintage like 2008. There is sufficient depth of fruit in most of the wines for them to develop well in the medium term and you do feel that they need that time, now that they are caught out in No-Man’s Land, with all their hard edges poking out.