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 Poyferré’
The clues were there. Fewer big gun proprietors stood behind the tables at this year’s Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting. Some château regulars to Covent Garden were missing completely. And the braying roar of excitement from the trade that accompanied the 2009 and 2010 in-bottle tastings was missing here, replaced by a low, gentle, pinstriped murmur, ‘What on earth are we going to do with this vintage?’ I’m exaggerating a little because there were some good Bordeaux reds from 2011 on offer at the tasting, though relatively few set the pulse really racing. The real joy in this vintage is amongst the whites, particularly the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, and the dry whites from Pessac-Léognan, though that’s not much consolation for a region mostly concerned with red wine production.
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.
Château Léoville Poyferré looks very mannered and polished in 2012. The fact that they have managed to wrestle something as refined as they have in this challenging year reflects their exceptional terroir, clearly a huge amount of effort in the vineyard and great attention to detail in the cellar. The results are what Didier Cuvelier describes as 1999 ‘plus, plus’, a wine of surprising concentration and style.