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Posts Tagged ‘Château Mangot’

Bordeaux 2023: Château Valandraud et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Turning up to Château Valandraud is always a mouth-watering prospect. There are fewer wines now on tasting at the refurbished château than there used to be at the tiny cellars beside Jean Luc Thunevin’s home in St Emilion, but it’s still one to get the juices going. While focus is always on the hedonistic Valandraud grand vin itself, I always spend at lot of time looking at the entire range, which is where the value here lies. I’ve been visiting his cellars now for over a decade during primeurs and I’ve been consistently impressed by Domaine de Sabines in Lalande de Pomerol, Clos Badon in St Emilion and Le Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol. These wines do not disappoint in 2023, though there is a freshness and lightness of touch this year in keeping with the vintage. Jean Luc continues to consult for lots of properties on the right bank and I was particularly impressed with Château Mangot this year, alongside Château Sansonnet. What of Château Valandraud itself in 2023? It is inky and bold and definitely needs time.

Bordeaux 2023 Primeurs – First Thoughts

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

What a difference a year makes. Bordeaux 2023 is stylistically light years apart from 2022. That generalisation is based in this case on tasting a hundred or so wines really centred on St Emilion in late April. Yes there is freshness, energy and drive to the nascent wines – they are perhaps more quintessential ‘Bordeaux’ in style than some recent vintages – but there is also heterogeneity. There is not the richness or mid palate weight of the 2022 vintage, or the evenness in quality, but the best wines from St Emilion and Bordeaux’s right bank show brightness and purity in 2023. The difference largely comes down to the weather. The 2023 growing season presented plenty of challenges across Bordeaux. A generally warm and humid year for much of the vegetative cycle, these conditions lead to considerable mildew pressure in the vineyards, challenges that required constant vigilance and affected some properties more than others. While high summer was warm it wasn’t hugely sunny. There were storms in June and there wasn’t the major water deficit that defines the exceptional years. That said there were some heat spikes and as the later growing season progressed the weather became drier, hotter and much sunnier and the vintage was harvested in generally dry, very good conditions. Overall though this is not a solar vintage like 2022 or 2018, and this might be something a relief for some consumers, with the wines perhaps truer to their terroirs and types.

Bordeaux 2020: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

It’s always difficult to generalise about the wines in St Emilion, such are the complexities of terroir and the variations of winemaking and viticultural approaches. Still, I think it’s pretty safe to say that 2020 is another exciting vintage here in the heart of the right bank. In terms of the broader overview, alcohols are down slightly on the heady numbers in 2019, and it feels as if there is greater freshness in the 2020s than in the last couple of years. These wines feel well balanced and delicious in this vintage, with attractive textures and supple creamy tannins. On the best limestone and clay-limestone terroirs the wines are fabulous. The summer was dry, and conditions were even drier here than on the left bank. Some properties on sandier soils may have run into trouble with vine stress but generally I was very impressed by the wines here at this early stage. The following post contains notes on forty châteaux. It’s slightly less comprehensive than usual and I hope to fill in some of the gaps with further tastings over the coming months.

Bordeaux 2018: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Many delicious wines have been made in St Emilion in 2018. This is a vintage with the most sumptuous, sublime fruit. While the wines do not have the magical balance of 2016 or 2015, with their fresher acidities, on the best terroirs there are a range of wines here that rival 2009 in character for sheer exotic ripeness and joy, but without the evident over-extraction that characterised the appellation a decade ago. Yes, these are wines with plenty of tannin, enviably ripe tannin, and in all but a few cases I would confidently expect the wines to settle by bottling. As in 2009 this will be a vintage that will drink well from the very beginning, but that has the evident structure to last.

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