This post is taken from tastings earlier in the year and compiles notes and scores on nearly thirty white wines from the 2019 Bordeaux vintage. There were considerable variations in styles, across a variety of terroirs. The hot and dry conditions were a challenge for some producers. Sometimes the structure and body that a warm vintage can bring is at the expense of aromatic complexity. Picking dates are also important. Harvest needs to be early enough to retain sufficient acidity and freshness. The danger of harvesting a little late is the wines can feel fat, low in acidity and lack focus. At the top level in 2019, I was especially impressed with Château Smith Haut Lafitte, which has produced another knockout white in Léognan. Château Pape Clément also impressed in Pessac. At the other end of the compass [geographically speaking] were impressive whites from Château Cos d’Estournel [Cos blanc and Pagodes de Cos], drawn from fruit adjacent to the Gironde in the Médoc. I also enjoyed Jean-Luc Thunevin’s rich Château Valandraud Blanc from vineyards in St Emilion. These were the absolute highlights of the whites I tasted.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Pape Clément blanc’
Château Pape Clément was badly affected in volume terms by the damage wrought by the April frost in 2017. At the property, in Bordeaux’s suburbs in Pessac, production for the red was sixty percent down and fifty percent for the whites. Other properties elsewhere in Bordeaux owned by Bernard Magrez were affected even more significantly. Château La Tour Carnet in the Haut-Médoc, for example, lost 70% of production. At Pape Clément, despite the considerably reduced crop, and the knock-on effects in terms of blending options, the quality is excellent. The white is very exciting. It is full and deep but not overblown. The Pape Clément red is typically layered and lush, with lots of black fruits.
Great white wines have been produced by Chateau Pape Clément and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in 2012. Full and sumptuous they have lots of weight and style. Their reds look good too. Pape Clément in particular is an extremely lush offering and benefits from a larger percentage of Merlot [65%] this year, which usually sits 50:50 with the Cabernet. Huge effort was put in at Smith Haut Lafitte during the red wine harvest to mitigate the weather. Amongst other things they doubled their pickers to 200. They have been rewarded with very good wine that has plenty of fruit if slightly firm tannins. Chateau Haul-Bailly is a chewy number at present. I’d expect this to settle as there is plenty of material and extract but it always looks a bit backward early on.
With the first Bordeaux 2010 releases starting to trickle out [at prices that seem on par to 2009] I’ve culled my tasting notes down by score for the vintage for the top thirty reds, the a dozen likely best value reds and then a dozen best dry and sweet whites as I saw it. It’s a snapshot obviously. Hope it’s helpful. The full notes for each chateau review can be found either by backtracking down the previous posts, through the search box or down under the Bordeaux Vintage 2010 profile.