Bordeaux 2016 looks to be an excellent year for red wines but for the white wines of Pessac-Léognan the results seem uneven. The drought conditions across the summer that lasted well into September have yielded a varied range of wines. Some excellent whites have been made, but there is not the homogeneity of vintages like 2012, 2014 and 2015. A few whites felt flabby, unexpressive and low in acidity. The best, unsurprisingly, came from the finest terroirs that could deal with the dry conditions. Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Château La Mission Haut-Brion and Château Smith Haut Lafitte lead the pack. Château Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Château de Fieuzal, Château Malartic-Lagravière and Château Olivier are not far behind in quality. These are all excellent. Expect Château Bouscaut, Château Haut-Bergey and Château Larrivet Haut-Brion to be very good also. Château Pape Clément, usually up there with the best, felt subdued. Doubtless many whites [Pape Clément included] will all benefit from ‘filling out’ a little during elévage. Still 2016 still doesn’t have the excitement for me of previous white wine vintages here.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc’
The quality of Pessac-Léognan’s dry white wine is exciting in 2014. Whilst the quality of recent vintages has been high here, 2014 looks excellent. Once again there is a salty, saline touch to the wines, which, by and large, display refreshing and moreish acidity but there are plenty of ripe, pretty fruit flavours to be found in the wines too. Overall they will give much enjoyment. These are stylish, impressive white wines with verve and character. If you are a fan of top class white Bordeaux then they are usually worth buying en primeur as, unless you plan a trip to Bordeaux, they are produced in small quantities and can be hard to find.
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.