For me the wines of the Haut-Médoc performed much better than I feared during primeurs 2013. Expecting the worst, I was generally encouraged and came away feeling that many had made the best of the poor hand the growing season had dealt them. There were casualties though. Château Malescasse and Château La Lagune will not release 2013s. Nevertheless Château Cantemerle [as ever], Château Belle-Vue and Château La Tour Carnet have produced good wines. Château Cissac, Château Belgrave, Château de Camensac and Château Larose-Trintaudon were also encouraging and should offer good value.
Posts Tagged ‘Cru Bourgeois’
The Margaux appellation has struggled more than most in 2013. A great many wines tasted at the Union des Grand Crus tasting were in a kind of no-man’s land. The delicate fruit tones of 2013 had been worked too much in quite a few cases, rendering them chewy and extracted yet with puckering levels of acidity. Some very good wines have still been made. I’ve posted separately on Château Margaux and Château Palmer. Both stand out as beacons of hope but neither are what you might call affordable. Elegant efforts from Château Angludet, Château Giscours and Château du Tertre are pure and vigorous and worth considering if you’re a Margaux fan [like me]. Château Rauzan-Ségla and Château Brane-Cantenac, Château d’Issan and Château Lascombes, should also work out well too. The disappointments seem more to do with approaches to the vintage in the cellar as much as the problems that 2013 presented itself. In some respects many of the Margaux wounds are self-inflicted.
Well that was an interesting primeurs week. Bordeaux 2011 is a fascinating vintage, though not for the reasons most of the producers would have liked. It’s a tricky, difficult year for the reds, because of the topsy-turvy nature of the growing season and a series of extreme events. First was the heat of the spring, more like summer, which led to rapid and precocious development in the vines. It pointed to the earliest ever harvest in Bordeaux’s history. Continuing drought followed by rain led the vines on a stop/start cycle and bunch ripeness became irregular. Searing days of heat in June [40C] also burnt the grapes in some places. Violent hail at the very beginning of September threatened to destroy a year’s crop inside half an hour in St Estèphe and rain in Bordeaux then, and in mid-September, also threatened a spread of rot, the fear of which may have led some producers to harvest grapes lacking in phenolic ripeness. Those who waited profited. Anyone working from a recipe book in this vintage was destined for trouble. It’s being described by many as a ‘technical’ vintage. It is certainly one that seems to separate the men from the boys.
Less joy for me in this appellation in 2010 than in 2009s. The latter look more seductive and wondrous by comparison. Only a few estates have produced wines of comparable quality in my mind, Chateau Belgrave and especially Chateau Cantemerle spring to mind. Chateau La Lagune is also very good. I expected more from Chateau La Tour Carnet but there is just too much Magrez make-up [ie new oak] and the pedal feels pushed right to the floor. Overall there is a lot of dry tannin and grip dominating the fruit in a great many cases. They will settle of course but I’d opt for any remaining 2009s still on the market now. You could be taking delivery of these next year and be drinking them from the off. As good as some are in 2010 you’ll be waiting an age for them to settle. It’s a case of chalk and cheese.