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Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Thienpont’

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 Primeurs 2022: Château Larcis Ducasse and Château Pavie-Macquin

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Château Larcis Ducasse and Château Pavie-Macquin are two of my favourite wines in St Emilion [although I confess to having quite a few in the appellation!]. Both are managed by Nicolas Thienpont and his team, both are quite different. Larcis has a wonderful eleven hectare spot on the sunny, terraced south west facing Côte de Pavie. It is a very solar location. Its wines are typically lush and sensual. They are the classic iron fist in a velvet glove – almost more akin to terrific Grand Gru Burgundy than Bordeaux. They also have a magical ability to age. Château Pavie Macquin is often more obviously powerful and structured. It has more varied terroir with a number of different parcels across the St Emilion limestone plateau. Typically, there is slightly more Cabernet Franc in the blend with a spot of Cabernet Sauvignon too. Both properties have made superlative wines in 2022. There is not a hairs breadth between the two qualitatively speaking, though they as ever they are quite different stylistically. I had the pleasure of tasting both in the cellars at Château Larcis Ducasse with winemaker David Suire who works with Nicolas Thienpont.

Bordeaux 2020: Château Pavie Macquin and Château Larcis Ducasse

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The Nicolas Thienpont range looks excellent in 2020. The jewels in the line up here are Château Pavie Macquin and Château Larcis Ducasse, two super impressive St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé. Stylistically these are always chalk and cheese. The former is usually super powerful and bold, the latter is as pure and beautiful as St Emilion gets. The emphasis of Nicolas Thienpont and his son Cyrille, along with winemaking colleague David Suire, is always on the purity of expression of the terroir and not on turbocharged hijinks in the cellar. It is a shame that this team are no longer involved with making Château Beauséjour [HDL], but that’s another story. In the Côtes de Francs, the well-known Château Puygueraud looks very good and their Castillon, Château Alcée, is knockout [as are a number of wines in this appellation in 2020].

Bordeaux 2019: Larcis Ducasse, Pavie Macquin and Beauséjour [HDL]

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Another set of brilliant wines have been made in 2019 at the properties that Nicolas Thienpont manages in St Emilion. Château Larcis Ducasse, Château Pavie Macquin and Château Beauséjour [héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse] are always flagship estates for me in terms of purity and refinement. Tasting them is never less than a joy. 2019 marks the fifth vintage in a row that these properties are successful. Great wines have been made 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (and 2014 was no embarrassment either). The 2019s are most reminiscent of the 2016s in many respects. Yet whilst they do have something of the fabulous texture of that vintage, they carry their power more noticeably, more in the way that 2010 did. 2019 is evidently a brilliant vintage at all these properties. While they rival 2016, qualitatively there are differences. As David Suire put it, “If the 2016 was a vintage that came down from the sky and the stars, 2019 is a vintage that has come up from the earth.” This evident classic minerality also makes 2019 stand in contrast to the exuberant joys of the 2018s here too.

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