Of the eleven wines from Pauillac shown by the MW Institute, four were absolutely stunning and amongst the best tasted on the day. One of these was Château Mouton Rothschild. No surprise there. The others where Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Château Lynch Bages and the Pichons – Château Pichon Baron and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Evidently these have all produced wines of first growth quality in 2016. On the day Château Pontet Canet, though impressive, felt slightly less fresh than the others. Amongst the rest, Château Batailley and Château Clerc Milon are very good though both felt backward. Château Lynch Moussas and Château Grand Puy-Ducasse have also produced good wines.
Posts Tagged ‘Pauillac’
It’s taken me a while to post these notes on seventy-three wines from the MW Institute’s horizontal 2016 Bordeaux tasting held at the very end of 2021. Looking back on the notes I’m reminded quite what a unique vintage this is. In a decade with at least three other contenders to greatness [2010, 2018 and 2019 – with 2015 also very good] what really impresses in 2016 is the breadth of quality across all Bordeaux’s red appellations and the balance in the wines. They have ripe fruit, juicy acidities and great textures. They are extremely moreish. There’s not the over-extraction that was more common in 2010, nor the exaggerated ripeness of some 2018s, nor the hefty alcohols you can find in the 2019s [though ’19 is a truly wonderful vintage]. Many of these ’16s are well under 14% [with exceptions in St Emilion and Pomerol]. It makes this a Bordeaux vintage to drink without fearing a blinding headache. That said many of the wines have retreated into their shells a fair bit since bottling. You will want to wait to broach wine from Pauillac, St Julien and definitely St Estèphe. Many in St Emilion and Pomerol are now starting to drink well, along with the top wines from Pessac-Léognan. Still there’s no hurry at all really as these wines are so well balanced and fresh. So, what were picks of the MW tasting?
No surprise given what I’ve posted on St Julien in 2019, but Pauillac too has crept into its shell following élevage and bottling. These are strong wines in this excellent vintage, with plenty of extract, alcohol and acidity. Again many will need a decade before they bloom but all the elements are there for a set of classical yet powerful Pauillacs. Of those shown by the UGCB, top of the tree is a monumental effort from Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. This was breathtaking from cask and it continues to show spectacularly well in bottle. Château Pichon Baron is not at all far behind and displays wonderfully pure blackcurrant aromatics. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a beauty, almost seductive in the company of the other properties, and continues to show what a great value wine ‘GPL’ is. Château Batailley‘s 2019 is glossy and intense, chalking up another success at this ever improving estate.
A tasting of wines from 2019 put on by the UGCB last November reinforced my impression of the fine quality of this vintage. I majored on the left bank, having covered the right bank more comprehensively during primeurs tastings back in 2020. Looking over my notes, the wines have certainly retreated into their shells since bottling. Many were quite backward and reticent, especially in Pauillac and St Julien. During primeurs, I felt like 2019 was a mythical blend of 2010 and 2009. They had the intensity of the former with the fruit and texture of the latter, with overall finer tannin and less extraction than back then. Right now I’m wondering if 2019 isn’t closer to a modern 2005, that is to say pretty serious, structured and long-term but with sweeter tannin texture than ‘05. Still, this is a generalisation and that comparison is not true in all cases by any means. Not all Pauillacs and St Juliens were backward for example and there were some especially lush wines in Margaux and the Haut-Médoc for instance. So it’s a complex picture. If you’ve tucked into 2019 [like me] there is certainly nothing to worry about, except that you might have to wait a little longer for the wines to open up than we first imagined. I’ll obviously follow up with more detailed posts by appellation, but in the meantime what were the overall highlights?