This was without question the most exciting commune for reds at the 2008 MW Institute tasting. The same was also true in 2007. The wines are structured but have depth and complexity and overall feel pretty attractive and tasty. With one exception, unlike the other Left Bank appellations, there wasn’t the sense here that the wines were in retreat. Rather the wines seem to be developing well in this vintage. So if you were looking for an appellation to stock up with then do look at 2008 in Pessac-Léognan. The prices are still reasonable, the wines look good, some are drinking nicely already, and they have the structure and depth to take a bit of age.
Posts Tagged ‘Pessac-Léognan’
The MW Institute’s Annual Claret Tasting is almost too much of a good thing. Tasting all one hundred and twenty wines from Bordeaux’s finest districts requires steely determination, nifty footwork and a healthy dollop of over-ambition. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your watch as you’ve only a few hours. Then, just as you think you’ve licked it, tasting St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien, Margaux, Haut-Médoc and Pessac-Léognan back-to-back in the grand Vintners Hall, up come the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, lying in wait in an adjoining room. Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Fortunately, since last year, you can perk up with some fine Sauternes and Barsac at the very end before hailing a taxi cab and finding somewhere to lie down.
In 2011 Pessac-Léognan is a game of two halves. The whites are very attractive, the reds completely irregular. In tricky wet vintages, Pessac-Léognan, with generally well drained gravelly soils, succeeds. Look at 2007 when the region produced some good wines compared with other districts. Drought vintages seem to be more hazardous here and 2011 is in reality a vintage of considerable drought and with other fluctuation for good measure too.
There’s no doubt that 2011 is an inconsistent vintage in Bordeaux. The same problems that affected the region generally also had a big impact in Pauillac. Here, as elsewhere, a combination of drought, a warm, dry spring, followed by a cool autumnal summer, with occasional severe heat spikes, knocked the growth cycle out kilter. Pauillac has some of the greatest terroir on earth of course. It makes it naturally well insured against the most meagre and challenging of years. Given too the extraordinary level of investment in the vineyards and the cellars over the past decade, plus obsessive attention to detail and daily micromanagement at the finest properties, it’s hardly surprising, then, that the best estates here deliver an extremely decent glass of 2011. So much so in fact you almost forget what a tricky harvest this was to grow and vinify. Almost….