There are lots of great wines in Pessac-Léognan in the 2016 vintage. You’d expect superlative efforts from the likes of Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion. But there are also magnificent wines from the appellation’s defacto first growths Château Haut-Bailly and Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Brilliant, yet contrasting red wines have been made here. Fractionally outside this club, but only fractionally, is Domaine de Chevalier. Year in, year out this is one of the highest quality, dependable but won’t [entirely] ‘break-the-bank’ reds in all of Bordeaux. Fine wines have also been made at Château Bouscaut, Château Fieuzal, Château Malartic Lagravière. Château Latour Martillac is drinking well, already offering textbook earthy Graves. That said, overall, at the top level these are still wines that need another two or three years in bottle to get really into gear. In some senses a few have crept into their shells since earlier tastings. These will improve further in complexity over the next decade and expect them to last well into the middle of the century.
Posts Tagged ‘Petit Verdot’
Overall, 2016 looks to be an impressive, comparatively homogenous vintage in Margaux in quality terms. This is something of an achievement in this large, heterogenous appellation. In recent tastings I’ve found the appellation more consistent than it was a decade ago. It is a large commune with varied soils and blends, so sometimes it feels one is comparing apples and oranges but, on the whole, the winemaking today seems gentler and less overly extractive than before. Likewise, new oak levels have come down. There is more emphasis on purity of fruit expression in the wines which is a good thing. So, what were the picks of the wines shown by the MW Institute? The line-up lacked Château Palmer, but Château Margaux [pictured left during primeurs in spring 2017] was there in all it’s glory. It has made fabulous wine in 2016. Not far behind though is a magnificent effort from Château Brane Cantenac and there is also a very strong wine from Château Rauzan Ségla.
In early October I had the opportunity to taste a set of wines spanning the last decade from the Médoc property Château Loudenne with General Manager Philippe de Poyferré. I’ve been particularly struck by the quality of the wines here in recent years at tastings in Bordeaux. This was a chance to look at the wines in detail, following significant investments in the estate over the last six years, after it came into new ownership in 2013. It’s a property I’m familiar with. A good friend of mine from university worked at Loudenne in the early 1990s. He shared bottles from the 1989 and 1990 vintages, which I remember showing plenty of extract and structure. More recently the Loudenne 2014 and 2015 vintages caught my eye during primeurs visits and this year again, with an exciting 2019.
Well there is no doubting the richness of Château Calon Ségur in 2019. They have produced another profound St Estèphe to rival 2018 here. For me that remarkable wine still pips this 2019, but only just. Château Calon Ségur is decadent, verging on the unctuous in 2019. It displays beautiful blackcurrant and violent scented fruit and there is a boatload of ripe extract and tannin here too. The 2018 felt a fraction more nimble from memory, but I’d really like to see these two vintages side by side when there bottled. Obviously 2019 is a terrific wine regardless of the comparison. Both Le Marquis de Calon Ségur and Château Capbern weigh in at a heady 15.1% alcohol. Le Marquis impressed much more. It has plenty of rich fruit and volume and feels decadent almost.