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Posts Tagged ‘St Emilion’

Bordeaux 2018: MW Institute St Emilion Tasting

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

A relatively small spread of 2018s were on show at the MW Institute back in late ’22. There is evidence that some of the wines shown were shutting down a little. This was certainly true of Château Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Fonplégade on the basis of the tasting. Château Troplong Mondot ’18 lies somewhere between its almost over-the-top past and a more elegant future. Under the tenure of Aymeric de Gironde since 2017 it now most definitely driven by the emphasis on finesse and poise, but this ’18 feels a little closer to the former than the latter. Château Figeac is clearly on a roll. The wines in recent vintages here have been breath-taking, but so too is the asking price these days. Domaine Dillon’s Château Quintus has yet to really grab me to be honest. On the showing at this tasting the wine was of almost Zinfandel-like portiness. The 15.5% alcohol is very noticeable.

Bordeaux 2023: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

I’ve already posted thoughts on a number of leading properties in St Emilion in 2023. In addition to these visits, I also spent a morning tasting blind those St Emilion Grand Cru Classés at the Grand Cercle press event. I’ve included detailed thoughts on these properties in this post in addition to my earlier notes. Combined there are reviews here on just under thirty wines from the appellation in 2023. At the Grand Cercle event I was especially impressed with Château Grand Corbin Despagne, Château La Croizille, Château de Pressac, Clos Debreuil and Château Destieux. These wines had depth and style and fine texture. I also enjoyed Château La Marzelle and the biodynamic Château Fonroque. Overall, these Grand Cru Classés are different stylistically to the wines made at these properties in 2022, reflecting the elegance of the 2023s overall. While they lack the concentration and sheer volume of the ‘22s, they offer delicacy and more evident freshness and are by no means lacking concentration in their own right. It will be fascinating to follow the progress of the ’22 and ’23 vintages in St Emilion down the years.

Bordeaux 2023: Clos Fourtet

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

It was great catching up with Matthieu Cuvelier at Clos Fourtet back in April. It’s now been twenty years since the Cuvelier family bought this stunning Premier Grand Cru Classé St Emilion property. It sits on exceptional terroir atop St Emilion’s limestone plateau just beside the town of St Emilion itself. It has gone from strength to strength under their management and recent vintages here have widely been seen as exceptional. It’s also been just over a decade since they purchased Grand Cru Classé, Château Côte de Baleau and sixteen years since they acquired Château Poujeaux, the jewel in the crown of left bank appellation Moulis. The Cuveliers have proved diligent custodians of these properties, fine tuning the approaches and getting the absolute best from these terroirs. These improvements have also been to the benefit of consumers as prices haven’t risen sharply in relation to quality. Clos Fourtet remains more reasonably priced than some other leading St Emilion properties and Châteaux Poujeaux remains one of Bordeaux’s great fine wine values. So how have all these properties faired in 2023?

Bordeaux 2023: Château Valandraud et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Turning up to Château Valandraud is always a mouth-watering prospect. There are fewer wines now on tasting at the refurbished château than there used to be at the tiny cellars beside Jean Luc Thunevin’s home in St Emilion, but it’s still one to get the juices going. While focus is always on the hedonistic Valandraud grand vin itself, I always spend at lot of time looking at the entire range, which is where the value here lies. I’ve been visiting his cellars now for over a decade during primeurs and I’ve been consistently impressed by Domaine de Sabines in Lalande de Pomerol, Clos Badon in St Emilion and Le Clos du Beau Père in Pomerol. These wines do not disappoint in 2023, though there is a freshness and lightness of touch this year in keeping with the vintage. Jean Luc continues to consult for lots of properties on the right bank and I was particularly impressed with Château Mangot this year, alongside Château Sansonnet. What of Château Valandraud itself in 2023? It is inky and bold and definitely needs time.

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