Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Day 4, Wednesday 5th April
In anticipation of another big day in Bordeaux, we left at first light, with a long drive up the Medoc. Our first tasting of the day kicked off with Calon Segur at 8.30am where we talked through the 2016 vintage with my old friend Laurent Dufau, a very informative and engaging meeting; really liked their entry level St Estephe, Capbern. A really pretty wine with lovely texture, energy and purity. Calon Segur did not disappoint, in fact it shone. From Calon Segur we headed to Montrose to taste Tronquoy- Lalande, Dame de Montrose and Chateau Montrose. As you would expect Montrose was the winner in terms of power and structure, however, the wine that really impressed me was their second wine, Dame de Montrose.
Sticking to our schedule we followed Montrose with Cos D’Estournel and Chateau Lafite. This year, Cos has been toned down a little, now around 13% alcohol, although powerful, the tannins were very fine and it oozed harmony and class. The tasting at Lafite was also impressive. Duhart Milon and Lafite were outstanding. For me the Lafite was the best since 2010..it had real power yet such sophistication.
Sun still shinning we headed to Chateau Mouton Rothschild for an equally impressive tasting. I was charmed by D’Armailhac and Petit Mouton and really impressed by Clerc Milon and Mouton Rothschild. The team were delighted to see a fellow Yorkshireman in the spotlight with David Hockney illustrating the label for Mouton 2014.
Still with two more tasting to do before lunch we headed back into Pauillac town to Grand Puy Lacoste to taste the very pretty Lacoste Borie and my personal favourite mid-range Pauillac, Grand Puy Lacoste. Emilie talked us through the wines, unfortunately she informed us that Haut Batailley had been sold to the Cazes Family from Lynch Bages and was therefore unavailable to taste.
From Grand Puy Lacoste it was back across Pauillac town to Pontet Canet. This wine is definitely back on top form offering wonderful purity, generous fruit and serious focus. Not at the dizzy heights of the 2009 and 2010, however, definitely in the 94-95 points category, although I try not to score wines from the barrel. It was Robert’s pick of the day.
After an impressive lunch at Pontet Canet with “guess the vintage” for the lunch wine, (Robert and Andrew, the En Primeur rookies guessed rightly as 2007, beating six of us seasonal pros!!) we then headed to the UGC St Estephe and Pauillac tasting at Chateau Batailley where we speed tasted a whole host a great wines.. Les Ormes de Pez, Cos, Latour, Lynch Bages and Batailley to name a few.
From Batailley, our next stop was to Leoville Lascases to taste all the Domaine Delon wines…I sometimes struggle with the Leoville Lascases at this stage from the barrel, however, I think it is the best I have tasted from the barrel, which I put down to the lateness of the harvest and quality of the tannins.
Ducru Beaucaillou was next, Lalande Borie showed really well, often one of our St Julien star buys. The La Croix de Beaucaillou, has changed its name again to La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. Both it and the Ducru Beaucaillou I felt were too big and concentrated for my palate, more suited to Robert Parker’s taste I think.
With half an hour to spare before our tasting at Chateau Latour we headed to the UGC Saint Julien tasting at Chateau Talbot, here we only managed to taste half the wines before rushing to Latour, tasting the 2005 Latour, their latest release. It really is a tough job at times!
From Latour we when to Pichon Comtesse Lalande and Pichon Longueville Baron to re-taste the wines we had tried at the UGC Pauillac tasting. Both these wines showed much better at the Chateau. Pichon Lalande was my favourite…looks like it could be in my top 10 again this year. Absolutely gorgeous. It’s doesn’t have the muscle and power of the Baron but has wonderful purity and focus. A queen amongst nobles.
With half an hour before the UGC closes at 6pm we had just enough time to taste the second half of the UGC Saint Julien’s before heading back to Bordeaux Lac for a quick change, brush of teeth and into Bordeaux for dinner.
Another huge day and our first on the left bank with 14 Chateaux and tastings complete. Not much rest as we are due back in Margaux at Chateau D’Issan at 8.30am tomorrow!