April 8, 2017
Friday. The last day of our marathon tasting tour of BDX16.
A nice lie in rising at 7am to pack the car up and head to Sauternes, after our nightmare trip last year we gave the Rocade an extra half an hour for their appalling traffic arriving at Chateau Climens with 7 mins to spare.
Bérenice was on great form and so was her beautiful 2016 Climens, wonderful purity on all 12 barrel samples we tasted from different pickings in total there were two main “tries”; the first 28th September to 7th October and then the second from 18th to 22nd October as the quality of the botrytis was first class.
From Chateau Climens we headed to Chateau d’Yquem, partly so Robert and Andrew could see the property, partly to remind ourselves on how the 2016 was showing and compare it to the Climens.
We then headed to Chateau Pape Clement to taste Bernard Magrez’s impressive range of Cru Classé. Pape Clement was a real delight with plenty of power yet wonderful freshness and elegance. With still the taste in our mouth we headed to the airport to catch our flight back home and thoughts turn to the dark, sophisticated Theakstons with a creamy top… With just over 60 chateaux visited in 4 1/2 days of intensive tasting, black teeth which would even frighten the mother-in-law and roughly about 500 wines tasted, we feel we have a good understand about the vintage.
In conclusion, it is a unique vintage due to its low maturation over the summer and the Indian summer helped ripen the tannins yet the cool nights helped maintain freshness and acidity. The result is lower alcohol levels than normal so most wines are coming in at a healthy 13% ABV, rather than 14+% in vintages such as 2009 & 2010. The best wines have this wonderful ripeness and purity with plenty of freshness and energy that makes you want to drink them straight away. It is a very good year without being exceptional, therefore scoring the vintage 9 out of 10. It’s impossible to pull out a particular region or grape varietal; Cabernet Franc has done really well which can often struggle with ripeness. Cabernet Sauvignon on the left bank seems to have slightly outperformed the Merlot if you analyse many of the blends compared to their vineyards holdings. On a Sauternes front, it was a bit of a mixed bag as the purity and quality of the botrytis is very good, however, some of the wines are very high in grams of sugar with wines like Chateau Coutet having 153 grams per litre. Great for those with a big sweet tooth! Dry whites in places lacked a bit of focus and density, charming in places but I would score 8 out of 10.
Our wines of the vintage and personal favourites will be published next week. We hope you’ve enjoyed our trip and thoughts, let’s hope for fair prices.Read More