Bordeaux 2011 – Labégorce, Du Tertre, Monbrison, 1st Vintage of Mauvesin Barton

by Charles Lea

Bordeaux 2011 – Labégorce, Du Tertre, Monbrison,  1st Vintage of Mauvesin Barton

So, Robert Parker’s notes and those of Neal Martin are published (on www.erobertparker.com), and an interesting comparison they make as always, with what seems to me to be a clear divide along stylistic grounds. I seem to be more in the Martin than Parker camp on most differences, but this will be one to explore further.

This morning has, as predicted, seen a number of wines put on the market following the French May Day celebrations.

First off the blocks was Fonplégade, a Saint Emilion under American ownership, Michel Rolland as consultant, and Parker as cheerleader (92-94 points no less). I have to admit to tasting this once only and finding it oaky and blocky, but others (all Americans) have liked it more. If Parker points are it, then this offers high points for modest price and I promise not to think less of you if you follow his advice here.

Second up is Château Labégorce, a resurgent Margaux which we recommended last year, and which has continued in the same vein this year, and which is therefore recommended again. The price is not dramatically lower (£183 last year), but then it was a bargain last year too and the quality is similar: ‘supremely focused with a delectable, feminine poised finish that is fresh and natural (91-93 )’ says Neal Martin (www.erobertparker.com). Interesting we both used the word ‘natural’ to describe this wine. £159 does not feel like too much for this.

The response to Château du Tertre seems to be a broad consensus, if with slightly grudging ‘points’ from Robert Parker. It is, as always, a solid value lower-end Cru Classé in a modern style. It is down 12% in Euro terms on the 2010 price.

The Bartons have bought a new property, Château Mauvesin Barton, a Cru Bourgeois in Moulis, and this is offered at £112 per case. This may be a reasonable price compared with some other Moulis wines, but, as a relatively unknown quantity it does make it more than some top-performing Haut-Médocs like Cambon la Pelouse which may seem safer bets. Quite fun to have the first vintage of a new property all the same.

It seems I am the one slightly out of step on Château Monbrison, the other notes are consistently slightly better than mine so this may be worth a look.

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