Out this morning are the single vineyard wines from Jonathan Maltus, Vieux Château Mazerat (£630) and Les Astéries. These Saint Emilions have have rave reviews and are worth a look.
Our own favourite, which it has been consistently, is Les Astéries (£720), a wine with a healthy proportion of Cabernet Franc as well as a seam of the hard limestone ‘calcaire d’astéries’ under the vineyard, which was crucial for freshness in the vintage. As Tim Atkin puts it (making it one of his top ten right bank reds of the vintage), ‘it’s a triumph: refreshing, nuanced and bright, with fine, chalky tannins and succulent black fruits. Not cheap, but worth it.’ 95/100 (from Tim’s masterly Bordeaux report available on www.timatkin.com). Also 93 Decanter, 92-94 Neal Martin.
‘Bad-boy’ garagiste Jean-luc Thunevin has released his Château Valandraud (£1125). This is very highly rated too – 95-97 from Neal Martin, 98-99 James Suckling, 93-96 Antonio Galloni, 94 James Lawther (Decanter) and 94-97 The Wine Spectator. We only saw one sample, in a tasting in the Médoc, and wished we’d seen it closer to its home. The price is half the release price of the 2010, and it is considerably cheaper than any comparable vintage.
Also out today is the Jean-Philippe Janoueix Pomerol Château la Croix Saint Georges (£380). We were a bit underwhelmed by the sample we saw, but Neal Martin gives it 92-94, ‘a sophisticated Pomerol, classy and full of breeding, in other words an excellent wine from Jean-Philippe Janoueix. This is well worth investigating’.
Finally, at a more bargain end of the scale, there is a Pessac-Léognan which has been making great strides. ‘This is one of the best wines from Château Olivier (£210) in recent years, thanks to its greater depth and harmony. Laurent Lebrun has done a great job here’ as Neal Martin says, giving it 90-92, and Tim Atkin praises its ‘crunchy red and black fruits, refined but grippy tannins and a long finish’ rating it 93.