2016 Bordeaux: Grand Mayne, Carbonnieux, Gazin, Trottevieille

by Beth Thomas

While Lynch Bages (now sold out) was obviously the big news of yesterday, several other releases are more than worthy of mention.

2016 CHÂTEAU GRAND MAYNE  at £360 per dozen was not only given a terrific note by Neal Martin (94-96), but was also mentioned in his introduction to the vintage: ‘I was deeply impressed by Grand-Mayne this year. No, the terroir is not as propitious as that of Pavie, but Jean-Antoine Nony has rethought his wines and with the valuable assistance of Louis Mitjavile, François’s son, has created the most complex and nuanced wine of his career. The Grand-Mayne is not as powerful as those produced ten or 15 years ago, when it had a tendency to feel overdone. The 2016 is more intense and yet more streamlined, clearly more terroir driven.’ (The Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com). In his note he adds ‘The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, almost Pomerol-like in style with more mineralité and refinement on the finish. This is a new style of Grand-Mayne, and frankly, it is one of the best I have tasted from this Saint Emilion estate.’ This is a fine collection of tasting notes for a wine at £360 and comes recommended.

CHÂTEAU CARBONNIEUX Rouge at £300 per 12 IB is also worth a look. Carbonnieux has gained a lot of respect in Bordeaux in recent vintages,and while it may not have gathered the star status of Smith, Pape Clement or Domaine de Chevalier, it makes very pleasing wines which age very well. Again Neal Martin was very excited by the 2016 ‘What a nuanced and sensual bouquet! The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of ripe, black, graphite-tinged fruit, supremely well-judged acidity and a level of harmony that frankly, I have never encountered on a Carbonnieux. This is a brilliant wine from this Pessac-Léognan estate that has threatened to make a wine this good in the past. – 92-94’. 

CHÂTEAU GAZIN at £355 Per 6 IB is up more than most other releases in Euro terms before any exchange rate effect, which is a bit unnerving, but the success of past vintages in the market seems to support this value. Opinions are divided here – we did not taste this particularly well, but Neal Martin (‘a really marvelous Gazin’, 94-96) and Tim Atkin (‘It’s a wine that steals up on you – I tasted it several times and became increasingly impressed by the construction and the measured delivery of excellence. 94), clearly thought differently.

Finally CHÂTEAU TROTTEVIEILLE  at £350 Per 6 IB was released late in the afternoon. This Saint Emilion owned by the Castéjas of Batailley has also garnered much praise this year, with 93-95 from Neal Martin (‘a lovely grainy texture, great depth and maintains precision all the way through to the finish‘), 95-98 from James Suckling (‘Full-bodied yet tight and gorgeous. Tight and reserved. Such ethereal beauty. Finish goes on for minutes‘), and 92-95 from James Molesworth in the Wine Spectator (‘a lovely sanguine hint weaves through a mix of damson plum, bitter cherry, singed apple wood and dried anise notes’).

CHÂTEAU CARBONNIEUX Blanc  is available at £255 per 12 IB  As we have commented, 2016 was a demanding vintage for white Bordeaux, however despite the tough conditions the Carbonnieux Blanc was a pleasing success when we tasted it in April. Bright and nuanced, with good depth, the 2016 hits all the right notes’ says Antonio Galloni, Tim Atkin says that this is a wine that ‘rarely disappoints and this is no exception’.