Our plans to taste the latest releases from Chateau Margaux face to face (at a safe distance!) with the team from the Chateau were thwarted last week by complications with travel for the Bordeaux contingent. We had been heading into London to the Mentzelopoulos family's Marylebone outpost - Clarette (the wine bar owned by Alexandra Petit Mentzelopoulos).
There have been a fair number of ‘ifs’ about the 2019 Bordeaux En Primeur. The first and perhaps biggest was the ‘if it would happen’. With most of the world in various states of lockdown, Primeur week cancelled and critics unable to taste, the situation in April looked pretty bleak.
On Wednesday we published our immediate thoughts on the wines of the Right Bank (see 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur: Right Bank Roundup). Here are our first impressions from the other side of the river and a list of wines we felt were outstanding within their quality level or commune.
We will touch down at Mérignac airport early on Sunday morning and fly straight into the 2018 Bordeaux en primeur tastings. Judgement will be reserved until all the barrels have been sampled but here are some early impressions of the vintage and thoughts on the upcoming campaign.
This afternoon we have the release of Bruno Borie’s much praised Ducru Beaucaillou 2014 (£750/12). Like Léoville las Cases (£895/12, released on Friday) Ducru has been said by critics to be close to, or even equal to the quality of the First Growths, but at less than half the price.
Allow us to tempt you with a perfect selection to see you over the Easter break. Of course, you'll be chomping away on a joint of Spring lamb with the family on Sunday, something that'll be washed down luxuriantly by the Château Paloumey 2009 Haut-Médoc - classic Bordeaux, superb vintage, great balance, ripe fruit and class.
A recent article by Victoria Moore in the Telegraph spoke of the ancient vines belonging to Stéphane Dief of Clos Manou – and pointed to his 2009 CLOS MANOU Médoc as a top value ‘under the radar’ wine.
Supple, but with generous red fruit defined by silky tannins, this elegant claret would be ideal with a piece of roast top-side beef, possibly lamb, or just to drink on its own. Excellent value.
‘Deep dark colour, an obviously ripe Cabernet nose, as one might expect of a 2009, with some oakiness. Fleshy and expansive on the palate, with good volume of ripe dark berry fruit and soft feel of ripe tannins.
The following wines have been released by Château Latour in small volumes. These wines represent the last releases from the property for these wines, and the last chance to buy ex-chateau stock. They come with proof-tags and back labels saying they are the 2014 release.
2013 Grand Puy Lacoste (£340) was voted one of the best value wines in a poll around the wine trade before the campaign began this year, but at around this price there are several mature and drinkable vintages around the market so this seems to have been a bit premature.