Basile Tesseron of Lafon Rochet has teamed up with Jean Claude Berrouet, the wine-maker at Petrus for over forty years. Jean Claude also consults at Chateau Lafleur, Certan de May and Petrus. Lafon Rochet has certainly benefited from his light touch. In the past, the wines here had concentration and power, but lacked a bit of finesse and charm. Jean Claude Berrouet favours gentle extractions and refined tannins. This was evident in 2015. Gone are any hints of rusticity. This was all about cool, clear fruit, beautifully delineated flavours and fine, sophisticated tannins. Bravo Basile.
Over on the right bank, the team at Cheval Blanc has released Quinault L’Enclos. This project, situated on the outskirts of Libourne, has been transformed since Pierre Olivier Clouet and his team took control. The Cheval Blanc style of precision and clarity is very apparent. Whilst one cannot claim that this rivals the magnificent Cheval Blanc 2015, it is made in the same mould, with the focus on gentle extraction, elegant flavours and the silkiest of tannins. At £235/12 it offers excellent value for money.
Sticking with the right bank, we also have two of Alain and Pauline Vauthier’s wines: Fonbel and Moulin Saint Georges. Again, these hail from more humble terroir than sister estate, Chateau Ausone, but the same care and devotion goes into the vineyard and vinifications. The results this year are spectacular. The profiles are less wild than normal, but both offer plenty of intoxicating, brambly fruit, lithe mid-palates and long, racy finishes. The Fonbel will provide wonderful early drinking, while the Moulin Saint Georges will be sumptuous in its youth and have the potential to age for a couple of decades.