Leoville Barton, Branaire Ducru, Lagrange, Lascombes and Climens

Leoville Barton, Branaire Ducru, Lagrange, Lascombes and Climens
Well, we were expecting a quiet week before Vinexpo - how wrong we were. Yesterday afternoon Pontet Canet (795GBP/12) released with plenty of fanfare and promptly sold out in Bordeaux. Even later in the day, Bruno Borie offered Croix de Beaucaillou (£320/12) and Lalande Borie (£180/12), two wines we highly recommend. And the pace continues to step up. This morning we have news from a trio of St Julien Chateaux: Leoville Barton, Branaire Ducru and Lagrange, as well as Lascombes and Climens.

St Julien was one of the most consistent and highest performing communes in 2015. Leoville Barton (£580/12) was right up there with the best of the best – this is a monumental, hugely concentrated wine with a score of 94-96 from The Wine Advocate. It is a true Leoville Barton that will delight its legion of devoted fans, with perhaps a little more refinement and elegance than normal. It is almost certainly as good as any of the truly great Leoville Barton vintages, and likely to wow drinkers for two decades or more. Patrick Maroteaux’s Branaire Ducru also put in a very strong performance. It isn’t a blockbuster like the Leoville; it is a graceful, charming wine with plenty of breed that will be a joy to drink in 10 years’ time. Lagrange by contrast is always sinewy and a bit mean. Even in a great vintage like 2015, it’s hard to love. You can have a lot more fun with Croix de Beaucaillou or Lalande Borie!

Further south in the commune of Margaux, Chateau Lascombes (£535/12) has released. This is not a wine or a style we particularly fond of. Malescot St Exupery (£370/12) offers far more class and much better value for money.

Continuing our journey southwards, from the misty vineyards of Barsac, we have what will be the most celebrated sweet wine of the 2015 campaign. Yquem is unlikely to release, so Climens (£510/12), very much gets top billing. Alas, we didn’t have time to visit Bérénice, but her wine gets a whopping 96-98 points from Neal Martin. We’re sure it’ll be a stunner.