After weeks of stuttering starts, Bordeaux awoke today and meant serious business. First out of the traps was Didier Cuvelier’s excellent Leoville Poyferre. This second growth St Julien is the most exuberant and lavish of all the Leovilles. We were fortunate to taste many barrels in February with their winemaker, Didier Thomann, and we were stunned by the opulence of the components. Tasting the final blend in April was fascinating – the assemblage is a wine of tremendous depth, with a more serious and brooding character than the individual components displayed. This is a grand-scale wine, a true ‘Super-Second’, that will be considerably cheaper than most of its peers. If you missed out on Leoville Barton, don’t panic, pick up a Poyferre.
Also, from St Julien, and also a second growth, Gruaud Larose is available at £485 per dozen. This was the most classy and sophisticated Gruaud we have tasted for many years – cool damson and brambly fruit wrapped in a corset of fine tannins. Hopefully this heralds a new era for Gruaud.
An estate that has been on fine form for many years, yet still continues to strive for even greater results is Calon Segur. Laurent Duffau is honest about the 2015 vintage; there was some rain at the beginning of September, so Calon doesn’t have the depth and mid-palate of some of its more southerly contemporaries. However, this is a strikingly pure and refined Calon that will be a joy to drink in ten years’ time - a Calon of great clarity and purpose.
The final release of the morning is Cantenac Brown from Margaux. We don’t generally fall under the spell of this chateau. It has a habit of over working the wine, or at least that’s the impression we get. The 2015 was a revelation. It is a big, punchy wine, but it has real grace and is, well, very ‘Margaux’. Well done to the team here. It may not be as massive as the 2009 was from barrel, but we think this is more harmonious and more authentic. At £350 per dozen it is a fair price, but perhaps the Malescot St Exupery at £370 per dozen is even more compelling.