Bordeaux 2018: The Guinaudeau wines

Bordeaux 2018: The Guinaudeau wines
“Lafleur is utterly magnificent” – Antonio Galloni

There you have it; all you need to know about Chateau Lafleur 2018 condensed into four words. Antonio Galloni has succinctly summarised what we would have put into several paragraphs of effusive prose. He goes on to describe Lafleur 2018 as “a deeply moving wine that satisfies all the senses, from the intellectual to the most hedonistic.”

This echoes our thoughts precisely. Tasting the extraordinary range of 2018s in Lafleur’s beautifully refurbished cellars was another eye-opening experience, culminating in the prodigious Grand Vin. It is clearly one of the wines of the vintage and possibly one of the greatest wines ever produced from this mythical 4.5 hectare vineyard. To our minds, it resembles a hybrid of 2016 with the power of 2009 or 2010. There are many wines that are big and concentrated, but it is the quality of tannins and freshness of fruit that separates the good from the great. This certainly falls into the latter category. These tannins are superb – they dance over the palate adding a multitude of detailed floral, mineral and fruit nuances. Ethereal and delicate, yet rippling and powerful; it is a quite staggering Lafleur.

“The 2018 Lafleur is a stratospherically beautiful, deeply moving wine. A Pomerol of stunning aromatic intensity and depth, Lafleur simply has everything. All the elements come together in a wine that is both rich and yet also remarkably light on its feet. An exotic mélange of blood orange, sage, mint, sweet rose petal and inky red/purplish fruit add explosive energy, leading to a finish of substantial depth and resonance. Stated simply, Lafleur is one of the wines of the vintage. Don't miss it!” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com

Naturally we lead with Lafleur, however, perhaps the most exciting story of 2018 is the origin of a new cru, Les Perrières de Lafleur. After many years purchasing the finest limestone and clay plots in Fronsac and replanting with their Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) and Merlot genetics from Lafleur, the Guinaudeaus are ready to launch this new label. A conviction that their unique genetic material combined with a terroir similar to the great crus of St Emilion could yield something exceptional has been realised. Antonio Galloni describes it as “an absolutely gorgeous wine”. It certainly has the same lineage as Lafleur with its noble flavour profile and exquisitely refined tannins. We thought it was wonderful!

Grand Village, the family’s home estate has made enormous strides over the past decade. Massale selections from Chateau Lafleur coupled with advancements in the cellar have had a remarkable affect. It is rare to find this quality and level of sophistication in a wine at this price point – the tannin management is exquisite. And it would seem that members of the wine press have also recognised the progress Julie, Baptiste et al have made. All the major critics have awarded scores north of 90 points. For us, this is the best grand Village to date, marrying the precision and poise of the 2016 with more concentration and more commanding tannins – this is a very serious Grand Village.

Although it was not the most straightforward of years for white varietals, two of the best hail from Guinaudeau owned vineyards. The 100% Sauvignon Blanc cuvee, Les Champs Libres, produced using Loire clones and raised in Burgundy barrels, keeps going from strength to strength. The 2018 is another ravishing example with laser-like precision and tremendous energy. Grand Village Blanc is also benefitting from Sancerre clones, which appear to marry beautifully with their sumptuous Semillon. In the past, although well made, if one were being critical, you might say that it was a bit generic and was rather dominated by the Sauvignon varietal. Now this appears to have its own DNA and is much more difficult to place. Characterful, vibrant and very charming, the 2018 Grand Village Blanc will change people’s perceptions of Bordeaux Sec.