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Bordeaux 2019: Château Montrose and Château Grand Puy Lacoste
16 June 2020

Today we have two wines which on the face of it couldn’t be much more different. But oh how we love them both! Xavier Borie is the epitome of the Bordelais gentleman. He’s a member of the establishment, a propriétaire who lives in his elegant chateau surrounded by his vines. It’s a family affair, producing classical, aristocratic wines. By contrast the Bouygues family are relative newcomers to Bordeaux. The telecom giants bought Château Montrose in 2006, and have since made everything about this great second growth, state of the art. Their single goal is to produce wines of First Growth quality or better – and in our view, they are succeeding. A statement of intent was made early on with the signings of Hervé Berland (formally of Mouton Rothschild) and Jean-Bernard Delmas, the long-standing winemaker at Haut Brion. We have marvelled at recent vintages, most notably 2016 and 2018, both in our view superior to the 100 point 2009 and 2010. Hervé is clearly delighted with the 2019. He believes it is “a bit less exceptional than 2018, but probably equal to our 2016… The wine has a wonderful fruity touch, with seductive tannins. Able to be appreciated before 10 years, but with the capacity to age for a long time. Just what we like today!” When you consider the current quality of Montrose, Pichon Comtesse and Leoville Las Cases, and their relative prices compared to the First Growths, there is a compelling reason to buy these elite ‘Super Seconds’.

Over at Grand Puy Lacoste, Xavier Borie has done it again – 2019 is yet another exceptional release. Some of the team tasted this in the suburbs of Surrey, and it was quite dazzling, the cream of the tasting. In the leafy cassis fruit and floral bouquet we saw glimpses of the delectable 1996, however, there’s much more polish and volume than the greats of the last century. This has a sumptuous core of fruit, it’s classical, yet there’s a sweetness and voluptuousness one doesn’t normally expect to see in this most traditional of Pauillacs. So charming, it’s almost drinkable now, but we think this has a very bright future ahead. A picture of balance, poise and a bit of luxury – superb! Neal Martin describes it as “quintessential Pauillac” and awards a lofty 95-97 points. At £270 per six, this is considerably cheaper than its peers: Pontet Canet and Lynch Bages, and every bit as good. We recommend finding space in your cellar for GPL 2019.

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