Playing catch up

Playing catch up
Yesterday was dominated by the release of Chateau Lafleur and the other Guinaudeau wines, however, there were a few significant releases that also deserve a mention. So, here’s a quick round-up to bring us up to date.

We often enthuse about the wines of Cheval Blanc. Pierre-Olivier and his team are making superb wines, but perhaps the biggest surprise this year was the extraordinary quality of Quinault L’Enclos. This, the tenth vintage made by the Cheval team is absolutely superb. It is without question one of our best value buys from 2018 and looks set to feature in many J&B staff cellars. As Antonio Galloni says, the level of precision is mighty impressive – this raises the bar to a new level for Quinault L’Enclos.

“The 2018 Quinault L'Enclos is impressive. Creamy and ample, the 2018 stands out for its textural breadth. There is a level of intensity in the 2018 that previous vintages have not achieved, with a balance of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc that is striking for such a young wine. All of the work the Cheval Blanc team has done here over the last ten years have begun to pay off big time. Half of the property was replanted between 2008 and 2012 with more Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc from Cheval and Merlot on later-ripening rootstock. In the glass, the 2018 Quinault offers a striking interplay of floral and savory aromatic and layered fruit, with ripe, silky tannins that caress a core of plush, plaint fruit and a gorgeous, saline-infused finish. There is a level of precision in the 2018 that is positively breathtaking. 91-94/100”. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com

Clinet is a bit of an enigma to us. We really don’t understand this wine when we taste en primeur. It always feels overly ambitious and over worked, however, many wine critics purr in reverence to this Pomerol. Jeb Dunnuck is compelled to award a 96-99 point score. We’ll just have to agree to disagree…

“The 2018 Château Clinet is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (which is more Cabernet than usual) that was brought up in slightly more new oak than normal, aging in 75% new and 25% once used French oak. Sporting a saturated purple color, it has a massive perfume of black and blue fruits, crushed violets, spice, and orange blossom. Full-bodied, deep, expansive, and layered on the palate, it's an incredibly hedonistic and sexy wine that shows the best of this great vintage. It’s going to be hard to resist on release and knock your socks off over the following two decades or more. 96-99/100”. - Jeb Dunnuck, Jebdunnuck.com

Yesterday’s other big news was the release of Chateau Gazin. We’ve admired the wines of this chateau perched next to Petrus for many years. The de Bailliencourt family continues to produce balanced, charming wines, which we admire and love to drink. A recent bottle of 2012 was quite outstanding. These understated, handsome wines rarely disappoint.

And to complete proceedings, we have the two significant release from today, Ormes de Pez and Clos du Marquis. We can’t conceal our weakness for the Delon wines. These are some of the purest and most serious expressions from St Julien. The Clos du Marquis hails from a site to the west of the D2 and is surrounded by top cru classés. It represents a more forward, approachable style than big brother, Leoville Las Cases, but still remains faithful to the precise, natural house character and ages effortlessly – it’s a real beauty.

Jean-Charles Cazes’ impressive St Estephe Chateau, Les Ormes de Pez is often one of our best value selections… the 2018 is no exception. Built in the same mould as Lynch Bages, the ODP is dark and sultry with brooding dark cassis fruit and minerals. At £125 per 6, this is an absolute bargain.