Posts with the label "clerc milon"


The Forgotten Vintage

The Forgotten Vintage

Friday 18th October 2019
by Tom Jenkins

Sandwiched between a pair of excellent vintages, 2017 has always been in danger of becoming an overlooked crop.

It will be remembered unfavourably for the great frost that devastated many vineyards. The first such frost since 1991, the 2017 wave was at least a little more selective. While it ravaged the less auspicious terroirs, it left the best plots on the plateau of Pomerol, the high ground in St Emilion and the vineyards closest to the Gironde unscathed. Apart from this freakish weather in April, the growing season wasn’t that remarkable. The water table was high after spring and early summer rains, then there was a prolonged drought, but the vines were not tested with excessive heat, and there was sufficient moisture in the soils to sustain photosynthesis. So, for those who survived the frost, 2017 was a relatively straightforward year.

Bordeaux 2018 - A Roller Coaster Vintage

Bordeaux 2018 - A Roller Coaster Vintage

Monday 15th April 2019
by Tom Jenkins

There were no magic micro-climates in 2018. This simple analysis of the vintage is the same from St Estephe to Castillon. This is one of the great turn-around stories, from despair to elation, but it was anything but straightforward. Nicolas Audebert from Rauzan Segla and Canon coined it the ‘Grand Huit’, or a rollercoaster. Even when summer arrived, this brought its own challenges. Water stress is necessary to make great red wines, however, those without clay subsoils were at risk of hydric stress and the dangers of blocked maturity. 

After a natural crop thinning by virtue of mildew, the vines were not carrying an abundance of fruit. Most vignerons didn’t do much in the way of green harvests and many did minimal canopy thinning. What was on the vine was very healthy with thick skins and wonderful potential. 

Bordeaux En Primeur: 2019s Star-Studded Line-up

Bordeaux En Primeur: 2019s Star-Studded Line-up

Tuesday 26th March 2019
by Tom Jenkins

Justerinis’ Bordeaux week 2019 opened with a star-studded line up at BAFTA. There were gongs aplenty and the only talk of raspberries, was being used to describe the delicate fragrance wafting from the glasses. 

For many guests, this was their first experience of the much vaunted 2016 vintage, and by the reactions, they lived up to expectations and some. Our own team who have tasted these wines from barrel and bottle were equally enthralled – they just keep getting better and better. Initially they were not as flamboyant as the glitzy 2015s, but as their predecessors have closed down a touch and are showing more of their structure, the 2016’s fruit is purity and class. They display an effortless grace that is so seductive you just want to drink them now, although that would be a huge mistake – these have all the hallmarks of a great, age worthy vintage. 

Bordeaux 2015: Beauties and the Beast

Bordeaux 2015: Beauties and the Beast

Saturday 10th March 2018
by Tom Jenkins

Not even the ‘Beast from the East’ could dampen spirits at our annual Bordeaux tasting. Our stoic growers packed their finest winter woollies and put on another great show.

The Royal Society of Chemistry in Burlington House played host for the 2015s, and for those, and there were many, who braved the snow, were treated to a spectacular selection from this luxurious vintage. There were star wines wherever you looked, the sumptuous Calon Segur proved that those who wrote off St Estephe were a little hasty – this was packed with charming sweet fruit and rippled with muscle. Domaine de Chevalier was gloriously decadent and polished, the Mouton brace of d’Armailhac and Clerc Milon were a sheer joy, brimming with lavish fruit, they are glorious expressions of this vintage.

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2016 - Back to the future

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2016 - Back to the future

Thursday 13th April 2017
by Tom Jenkins

Tasting back to back vintages like 2015 and 2016 is fascinating. These are both exceptional years, although polar opposite in style. It is perhaps hard to be as loquacious about the 2016s as we were about the sumptuous 2015s. 

This is in no way a barometer for the vintage – 2016 is certainly as good as 2015, probably better, but the wines are generally less expressive and generous at this early stage. The 2015s were a sheer joy to taste - 2016s are more cerebral, introverted, structured, serious and profound. In most cases, and particularly on the Left Bank, there is a reserve and classicism that makes one think of ancient vintages with huge tannic profiles and long-term aging potential. Certainly, the best Chateaux have flexed their technical know-how and have produced wines with stunning purity of fruit and precision, but there’s no getting away from the fact that 2016s are real vins de garde.

The extraordinary growing season and Mother Nature have combined to produce something remarkable. There are many contributing factors to the success. After the early season deluge the drought and heat of July and August were welcomed by all. Old vines and soils with some clay component were best placed to benefit from the conditions. Critically, during harvest, there were dramatic day/night temperature differences. This helped the grapes to mature, but retain acidity, and also kept alcohol levels exceptionally low, a key feature of 2016s.

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