Posts with the label "duhart 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. 

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2016 - Day three: The Mighty Medoc

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2016 - Day three: The Mighty Medoc

Friday 28th April 2017
by Tom Jenkins

Starting at Chateau Lafite at 9am set the bar pretty high. The Duhart Milon was superb, pure Cabernet class, even the Carruades was spectacular, dense and concentrated, and then we got to the grand vin, an ethereal, subtly perfumed, glorious Lafite; athletic, graceful, powerful and handsome. There’s absolutely no doubt that this is a top notch Lafite and one of the wines of the vintage. 

Next stop Mouton Rothschild and an equally impressive range, but stylistically quite different. By comparison, the Mouton stable was all primal power and complexity. The d’Armailhac is fun and filled with fruit, the Clerc Milon is a big step up in quality, the fruit is much more profound and the tannins are very classy. Petit Mouton is big and brooding and the grand vin is a wine of epic proportions. As with all great Moutons, this is slow to reveal itself, it is deeply introverted, but with time and coaxing it starts to reveal the power of this terroir. This has serious length, and while at this stage it doesn’t quite have the grace of the Lafite, we believe this is a seriously impressive Mouton that will continue to grow in stature – mighty impressive.

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.

Tasting Bordeaux 2009 at Southwold, under snow

Tasting Bordeaux 2009 at Southwold, under snow

Monday 21st January 2013
by Tom Jenkins

Despite the freezing conditions, many of the great and good from the wine trade made the annual pilgrimage to Suffolk to re-taste the much vaunted 2009s.

This was the vintage of the century, a vintage that boasts 17 hundred point wines, so how do they stack up three and a bit years on? Well the first observation is the tannins. From barrel, these were almost undetectable. Most of our notes referred to silky, velvety tannins, mainly masked by opulent fruit. Today, the wines are quite obviously tannic. They have lost some of that hedonistic quality and have gained in structure. This all bodes well for long term storage, but may put impatient souls off...

Another surprise was just how big a gulf there is between the top names and the low-mid-range Clarets. vignerons and negociants declared 2009 to be a 'great', 'homogenous' vintage with quality produced from top to bottom. They are right, many of the smaller estates have produced their best wines in 2009, but from the evidence of this tasting, you cannot expect to obtain First Growth quality on a cru bourgeois budget. At the affordable level the likes of Gloria, Clos des Quatre Vents, Poujeaux, Roc de Cambes, Lafon Rochet, Langoa Barton and Haut Batailley all had very strong showings and offer very good QPR (quality price ratio).
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