Posts with the label "langoa barton"


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.

Southwold: Bordeaux 2014 – very good, but not quite great

Southwold: Bordeaux 2014 – very good, but not quite great

Monday 19th February 2018
by Tom Jenkins

Last week, the great and the good of the British wine trade including journalists, merchants and multitude of MWs decamped to our new Southwold-on-Thames venue to dissect the 2014s.

After the demoralising 2013s, there was a palpable sense of anticipation. We have always admired this vintage for its classical style and elegance. As is custom, we start with several flights of St Emilion. The flights seem to get longer each year and usually feature unfamiliar names that leave us pondering, ‘why?’ There was no such bafflement this year. Vignerons appear to have used a lighter touch and coupled with the natural acidity of the vintage, the wines have a real sense of cohesion and energy. Top marks went to Francois Mitjavile’s Tertre Roteboeuf, such an unmistakable wine, there’s really no need to disguise its identity… My preference was Canon, John Kolasa’s last year at the helm – this is as classical and super-refined, and a mighty impressive showing from Troplong Mondot.

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).
UGC Week:  Bordeaux 2009, Day two

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2009, Day two

Tuesday 30th March 2010
by Tom Jenkins

A wet and windy start to day two. Our first appointment was Grand Puy Lacoste. 

Xavier’s wines are thrilling, a great Lacoste Borie (2nd wine of GPL), a magnificent Haut Batailley; fragrant, seductive and very serious. Grand Puy Lacoste itself is beautiful; classic, true to its terroir and very classy. Then to Lafite Rothschild (tasted at Duhart Milon this year). Duhart is splendid; a heady mix of damson fruit and liquid minerals. Lafite itself is enormous; a monumental wine built for the very long-term, bravo!

UGC St Estephe, Pauillac and St Julien was held at Batailley. Howling winds, horizontal rain and poor car parking facilities couldn’t dampen our spirits. This was an interesting tasting; at was a first glimpse at some less prestigious estates. Highlights included both Pichons, Leoville Barton, Leoville Poyferre, Langoa Barton, Beychevelle and Lynch Bages. There were several over-achievers: Phelan Ségur, Ormes de Pez, Lafon Rochet, St Pierre and Lagrange all stood out. Alas, although the overall quality was excellent, Croizet Bages, Lynch Moussas and Grand Puy Ducasse were poor.
The Bordeaux circus rolls into town

The Bordeaux circus rolls into town

Tuesday 20th October 2009
by Tom Jenkins

Today, the Union des Grands Crus swapped their Chateaux for the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. 

This annual event has become an enlightening tasting as it often presents the first opportunity to taste a vintage from bottle. This year was the turn of the 2007s. Widely rubbished before the barrel tastings, some Chateaux defied the miserable conditions and with an extraordinary amount of hard work in the vineyard and no lack of skill in the winery, have produced some half decent wines - but how are they showing now?

Well, the pick of the reds are elegant and refined, with pure fruit cores; they will be attractive early drinkers. Those who extracted too much have made unbalanced wines with tough tannins, but in the main, winemakers have been gentle and have produced simple but charming wines. The stars of the show included, Pontet Canet, Pichon Lalande, Pichon Baron, Léoville Barton, Langoa Barton and Beychevelle. These were really well made wines that will reward medium term cellaring.