Posts with the label "margaux"


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. 

Southwold: 2015 Bordeaux under the microscope

Southwold: 2015 Bordeaux under the microscope

Friday 8th February 2019
by Tom Jenkins

It’s over thirty years since a group of pioneering British merchants first met in the small, seaside town of Southwold to assess a young Bordeaux vintage under blind tasting conditions. 

Luminaries such as the late John Avery and Bill Blatch, along with the likes of Clive Coates MW and our very own Hew Blair, were amongst the first tasters. Although the venue has changed, the name remains, as does the spirit and professionalism. The results are eagerly anticipated by Bordeaux Chateaux; this is the ultimate litmus test, affirmation of years of hard work or hard truths.

Now, here comes the caveat: this is perhaps not the most flattering time to taste these wines. In fact, in my experience it is one of the worst… Although barrel samples can be variable, there is an undeniable freshness and purity of fruit. Just after bottling, they are equally flattering, a year and a half after bottling, they are usually less gratifying. 2009 is a notable exception – these have always been gloriously easy to taste. The 2015s attracted comparisons to 2009 from barrel; however, on this showing, they are less flamboyant and more structured. There are very many notable successes, but it is by no means as uniform or as easy to taste as those spectacular 2009s.

Bordeaux 2017: The Wine Advocate’s scores are in

Bordeaux 2017: The Wine Advocate’s scores are in

Monday 30th April 2018
by Tom Jenkins

We thoroughly enjoyed our week tasting 2017s from barrel. We loved the style, the aromatics, the precision and the freshness of the best wines. 

We thought it would be a vintage that would appeal to those who like restraint and charm, dare we say it, something for a European palate (we are still European for the time being…). Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the new Bordeaux correspondence for the influential Wine Advocate is also smitten, awarding three wines 97-100 points and numerous scores into the high nineties. Please find an overview of her thoughts below.

The Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2017 - A Darwinian Vintage

The Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2017 - A Darwinian Vintage

Monday 16th April 2018
by Tom Jenkins

In 2017 there’s no avoiding the ‘F’ word. It has been more than a quarter of a century since frost last devastated a Bordeaux crop, so it is inevitable that this was a major talking point. However, cruel as the frost was on some, it doesn’t really determine the quality of the vintage.

Life isn’t fair and neither is nature. As the earth gets warmer, flowering gets earlier, and the risk of frost damage becomes greater. Not many winemakers can recall the frosts of 1991 first hand, but their legacy is still haunting. When the meteorologists predicted a cold blast on the nights of the 27th and 28th of April, there was a genuine sense of panic. Most with the means deployed bougies, wind turbines, helicopters, lit hay, took whatever measures they could - the rest left it to chance.

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.

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