Posts with the label "montrose"


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.

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.

Bordeaux 2016: Northern Lights

Bordeaux 2016: Northern Lights

Wednesday 15th February 2017
by Tom Jenkins

Journalists like to pigeonhole vintages. It supposedly makes life easy for consumers. Condense the wines of Bordeaux down into a brief soundbite, a paragraph that tells you all you need to know about this wonderful region. 

In 2015 it was a ‘Right Bank, Pessac and Margaux’ year. Read into this what you will – but what is not said often resonates the loudest. Most interpreted this as ‘don’t go near the northern Medoc’. The truth is rarely so simple…

Last week, our reconnaissance team spent three fascinating days tasting and re-tasting what is already being referred to as a sanctified trilogy: 2014, 2015 and 2016. Let’s start with the 2014s. This is a vintage that really appeals to our palates – a combination of modern winemaking and classic flavours, a vintage of balance and precision with more than enough power and concentration. It will of course remain in the shadow of 2015 and 2016, but these wines will make you smile and if you bought them en primeur, you should be well pleased.

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2012 - Day three

UGC Week: Bordeaux 2012 - Day three

Friday 12th April 2013
by Tom Jenkins

By now we were well and truly in the groove and in the familiar surroundings of the northern Medoc, so it was time to unveil fifty shades of red cord picture courtesy of Peter Richards MW). Appointments were booked thick and fast, so pace and concentration were the order of the day.

Our first stop was Cos d'Estournel to taste with Aymeric de Gironde, ironically from the Loire region of France, but clearly destined to succeed in Aquitaine. Aymeric, formally of Pichon Baron has jumped into Jean Guillaume's loafers and he is a charming and capable substitute; we wish him all the best. He joined after the harvest and vinifications, so 2012 is not his baby, but you can sense his passion for the wine as he hosted our tasting. Views varied from good, bad and indifferent. There's certainly some charm and precision, but we were not wholly convinced - maybe we give it the benefit of the doubt...

Next stop Calon Segur; the first vintage since the death of Madame Gasqueton. Thankfully Toby didn't ask how she was and the tasting passed without incident. We were charmed by the Grand Vin, which is typically graceful and elegant and will no doubt be very yummy in a few years’ time.
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