Posts with the label "pichon comtesse"


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. 

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.

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.

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