April 6th 2017
After a thrilling second day where the communes of St Julien and Pauillac really hit the mark, today we head over to the right bank to focus on the twin appellations of St Emilion and Pomerol.
First up our customary early morning visit to Jean-Pierre Moueix to taste a broad range of St Emilion and Pomerol 2016s. The wet winter conditions and extremely hot summer provided challenges for the thin-skinned Merlot grape. Was consistency going to be a problem? Several chateaux have really upped their game. It won’t come as much of a surprise that Trotanoy, Fleur Petrus, the north facing Fleur Gazin and Chateau Certan, all from Pomerol, showed signs of real class combined with plenty of substance, balance and layered complexity. This looks as though it could be a day for the more recognisable names and rather fortuitously a terrific line up follows.
Here are the highlights…
L’Evangile is always a seductive wine to taste. The 2016 is simply delicious. Rich, velvety and creamy, the broad palate has delightful freshness to balance out the dark intense sweet fruit. A crowd pleasing wine that people will love.
The UGC at La Pointe in Pomerol revealed a few other successes from this appellation. Gazin, Beauregard and Clinet have delivered all the finest points of the vintage. The balance of super fine tannins and purity of fruit combined with the lift of acidity has produced some delicious examples from these three in particular.
Arriving at Vieux Certan Chateau there is a certain expectation of the quality level. Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont certainly haven’t disappointed this year. While not a blockbuster powerhouse of a Pomerol as in 2015, the elegance, chiselled tannins and balance in the wine confirms its status as one of the most regal and understated Pomerols. A true delight.
Le Pin is next. And wow, two wines that are simply breathtaking. L’If 2016, Jacques Thienpont’s recent St Emilion addition is surely their best release to date, a wine that oozes class. Then Le Pin. Total silence in the room as all of us focus on one of the world’s greatest wines. In 2016 it really is exceptionally sophisticated in every respect with layer upon layer of fruit revealing itself leading to an unforgettable finish that lasts for minutes.
And if things couldn’t get any better our penultimate visit of the morning is to Chateau Petrus. This is simply magical in 2016, the sort of wine that few get to taste and right at the summit of anything that I’ve ever experienced from Bordeaux. The elegant and multidimensional nature of Petrus simply lifts it above its peers. It is a truly exceptional 2016 that flirts with absolute perfection.
Prior to an exceptional lunch as guests of La Conseillante we tasted their 2016 Grand Vin. This is a wonderful Pomerol example exhibiting the floral perfume, elegance and freshness of the vintage perfectly. Over a stunning lunch we then drank the 2006 and 1999, both delightful wines from largely overlooked years and maturing beautifully at this stage.
Next up in St Emilion, Chateau Canon have encapsulated the finest points of the vintage in what is a very classic 2016 following on from the denser, richer and highly publicised 2015. Unforced and very natural, with superb freshness and trademark balance, this is an intense and mineral 2016, and a wine that we all loved.
I’ve always found the flamboyance of St Emilion’s Angelus rather appealing – some of my colleagues don’t! The 2016 is the opposite in style to Canon with lots of richness, density and texture to complement the sweet fruit. It will inevitably sit well with the critics due its crowd pleasing seductive style.
We also had fabulous appointments with Ausone and Cheval Blanc but concluded the day back in Pomerol with Denis Durantou at L’Eglise Clinet. From the range of more accessible wines, the Cruzelles will develop beautifully over the next 5 years and the Petite Eglise likewise. The Eglise Clinet itself is firmly tannic in style but the fruit is pure, fine and very majestic.
To summarise there is plenty to be happy about on the right bank in 2016. While perhaps not as consistent as in St Julien and Pauillac, when the wines are good, they are top drawer and many of these will prove to be more classic examples for the cellar than their higher alcohol 2015 counterparts.