Tasting Bordeaux 2018 | St Estephe, Pauillac & St Julien

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April 25th 2019

We start the week of tasting with a trio of visits to Calon Ségur, Montrose & Cos d’Estournel. These have been covered well in a previous blog during our first week of tasting Bordeaux 2018 and were all showing very well this morning. Typical of the vintage, much of Montrose (2/3rds) and Cos (1/3rd) was lost due to mildew, with a sunny July and August saving the châteaux from disaster.

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Château Meyney next – and what a visit! Greeted by our enthusiastic host David Launay. The 2018 is fantastic, the expressive palate is supported by rounded tannins and a balancing freshness. We look forward to working with Meyney much more in the future.

A brief and informative stop at the pink walled Ch Haut Batailley. The Haut Batailley was showing really well, delicate and bright with characteristic Pauillac richness; it left us all smiling. 2018 is also the first vintage of their second wine, ‘Verso de Haut Batailley’, this is due to release toward the end of the year – stay tuned, new label below.

For our last stops before lunch we head to Pichon Baron and Pichon Lalande, an impressive set of wines at Pichon Baron; in a word… power. For me, Lalande is the wine of the day so far. Nicolas Glumineau, Director General of the château, explained that the awkward growing season lead to many tricky technical decisions which didn’t allow for a straightforward winemaking process. The resultant wine is relaxed, with pinpoint tannins and tremendous purity of fruit. Outstanding.

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The only first growth of the day – an epic range of wines at Ch Mouton, as expected. Followed by three exceptional St Juliens in a row. Langoa and Léoville Barton pave the way. The 2018s feel unforced and complete; with finely textured tannins and rich heady aromas. Then we’re onto Léoville Las Cases. Potensac is worth looking into, serious quality and value here, and Léoville Las Cases itself is worth buying if you have the opportunity (wine of the day for my colleague James Low) – magnificent, with a finish lasting us all the way to the final château of the day…

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Branaire Ducru, intensely perfumed and brimming with sweet concentrated fruit. This is a top notch example of the Médoc in 2018. The power of the vintage is displayed well under concentrated fruit and with harmonious freshness. Francois Xavier Maroteaux tells us that Branaire Ducru will be releasing on Monday morning at 8am at a reasonable price – this will be a strong recommendation from us. It’s great to see a château owner communicating openly about their release pricing and timing.