Tuesday afternoon – post lunch at Pichon Baron, the first of the UGC tastings (a chance to taste many of the non 1st growth Chateaux at various different locations across the region).
UGC 1- St Estephe and Pauillac – we particularly loved Cos Labory, Batailley, Lafon Rochet, Lynch Bages and Grand Puy Lacoste all of which showed lovely balance of acidity and firm tannins with great fruit definition. There’s definite inconsistency across these two appellations, it’s not clear cut, but we’re positive that many of the major chateaux that didn’t show so well today (due to the temperamental nature of the late picked Cabernets) will come together seamlessly with time in the cellar.
The 2nd UGC tasting at Leoville Poyferre for the St Juliens is a different story. There are some outstanding wines here and it’s apparent that there’s much more consistency from this appellation. Chateaux par excellence: Lagrange, Leoville Poyferre, Talbot, Leoville Barton, Langoa Barton, Beychevelle & Gruaud Larose. These guys have excelled and should expect commendable reviews from the critics in the next few weeks. Personally I thought Beychevelle and Talbot were spectacular and if priced appropriately by the chateaux should prove to be terrific buys.
Anthony Barton’s wonderful garden
Next up UGC no. 3 hosted by Chateau Lamarque and a selection of Goedhuis favourites at the Cru Bourgeois / 5th growth drinking end. For lovers of Chateau Beaumont the 2014 will provide massive appeal at an affordable price. Slightly further up the ladder Cantemerle, Poujeaux & Chasse Spleen are definitely ones to seek out for 3-5year cellaring. Finally the creme de la creme of this particular bunch was La Lagune, a chateau that has experienced a huge improvement in quality over the last decade. An exceptionally refined Haut Medoc with lovely balance of firm tannins and volume of fruit. It will be a fascinating wine for cellaring over 20 years.
Just left the Margaux UGC tasting, often the most challenging due to its inconsistency as an appellation. It certainly lived up to its reputation with flashes of brilliance interspersed with notable failures. There were many wines that were overworked which manifests itself in bitterness and astringency. I won’t focus on the negatives as there were some notable failures. The ones who got it right were d’Angludet which was fabulous and showed up many of the appellations more famous chateaux. Rauzan Segla (chateau and barrel cellar pictured below) at the opposite end is a polished example of 2014 and showed enormous refinement and potential.
Our final stop today is the UGC for a sugar hit in the form of 30 different Sauternes. Our palates noticeably flagging so a great way to reinvigorate! For anyone who enjoys decadently sweet wine there’s real value to be found here in what is looking to be a top botrytis vintage for the region. Chateaux Coutet, Fargues and Doisy Vedrines are 3 exceptional wines in 2014 and proof that the buck doesn’t just stop with Yquem.
Time for a beer!