After a two-year hiatus, a Goedhuis team from buying and sales are all absolutely delighted to be back at the Bordeaux Union de Grands Crus En Primeur tastings, focusing this year on the 2021 vintage.
Monday started early with an 8am pick up by one of our favourite negociants who was kindly chaperoning us for two days. First stop, Margaux, where we headed to Ch Brane Cantenac.
Our biggest concern going into this campaign was whether the wines would be showing well at this early stage, but our first visit proved we had nothing to worry about. Brane have made two beautiful 2021s that are elegant and pure and will doubtless drink before their 2018s and 2019s. No bad thing.
From Brane it was a short trip to see our friends at Palmer and to hear how they’d learnt from, and bested, the mildew challenges of 2018. Next up was Ch Margaux, who were adamant that their terroir meant that they had not needed to be as concerned as some with the climatic pressure. We are pleased to say that wines showed very well.
From there, to meet Jean-Basile at Ch Rauzan Ségla, who provided one of the highlights of the day with his line-up of Berliquet, Canon and Rauzan Ségla. Needless to say, the wines did not disappoint. Mother Nature was kind to the Chanel family, with little reduction in yield, despite the vintage conditions. From Rauzan we meandered up the D2 to Pontet Canet to see Alfred Tesseron where we were treated to a pop-up street-van burger and a glass of 2017.
After lunch and possibly the best cheese buffet either side of The Channel, it was off to Lafite Rothschild. From there we headed to their equally storied sister property Mouton Rothschild, where we were pleasantly surprised to also be able to taste the excellent 2021 Ch Coutet with Aline Baly. Our first try of the 2021 sweets was very rewarding. From Mouton it was a short trip to see Jean-Charles Cazes and his stunning new glass-fronted winery at Lynch Bages, full of light and so impressive. The wines too were shining as we tasted them in the sunlight.
Next stop, Ch Latour. Their stable of 2021s was seriously impressive, however, as they pulled out of the En Primeur system almost 10 years ago, these wines will not be released during the upcoming campaign. The team were also kind enough to showcase their most recent physical releases: the Pauillac de Latour 2017, Forts de Latour 2016 and Ch Latour 2014.
Our final visit of the day was with Leovillé Las Cases, where we were greeted by our old friend Antoine who took us through a cracking line up; from the charming Chapelle de Potensac, all the way to the imposing Grand Vin. After tasting 40 wines on the first day, it was time to head back to into Bordeaux itself to recharge ahead of another day’s busy tasting.
Tuesday was another early start but, fortified with coffee and croissants, we embarked on the hour and a half trip up the Medoc to our first tasting at Ch Cos d’Estournel. Here we were delighted by the quality of the red wines of Cos and the whites of Goulée. From there it was a brief trip to Ch Montrose and their sister property Tronquoy Lalande, who have both made exemplary wines this year; approachable and fruit driven, they were a joy to taste.
We then ventured to Ch Pichon Comtesse Lalande for the Pauillac and Haut Medoc UGC tasting; a great chance to retaste some of the wines from yesterday and many more besides.
After a smattering of jambon et fromage and some fortifying coffee, it was off to the second UGC tasting at Ch Lagrange, for the St Julien and Listrac tasting. Standouts here included Léovilles Barton and Poyferré, Gruaud Larose, and Chasse Spleen amongst the Medocains.
From Lagrange it was a quick hop to Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, where we were looked after by Canadian MW Tracey Dobbin, who took us through the range at this beautiful Chateau. After Ducru it was back down to Margaux for a visit to Ch d’Issan, who this year have made two lovely wines, reminiscent of the overperforming 2006 vintage.
Our final UGC visit of the day was across the road at Giscours where we were able to retaste some of the Margaux wines along with some of the best names of the Medoc, including old favourites Cantemerle and Angludet. With another 70 wines under our belt, it was time to head home and reflect on a vintage which, so far, is defying expectations.