Although not a great deal has been written about the 2013 vintage so far, what has been written has been principally negative. We were determined to keep an open mind until we had tasted the wines themselves.
In vintages such as this, it is always best to start at the top… Hence I headed straight to St Estèphe at 8 o’clock this morning, knocking on the doors of Calon Ségur to taste their 2013.
Since then my tastings read a bit like a Who’s Who of the 1855 classification … Montrose, Cos d’Estournel, Lafite, Mouton, Pontet Canet, Latour, Las Cases, Pichon Lalande, Grand Puy Lacoste, Ducru Beaucaillou and Lynch Bages.
From the tastings so far, this is a vintage where terroir really comes into play. It is true that the wines are lighter than certain previous years and freshness of acidity is more noticeable, however the key ingredient for success in 2013 is not only meticulous vineyard and wine making practices but, possibly more importantly, the unique location of each Château.
From my initial tastings this seems to be a year where the best soils and vineyards really show their advantage. This is a year where one can really see why an estate was awarded its specific classification.
In brief, I was very impressed by the trueness of the wines from Xavier Borie, from the easy drinking Lacoste Borie through to the deliciously balanced Grand Puy Lacoste.
Latour, Lafite and Mouton highlight their 1st growth status but the most striking wine of them all was most definitely Pichon Lalande.
This exceptional property is famed for its elegance and femininity historically attributed to the high proportion of Merlot in its blend. In 2013 by contrast, after meticulous tasting, it was decided to break away from all tradition and use 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and what a wine it is! Despite the total lack of Merlot it has an extraordinary sweetness, succulence and femininity, so true to its origins and style.
Tomorrow I head to Ch Margaux and Palmer first thing and it will be interesting to see how the wines of this appellation have fared.