Yesterday on the Right Bank was a LONG day in St Emilion and Pomerol. 80 wines tasted, making that about 200 in the last two days and I am now officially resting the palate over the weekend! I was accompanied by a great friend who owns a vineyard in the region and it was valuable to have his technical input as well.
I purposely did not want to be influenced by any of the opinions of the published critics so far and to be open-minded to the overall vintage experience. I have to say I am surprised by 2016. I am not sure it fully deserves the levels of enthusiasm already expressed in the media by certain critics. As usual the good vineyards produce really good wines, they have the resources to do so year on year no matter what the vintage conditions.
This was however a technically demanding vintage, it was so warm and dry at the end of the summer and particularly tough for Merlot, the first grape to ripen. In St Emilion and Pomerol the Merlot this year is very strong and powerful and challenging for the winemakers. Remembering how much I had enjoyed the 2015 vintage tastings, 2016 didn’t quite hit the same mark – maybe I am being a little severe in my judgement.
Of course, Troplong Mondot and Clos Fourtet have produced something amazing. Jean-Luc Thunevin’s Chateau Valandraud is also outstanding, Thunevin is a pioneer of the “vin de garage” movement and Parker scored the 1995 vintage higher than Chateau Petrus, certainly a Grand Cru to watch. Silvio Denz’s Chateau Pauby Faugere was perhaps my “hit of the day”. With only 1200 cases produced per annum getting hold of this wine is not easy but this is definitely a “chateau to watch” for the future.
The regions’ Grand Crus have done really well but they always do, from an overall vintage quality point of view – it’s not so straightforward.
We will be doing further tastings over the coming weeks and will keep you posted via Twitter (Renaud RUER @VinXBordeaux ) blog and email. For information on current en primeur opportunities please contact us on 0203 384 2262.