It’s a tough job – someone has to do it and believe me at the end of day 2 my palate is exhausted and only a glass of excellent Champagne can revive it! So half way through the trade tastings and Bordeaux is alive with the fruit of last year’s labour on show for the world’s merchants, critics and professional collectors to taste, savour, judge and in, due course, own. It’s a vitally important time for the region and I love being a part of it.
I started my 2016 tastings in Pessac-Leognan where the consistently excellent Haut-Brion and La Mission, as usual, show-cased great wines. Pessac’s star of the vintage for me was Pape-Clement, a fantastic wine; strong yet elegant with smoky overtones and Domaine de Chevalier’s white was superb.
Sauternes is a “mixed bag” this year, not as good as 2013 and ’14 which were great ‘sweet vintages’. As usual Chateau d’Yquem is outstanding and consistently brilliant. Chateau de Fargues was also up there. I was also very impressed with Lafaurie-Peyraguey owned by Silvio Denz, owner of Lalique Crystal. They are creating a special bottle for the 2016 vintage with Lalique detail on it demonstrating their commitment to the wine. Sigalas Rabaud was also brilliant.
Saint-Julien was a little disappointing. As the smallest appellation the focus is so great on getting the quality right but 2016 is definitely not an homogenous vintage here with notable variance in quality. Still there are some stars: Leoville Poyferré is brilliant and my pick of the appellation with Talbot and Gruaud Larose also splendid.
In the Margaux appellation Brane-Cantenac, Giscours and Malescot-Exupéry are my tipped leaders.
So, glass in hand, I rest and repair in readiness for the Right Bank and another great day ahead.