With the Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux and its members deciding to suspend the 2019 En-Primeurs week that was scheduled to take place at the end of March in Bordeaux due to the coronavirus restrictions, I thought I would post these two wine reviews from the Grand Cercle des Vins de Bordeaux tasting in London yesterday, 12th March 2020.
Speaking to Gavin Quinney of Chateau Bauduc in the Entre-Deux-Mers, he states “’You’re joking – not another one?’ No, really, Bordeaux 2019 is a very good to excellent vintage. It wasn’t straightforward, with heat waves, drought and a rainy finish along the way, but Bordeaux enjoyed a long, dry summer and harvest with just enough rain, and no disasters like the late spring frost of 2017 or the significant losses to mildew that some growers experienced in 2018.”
At the top end, it’s becoming an embarrassment of riches. 2019 makes it six very good years in a row for the northern Haut-Médoc appellations of St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estèphe, which were largely untouched by the 2017 frost and produced many fine 2014s, and likewise for the top estates on the plateau of Pomerol.
Bordeaux 2019 – 10 observations on the growing season: (Source: Gavin Quinney)
· A dry year with 25% less rain overall than the average up to the end of the harvest.
· A mild winter saw average rainfall in November, December and January, then a dry February and March.
· Spring rainfall (Q2) was close to the norm from April bud break through to June flowering.
· Some localised spring frosts and limited hail damage later on, though relatively small losses.
· Flowering in early June began well but a rainy, chilly spell led to uneven fruit set in many vineyards.
· No major disasters like the frost of April 2017 or the mildew that had a significant impact on multiple growers in 2018.
· A long, hot summer saw over three months of mostly fine weather from mid June to the fourth Sunday of September.
· Heat waves in late June and 40 ˚C (104 °F) in late July put some vines under pressure – though this was pre-ripening.
· Heavy rain on the last Friday in July, just after a heat wave, refreshed many vineyards just in time.
· Light rain in among the hot weather in August and mid September helped the vines.
Chateau La Croizille 2019, St Emilion Grand Cru
Plush, broadly aromatic but beautifully soft toned with dulcet notes pink musk, purple rock candy and black currant with a fabulously generous glycerol concentration, harmonious breadth and depth and a subtle, vanilla dusted, brûléed blueberry muffin finish. Delicious expression. Power with elegance.
(Wine Safari Score: 92-94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Chateau Cap Leon Veyrin Cru Bourgeois 2019, Listrac-Medoc
A complex nose layered with perfumed aromatics drifting from violets to cherry blossom, pink musk to cherry cola and dusty graphite minerality. Super focus and balance, this wine has beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon lines, a chiselled texture and fine mineral, gravelly tannins. The fruit concentration shows a seductive sweet sour mouth watering edge and fabulous black berry fruit persistence. Focused, intense and impressively linear. This should turn into an absolute star!
(Wine Safari Score: 92-93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Tasted along side the superb 2016 for added insight…
Chateau Cap Leon Veyrin Cru Bourgeois 2016, Listrac-Medoc
Beautifully deep dark broody nose with plenty of black cherry, black currant, earthy blueberry and hints of savoury, wild bramble berry fruits. Seamlessly plush concentration is lifted and electrified by bright, tangy acids before the finish melts away in the mouth to leave notes of sour plum, graphite, salty black liquorice and kirsch cherry liquor. Really very impressive wine that certainly lives up to this epic vintage’s top billing.
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)