My final set of tastings were the wines of Saint Emilion and the Right Bank properties. As we all know by now it has been a very taxing year for the wine makers and this seems to have affected both Banks to me. I feel that the balance of acidity is out of kilter this year. However there are some notable exceptions that you should watch out for.
Pavie Macquin (85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 1 % Cabernet Sauvignon) showed pretty well and I think Angelus (50% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon) will turn out to be a powerful wine.
I thought that one of the lesser known chateaux, de Pressac, was very interesting – partly because of the blend of grapes (72% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Carmenere, 1% Malbec) but also because it showed well in the mouth and has some promise. Malbec is known as ‘Pressac’ in Bordeaux and local lore has it that it acquired its name when Vassal Montviel of the Chateau de Pressac introduced it there between 1737 – 1747. Many in the area did the same and the grape became known as Pressac Noir. Years later a Hungarian peasant by the name of Malbeck took the grape to the Medoc and it acquired the name Malbec (to learn more click here).
I also visited La Fleur Morange with a number of people, one of whom I have recently met here in Bordeaux, Andrew McGinty – who became very popular due to his fantastic lingual skills enabling him to act as interpreter, explaining how the chateau owner Jean Francois made the vintage – thanks Andrew!
The Grand Vin itself (50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc) showed the opulence you expect from a good wine and was well balanced. We were fortunate enough to also taste the 2010 – which proved to be an extremely good wine. Having tasted both I think that the 2011 is not far behind the quality of last year’s vintage. Mathilde (100% Merlot) , the second wine, was also well balanced with lots of fruit and had good structure.
Jean Francois explained that he didn’t cut back the foliage from the vines to expose the grapes until very late as he wanted the leaves to protect the grapes. He had his leg pulled by other wine makers for waiting but it proved to be a wise move in the end as others saw their grapes scorched – which is why few wines have had opulence this year.
I hope you have enjoyed my coverage on the 2011 vintage – I think people have to understand the characteristics of the vintage this year and that it is a year that has not been easy for the Bordelaise wine makers. I will sum up my thoughts early next week.