A very nice Pomerol. Perhaps it is coming off of its peak, as was alluded by previous notes. A really nice nose of plum, cherry, iron, sous bois, and chocolate. Soft and supple, but not as concentrated as one might expect. Medium-plus finish. A lighter style for l’Evangile. 94pts – Nov. 2015
Dark ruby/purple color. Bursting with fruit, with ripe plum, blackberry, oak, espresso, licorice, pepper, and violets. Lush and round, tannins surprisingly fine and silky at this stage. Acidity perhaps a bit low. Fine finish with medium length. Great value. Good daily drinker. 92pts – Oct. 2015
Bottle variation is certainly an interesting thing. After enjoying a pretty stunning bottle of 1989 Château Lynch-Bages recently, I had the pleasure to open another. The nose of this one was a bit shy, but did open up a bit with air. There was also a bit less depth on the palate. Don’t get me wrong; this was still a great wine, and I can’t wait to try again…soon. – Oct 2015
1989 Château Lynch-Bages from Pauillac. Lived up to its reputation, in a big way. Followed its evolution over 5 hours, and it honestly just kept getting better. Very young in color and a very clean nose, with no initial funk. An amazing nose of cassis, leather, mint, exotic spiciness, and anise. Lots of fruit here. Very smooth on the palate, with well-balanced tannins. Acidity is also in perfect balance. The finish is memorable, and just kept lingering. The nose and finish propel this wine to ‘special’ status. This wine should drink well for several decades. 96pts – Aug 2015
Even though we had recently visited Bordeaux earlier in the summer, it was obviously hard to stay away for long. We found ourselves coming back a mere three months later. It turned out that this was a fantastic time to visit. The skies were clear. The rains abated. And fortunately for us, the harvest was just beginning. The 2015 Bordeaux vintage was just hitting its stride.
Our trip began in St.-Émilion, where we stayed at the restaurant/B&B Logis de la Cadène. Hubert de la Boüard, owner of Château Angélus, owns this small guesthouse. For those who are aware of the fantastic restaurant, it should come as no surprise that the rooms here are top-notch. The service was also fantastic; we will definitely stay here again. Our visit here was also highlighted by a great dinner at Le Tertre, an excellent family-owned restaurant across from Logis.
In the Right Bank, we visited a number of properties in both St.-Émilion and Pomerol, including Clinet, La Conseillante, Petit-Village, Vieux Château Certan, Beau-Séjour Bécot, La Gaffelière, La Dominique, and Villemaurine. Echoed at most châteaux was the belief that the Merlot ripened extremely well, which should bode well for the vintage. Some even felt that the sugar ripeness was possibly a bit high and could lead to higher alcohol levels. Despite this, there was an excitement here that this vintage will easily eclipse the past four.
When we reached the Médoc, the harvest was in full swing. Again, this early harvest was due to the excellent ripening of the grapes. We stopped by Château Margaux and spoke with Managing Director Paul Pontallier, who relayed his cautious optimism about the 2015 vintage. At Margaux, they were also planting a few vines in front of their new winemaking facility; these vines won’t be made into wine, however. They are going to serve as ‘reference vines’ to teach visitors about the different varietals. We visited other properties in the Médoc, including Lynch-Bages, Palmer, Phélan Ségur, and Giscours. At Palmer, Thomas Duroux was furiously moving through the vineyards, likely awaiting the upcoming harvest.
Finally, we made it to Péssac-Léognan and Sauternes. The harvest was in full swing at Haut-Brion, which had already harvested the white grapes and had just started with the young Merlot (destined for the second wine). Château Climens in Barsac was also harvesting the beautifully botrytized grapes. We also visited La Mission Haut-Brion, Pape Clément, Guiraud, and d’Yquem. The weather throughout was just amazing, with clear azure skies contrasting with the rolling green vineyards.
Our trip ended in the city of Bordeaux. Again we dined at Garopapilles, one of our favorite restaurants in the city. The chef here previously worked at Haut-Bailly, and the food here is consistently brilliant. We also briefly joined Jane Anson, the renowned author of numerous Bordeaux books, for a glass of wine at Le Bar à Vin. This was followed by a special dinner at Comtoir Cuisine, where good friends Hamish Wakes-Miller of Bella Wine Tours, Ronan Laborde, and Monique Bailly joined us. Ronan is the owner of Château Clinet, which produces some of the best wines in Pomerol. Ronan and Monique brought a bottle of 1960 Château Clinet to share with us, and what a special bottle this was.
All in all, this was a whirlwind of a trip, but what a trip it was. We covered a lot of ground, but there is so much more to cover. Until next time…