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- Bordeaux Chronicles
Follow our trip through Bordeaux during this year’s En Primeur barrel tastings. ARVI’s team will be touring, tasting, and exploring the greatest producers to get a first-hand look at the 2018 vintage. Throughout the first week of April, 2019 we will be updating our webpage each day to give you an inside-look at the most chaotic, but nonetheless celebratory time for this fine-wine capital.
Château Les Ormes-de-Pez
Château Cos d’Estournel
Château Lafite Rothschild
Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Up and early for our second day of En Primeurs tastings, we drove along the Left Bank all the way up to the Northern Médoc area. Our first appointment was in Saint-Estèphe at Château Montrose, this year represents an important step in the estate’s conversion to organic viticulture. The first tastings show signs of a great vintage, Montrose is a big wine that has the ability to age for decades, the structure and complexity is absolutely there.
Just a short drive south and we arrived in Pauillac for a visit at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste. Welcomed by the owner, Mr. Borie and his daughter, they explained that their 2018 wines are very expressive, combining both the richness of the vintage and the quality of their terroir. This vintage is especially unique because it is François-Xavier Borie’s 40th vintage.
Our next stop was at Château Haut-Batailley, to taste through the Cazes family’s 2018 offerings. Similarly owned by the Cazes family, we had a tasting of Château Lynch-Bages, as well as Château Ormes de Pez. Meeting with the owner, Jean-Charles Cazes and Commercial Director, Malou Sommer for the tasting, we found that Ormes de Pez was already extremely expressive, with great juicy black fruit notes making it our favorite price/quality wine of the day. We tasted Haut-Batailley's second vintage, and we can already see their know-how developing, producing a high-quality red. The 2018 Lynch-Bages is exactly what you would expect when you think of a great Lynch-Bages. Our Head Sommelier comments, “What a full throttle Lynch, with the foot on the accelerator, this wine shows off with a structured complexity and a meaningful depth.”
Making our way back to Saint-Estèphe, we had an appointment at Château Meyney, neighbors of Montrose. We spoke with David Launax, the Managing Director about the exceptional potential of these wines, and wow, was he right. Both Meyney and Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse are showing powerful structure and tannins.
Arriving at Château Lafite Rothschild, we could feel the enthusiasm in the air. The Grand Vin is a big wine, it has this unique elegance featuring the best characteristics of Pauillac. Our Head Sommelier mentioned “This year, the 2018 Lafite is pure silk, no words, it has this smooth elegance but a elaborate structure.”
Our final tasting before lunch was with the owner Alfred Tesseron himself, of Château Pontet-Canet. While the Château is happy with the vintage, Pontet-Canet is known for their strict organic and biodynamic practices which left them with only 1/3 of production this year. However, their precise sorting led to an animated, lively wine. It’s was almost like biting directly into a grape.
After a wonderful lunch, we made our way back to Saint-Estèphe, visiting the most decorative estate in Bordeaux - Château Cos d’Estournel. Greeted by the owner, Michel Reybier, we had a wonderful tasting of the 2018 vintage. Pleasantly surprised, we found the wines each had a great freshness and classy nature, they’re not your average hot vintage wines. Cos d’Estournel 2018 is a wine with a lot of power, but also a lot of control, making it a great composed example coming out of this vintage. We also had a taste of Pagodes de Cos Blanc, which is the first ever vintage.
A short drive and we made our way to Château Calon-Ségur, where we were greeted by the Director of the estate, Mr. Laurent Dufau. Dufau explains that the whole team is really satisfied with the style of this vintage, the wines reflect their terroir exactly how they intended to. A truly outstanding Canon-Ségur, the freshness comes from the terroir, while the tannins and aromatic palate come from the vintage.
The rest of our afternoon was spent in Pauillac visiting three châteaux that are literally next-door-neighbors. The first stop of this trio was Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, where we met with Sales Director, Charles Fournier. Fournier explained that the technical team played a vital role in making this vintage great due to the challenging weather. 2018 is a richer vintage, but the Grand Vin retains a remarkable freshness and finesse.
We crossed the street to have a tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, which is home to the most striking architecture in Bordeaux. Xavier Sanchez, the Sales Director, led us through this year’s vintage report. The wines were intense and powerful, with a balanced concentration and purity, it’s a great vintage for Pichon Longueville Baron.
Just neighboring Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and Château Pichon Longueville Baron, our last tasting of the day was at the stunning Château Latour. Unfortunately for us, Latour does not participate in En Primeur, but rather waits until the wine is ready to be released (which could be years). With the greatness of this Latour, our Head Sommelier says it’s going to be a long wait, the wine is already showing delicate, intricate layers.