Bordeaux 2019 from barrel

From various locations, finally putting together these wine reviews

Tasted September 29, 2020 by PanosKakaviatos with 733 views

Introduction

Thank you for your patience in this COVID19 vintage that took precious time from what we all normally do.
Sorry for the weird flight arrangements: I could not edit some of them.
Long overdue and hardly comprehensive, my Bordeaux 2019 barrel sample tasting notes mix top estates and less heralded, from the Left to the Right Bank.
I chose not to have many bottles shipped to Strasbourg, because I felt that one year “less hyped” for Bordeaux is refreshing and could mean a vintage better priced. As things stand now, many discounts (some really good ones), even though back vintages are available for comparable (or even lower) prices and will be sooner ready to drink. But 2019 seems well priced, with less “best-vintage-ever” buzz: Indeed, my impression from what I did taste is positive, as the tasting notes attest.
You can read far more details on my website, wine-chronicles.com to which I welcome your subscription.

Flight 1 - Fronsacs and Pomerols (4 notes)

Fronsac? An appellation that continues to excel, with prices still low. Go buy them!
Pomerol? An appellation that can be very pricey, but very delicious in 2019. Buy them, too.

Red
2019 Château de la Dauphine France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac
92 points
Sample was taken on 12 June, so three days ago. Rather bright forest strawberry notes. Not as dark fruit as above. The wine is indeed bright and ripe, a very lovely Dauphine, with lift and energy and fruit ripeness that balances the high alcohol of the vintage very nicely. Aging in 30% new oak. There is greater elegance here than Dalem. Tasted at the Grand Cercle on 15 June. 92-93+
Red
2019 Château Les Trois Croix France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Fronsac
92 points
This has a freshness to it, as well, a certain “zing” which appeals to me. Richness, too. This is one of my favorites among the Fronsacs. Wait for barrel aging to “fill it out” and you will have depth and zing. This was actually drawn on the same day, so you have immediate freshness. Tasted at the Grand Cercle on 15 June. 92-93+
Red
2019 Château Le Bon Pasteur France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
93 points
A bit of tightness on the finish, maybe? Probably just needs to “fill out” in barrel. But for now, a lovely barrel sample indeed, with freshness. Yes, freshness! And there is a certain appealing succulence and smooth palate. Ripe fruit, bien entendu. Nice job. Crus et Domaines de France. 93-94
Red
2019 Château La Conseillante France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
97 points
A superb barrel sample. Such elegance, with gorgeous floral aromatics serving as a prelude to much depth on the palate, fine tannic grain and a palate that has many layers and nuances. It is very deep and broad but far more subtle in its opulence than any other Pomerol I tried so far, and that does not include Petrus or Le Pin or Vieux Château Certan or Evangile or other top guns. Still, as far as top guns go, this is marvelous! Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 96-98
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Flight 2 - Saint Emilion Sampler (3 notes)

Some very nice wines from Saint Emilion, albeit not as consistent as Pomerol. But when is that ever the case?

Red
2019 Château Corbin St. Émilion Grand Cru France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
Planted in one single block, the 13-hectare vineyard is situated in the northwest of the Saint-Emilion appellation, on the doorstep of Pomerol. As ever, lovely and refined Merlot, with a bit of power delivered in a fine, rounded manner. A touch of warmth on the finish. Still, an excellent showing from this consistent estate. A wine that delivers a great price/quality ratio! Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 92-94+
Red
2019 Château Yon-Figeac France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
Now I like the smoothness of this sample. Not a “great” wine (not enough for an underline red), but it certainly has a friendly approach integrating both richness and structure. Give it time in barrel and I think it will come together to be a very fine wine. Tasted at the Grand Cercle on 15 June and at the Crus et Domaines de France tasting, with consistent notes. 91-93
Red
2019 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
95 points
Here the bottle temperature was fresh from a temperature controlled cellar, so ideal and what a difference! This is delicious and counts among the best en primeur I recall from this estate. Opulent and balanced, with loads of ripe and delectable fruit and balancing acidity, with a fine and long finish. Bravo! Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 94-96
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Flight 3 - Couple of very good Haut-Médoc wines, with Sociando shining very bright in 2019. (2 notes)

Red
2019 Château Lanessan France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
92 points
Already the nose suggests more breed than many other wines I was tasting in this appellation at the Grand Cercle. It exudes blueberry fruit and a cool aspect with savory plum notes. The palate is supple yet with structure: like a smoother version of the La Cardonne. Finish is tannic, but this is normal. It needs about 7 or 10 years of aging to be fully ready. 91-93+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Château Sociando-Mallet France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
94 points
A coup de coeur! Buy this. It comes across balanced, elegant and opulent. One of the best Sociando Mallets I have tried en primeur. No need for futures buying, but should be great off the shelf. I look forward to a vertical of this estate next time I am in Bordeaux. Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 93-95
7 people found this helpful Comments (1)

Flight 4 - Two excellent wines from Saint Estèphe (2 notes)

Red
2019 Château Phélan Ségur France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
94 points
Dark ripe fruit aromas with a hint of cedar elegance. Impressive palate density, with both structure and elegance, and the best of the Saint Estèphe that I tasted at the Crus et Domaines de France tasting. Bravo! 93-95
3 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2019 Château Montrose France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
97 points
Candidate for wine of the vintage. Communications director Hélène Brochet welcomed me to the estate. We both donned masks. Also there was winemaking director Vincent Decup. They were kind to open as well the 2018, which fascinated me from barrel. Indeed, the 2018 at this stage exudes a subtle nose, while the palate is quite rich and broad. I do feel some heat, and, yet, like a trapeze act, it manages to balance things. Aging in 65% new oak. I was wondering if they could maybe have done with a bit less new oak in 2018. I would think that the high alcohol of the vintage could be extracting more of the oak than necessary, but this is just an impression at this stage. Toasting, by the way, is middle to middle-light, or with vapor-made barrels. They had to harvest very early, to maintain freshness, and they had to pick more quickly, so “we adapted to the harvest,” Deculp said. He is interested in amphorae, as they oxidize, but do not include oak flavor. They will start to experiment next year. While the 2018 is exuberant, puissant, large and long, the 2019 is more classic, albeit with certain flamboyance, too. Alcohol is lower than last year, at 14.45% as opposed to 14.8%, although the pH at 3.7 is about the same as 2018. But the impression in 2019 is more floral, slightly cooler fruit, even somewhat croquant and, dare I say, serious. Indeed, the cooler evenings of August lent more energy and vivacity to this vintage. I also found the oak integration to be superior and, at this (very early) stage, I prefer the 2019. Both tasted in June 2020 at the estate. Blends 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. A great wine in the making indeed. While the 2018 gets 95 points, the 2019 should be between 96-98 once in bottle. Tasted at the château.
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Flight 5 - A couple of Margaux wines that are underpriced for the quality: go get em' (2 notes)

Red
2019 Château Brane-Cantenac France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
94 points
The top of the pops among the Margaux I tasted in Wiesbaden last month. Gorgeous aromatics, perfumed and floral, with distinct violet notes, the palate at once refined and linear but with impressive mid palate density. Long finish. In a word: Margaux! Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 93-95+
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Château d'Issan France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
94 points
Here we have a Margaux that comes across a bit more Pauillac like, coiled in. But an undeniable high quality of tannin, very smooth. Very high potential. Looking forward to revisiting again. Along with the Brane Cantenac, the strongest showing among the Margaux that I tasted from barrel. Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 93-95+
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Flight 6 - Pauillac has no shortage of excellent wines in 2019 - and two red from Pessac-Léognan (7 notes)

Red
2019 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
Highest alcohol ever for this estate, at 14.3% (last year was 14.2%). “We had Cabernet Sauvignons with a natural alcohol level harvested at 13.4% and even up to 13.6%”, remarked Emeline Borie. And even though acidities are about the same as last year, the freshness balances out the alcohol. The wine is sumptuous opulent, with black and juicy cherry, cassis and graphite. Its underlying power is nicely ensconced in an elegance expression of fine grained tannin. The blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Merlot is aging in 75% new oak. I really liked this wine, but was more excited tasting en primeur with the 2016 vintage, as you can read my impressions back in 2017 here. So much so, that I bought six bottles of the 2016 not long after this tasting. Still, an excellent wine in the making and that does not surprise me. Furthermore, in terms of pricing, GPL was especially impressive as its opening 2019 price is – drum roll please – two euros less expensive than in 2005. So only 38 euros ex-château. 93-95 Tasted at the estate in June.
5 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
96 points
Can you pronounce lead pencil? So full of graphite, I am ready to open a lead pencil factory. The aromatics so deep, accentuated by pristine expressions of dark red fruit. It fits the mold of a “serious Pauillac” that reflects the older style of Château Latour: a very good thing. Extremely fine, smooth tannins, all in very good balance, with (very) full body and impressive palate density leading to a (very) long finish. The “oohs” and “aahs” in the tasting room, even with social distancing and masks (after sipping) were audible. Crus et Domaines de France tasting. 95-97
6 people found this helpful Comments (1)
Red
2019 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
97 points
Candidate for wine of the vintage, as it equals the level of the great Mouton Rothschild but in a different style of quintessential elegance. Yet again a veritable Super Second, at the level of a First. What beguiling aromas of rose petal, rose stem, cedar, pencil lead, cassis! “C’est une belle réussite”, remarks director Nicolas Glumineau. And the 14.2% alcohol is very well integrated; indeed, I was thinking in terms of 13.5%. The pH clocks in at a healthy 3.7 for this blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc. It is aging in 60% new oak and the estate has been working with some larger 300-liter barrels since 2018, to ensure “better rapport” with oxygen. Glumineau explains how they are increasing parcels under an organic regime. As for 2019, he echoes others about the heat stress, especially recalling early July: “We saw yellowing leaves, and I was unsure”… He was thinking of 2003 so they worked the vines so as to have less evaporation. Thankfully in mid July 32mm of rain fell with about that same amount in mid August, which helped as well: “These two rains proved essential”. Even if the Merlots were more heterogenous, the best Merlots were great. Cellar master Xavier Pallu, who has been with the estate since 1998, said that he had never seen such fine Merlot. The Cabernets were more homogenous and “grand and racy”. The wine is grand. For Glumineau, who had been at Château Montrose in 2010, the vintage “reaches the level of Montrose 2010”. I bought futures. Tasted both at the estate and at home in Strasbourg. 96-98+
8 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Pichon Comtesse Réserve France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
92 points
Sweet herb, sweet mint, ripe and juicy black plum, rose petals: a delectable and sappy (not in the negative sense) palate, full-bodied and with lift and freshness. Long finish. As I taste 2019 Bordeaux, I find greater freshness and balance – on average – compared to 2018. And this is just the “second wine” of the mighty Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, and (from barrel, drawn on 24 June and tasted in early July), it is absolutely delicious! 92-95
4 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
94 points
One of the best experiences I can recall of trying this from barrel. The 32% Merlot lends such opulence and indeed includes the two hectares of vines from a parcel that normally goes into the first wine, so you have “an extra dimension” this year. Just pouring the wine in glass is like sensing perfume in the room. “Un vrai Petit Mouton, avec des fruit noirs de cérises murs, très presents”, Dhalluin commented with enthusiasm, and I agree. Since I was driving to Paris just two days later, I brought it to a friend’s and we all marveled at its succulence. The finish is marked by aromatic crushed herbs that make it interesting. The alcohol touches 14% but is actually 13.9%. And I find the balance better than last year’s version. OK, the tannic grain is not as fine as that of Mouton and the wine is of course not as long, but the exuberance is great, and it reminds me of the up front fruit of the 2012, albeit with more mid palate depth. Dhalluin acknowledged this as a good comparison: “In 2012, we pushed the maturity to get maximum ripenes and this 2019 comes across that way, too”. 93-95
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Château Malartic-Lagravière France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
94 points
Pristine fresh red and black fruit aromas precede a palate smooth and dense, very fruit driven but with a cool blue fruit aspect on the long finish. This is the first vintage since the estate hired the talented wine consultant Eric Boissenot, highlighting greater elegance in style, which is very welcome. A blend of nearly 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, just over 41% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, the wine is aging in 65% new French oak. Furthermore, the excellent quality from this producer is getting increasingly noticed by merchants worldwide for its price/quality ratio (just over $30 per bottle in the U.S.), so buy it while that lasts. 😉 93-95 Crus et Domaines de France tasting
8 people found this helpful Comments (6)
Red
2019 Domaine de Chevalier France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
95 points
Same blend as in 2018, with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, but lower alcohol and a bit more elegant than the preceding vintage, which was already successful. The attack is dark cherry and blackberry, with savory tannin and some sea salt aspects that make the wine (13.2% alcohol) fresh and opulent. A long finish that has some cedar and wet stone freshness. “Even if a bit less powerful than 2016,” Bernard stresses that the level of precision has “improved since that vintage”. He says that 2019 has “a bit of 2015”, as well, but I sense greater freshness and a better vintage than the 2015. It is full degree less alcohol than the 2018. 94-96 Consistent notes at a German trade tasting on 8 July and at the estate in June.
8 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 7 - Four from Saint Julien: best Lagrange ever? And two from Sauternes/Barsac (6 notes)

Red
2019 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
94 points
I love the pure, primary fruit expression from this estate in this vintage and accolades from many critics are well deserved, as the wine conveys both clean ripe fruit and wonderful density, with such a vivid expression of fruit, like biting into the skin of a grape, wonderful tannic extract, depth and impressive length. I cannot recall a more exciting tasting from barrel for Lagrange. Bravo! 93-96 Crus et Domaines de France tasting
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2019 Château Beychevelle France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
94 points
This estate continues to maintain a very high standard, and it is a good follow up to the impressive 2018, which I had tasted on location in Bordeaux. What impressed me most here was a bit more Pauillac like power and grip, although it could have been the sample. The combination of fresh red and black fruits on the palate, with oyster shell freshness on the long finish is a very good sign. 93-95 Crus et Domaines de France tasting
Red
2019 Château Langoa Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
93 points
It is hard to resist the pure and focused expressions of fruit and the floral bouquet reflecting much freshness. In recent years, the wine here has gotten better and more opulent in expression, and 2019 is no exception. Bravo! 92-94+ Crus et Domaines de France tasting
Red
2019 Clos du Marquis France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
94 points
Gorgeous aromas of very bright red fruit and pencil lead lead to a palate all in finesse, which conveys density and elegance. One of the best I can recall from barrel, the blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc clocks in fairly high at 14.1% alcohol, but a rather low pH of 3.6 (total acidity of 3.4 grams per liter) provides refreshing balance. IPT is 79. A very successful wine here, so bravo! 93-95 Crus et Domaines de France tasting
White - Sweet/Dessert
2019 Château Doisy-Daëne France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
95 points
Reflecting a solar vintage, the freshness of this Barsac of 100% Sauvignon Blanc provides perfect balance. A wine that exudes elegance and freshness, with gorgeous botrytis spice. An enveloping palate with suave texture, bursting with vivid fruit, and with freshness on the long finish. A superb wine to evolve with grace over the next 40 years. 94-96 Crus et Domaines de France tasting.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2019 Château Raymond-Lafon France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
95 points
What a lovely palate! This has contour, depth and complexity. The nose is a bit closed at this stage, but it rather explodes on the palate with such vivid white stone fruit, kiwi, mango and white pepper and tea. It constitutes one of the best ever experiences tasting this fine estate from barrel. Bravo! 94-96 Tasted at the Grand Cercle.

Flight 8 - Two excellent dry whites from Pessac-Léognan (2 notes)

White
2019 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
94 points
2019 was another solar vintage following up on 2018, and again not as successful generally speaking as, say, 2017. But we are talking about an estate that excels in warmer vintages and here no exception. Already the Domaine de Chevalier Blanc was top of the pops last year among dry white Bordeaux. And 2019 follows in the same vein, bursting with aromas of white pepper, eglantine, acacia and sweet herbs. In a word: opulence. “In 2019 we had ripeness, but not as much a danger of over ripeness as in 2018,” Bernard explains. Indeed, the cooler August nights made the difference and although “we have a similar alcohol level as in 2018, the 2019 has a bit more acidity”, he said. “It was not an easy vintage as July was too hot, and September was hot, so it was not normal.” I will err on the side of exuberance and give this great white a wide score range, as it has potential to reach “96”, but let us see from bottle! 93-96 Tasted at the estate in June.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2019 Château Malartic-Lagravière Blanc France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
94 points
A very fine white indeed, combining veritable elegance with orange rind freshness delivered with mid-palate opulence. The finish is long and smooth. Starting from the 2019 vintage, vinification consultancy has been handed to Eric Boissenot, who is bringing more elegance to the wine. And, another bargain alert, for super fine dry white Bordeaux, at under €40 in Europe. 93-95 Crus et Domaines de France tasting.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Closing

I get the feeling that you may get the "large scale" of 2018 in the reds, but with more freshening acidity, so - Hey! - this could be a better vintage for the reds for lovers of freshness. By the same token, the dry whites seem a bit more vibrant than in 2018. I do not think that the vintage approaches the level of 2016 in terms of overall quality for the reds, but we shall see from bottle next year. And 2017 whites are superior to both 2019 and 2018. Speaking of "from bottle", I am set to taste the 2018s from bottle in November. And that will be another enduring Bordeaux comparison: 2018 vs 2019.

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