Bordeaux Primeurs 2013 part 2 : Tasting Results

2013 is a very heterogeneous year in Bordeaux. The differences from bottle to bottle are sometimes very surprising during this year’s tastings.

In a nutshell, sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac are a great success, dry white wines from Pessac-Léognan are for the most part good too, red wines are average, sometimes mediocre, with some crus doing better than others.

Red wines are pretty dark with somewhat intense colors this year. However they are, in most cases, really light-bodied with light tannic structures. I was quite surprised by these intense colors as they usually lead to stronger structures in the mouth. Noses are not that expressive, the best wines offer nice, fresh fruit aromas and floral notes. Some wines display too much of a smoky nose demonstrating an excessive use of new barrels (a very bad sign in my book with such light-bodied wines).

The best wines of 2013 come from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. As explained in the last article, the vines of Merlot suffered from bad weather and barely produced. Merlot usually softens a Bordeaux wine blend, however, this year the opposite happened. Hence a historical proportion of Cabernet in some bottles especially in the Médoc region (Château Margaux : 94% Cabernet Sauvignon ; Château Lafite Rothschild : 99% C.S ; Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse : 100 % C.S).

Right Bank

I had a hard time tasting Pomerol wines this year. I didn’t get to taste the big names of the appellation, which apparently are some, if not THE best Bordeaux in 2013. Although I have no doubt Petrus or Château Lafleur did very well, I was very disappointed by crus such as Château Le Bon Pasteur and Château La Pointe. My father doesn’t recall, in 40 years, such a tasting in Pomerol! That says a lot.

Château La Conseillante stood out to me (as it usually does) with a very tender and silky mouth and a very pleasant finish. I also enjoyed Château Clinet with its delicate nose and fruity taste, and to a lesser extent Château La Croix de Gay. That is pretty much what I’ll remember of this appellation this year.

I found more interesting things in Saint-Emilion even though the differences from château to château were flagrant again.

Château Angelus and Cheval-Blanc are both excellent for two main reasons : a big proportion of Cabernet-Franc in the blend, and the privilege of selecting ONLY the best grapes for their wine even if it means little production, a privilege that only a few Châteaux can afford.

Some wineries that stood out and made quality wine in 2013 :

Château Troplong-Mondot with a nice body, fine tannins and great flavors ; Château Beauséjour Bécot ; Château Beauséjour Duffau Lagarosse ; Clos Fourtet ; Château Figeac ; Château Haut-Sarpe ; Château Laroze.

I also finally tasted something I have heard about for quite some time : Château La Fleur de Bouärd, which is located in the appellation Lalande-de-Pomerol and managed by the owners of Château Angelus.

This wine is better than some wines from the star appellation Pomerol, with good structure for the year and rare roundiness and flesh on the palate. Too much structure and body for the year? Maybe. I’m not the biggest fan of wines standing out like this in the middle of a marathon tasting. Over-extraction and overuse of new oak barrels are often the reason for that. Time will tell and I’m impatient to taste this bottle again over the next few years and judge its evolution. Its chocolate nose covers the fruitiness too much (excessive barrel use?), and I was a little disappointed by the short finish as well. Don’t get me wrong, this will please plenty of consumers who enjoy “big” wines. Also, from a business standpoint and as a merchant it’s difficult to sell a wine from that appellation for such a price (around 30€ / bottle). I’m more critical toward this wine than most magazines.

They also produce another wine, a better “cuvée” Le Plus de la Fleur de Bouärd (100 % Merlot). Its color is VERY dark and intense. The nose is complex, those chocolate notes are still there as well as ripe fruits and spices. It’s well integrated and this wine is more coherent as a whole than the previous one. Very enjoyable on the palate with a lot of taste, structure and great balance. Nice finish and long aftertaste.

In 2013, none of the wines will age more than 10 years and should be primarily opened and drunk young, in order to enjoy the young fruity flavors to the fullest.