Today we see some of the biggest names from St Julien which was one of the pinnacles of performance in Bordeaux 2016. We start with Ducru Beaucaillou at GBP 1704 - the 2016 is another in the line of complete triumphs. Bruno Borie has a huge fondness for tradition and history and yet retains a very positive, future-first outlook, embracing all that technology has to offer to ensure that his vines and their fruit stay in perfect health. James Molesworth from the Wine Spectator gave it the potential for 100 points - 'A huge, undeniable wine, overt in style.'
Is is followed by the superb Leoville Poyferre which has been released this morning at GBP 798. Didier Cuvelier has once again produced a wine which speaks clearly of the quality of its terroir, with fine, shell-like minerality tucked away beneath layers of ripe, supple, beautifully textured fruit. This is certainly a wine for the long term with the critics unanimous in this view. Neal Martin commented: 'It just glides across the mouth and slips down the throat with consummate ease. Superb.'
Beausejour Becot was released at GBP 620 with Neal Martin saying 'a Saint-Emilion that should age with style. This continues the upswing of Beausejour Becot'.
Carmes Haut Brion was released but as usual its tiny production means it sells out almost immediately and this year was no exception covering as many pre-orders as we could - not surprising since Neal Martin gave it an 95-97 points and said 'it is a new benchmark for this estate with big ambitions.'
Chateau Clinet has also been released this morning - another phenomenal wine, possibly one of the best of the vintage, meaning it was hugely oversubscribed and is now sold out.
The distinguished 2016 Pichon Baron has been released at GBP 1350. Under the stewardship of Christian Seely this estate has, over the past two decades, shown itself to be one of the most consistently high-performing Chateaux in Pauillac, if not the whole of the Medoc. Indeed, the critics would agree as they all gave Pichon Baron fairly mammoth scores and some worthy praise. Suckling, who was perhaps the most awe-inspired by the wine said:
“I have been waiting for this for a long time. It’s a remake of the legendary 1990 Pichon Baron.”
One of the most dynamic producers in Bordeaux, the wonderful estate of Smith Haut Lafitte have released their red and white pair this afternoon - Rouge at GBP 935 and Blanc at GBP 875. Smith Haut Lafitte has been on an upward trajectory for at least a decade, with significant investment and the Cathiards’ naturally obsessive attention to detail all playing their part. The result is quite clearly one of the very finest wines ever produced at the estate.
As Neal Martin quite accurately put it about the Rouge: 'the chateau's own tasting note reads "what more could one possibly want from a wine?" The answer to that is: "Another bottle." (96-98 points). And on the white, Suckling accurately put it: 'dense and powerful white with wonderful depth and phenolic tension.'