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2019 Bordeaux En Primeur: Châteaux Olivier, La Gaffelière, Lamarque, Meyney, Grand-Puy Ducasse, Pichon Lalande, Guiraud, Bastor-Lamontagne.

June 5, 2020

The good guys at Vintage Club, Singapore, were kind enough to invite me to a tasting of selected 2019 Bordeaux across Zoom on the evening of 04 June 2020. A set of miniature glass bottles (the châteaux have requested no photographs of these on social media), each filled with 30 mL of wine, essentially barrel samples, had been couriered to my residence the day before. The wines were aired for 30 minutes prior to tasting at the ambient temperature of 20°C. The year 2019 was essentially a hot vintage, though not to the extent of 2003. I remembered being in the blistering 40°C heat of Saint-Émilion on the last week of June 2019, the start of the hot spell (following cold and wet weather from April to mid-June) that lasted until the rains of late September. Some have commented that the tendency towards excessive sugar ripeness caused by the heat has resulted in wines of uneven quality on both Banks. Indeed, throughout the tasting, one can sense each estate trying to tame the alcohol, some more successfully than others. One of the estates (which I cannot name) withdrew its wine from the evening’s line-up at the eleventh hour even though its sample had reached us. Little wonder: the alcohol in that wine could not be controlled, pervading the entire palate and obscuring the fruit. Perhaps the best kept secret of 2019 are actually the Bordeaux whites (including Sauternes), generously flavoured and very naturally balanced with real depth, layering and sleek acidity. These are the real gems of 2019. Merci Gilles!

Saint-Émilion, 25 June 2019

2019 Château Olivier Blanc. Generous nose of floral notes, distinct diesel tones and fresh morning dew, quite gorgeous. Very good in concentration with a clean feel, displaying great clarity and acidity. Fleshed out with some degree of oiliness, rather sleek and slick, remaining highly harmonious. Excellent.

2019 Château Olivier Rouge. Somewhat reductive, a tad austere, with quite a bit of funkiness on the nose. Rounded and fleshy on the medium-bodied palate, showing very good concentration of raspberries and ripe wild berries, structured with highly supple tannins. Finished with good linearity. Very fine and elegant.

2019 Château La Gaffelière. Attractive but restrained perfumed fragrance. Rather slim on the medium-bodied palate, displaying good concentration and harmony with focused definition and rounded suppleness, revealing just a hint of vegetal undertones along with a discernible bit of alcoholic trail.

2019 Château Lamarque. Rather fruit forward on the nose with a distinct sweetness. Medium-bodied, imbued with very good presence of ripe black berries and dark cherries that almost imparted a sense of opulence. Subtly structured with quite an open silkiness, laced with fine acidity. Surprisingly fine from the Haut-Médoc. Drinking very well already!

2019 Château Meyney. Not much on the nose though the medium-bodied palate is imbued with good concentration of dark fruits and currants, structured with good acidity. Somewhat short. Not distinctive.

2019 Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. Closed, proffering just a whiff of dark currants. Quite fleshy and open on the medium-bodied palate, displaying good concentration of dark fruits that brought about some warm biting intensity with fine acidity though lacking in ultimate distinction and length.

2019 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Discernible bit of warm vegetal hint on the nose that is classic of Lalande, though essentially closed. Fleshy, medium-full, imbued with very fine concentration of fruit cushioned with some velvety tones though not truly opulent. Good depth and layering, finishing with restrained elegance and subtle tannins. Very fine. Good potential.

2019 Château Bastor-Lamontagne. Gentle nose of nectarine. Medium-bodied. Good clean concentration of peaches and apricot, exuding controlled sweetness as it tapered to a quiet finish. Distinctly feminine. A successful Sauternes.

2019 Château Guiraud. Attractive bouquet of fresh green apples amidst apricot and tropical fruit, already hinting at some early complexity. Has weight, depth and layering, displaying some attractive intensity with lovely balance and controlled sweetness. Finished very well. Shows real class and pedigree. Excellent.

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