2021 Bordeaux - A giant puzzle
By Sylvain Patard - Photos: courtesy of the estates, posted on 05 September 2022
Bordeaux experienced a host of weather events which had a negative impact on the development of the growing season, ripening and yields. They ranged from severe spring frosts to horrendous outbreaks of mildew and a cool summer with little sunshine, but ended with a mild autumn. A lot of hard work in the vineyards produced decent wines, some of them stellar even, but with significant inconsistencies from one appellation, or even property, to another. The following is an excerpt from our tastings, solely focused on the Crus Classés.
The 5 Highest-Ranking 2021 Grands Crus Classés
98/100 Château Lafite: Elegant nose gradually opening up to mineral-oaky tones and dark fruits. The palate shows incredible breadth, racy tannins and a very strict feel entwined with elegance. An excellent vintage of Lafite.
98/100 Château Mouton-Rothschild: Captivating nose of dark fruits and exotic wood, which is rich yet elegant. The palate is as dense as it is mouth-caressing. The tannins are incredibly ripe and the wine exudes an impression of comforting tranquillity. A superlative Mouton.
96/100 Château Margaux: Oakiness is present yet elegant. The same generosity is evident on the palate which is very chewy. The oak is racy and the fruit is already pretty. Abundant freshness. A Cabernet vintage more than ever.
95/100 Château Haut-Brion: Low-key fruity and oaky nose. The palate is very broad then power sets in with aromatics that are both dense and harmonious. Great selection but lacking the magic of the finest years.
95/100 Château Latour: Very muted, profound nose with subtle mineral and oak aromas. The palate is dense, almost harsh, with grippy tannins. A very young wine, definitely with substantial ageing capacity but still way too imprecise.
Château Margaux: Médoc classicism
2021 Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe
96/100 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron: Racy nose showing elegant oakiness. The tannins from the wood already lend a lot of structure to the palate with dark fruits and a delicate cacao touch in the background. Most definitely shows huge potential.
95/100 Château Lynch-Bages: Explosive nose delivering the perfect fusion of fruit and oak. This is a very age-worthy wine with super quality oak and a very elegant tannin grain. Still an infant!
95/100 Petit Mouton by Château Mouton-Rothschild: Concentrated, racy nose exuding intense fruity and oaky notes. The palate is ample and elegant with a fine tannin backbone, perfect ripeness and velvety fruit on the finish. Magnificent!
Château Pichon Longeville Baron, a reliable choice in this challenging vintage.
96/100 Château Cos d’Estournel: The nose is still muted but elegant with mineral and oaky aromas. The palate is fleshy with soft oakiness and fruit showing excellent ripeness on the finish. This is a very promising wine for cellaring, which is still a little secretive.
93/100 Château Les Ormes de Pez: Fruity nose tinged with faint vegetal aromas. Lovely juicy, very coherent palate with oakiness that is a little virile but also shows a real stately feel.
93/100 Château Phélan-Ségur: Appetising nose of red fruits and vanilla. The palate is concentrated, dense and still oak-dominant. A great blend, which should rapidly show its worth.
2021 Saint-Julien and Margaux
96/100 Château Lagrange: The nose offers up a generous, appetising and nicely ripe score of fruit. The palate is very supple with civilised tannins, breadth and generous fruit. Already nicely established.
96/100 Château Léoville-Barton: The nose is very sappy and fuses ripe fruits with very refined oakiness. The palate is clean with freshness adding tension. Alluring fruit bouquet and very juicy. Racy oak influence for a complete wine showing handsome potential.
95/100 Château Lascombes: Racy nose with floral accents, buds and subtle oakiness. The palate already displays a harmonious structure with lovely soft fruit and oakiness, although the aromas are obviously still youthful. A reliable choice of Margaux, as confirmed once again.
95/100 Château Giscours: Delicate smoky, vanilla oak on the nose with ripe red and black fruits. Powerful, fleshy, mouth-coating palate where gorgeous fruit expression meshes with well-established, polished tannins. Freshness drives the finish.
94/100 Château Desmirail: Very pure, clean fruity and floral nose. The palate is more oaky yet stays harmonious with a distinctively vanilla finish. A promising wine still under oak influence.
96/100 Château Pape Clément: Concentrated nose of red and black fruits with virtually imperceptible oak. The palate shows lovely concentration, combining a strict feel and classicism. This is a wine designed for the long-term.
95/100 Domaine de Chevalier: Very endearing nose with intense fruit and oakiness. The palate is already remarkable full with racy oakiness and fruit presence. All the ingredients are there to make this a stunner.
Sauternes and Barsac
93/100 Château Suduiraut: Very elegant, fresh nose of white flowers and crisp, ripe fruits. The palate is very fresh and lively with great length and palatability. A racy wine.
93/100 Château de Rayne-Vigneau: Mineral nose with white fruits and an appetising honeyed touch. The palate is typically crisp and rich with an acid feel that energises the whole.
92/100 Château Lamothe-Guignard: Saline nose with candied white-fleshed fruits. Ethereal palate that keeps the same aromatics with a moreish tangy, candied finish.
Saint-émilion grand Cru
98/100 Château Figeac: Very consistent, precise, ripe nose showing soft, elegant oakiness. Beautifully sappy palate with structure and fruit showing exceptional purity. Highly successful and already very convincing, probably enhanced by the chateau’s unique blend.
97/100 Château Pavie: Very consistent nose with oakiness that is not too obtrusive. Breadth, fulfilment and generosity. An aromatic finish where the Cabernets give it their all. Superb!
96/100 Château Cheval blanc: Tightly-wound, subtle nose with shy fruit. Ample, fleshy palate with extremely delicate tannins. The finish is in place but needs to free itself from the influence of good quality but generous oak.
This year’s Château Figeac is a show-stopper, just like its brand new winery.
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