The power of Pauillac


We woke up to a gloomy morning in the Médoc with dark clouds and heavy rain overhead as we drove to Pauillac. Fortunately, despite the continuing monsoon, our spirits were lifted after the first few tastings.

Branaire_DucruOur expectations of this being a Cabernet vintage were confirmed beyond doubt yesterday. It felt like being at home again after tasting the Pauillacs and St Juliens.

Stars of the day were: Ch. Branaire-Ducru (left), with its ethereal charm and elegance; Ch. Lynch Bages (in the photo at the bottom left) surpassing its 2005 with its layers of fruit and wonderful complexity, and Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste with its lovely precision, restraint and mineral elegance.  We managed to have a quick chat with a couple of the wine makers too:

Patrick Maroteau at Branaire from Ch. Braniere-Ducru

Francois Xavier Borie from Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Value wines of the day were: Ch. Haut-Bages-Liberal with its dense crunchy cassis fruit; Ch.
Ormes de Pez
– the best we have ever tasted with an almost violet Pomerol character and astonishing concentration – very seductive indeed – and the prize for Best Newcomer to our tasting schedule clearly went to the beautifully enticing Ch. St Pierre.bruno_boire_ducru_beaucaillou

As ever, our visit to Ducru-Beaucaillou was somewhat surreal, with the lit candles at the entrance giving an almost sacrificial air to the tasting . The irrepressible Bruno Borie was as entertaining as ever as we tasted in the bright yellow/orange ‘tasting tunnel’ (right). The wine was silky smooth too – but likely to be expensive in 2009.

The consistency in both Pauillac and St Julien impressed us so far with Pauillac just shading it in terms of class. There were some truly fantastic wines but nothing quite as euphoric as the top 2005s… and then we went to Ch. Latour.

Ch. Latour’s 2009 was simply astonishing, a level far above anything we have tasted so far – put simply: the best en primeur wine we have ever tasted.

heading_to_lynch_bagesLayers and layers of seductive fruit and an incredible violet perfume, reminiscent of Margaux, wafted from the glass. The wine had huge power but effortless poise, definition and depth – we just couldn’t stop beaming.

So now, finally, it seems we have hit the real magic of 2009. With Lafite and Mouton to come today the excitement is building. If they are anywhere near the level of Latour, we will be beaming all day.