Bordeaux 2018: our best-value buys
Author: Max Lalondrelle
Basile Tesseron is usually quite self-effacing, but he cannot hide the pleasure in his 2018. He likes to age his wine on their lees in barrel and for that you need perfect, healthy skins, which 2018 delivered. The extended lees contact adds an extra level of creaminess to an already interesting and pure expression of savoury, rich fruit. Drink 2026-2038.
Berliquet was bought by Chanel in 2017, joining its neighbour Château Canon and sharing its team. There is an ambition to increase the Cabernet Franc to 50%, as limestone dominates the small 10-hectare vineyard. The alcohol is 14.5%, but is imperceptible in the tighter, crunchy and drier style. One of the more forthright St Emilions of the vintage. Drink 2026-2038.
The shackles are off this year. This is a full-throttle Clos du Marquis, packed full of interesting, exotic notes. The main flavour keys are Asian: cinnamon, cumin, ginger. The tannins are superbly ripe so that the overall effect is seamless. Yet, with a little examination, the wine is also tightly layered, promising great things for the future. Drink 2024-2038.
Beau-Séjour Bécot (the “little kiss”) is a 22-hectare single plot, all on limestone. Run by her father Gérard and uncle Dominique for 35 years, with Michel Rolland as a friendly advisor, Juliette Bécot and husband Julien are starting with a lighter touch in the vineyard and cellar. The energy in the wine is a delight, giving the plummy Merlot bounce and immediacy. Drink 2025-2038.
Troplong’s terroir can produce one of the sturdiest of the great St Emilions, even supporting a rare St Emilion Côtes sighting of Cabernet Sauvignon. Aymeric de Gironde arrived from Cos d’Estournel in 2017 and is aiming for a lighter touch, with higher yields and less oak. The wine is still structured, toasty and spicy, but much less solid. Feels like progress. Drink 2027-2042.