One of two articles I previously wrote on the 2019 vintage during the en primeurs tasting of 2020 (in spring, after the vintage was fermented) mentioned that ‘…this most recent Bordeaux vintage generally sings with quality. Although the vintage may not have been as consistent as wines from 2018, the tannins are generally elegant, the taste of fruit abundant and energetic and the aging potential excellent.’
How are these wines tasting two years later, now that they are available for consumption? Generally the wines are beautiful with supple tannins and rich fruit flavors. Saint-Estèphe, especially, ranks high overall for consistency, complexity and balance—as well as versatility in pairing with food.
Wines listed below are from the left bank of Bordeaux, as well as the Entre-Deux-Mers region, or belong to the Vin de Pays or IGP Vins de Pays d’Atlantique appellations.
Château Branas Grand Poujeaux/ Moulis-en-Médoc. 2019. 95 points.
This Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot blend is a rich, chocolate delight—with firm tannins and slithering juicy acidity. Cocoa on the attack, a mid-palate of blackberries and red currants, Dutch licorice, red cherries, pear and mocha on the finish. Pair with a gravy slathered sirloin steak, a lentil and sausage dish or a dessert of chocolate fondue.
Château Tour de Termes. Saint-Estèphe. Cru Bourgeois Supérieur. 2019. 94 points.
This left bank red includes 5% Petit Verdot as well as a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc. Aromas of boot black, oak leaves, wet forest, acorns and licorice. An unusual and earthy medley that is mildly wooded and also includes aromas of black pepper, anise and cumin. Dark, seductive. In the mouth—a supple and rich package of red fruit with luscious acidity and mild tannins. Firm, balanced, rich and sleek as well as textured on the finish and balanced. Toffee on the attack, licorice, black cherries and cranberry mid palate and German chocolate cake on finish. Pair with cheddar lasagna, huevos rancheros or a dessert of strawberry praline parfait.
Château Lamothe Bergeron. Haut-Médoc. Cru Bourgeois Supérieur. 2019. 94 points.
A hearty and delicious flush of aromas that include red hot candies, black cherries, wet beach stones and sesame. In the mouth—a silky and welcoming dose of well-integrated red cherries and an oat bar. Sleek tannins. Textured, easy drinking and well balanced. Pair with fowl—grouse or pigeon, or perhaps a caramel pecan dessert.
Château Deyrem Valentin. Margaux. Cru Bourgeois Supérieur. 2019. 96 points.
Lush, fresh, ripe raspberry aromas exploding on the nose, as well as those of menthol, eucalyptus, tic-tac mints, wet earth and boysenberry syrup. In the mouth this wine is royally smooth, silky and seductive. Cherries and plums on the attack, figs and strawberries mid palate, slight anise on the finish. A bath of bright tannins, integrated with deep, velvety acidity. Seductive and lush. Pair with game meat such as grilled rabbit, or vegetarian dumplings with ginger, or a dessert of peach cobbler.
Château Charmail. Haut-Médoc. Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. 2019. 96 points.
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Suave, seductive, full rich aromas that include tulips, violets, red cherries, white pepper, a sliver of menthol and Provence herbs. A layered and gorgeous bouquet. In the mouth this wine is light, bright and with subdued tannins below a layer of red fruit, honey, toast and black cherry flavors. Sultanas on the attack, bourbon biscuits and cherries mid palate. A rich wine—calm, slightly complex. Pair with grilled salmon and corn on the cob, or a poke vegetable bowl, or a dessert of butterscotch brittle.
Château Mayne Lalande. Listrac-Médoc. 2019. 95 points.
A bright bouquet of red fruit, bourbon chocolate biscuits, mint brittle, peanut butter and even a hint of black pepper. Multifaceted—with mint on the attack, red cherries and citric acidity mid palate and cocoa powder on the finish. Pair with pumpkin soup, shish kebab with green peppers and pineapple, or an orange sorbet dessert.
Château Thenac. 2019. 95 points.
Creamy blend of aromas of oranges, toffee, red hot candies, A layer cake both complex, and delightful. Figs, cocoa and red plums mid palate, eucalyptus on the finish. Bright acidity with a crisp line of slight peppermint flavor. Pair with duck a l’orange, or a vegetable curry.
Château Siran. Margaux. 2019. 96 points.
Peppery aromas with sesame, cumin, black and red cherries, raspberries. Layered, complex aromas. Cocoa and treacle mid palate, candy cane on the finish. Crisp acidity in this suave and supple wine with textured tannins in the background. Pair with goulash, beef burgundy, or a dessert of devil’s food cake.
L’Éclat du Château l’Éperon. Grand Vin de Bordeaux. 2019. 90 points.
An 80/10/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec aged in French oak for 12 months. Juicy red fruit aromas, even a hint of nuttiness and pine. A light but full fruited easy drinking wine, with mild tannins, pleasing acidity and gobs of red fruit, anise and black pepper. Pair with a sirloin steak, or a cheddar and wild rice pilaf.
Château L’Éperon. Grand Vin de Bordeaux. 2019. 92 points.
Light and luscious aromas of raspberries, red cherries, even peaches and leather. Fresh, fun, easy drinking and approachable; ripe fruit, supple acidity and firm but low key tannins. Wild strawberries mid palate and red cherries on the finish. Pair with a seared tuna steak, or a pesto and cherry tomato salad.
Hubert de Boüard. Cabernet Sauvignon. 2019. 93 points.
Prunes, plums, anise, Bourbon chocolate biscuits and wet earth aromas, as well as red cherries and a lilt of smoke. In the mouth—black cherries on the attack, mocha, blueberries and blackberries mid palate, and some cashews and mint on the finish. A big and satisfying array of fruit and cocoa tastes with tannins structured, though unobtrusive, and acidity with a mandarin tinge circling dark interior flavors. Pair with sashimi, or barbecued pork and bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, or a caramel dessert. Easy drinking, full bodied and accessible to a range of foods. Bravo for De Boüard for making great quality Bordeaux wines accessible and affordable to everyone.
Hubert de Boüard. Merlot. 2019. 94 points.
Feisty, fresh, jumping red cherry and raspberry aromas. Some mocha and sage and a lick of salt. Dark plums, figs, black cherries mid palate, raspberries and black pepper on the finish. Juicy, generous acidity, supple tannins in the background. This is a festivity in itself. Light and brisk with well-integrated components. Pair with oxtail soup, or blackened prawns or a blackberry clafoutis dessert.
Château de Carles. Grand Vin de Bordeaux. Fronsac. 2019. 94 points.
Assertive but suave aromas that include those of a dry forest, black licorice and taffy, yellow plums, and a hint of eucalyptus. Rich, layered, balanced. Dark and delicious in the mouth, with a mid palate that includes mocha and blackened steak, and a finish that is lush and cherry filled. Tannins and fruit well balanced, and gorgeously integrated acidity in this slightly savage red. Pair tenderloin, a lentil and black bean pilaf, or even an enchilada.
Hubert de Boüard. Cabernet Franc. 2019. 93 points.
Punchy and grounded though vibrant aromas. Think earth and summer meadow. Fruit and greens here—bell peppers, hickory and cep mushrooms. Slightly smoky and darkly attractive—inside a forest without light. Maraschino cherries and red plums and a smidgen of licorice mid palate and an attractive red fruit length. Chiaroscuro flavors–light and dark. A hefty and beguiling glass that will transfix your dinner part. Pair with blackened salmon or fried porcini mushrooms with black pepper and truffles. Memorable and distinct.
Petit Laurence. 2019. 92 points.
A rich set of initial aromas that include juicy raspberries and cream soda, followed by popsicles and cherry pop-tarts after a swirl. A set of mint, cherry, cola and licorice mid palate flavors with dark prunes on the finish. Whirling acidity in the cheeks and layered young tannins. A jumpy and fresh young wine. Pair with shish kebab, or vegetable dumplings or a spice and orange cake dessert.
Pavillon de Trianon. Bordeaux Supérieur. 2019.
Rich, balanced, layered aromas of cassis, strawberry, raspberry, cherry and some dark morels—vibrant, joyful, engaging. Mid palate a chewy spice cake with mocha—layered and mildly complex. Firm but young tannins and bracing acidity. Pair with a sirloin steak, a carrot and aubergine lasagna or a mint crisp dessert.
Chateau Tour de Pez. Cru Bourgeois. Saint-Estephe. 2019. 92 points.
A Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend. Licorice, chocolate biscuit, red plum and Appenzeller aromas. Lush eucalyptus and red cherries mid palate and a tannic and slightly smoky finish. Pair with a cheddar and shredded beef enchilada, a four-cheese lasagna or a dessert of mint crisp.
Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. Grand Cru Classé. Pauillac. 2019. 90 points.
Ripe, structured, somewhat tannic aromas with figs, earth, cherries. Still young though with excellent aging potential. A chewy mid palate rodeo of rich acidity, ripe red fruit, slight licorice and black pepper. Sleek and supple tannins, velvety smooth fruit flavors. Pair with a range of foods from roast duck breast to well grilled steak. This is a wine to begin an evening of tasting classic left bank blends.
Chateau de Chantegrive. Graves. 2019. 95 points.
A surprisingly luscious and buoyant sizzler of jumping fresh fruit tastes. Aromas of tobacco, blueberry, After Eight mint chocolate wafers. Delicious and bright flavors that include mocha, butterscotch, red plumbs and blood oranges. Firm tannins, well structured, mild astringency due to youth. Pair with a stew or a cheddar cheese soufflé. Delicious.
Chateau Tour de Bellegarde. 2019. 96 points.
Light red fruit aromas and bright in the mouth, with quiet but firm tannins, a range of fruit flavors that include raspberries and red plums mid palate, with succulent acidity and red cherries on the finish. Wonderful—quite the quiet poem from a bottle with a beautiful label showing a profusion of wildflowers and berries in sepia tones.
L’Exception. Récolte 2019. 92 points.
Wet earth, chalky substrate, black berries, some vegetal notes. A medley of light fruit and darker nutty flavors with some black licorice on the finish. Nice acidity, with red fruit mid palate, and subdued but well-structured tannins. Pair with a cheddar and mushroom omelette or blackened salmon with fennel.
Chateau Larose Perganson. Haut-Medoc. Cru Bourgeois Supérieur. 2019. 93 points.
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from the left bank. Rich aromas of cherry, apricot, graphite and moist humus. Quite the supple mouthful, with a hint of early slight astringency due to tannins in this still young wine. Red plums and red cherries mid palate, mild mint on the finish. Juicy acidity that accentuates the fruit, and tannins—which are calm but well structured. Pair with breaded veal and lemon, or a couscous and prawn pilaf.
Chateau Laffitte Carcasset. Saint-Estèphe. Cru Bourgeois Supérieur. 2019. 94 points.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. First created in 1759. Statured and structured aromas of black berries, juicy crushed red cherries, some peat and rose and lilac flowers. Black cherries on the attack, red plums and some ginger mid palate and a juicy mid length finish. Well integrated licorice flavor with tannins and acidity—a hefty mouthful that is complex, confident and welcoming for food—consider goulash or braised beef or a chicken teriyaki salad.
Château Prieuré de Blaignan. Médoc. 2019. 92 points.
Light cherry colored. Aromas of red fruit but also a slice of juicy oranges. A mouthful of red cherries, red plums, some anise and chestnut flavors. Acidity highlights red/orange fruit mid palate. Tannins evident but not dominant. Pair with duck a l’orange or even sushi.
Chateau Blaignan. Medoc. Cru Bourgeois. 2019. 95 points.
Rich, complex and deeply sweet fruit aromas, similar to a Saint-Èmilion wine in ebullience. Also florals—lilac and rose—and some black pepper. An integrated and rich mouthful of chocolate bourbon biscuits mid palate, red cherries and juicy acidity on the finish. Lush, complex, well structured. Pair with grilled rabbit and tomatoes, or spätzle and shaved truffles. Confident and calming.
Château Les Clauzots. Graves. 2019. 95 points.
A 50/45/5 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot that aged 18 months in oak. Robust aromas of a dark chocolate slab, maraschino cherry, peppermint and strawberry. A rich, statured mouthful of well-integrated fruit, tannin and acidity. Complex and commanding, dark and well structured. Pair with apple crumble dessert, chicken or pork dumplings or baguette and goat cheese. Well made, well balanced. Classic.
Château Arnauld. Haut-Médoc. Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. 2019. 96 points.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Dark crimson color. Fresh vitality on the nose—aromas of strawberries, cherries, cranberries, tar, anise. A joyously smooth drinking red—with beautiful integration of a panoply of fruits and acidity; light but layered tannins. Peppermint and black cherries on the attack and mid palate, and a light red cherry finish. Drink as an appetizer or with a range of foods that could include Angus steak and wild rice, a cheddar and asparagus soufflé or a cherry tart dessert. You cannot drink just one glass.
Prieur de Meyney. Saint-Estephe. 2019. 96 points.
Fruity blast of cheerful aromas: sage, red cherries, black berries, black cherries, evergreen forest. Light, positive, well integrated in the mouth. An optimistic, beautifully balanced wine with mature tannins, luscious fruit and generous acidity. Complex, well-crafted and adaptable to difference cuisines—whether a Thai Tom Nam soup or a south African potje pot of beef stew. Craftsmanship and experience reflected in this classic wine.
Chateau Meyney. Saint-Estephe. 2019. 96 points.
Rich, crisp and still voluptuous aromas of mushroom, salty licorice, tar, violets, black pepper, anise and cayenne. You could sniff this for minutes before taking a sip. Prunes and plums on the attack, malt balls mid palate and juicy cherries and black and white pepper on the finish. Complex, with well-integrated but firm tannins and commanding rich acidity. Pair with a smorgasbord, or charcuterie platter or a fudge sundae dessert. This is a playful and accomplished wine.
La Chapelle de Meyney. Saint-Estèphe. 2019. 96 points.
Classically well-behaved showcase aromas from Saint-Estephe—as well structured as a Macy’s parade. Rich, layered, complex aromas billowing red cherries, black cherries, slight mocha and mild teak and cedar. A multilayered nasal delight—intoxicating before you even swallow. Red cherries on the attack (and throughout) and a chewy and creamy mid palate of malt balls, crushed cherries and red plums. Generous acidity bathing the fruit, and structured but unobtrusive tannins. This is a Sunday lunch main event wine—pair with roast beef and trimmings. A glorious and classic left bank wine.
Château de Portets. Ambassadeur de Graves. 2019. 94 points.
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Aromas of rich, round, silky dark red and black fruit. Textured in the mouth, oozing acidity with pronounced menthol and dark fruit. Gentle, classic and classy tannins. Pair with a sirloin steak or duck breast.
Château Leroy-Beauval. Bordeaux Supérieur. 2019. 93 points.
Merlot dominant blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in French oak. Smooth, vibrant aromas of plumbs, raspberries, ferns, mild hickory and a hint of citrics. Toast and treacle mid palate with this energetic rodeo of dark fruit flavors in a lively acidic matrix.
Dubreuil. Chardonnay. 2019. 95 points.
100% Chardonnay. Billowing brisk aromas as fresh as salty sea spray that include limes, gooseberries, eucalyptus and mint. Succulent and seductive flavors with an oily mouth feel. Limes on the attack, and kiwi fruit mid palate. Vibrant and delicious. Pair with edamame or plaice.
Château La Loubiere. Sauvignon. 2020. 96 points.
Aromas of wet forest, wet beach, limes, passion fruit, flint and minerals. Gripping. Buttery in the mouth, reminiscent of a beautiful Chardonnay, yet teeming with a sizzling merger of acidity and crisp lean fruit. Awakening and delicious.
Château de Portets. Graves. 2020. 96 points.
A blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle with voluptuous deep aromas that are edgy, flinty, tangy and and with minerality. In the mouth, this provides an oily mouth feel, lithe acidity, grapefruit on the attack, buttered toast and hazelnuts mid palate and mandarins on the finish. An excellent wine, bursting with energy.
Chateau Plain-Point. Bordeaux. 2019. 97 points.
Almost clear colored. Luscious and lambent and layered Sauvignon Blanc aromas—folded and feisty—of grapefruit, butter, toast, mandarins, gooseberries, lychee. Seductive and inviting. A crisp wine with flavors of white pears, yellow apples, lemon meringue. Approachable and beautifully balanced. Don’t bother using Coravin with this, because you will open this bottle and share with friends to the last drop. Pair with shrimp, sushi, or Asian noodles. Sinfully good.
Château Thénac. Bordeaux. 2019. 89 points.
Perky aromas of honey, honeydew melon and grapefruit. Touch of brittle flintiness. A combination of roundness with an occasional spike of mandarin in the mouth. Juicy and lingering acidity. Gooseberries and pears mid palate, acidic finish. Pair with shellfish and lemon juice.
Château de Chantegrive. Graves. Caroline. 2019. 90 points.
This 50/45/5 blend of Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Gris includes rounded and juicy open aromas with an openness from the Sauvignon Gris. Aromas of papaya, honey, green limes. A full mouthful with well-balanced acidity and alcohol. Green apples and pears mid palate and slight menthol on the finish. Pair with dover sole or even sushi.
Château de Chantegrive. Graves. 2019. 90 points.
50/50 Semilon/Sauvignon blend that is slightly cloudy and effervescent. Tropical soda flavors—limes, paw paws and honey from the Semillon. Wispy, light and distinct. Juicy and tropical mouthful, quite rounded in lacquering the cheeks. Some grapefruit mid palate and menthol on the finish. Billowing and juicy. Pair with summer fruit or a banana flambé dessert.
Château Laurence. Brut Nature. Zero Dosage. 92 points.
This sparkling 100 Chardonnay from Philippe Nunes includes citric grapefruit aromas, sumptuous big bubbles and flavors of mandarins and bread crust; rippling acidity.
Domaine Puy Redon. Chardonnay. 2019. 92 points.
Aromas of papaya, buttered toast, gooseberries, bubble gum and walnuts in this wine produced near Montbazillac. A juicy and rounded mouthful that is slightly acidic. Limes on the attack, butter and guavas and pineapples mid palate.
Cháteau Laurence. Petite Laurence. 2019. 94 points.
From Philippe Nunes in the Entre Deux Mers region of Bordeaux comes this white wine with aromas of marshmallows, lime cordial, mandarin oranges, ripe melons and white pears. Scintillating meld of openness and structure. Graceful assembly of juicy acidity and light white fruit in the mouth—green apples on the attack, white pears mid palate, some salt and lime on the finish. A spring evening appetizer wine—pair with scallops, black rice and sliced tangerines or with consommé soup. Stable, consistent, enjoyable.
Chateau Laurence. Blanc Sec. Vin de Bordeaux. 2019. 95 points.
A collaboration between Philippe Nunes and Hubert de Boüard. This 12.5% alcohol white includes structured aromas of mandarin, lime, slight salt and honey. Delicious on the nose. In the mouth—gooseberries on the attack, honey and papaya and melon mid palate and a jostling acidic mandarin finish. A white that can accompany appetizers or light main dishes—including amberjack fish, a beetroot and cheddar salad or even wiener schnitzel drizzled with lemon juice. Complexity derives from accomplished winemaking ability. A dazzler for opening a grand dinner.
Hubert de Boüard. Semillon. 2019. 93 points.
Honey and grapefruit aromas—playful and open—as well as aromas of unripe green limes, melon, green grass and wet beach stones. Lively and fresh and will make you salivate for plaice or dover sole before you even taste this wine. Honey and eucalyptus and lemongrass flavors in this accurate, coherent but also playful white. Sleek acidity and low key tropicals. Pair with caviar and salted crackers, anchovy pinxtos or even foie gras on toast. A festive wine.
Hubert de Boüard. Chardonnay. 2019. 92 points.
This IGP Atlantic Chardonnay from the south and west of France is flinty and also honeyed on the nose, providing a yin/yang contrast of edginess and roundness. Lime, sea spray, gunpowder and slight cashew aromas. Not as complex as a Burgundy, but beautifully easy drinking. Fresh, rounded and honeyed mid palate. Pair with white fish, quinoa salad or a pistachio ice cream dessert. For the southwest of France—a delicious Chardonnay.
Hubert de Boüard. Sauvignon. 2019. 92 points.
From hand-picked vines and aged in French oak from the Allier region of France. Quite the sumptuous set of precise, rich and refined aromas that include marshmallow, menthol and citrics. Flavors include gooseberries and papaya on the attack, candy cane and limes mid palate, and a tart acidic finish. Crisp and well made. Pair with sushi appetizers, white fish and lemon or a crème Brûlée dessert.