I was recently fortunate enough to attend a small intimate tasting of 2013 Bordeaux hosted by Drummonds Bank and Vin-X. Five wines from various appellations were chosen, all small independently owned wineries that, within the context of their respective appellations, all produce exceptionally elegant wines.
In general, 2013 was a poor vintage in Bordeaux, difficult for growers right from the beginning. Early rainfall, late and uneven flowering and plenty of summer storms all conspired to ensure that 2013 was a real patchwork of quality, a year where it paid to stick to trusted chateaux.
First up was Malartic Lagraviere's Pessac Leognan. One of the few estates who have been given Grand Cru Classe status for both their red and white, they are widely seen as benchmark chateau for quality in Pessac. Generally, the appellation is famous for its subtly smokey aromas and this demonstrated it to the full. Lovely perfumes came through immediately before leading to a palate of soft berry fruit with a textured, fleshy finish.
Chateau Lynch Bages is one of the great names of Bordeaux and one that consistently out performs it's status of 5th growth. The name is synonymous with Pauillac and when it comes to power there are few left bank appellations that deliver the kind of bang and power that Pauillac does. This 2013 was big and bold with emphatic helpings of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon. Structured but refined, there is a considerable amount of life ahead of it.
Chateau Gruad-Larose, one of the stars of Saint-Julien, boasted powerful, spicy dark fruit with distinctive notes of violet. On the palate there was impressive texture, balance and ripe berry fruit, blackberry and strawberry in particular. There is plenty of tannic grip and lots of freshness, something Gruad-Larose has always been known for, and yet, it maintains and impressive elegance.
Saint Emillion Grand Cru is always a bit of a minefield. There are over 60 Premier Grand Cru Classes estates. Chateau Troplong Mondot has always stood out from the crowd though (one of 18 Premier Grand Cru Classes), sitting at the top of the Mondot hill with its stunning view over the whole village. It's a romantic setting. Just six and a half hectares are organic farmed, ploughed by horse and Merlot driven with plenty of fleshy, plummy fruit, it's a wine with grace and harmony and complex tertiary nuance. Liquorice and chocolate, fresh spice and concentrated black fruit.
Finally, to finish, a delve into one of the finest sweet wines in the world. The 2013 Chateau Sigalas Rambaud Sauternes showed everything you could possibly want from a natural botryisted Semillon. Fresh and vibrant, abundant stone fruit and white flowers, it oozes class and style and lays, matching polished elegance with the luxurious hedonism of this rare succulent nectar.