Tasting Notes & Highlights from the “Grands Crus de Bordeaux” Miami Tasting

By all accounts, 2016 was a fabulous year in Bordeaux. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gushed with praise:”…2016 is an incredible vintage that produced a lot of outstanding and some extraordinary wines throughout Bordeaux.”

Needless to say, I was excited and happy to be able to attend a presentation of Bordeaux from this Grands Crus de Bordeauxvintage by some of the best wineries. Grands Crus de Bordeaux  #UGCBUSTOUR does an annual trek through the US at key cities and the trade tasting is always well attended.

Hundreds of wines, all from the same vintage: this gives a wine lover the opportunity to notice differences of terroir and winemaker skills. I started with the whites, then reds, then dessert wines.

I was impressed by the whites, essentially all from Pessac Leognan. One in particular stood out: Chateau Carbonnieux, a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 34% Semillon. It had a delicate citrus aroma and flavor, with a great mouth feel, high but well-balanced acidity and a lingering aftertaste.

Equally impressive was Chateau Pape Clément from Graves, a 45/45 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion with 5/5 of Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris.

The Sauternes were delicious, led by Suduiraut and Clos Haut Peyraguey, the latter with 95% Semillon was superb and unctuous.

But as expected, the headlines were taken by the outstanding Bordeaux reds. Some were delicious and ready to drink, but these were from the less prominent wineries: Chateau La Cabanne, mostly Merlot, was very approachable; Chateau Valandraud had soft tannins with juicy dark berry fruit; Chateau Larcis Ducasse, also from mostly Merlot, had soft tannins and enjoyable; Chateau de Pez, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, ‘Wow!’

But the big guns, names that most Bordeaux lovers will easily recognize, were powerful expressions and needed much more time to be appreciated. It never ceases to amaze me how a winemaker can know this early how great the wine will be. But one winemaker offered an insight:

“it takes years of experience with the winery so that your palate remembers how a wine evolves over the years, and what it tasted like early on in its life”

I also had a chance to meet some wine friends from the Miami area and Anne Cuvelier, owner of Léoville Poyferré whom we visited on our last Wine Lovers Bordeaux tour.It was a stellar vintage year for Bordeaux and the tasting was a great refresher before our 9-night wine tour in Bordeaux and SW France this summer.

I hope all wine lovers get the chance to experience some of the great 2016 Bordeaux. But meanwhile here are some of my notes:

  • Chateau Lynch Bages:  mouth-coating tannins
  • Chateau Pichon Baron: smokey, rich texture, soft tannins, lingering after taste
  • Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse: mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, but still soft tannins
  • Chateau D’Armailhac: smokey, dark berry aroma, soft, approachable, juicy fruit, Wow!
  • Chateau Léoville Poyferré: great dark berry fruit, soft tannins, enjoyable  now but needs time
  • Chateau Langoa Barton: can’t get past the tannins to enjoy this wine
  • Chateau Beycheville: 47% Merlot, what a difference Merlot makes!
  • Chateau Marquis de Terme: tannic, but beautiful color and aroma
  • Chateau Lascombes: so tannic I couldn’t appreciate the wine
  • Chateau Giscours: lean and mean, this wine needs time
  • Chateau Durfort Vivens: less tannic, good fruit and good drinking
  • Chateau Dauzac: super tannic, deep ruby red color, good dark berry fruit
  • Chateau Cantenac Brown: deep red color, rich texture, dark berry fruit, delicious now

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