Without doubt, 2016 is up there with the best Bordeaux vintages in recent years and, if we look away from the most famous or prestigious chateaux, there is some fantastic value to be had. Often overshadowed by their larger and more illustrious neighbours, the Grands Crus Classés, these properties produce wines that are very characteristic of their respective appellations and offer refinement and precision at a much more affordable price.
'A clutch of fabulous wines that I bet could be sneaked into a blind tasting of Grand Cru Classé and nobody would notice, at least not until you examine the price tag.'
- Neal Martin, 'Where Value Lies: First Look At 2016 Bordeaux', vinous.com, 23rd October
Here we have brought together three Bordeaux that were rated particularly highly in Neal Martin's recently published report following the Cru Bourgeois* tasting on the 27th September at the British Academy, all of which received equal highest score and were praised for the amazing quality and value offered by these less well-known properties. /RRS
*If my fleeting mention of the new Cru Bourgeois classification system leaves you none the wiser, click here to learn more...
'The 2016 Sérilhan has a wonderful, quite high-toned and generous bouquet with ample blackberry and raspberry scents laced with violet and hints of iodine. 92 points.'
Under the direction of Didier Marcelis who took over the family business in 2003, the chateau produces three Bordeaux blends, namely Sérilhan, Moutinet and Mignot. Didier works closely with Bernard Franc, technical director who previously worked at Chateaux Pontet Canet and Lafon Rochet, and Hubert Bouard of Chateau Angélus, technical consultant. In recent years they have undertaken a significant renovation of the estate, increasing its area to 24 hectares of well-drained gravelly soil, and the wines demonstrate the robust tannic structure and punchiness typical of this appellation.
'The 2016 Tayac is a gem of a Margaux […] a gorgeous Tayac with huge potential. Maybe the best ever? Chapeau. 92 points.'
Tayac is located in the far north of Margaux, in the commune of Soussans and is an established family business having been under the Portets' control for four generations. This long-standing family-affair has resulted in fine-tuned practices and production steeped in knowledge and experience. The Portets place a great value on their land and home, and this is evidenced in the expressive and aromatic wines they produce. Neal Martin's glowing report attests to both the quality and longevity of the 2016 Tayac, which offers 'copious black cherries, violets and blueberry on the nose that could only come from Margaux.'
Chateau Branas Grand Poujeaux
'The 2016 Branas Grand Poujeaux is always one of the classiest offerings from Moulis and this is no different. 92 points.'
The small size of this left-bank property (twelve hectares) allows its manager, Justin Onclin, to focus on the precision and purity of the wines he produces, as well as achieving his second ambition of respecting and paying close attention to the estate's history and roots. Having taken over in 2002, Onclin went on to make some major changes, including the installation of a gravity-flow cellar and more detailed and sustainable plot-by-plot growing and vinification. Combining his commitment to heritage with a modern take on wine making, the result is both classic and expressive.
Offered subject to remaining unsold; for shipment Winter 2018/2019