Primeurs Week 2021 in Bordeaux. Pessac-Léognan: tasting and my opinion

Table of contents:

This is how my Primeurs 2021 Week have started in the Château Latour-Martillac

Tasting notes

Château Bouscaut – white (45% Semillon, 55% Sauvignon Blanc): ripe and open flavours with hints of apricot, wild flowers, honey and vanilla. Medium body and medium (+) length of aftertaste with high acidity, medium level of alcohol, which is balanced with the overall character of the wine. Red (40% Merlot, 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot) is an elegant and fresh wine with a medium body and red fruit bouquet (strawberry, raspberry, cherry), completed by vanilla. The aftertaste is slightly shorter than the white, but quite concentrated, with pleasant acidity.

Château Brown – white (60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon): Excellent structure and balanced bouquet with crisp acidity, citrus, stone fruit and full body. At the same time, the lingering aftertaste is fresh and adds elegance to the wine. Red (53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot): Clean, fruity aromas (red cherry, red plum, raspberry) with vanilla notes, medium body and firm, but velvety and not drying tannins. Quite long and juicy aftertaste.

Château Cantelys – red (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot): Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics in the bouquet (blackcurrant, black cherry, herbal notes), good balance of acidity and alcohol.

Château Carbonniex – white (65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon): bright fresh profile composed mainly of citrus, zest and flowers, with light hints of spice. Promising potential for development. Red (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot): the bouquet shows all the characteristics of the assemblage – blackcurrant and cherry from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, spices and flowers (peony, violet) from Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Strong tannin structure and high acidity.

Château Carmes Haut Brion – red (25% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon) – bouquet of flowers (violet) and black and red berries (blackcurrant, cherry). The tannins are firm and strong, but may well soften in the future, giving this wine excellent ageing potential.

Château Carrosse Martillac is a red (50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot). The bouquet is composed mainly of red and black fruits, with delicate spicy hints of liquorice and high acidity, which shows in the aftertaste.

Domaine de Chevalier – white (70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon): rich texture and complex bouquet with hints of wild flowers, nectarine, lemon, spices and vanilla. High acidity and a long aftertaste. Red (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2 Cabernet Franc): with all its woody notes (cinnamon, toast, liquorice), the wine develops fresh notes of red fruit, a long and fresh mouthfeel and high acidity. Promising ageing potential.

Château Lespault-Martillac – red (60% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot): Blackcurrant, black plum, violet in the bouquet, high acidity and strong tannins, supported by a medium body and long finish.

Château Couhins – White (96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Sauvignon Gris): expressive citrus notes (lemon zest, grapefruit) on the palate and aroma, great concentration and lingering aftertaste with spice notes. Red (46% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot): Open fruit attack with juicy red berries, excellent structure and complex aftertaste with spicy notes.

Château Couhins-Lurton – white (100% Sauvignon Blanc): multi-faceted bouquet of ripe citrus and stone fruit (lemon, nectarine, peach) with integrated woody tones and delicate hints of sweet spices (vanilla, cloves). The taste is ripe and full-bodied, with high acidity. Red (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon): Unlike many 2021s, this is a red dominated by Merlot, which despite a difficult year, was sufficiently ripe, structured, with firm but integrated tannins, high acidity, and typical Merlot hints of cherry, plum and menthol.

Château de Cruzeau – white (100% Sauvignon Blanc): lighter style than the Château Couhins-Lurton, bouquet composed mainly of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, lime zest, grapefruit) with high acidity. Red (53% Merlot 47% Cabernet Sauvignon): The bouquet of aromas and flavours consists mainly of fresh red berries, lighter than the Château Couhins-Lurton and with a slightly shorter aftertaste.

Château de Rochemorin – White (100% Sauvignon Blanc): ripe and balanced bouquet with notes of orange, candied lemon, white peach, acacia flowers, high acidity, long finish and good ageing potential. Red (30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 61% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc) is lighter in profile than the other Vignobles Lurton wines, with a bouquet of red berries and high acidity.

Château la Louvière – white (100% Sauvignon Blanc): recognizable rich style with a buttery texture, a long finish which seems to be slightly sweet because of the richness of the wine, hints of ripe stone fruit, vanilla and smoky nuances, more noticeable than the Château de Rochemorin, high acidity and excellent balance. Red (65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon): the majority of the blend is Merlot, but the profile is quite ripe, with pronounced but velvety tannins, high acidity and medium alcohol.

Château d’Eyran – white (65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon) – expressive aromatics (citrus, spices, smoky undertones), open fruit attack, but medium-long aftertaste. Red (45% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot) – ripe berry bouquet with subtle spicy notes, soft texture, integrated alcohol level.

Château Ferran – white (80% Sauvignon Blanc and 29% Semillon) – aroma a bit closed, citrusy with hints of vanilla and toast. Taste is more open, with hints of candied fruit, lemon peel and stone fruit. Good balance and high acidity. The red (77% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Petit Verdot) is seems to be also closed, with restrained aromatics and a bitter finish.

Château Fieuzal – white (70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon) – bright aromatics, a ripe bouquet with hints of candied lemon, wild flowers and vanilla. The taste is fresh, with high acidity. Red (45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot): Ripe profile (cherry, plum, blackcurrant), long finish and velvety tannins.

Château la Garde – white (85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon): balanced, predominantly citrus profile (lemon, zest, grapefruit), high acidity and long aftertaste.

Château d’Eck – White (50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon): citrus bouquet, lemon, lime, grapefruit, light bitterness in the aftertaste, high refreshing acidity. Red (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot) – fresh and balanced profile with a bouquet of red berries and high acidity. A delicate and pleasant wine.

Château Haut-Nouchet – Red (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc): The palate and aroma are woody, but with ample fruit and floral support.

Château Lafargue – white (80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Gris): the aroma is bright, citrusy, with strong hints of wild flowers and tropical fruits. Long aftertaste and buttery texture, thanks to the Sauvignon Gris. Red (60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot): more restrained and closed, with firm but integrated tannins. The bouquet combines red berries, spices and woody nuances.

Château Larrivet Haut-Brion – white (80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon): expressive aromas of citrus (lemon, zest, grapefruit) and stone fruit (nectarine). Exotic fruit (pineapple) on the palate, a rich, buttery texture balanced by high acidity. Red (45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc): ripe, balanced profile with berry and spicy notes, refreshing acidity and a long finish.

Château Latour-Martillac – white (55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon): high acidity, bright lemon notes (juice and zest) with hints of wild flowers, long finish. A bright wine with excellent ageing potential. Red (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot): a balanced, fresh profile with red fruit, spices (pepper, vanilla, cloves), a long finish and elegant structure.

Château Léognan – restrained but ripe aromatics (blackcurrant, cherry, plum) with hints of barrel aging (liquorice), high acidity and firm, dry tannins.

Château Luchey-Halde – white (37% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, 18% Sauvignon Gris): Juicy bouquet, with light spicy nuances (green apple, lemon, nutmeg). The taste is full-bodied, matching the aromatics and balanced by high acidity.

Château Malartic-Lagraviere – white (80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon): refreshing lemon bouquet, with floral and spicy notes, high crisp acidity, delicate and fresh profile with a refined aftertaste. Red (45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot): in the same elegant style, bouquet of fresh red and black berries, medium (+) acidity and medium body.

Château Mancedre – red (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot): black berries (blackcurrant, black cherry), spices (pepper, cloves), herbs (thyme). The woody nuances are well integrated, the aftertaste is long and refreshing.

Château Olivier – white (75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon): this wine is one with the most pronounced barrel flavours (vanilla, toast, pastry), but quite balanced and integrated into the citrus-floral bouquet. Medium body, high acidity and a long aftertaste. Red (38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 60% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot): the bouquet shows a combination of red and black berries, freshness and high acidity. Hints of wood are less prominent than in the white wine.

Château Pape Clement – white (75% Sauvignon Blanc, 22% Semillon, 2% Sauvignon Gris and 1% Muscadel): A very full-bodied profile, combining stone fruit (peach, apricot), sweet spices (vanilla, clove) and citrus fruits. The aftertaste is long, with high acidity and a slight bitterness of grapefruit. Red (49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot): Has a noticeable tannins and concentration, a ripe bouquet with berries (red and black cherry, red plum) and spices, high acidity and a long finish.

Château Pont Saint-Martin – white (48% Semillon, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 2% Muscadel): Complex assemblage and complex profile, with interesting aromas combining stone and citrus fruit, spices (nutmeg) and wild flowers.

Château Roche-Lalande – white (48% Semillon, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 2% Muscadel) is a complex blend that creates a multi-faceted and rich bouquet of wild flowers, spices, citrus and stone fruit and an elegant structure with a medium body and high acidity.

Château de Rouillac– white (70% Sauvignon Blanc, 16% Semillon, 14% Sauvignon Gris): The wine has an enveloping, buttery texture, balanced by high acidity. The bouquet is full of stone and tropical fruit, spices and light barrel nuances. Red (50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon) – noticeable tannins, but sufficient acidity and juicy fruit. On the whole, it is well balanced.

Overall impression on the vintage 2021 in Pessac-Léognan

White wines :

  • Nose and bouquet: the aromas are bright, rich in citrus fruits especially in single-variety Sauvignon Blanc wines. There are notes of lemon, lime, grapefruit, citrus zest and subtlety in the mouth. In blends (Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon in most examples, and with Sauvignon Gris or Muscadelle) the bouquet is completed by sweeter, rounder notes of stone fruits, white flowers and mild spices. The wood is delicate in almost all the wines, with a few exceptions, where it requires more time to integrate.
  • Palate and structure in the mouth: fresh, with high acidity, which gives them a refined and elegant profile. Good length in the mouth and good concentration of flavours. Body and alcohol are at the average level.
  • Ageing potential: promising, high acidity and concentration of aromatic components give these wines great ageing potential and the prospect of a long evolution towards a complex and balanced profile.
  • Overall, the white wines of Pessac-Léognan are successful and the 2021 vintage will be a great one for them.

Red wines :

    • Nose and bouquet: since the blend of many of the wines is composed of a large proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, the bouquet is composed from distinct aromas of black fruits and slightly herbaceous notes. Merlot makes up less than half of the blend in most of the wines, but is present in the bouquet in the form of tart red cherry and red plum notes. Wood is present in the form of spice and toast, and is fairly integrated and does not dominate the fruity bouquet.
    • Palate and structure in the mouth: similarly to white wines, red wines of Pessac-Léognan have a high acidity, medium body and medium alcohol level, in harmony with a fresh and refined profile, but the tannins sometimes seem too dry due to the fact that the Merlot has not always reached optimum maturity. Some wines lack the concentration to balance a firm tannic structure.
    • Ageing potential: in theory, good acidity and firm tannins combined with good concentration of flavours give to a wine a good longevity. The reds of Pessac-Léognan are quite tannic and acidic, but they are rather lean and fresh than full-bodied. They will, of course, be less suited to prolonged ageing, but can also be a nice surprise over the next 10 years. This was the case with the 2011 vintage, which seemed to be closed, even hard in its youth, but in 2020-2021 it showed a complex bouquet with subtle tertiary notes and great balance.

    The 2021 vintage is close to a classic Bordeaux, refined, fresh, with average alcohol levels. This profile does not really give the impression of a wine with great ageing potential, but it has all the characteristics necessary for a long development into a complex and harmonious wine.

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