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Bordeaux: Day 4

Things occurring at Mouton...

(Apologies for the delay in posting this... Technical problems.)

I leave the busiest day until last, not sure why.

I was up early for an early appointment at Château Ausone. The satnav made excellent time and I was there 20 minutes before the appointed hour, but shouldn't have worried as there were already people present, tasting away, with room to spare for a small one. The wines here are exciting, but the grand vin is altogether extraordinary: a thrillingly transparent, complex and beautiful thing…and so it should be at the price.

Visits both diarised and otherwise followed. From Ausone I drove to Eglise Clinet, then Vieux Château Certan, Cheval Blanc and Evangile. Those were all in the book, but then there were other unmissables for which one doesn't have to book: Canon; Angélus; the marathon that is La Grappe, at which one can sample wines from all the various clients of Stefan Derononcourt from such diverse sources as Virginia in the US to Thailand. The latter event I attended with the intention of trying one wine only - the Beauséjour-Duffau-Lagarosse - but was, of course and as ever, side-tracked into a more in depth look.

Canon La Gaffelière is a must, where to assess the wines of Count Stefan von Niepperg. And La Conseillante. How could one not stop by to taste one of the sexiest wines of the Libournais?

And then Figeac at 4pm: a thoroughly stunning way to celebrate teatime. This property will quickly take its place at the Right Bank High Table alongside its neighbours: Cheval Blanc; VCC; Evangile…oh, and that Petrus place. And like Cheval Blanc, Figeac is something above and beyond St Emilion. It is, quite simply, Figeac.

Add to this lot the UGC St Emilion and Pomerol tastings and it was quite a day.

So, what have I gleaned from my visit? Well, I can safely say that 2016 is an extremely successful vintage for Bordeaux. The reds are a delight. There is a slight downturn, perhaps, in the number of the loftiest peaks seen in 2015, yet there are a great many wines that will give a great deal of immense pleasure.

And pleasure will be had in the short-to-medium term, as well as further down the road. Many wines will drink well aged 6 or 7 and a good number will last 30, 40, even 50 years.

I have already seen some observers stating that reds are much more successful than whites. Well, I tasted quite a few white wines that will give great pleasure, albeit not necessarily into the longer term.

Plus many of the sweet wines are an utter delight. If I were to pull out one (other than the obvious repeat offenders) that won me over with its exquisite line and beauty, it was Doisy Védrines. It may not be as concentrated as its more famous sibling, but boy, does it have class in spades.

The question of whether the world requires another expensive (as surely it will be) Bordeaux vintage is another thing. How much claret does one require in one's cellar? That is, ultimately, for the individual collector to decide.

I will be typing up my tasting notes and will let you know when they are available on the internet.

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