Less than an hour out of the city of Bordeaux and we’re stopped in a little lane in the middle of a farm. “The GPS says it’s here,” the driver offers, looking around at what is obviously not the château we’re looking for. He calls headquarters. Frankly, I can’t understand how anyone finds their way around the famed regions of Sauternes and Barsac in the southern part of Bordeaux.
In the evening, we drove into the center of Bordeaux, which takes about an hour, just to taste one wine: Château d’Yquem. This year, château director Pierre Lurton had decided to take over the beautiful Bordeaux opera house in the center of town.
We arrived at the Château Figeac where the Manoncourt family has resided for centuries. A housemaid in an aproned uniform brought water, then we were left entirely alone for the better part of an hour. Until, strolling the grounds, we spied another housemaid cleaning outside, and asked her to find out what was up. It turned out our host was over at Château Cheval Blanc, having a great tasting. He arrived a few minutes later.
The nose has a characteristic cigar/tobacco aroma, suggesting the wine is at or near maturity. The palate is smooth and supple and just about ready. A delicious wine and one that reinforces the excellent reputation of the 1996 Bordeaux vintage. Drink now to 2015. Blending proportions are unknown. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.
A bit closed on the nose though showing some cigar. Not quite ready on the palate, with some tannin to lose, though these are good and have a nice texture. This vintage of Léoville-Poyferré finishes a bit short for an $80 bottle of wine. Drink 2012–18. Blending proportions are unknown. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.
A total of 240,000 bottles were produced from a harvest that stretched from September 30 to October 18. The nose is earthy and is already showing some cigar aromas—this wine is starting to mature. Quite a smooth texture on the palate but it lacks the richness of 2005. Drink 2012–17. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.
At Léoville-Poyferré this great Bordeaux vintage was harvested September 26 to October 8 and produced 230,000 bottles of highly priced wine. Quite closed on the nose at the moment but the palate is sumptuous—smooth, rich, and elegant. Its luscious style means that it can be drunk now or aged to 2025 for more complexity. The blend is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.
Harvested September 21 to October 7, yielding 235,000 bottles. This vintage of Léoville-Poyferré displays quite hard oak tannins and is really rather charmless, lacking the elegance and charm that distinguishes it in better years. Nonetheless the structure of the wine suggests the capacity to age to 2015–20+. The blend is 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot. More wine writing by Stuart can be found on his blog, Worcester Sauce.