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In 2021, the climate was not the most lenient on the plots of CHÂTEAU ANGÉLUS, to the point of qualifying the vintage as “Unexpected”. The property experienced very important losses, which led to a decrease of 60% of the volumes on Carillon and 40% on Angélus. Many selections were necessary to guarantee the best possible quality of the wines, as the plots were heavily affected by mildew. The blend of Carillon remains fairly classic, 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, but the blend of L’Angélus is unprecedented: 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. The Cabernet Francs, much more resistant to mildew than the Merlots, have taken a very good place in the blends this year, bringing complexity and balance.
CHÂTEAU D’ARMAILHAC benefits from a brand new winery where the 2021 vintage has just been vinified, a most useful tool for this particularly demanding vintage. This vintage composed of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot expresses aromas of small red fruits (redcurrant / raspberry), and the mineral and fine mouth already suggests fine tannins, and balanced aromas between chocolate and fruit.
2021 is a particularly complicated year for the properties of the Vauthier Family. Frost and mildew have particularly attacked the parcels of Châteaux Fonbel, Moulin Saint Georges and Simard, which will not be released this year en Primeurs, as volumes do not allow it. We will discover these wines in a few years!
On the other hand, for the Châteaux LA CLOTTE, CHAPELLE D’AUSONE and AUSONE, although the volumes are very low, the quality of the wines is sublime! The blends are very different from those we are used to: Merlots are very rare (because of the mildew), so the blends offer a dominant place to Cabernet Franc (except for La Clotte, 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc). Chapelle d’Ausone presents a new blend without Merlot, 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, giving us a ripe, warm wine, but only 3,800 bottles. Finally, Chateau Ausone (65% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot) already reveals all its finesse and achievement. A very great wine!
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The 2021 vintage of CHÂTEAU CANON reflects the style of the estate: sophisticated, refined and straightforward. Despite weather conditions announced (probably too early) as very complicated, the grapes were able to reach their maturity, and the resulting wine is particularly accomplished. The yields of 40 hl/ha, despite the conversion to organic farming, testify to the quality and the particularly efficient restructuring of the vineyard by Nicolas Audebert and his teams. The property has set up beautiful digital illustrated books, on which you will be able to find the details of the life of the vineyard throughout this year 2021.
The two vintages of CHÂTEAU CLERC-MILON are the result of the efforts of the estate’s teams. PASTOURELLE (54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 2% Carménère and 1% Petit Verdot) reveals a slightly mentholated nose, with notes of black fruits. The mouth is fleshy, complex, with chiseled tannins. Château Clerc-Milon (59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Carmenère and 1.5% Petit Verdot) is very racy and rich. Its blend of 5 grape varieties has a lot to do with it! Cherry, blackcurrant and licorice meet notes of pepper and cedar: a wine with length and balance.
At Château Cos d’Estournel, we speak of 2021 as a vintage of humility and precision. The red wines, G D’ESTOURNEL, PAGODES and COS, are extremely precise. G d’Estournel already offers a very fruity velvet mouthfeel, an expression of its blend of 80% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc. Pagodes, with its dominant 60% Merlot, expresses the fruity style of the property, while Cos, with its 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, focuses on spicy aromas, such as pepper or black tea. Finally, Pagodes Blanc expresses all the minerality of its limestone terroir, while Cos blanc expresses more complex aromas and a fatter body, given by its old Semillon. 2021 is indeed a great vintage of whites!
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The terroir of CHÂTEAU DE FERRAND benefits from an exceptional 32 ha terroir in one piece, on the famous clay-limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion, surrounded by forests. Its complete and complex ecosystem protects the vines from the wind and the spring frost (white frost), which is concentrated in the plains. Located at 103 m of altitude, this vineyard is the 2nd highest point of the appellation, the water runs off and drains naturally, allowing the vines to maintain an impeccable sanitary state. The vineyard has reached maturity, and this is particularly noticeable when tasting this 2021: brightness, vivacity, supple and fine tannins. The blend of 64% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon brings the expected freshness and elegance!
The challenges of the 2021 vintage have been met, not without effort, by the Delon vineyard teams. Whether at Château POTENSAC, LAS CASES or CLOS DU MARQUIS, the wines are elegant and complex, powerful and fresh at the same time. Each terroir expresses itself in its own style:
– Chapelle de Potensac is charming, very ripe with a nice dominance of Merlot (79%), while Château Potensac sees the light of day with a novel blend, containing 23% Cabernet Franc. The Medoc terroir, mineral and chalky, is embodied in these greedy wines, with a smooth tannic structure and a delicious saline sapidity.
– La Petite Marquise expresses great suavity and fine tannins, Clos du Marquis is more structured, with tannins that could be described as elastic, a real game of textures takes place during tasting, and allows the wine’s aromatics to extend over time.
– The Petit Lion is solar, warm, with its 57% Merlot. The Grand Vin, with its 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot, expresses all the richness of its terroir and ripe grapes, through spicy, fruity aromas and velvety tannins. A very nice success!
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Laurence Geny and Axel Marchal, two oenologists at the ISVV (Institute of Sciences of the Vine and Wine) released their analysis on the 2021 vintage as they do each year : a very precise and rich document. Do not miss it!
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The tasting of the 2021 vintage of CHÂTEAU HAUT-BAILLY wines took place in the heart of the brand new winery, where this vintage is the first to be born. The climatic conditions of the year 2021 were not the most favorable, but the constant work of the teams allowed the Merlots to be soft and fruity, and the Cabernets to be dense and structured. The yields are quite low. The wines express a certain freshness, pleasant after 3 very hot vintages. Haut-Bailly II is particularly crisp, with a floral nose. Haut-Bailly shows more structure, like some of the nice vintages of the 1990s.
With 2021, the exceptional terroir of CHÂTEAU HAUT-BRION rediscovers the benefits of a vintage that is less sunny than previous ones, although yields are not at their best: – 30% for the white wines and -20% for the reds.
Whites: Clarté, Mission-Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion whites are very fresh and have an impressive balance between acidity and texture. Similarities with the 2017 and 2011 vintages are emerging. 2021 is a great vintage for whites!
Reds: Chapelle de La Mission is a charming, very balanced wine with a nose of red fruits. Clarence, with its dominant Merlot, expresses a very aromatic profile. La Mission-Haut-Brion already has tannins that are beginning to soften. Haut-Brion is full-bodied, with tension between its fruit and its tannins. A crisp wine, where the woodiness has remained under control, quite supple.
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For the 150th anniversary of the property, Marielle Cazaux and her team offer us a superb gift! The wine is fruity, creamy, quite concentrated and already very charming. The aromas of this blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc are very complex and powerful, with fruit and floral aromas responding to each other and lingering on the palate almost indefinitely. The yields are also generous: 39 hl/ha. An incredible success, which will preserve itself and age perfectly over time.
For the DBR estates, 2021 was more than ever a year of “decisions“, both in the vineyards and in the cellars. The 2021 vintage did not allow the winemakers to make the slightest mistake, and made cheating impossible! And the right decisions were obviously made at the right time by Saskia de Rothschild and her teams: Château Duhart-Milon benefited from this less sunny vintage to get the “best of both worlds” from its terroir, which is composed of gravel in some places and clay in others. The 81% Cabernet Sauvignon give a particularly well-balanced wine, complex and rich, yet supple and fine in the mouth. As for Carruades, the young vines dedicated to this second wine have managed to get the best out of their exceptional terroir, a wine that is already charming, with a very expressive nose, carried by a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Finally, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is a wine of extraordinary elegance and finesse. This vintage marks a real return to the roots, with its 96% (!) of Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% of Merlot and 1% of Petit Verdot, and a sublime expression of this incredible terroir!
The Cazes family defines this vintage as “Rock and Roll“! The brand new winery welcomed its second harvest with the 2021 vintage, and this state of the art tool has been of great help on this “terroir vintage”. Echo, with its 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot expresses a beautiful aromatic and tannic power, but the Grand Vin remains the embodiment of the Pauillac style par excellence (67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot), offering an incomparable tannic power and aromas of red fruits very typical of this appellation. Finally, the White (79% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon and 6% Muscadelle), offers a balanced mouth, between minerality and exotic fruits. The texture is ample, due in part to the fermentations carried out in barrels.
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The exceptional terroir of CHÂTEAU MONTROSE, has been able to regulate the excesses of “Mother Nature” in 2021. La Dame de Montrose reveals, as usual, a young and fresh expression of the terroir of Saint-Estèphe. Its blend of 53% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, reveals notes of spices, a little roasted. This wine is airy, fresh, already greedy. Chateau Montrose is very successful in 2021 (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc & 1% Petit Verdot): the wine is fine but dense, without ever being overpowering, the tannins are smooth and surrounded by pretty fruits. The finish is saline, each sip already calling for the next sip of this (already!) great wine!
The 2021 vintage has not been the easiest for all the properties, even for the “greatest”! The means put in place by the teams of CHÂTEAU MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD, as well as the sanitary quality of the vineyard, allowed the property to bring out its 3 cuvées at optimal maturity. AILE D’ARGENT (64% Sauvignon and 36% Semillon), which will be released in September, is a great white wine! Fat body, mineral, floral and fruity aromas, this wine combines amplitude and tension. The PETIT MOUTON (77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19.5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% Petit Verdot) gives off spicy, peppery notes, all in balance with its red fruit aromas, so typical of the Pauillac appellation. Finally, the Château Mouton-Rothschild (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc) increases in complexity and power, although its tannins are already very velvety and integrated. Its mineral finish lingers and keeps its cherry and spice aromas alive for an incredibly long time. A wine of a superb delicacy!
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CHÂTEAU PALMER experienced severe frosts in the 2021 vintage, resulting in a 60% loss of volume on Alter Ego, which has yields of 22hl/ha. From a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot, the wine expresses very nice salinity and silky tannins, with fresh aromas of small red fruits. The Grand Vin, composed of 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, reveals a spicy wine with a nice tannic power. The fruit is ripe, the floral length reveals subtle notes of violets. Once again, 2021 compares to the vintages of the 90s!
For its last year of conversion to organic farming (before obtaining certification in 2022), CHÂTEAU PÉDESCLAUX was heavily attacked by mildew. The yields are therefore the lowest observed since 2009! However, the various selections and the work of the teams, coupled with a weather finally lenient on the summer of 2021 has allowed the birth of 2 very beautiful wines! Fleur de Pédesclaux (53% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon & 8% Petit Verdot) is a wine with bright fruit, complete, with already silky tannins, conveying a beautiful freshness. Château Pédesclaux (64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc & 3% Petit Verdot) expresses itself through a deep nose of spices and black fruits. The mouth is fine and supple, the tannins are textured but very well integrated. Finally, the sapidity of this wine gives it an identity of its own.
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CHÂTEAU RAUZAN-SÉGLA 2021 is a particularly well-balanced and complex wine, which remains true to its style and therefore embodies elegance. This vintage is particularly rich and harmonious, the Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend (54%) and brings its best to this wine: pepper, chocolate and smooth tannins. The yields are also quite satisfactory (38 hl/ha), especially for a year of conversion to organic farming. The Chanel group, which owns this property and Château Canon, is indeed making many environmental changes in its properties, both in viticulture and vinification. As for Château Canon, you can find the beautiful digital illustrated books telling the story of the vineyards of the property in 2021.
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At CHÂTEAU SMITH LAFITTE, the 2021 vintage is synonymous with small yields… between the frost and the switch to organic and biodynamic farming on a large part of the property, the volumes are about 35% lower than the 2020 vintage (which represents a 50% drop compared to the 2019 vintage). This decrease in yield is also explained by the enormous amount of sorting work that was necessary to ensure the quality of the wines. No less than 6 selections (densimetry, optical, by hand…) were made on each of the bunches, which were particularly heterogeneous that year. 2021 is undoubtedly a “winemaker’s vintage“, where human choices will make all the difference.
The reds are rich, relatively powerful compared to previous vintages, but very ripe. The whites are full-bodied, perfectly controlled and delicious.
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The 2021 harvest is over at Domaine de Chevalier, after two incredible weeks of October under the sign of an anticyclone, a vector of great dry and fresh weather accompanied by dry north-east winds.
The Cabernet Sauvignons, 65% of the vineyard and lords of this great terroir, love to ripen in October, and this exceptional weather has transcended their qualitative potential… The harvested quantities of this grape variety are really beautiful, so it will take a great proportion in the 2021 blend.
Under these uncommon meteorological conditions, the vines planted on gravel and clay soils evolved in synchrony to deliver equally ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The vines were perfectly healthy, thanks to the efforts of the estate’s winegrowers, who adapted their methods in the vineyard to the very end. As usual, the Merlot planted on the estate’s gravelly plateau was harvested first, for it tends to develop early, followed by the Merlot planted on clay soils, and the Cabernet Sauvignon. Relatively dry weather made it possible to wait for optimal levels of maturity before collecting the grapes on each plot.
The 2021 vintage’s Merlot is remarkably enticing, fruity, and rich, with a very noble expression, and its Cabernet Sauvignon, despite low levels of sugar that resulted in a lower alcohol content, reveal a magnificent intensity and a freshness characteristic of the most elegant, sophisticated wines.
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The 2021 vintage is a vintage full of challenges for this property, but Brigitte Ruillier and her teams have met them! The wine expresses a beautiful freshness, with a fine acidic structure, thanks to the low PH: the signature of the property. The wine is particularly mineral, deep and dense this year. This 2021 vintage is once again described as elegant.
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The last Merlots were picked on October 8th. Thomas Soubes, Sales Manager of the property, reports that the quality of the juice is as good as the volumes! He also believes that despite the very hot temperatures at the end of the summer, the alcohol level of the 2021 vintage should not increase.
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Whites : This year, the Sauvignon Gris grapes were the first to be harvested on the Haut-Brion plots, while the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes ripened a few days longer under a radiant sun. The bunches are magnificent, the acidity is high, as it should be, the aromas of the berries are rich and the heat of the last days before the harvest allowed the grapes to reach a perfect maturity. This harvest of white grapes is full of promise!
Reds: The 2021 harvest seems to be marked by a completely different alcohol-acidity balance than in previous years. The moderate alcoholic degrees will certainly give birth to wines with an identity closer to the old vintages.
First impressions of Pascal Baratié, vineyard manager of Château Haut-Brion, on the 2021 harvest: “We are heading towards a ripe vintage with an acidity that allows a very good balance of the wine. To date, we are happy and serene.”
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The Merlots were picked at the beginning of October (until the 12th), especially those destined for the Château Tour de Mons blend. The Cabernets were harvested slightly later, until October 15th. Some plots that unfortunately froze at the beginning of the year had very low yields (5 hectoliters per hectare). The yields of the other plots are normal. The berries are juicy and beautiful, thanks to the rains of mid-September.
Matthieu Bordes, General Manager of the property, is confident about the quality and volumes of the 2021 vintage. According to him, the whole Saint-Julien appellation should do well, as there was not too much frost at the beginning of the year, and the terroir is on the whole privileged as it is protected from strong variations in temperature, even the warmest ones.
The harvest of this 2021 vintage began on September 27, under the pressure of botrytis, due to the heavy rains of the previous week. The Merlots, picked in 5 days, are fresh, structured, with discreet aromas, waiting to reveal themselves after the malolactic fermentation. The Cabernets were harvested the following week over 6/7 days in milder weather. The Petits Verdots ended this harvest under a late return of the sun.
The first days of vinification required time to reflect on the appreciation of the extractions. Thanks to good phenolic ripeness, which was out of sync with the berry tastings, the polyphenol potential allowed us to work delicately on each of our vats. The Cabernets still being vinified are more expressive and the wines already show a good balance. The 1955 Cabernet Francs, an unchanging value in the Grand Vin blend, are again this year elegant, refined and tasty.
This property located in the Entre-deux-mers region, near Rauzan, had a rather complex year, but the harvest (BIO) is a nice surprise (40 hecto/ha)! The main difficulty encountered during the harvest was sorting the grapes and berries, of very heterogeneous maturity, which was effectively overcome thanks to a machine sorting the berries by densimetry, which allowed a very efficient selection.
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Jean-Luc Zuger, owner and manager of this family-owned Grand Cru, is satisfied with this harvest. The harvest was stopped for several days between the Merlots and the Cabernets Sauvignons. Indeed, the latter were not very ripe, so they were able to take advantage of the very nice days we had in mid-October to reach a good maturity. He thinks he has harvested between 45 and 49 hectoliters per hectare. He already positions 2021 as an average vintage, whose quality will be better than 2014 & 2017 but below the exceptional vintages that were 2016 & 2019.
Château Marquis de Terme illustrates the harvest of its 2021 vintage in a beautiful video that traces the story of the birth of a vintage. The property refers to its 2021 as a Norman sailor’s vintage, because only sailors know how to adapt to the weather conditions that the 2021 vintage experienced. Ludovic David, the General Manager, also emphasizes that “There is no great wine without risk-taking, there is no great wine without terroirs and without people to lead them. This is the spirit of Château Marquis de Terme to lead to excellence and to hold the course like all the sailors of the seas of the world. 2021, a vintage of elegance, charm and balance, to be discovered soon.“
Anne Le Naour and her team harvested the 2021 vintage from September 23 to October 8. The terroir of Meyney, particularly preserved by the presence of the river, was spared by the spring frost. But it is a vintage that required a lot of vigilance: “The pressure was strong throughout the year and the weather conditions left us little peace. In this kind of difficult year, work and experience make all the difference, in the care given to the vineyard and then in the sorting done during the harvest. We can really talk about a vintage of winemakers, but also a vintage of sorting“, as Anne Le Naour explains.
The year 2021 also marks a turning point for Château Meyney, which is beginning its conversion to Organic Agriculture, although trials have been carried out since 2014.
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Romain Courtier, Technical Director of the property, talked to us about the 2021 vintage in his vines. The harvest took place from September 23 to October 9. It is a vintage that was clearly complicated and required a lot of green work throughout the year to maintain an optimal sanitary state. The ripeness was reached at Nénin, no greenness, even on the usually more complicated Cabernets. In Pomerol, the different properties did not all experience the same vintage: microclimates were really noticed, with blatant differences in rainfall on parcels a few hundred meters apart. The wines are expected to be fresh, elegant and tense. Jean-Hubert Delon underlines its balance, particularly interesting, which should make it a vintage to keep.Posted: