Troplong Mondot 2019
£762 per case/12 IB
Under the youthfully energetic direction of Aymeric de Gironde (formerly of Cos d’Estournel) and the inimitable talents of winemaker Thomas Duclos (also the wizard behind Chateau Canon), Troplong Mondot has once again reached heights that match its location on St Emilion’s highest slopes.
“The 2019 Troplong Mondot is a blend this year of 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc, harvested from the 10th to the 25th of September. The pH is 3.55—pretty incredible when you consider the alcohol is nearly 15%! I hasten to add that from tasting, I would have guessed this was 14.3% to 14.5% alcohol. It is the kind of wine with so much energy it practically does pirouettes on your palate. Opaque purple-black colored, the nose is fantastically floral, bursting from the glass with notes of candied violets, red roses and lavender over a core of plum preserves, wild blueberries and black raspberries with touches of garrigue, tilled soil, wild fungi and crushed rocks plus a waft of powdered cinnamon. The medium-bodied palate is like a tightly coiled spring, featuring beautifully knit layers of black and red fruits, earth and floral notes within a firm, fine-grained frame and bags of freshness, finishing long and mineral laced. This is a far cry from the old-school style of Troplong Mondot from a few years back, and it is incredibly impressive. This wine is aging in French oak barriques, some larger vats, and a small proportion is in amphorae. The oak portion is 60% new.”
96-98pts Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Smith Haut Lafitte 2019
£813 per case/12 IB
Smith Haut Lafitte, whose 2019 has been released this morning at GBP 813, has become one of the ‘must-have’ wines of Bordeaux, such has been its run of success certainly in the past 5-7 years but arguably as far back as 2000.
The quality at SHL has been immense for a decade and they have undoubtedly made luxury their watchword: the wine is typically remarkably plush and generous, although it does not sacrifice structure and minerality in search of sheer hedonism. Their terroir delivers layers of mineral complexity whilst delving into more Burgundian, Asian spiced territory at times. It has also become a consistently textural delight, as alluded to by Jane Anson in Decanter “It's a highly impressive wine with an amazing texture - something that is starting to mark Smith Haut Lafitte out every year.”
“The 2019 Smith Haut-Lafitte was cropped at 36hl/ha, undergoing manual pigeage and maturation in 60% new barrels for a planned 18 months. It has an intense, very pure bouquet with blackberry, briary and cherry compote and a hint of black olive tapenade in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins that frame the pure, mineral-infused black fruit. Undercurrents of graphite and black olive surface towards the complex finish that I feel is less opulent but maybe more sophisticated than recent vintages of this top performer. Very elegant and refined, this is an outstanding success for winemaker Fabien Teitgen and his team. Tasted twice including samples direct from the château.”
96-98pts Neal Martin
Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Lascombes charges out of the gate with brazen scents of blackcurrant jelly, Black Forest cake and black raspberries plus touches of cedar chest, lilacs, pencil lead, camphor and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate possesses beautiful poise and freshness, with a firm line of ripe, finely grained tannins supporting the intense, crunchy black fruits, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
93-95+ Lisa Perrotti-Brown, June 2020
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