Château Capbern: Tasting & Drinking

Having burst onto the en primeur scene with the 2009 vintage, Château Capbern has become a regular fixture in my tasting calendar. The wine is generally convincing, even though recent vintages including 2011, 2012 and certainly 2013 have been less than kind to the Bordelais. More recent vintages showcased not only the work of Vincent Millet but also the new investments that have been made here, especially the new vat-room which was finished in 2010. The 2014 vintage, for example, makes plain the good quality of this vintage in the very northern Médoc (much more so than appellations further south) and the 2016 vintage is equally admirable. The 2015 vintage is pretty good, but this was stronger on the right bank than the left, and on this estate I actually prefer the 2017 vintage, the Capbern vineyards seemingly having escaped major frost damage. The 2018 has serious promise, while the 2019 feels a little overdone. As always, I will need to revisit these wines once they have been bottled.

I have no real experience of tasting or drinking the wine in maturity, nevertheless with a firm yet composed structure, plenty of fruit and texture, and bright acidity, the wines on the whole feel balanced and correct. With Vincent Millet making them, whose talents are plain to see when tasting the more widely appreciated wines of Château Calon-Ségur, this should come as no surprise. I have no reason not to believe that the wines will evolve in a very healthy manner, just as many other cru bourgeois châteaux in the Saint-Estèphe appellation do. This is a wine to buy in top vintages, when it will give a great deal of pleasure at a price which is more than fair. (21/5/14, updated 8/11/15, 4/11/20)

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