Château Mirebeau: Tasting & Drinking

My experience with the white wine of Château Mirebeau is limited to the 2015 vintage, which showed a charmingly ripe character. It reminded me very much of a toned-down version of the wines of Alexandre Bain in Pouilly-Fumé, who favours harvesting late when the grapes are at the very earliest stage of botrytis infection, showing a pink-purple discolouration without any shrivelling or concentration. Wines made from fruit picked at this stage tends to show a sweet note reminiscent of apricot jam in place of the more usual flavours of Sauvignon Blanc. Whereas Les Héliotropes doesn’t seem to go this far, I did sense a ripe sweetness that suggested to me the fruit was heading in this direction when it was picked.

As for red, the quality varies according to the vintage, as is natural. The 2014 is fairly light and fresh, in keeping with the character of the year. The 2012 was strangely ripe and alcoholic; decisions made in the vineyard at harvest time, presumably late picking, allowed the ripeness of the Merlot to push the blend up to 14.9% alcohol despite this vintage being far from prodigious. After all, while Pessac-Léognan was favoured in 2012, it was no 2009 or 2010. The team at Château Haut-Brion have struggled with high alcohol levels in recent years, the warming climate combined with the beneficial mesoclimate of the suburbs, but Château Mirebeau doesn’t have quite the same sea of houses surrounding it. Nor did it struggle in this manner in other warmer vintages. The upshot is that I prefer the 2011 vintage which showed some charm and appealing evolution, while having a more convincing balance than the 2012.

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