Bordeaux 2018 at Two Years: St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
In recent years I have tried to squeeze my primeurs and in-bottle tasting reports into a smaller and smaller number of instalments. The wines from St Emilion are so numerous, however, that I have once again (as I also did with my 2019 Bordeaux primeurs reports) gone in the opposite direction, and split my notes from this appellation into three. If nothing else, carving the appellation up into bite-sized chunks relieves the sense of despair I once felt as I typed up and proof-read my fiftieth tasting note of the day only to realise I had not even reached the halfway mark. In this, the second instalment of 2018 St Emilion report, I check out 34 wines ranked as grand cru classé. In the third and final instalment I will cover all the other wines which sit, for whatever reason, outside the classification.
The grand cru classé wines of the St Emilion appellation are perhaps the most disparate grouping of wines in the entire Bordeaux region. Despite all being purportedly of broadly similar quality, given that they all reside on the same rank of the classification (yes, I realise that is a rather tenuous argument) there is huge variation here in terms of both style and quality. These wines range from brilliantly pure, focused and flavoursome, through to tannic, alcoholic and ill-defined. Sometimes I wonder whether the advice to “follow the domaine, not the vintage”, so often meted out in the context of Burgundy, should also be regularly applied to this equally ancient vineyard.