Bordeaux 2019 at Two Years: St Emilion Grand Cru
This report takes in any wine in St Emilion not classified as Grand Cru Classé or higher. In truth most of these carry the Grand Cru designation (which, confusingly, has nothing to do with the classification, but is defined in the appellation regulations and in reality means very little – just don’t tell all those who delight in printing it on the label). One or two don’t claim even this accolade; perhaps they are the few who recognise its somewhat meaningless nature.
This is always an interesting collection of wines to taste, because quality here ranges from the sublime to the….well, I will let you insert your own adjective there. It includes famous names and leading lights within the appellation, and yet it regularly also throws up wines from châteaux I have never tasted before, and in many cases never even heard of. It is an indicator of the extensive nature of the St Emilion appellation, many times the size of its equally famous left-bank counterparts, or indeed – closer to home – Pomerol.
This is also a category certain to change in the near future. In particular the leading wine from Jonathan Maltus, Le Dôme, is surely set for promotion in the 2022 revision of the St Emilion classification, now that it qualifies by virtue of having its own independent cellars overlooking the vines (the wines were, as was the case for Jonathan’s entire portfolio, previously made at Château Teyssier). Vieux Château Mazerat has a new responsibility; until now a distinct cuvée from vines close to Le Dôme, it will in future take on second-wine status, essentially out of necessity (to meet classification regulations) as it will be made in the same cellars as Le Dôme. Other Maltus wines are likely to disappear as the portfolio is restructured. If you’re a fan of the persistently mineral Les Astéries, maybe now is the time to grab a few bottles while you still can.
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