Bordeaux 2019 Primeurs: St Emilion Grand Cru & Satellites
I conclude my series of reports on St Emilion in the 2019 vintage with this third instalment, this time looking at all the wines not ranked as premier grand cru classé or grand cru classé. This always makes for a fascinating collection of wines, ranging from up-and-coming stars such as Château Croix de Labrie, newcomers such as Clos Cantenac, micro-cuvées such as Château Magrez-Fombrauge, and some superstar wines such as Château Tertre-Roteboeuf and Le Dôme.
In keeping with my other reports this year I have also found I have been able to taste much more widely, tasting the latest vintages from châteaux I have not set eyes upon for many years, such as Château Cantin, or even wines I have never tasted before. I also tasted a healthy smattering of wines from the St Emilion satellites this year, featuring a number of wines which do not deserve to be overlooked. As a consequence, I have added my notes on wines from Montagne-St-Emilion, Puisseguin-St-Emilion and Lussac-St-Emilion to this report.
Looking to some of the star performers first, Jonathan Maltus was quick off the mark when it came to sending samples, and his wines set the scene for all my subsequent tastings. It was through his wines I first discovered the deep colours, rich fruit, ripe tannins and of course the wonderful saline vivacity that marks the vintage. The Maltus portfolio does not as a rule feature shrinking violets, and the character of the vintage works well with this style of wine, the mouth-watering acidities and salty energy lending an extra dimension of freshness to the style. The 2019 Château Teyssier is rich and full-flavoured, an impressive result given the quantities produced and the prices asked. The single-vineyard wines showed great consistency of quality. The 2019 Le Dôme is particularly strong, a spicy and sinewy expression of Cabernet Franc, while to my palate the next best cuvée was the 2019 Les Astéries, shimmering with fragrant Merlot fruit and mineral intensity.