The Garcin-Lévêque Portfolio, 2016

The primeurs tastings are a whirlwind of barrel samples all swirled and slurped to a bravely ambitious (or some might say bonkers) timetable. It’s one appointment after another, each one precisely scheduled to provide time not only tasting but also an opportunity to chew over the fat of the vintage with the technical director, or maybe the managing director, or perhaps even the head of marketing. At one or two estates I sometimes wonder whether it might be whichever poor employee drew the short straw who is left holding the bottles for the day.

Château Barde-Haut

It is important, however, to allow a little slack for other tasting opportunities, both expected and unexpected. François Mitjavile always likes to open a few other vintages, for example, and the team at Château Latour always present samples of the most recent trio of ‘late release’ vintages for tasting, as recently described here. These tastings are on the cards from the outset though, and I always factor adequate time into my schedule (especially when it comes to tasting with François). One unexpected opportunity that came my way this year, however, was at Château Barde-Haut, where I stopped off during a hectic day of visits in St Emilion. Having tasted the four 2015s from proprietor Hélène Garcin-Lévêque, I was pleased to be able to follow up with a matching quartet from the 2014 vintage.

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