Clos Floridène Blanc 2019
This week I begin with my 2019 Bordeaux reports, having recently finished my tastings of the wines now that they are in bottle. In truth I finished a little over two weeks ago, but the time required to write everything up, not to mention the fact that I spent the best part of last week at Wine Paris, means that I begin publication today. I will be releasing the reports in my customary fashion, beginning tomorrow with an overview of the vintage, followed by my region-by-region reports, starting as always St Estèphe.
I don’t think I am letting the cat out of the bag in disclosing that 2019 is clearly an exceptional vintage, one horse in a high-quality 2018-2019-2020 troika. The centrepiece of a Bacon-esque triptych (one of which, Triptych 1976, was once in the collection of a certain Jean-Pierre Moueix – that must surely, somehow, be relevant). It is the essential front wheel on your tricycle, the bacon in your BLT. I could go on, but with that last one it should be clear that I have run out of ‘three’ metaphors. But let’s just say that 2019 is a vintage rich in delicious wines. Well, delicious red wines, that is.
With the dry whites, however, prospective buyers should tread a little more carefully. This is a vintage characterised by a long period of warm and dry weather during August, pushing the whites to an early ripeness, with rapidly tumbling acidities. While the red vines enjoyed a late splatter of September rain, freshening up the vines and loosening up the juice in the berries, the white harvest kicked off on August 26th, long before the rains arrived to save the day. The acidity levels in the wines reflect these warm conditions, and are lower than any other recent vintage, including other warm years such as 2018 and 2015. Tasting the wines this was obvious, with some showing voluptuous low-acid textures and piles of tropical fruit flavours. There was one right-bank white which, if I had tasted it completely blind, I would have sworn was a Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris. In itself it was intriguing, but it is not what I suspect most people are looking for in their glass of Bordeaux Blanc.
For this reason, any wine showing the old-fashioned but not out-of-fashion features of balance and freshness stood out, and one of the best from my final round of tastings was the 2019 Clos Floridène. Readers probably already know, but this is one of the Dubourdieu family’s estates, the name a mash-up of Florence and Denis. I have fond memories of drinking a long-past vintage of this at Au Bonheur du Palais, in Bordeaux, and this much more recent release gives just as much pleasure. Vitally, it has a sense of freshness and cut which is missing from many of its peers. The 2019 Clos Floridène Blanc is a blend of 45% Sauvignon Blanc and 55% Semillon, and in a line up of occasionally rather soft and unctuous whites, this pale straw-coloured wine impressed with its vibrant and crystalline fruit, which comes across on the nose as freshly cut apple and sweet pear, with notes of citrus pith and crushed chalk. It has delicious poise on the palate, with defined orange citrus fruits from the Semillon, infused with minerals and bitter zest notes, giving it a juicy and mouthwatering substance. Fresh and correct, this is impressive for the vintage. A Graves punching well above its weight. The declared alcohol is just 12.5%. 91/100 (21/2/22)
Read more in:
- My profile of Clos Floridène
- My reports on the Bordeaux 2019 vintage
- My guide to the Graves appellation