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Château de Cruzeau Blanc 2015

Château de Cruzeau Blanc 2015

In the midst of publishing my 2018 Bordeaux reports, with both my white and red Pessac-Léognan reports coming later this week, I thought it might by interesting to look back at another recent vintage which was marked, like 2018, by warm weather. In 2018 Bordeaux enjoyed warm and dry weather from summer right through to harvest, while the 2015 Bordeaux growing season was warm and dry through spring and summer, but was bothered by rain later on. The rain was most prominent on the Médoc though, while the vineyards of the right bank, and those south of Bordeaux, were more favoured; as a result the red wines of St Emilion, Pomerol, Graves and Pessac-Léognan were rich in black fruit flavours, black cherry and blackcurrant, all wrapped up in a lusciously rich and nectarous texture.

But what of the white wines in 2015? Tasting through them at the primeurs I was struck by their exotic fruit flavours, reminiscent of tropical guava and mango, the ripe profile speaking with clarity of the warmth of the season. There was nothing wrong with this, it being an honest reflection of the character of the vintage, nevertheless it did feel a little atypical for the appellation. Perhaps more importantly, a number of the wines felt a little soft in terms of their acid structure. The acidities were subtle, and the wines felt much more delicate than other rather cooler and fresher vintages, such as 2014, 2013 or 2012. Four years on I think it is a good time to look again. Especially if it can give us a clue as to how the 2018s might turn out.

Château de Cruzeau Blanc 2015

Château de Cruzeau is one of numerous estates in Graves and Pessac-Léognan in the possession of the Lurton family, the others led most notably by Château Couhins-Lurton (the clue is in the name, I guess), as well as Château La Louvière, among others. Its origins date to the 17th century, when it was created by a local lawyer, Jacques de Cruzeau. Andre Lurton first saw the estate in 1973, and within a year or two he had bought it, after which he began the estate’s modern-day revitalisation. Today there are 100 hectares of vines here, situated just down the road from Château Latour-Martillac, including 27 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc. The white is picked by hand, and are vinified in a recently built vat room and cellars. The bunches are pressed, and the juice vinified and aged in barrel, including one-third new oak, with regular bâtonnage.

So what of the wine today? The 2015 Château de Cruzeau Blanc opens with a very classically styled nose for white Graves, with a fruit profile that speaks solely of Sauvignon Blanc, with scents of grapefruit and citrus pith to the fore, while coming in behind there is a minerally note of quartzy sand, all of which comes wrapped up by a matchsticky reductive note which keeps it fresh. These elements naturally come across on the palate, which feels full and polished at first, with a sinewy and matchsticky frame, underneath which is a bed of pithy grip. The fruit, again grapefruit and tangerine here with a chalky edge, is carried within a soft and lightly sandy-minerally texture. And perhaps unsurprisingly, in view of my thoughts on the vintage during the primeurs, the acidity has only a very fragile presence, soft and supple, the pithy phenolic bite providing the only appreciable structure in the mouth. A charming wine, showing a more classically Graves flavour profile than those primeurs samples, but it remains very softly styled. Drink with a touch of chill to see it at its best. 89/100

I will sure I will reflect on the character of this wine when it comes to my 2018 white Pessac-Léognan report, to be published later this week. (22/4/19)

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