Château Reynon 2015
With my trip to Bordeaux for the 2018 vintage primeurs looming (and I chose that word with care) later this week, I will soon be immersed in wines which probably taste amazing (if the 2018 reds of Bordeaux are anything like the 2018 reds from the Loire Valley) but which are in many cases priced at a level which lies well beyond the limit of my personal wine budget. And maybe yours too. Having said that, but during the coming onslaught of tasting notes we would do well to remember that despite its reputation Bordeaux remains a region rich in good-value options. And with broad success in several recent vintages, namely 2015, 2016 and perhaps 2018, as well as limited or regional success in 2014 and 2017, Bordeaux remains a happy hunting ground for those not obsessed only with the most famous labels.
There are many corners of Bordeaux that will serve us well in our hunt for affordable quality, but the motley collection of appellations which came together under the Côtes de Bordeaux umbrella certainly fit the bill. I have frequently turned my attention to Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux in the past; with its cool limestone soils just to the east of St Emilion, and with several noteworthy names operating in the region including Stéphane Derenoncourt, Stephan von Neipperg and Louis Mitjavile it should come as no surprise that this is a source of interesting wines. This weekend, however, I decided to look instead to Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, a rather less familiar appellation.
The small town of Cadillac sits on the right bank of the Garonne as it flows in the direction of the city of Bordeaux and its subsequent union with the Dordogne. It is nestled between the waters of the river and the limestone cliffs and plateau of the Entre-Deux-Mers, directly behind it. It is easy to forget, in a region where sweet wine sales are dominated by Sauternes and Barsac, that it has its own sweet wine appellation, Cadillac, not to mention the broader sweet Premières Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. Red wines, however, have the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, as used by the Dubourdieu family at Château Reynon. It isn’t unusual to see wine critics and wine merchants, who should know better, slipping up and substituting one appellation for another.
This château was acquired by Jacques David in 1958, who then passed it to his daughter Florence. She married the late and great Denis Dubourdieu (1949 – 2016), and so from 1976 onwards it was Denis and Florence who ran the estate. In more recent times their sons, Jean-Jacques and Fabrice, run the show. The wine in this vintage is 70% Merlot, with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot, matching the plantings in the 17.9-hectare vineyard exactly. This being the 2015 from Château Reynon it was the final harvest seen by Denis, and the result is undeniably excellent, this being a vintage in which Merlot-dominated styles excelled. It has a dark, glossy and concentrated appearance in the glass, displaying a vibrant and broad raspberry-crimson rim. This is matched by a great nose, all smoky crushed black cherry, creamed damson, blackcurrant, black olive, coffee bean and sweet tar. In keeping with this welcoming aromatic profile the palate combines a plush texture of dark cherry fruits, with savoury elements resembling olives, black beans and coffee beans, all resting on a bed of ripe, svelte and velvety tannins, twisted with a limestone bite of tension, and some fresh acidity. Richly composed and full of charm, this is a wine set to evolve positively over the next decade, at the very least. And it certainly proves that Bordeaux remains a strong source of good-value wine. Let’s hope for more of the same in the 2018 vintage. 94/100 (25/3/19)
Read more in:
- My profile of Château Reynon
- My report on a visit to meet Denis Dubourdieu in 2015
- The Bordeaux 2015 vintage
- My guide to the Côtes de Bordeaux appellations