On the Trail

More 2016 Bordeaux Notes From the Boss

Clyde Beffa Jr.

Monday was our first full day in Bordeaux (left hotel at 7:30 AM and returned at 10:30 PM) with fabulous weather on our side. We got a good idea of the vintage on the Left Bank and Pomerol today. We started early in the north at Pichon Baron and tasted the AXA/Medocaine stable of wines from Pibran to Tourelles to Pichon Baron and also Petit Villages and the Suduiraut dry and sweet wines.  The Pichon Baron was real Pauillac—85% Cabernet with rose and red berry aromas and flavors that were thick and creamy. It's big and balanced—but what will the price be? Could Pibran be quite a good value in comparison? Suduiraut was telling us immediately we've had another great Sauternes vintage.  

At the big UGC tasting in town we concentrated on the very fine wines from Margaux with Malescot, Giscours, and Siran shining brightly. In fact the wines as a whole were quite good—another successful Margaux region vintage like 2015. The Pomerols were fat and big. The Pessac-Léognan reds were very good again as in 2015. Looks like all regions of Bordeaux did well in 2016. Keep an eye on the fabulous Malartic Lagravière as well as Smith Haut Lafitte, but others were also very good. We'll come back later to focus on the intricacies of this region. Walking out of the tasting I stopped to try a mind blowing Pichon Lalande—could this be another 1982 for them? We'll pay them a formal visit tomorrow.

We spent the rest of the day in the Pessac-Léognan region with the very unknown but quite good Carmes de Haut Brion followed by the prestigious wines of Haut Brion proper along side La Mission. Haut-Brion was off the charts good. Pape Clément was stable with Grands Chenes standing out as a value. From there it was down to Domaine de Chevalier. They are on top of their game these days with the red tasting as good or better than 2014 and 2015. Watch for Peyrabon 2016 for a value as well as Lespault-Martillac red. Next was Malartic and I was wowed by their 2016 red. We have sold over 200 cases of the 2015 and this 16 is right there with it in quality—maybe even a bit fresher.

We finished the long day with Veronique Sanders at Haut-Bailly; the perfect ending to a fine day.  The Le Pape was stunning and the Parde de Haut Bailly the best I've ever tasted. But the Haut-Bailly was other worldly. Perfection in a bottle. Let's hope it is affordable as well. We had a fabulous dinner there to cap off the day.

-Clyde Beffa Jr.