How did the 2016 vintage fare for the châteaux of the Médoc? Imbibe headed to a tasting of the year’s Crus Bourgeois wines to find out
Château La Cardonne
50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Modestly claiming to have ‘produced the finest Médoc Cru Bourgeois wines for over three centuries’, Château La Cardonne also has one of the largest cellars in the region in terms of physical size. It was designed by architect Gérard Vacheyrout, and really is very pretty.
Thankfully, the wine is too. A gorgeous mix of plums, vanilla and cream, the tannins are well-structured and restrained, and that creaminess lasts long into the finish.
£16, Château La Cardonne, email@example.com
Château Lestage, Listrac
62% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot
Moulis and Listrac are oft-forgotten left-bank appellations, but they have some serious wines on offer. Château Lestage has a rather sexy, dark-red label with gold lettering that is a change from the usual black on white, while still maintaining a classic look.
This is a perfumed wine, with loads of mint and camphor reaching up to you out of the glass, even though it’s a Merlot-dominant blend. The palate is a complex mix of black fruits and mint, and is both balanced and long.
£15, Millésima, 020 8089 1875
Château de Braude, Haut-Médoc
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot
Located between the two more prestigious estates of Château Cantemerle and Château la Lagune, Château de Braude seems to have really upped its game around 15 years ago. It is owned by the Bernaleau family, who also have Château Mongravey and Château Galland.
This wine is definitely more on the opulent side, with a rich, spicy nose of cumin, violets and star anise. In the mouth, it’s a modern style – bigger alcohol and lower acidity – but it also has more of those lovely spicy characters and a decent length.
£21, 3D Wines, 01205 820745
Château Laffitte-Carcasset, Saint-Estèphe
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc
Owned by the Pierre Rousseau, Château Laffitte-Carcasset is an 18th-century property that has really started scoring highly for the past few years. Machine-harvested, the producer uses around 30% new oak.
The Cabernet really shines through on this wine, and it’s at the more powerful end of the Bordeaux spectrum (at this price point, at any rate). But there’s also elegance and complexity with an almost textbook claret flavour profile. Drinking well now, it will be at its best in a couple of years.
£20-£25, Millésima, 020 8089 1875