En Primeur, Day Three: Fantastic Whites and Fair Reds

A review of the Pessac-Léognan and Graves 2013 vintage, plus more top ratings from Bordeaux.


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At today’s barrel tastings, the white blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from Graves and Pessac-Léognan showed deliciously well-balanced, crisp and herbaceous, yet fruity flavors. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the regions’ red wines.

“The climate gave us the vintage to make very good whites,” said Paulin Calvet, owner of Château Picque Caillou. “The rain was regular, the climate was not too hot, and the white grapes were happy.”

While Pessac-Léognan and Graves did not face the Right Bank problem of low yields, producers did encounter issues with their red varieties due to overextraction.

“Producers wanted to put too much into the vintage,” said Stephan von Neipperg, owner of Château Canon la Gaffelière and La Mondotte in Saint-Émilion, and partner at Château Guiraud in Sauternes. “They looked at the grape seeds, saw that many were not ripe and overcompensated.”

As a result, too many reds Graves and Pessac-Léognan have dry tannins, which mask their fruity flavors. Only those producers who were gentle with their grapes balance.

Here are my 10 top-rated Pessac-Léognan and Graves wines. Tomorrow, I’ll visit Médoc to taste offerings from Margaux, Moulis and Listrac.

Read these reviews, plus 38 more Pessac-Léognan and Graves ratings and reviews in the Buying Guide >>>

95–97 Château Haut-Brion 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
94–96 Château Haut-Brion 2013 Barrel Sample Red (Pessac-Léognan)
94–96 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
93–95 Domaine de Chevalier 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
93–95 Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2013 Barrel Sample Red (Pessac-Léognan)
93–95 Château Malartic Lagravière 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
93–95 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
92–94 Château de Fieuzal 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)
92–94 Château Haut-Bailly 2013 Barrel Sample Red (Pessac-Léognan)
92–94 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion 2013 Barrel Sample White (Pessac-Léognan)

En Primeur 2014, Day One: Pontet-Canet Price Sets Tone >>>
En Primeur 2014, Day Two: Complex Right Bank Wines >>>
E
n Primeur 2014, Day Three: Fantastic Whites and Fair Reds >>>

Read Wine Enthusiast's continuing En Primeur coverage >>>

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