En Primeur, Day Two: Complex Right Bank Wines

Low yields and high costs mean 2013s from Bordeaux’s Right Bank are scarce. For example, today’s barrel tastings didn’t include wines from Pomerol Château Le Pin, Hosanna or Providence, or Quinault L’Enclos from Saint-Émilion. Yet many of the wines that were shown were very impressive.

“[2013] was the most expensive vintage I have produced in my life,” said Christian Moueix, a négociant and owner of Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. He has made wine in Bordeaux for four decades.

Global consultant Michel Rolland, who works on every wine-growing continent, concurred.

“I have never seen such a complex vintage,” he said.

While Moueix and Rolland both emphasized the high costs and complications associated with the vintage, they acknowledged that grape growing under these conditions 20 years ago would have been impossible. Thanks to huge advancements in modern winemaking technology, it’s now possible to make attractive wines in such a tumultuous year.

But not everyone has the equipment or the expertise to produce balanced, ageworthy wines from such low yields. In Saint-Émilion, for example, some producers who worried about underproduction, pressed their grapes too hard, resulting in wines with gritty tannins.

Pomerol, however, fared better.

“Because of the warm soils in Pomerol, we were able to harvest before the disastrous rains at the end of September, so we had no vegetal flavors in the Merlots,” said Dany Rolland, winemaker for The Rolland Collection. “By being gentle [with the grapes], we have made some delicious Pomerols this year.”

So what wines should you buy from Bordeaux’s Right Bank? Look for fruit-forward bottles from Pomerol. These will be ready to drink early.

As for price, that’s yet to be determined, but stay tuned.

Here are my 10 top-rated Saint-Émilion and Pomerol wines. Tomorrow, I’ll visit Graves to scope out the quality of that region’s red and white wines in this difficult year.

Read these reviews, plus 68 more Saint-Émilion and Pomerol ratings and reviews in the Buying Guide >>>

95–97 Château Cheval Blanc 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
95–97 Château Pétrus 2013 Barrel Sample (Pomerol)
94–96 Château Angélus 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
94–96 Château Figeac 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
94–96 Château Valandraud 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
94–96 Le Dôme 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
94–96 Vieux Château Certan 2013 Barrel Sample (Pomerol)
94–96 Vieux Château Mazerat 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
93–95 Château Ausone 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)
93–95 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 2013 Barrel Sample (Saint-Émilion)

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

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

Published on April 1, 2014
Topics: En PrimeurFrench WineWine Trends