Pessac-Leognan Overview & Top Picks

15 April 2012
저자: 지니 조 리

Pessac-Leognan had a great vintage thanks to the white wines, which were gorgeous in 2011. Part of the reason for this region’s success was that it received more rain than the Medoc and St Emilion and suffered less water stress.


The whites of 2011, which were one of the stars of this vintage, generally had lower pH and greater acidity than in 2010 or 2009. The relatively cool ripening period in July and August contributed to the freshness and complex aromatics of this vintage. Harvest was about two weeks earlier than normal for the whites which started 17th of August. These are beautiful white wines with energy and complex flavours, which will age beautifully.


The red wines from Pessac Leognan are also well balanced and not over-extracted. Although the alcohol levels are lower than normal, the best examples have managed to craft wines with good depth and ripe, generous tannins. This region was a delight to taste and was successful given the challenging weather conditions.


Below are my top reds from Pessac-Leognan listed in the order of highest to lowest ratings


1) 2011 Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Tasted alongside Haut Brion, La Mission stole the stage with its exuberance and expressiveness. The aromatics are complex and enticing with cedar, spices and black tea notes. The wine has cashmere-like tannins and fine texture. All of its elements are finely knit, gorgeously layered and built for long-term ageing. This excellent wine is among my favourites from this challenging vintage.(93-96)


2) 2011 Château Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
There is wonderful density and depth in this wine, but also a firm wall of tannins that make Haut Brion much less expressive at this stage than La Mission. There are many wines in this tannic vintage like Haut Brion that deserve to be re-tasted before bottling when a better sense of its true personality will emerge. The cedar box, earthy, dried Chinese red date flavours are restrained and the flavours are very tightly wound. The wine is promising with a long length, but patience will be required for this wine.(93-94)


3) 2011 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Generous medium bodied red with the caressing tannins classic to Domaine de Chevalier. The aromatics are muted in this sample but on the palate there is plummy, generous flavours and velvety tannins. Well made Pessac Leognan red with a fairly long length.(91-93)


4) 2011 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
A charming wine with nice density and depth, supple firm tannins and a fairly long finish. This is a classic Haut Bailly that is meant to age and evolve — right now the generous tannins overshadow the flavours lingering in the background. However the length and depth of flavours show it will evolve and age beautifully for a decade or more.(91-92)


5) 2011 Château Malartic-Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This is an elegant Pessac Leognan but has the depth and firm tannin profile for long term ageing. The palate is round and plush with ripe tannins. The flavours range from violets to cherries and plums. Well crafted wine with a long finish.(90-92)


6) 2011 Château Smith Haut Lafite, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Given the vintage, this is a restrained elegant style that is not overdone. The flavours reflect the cool summer and there is little over extraction. Well made wine with plum and spicy flavours and a fairly long finish.(90-92)


7) 2011 Château Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This wine is lifted and polished with rounded, supple tannins. There is much to like about this wine that is balanced with savoury, plum and cedar notes. No trace of this vintage’s harsh tannins or difficulty.(90-91)


8) 2011 Château Lespault-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
A charming red wine that is generous yet lean; the tannins are supple, ripe and velvety with ripe plummy flavours balanced by fresh acidity. Well made wine by the team that makes Domaine de Chevalier.(90-91)


9) 2011 Château Carbonnieux, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This wine is polished, well balanced with good length. The fruit is attractive with notes of cherries, plums and fresh red dates. It is a soft approachable style with no rough tannins. Balanced and elegant.(89-91)


10) 2011 Château Haut-Brion- La Clarence de Haut-Brion Rouge, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Supple textured, very elegant wine with dark berries and plum flavours. The tannins are velvety and the finish fairly long. A wine with great detail and good depth of flavours.(89-90)


Below are my top whites from Pessac-Leognan listed in the order of highest to lowest ratings.


1) 2011 Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This wine combines the most desirable qualities found in top quality Bordeaux whites – finesse and detail along with freshness and concentration. Flavours range from ripe nectarines, pomelo and freshly chopped Chinese chives. The palate displays amazing intensity and depth with a very long finish. The flavours are vibrant, expressive and the fresh acidity gives lift and balance to the best white wine of the vintage.(94-96)


2) 2011 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This is a full-bodied very concentrated white from La Mission. In contrast to Haut Brion Blanc, this wine is more fruity and expressive with greater immediate appeal. The wine is intense with lovely apricot, pomelo and nectarine flavours. The fresh acidity in this wine is evident in the long, mineral finish indicating a wine that will age for decades.(93-96)


3) 2011 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
The white wines of Bordeaux are wonderful because they balance concentration with fresh acidity and lovely aromatics and this Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is a perfect example. Full bodied, opulent white that has wonderful depth and layers of flavours. Fantastic wine filled with passion fruit and dragon fruit flavours and great length. Bravo to Olivier Bernard.(93-95)


4) 2011 Château Latour-Martillac Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
A linear, very focused white wine from Bordeaux with sharp pointed acidity which will no doubt soften in a few years. The palate has amazing depth and detailed flavours including star fruit and dragon fruit notes. Good concentration and layers of flavours. Very long, well made wine for long term ageing.(90-92)


5) 2011 Château Malartic-Lagraviere Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
This is an aromatic, lifted wine with fresh flavours with very good concentration. Flavours range from ripe peaches, apricots to mangosteen flavours. The acidity provides the backbone to a wine with a long finish.(90-92)


6) 2011 Château Bouscaut Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
There is nice depth of fruit in this medium bodied Pessac Leognan white. There is freshness as well as good depth of fruit ranging from star fruit to lemongrass with a fairly long finish. Well made with good concentration.(90-91)


7) 2011 Château Haut-Brion- La Clarté de Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Light lemon with intense concentration of star fruit and dragon fruit flavours. There is lovely vibrancy and lifted pomelo flavours on the palate followed by a fairly long finish. The wine has nice concentration and flavours that are precise and detailed. Well crafted.(90-91)


8) 2011 Château Lespault-Martillac Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Full bodied oaky style but with plenty of dense fruit to support it. A wonderful, concentrated white wine with focus and fresh acidity. Olivier Bernard and his team have been making this wine for last two years. Well crafted wine with a long finish.(90-91)


9) 2011 Château Smith Haut Lafite Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
A lovely white from Smith Haut Lafitte with detailed stone fruits and generous mid palate. There is a bit less concentration here than in previous few years of their whites but nonetheless balanced, fresh and lively. An elegant white wine with good length.(89-91)


10) 2011 Château Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France

This is a generous, balanced wine with great intensity and depth. The flavours of nectarines and star fruit is lifted by firm acidity. Focused wine with good length with potential to age for five or more years.(88-90)