Today also sees the release of the vintage’s most acclaimed Pomerol, Chateau La Conseillante. In 2016 they have produced a wine that has eclipsed the hugely popular 2015 and has been universally heralded by critics as one of its greatest vintages ever. The 2016 has scored 99-100 points from James Suckling who labels it ‘…the greatest Conseillante in modern times’ and 96-98 points by Neal Martin; these scores put it alongside the 97 point 2005 which trades at £1,900 per case and 1989 at £3,500. Conseillante 2016 is only matched in Pomerol by three of the most famous wines in the world, Lafleur which released at £5,160, as well as Petrus and Le Pin which are yet to release but will cost over £20,000 per case. The release price of £1,860 per 12x75cl case represents a 33% Euro increase and a 51% GBP increase, which on the face of it is a significant rise, however, it offers superb value compared to its peers and any wine that renders James Suckling ‘…speechless’ is a must buy!
The earliest records of Chateau La Conseillante date back to 1756 when it was owned and managed by the Conseillan family. In 1871, the Nicolas family – owners of a well-established negociant firm – purchased the Estate and still remain the owners today. The Estate is just over 11 hectares and located to the east of the Pomerol plateau, bordering and in fact partially located in St. Emilion, with mainly clay and gravel soil. The high percentage of clay suits Merlot perfectly and the vineyards are planted to 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, with the intent to increase the percentage of Cabernet Franc to 25% – 30% over time. Their oldest vines are nearly 60 years of age with an average age 35 years.
Chateau La Conseillante 2016, 12×75 – £1,860 EP or 6×75 – £930 EP
96-98 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 La Conseillante is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc picked from 22 September to 13 October and 12-17 October at 39.5 hectoliters per hectare. Winemaker Marielle Cazaux told me that there is 13.8% alcohol, nearly one degree less than in 2015, with a pH of 3.65 and it is matured in 70% new oak. This has a succinct bouquet that is stylistically not that far removed from its neighbor Vieux Château Certan: detailed and understated at first with scents of blackberry, wild hedgerow and a touch of pressed flowers. The palate is very well balanced with a fine backbone, but what really marks out this La Conseillante is the salinity that comes through on the second half. It exerts a gentle grip in the mouth, reveals a little spiciness towards the finish whereupon it gently fans out, leaving a touch of black pepper on the saline aftertaste. This is a classic La Conseillante and the best since the majestic 2010. Similar to that vintage, it will require several years in bottle, but it will be well worth the wait.
99-100 Points, James Suckling
This is the greatest Conseillante in modern times. Full body and incredible tannins that are polished and velvety. The texture lasts for minutes. I am speechless. What a young and awe-inspiring wine!
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