Bordeaux’s reputation lives and dies by its Grand Vin wines which defines its global cachet. However, the best value remains among the finest estates, which have not entered the exponential score and price slip stream. We believe Bordeaux delivers the finest wines in the world for under £20, particularly in great vintages, where terroir, wine making and good fortune collide to produce something special. Today we are delighted to offer two of these which just released.
Firstly, Chateau Potensac, the quintessential claret, which has been awarded 90-92 points from Neal Martin and 93-94 from James Suckling. This Estate is sited in the northern Medoc and has produced its highest ever score in 2016. It heralds from the Delon stable, the owners of Leoville Las Cases who made a 100 point wine in 2016. Pontesac punches well above its weight in 2016 and for £17.50 is a stunning proposition, its best ever modern vintage and one of our stand out great value wines of the vintage.
In 2016 Chateau Potensac is a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It is located in the far north of the Medoc, sat on top of the eponymous Potensac plateau. As It is owned by the Delon family of Leoville Las Cases this benefits from the same technical team. Well known among the finest winemakers in the world, this team works on Pontensac and have overhauled its winemaking, ushering in a surge in quality since the 1970s. The terroir is perfectly placed in 2016, where it benefited from the high temperatures at the end of August and September allowing for slow ripening and outstanding maturity. Moreover, the vines at the Estate are very old, with an average age of 40 years with some over 80. Potensac is the only “Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel” of the appellation, one of nine named in 2003. If you love well priced claret, buy Pontensac 2016, it will reward for a decade.
Chateau Potensac 2016, 12×75 – £210 EP
90-92 Points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
The 2016 Potensac is a blend of 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, cropped at 55 hectoliters per hectare between 5 and 19 October (11 days of picking), then matured in 30% new oak. Jean-Hubert Delon told me that his team was selective in the winery and so the Grand Vin only comprises 55% of the total production. It actually shares the potent marine/estuarine influence of the Chapelle de Potensac, plenty of black fruit here, maybe a little rustic but with plenty of character. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, quite linear at first, opening nicely in the mouth to reveal a spicy and lively middle and finish. This has a little more panache than the 2015 Potensac, more detail towards the finish, and it should give plenty of drinking pleasure over the next decade or more.
93-94 Points, James Suckling
What a racy and focused Potensac with wonderful density and finesse as well as a firm and polished tannins that hold the whole thing together. A beautiful, reasoned young red. One of best Potensacs in a long time.
Secondly, Chateau Fombrauge 2016, which has been awarded 91-93 points from Neal Martin and 93-94 from James Suckling, its joint highest ever scores, priced today at £205 per case of 12, £17 per bottle.
Chateau Fombrauge is classified as a St Emilion Grand Cru Classes and is the flagship St Emilion Estate of Bernard Magrez, the owner of Pape Clement. Magrez purchased the Estate in 1999 and has been investing heavily in it ever since. His first action was to hire Michel Rolland as their consultant and the results speak for themselves. Fombrauge is the largest vineyard in St Emilion, which goes a long way to explain how it can successfully releases so competitively. It is also one of the oldest Estates on the Right Bank, heralding back to 1679. The vineyard is located at the west of the St Emilion appellation, on a limestone plateau known as the commune of St Christophe. The blend is a blend of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc and it spends 14-16 months in barrel.
Fombrauge 2016, 12×75 – £205 EP
91-93 Points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
The 2016 Fombrauge is a blend of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc picked from 30 September to the 22 October, clearly more expressive on the nose compared to the 2016 Magrez-Fombrauge with attractive blackberry, raspberry coulis and cold stone aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, linear but fresh with a grippy, slightly tarry finish that lingers in the mouth. It needs to find a little more “lightness” in terms of personality rather than intensity, perhaps not take itself quite so seriously. But I still find much to enjoy here and I look forward to tasting it in bottle. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
93-94 Points, James Suckling
Dense and fresh red with lots of blackberries, blueberries and walnuts. Hints of chocolate. Full-bodied, tight and refined yet always showing muscle.
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