Wednesday Wines – Episode 138 – Cru Bourgeois du Médoc 2018, 2019, 2020
I recently tasted 90 Crus Bourgeois du Médoc split into thirds between 2018, 2019, and 2020. These wines were chosen by the Alliance of the Crus Bourgeois and the Château themselves, and I found nine wines that caught my eye. I have listed the wines below, along with the suggested UK distributor and the estimated ‘average’ price. I would suggest you contact the UK distributors and also search on the web if you would like to track down any of the wines.
2018 Château Balac, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Haut-Médoc (UK – New Generation Wine £20)
This was the first wine in the line-up that seemed balanced and approachable. Most of the 2018s were gentler and more expressive than the 2019s and 2020s, but many were underpowered and raw. These are common traits in this vintage, but the best wines are fleshed out but still cool and crunchy. Balac is not a complex wine, but it is rewarding, and it is drinking already, and this nudged it into my reckoning. In addition, the calibre of fruit is refined and juicily red-fruit soaked.
2018 Château Clément-Pichon, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Haut-Médoc (UK – House of Townend £30)
This is another silky, slender wine with a more classical stance with certainly more going on than the Balac. Layered, calm, refreshing, and Merlot-driven, this is a thoughtful wine and one that is only a couple of years off drinking. I think it will be a delightful ‘Sunday Lunch’ candidate when the tannins have melted away.
2018 Château Le Crock, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Saint-Estèphe (UK – Honest Grapes £25-£30)
This was one of the finest wines of all, and this was because the mid-palate showed some genuine depth and distinction. This volume of fruit gave it an immediate advantage, but the flavour and detail elevated it above the pack. Still youthful and crunchy, the tannins need a couple more years, but it is already clear that this is a dead cert for classy drinking for both restaurants and private clients, given the price.
2018 Château Paveil de Luze, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Margaux (UK – seeking an importer £20-£25)
One of the more backward and tense wines in the collection, this is a Cabernet-dominant brew by contrast to the Merlot-led wines above. Accordingly, it needs four or five years at least to soften and billow, and after this period of slumber, I am sure it will be a toned and honed Margaux with enough class to rival some of the starry estates.
2019 Château Beaumont, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Haut-Médoc (UK – The Wine Society / Co-op £15-£20)
Fresh and forward, Beaumont never seems to drop the ball with its open floral perfume and ripe fruit. This 2019 is not as robust as many, hinting at an earlier drinking window than expected, and this makes it a pleasure to taste at only three years old. There is some structure here, too, so I expect it to start drinking in a year or two and then hold well for a further five.
2019 Château Peyrabon, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Haut-Médoc (UK – Millesima UK £20)
This is a more lush and upright 2019 showing a discreet level of grit and determination under the ripe fruit. A rather lovely surprise, Peyrabon is a Château that rarely gets my pulse racing, but this 2019 shows accurate fruit, an energetic palate, and an attractive, long finish.
2019 Château Deyrem Valentin, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Margaux (UK – Waitrose £32)
Regular readers will know I am a massive fan of this Château, and the 2019 is a terrific wine. With my joint highest score on the day (17.5+/20), this is a beautiful wine and one with completeness and charm. The texture is classic Margaux, and none of the elements is rushed or lacking, making this a dead cert for keen fans of both this commune and the vintage, given the value for money afforded here.
2020 Château de Malleret, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Haut-Médoc (UK – House of Townend £25-£30)
The two 2020 showed more volume of fruit than the 2018s and softer tannins than the 2019s, and this is where the 2020 vintage sits in my mind. De Malleret is a more exuberant wine than the others in the line-up, with plushness and openness, making it a lovely surprise and a wine that is not far from being able to be enjoyed. This might sound preposterous, but the fruit is so smooth and pure that the tannins are contained within the palate instead of hitched to the end of the flavour. Clever and delicious, this is a wine to track down without delay.
2020 Château Le Boscq, Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Saint-Estèphe (UK – Avery’s, Laithwaites £20)
My final wine is a star, and unlike the de Malleret, it is a couple of years from reaching its drinking period. Powerful, soaked in Saint-Estèphe minerality, and profoundly juicy, too, this is a lesson in just how important this perfectly situated estate is and the value for money it offers. Get in quick because I feel it will not be a twenty-pound wine for much longer.