2019 Saint Julien wines across the board are a treat. Every property I tasted showed beautifully. Less powerful and opulent than you find in 2018, the wines all showed good color, complex aromatics and a captivating floral quality.
What I enjoyed most was that here, the wines provide a beautiful sense of purity paired with silky tannins, lift, and at their best, stunning sensuous textures. 2019 Saint Julien wines are worth considering for your cellar. And with 2019, the wines will not demand the same aging needed in 2018 or 2016, the tannins are so ripe and refined, 2019 St Julien will start drinking well after a decade of aging.
2019 St. Julien vineyards shared many of the same growing conditions as experienced by the other appellations in the Medoc. However, here, slightly less moisture, paired with less rain,coupled with the ability for the best terroirs to retain water when needed that made a big difference.
The vintage in the Left Bank got off to a slow start with April, May and June having problems due to a lack of sun and too much rain. Fears of frost in the spring came about due to extreme low temperatures on 6 occasions. Fortunately, there was no serious damage from frost.
Flowering began at the end of May. June did not look as though it was going to help the growing season as much of the month was cool and rainy. By the start of the summer, (late June) things began turning around and the grapes enjoyed heat, dry conditions, sunshine and cool nights.
Small amounts of precipitation in late July, August and again in September, arriving at the perfect moment, allowed the grapes to achieve phenolic ripeness. The final piece of the puzzle came through when harvesting took place under very good conditions.
A bit about the samples and the process of how they were received and tasted. The majority of 2019 St. St. Julien wines were shipped overnight. Most of the 2019 Bordeaux arrived in 2-3 days’ time. Although a few producers managed to ship true overnight, arriving the next day! Almost every wine was cool to the touch on arrival.
When the wines arrived here, they were quickly placed in a wine cellar overnight to relax and cool to cellar temperatures. The following day, the bottles were opened and poured into glasses roughly 15 minutes prior to tasting. All the wines were tasted in the same size Riedel glasses. Wines were served in flights of 3-4 wines from the same appellation.
I was able to taste most of the 2019 St. Julien wines. Sadly, as you can see, Chateau Leoville Barton and Chateau Gruaud Larose did not send samples.
The top 2019 Saint Julien wines in this report were tasted starting in mid-May-through mid-June in the comfort of my home office in non-blind conditions.
2019 Beychevelle – Deep in color, with a floral, blackberry, cedar, cherry, cocoa and tobacco leaf nose. On the palate, the wine is soft, polished, elegant and with depth of flavor. There is freshness, a good mid-palate, length, purity and loads of sweet black and dark red fruits with silky tannins in the finish. Made from blending 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc and reaching 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.77, the harvest took place September 23 to October 11. 50% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. 95-97 Pts
2019 Branaire Ducru – Tobacco, mocha, cassis, blackberry and flowers are what you initially notice. This is a sensuous, medium/full-bodied, silky, fresh and pure wine exuding sweet, ripe, black plums, juicy blackberry and cassis from start to finish. The lift in the endnote gives you ample time to enjoy all the purity in the fruit, which is just great. Produced from a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. Harvesting took place September 19 to October 9. The Grand Vin was produced from 55% of the crop. 94-96 Pts
My first tasting with a chateau owner was over facetime with Francois-Xavier Maroteaux. It was nice to catch up with someone I knew and to taste their wine together. It made for a nice memory.
2019 Ducru Beaucaillou – Deep, dark almost opaque in color, the wine is packed to the gills with smoke, flowers, black currants, bitter chocolate and black cherries, Full-bodied, intense, concentrated and palate coating, everything is in perfect harmony here, Long, lush, opulent and most importantly, with this gorgeous sense of purity to the fruits and chocolate overtones, the finish passes the 60-second mark with ease. The blend was made with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot and is aging in 100% new, French oak barrels. The wine reached 14.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.8. The harvest took place from September 20 to October 3. A nice tidbit for you, the Cabernet was harvested in only 3 days, October 1-3 with 180 pickers. The Grand Vin was produced from only 27% of the harvest with yields averaging 35 hectoliters per hectare. 98-100 Pts
If you know Bruno Borie, if you have ever been to tastings at Ducru Beaucaillou, you know they enjoy life, wine and putting on a bit of a show. Even in the comfort of my own home, tasting 2019 Ducru Beaucaillou was special.
Their packaging should win an award. Each of their 4 wines were placed into glass tubes, about the right size to place a Cohiba Behike. The 4 tubes were placed into a special presentation box. No, that does hep the wine earn a higher score. I am not that easy! But it was a fabulous package that deserves special mention. Tasting with Bruno over Zoom was not quite as much fun as it is in person, but it was about as good as it gets during these crazy times.
2019 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou – Black currants, flowers, vanilla, dried cherry and blackberry aromas come through loud and clear on the nose. Fresh, vibrant, silky, long and juicy, the currants and blackberries continue flowing in the creamy, medium/full-bodied finish. This could be the finest vintage of La Croix Ducru–Beaucaillou produced at the estate. Clearly, this is a wine of Classified Growth quality. From a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 14.3% alcohol and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels for 12 months. 92-94 Pts
2019 Le Petit Ducru – A new name and identity for Lalande de Borie, this well-priced Saint Julien is loaded with black currants, earth, herbs, tobacco leaf, round, ripe tannins and a juicy, red fruit character that will drink well early, and yet, also has the ability to age for 12 – 15 years. The wine blends 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot reaching 14.2% alcohol. 91-93 Pts
2019 du Glana – Medium-bodied, elegant, soft, clean and easy to drink, the purity in the fruit stands out here. The sweet red berries offer lift and more intensity than usual. This is probably the best vintage ever produced by Chateau du Glana. 89-91 Pts
2019 Gloria – Wow’, was the first word that crossed my path as soon as I met this beauty. Texturally, this wine rocks with its layers of lush, soft, polished, elegant, ripe, succulent fruits. The black and red berries glide over your palate with no hard edges, leaving with waves of sweet, ripe, rich, concentrated, full-bodied, pure black, red and blue fruits. This is a super wine that is clearly a contender for the best wine ever produced at Gloria! 93-95 Pts
2019 Lagrange – A big, juicy, energetic blast of spicy, invigorating cassis is the first thing that sticks with you. The fruit is sweet, round, full-bodied and fresh. The fruit here really lingers on your palate, and the tannins are ripe and present, which is a good thing because that sensation of purity in the finish is something you want to hang on to. 92-94 Pts
2019 Les Fiefs de Lagrange – Sharp, bright, juicy cassis with a nice salty note on the back end of this medium-bodied wine that is produced in a forward style for early drinking consumption. 86-88 Pts
2019 Langoa Barton – Deep in color, the wine shows of its tobacco leaf, smoke, black currant and blackberry character with little effort. Full-bodied, tannic and showy for this normally reticent wine, this is going to demand at least a decade of aging, but as this is the finest example of Langoa Barton I recall tasting, it will be well-worth the wait. 93-95-Pts
2019 Leoville Barton – Dark, almost inky in color, the showy nose, with its cedar, tobacco, herb, blackberry and black currant perfume grabs your interest. On the palate, the action really kicks in with its rich, full-bodied, tannic, fresh, powerful, yet graceful character. Mouth-filling and long, all those sweet black fruits linger. This is clearly a top vintage for Leoville Barton. 95-97 Pts
2019 Leoville Las Cases – Dark, almost opaque garnet in color, the wine loads you up with smoke, spearmint, cigar wrapper, cedar, flowers, deep red pit fruits and blackberries. Perfectly combining intense power, concentration, layers of ripe black fruits and a refined character that create a seamless tasting experience. Give this at least 12-15 years before popping a cork. The wine is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.02% alcohol with a 3.67 pH. The harvest took place from September 18 – October 9. 97-99 Pts
2019 Clos du Marquis – With a dark color, the wine hits you with cassis, flowers, tobacco, forest floor and herbal notes in the perfume. The wine is medium/full bodied, with a big, juicy gulp of blackberry, red pit fruit, spice and herbs. The wine is long, sweet and vibrant with length and a focus on its purity in the finish. The wine blends 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.1% alcohol. 92-94 Pts
2019 Le Petit Lion de Marquis de Las Cases – Boysenberry, black pit fruit, tobacco and earthy nuances create the nose. The medium-bodied wine offers a forward, sweet, juicy, round, black fruit filled palate experience with a hint of dusty cocoa in the soft, round finish. The wine bears a resemblance to the Grand Vin in style. The wine blends 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc reaching 14.01% alcohol. 91-93 Pts
My hat is off to the team at Leoville Las Cases. A few chateaux had issues sending packages, forcing them to send twice, mostly due to customs in America. But that was not like what Las Cases experienced as they sent three different shipments to me! However, the third time was a charm. I am grateful for their efforts as the wines are great, as you can see by my notes.
2019 Leoville Poyferre – Deep and dark in color, the wine exudes flowers, tobacco, smoke, licorice and dark red fruit aromas. Full-bodied, lushly textured, round and fresh, the fruit has this beautiful, opulent, sensuous character. This is a good thing as it allows the cashmere tannins and layers of sweet, ripe, almost decadent berries to come alive, expand and really hang in there. If you are a fan of Leoville Poyferre, this needs to be in your cellar. Blending 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 14.1 alcohol. The harvest took place from September 20 to October 11. 96-98 Pts
2019 Moulin-Riche – Smoky, herbal, coffee, cocoa and dark red fruit aromatics are in the nose. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, and focused on its inner core of chocolate-covered dark red fruits. Soft, round and fruit-forward, a year or two of wait time is all that’s needed here to round everything out. The wine is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 17% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 89-91 Pts
2019 Saint-Pierre – The wealth of fruit is something you notice right off the bat. Lusciously textured, rich, fresh, nuanced and complex, the waves of perfectly ripe, concentrated, velvety fruit are fresh, long, intense, complex and exciting. This is a top vintage for Saint Pierre. 94-96 Pts
2019 Talbot – Refined, elegant, silky tannins, medium-bodied and fresh, the fruit focuses on its purity, length and persistence. The juicy black currants with a tangy hint of sweet cranberry on the palate are perfectly in synch with the tobacco leaf, cigar wrapper, spice and smoky cherry nose. This is going to be just great with 7-9 years of aging. Things continue improving here under the direction of Jean-Michel Laporte. 93-95 Pts
2019 Talbot Connetable – Medium-bodied, forward and already showing earthy red fruits, spice and leafy aromas, the wine is soft, open and accessible, with a sweet red currant finish. This will be great to enjoy on release while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 88-90 Pts
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The next article to be published is on 2019 Margaux wines with tasting notes, ratings and more. We will publish it tomorrow morning.