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stirring the lees with james molesworth archive

Photo by: David Yellen
James Molesworth

March 2012

Getting Dynamic at Château Latour
Frédéric Engerer keeps standards high at Château Latour amid serious upgrades to the vineyards and cellar
Posted: Mar 30, 2012 3:00pm ET

Nothing stands still at Château Latour. There's a large pneumatic drill breaking up the ground in the courtyard, as the cellar needs expansion. With more than 60 acres added to the estate in the past seven years, the current cellar has reached its capacity. The always intense Frédéric Engerer said he finished his blends at the end of February. "So what you're tasting has been living together for four weeks, which is really the minimum to see how it will be," he said.

Here are my scores and tasting notes for the Château Latour Pauillac 2011 and Les Forts de Latour 2011.

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After the Storm, Lafite Has It Easy
The quick 2011 vinification at Bordeaux first-growth Château Lafite Rothschild went off without a hitch
Posted: Mar 29, 2012 10:30am ET

Director Charles Chevalier was in a very good mood, catching the sun as he stood in the doorway of the tasting room at Lafite Rothschild. "It's like summer," he said with a wide grin. "But one problem. Very, very dry in the vineyards right now. We got no moisture in February or March." The hail that arrived on Sept. 1, 2011, cutting across southern St.-Estèphe, just skirted the edge of Duhart and Lafite's vineyards in Pauillac and had minimal effect on the production.

Here are my scores and tasting notes for the 2011 Château Lafite Rothschild barrel samples.

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Down South in Médoc
Bordeaux Châteaus Margaux and Palmer met success despite a difficult 2011 growing season in the Médoc's southernmost appellation
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 12:10pm ET

Today I swung through Bordeaux's Margaux appellation to taste the 2011 reds and whites from barrel. He are my scores and tasting notes for the 2011s at first-growth Château Margaux and the esteemed Château Palmer. I also visited and tasted at Cantenac-Brown.

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First First-Growths First
Scores and tasting notes for the 2011 barrel samples of Haut-Brion and La Mission, plus a visit to Château La Garde
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 11:20am ET

It seems fitting that my first full day in Bordeaux for the '11 en primeur, and I would start with the first first-growth, Haut-Brion, which is the oldest of the five famed Left Bank properties atop the 1855 Classification.

Tasting the 2011s here also provides the first opportunity to see the efforts at the former Terte-Daugay, the St.-Emilion property purchased in 2011 by Haut-Brion's owner and renamed Quintus. For general director Jean-Philippe Delmas, there will be a learning curve as he works on the right bank, where the limestone terroir is markedly different from the gravelly soils of Pessac.

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A Sweet Arrival in Bordeaux
Back in Bordeaux to taste the 2011 barrel samples, my first stop was in Barsac at Château Climens
Posted: Mar 26, 2012 2:00pm ET

Well, I'm off to Bordeaux again, so you can expect the blog to heat up. I'll be tasting the 2011 vintage from barrel as the Bordelais gear up to offer their red, white and sweet wines to the trade later this spring and into the summer. I'll start with a week's worth of visits to nearly two dozen châteaus, including the first-growths, to get a feel for the vintage, before settling down the following week to work through a few hundred barrel samples from a broad swath of appellations and producers.

I figured I'd start in Sauternes, which makes my favorite wines in Bordeaux. After arriving in time for a restorative lunch (white asparagus now in season) I dropped off my bags and headed down to see Bérénice Lurton at Château Climens in Barsac.

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