Chateau Pavie 2021
Antonio Galloni hails the 2021 Pavie as “a wine of tremendous potential” awarding an impressive 95-97 points. The 2021 release is classic Pavie, striking the perfect balance between “the more mid-weight style of the year” yet with “plenty of depth as well as energy”. Those seeking an ethereal, classical style of Pavie which requires less cellaring time, should be picking up at least a case or two. Furthermore, the release price remains very keen down 3% on the 2020 and 2019 releases.
Since 2012, Pavie has gained promotion to Premier Grand Cru Classe A – the highest tier of ranking in St Emilion, and is one of the most prestigious estates on the right bank. This is a testament to its sheer consistency in producing superfluous wines which even give its neighbouring contemporaries a run for their money. In recent years Pavie has seen a wealth of investment into the property; a brand new cellar and irrigation system in the vineyard, coupled with the introduction of legendary wine consultant Michel Rolland to the scene which has transformed the property and wine. Under the guidance of Rolland, the wines have become more focused, delicate, yet retaining incredible structure which lends itself to great ageing potential. Pavie is a truly modern and exciting wine, combining power and verve with the elegance and charm of its Saint Emilion heritage.
From the critics
“Deep black and blue fruit with cocoa and tar character. Compact and full-bodied with firm, ripe tannins that are very textured and interwoven into the wine. This has a lot of structure to go a long way. Yet it remains in balance with finesse. 52% merlot, 30% cabernet franc and 18% cabernet sauvignon.” 95-96 points, James Suckling
“The 2021 Pavie is a wine of tremendous potential. Naturally, it shows the more mid-weight style of the year and yet there is plenty of depth as well as energy that starts to emerge with a bit of time in the glass. Bright saline notes shape the wine while extending the finish and adding so much drive. The 2021 is shaping up to be a very special wine. All it needs is time.” 95–97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous)
Chateau Cheval Blanc 2021
Prestigious Right Bank property, Chateau Cheval Blanc is one of the greatest wine producing estates in the world, and undoubtedly one of the stars of the show from 2021. Antonio Galloni awards Cheval Blanc his joint-top score in 2021 of 96-98 points, calling this “one of the wines of the vintage” (also asserted by Jane Anson) and going on to say “Cheval is just stunning”. William Kelley of the Wine Advocate has also given the 2021 a glowing review and a 95-97 point score. He pays tribute to a serious and structured young Cheval Blanc before calling it a “terrific achievement”. Winemaker Pierre Olivier-Clouet’s confidence in the vintage matches this high praise, noting the freshness and depth of the wine and that “given the choice, every Cheval Blanc team member would choose a case of 2021 for their cellars over 2020”.
Last year, the 2020 flew off the shelves and became one of the 2020 campaign’s most sought after wines. As a result, it has risen in price by 12% over the last 12 months and is already trading on the secondary market at £2500 IB per 6. Matching the quality of recent top vintages, but priced at an average 28% below them, we expect 2021 to be no different. However, with a 35% reduction in volume with the 2021 vintage, this will be one of the most in demand wines.
An important year for the estate, 2021 marks the 30th anniversary with Pierre Lurton as director, and the last official year as Premier Grand Cru Classé A following their withdrawal from the Saint Emilion ranking. This vintage is the last year you will find Cheval Blanc, Ausone and Angelus at the top of the classification, making this a significant vintage to hold.
From the critics
“A terrific achievement, the 2021 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of raspberries and cherries mingled with notions of cigar wrapper, vine smoke, rose petals and violets, it’s full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with an elegantly muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannin and lively animating acids. Long and penetrating, this is a serious, rather structured young Cheval Blanc that will require and reward patience.” 95-97 points, William Kelley (Wine Advocate)
“The 2021 Cheval Blanc was picked between September 22 and October 14, and for the first time in many years there is a higher proportion of Cabernet Franc. This has a lovely bouquet, very clean and precise, featuring black cherry, wild mint, sous-bois and orange sorbet, all vivacious and very focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, quite structured and very linear and strict. A bit like Ausone, this is an uncompromising Cheval Blanc, very saline and marine-influenced. While not as flattering as the 2020, it will appeal more to those who prefer a cerebral Cheval Blanc. One of the stars of the Right Bank in this challenging growing season.”95-97 points, Neal Martin (Vinous)
“This is so finely textured with very precise, tight tannins. Medium to full body. Lots of layers here with black and blue fruit, stones, tar, dark cocoa and spices. Dried herbs. Long and persistent. Stays focused all the way. So precise. 52% cabernet franc, 43% merlot and 5% cabernet sauvignon.” 97-98 points, James Suckling
Chateau Leoville Las Cases
IG favourite Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2021 has released at £975 per case of six IB, 18% down on the 2020 release price. This “Super Second” Estate of Saint-Julien consistently makes one of the greatest wines each vintage, and their 2021 is no exception, with William Kelley of the Wine Advocate calling it “One of the wines of the vintage”. The team at Leoville Las Cases have once again produced a wine of First Growth quality but for less than half the price.
The first release under new leadership from Jean-Guillaume Prats as Vice-President (formerly of Lafite and Cos d’Estournel), Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2021 has received praise from across the critics. William Kelley of The Wine Advocate awards the 2021 95-97 points, praising its “complex aromas of cassis, plums and dark berries mingled with loamy soil, cigar wrapper and exotic spices”. Kelley also notes that Leoville Las Cases “exemplifies how a great terroir, exigent agronomy and meticulous winemaking can deliver greatness“. Antonio Galloni and Neal Martin of Vinous both score 94-96 points, with Galloni noting, “There is so much to look forward to” and admiring the “gorgeous depth” that the 2021 has to offer. Martin is in agreement, calling the 2021 vintage “very impressive” and a “cerebral Las Cases”.
Leoville Las Case sits on some extraordinary terroir. The walled Grand Clos (whose famous gate features on the label) is separated from Chateau Latour by a tiny stream at the north of the Saint-Julien appellation. In the Bordeaux Official Classification of 1855, there were no Premier Cru Classe wines from Saint-Julien and therefore Leoville Las Cases was ranked as 2eme Cru Classe. However Las Cases has been the strongest contender for many decades to be reclassified, earning an unofficial status of a “Super Second”, a second growth delivering quality at a first growth level.
From the critics
“One of the wines of the vintage, the 2021 Léoville Las Cases is reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of the 1999 and 1996—only better. Offering up incipiently complex aromas of cassis, plums and dark berries mingled with loamy soil, cigar wrapper and exotic spices, it’s full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, with superb amplitude and concentration, velvety tannins, lively acids and a long, penetrating finish. Uniting classicism and charm, it exemplifies how a great terroir, exigent agronomy and meticulous winemaking can deliver greatness even in a less propitious vintage. It’s a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and a mere 5% Merlot this year, checking in at 13.2% alcohol.” 95-97 points, William Kelley (Wine Advocate)
Chateau La Clotte 2021
Chateau La Clotte is graced with some of the most exceptional soil in St Emilion – its neighbours are none other than Ausone, Pavie Macquin, Canon and Troplong Mondot, all of whom are producing seminal wines. A Chateau treasured by those in the know, La Clotte was purchased by Alain Vauthier, owner of Chateau Ausone, in 2014. This ‘baby Ausone’ has gone from strength to strength with Vauthier at the helm, and their 2021 continues on this exciting trajectory.
Released at £345 per 6 IB, a fraction of the price of its illustrious neighbours and stablemate Ausone, Jane Anson awards a super 93 points, noting its “gorgeous limestone character, sappy, plump but understated rich red fruit character and with spicy”. Anson also points out that this estate “is one to watch over the next decade, a true insider’s wine that is blossoming under the Ausone team” William Kelley of the Wine Advocate scores 91-93 points commenting on its “Aromas of sweet berries, cherries and rose petals, framed by nicely integrated new oak” and calling the 2021 a “charming wine that’s beautifully refined and intensely flavored”.
From the critics
“Aromas of sweet berries, cherries and rose petals, framed by nicely integrated new oak, preface the 2021 La Clotte, a medium to full-bodied, supple and charming wine that’s beautifully refined and intensely flavored, concluding with a long, saline finish. It’s a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc from the Vauthier family of Château Ausone.”91-93 points, William Kelley (Wine Advocate)
“La Clotte is one to watch over the next decade, a true insider’s wine that is blossoming under the Ausone team (owners since 2014). This has gorgeous limestone character, sappy, plump but understated rich red fruit character and with spicy, herbal nuances that reveal themselves as it opens in the glass. Harvest October 2 to 6 (over those two separate days because this is just 4ha of vines). Conversion to organic farming since 2020. Old vines, average age 57 years, Thierry Lezin cellar master.” 93 points, Jane Anson
Chateau La Lagune 2021
Released at £157.50 per 6 IB, Chateau La Lagune offers phenomenal value and is a shrewd buy this year. With a history dating back to 1715 and vines first planted in 1724, Chateau La Lagune is a 3eme cru classe that produces some of the finest wines in the Haut-Medoc.
Antonio Galloni is a big fan of the 2021 vintage, calling it a “gorgeous, super expressive wine” awarding 90-92+ points. With fantastic structure and depth, Galloni notes that this should “age gracefully for many years to come” whilst being “a total knockout” today. William Kelley concurs, awarding 90-92 points and praising the “inviting aromas of sweet berries and plums mingled with hints of licorice”. This is a charming property from the Haut-Medoc with a loyal following, however, production is down 20% in 2021 meaning this will be hard to come by. Don’t miss adding this to your cellar.
From the critics
“The 2021 La Lagune is a gorgeous, super expressive wine. The aromatics alone are beguiling. Deep and beautifully layered in the glass, with striking layers of nuance, the 2021 is a knock-out. It should age gracefully for many years to come.” 90-92+ points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous)
“A pretty middle-weight, the 2021 La Lagune offers up inviting aromas of sweet berries and plums mingled with hints of licorice, loamy soil, raw cocoa and cigar wrapper. Medium-bodied, ample and succulent, it’s fleshy and seamless, with an ample core of fruit, bright acids and melting tannins. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, it checks in at a modest 12.5% alcohol. Tasted four times, twice at the château.” 90-92 points, William Kelley (Wine Advocate)