The Margaux second growth, Château Lascombes, has fired an opening shot in the forthcoming Bordeaux 2016 en primeur campaign during lunch with a select group of journalists in London, ahead of next month’s en primeur tastings.
Speaking at London’s 110 Taillevent restaurant, Château Lascombes’ technical director, Dominique Febve, stated that in his and long-standing consultant Michel Rolland’s view the estate’s 2016 was better than its 2010, which has gained currency as the greatest Bordeaux vintage of the century so far.
The comments indicate the level of excitement among some estates about the Bordeaux 2016 wines.
However, Lascombes and hundreds of Bordeaux 2016 en primeur wines will need to be independently tasted over the next month in order to get a better assessment of overall vintage quality.
Lascombes has a high percentage of Merlot vines and the grape makes up 50% of the 2016 assemblage. The rest is made up of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot.
Febve is not alone among Bordelais in rating the 2016 vintage so highly.
Last week in London, Jean-Valmy Nicolas of Château Conseillante said that ‘our 2016 is, in my view, the best La Conseillante we have ever made. I can’t speak for other châteaux, but this is a hugely exciting vintage for us.’
Febve, who was previously technical manager at Château Lafite-Rothschild, said that a hot dry summer led onto perfect conditions in August and the autumn leading to wonderful maturity and fruit ripeness.
He praised the ‘excellent’ Cabernet Sauvignon in 2016, but both he and Rolland felt that Lascombes’ Merlot has provided the star turn in this year’s assemblage.
Having worked at Château L’Evangile, which is part of the Lafite stable, he compared the style of the Lascombes’ 2016 Merlot to that of L’Evangile.
‘There is an almost Pomerol like quality to the wine which has really benefitted the wine’s mouthfeel and texture. It’s difficult to make comparisons, but the tannins in 2016 are more like 2009 than 2010.’
Of course, no press wine has yet been added to this highly adolescent barrel sample wine so it is far from the finished item.
Despite it being a hot year, 2016 has delivered wines which are moderate in alcohol, with most registering levels around 13%, Febve said. Many topped 14% in 2009 and 2010.
Yields are high, as reported by Decanter’s Bordeaux en primeur taster, Jane Anson.
Editing by Chris Mercer
Lascombes brought an early sample of the 2016 wine to London, created on 7 March. But, Jane Anson will be providing a tasting note and rating for Château Lascombes 2016 as part of her 2016 en primeur reporting in Bordeaux.
Decanter.com will be reporting from en primeur tasting week, beginning 3 April, and will publish Jane Anson’s full ratings later that month.