Now that Bordeaux’s 2021 vintage is up for grabs (although you won’t receive the bottles for a few years yet!), we’d like to present you with a selection that features the very finest châteaux. Whilst the most recent vintage won’t take as long as some to mature, it’s still got legs and some good cellaring time ahead of it. Here are the iconic estates that have really caught our eye in this year’s campaign.
Scores: 97-98/100 James Suckling; 96-98/100 RVF; 98/100 Bettane & Desseauve
An unusual Lafite Rothschild vintage with a large proportion of Cabernet that gives it a frank and fresh mouthfeel. Its density and lovely tannin lead to a superb, lingering finish. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest 2021s we’ve tasted, one that will happily age for a few decades in the cellar before being uncorked for a special occasion.
Scores: 98-99/100 James Suckling; 97-99/100 RVF, 97/100 Decanter
Amid the intensity of this year’s Primeurs tasting sessions, whispers were circulating that Château Haut-Brion had produced one of its finest whites in recent years. Its stripped-back and crystalline profile, its mineral precision, its lightness on the palate, and its exceptional elegance have won over the expert tasters for the 2021 vintage. A perfect example of the beautiful whites that Bordeaux is capable of producing, these being cuvées that can also be aged at quite some length (around 15 years).
Scores: 98/100 Terre de vins; 97-99/100 RVF; 97-98/100 James Suckling
It’s hard to be objective when we love this wine so much! On the nose, its red fruit and floral aromas are enchanting, and on the palate, we rediscover the gorgeously silky texture that will always having us coming back. Its juice and its incredible balance are the (black) cherry on the cake! In all, a vintage for the estate to be proud of, and one that will age nicely for five to six years or even longer.
Scores: 17+/20 Jancis Robinson; 95-97/100 Robert Parker; 96-98/100 RVF
A nose reminiscent of raspberry and a lighter mouthfeel than what we’re used to from this estate. Palmer’s 2021 is particularly charming and silky. This is a bottle to forget in the cellar for quite some time, before opening anytime between 2027 and 2051 depending on personal taste.
Scores: 96/100 Bettane & Desseauve; 92-93/100 James Suckling; 95/100 Jean-Marc Quarin
As we’ve seen for most Pomerol domains and more generally across the rive droite, the 2021 dons a style that stands out from the hot vintages of recent years. La Violette has a delicate and elegant character, but it can still be cellared for a few years!
Scores: 97/100 Bettane & Desseauve; 97-98/100 Terre de vins ; 97/100 Jane Anson
A nose of blackcurrant with oak and spicy notes is followed by a contrasting palate that is elegantly tannic and highly pleasant. The finish contains gorgeous nuances of cacao. To uncork between 2028 and 2051.
Scores: 97-98/100 RVF; 95-97/100 Robert Parker; 17+/20 Jancis Robinson
With aromas of black fruit and roasted notes, a lovely chewiness, and a rich, supple character overall, this is a refined vintage from Léoville Las Cases. Its texture and depth promise long years of ageing ahead.
Scores: 97-98/100 Terre de vins; 95-96/100 James Suckling; 94-95/100 Bettane & Desseauve
This is a fruit-driven wine with floral notes and hints of liquorice on the nose, making way for a palate that is fresh but powerful thanks to its noticeable tannin. The 2021 Haut-Bailly will be happy to evolve in the cellar for about a decade, during which time it will develop beautiful earthy aromas that will only grow in finesse.
Scores: 95/100 Jean-Marc Quarin; 94-96 Vinous; 94-96 Robert Parker
On the nose, this Angélus gives black fruit as well as well-blended oaky notes; there are also some floral and spiced notes thrown in there. Its mouthfeel is soft like cashmere with a light texture and a precise profile. A vintage that certainly won’t disappoint fans of the property.
Scores: 98/100 Bettane & Desseauve; 94-95/100 Robert Parker; 94-96/100 Vinous
Red and black fruit aromas are accompanied by spicy notes, making way for a velvety palate with a lovely freshness and minerality to it. According to Michel Bettane, this is one of the vintage’s major successes, a fine wine that should have a place in your cellar!