In challenging vintages, the talent of winemakers shines through. The 10 best Bordeaux wines of 2021

Feb 14 2024, 18:11
Here are the top labels in a particularly complicated year for Bordeaux, tasted at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2024

Saturn against. The 2021 vintage was not exactly generous to Bordeaux winemakers. In April, they had to face two significant frosts, while the more copious than usual rains brought molds and serious problems with uneven berry development. The result? Fluctuations in quality are decidedly more numerous than usual. The opportunity for an in-depth analysis arose thanks to the tasting of Bordeaux Grand Crus organized on the first day of Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2024.

"The 2021 vintage unfortunately follows a wonderful trilogy: 2018, 2019, and 2020. It comes before a 2022 that we consider stellar. We had everything in the vineyard, from frosts to diseases. The wines are generally leaner and more vertical, less opulent and round. I am especially satisfied with the Cabernet Sauvignon," says Jean Pierre Foubet, owner of Château.

In the tastings, there are quite a few wines lacking balance, with structures often oversized. At a medium level certainly not up to the reputation, we highlight some noteworthy labels. The 2021 vintage was not as warm as in much of Italy, and given the not very high ratings, there are some very interesting buying opportunities: for 30-50 euros, you can take home samples capable of evolving gracefully for 20/30 years.

The 10 best Bordeaux of 2021

Château Pichon Baron 2021

Pauillac. Fine and measured in the aromatic profile, with notes of currant and tobacco. The palate is very acidic and sharp, still very backward in development, with balsamic and intensely herbaceous sensations. Pure mint finish. It lacks the expansiveness of great vintages but will assert itself over time. €130.

Château Labegorce 2021

Margaux. From certainty to surprise. Intense with notes of black pepper and extremely tense red currants, showing a solid compactness between fruit and tannin, with an energetic and very long sip. And what a price! €32.

Château Cantenac Brown 2021

Margaux. A walk in the woods after a rainy day. Sensations of resins, bark, undergrowth. The palate is rich in ripe, juicy cherry, well-tuned structure, with savory and toasty final sensations. €55.

Château Brane-Cantenac 2021

Margaux. In the challenging vintage, talent emerges. Composed with balsamic, pepper, and raspberry tones. The palate is austere, layered, with abundant and well-distributed tannins. Fine, long, and powerful with coffee and fruit notes. Great aging potential. €70.

Château de Camensac 2021

Haut-Medoc. We lower structure and density but gain in drinkability and momentum without losing complexity. We liked the 2016 a lot, and this 2021 stands out for its momentum, grit, combining black fruits, orange zest, and a beautiful tannic texture. €35.

Château Léoville Poyferré 2021

Saint-Julien. Remarkable play on toasting, punctuated by porcini sensations and dark minerality. Very dark and compact profile, conceding on the finish with long returns of black tea and peat. €80.

Château Rouget 2021

Pomerol. Change of style and terroir, enjoying the Merlot's caresses, with creamy tones of cherry and strawberries. The palate is velvety and caressing, full, with good articulation and continuity. Juicy and pleasant without excesses. €50.

Château Gazin 2021

Pomerol. It doesn't reveal itself immediately but has many things to tell. Starts sly and finishes with determination on mint and graphite sensations. In between, a dark and dense plot of black fruits, still compact but with remarkable energy and good depth of flavor. €100.

Château Petit-Village 2021

Pomerol. Very fragrant with balsamic and floral tones, with an intriguing lavender note. The palate has rhythm and intensity, juice, and a savory sapid march. The finish of rosemary and pepper calls for hearty dishes. €120.

Château Soutard 2021

Saint-Emilion. Above expectations, with tones of graphite and licorice, supported by crispy fruit and balsamic tones. The palate is fragrant, enveloping, with considerable relaxation. It has a significant palate shift, a burst of flavor, and a spicy finish. €50.

P.S. No, the 5 Premiers Crus were not included in the tasting.

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