Pessac/Graves

I have historically loved the flavors in the wines of this region. But, let us assume (correctly) that I am not going out and drinking Haut Brion every night as much as I would love to do so. But, when I read about highly rated less expensive wines from the area, too often they seem to be modern oaky fruit bombs that turn me off. Any wines from this area that you like that still taste like wines?

I continue to buy and enjoy Haut Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier, although some will opine that they are becoming more modern. Chateau Carbonnieux is my QPR red from Pessac.

Thanks,
Ed

Haut-Bailly, older Pape-Clement, newer Malartic Lagraviere, older (well it would have to be) La Tour Haut Brion. Haven’t made up my mind about more recent Domaine de Chevalier yet, but prices are fair enough to experiment.

For the red Graves. I love Carmes Haut Brion, even though its price continues to climb. Small dwindling stash of (defunct) La Tour Haut Brion which are great too. Sadly, those are basically in the $50-$100 zones, so no longer in the midweek pop open without a care category (for me).

Some friends like Haut Bergey, which is solid, but I don’t think you’d like that style as it’s from the Barde Haut crowd. Latour Martillac is another to consider, which I’ve been buying in recent years, although I have not tasted many older ones, maybe 1 middling 1982.

It’s not a fancy name, but La Garde’s rouge is good, and keeps ok. I think that’s in the Dourthe stable.

For the blancs, I don’t care for any of them, except for Clos Floridene’s. The Dom. de Chevalier team is making a blanc sec from Sauternes grapes now, called Clos de Lunelles. I tried their 2014 Lune d’Argent bottling over the weekend after a hot dusty bike ride. It was liquid and satiated, but that’s about it.

La Louvière for red and white, Clos Floridene for white … still affordable and fairly traditional

2nd rec. would be Carbonnieux (red and white) … although I often long for a bit more concentration …)

+1 on Carmes Haut Brion and Malartic Lagraviere

Nothing really cheap with that signature. I have just finished a case of 1998 Pape Clement, which is really aromatic and preceded the “eclipse”. Passac is more likely to have it than Leognan, so you are really stuck with the a small number of estates. Carmes has modernized, and older vintages are hard to find. La Tour Haut Brion can still be found, but prices seem to have jumped recently. So perhaps your only real play here are older vintages of Pape.


If you do go to Leognan, Malarctic La Graviere, and Louviere with some age perhaps, DDC pre 1989, but even with these, the signature is not really pronounced, which is what I think you are looking for.

Carmes has never done it for me and never seems to exhibit the textbook Graves personality. I haven’t had Carbonnieux in a long time and should rectify that - I’ve got fond memories of some vintages that definitely fit the bill. The same owners make a non-classified wine called Haut-Vigneau from which I’ve gotten serious bang for the buck and Graves character in the $15-$20 zone.

I think Haut Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier are sliding slowly into a more modern camp, but like you, have still bought some recent vintages given the pricing (2014 vintage in particular). Likewise, Carmes Haut Brion - using Derenoncourt - has moved in that direction, but I still bought 2014. I may stop with these vintages give the direction.

Old stalwarts like La Louviere are going rogue, now using Rolland since 2013. Pape-Clement is dead to me. SHL is dead-on modern, undrinkable to me, getting the double Rolland-Derenoncourt whammy. So many Chateaux in that small region have changed hands, owners have passed, modernist consultants have taken root, that I am losing my connectivity to what was once one of my favorite appellations. I mostly backfill, now.

I’m too poor for Chateau Haut Brion, but it remains a favorite. When it’s on, it has an unmistakable profile that sets it apart from the other First Growths.

There is also a quality Graves (not Pessac-Leognan) called Chateau du Grand Bos that used to be a regular at Moore Brothers and has some back vintages on the market.

Haut-Bailly isn’t sliding modern. Still great.

Perhaps “sliding modern” is poorly worded or characterized, but do you notice a more overt presence of new oak?

I have had some really wonderful older Domaine de Chevalier. Is there a dividing line in time separating the ones that were still outstanding from the ones that became more modern.

It is these types of dividing lines where I am at a loss. For example, I know that Pape Clement made a wine in 1986 that I really liked, but I disliked their 2001, for example.

I am surprised you disliked the 2001, Howard. The last time I had one, it was quite well-mannered and delicious

They’ve stopped making white wine? [new-here.gif]

'99 Pape Clement was still traditional and very good. Based on what I’ve read and sporadic tastings, I think it really began with or following the 2000 vintage.

Then it has changed a lot since I had it. http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25920&p=342486&hilit=en+plus+pape+clement#p342486

Thanks.

Agree with all this.

Gosh darn it! That’s the second time that I have made the same exact error, and if I’m not mistaken, you have picked it out both times! LOL. [cheers.gif]