Bordeaux 2016: Right Banks ‘dazzles’ in Galloni report

27th April, 2017 by Rupert Millar

US critic Antonio Galloni has heaped praise on the Right Bank’s efforts in 2016, giving Saint Emilion and Pomerol properties a raft of top scores.

In comparison to fellow US critic James Suckling who said the 2016 vintage was a “Left Bank year”, Galloni’s scores lean more to the right of the Gironde.

He gave seven wines 100-point potential; Lafleur, Latour, Le Pin, Margaux, Pavie, Pichon Lalande and Vieux Château Certan, while Ausone, Cheval Blanc, l’Eglise-Clinet, Pavie Macquin and Pontet-Canet were all in the 96-99 point bracket.

This is compared to the 10 wines with 100-point potential by Suckling, which included three wines (Mouton, Lafite and Haut-Brion) he awarded 100-points automatically.

Calling the 2016s “absolutely remarkable wines”, he pointed out as others have that, “excellence is highly correlated with quality of site, regardless of whether those vineyards are on the Left or Right Banks. Specifically, moisture-retentive sites and older vineyards with deeper root systems fared best.”

On the other hand, while it was a vintage that might, on paper, favour Cabernet Sauvignon he thought that not all Cabernet-based wines were “overachievers, while many Right Bank wines are.”

Pointing out Saint Julien as, “one commune on the Left Bank where quality is exceptional across the board,” and hailing the best Pauillacs as “magnificent”, he was less impressed by Saint Estèphe where, “the wines are very good but quality mixed.”

The Right Bank, however, has produced some “dazzling” wines he said. “I tasted a large number of absolutely stunning wines on the Right Bank,” he continued but added a warning that in some places the heat had caused hydric stress and some Merlot showed “distinctly roasted, overripe characters”.

“Brightness, elegance and finesse,” were hallmarks of Pessac-Léognan and Graves he said but, like some UK merchants, he considered the vintage, “less than interesting for dry whites largely due to the summer heat.

Sauternes, rather more happily, “fared better” and are generally “open-knit and gracious” he thought but without, perhaps, the “precision and energy” of a truly great year like 2013 and its ilk.

For the full report click here.

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