This Week's Must-Try Wines from Vinous

Welcome to this week's Vinous Top Ten! Each week we compile a list of top ten wines from the Vinous database that you need to add to your wine wish list. With all the various regions, producers, and grapes, no week will be the same! All of the wines listed in this feature are available for purchase on Banquet . This week's must-try wines are from Neal Martin’s article, The Future’s Definitely Not What It Was: Bordeaux 2018 . Enjoy an excerpt from his article and his notes for this week's top ten below! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “The 2018 Bordeaux vintage produced some incredible wines, but is it truly a legendary year? In the largest in-bottle report that I have ever published with over 1,000 wines reviewed, I answer that question and explain the reasons underlying its successes and shortcomings.” --Neal Martin, The Future’s Definitely Not What It Was: Bordeaux 2018, March 2021 1. 2018 Bélair-Monange 2. 2018 Canon 3. 2018 Cheval Blanc 4. 2018 Clinet 5. 2018 Ducru-Beaucaillou 6. 2018 Figeac 7. 2018 Grand Puy Lacoste 8. 2018 La Conseillante 9. 2018 Montrose 10. 2018 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2018 Pichon-Lalande was given an hour’s decant and then observed over the next 24 hours. It has clearly retained the showstopping nose that I encountered from barrel, those same “gentle waves" of black cherries and blueberry, incense and violets lending it a Margaux-like allure. The palate is vibrant and full of tension from the start, the acidity slicing through the layers of quite plush black fruit, judiciously laced with tobacco and mint. There is a beguiling sense of harmony conveyed by this Pichon-Lalande and although there is clearly plenty of structure, the tannins are so pixelated and pliant that it might well be broachable in 4–5 years’ time. Personally, however, I would prefer to cellar it for 8–10 years (by which time I hope that the new Cure album is finally released). However long you decide to keep it tucked away, this is a quite brilliant Pauillac. (Neal Martin, Vinous. March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Saint-Julien Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.6

Compared to the Second Wine, the 2018 Ducru-Beaucaillou clearly displays more new oak on the nose, which is to be expected given that it was entirely aged in new wood. The bouquet is very intense, particularly after 3–4 hours of opening (like many 2018s), offering copious scents of blackberries, blueberry, mint and violet, all while maintaining excellent delineation and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins that render the texture velvety-smooth and polished. There is a surfeit of exceedingly pure black fruits laced with cedar and mint bound up in this Saint-Julien. The finish is serene but very persistent. This will be a seductive and sophisticated Ducru-Beaucaillou that deserves several years in bottle. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Cheval Blanc

St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.6

When I tasted the 2018 Cheval Blanc from barrel, I felt that it deserved a very good score, though not one that implied potential perfection. The bottle was tasted upon opening, but I only began to pen my tasting note after 3–4 hours’ decanting. I still find the bouquet more open than many recent vintages, the ripe brambly red fruit intermingling with clove, sage and light graphite notes originating from the Cabernet components (46% of the final blend). It is a really seductive bouquet, though not as complex or as nuanced as, say, the astonishing 2016 or the impressive 2015. The palate is medium-bodied with refined tannins. A harmonious and elegant Cheval Blanc that has retained the linearity I remarked upon in barrel. So it is not a flamboyant Cheval Blanc like the Cabernet-dominated 2017, but it is a far better wine thanks to the Merlot imparting flesh and rondeur. The finish is extremely precise but never powerful, almost Burgundy-like in weight, with a lightly spiced aftertaste. As the hours pass in the decanter, it gains depth and a little more precision on the finish. This does not possess the otherworldly profundity to equal legends such as the 1934, 1964 or 2016; it is simply a wonderful Cheval Blanc to sit back and savor as a Saint-Émilion par excellence. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

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Château Montrose

Saint-Estèphe Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2018 Montrose delivers on the promise that it showed from barrel. I gave this a three-hour decant before broaching, since Montrose is always backward, albeit far less ferociously than even just a decade ago. It offers copious blackberry and blueberry scents on the nose, plus pressed violets and a light estuarine scent that becomes accentuated with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a silky-smooth texture. Finely chiseled tannins frame multilayered black fruit infused with crushed stone, and it has retained that subtle graphite element that lends it a Pauillac-like personality, though less so than out of barrel. This is a beautifully defined Montrose with entrancing symmetry, and it should drink earlier than other recent vintages thanks to a little more pliancy. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Figeac

St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2018 Figeac continues to not put a toe, let alone a foot, wrong under head winemaker Frédéric Faye. The bottle is closed initially, and in fact it was only the following morning that it began to unfold and reveal its true character. Quintessential Figeac on the nose, it offers blackberry, briar, pencil shavings courtesy of the Cabernet Sauvignon, and touch of terracotta. Beautifully defined, as we have come to expect these days; I might well confuse it for a Pomerol. The palate is medium-bodied and has soaked up the 100% new oak. Lithe tannins render this more approachable than the Figeacs of yesteryear, yet it maintains the same DNA. Elegant and refined, it gently fans out with pure, slightly tertiary black fruit and traces of clove and bay leaf. To quote my conclusion from barrel, it is still "cool, calm and collected" on the finish. Divine. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Canon

Saint-Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2018 Canon was picked starting on September 7 and finishing on October 9. Given a two-hour decant, it reveals a surprisingly precocious bouquet, more exuberant than I recall from barrel, offering predominantly black fruit, though the floral element is now amplified and masks the crushed limestone I observed previously (for how long?) The palate delivers multilayered black cherry and blueberry fruit, wrapped up in supple tannins and such a cashmere texture that it feels deceptively approachable when in truth, it has the substance and persistence to merit long-term aging. I wagered that it is the best Canon since the watershed 2015. Don’t expect me to alter that view. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château La Conseillante

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2018 La Conseillante was given a two-hour decant and then monitored over the following 12 hours. What a stupendous Pomerol! It has a bravura nose that immediately seduces the olfactory senses, delivering a cornucopia of black cherries, cassis, crushed violets and iris. Such intensity here, and then it blossoms, accentuating its floral component while retaining the DNA of Pomerol. The palate is exquisitely balanced with fine tannins that frame the pure black cherry and strawberry fruit. But it is the texture and the harmony of this La Conseillante that knocks you sideways, that tertiary finish that I noticed out of barrel gone, replaced by satin-textured, almost citrus-fresh fruit. Marielle Cazaux and her team have overseen a brilliant La Conseillante. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2018 Grand Puy Lacoste has a quintessential Pauillac nose of intense black fruit infused with graphite scents, pencil shavings and a very discreet marine influence. It is beautifully defined, less opulent than the 2018 Lynch Bages tasted alongside, yet maybe more complex. The palate is medium-bodied and taut, offering sappy black fruit, gritty tannins and a lot of crushed stone. The focused, graphite-driven finish could only come from this appellation. Superb. A wine to correct those bemoaning that Bordeaux no longer makes "proper Claret." (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago

Château Clinet

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2018 Clinet, which was cropped at 38hl/ha, has an exquisite bouquet of lavish black cherry and raspberry fruit, and still those bunches of violets I observed from barrel, flanked by potpourri. The aromatics are well defined and the new oak seamlessly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit. It has firmed up since I tasted in barrel, when I noted that it felt like a "muscular" Clinet in the making. That trait is emphasized in bottle, and those accustomed to the more hedonistic Clinets of yore might find it a tad more reserved and drier. But it is a style that suits it well. White pepper leaves the mouth tingling after it has departed, the fitting conclusion to a superb – dare I say cerebral? – Clinet that has a long and prosperous future. (Neal Martin, VInous, March 2021)
— a year ago

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Château Belair-Monange

St. Émilion Red Bordeaux Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2018 Bélair-Monange, so impressive out of barrel, delivers now that it finds itself incarcerated by glass. It is endowed with a seriously impressive nose, delivering blackberry and still that faint warm brick/terracotta scent, shaved black truffle and a touch of clove. You could lose yourself completely in this bouquet. The palate has firmed up a little, displaying more backbone than I recall. The dash of cracked black pepper liberally sprinkled over the finish curiously bears similarities to some of the Pomerols this vintage, and the Cabernet Franc feels much more prominent than its 2% contribution to the blend would suggest. I adore this Saint-Émilion and it is going to benefit from 8–10 years in the cellar... if you can resist temptation that long. (Neal Martin, Vinous, March 2021)
— a year ago