Par Passion, tout simplement
…is the prominent statement on the front label of this young estate’s bottles. And as I have read out of news articles and forums, the story of Pierre Lafon is indeed a story about passion. Coming out of a winemaking family owning the humble Bordeaux AOC estate Château Lagrave Paran, he only managed to acquire a small but marvellous piece of vineyard in the Saint-Émilion Grand cru classification 9 years ago. Since then he put lots of hard work into his tiny 2,4 Hectares and constantly managed to improve quality.
But it is only during the 2008 vintage primeur campaign that he finally finds some more attention. Not by French wine journalists, who seem to ignore the estate until this day, but by the Swiss wine critics René Gabriel and Jacques Perrin (Grand Jury Européen member)who both praise his wine not least for its unbeatable price-quality ratio, rating it higher than some of the big names (note that Saint-Émilion Grand Cru doesn’t mean it’s classified!). In particular René Gabriel’s tasting note was so tempting, that I couldn’t resist ordering a few bottles. (A picture of Pierre Lafon can be seen on Jacques Perrin’s blog)
Now, after 2 years of waiting, the wine finally arrived at my house, and even though I know it’s way too early I couldnt help opening a bottle.
And guess what? A young Bordeaux is what it is. So, no big surprise that the wine showed rather closed with a big pinch of bitterness at first. Which directly leads to the decision of slowly tasting it over a few days – let’s see what it’ll reveal. Maybe a true gem?
What one can observe on day one is of course the weight and structure of the wine since it doesn’t reveal much else. The palate shows medium weighted body with a nice structure of fine grained tannins. Not too few, not too much. In theory, good material for having an elegant, classic wine.
For the nose it took much more time for getting somewhat of an idea. Only on the third day I could note down that it shows very pure dark cherries mixed with more black fruit maybe in the cassis direction – rather delicious.
At that point the palate also had much more to offer: dark fruits as well. Some liquorice. A perfect amount of sweetness which makes the wine quite charming. On the other hand, there is enough power for it not to be some trivial fruit juice. Maybe acidity is a bit retained, which adds to the charming side.
I suppose that it is gonna be a very drinkable wine from an early age on. Give it a year or two and it already will give lots. Don’t know about long term ageing. I guess that it should age fine even though I sense the lower acidity might be a problem (don’t know the technicals, maybe I’m wrong with the lower acidity).
After these 3 days of tasting I can say that I’m rather satisfied with this finding. And at 22 Euro a bottle which I paid en Primeur (Shop Price now about 29 Eur) it is rather a bargain. The 2009 vintage is still being offered en Primeur at the moment, prices were raised to about 29 Eur. A rising star?