A trip to Bordeaux and the vineyards of Saint-Émilion - S.H. Jones Wines

A trip to Bordeaux and the vineyards of Saint-Émilion

At the end of April wine merchants and fine wine buyers from around the world descended on Bordeaux to taste the new 2022 vintage. We get used to producers talking up the quality each year but this time there was a real buzz of excitement. 2022 had been hot and yet the wines had a lovely freshness and vitality alongside ripe fruit flavours and soft tannins. Though the wines were very young, and it will be a couple of years before they are released in bottle, they were easy to enjoy as we visited the various Chateaux.

We started in St. Estephe, then Pauillac and St. Julien, finishing in Margaux. The wines of Margaux were really beautiful and elegant and we especially liked Chateau Angludet, owned by the Sichel family, for its quality and value.

Pauillac was also very impressive with the top wines living up to their reputation, but no doubt prices to match. The wines of St. Emilion are often generously flavoured, but this year they were even fuller and richer. Cheval Blanc will be a strong candidate for wine of the vintage, but Chateau Figeac was not far off. They have just finished a new, state of the art winery that is mostly underground. We had a tasting and tour with co-owner Hortense Manoncourt and the winery is so futuristic it looks like it might be a set for a James Bond film!

We were treated to a tour with co-owner Hortense Manoncourt at Chateau Figeac – in 2022 they have produced one of the best wines in the whole of Bordeaux

The impressive, newly completed state-of-the-art winery at Chateau Figeac

An up and coming estate in St. Emilion, where new investment is paying dividends, is Chateau Fonplegade. Since it’s purchase by Denise and Stephen Adams the estate has moved to organic and biodynamic viticulture with a passionate commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly production. Alongside this the wines have just been getting better and better and were a real joy to taste. This Chateau is a comparative bargain alongside the better known names of the area.

A view from the vineyards towards the Chateau at Fonplegarde,Saint-Émilion. Denise and Stephen Adams purchased the estate in 2004 and have devoted themselves to restoring the chateau, revitalising the vineyards and making better wine each year according to organic and biodynamic principles

Our final visit was to Graves and Péssac-Léognan. Whilst we were worrying about fine wine overload (if such a thing is possible!) the wines that really stood out on our last day were Ch. Carmes Haut Brion, where the outside of the winery looks like an upturned boat, and Domaine de Chevalier where the red was brilliant and the white even better! This is an estate that really is on top form and a fitting end to our visit.

Our trip was rounded off in style with a visit to the estate at Domaine de Chevalier

The prices for the 2022 vintage are being released now and if you are interested in buying any of the wines then please do get in touch via email at greg@shjones.com