20 Years of the Bonnie Family at Chateau Malartic-Lagravieres

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A visit this morning to the 67 Pall Mall Club to celebrate with the Bonnie Family, who have been at the helm at Chateau Malartic-Lagravieres for 20 years this year, was welcome change from selling 2016 en-primeurs. Although the 2016 barrel samples brought over especially for the tasting were also very refreshing. In fact the 2016 Rouge showed particularly well and the two tasted together side by side certainly puts into question my overarching perception that 2015 is better than 2016 in this commune of Bordeaux.

Jean-Jacques Bonnie who hosted the event with his wife Severine, quite rightly pointed out that it is a personal choice, though he leant now towards the 2016, and it will be subject to individual occasions, which one will shine through, pointing also to the stylistic difference between 2009 & 2010, some people will like one vintage and some the other.

One of the main emphasises for the Bonnie’s in this tasting was to highlight the progression of the quality at the estate. For me this was most evidently high-lighted by the distinct gulf between an unexciting 2000 Rouge sample and the 2005 tasted blind which was a revelation. The low yielding 2008 was excellent too as was the great 2010. The 2014 showed the purity which they have been after in a more classical vintage style.

The whites are complex and understated. Tasting the more mature 2006 showed off the aging potential, now full of nutty, dry Fino character and ripe yellow fruit.

These are without doubt meticulously well made wines worthy of attention. If you buy the 2016 Rouge and it turns out like the 2005, which I think it might, you will be very happy indeed.

The Wines:

Malartic Lagravieres Blanc 2016 

Clear and pale. This is closed on the nose very clean. The palate is cool, and delicately rich, keeps you chewing, similar to the red, not quite the attack on the finish of the 2015 but keeps going, delicious and tensile finish, with a mint freshness buzz.

91-93/100 Drink: 2019 – 2030

Malartic Lagravieres Blanc 2015 

Slightly fuller in colour thank the 2016 though still very pale. The nose has a hint of wild garlic, nice and fresh, this is clean and rich, lovely texture on the palate, cool really delicious fruit concentration and depth. Fine richness. Possibly lacks the acidity of the 2014 but bound to be very enjoyable.

91-93/100

Malartic Lagravieres Blanc 2014 

Still bright and clearly youthful. The nose has delicate lemony detail, icing sugar, fresh, limes, white peach, high Sauvignon Blanc in the blend this year over 90%. Some cream, nice tension on the finish, limey again, good acidity, and balance. Attractive with serious finesse. Spicy.

93/100 Drink: 2018 – 2030

Malartic Lagravieres Blanc 2012

75 % Sauvignon Blanc, starting to colour slightly, pale gold, richer, riper, asparagus, wild garlic, buttery, good volume, quite cool, softer acidity, some spice, nutty, quite complex almost fino character.

91/100 Drink: Now – 2026

Malartic Lagravieres Blanc 2006 

Mid gold now, garlic again, it’s a bit dumb, the palate is quite powerful, more nutty with plenty of spice, a touch of apricot, still quite fresh here at the back, very interesting to try an older white.

90/100 Drink: Now – 2020

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2014

Nice full plum colour,nicely rich on the nose, soft, earthy, red currant, nicely complex, still firm and fresh, there is a raisin edge on the finish, but cook and classic in style, the palate is ample enough to take the freshness, nice balance, elegant.

91/100 Drink: 2020 – 2035

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2010

This is quite deep in colour, there is a hint of amber, seriously reduced on the nose but calm and moody, lots here with coaxing, a big wine, nicely textured, full and serious, metallic notes, bags of earthy character, spicy, Long and impressive. 9

94/100 Drink: 2019 – 2040

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2008

Quite deep again, similar to the 2010, very slightly more amber, more roast and coffee bean, mocha, very attractive, good freshness, this is more classic, dryer finish, metallic, mineral again. Low yields and it shows, fuller than the vintage usually dictates.

92/100 Drink: 2017 – 2032

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2000

This is quite aged now, the nose has menthol, meaty, savoury but not too much so, this is a little bit disjointed on the palate in comparison to the rest of the range, edgy palate, quite dry on the finish, not for me on this occasion.

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2005 – Tasted Blind

The colour is still vivid with little amber. This seems quite ripe on the nose, vibrant and rich with intricate maraschino, a really lovely cocktail here, precise, and pure red berry fruit. The texture is really fine, opulent fruit dominated expression no signs of savoury. Having tasted a few vintages there cannot be many options at this quality that are vigorous yet ready to go. Beautifully balanced, a real stunner. (Thought it was 2009 though the integration of the tannins should have given it away.)

95/100 Drink: 2017 – 2035.

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2015

Full plum very bright. A rich nose, quite damson, almost Californian fruit forward style, very rounded and well endowed, quite tannic too. A bigger wine than the 2014, more heat.

92-94/100 Drink: 2025 – 2045

Malartic Lagravieres Rouge 2016

This is very bright with garnet flecks. A Lovely violet imbued, full nose, full of fresh fruit with a cherry edge, the palate is ripe very rounded, there is muscle but the tannins are so well covered. Very pure and linear, a great example of the estate. It is stylistically like the 2005 maybe.

93-95/100 Drink: 2023 – 2045

By Will Gardener

Administrator20 Years of the Bonnie Family at Chateau Malartic-Lagravieres

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