Several of Italy’s Super Tuscans might have chosen La Place de Bordeaux as their primary means of global distribution, but autumn’s releases remain a largely New World-focused affair.
Argentina, Chile and most of all the USA are committing more of their leading labels into the hands of Bordeaux’s négociants, carving out a niche in the fine wine calendar each September for their new vintages.
The majority of releases from the Americas this year are from the 2018 vintage, and a few 2019s – especially from Chile.
Both vintages have attracted high scores from numerous critics. The 2018 vintage from California in particular has attracted some very high scores and praise.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW at the Wine Advocate called it a vintage, “of a kind that I don’t think Napa Valley has experienced for a long time. It was a bit like returning to an era of more moderate, benevolent-natured summers that I have read and heard…about”.
She added it was a cooler vintage, producing wines, “packed with purity, vibrancy and energy”.
Catena Zapata offers two of its wines through La Place each year, its Cabernet Sauvignon “Nicolàs” and Malbec-led Adrianna Vineyard “Mundus Bacillus”.
The Nicolàs 2018 has been rated a straight 96-points by James Suckling, Luis Gutiérrerz at the Wine Advocate and Joaquin Hidalgo at Vinous.
Gutiérrerz noted that the 2018 has an increased level of Malbec in the blend this vintage (35%). Hidalgo said the results were “breathtaking”
The 2018 Mundus Bacillus meanwhile has been scored 98-points by Gutiérrerz, who said it, “has to be among the finest vintages for the Mundus Bacillus Terrae”.
The 2018 vintage of Cheval des Andes will also be released. James Suckling said it was, “a plush, rich Cheval with blueberry and floral aromas and flavours. This will be a great wine indeed.”
Out of Chile comes the latest vintages of Almaviva, Seña and Clos Apalta; 2019 for the former two and 2018 for the latter.
Suckling is the only major critic to have reviewed all three wines. He awarded Almaviva 97-points saying it was “extremely perfumed”, as well as “full-bodied with a tight, fine-tannined palate”.
The 2019 Seña received 98-points. “A wine with soul and length. Give it time,” suggested Suckling.
Casa Lapostolle’s 2018 Clos Apalta was also given a score of 98, with Suckling saying it had, “gorgeous length and beauty”.
Opus One was one of the earliest adopters of La Place, all the way back in 2004. This year sees the release of the 2018 vintage from the Rothschild/Mondavi project.
The wine has been rated 95 by Antonio Galloni at Vinous, 99-points by Suckling, 98 by Perrotti-Brown at the Wine Advocate and 97 by Jeb Dunnuck.
The wine’s aromatics and approachability were themes of all four critics’ tasting notes.
Inglenook’s 2018 “Rubicon” leads a number of new releases from the Rutherford-based winery.
“A terrific example of the year in the way it marries energy, vibrant fruit and mid-weight structure,” noted Galloni who gave it 94-points.
Jackson Family Wines will be releasing the 2018 vintages of Cardinale and its Vérité trio of La Muse, La Joie and Le Désir.
Cardinale has received scores of 97+ and 97 from Galloni and Suckling and 98 and 98+ from Perrotti-Brown and Dunnuck respectively.
Some of the best scores, however, were reserved for the Vérité wines. Perrotti-Brown rated Le Désir 97-points, La Joie 98 and La Muse 100. The latter she noted : “The intensity and complexity of aromas and flavors – all waltzing in captivating harmony – cannot fail to make your head spin in the best possible way. Electrifying!”
Dunnuck was also taken with La Muse, rating it 99-points, saying it had both, “elegance and incredible opulence”.
Joseph Phelps’s “Insignia” 2018 is the last major US release of this autumn. It has picked up scores of 93-96 from Galloni, 99-pts from Suckling, 97+ from Perrotti-Brown and 95-97 from Dunnuck.
“It’s a beautiful, classic Cabernet Sauvignon blend from this team,” said Dunnuck.