2018 Petit Verdot by Belle-Vue, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France
I have recently tasted several 2018 clarets. Many of the finer wines seem to deliver stylish, controlled characters with bright, pure fruit notes. Their freshness and balance sets them apart from the more muscular 2019s and the more decadent and opulently fruity numbers found in 2020.
While this is a rather simplistic overview of these three excellent vintages, I have found a wine that combines a soupçon of each in one bottle. The reason for the unusually delicious flavours in this wine is that it is made from 100% petit verdot, a grape that is increasingly important in this mighty region.
Petit verdot is famed for its deep, dark-tasting notes and inky colour. Isabelle Mulliez, the mind behind Belle-Vue, has used her oldest vines to make this enthralling wine. When her husband, Vincent Mulliez bought Belle-Vue in 2004 then sadly passed away in 2010, she was galvanised by the unique setting as well as the 80-year-old petit verdot in her vineyards. She makes small quantities of this fantastic cuvée alongside her more traditional blends.
Partly matured in terracotta amphoras, this is a thoroughly modern wine with a profound flavour that imprints a unique signature on your taste buds. Exciting, suave, vigorous, refreshing, and just starting out on a ten-year lifespan, I urge you to buy this inspirational wine and marvel at the vision and talent of the Mulliez family and their bold portfolio.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)