|France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > Pomerol
One of Bordeaux's biggest name "cult wines". Tiny production levels and a long pedigree of great quality ensure that collectors fight for an allocation every year despite the high prices. The vineyard totals 4.5ha, with 0.69ha going to a second wine, Les Pensées de Lafleur. The vineyard is roughly half-and-half Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The 2018 Lafleur is mesmerizing. What a wine! The aromatics alone are spellbinding. There is no need to actually taste the 2018 to know how profound it is. Silky and caressing, with phenomenal persistence, the 2018 is a total knock-out. Spice, cedar, blood orange, sage, mint, rose petal and kirsch all race out of the glass, saturating the palate with a dazzling concoction of aromas, textures and flavors. Readers lucky enough to find it should not hesitate.
So subtle and complex with blackberry, blueberry, fresh bark, fresh black truffles and light wet earth, as well as forest floor. Full-bodied, yet linear and so long with an amazingly polished and refined tannin structure and finesse that draws you deep and down in the palate. It opens incredibly in the glass. What a wine. Goes on for minutes. A real beauty. Something so true and ethereal here. Try after 2026.
The Grand Vin 2018 Château Lafleur from this magical terroir checks in as 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Merlot that comes only from the more gravelly soils of the vineyard and spent 15 months in 25% new French oak. It's as good as any wine can get and has a layered, multi-dimensional style that marries power with elegance as only this estate can do. Offering notes of black raspberries, tobacco, truffly earth, spring flowers, and chocolate, it's full-bodied and concentrated on the palate, but nevertheless is as weightless as they come, offering this "je ne sais quoi" character that's hard to describe. It's more backward and reserved than the Pensées and is going to take a decade of bottle age to hit maturity, but it's a desert Island wine if there ever was one.
The first thing to say about the 2018 Lafleur is that it is completely different from the Les Pensées and in fact is more similar to Guinaudeau’s Les Perrières, which is unsurprising given that both come from stony soils (limestone there, gravel here) whereas Les Pensées comes from more clayey soils. This has a very refined bouquet, the blue fruit that I picked up from barrel receding to make way for more red fruit, cranberry and even touches of pomegranate. Monitoring this half-bottle over 24 hours, the Pomerol traits of black truffle and a faint scent of morels gradually emerge. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that frame the red berry fruit. The Bouchet (Cabernet Franc), which comprises 54% of the blend, imparts a wonderful peppery note that lingers 45 seconds after the wine has exited, the tongue tingling long after it says goodbye. At just under 15% alcohol, one might expect a little warmth on the finish, but it is not detectable. A superb Lafleur, albeit one that will demand several years’ cellaring. Drink 2026-2060.
The 2018 Lafleur is a blend of 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Merlot. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose absolutely shuts down upon first pour. After a lot of air, it slowly unfurls to reveal alluring scents of fresh black cherries, ripe blackberries and redcurrant jelly, leading to suggestions of sandalwood, pencil shavings, lilacs and forest floor, with emerging, heady wafts of camphor, iron ore and Indian spices. The rich, full-bodied palate is equally slow to read, offering whispers and murmurs of earth and exotic spice-laced black fruits with glimpses at a fleeting floral undercurrent, framed by firm, finely grained tannins and beautifully knit freshness, finishing with an edifying perfume. This is liquid poetry, but I would touch it for 7-8 years, at least. Should you be around in 40 years' time, expect it to blow your mind. Drink 2028-2070.
Tasted blind at Southwold 2018. Bright ruby-purple colour. Closed on the nose initially, with air there are high tones of dried flowers, graphite and fresh plums. The palate reveals great potential. The tannins are etched into the fruit - ripe, fine and chalky. The core is laden with Cabernet Franc's personality - fresh in fruit, highly floral and always savoury. Plumper cherry fruit builds on the back end. This is a wine high in energy and focus, piercing through to the finish, which is long and fragrant. Full of personality, followers of Lafleur should love this vintage. Winner of the Pomerol flight in 2018 Southwold.
Another exceptional vintage at Lafleur, with great concentration and intensity, holding back just enough to keep you guessing. The wine is concentrated but creamy and definitely reminiscent of 2016 but with a touch more velvet to the tannins and unlikely to close down as tightly or for as long.
Deep dark chocolate and liquorice notes gently layer up next to succulent black fruits and softer floral notes with the more architectural texture of slate doing its bit to add poise and precision.
Normal yields were recorded as there was no mildew but being Lafleur they don't talk in hl/ha but express that as around 3/4 of a bottle per vine!!
Drinking Window 2026 - 2044
Tasted blind. Spicy and sweet and exotic. Difficult to spit. Real energy here. Long and with great layers and excitement. Hint of tarriness. 15%
Drink 2028 – 2050
54% Bouchet (local clone of Cabernet Franc, also known as Bouchet Franc or Gros Bouchet), 46% Merlot. Barrel sample.
Darkest crimson. Both spicy and creamy on the nose, and with a cool stony fragrance as well as the delicate but focused black fruits. Darker fruited than many vintages. Silky and papery finesse with dark-red fruit purity and so much charm and finesse in the texture. A touch peppery, very dry, almost chalky, so light and dancing and very long. Open but deceptively so because there is huge ageing potential and depth here. Incredibly lithe. Unique in Bordeaux in its style, finesse and hidden concentration. (JH)
54% Bouchet (a local and old clone of Cabernet Franc) and 46% Merlot. Deep purple in colour. Exotic, ripe and fleshy on the nose, accented with foral and mineral undertones that add lift and complexity. The palate has mouthfilling structure an rich but finely grained tannins. Unapologetic in structure, this will need at least a decade in bottle before reaching its prime. The fruit at the core is dense and ripe, bursting with cherries but also red summer pudding fruit. Graphite and a mineral edges come through with a hint of struck match, giving a cooling and savoury edge. The Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) is very noticeable and gives a weightless intensity and added delicacy to the structure. Very refined and long, with the moccha of oak already very well integrated, highlighting the clear concentration of fruit at the core. Long with hedgerow fruits on the finish. Superb.
While the oak is massive and the fruit is concentrated, too, there is an amazing amount of harmony already in this wine. Not as black or impenetrable as I might have expected this is a juicy Lafleur with some rounded edges already and this is a great sign for the future. With red fruit leading the way and a long, smooth, savoury, but not tannic, finish, this is a truly suave interpretation of the vintage and I have no doubt that everyone will fall for its charms.
The 2018 Lafleur was picked from 12 to 15 September for the Merlot and 1 to 4 October for the Cabernet Franc. Initially it seems quite reserved on the nose, tightly coiled blackberry and raspberry fruit, fleeting glimpses of black truffle and smoke, a quintessential Lafleur. Like the Les Pensées, subtle blue fruit aromas emerge with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, rounded tannins that belie the backbone and density of this Lafleur. I adore the symmetry of this Lafleur. There is beguiling balance and poise, plus an incredibly long tail on the finish, the most tingling with residual spiciness. This is a stunning 2018 from Baptiste Guinaudeau and his team and I anticipate this ending up at the top of my banded score once in bottle. Drink 2026-2060.
The sweetness of fruit in the center palate is incredible with a ripe-plum and currant undertone. Very aromatic already. Full-bodied, tight and compressed with a tannin quality that folds beautifully into the wine. Incredible finish. Such, such power with finesse. Tight but glorious at this stage.
The 2018 Lafleur is a blend of 54% Cabernet Franc harvested on October 1 and 4, with 46% Merlot harvested September 12 and 15. Deep garnet-purple colored, it rocks up charged with energetic iron ore, crushed rocks and scorched earth notes over a core of blueberry compote, Morello cherries, black raspberries and stewed plums plus suggestions of violets, menthol and cardamom. Full-bodied, powerful, opulent and incredibly seductive, the palate is mind blowing with its through-the-roof velvety tannins and bright freshness supporting layer upon drop-dead gorgeous layer of fragrant black fruits, mineral notions and earth, finishing epically long and perfumed.
More deeply colored, the 2018 Lafleur is one heavenly barrel sample that’s certainly going to end up being one of the wines of the vintage. Based on 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Merlot, all from the gravelly portions of the vineyard, it boasts a massive bouquet of smoked blue fruits, black raspberries, scorched earth, orange blossom, tobacco, and cocoa. Deep, full-bodied, yet weightless and seamless, with a Grand Cru Burgundy-like texture, it has a stacked mid-palate, fine tannins, and a great, great finish. While most wines from the vintage have plenty of upfront appeal, there’s a classic, backward style here that makes me think this will require a solid decade of cellaring.