Château Lafleur 2018
It is a genuine privilege to announce the release of the 2018 vintage of the Guinaudeau family’s wines. The centre piece of this is the majestic Château Lafleur, a tiny 4.5-hectare property situated on the gravel-rich Pomerol plateau. The soils here are particularly deep and are enriched by deposits of potassium and iron. Only natural fertilisers are used and yields are painfully low, even by Pomerol standards. In addition to Château Lafleur’s extraordinary Grand Vin, a small amount of Pensées de Lafleur is produced from a diagonal strip of clay soil in the middle of the vineyard. Volumes produced are lower than 2017 due to the drought that shrunk the size of the berries by a third. The Guinaudeaus are rightly proud of all their wines in 2018. As usual these wines are strictly allocated, but we suggest you register your interest.
Château Lafleur is a blend of 54% Bouchet, a special strain of Cabernet Franc from the Estate propagated by massal selection, and 46% Merlot, varying by a few percentage points from vintage to vintage. The amount of Bouchet used is generally the highest in Pomerol and in 2018 the grape was particularly successful. Wines from Lafleur display a spectacularly intense perfume (partly attributable to the high percentage of Bouchet in the blend) and display layers and layers of concentrated black fruits, minerals, tobacco, spices and creamy liquorice on the palate. The best vintages can last in excess of 50 years, and understandably take a bit of time to reveal themselves. Lafleur 2018 has been unanimously lauded by critics and others lucky enough to taste them en primeur, it is clearly one of the best wines of the vintage.
Twenty eighteen marks an exciting new release from the Guinaudeaus, Les Perrières de Lafleur. It was only after great deliberation that the family decided to add the Lafleur name to another of its wines. The family describes this as a version of Lafleur with fruit grown on limestone soils and is 51% Bouchet and 49% Merlot. As Antonio Galloni states “it is an absolutely gorgeous wine” and we cannot recommend it highly enough.
Twenty eighteen also marks the fifth vintage of Les Champs Libres, one of the most exciting whites in Bordeaux and a true Grand Vin Blanc. This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc with meticulous oak regimen: the Guinaudeau family conducted innumerable trials with individual coopers to select the finest barrels, 80% new, each of which bears the initials of its creator. Julia Harding MW said “Clearly one of the best dry whites in 2018”, Les Champs Libres captures the richness of the vintage with clarity, poise. and elegance. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate summarised the quality very aptly when describing this wine as “without peer in Bordeaux”.
Grand Village Rouge and Grand Village Blanc complete the line-up and both were particularly well received this year. Antonio Galloni sums it up succinctly, “Grand Village is fabulous in 2018.” And calls Grand Village blanc a “super-expressive white.” It is a privilege for Armit wines to be a distributor of these wines, never more so than with this array of outstanding wines.
Château Lafleur is a true family enterprise and the Guinaudeaus, and their team, are unstinting in their pursuit of quality and authenticity with their entire range of wines. Lafleur is not about money, prestige or status; it is about the place, the people and the wines. The Guinaudeaus not only talk a lot about other wine regions, they go visit them to see what they can learn; they are outward looking enthusiasts. They know the brilliance of what they have but want to engage, share with, and learn from other enthusiasts and farmers. They pursue a very Burgundian model, both in winemaking and business.
We want these to be wines which you buy every year, wines to collect and to love. We hope you will love them as much as we do.
“I vividly recall the messianic effect of a bottle of 1982 (Lafleur) opened for a herd of boisterous bankers that were reduced to a silent roomful of helpless grins.” Neal Martin, Pomerol
Château Lafleur 2018
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. 97-100 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
The 2018 Lafleur is a stratospherically beautiful, deeply moving wine. A Pomerol of stunning aromatic intensity and depth, Lafleur simply has everything. All the elements come together in a wine that is both rich and yet also remarkably light on its feet. An exotic mélange of blood orange, sage, mint, sweet rose petal and inky red/purplish fruit add explosive energy, leading to a finish of substantial depth and resonance. Stated simply, Lafleur is one of the wines of the vintage. Don't miss it! Antonio Galloni
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. 100 points, James Suckling
Pensées de Lafleur 2018
Composed of 46% Merlot harvested September 21 and 54% Cabernet Franc harvested October 4, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Pensées de Lafleur comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of warm blueberries, crushed red and black cherries and plum preserves with hints of licorice, charcuterie, wild sage, underbrush and truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals exquisitely ripe, rounded tannins and tons of freshness supporting the multilayered, vivacious fruit, finishing long with an herbal lift. 91-93 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
The 2018 Pensées de Lafleur emerges from a strip of soil measuring 2/3rds of a hectare than runs through Lafleur. The blend is 54% Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) and 46% Merlot, but is the Merlot that really seems to inform the wine, especially in a textural profile that is all about suppleness. Plump, juicy and inviting, the Pensées offers tremendous immediacy and overall appeal. The 2018 is an especially suave Pensées, but there is plenty of structure underneath. Antonio Galloni
This shows such beautiful ripeness and freshness with dark berries, blueberries and hints of dark chocolate. Full-bodied yet balanced and refined with linear drive and brightness. 95-96 points, James Suckling
Les Perrières de Lafleur 2018
“This would have been called Act X, but we felt the wine has arrived to a point to give it a name,” cellar master Omri Ram told me. This is the first vintage of this wine under the new name. The 2018 Les Perrières de Lafleur is a blend of 49% Merlot (harvested September 25 and 27) and 51% Cabernet Franc (harvested October 6). Very deep purple-black in color, it gives up wonderfully intense notes of crushed black cherries, mulberries, warm plums and boysenberries with touches of spice cake, chocolate box, Indian spices and fresh dirt. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely coated with vibrant black berry and exotic spice layers, framed by beautifully ripe tannins and a racy line, finishing long. Very classy. 92-94 + Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
The 2018 Les Perrières de Lafleur represents the second chapter for what were previously the Acte-series wines and emerges from Guinadeau family's 3.3 hectares of vineyards centered around the southern edge of Villegouges. The Perrières is distinguished in the Guinadeau family's range (especially the Grand Villages and Pensées de Lafleur) by vibrant, somewhat tense underpinnings that give the plump fruit a striking kick of energy. Dark red cherry, mocha, spice, leather and tobacco all flesh out in the glass. The balance of Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) and Merlot is remarkable for such a young wine. The 2018 will spend 15-16 months in barrel. More importantly, it is an absolutely gorgeous wine. Antonio Galloni
Château Grand Village Rouge 2018
The 2018 Grand Village is composed of 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Franc; the Merlot was harvested September 24-28 and the Cabernet Franc was harvested October 5-6. Deep garnet-purple colored, it struts out of the glass with gregarious scents of wild blueberries, baked plums and warm blackcurrants with hints of chocolate-covered cherries, dusty soil, garrigue and charcuterie. Full-bodied and decadently fruited in the mouth, the palate features tons of black and blue fruit flavors with a firm, chewy frame and earthy finish. 90-93 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
The 2018 Grand Village is racy, silky and beautifully perfumed, with striking aromatic lift and generous vibrant red berry fruit. Medium in body, gracious and wonderfully nuanced, Grand Village is fabulous in 2018. Sweet floral notes and a burst of Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) savoriness punctuate the finish. Once again, Grand Village is a fabulous wine in its peer group, and frankly, beyond. A reduction of the vineyard from 15 hectares to 12, done to focus on just the best parcels, is starting to pay handsome dividends. Out of curiosity, I came back to the Grand Village after tasting through the entire range at Lafleur, and it showed beautifully. Antonio Galloni
Champs Libres 2018
The Les Champs Libres 2018 Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre sélection massale clones, harvested September 3, 5 and 6. Wow—it has an amazing perfume of honeysuckle, orange blossoms and white peaches with chalk dust, paraffin wax, lemon curd, lime cordial and candied peel nuances. Medium-bodied, the palate is super intense and finely crafted with a racy backbone cutting through the citrus, saline and stone fruit layers, finishing long and mineral laced. Seriously impressive, this is a wine without peers in Bordeaux. 5,000-6,000 bottles are anticipated to be made this year. 93-95 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
The 2018 Les Champs Libres (100% Sauvignon Blanc) brings together the richness of the year with the briskness that is typical of this wine. In 2018 Les Champs Libres is a bit richer than normal, the result of a brutally hot and dry summer. Light tropical notes, lemon confit, sage, white flowers and a kiss of new French oak are all generous in this rich, creamy white from the Guinadeau family. The 2018 is aging in French oak barrels, 80% new. Antonio Galloni
Château Grand Village Blanc 2018
The Grand Village 2018 Blanc is blended of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon, with the Sauvignon harvested September 3 and 6 and the Sémillon harvested August 31 and September 4. It is a touch reductive to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal intense apricots, ripe pears, pineapple and grapefruit with hints of beeswax, musk perfume and yuzu. Medium-bodied with a satiny texture and wonderful freshness, the palate builds to a zesty crescendo. 90-93 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate
Creamy, dense and inviting, the 2018 Grand Village Blanc offers a terrific interplay of textural richness and aromatic intensity. The 2018 represents a slight increase in Sauvignon Blanc from Loire clones to about half of the blend. A hint of reduction adds nuance to this super-expressive white. Antonio Galloni