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Australia

    My Column

    FUNERAL OF THE CORK

    Some years ago Randall Grahm – the wacky genius of the Californian Wine Industry and founder of Bonnie Doone – arranged a “Funeral for The Cork” at New York City Grand Central Station. A eulogy was read to an audience of wine courtesans by Jancis Robinson; the transcripts of this high theatre were broadcast and recorded throughout the world. The future of cork closures for wine bottles looked extremely bleak. Sales and adoption of alternative closures such as screw cap and plastic cork were compounding at an astonishing level. The high incidence of taint and other related problems with natural cork were considered unacceptable and possibly unsolvable by everyone involved in the production and consumption of wine.

     

    I was thinking about this remarkable New York event while walking through the cork forest at Carouche about one hundred kilometres east of Lisbon, Portugal on a mild summer day a few weeks back. The annual cork harvest was in progress. For hundreds of years these squat miniature oak trees - growing in park like forests – have been stripped bare of their bark for the use of stoppering wine bottles. Every nine years a tree is expertly “trousered” revealing its angophora – coloured flesh. It usually takes about four minutes to axe a seam line and then peel off the “planks” of cork bark ready for processing at the local cork factories. For centuries the cork tree has lain at the centre of the “Montado” – the social and environmental life of Portugal.

     

    I have recently been in Portugal as a guest of Amorim – one of the world’s largest producers of cork stoppers with several mills and factories around the country. Since reading the picture book story Ferdinand the Bull as a child I have always wondered what it would be like to sit under a cork tree (not a shady as you would think). Ferdinand’s utter stubbornness and beauty of spirit in the face of his tormentors lead to the odds being beaten. Amorim– not to mention thousands of its workers – have much to loose. The commercial currency of cork depends – not only on fixing the problems of taint and oxidation – but also winning back the hearts and minds of the consumer and the wine producer. In the real world a bull has almost no chance of winning. Its strength is sapped by the endless taunting of picadores and banderillas and then its fate is ritually sealed by the tercio de muerte.

     

    Cork has a better chance. Notwithstanding the overall debate and the impressive advances of screw cap – especially in Australia and New Zealand – it is unlikely alternative closures will muscle out cork. Cork will remain strongly the seal of choice for many of the world’s finest wines for the foreseeable future. The arguments and barrage of media criticism over the last fifteen years have forced considerable change in production practice of cork. While originally in denial, a strong programme of investment and the implementation of new processes and practices have clearly addressed the problem of cork taint. Dr Miguel Cabral – Amorim’s director of research and development believes that the issue is now under control to the point that “TCA is an analytical problem rather than a wine problem”. While this is very positive news, there are hundreds of cork producers with varying levels of quality control. Vital research and development is often kept secret to maintain commercial advantage. While anecdotally cork taint is on the decline, it will remain a problem as long as critical processes remain unregulated or wine producers wittingly or unwittingly buy corks of dubious provenance. In the future consumers may pay a premium for wine with a reputation for high standards of performance – much as in the same way as an Intel chip in computers.

     

    Many observers believe that the real problem with cork is oxidation. McWilliam’s – the producer of the highly acclaimed Lovedale Semillon – has for a number of aged releases utilized a light box to help triage stock before sale to the public. The rejection rate is as high as 25%. Brokenwood has experienced similar problems. At the last Penfolds Rewards of Patience tastings in 2003 the rejection rate for some specific old red wine vintages was high - although by no means across the board. The 1996 white Burgundy vintage is notoriously unreliable with a very high incidence of oxidation. The problem, however, is not fully understood – although many winemakers are adamant that the culprit is cork. Some scientists however suggest that the issue of oxidation is more complicated than many people think. Amorin’s own research – using the Carmine Indigo Method – has shown that oxygen ingress is minimal compared to other types of closures. Notwithstanding the science, the opinion at this stage is stacked up against cork. Rigorous independent and corroborating research is further required to allow the debate to swing towards the cork camp.

     

    Few years ago Langton’s polled its membership about cork versus screw cap. As background, we received 382 (365 Aust and 17 other countries). 100% had heard of Penfolds of which 85% had tasted or consumed Grange. 77% of respondents claimed to have bought it. This data confirms an intended audience of fine wine buyers.

     

    In future, some Penfolds wines will be sealed under screw cap and some under cork. If you were to buy each of the following wines in future, would you choose to buy sealed with screw cap or cork closure?

     

    The overall results showed that buyers were more comfortable with screw cap for lower priced wines. 49% preferred to buy Koonunga Hill in screw cap, 5 % in cork, 24% either and 21% would not buy. 48% preferred to buy Penfolds Bin Range in screw cap, 17 % in cork, 34% either and 1% would not buy. 36% preferred to buy Penfolds Grange in screw cap, 32 % in cork, 26% either and 6% would not buy.

     

    As you would expect with this mostly Australian sample buyers are very comfortable with screw cap or lower priced wines, but for Grange, cork still has appeal. The overall research also suggests that there is growing acceptance of white wine under screw cap. Along with these results accompanied many opinions on both sides of the argument including;

     

    “Even though screw caps have technical advantages over a cork, there is something special about pulling the cork on a bottle of wine. Screw caps have a 'cheap' feel about it. I think with high end wines, people would be more comfortable with a cork.” anon

     

    “The sooner you bottle everything under screw cap the better. I really don’t understand why it is taking so long to convert. It has been many years since I bought a bottle of Grange and until it is put under screw cap, I will refrain from purchasing a bottle.” anon

     

    “Fine wines is not just about functionality but an expression of the wine and its interaction with the drinker. I find popping a cork a highlight of this interaction process. Apart from that, I see a bottle of wine as a living thing - it evolves. Putting a wine in screw cap and effectively time-capsuling the contents, how much of life and growth is there? Some may say the screw cap still allows the wine to develop but my personal experience has been otherwise. So like any living thing some turn out fine and others not so, just like wine in cork. " anon

     

    “I am a huge supporter of screw caps for all white wines and most reds. I note that my cellar numbered 8000 bottles until recently. Due to the incidence of cork taint, I have advised my friendly retail supplier that I am about to confine my purchasing to wines with screw caps in future, with a few red wine exceptions of course.” anon

     

    “Cork is a flawed seal. Cork is responsible for many ruined wines. Cork is irrelevant in winemaking in the 21st century. I have tasted great wines sealed under cork. But the thought, the chance they may be ruined is enough for me to never use a cork in my wines. I know a percentage of my wines will be undrinkable. This is totally unacceptable. Under screw cap wines age slowly and consistently. They retain brightness and youth for longer. We are now seeing wines age as they are supposed to. Not in the random, haphazard manner of cork bark. Every great aged wine I have tasted has had one commonality; it hasn’t looked or tasted as old as it is. The ridiculous argument that screw capped wines will not age is wrong. Not aging is a good thing. Rapid aging is not a good thing. Cork, you are history. You have been consigned to the scrap heap of superseded inventions, as relevant as the typewriter or the steam train. And of course, like the steam train and typewriter, you will be used by enthusiasts, luddites and eccentrics forever. Good luck to them.” Matt Harrop – Shadowfax Winery

     

    “Metal (screw cap) seals require an internal soft compound to actually seal against the glass bottle neck. This plastic compound, from petrochemical sources, is what worries me, from an organic/biodynamic point of view. The manufacturers say this compound is food grade, but there have been many contaminant scares within the food industry in the past. I don't like the idea of my long living wines being in contact with plastic for maybe twenty years and what may leach out of the food grade plastic over time. It is OK for milk, with a contact time of around two weeks in it's plastic bottle, but then again, we no longer have access to glass milk bottles. So, while I like natural cork, this does not mean that I can condone TCA cork taint. I attempt to minimise this cork problem by purchasing bloody good long corks. They originate from a better piece of bark in the first place; well, that's my logic! But they cost a packet. My TCA affected returns are minimal, but unfortunately not zero. My cork suppliers are getting close to this aim and hopefully will achieve this in the near future. Meanwhile, if I have a complaint bottle, I replace it with two bottles, (so clearly it is not a major problem for me) but I would still rather not have any”. Ron Laughton – Jasper Hill

     

    For at least a decade and a half there has been a war raging over the contentious issue of cork. Wine families, friends and neighbours have fallen out. Entire local economies have been at risk. People have taken sides. Science has been used and abused. Spin, counter-spin, bloody mindedness, fear, anger, blame, disappointment and opportunism have created a terrible emotional landscape within the wine community. Those in favour of cork or against it are criticised by opposing sides as being traitors to the cause. An opiniated army of nutcases have jockied for attention, some building an entire career on their noisy rantings. Tastings convened to celebrate a winemaker’s body of work are hi-jacked as bombastic show offs lecture their point of view. At the centre of the fray winemakers – sick of seeing their wine spoiled – have searched for remedies to the insidious and regular occurrence of cork taint and oxidation including alternative types of cork closures such as DIAM or completely different closures including plastic, screw cap and glass. The closure debate has become warfare entrenched. Fighting for hearts and minds has opened up on all fronts. Each side of the argument – the producers of plastic cork and natural cork especially – have been the recipients of legal action. This mire of confrontation and relentless discourse has become a pattern and part of wine culture itself.

     

    The ongoing success of natural cork closure is vital to the Portuguese cork industry and local economies. It is a product that achieves the highest rate of return, out performing all other cork products from gasquets to floor tiles. The Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry have played a pivotal role in challenging and changing the mindset of cork producers. Already at Amorin – which produces three million corks a day – investment in new technology, processes and quality control have resulted in much better and more reliable corks. This has translated in good overall sales to both fine and commercial wine producers. Alternative closures will however continue to enjoy strong support especially from new world winemakers. The future of cork is probably much better than most detractors believe. While they might like to screw the wine world with their prices, the first growths and other traditional fine wine producers are unlikely to give up cork too quickly – especially if their suppliers can establish ongoing positive sentiment through further research and development. Furthermore alternative closures are not without problems either. Not withstanding all of the above, it is always disappointing to open an oxidized or tainted bottle under any form of closure – especially if its rare and expensive – or it was the only bottle in reach.

     

    Andrew Caillard, MW

     

     

     

     

    PENFOLDS BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ 1961 – 2010 / Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to build Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers.

    Combining the structure of Cabernet with the richness of Shiraz, Bin 389 also exemplifies Penfolds skill in judiciously balancing fruit and oak. 

     

    1961 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Flinty, demi-glace, leather, spice aromas with a hint of herb garden and dark chocolate. A supple sweet-fruited palate with dark chocolate, panforte, demi- glace flavours, lovely mid-palate volume and richness, fine loose-knit chalky tannins and mineral acidity. Finishes lacy, firm and dry with some leather, spice notes. Has now reached the end of its drinking window. Some bottles are now past. Nonetheless this is a remarkable old wine. Drink now.

    Drinking Window: Now ••• Past

     

    1964 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Fragrant and complex toffee, leather, graphite, dark chocolate aromas with some herb notes. Well-concentrated and developed leather, sweet dark chocolate, leafy flavours with fine lacy dry tannins. Finishes quite chalky and lean. Starting to fragment. Some bottles are now on the downward slide. Drink up.

    Drinking Window: Now ••• Past

    1966 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Salted liquorice, seaweed aromas with some red fruit notes. A touch oxidised with salted liquorice, dried fruit, earthy flavours and sinewy dry, al dente tannins. Leafy firm at the finish. The fruit has dropped out now. A great old vintage diminished by time. Drink up.

    Drinking Window: Now••• Past

    1967 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium brick red. Fresh toasty, marmalade, roasted chestnut, redcurrant, sage aromas. Very complex and concentrated with toasty, roasted chestnut, leather, redcurrant flavours and fine chalky, slightly chewy tannins. Still tangy and vibrant with some graphite, smoky notes at the finish. A lovely old wine but now near its end. Drink up.

    Drinking Window: Now••• Past

    1970 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Intense camphor, herb garden, redcurrant, leather, mushroom aromas with lovely toasty, marmalade notes. Well-concentrated redcurrant, orange peel, demi-glace, leather flavours with fine loose-knit, muscular tannins. Finishes chalky firm with some leafy notes. Still has concentration and richness. Some bottles are beginning to dry out now .

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1971 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson to brick red. Fully mature wine with praline, apricot, dark chocolate, earthy, polished leather aromas. Supple, dense, chocolatey wine with developed dark chocolate, espresso, herb flavours and lacy dry tannins. Finishes flavourful and minerally with some mushroom notes. At the brink of its life, but still impressively complex and balanced.

    1972 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ
    Most bottles are past their optimum drinking window.

    1973 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ
    Most bottles are past their optimum drinking window.

    1974 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ Most bottles are past.

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1975 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Lovely dark chocolate, meaty, dark berry aromas with some apricot notes. Well concentrated and fully mature wine with ample praline, meaty, earthy flavours and soupy, dry, muscular tannins. Finishes minerally and long. A robust style with plenty of sweet fruit notes. Probably best to drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1976 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson to brick red. Fragrant dark berry, salted liquorice aromas with some ironstone, rusty notes. Reticent at first with dark berry, liquorice and praline flavours, fine chalky dry tannins and some herb garden notes. It builds up richness and length at the finish. It has lost its magic now, but it will hold for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1977 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Complex expressive orange peel, apricot, praline aromas with some leather, sandalwood, spice notes. Rich supple panforte, apricot, salted liquorice flavours, loose-knit chalky tannins, plenty of mid-palate fruit sweetness and mineral notes at the finish. A fully mature wine with lovely flowing texture and vinosity. Drink now.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1978 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fresh herb garden, graphite, sweet fruit, dark berry, spicy aromas with a touch of mint. Well-concentrated and sturdy with redcurrant, leafy, graphite flavours, tertiary roasted walnut notes, a thread of fruit sweetness and loose-knit slightly dry tannins. Elegant and muscular but still holding. Drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1979 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Intense roasted coffee, dark berry, dried fruit, liquorice aromas with mocha, panforte, sous bois notes. Generous liquorice, dark chocolate, espresso, herb flavours, sweet mocha notes and muscular dry, touch grippy tannins. Finishes firm and tight. A solid wine with plenty of richness and length. Now entering its dotage. Drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1980 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson to brick red. Intense, leafy, cassis, praline, panforte aromas with polished leather, spicy notes. The palate is richly concentrated with deep-set praline, dark fruit, panforte flavours, underlying savoury sous bois notes and gritty, dry, leafy tannins. Finishes granular and minerally. It still has energy and persistency but the structure dominates the fruit. Drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1981 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Roasted walnut, leather, smoky, sandalwood, toffee, black fruit aromas with some minty notes. A complex, dense chocolatey wine with plenty of panforte, roasted chestnut, black fruit flavours, abundant granular, touch leafy, tannins and underlying savoury, roasted walnut, malty notes. A firm style with plenty of spicy fruit sweetness and richness.

    Drinking Window: Now ••• Past

     

    1982 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Fragrant red cherry, redcurrant, sage aromas with leafy, herb garden, dark chocolate notes. Smooth, silky palate with redcurrant pastille, chocolate, herb, tea leaf flavours, lovely mid-palate fruit sweetness and supple, fine-grained tannins. Builds up chalky dry but the flavours lengthen out at the finish. The wine is evolving in the most surprising and delightful way. Drink now or possibly wait for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1983 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick red. Intense panforte, roasted earth, liquorice aromas with blackberry, hazelnut, toffee notes. Well-concentrated blackberry, panforte, earthy, graphite flavours, plentiful savoury dry tannins and underlying crème brûlée, orange peel notes. Finishes chalky firm but long and sweet. It has reached its full potential now but will hold for a few more years.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1984 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep brick crimson. Intense dark chocolate, dark plum, vanilla aromas with some liquorice, herb garden notes. Rich soupy wine with deep-set dark choco-berry, panforte, vanilla flavours, underlying savoury notes and loose-knit, grainy, touch rusty tannins. Finishes firm and flavourful with confectionary, glacé fruit nuances. Drinking well now; should hold for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1985 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson to brick red. Fresh blackberry, sage, tar, pot pourri aromas. Concentrated and juicy with vanilla, crème caramel, blackberry, roasted earth, aniseed flavours, underlying spicy notes and chocolatey rich, slightly muscular tannins. Finishes tangy with plenty of sweet fruit. Not a classic vintage but shows lovely fruit complexity, density and flavour length. Drink now or hold for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1986 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Complex and classic with dark chocolate, praline, espresso, dark berry aromas with sage, demi-glace notes. Ripe, expressive and generous with deep-set praline, dark berry, spicy flavours, underlying sweet vanilla notes, cedary, almost briary tannins and gentle mineral acidity. Finishes al dente firm but richness of fruit gives an expansive roundness. Lovely vinosity and personality. In top form, but could develop further.

    Drinking Window: Now ••• 2018

    1987 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense redcurrant, leafy, roasted chestnut aromas with sous bois notes. Well-concentrated wine with ample redcurrant, cranberry flavours, underlying mocha notes and plentiful chalky, lacy tannins. Finishes chewy/leafy dry. A difficult vintage. Drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1988 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fragrant cassis, herb garden aromas with spearmint, sage notes. Rich and flavourful with blackcurrant, plum, minty flavours, underlying savoury notes and velvety, touch leafy, tannins. Finishes firm and minerally with some rich panforte notes. A substantial wine with plenty of fruit complexity and volume. Drink now.

    Drinking Window: Now

    1989 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense ripe, black cherry, raspberry aromas with vanilla, spice, dark chocolatey notes. Concentrated red cherry, blackberry, praline, herb flavours, plush velvety firm tannins and plenty of vanilla oak notes. Finishes long and sweet. Lovely to drink now .

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2018

    1990 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense dark chocolate, dark berry, panforte, mocha aromas with a hint of mint. Rich, voluminous wine with dark berry, panforte flavours, abundant chocolatey tannins, plenty of mid-palate richness and superb fruit sweetness. Finishes chalky firm and long. A beautifully balanced wine with lovely fruit complexity, density and flow. Should last the distance. Drink now or keep for a long while.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2025

     

    1991 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fragrant, roasted coffee, salted liquorice, beef stock aromas with some eucalypt, toffee notes. Intensely concentrated and vigorous with dense roasted coffee, blackberry, liquorice, roasted walnut characters, underlying savoury, mocha notes and supple graphite tannins. Finishes chocolatey long with plenty of sweet fruitiness. A classic Bin 389. Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2025

    1992 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fragrant redcurrant, red liquorice, vanilla aromas with bouquet garni notes. A dense, richly flavoured wine with redcurrant, dried fruit, spicy, herb garden notes and plentiful chalky, dry tannins. It builds up grippy firm at the finish. A solid muscular wine packed with sweet fruit, tannins and mineral notes. Drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2016

    1993 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fresh roasted walnut, cassis, black olive aromas with some praline, polished leather, barnyard notes. Concentrated dark chocolatey, walnut, panforte flavours and fine-grained, touch leafy tannins. Finishes sappy with complex sweet fruit, silage notes. A difficult year. Unlikely to improve greatly. Best to drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now

     

    1994 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense and complex blackberry, dark chocolate, seaweed, liquorice, minty, bouquet garni aromas. Rich and powerful with deep-set dark chocolate mint flavours, earthy, meaty, black olive nuances and sinewy/leafy tannins. This is an atypical vintage with plenty of stuffing to last the distance, but will it ever really soften out? Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2020

    1995 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep red. Intense espresso, dark berry, mulberry aromas with some graphite, sweet fruit notes. Sweet, dark berry, mulberry, ground coffee flavours, chocolatey, al dente textured tannins, underlying mocha notes and a leafy dry finish. A firm, muscular style with plenty of buoyancy, fruit density, richness and length. Drink now or keep for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2016

    1996 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense praline, blackberry, panforte, malty aromas with lifted mint, aniseed notes. Plush, expansive and fresh with generous praline, chocolate/dark berry flavours, underlying vanilla, ginger, oak and fine plentiful chalky tannins. Finishes firm with plenty of flavour length. Rich and voluminous with superb tannin structure, power and fruit complexity. Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2025

     

    1997 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep red. Fresh, redcurrant, leafy aromas with walnut, polished leather, mint and violet notes. Fleshy sweet redcurrant, plum flavours, firm gravelly tannins and underlying savoury nuances. Plenty of mid-palate richness but tannins muscle up towards the finish. Best to drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2016

    1998 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Powerful dark chocolate, dark berry aromas with cedar, malt, panforte and sweet fruit notes. Rich, voluminous and buoyant with superb rich sweet fruit, dark berry, praline notes, abundant fine chalky firm tannins and underlying savoury spicy notes. Finishes grainy firm, long and fruit-sweet. Lovely vinosity and generosity of flavour. An outstanding vintage with plenty of cellaring potential. Drink now but recommended to keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2030

    1999 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Complex roasted chestnut, blackberry, graphite aromas with apricot, herb garden, grilled almond nuances. Richly concentrated with developed blackberry, graphite, dark chocolate, roasted chestnut, cola flavours, plentiful muscular tannins and underlying acidity. Salted liquorice, praline, bittersweet notes at finish. More advanced than 1998, but showing lovely fruit complexity. Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2020

     

    2000 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fragrant redcurrant, cranberry aromas with geranium, herb garden notes. The palate is sweet and fleshy with dried fruits, plum, dark chocolate flavours, underlying savoury notes and slinky dry, loose-knit tannins. Finishes long and tangy. Pleasant to drink but it doesn’t have the density or energy for long-term ageing. Best to drink soon.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2016

    2001 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fresh cassis, cherry, redcurrant aromas with leafy, sage notes. Richly concentrated, substantial and buoyant with abundant sweet blackcurrant, dark chocolate flavours, fine slinky/velvety tannins and underlying malty, vanilla notes. Finishes chewy firm and fruit sweet. A generous wine but with a rigid structure. Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2020

    2002 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intense dark chocolate, blackcurrant, mulberry, vanilla aromas with herb garden, mint notes. The palate is well concentrated and balanced, with deep-set cassis, mulberry, plum, praline flavours, an underlay of mocha, savoury notes and fine- grained tannins. It finishes classically firm with lingering savoury, sweet fruit nuances. A beautifully structured wine. Drink now or keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2030

    2003 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep red to purple. Intense dark berry, cassis, dark chocolate aromas with sage, spicy notes. Fleshy and concentrated with juicy blackberry, cassis, raspberry, dark chocolate flavours, spicy nuances and chalky firm tannins. Finishes grippy with a peppery, alcoholic kick. A solid wine with excellent fruit generosity and drive, but best to drink soon.

     

    2004 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep purple red. Fresh juicy cassis, blackberry, brambly aromas with some herb/leafy notes. Tightly structured, well concentrated and expressive with blackberry, graphite, brambly flavours and classic fine-grained tannins. Finishes firm with a long flavourful tail. Wonderful vinosity and energy. A top Penfolds vintage. Should continue to evolve for decades. Drink now but best to keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2035

    2005 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep purple red. Crème de cassis, mulberry, praline aromas with a hint of herb, cedar/spice. Fresh seductive mulberry, blackcurrant, praline, herb flavours, plentiful, chocolatey tannins and underlying malty nuances. Finishes firm and cedary with superb fruit sweetness. Lovely density and richness of flavour with a sinuous structure. Compelling potential. Drink now, but best to keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2035

    2006 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Intensely perfumed crème de cassis, dark cherry, vanilla, malt aromas with garrigue notes. Generous, expressive and superbly balanced with blackcurrant, dark cherry, praline, vanilla, malt flavours, lovely mid-palate juiciness and fine cedary tannins. Finishes firm with a lingering plume of fruit sweetness. Beautiful wine with great structural integrity and balance. ‘This is one of the greatest Bin 389s of all.’ You can drink this now but best to keep.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2025

     

    2007 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fragrant blackberry pastille, white pepper aromas with a touch of violet. Medium-bodied with gentle white pepper, blackberry, spice flavours and loose-knit chalky al dente tannins. It doesn’t have the precision, weight or overall balance for longevity. Drink now or keep for a while.

    Drinking Window: Now••• 2020

    2008 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson. Fresh, powerful and elemental with intense inky, mulberry, blackberry, aniseed, ginger, malt aromas. The palate is immensely concentrated, fleshy and vibrant with plush blackberry, cassis, mulberry fruit, underlying ginger, malty, vanilla oak notes and plentiful chocolatey sweet tannins. It finishes velvety firm, sweet-fruited and long. Lovely density, richness and length. Easy to drink now, yet still best to keep.

    Drinking Window: 2016••• 2050

    2009 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Medium-deep crimson to purple. Fresh, exuberant dark cherry, elderberry, star anise aromas accompanied by savoury, ginger oak. Richly concentrated, elemental and powerful wine packed with dark cherry, elderberry, liquorice, star anise flavours, assertive firm, almost brutish, tannins and plenty of new vanilla oak. Dense, almost impenetrable fruit is matched equally with a solid structure. Its full potential will take decades to realise. Best to keep.

    Drinking Window: 2018••• 2045

     

    2010 BIN 389 CABERNET SHIRAZ

    Deep crimson purple. Impressively powerful with intense blueberry, blackberry, liquorice aromas and dark chocolate, ginger, marzipan, oak nuances. A substantial palate with remarkable richness and concentration. Saturated blackberry essence, juicy fruit, liquorice, aniseed flavours are balanced by abundant ripe generous tannins and plenty of vanilla, malt, ginger oak notes. It finishes chocolatey firm with tremendous drive and depth of flavour. All the elements are in harmony. It’s delicious but ultimately this wine needs time to reveal its true potential. Keep. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Penfolds Grange is an Australian icon – a National Trust Heritage-listed wine – which captures both a “sense of place” and the essence of Australian agricultural ingenuity and innovation. The story of Grange is steeped in the Australian ethos. Max Schubert – the creator of Grange – is an Australian folk hero; a man who battled against the odds and then succeeded in creating one of the very great wines of the world.

     

    Andrew Caillard’s Penfolds Grange tasting notes and scores 1951-2006

     

    Bin 95 Grange Shiraz

    Drink

    Points

    1951

    The first experimental Grange and extremely rare. A valuable collector’s item because of its historical significance. Rare hand blown bottles. Largely the wine has a dull tawny colour and skeletal palate structure with little flesh and fading tannins. Very rare. 100% Shiraz

    Past

    NS

     

    50% Magill Estate 50% Morphett Vale (Adelaide Environs). A hot, very dry growing season. 100 cases/3 Hogsheads made. Released as Bin 1

     

     

    1952

    cliniced bottle

    First commercial vintage. Medium deep brick red.

    Intense herb garden/ roasted meat aromas with some demi-glace/ wet bitumen notes. Sweet roasted meat/ demi glace/ dark chocolate flavours and lacy fine tannins. Finishes dusty but long and sweet. Very rare. Well past it’s prime. 100% Shiraz

    Now - past

    85

     

    Magill Estate/Morphett Vale blend. Average growing season with normal rainfall conditions. Around 100/150 cases made at less than $1 a bottle at release. Some half bottle ‘pints’ were also produced. Released as Bin 4 and Bin 4A

     

     

    1953

    cliniced bottle

    Medium brick red. Lovely fresh Provençal herbs/ violet/ mocha/ apricot aromas with hint of demi-glace/ polished leather. Remarkable old wine with complex roosted meat/ herb garden/ polished leather flavours and slinky dry tannins. This is a great Australian wine and still drinking beautifully. Very rare. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now

    100

     

    Magill Estate/Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa) Blend. 260 cases made. Some half bottles (375ml) were released. First vintage – and then uninterrupted - use of Kalimna fruit – hence the term “Mother Vineyard”. Released as Bin 2 (also Bins 10, 86C and 145)

     

     

    1954

    cliniced bottle

    Medium brick red.  The wine is now in decline. It’s showing lifted Amontillado/ demi-glace/ salty aromas and flavours. There’s still some fruit sweetness but the tannins are gritty and dry. A minerally finish with some cedar/ graphite notes. Still has some charm but well past its peak. Very rare. 98% Shiraz 2% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now - past

    82

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Blend. Internal criticism of Grange led Max Schubert to lighten the style slightly. Only nine months in oak. Cool to mild growing season followed by a mild to warm vintage. Released as Bin 11 ad Bin 12

     

     

    1955

    cliniced bottle

    Deep brick red. Coffee/ mocha/ gamy/ grilled meat aromas with some camomile/ leather notes. Sweet meaty/ gamy/ mocha/ dark berry flavours and soft – slightly sappy green tannins. The fruit is beginning to fade now. A famously great vintage. Now quite rare. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now

    90

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) McLaren Vale Blend. The most decorated Grange – winner of 12 trophies and 52 Gold medals on the Australian wine show circuit. Spent only 9 months in oak. A favourite of Max Schubert’s, partly because it won a gold medal in the open claret class at the 1962 Sydney Wine Show – some  members of the judging panel had previously been vocally critical of the style. A mild to warm growing conditions – interrupted by above average rainfall. A warm dry vintage followed. Chosen by the US publication - Wine Spectator Magazine – as a “Wine of the Millenium”. Most common but later release (after show success) is Bin 95 (also Bins 13, 14, 53, 54 and 148A)

     

     

    1956

    cliniced bottle

    Medium brick red. Mocha/ molasses/ amontillado/ vellum aromas suggesting slight over-development. The palate is well concentrated with sweet mocha/ molasses flavours, fine grippy tannins. Finishes firm and tight with touch of saltiness. Past ist best but still interesting. Very rare. 96% Shiraz 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now- past

    83

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Blend. Only nine months in oak. A cool mild growing season. Released as Bin 14 and Bin 53.

     

     

    1957

    cliniced bottle

    Deep brick red. Fresh sea-breezy/ chocolate/ mint/ violet aromas with some herb garden notes. The fruit is beginning to fade but it still has some mint chocolate/ earthy flavours and fine chalky but pronounced tannins. The tannins build up quite leafy and dry at the finish. Just holding. Very rare. 88% Shiraz 12% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now - past

    83

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) McLaren Vale Blend. A so-called “Hidden Grange” because the wine was made without the knowledge of Penfolds management – who had ordered Max Schubert to cease production.  Matured in previous year’s Grange barrelsA mild dry growing season. Released as Bin 50 and Bin 113.

     

     

    1958

    cliniced bottle

    Deep brick red. Very complex rich dark chocolate/ peat/ malt whisky/ herb garden aromas with some overdeveloped orange/ clove notes. Sweet fruit/ rich dark chocolate/ malty flavours and leafy/ gritty tannins. The fruit fades towards the finish leaving an austere slightly acidic finish. This is well past its prime but its holding firm. Very rare. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-Past

    80

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide), Morphett Vale (Adelaide), Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale Blend. A “Hidden Grange” Mild to warm growing season. Released as Bin 46 (also Bins 14, 47 and 49)

     

     

    1959

    Deep brick red. Dark cherry/ bitter chocolate/ demi-glace aromas with hint of malt/ marmalade. Sweet dark chocolate/ mocha/ herb garden flavours and fine grained chalky – almost stemmy tannins. Finishes oily dry but it still has great flavour length. It’s starting to lose freshness. Rare. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    85

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Blend. Cool to mild growing season followed by a warm dry vintage. Released as Bin 95 (also Bins 46 and 49)

     

     

    1960

    Medium brick red. Beautiful dark chocolate/ grilled meat/ herb garden aromas with some demi-glace/ apricot notes. The palate is well concentrated, developed and fresh with lovely fruit richness, demi-glace/ plum/ dark fruits/ apricot flavours and fine lacy/ chalky loose knit tannins. Finishes minerally and long. A lovely old wine. Finishes silky, minerally and long. Rare. 92% Shiraz 8% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    94

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Blend. A hot dry growing season. Released as Bin 95 (also as Bin 49)

     

     

    1961

    Medium brick red. Fresh bitter chocolate/ cedar/ almond/ bitumen aromas. Complex old wine with bitter dark chocolate/ bitumen/ tea leafy/ marmalade flavours and slinky dry tannins. Finishes long and sweet. Still holding. Rare. 88% Shiraz 12% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    86

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide)Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide)  Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Coonawarra Blend. A hot dry growing season with hot vintage conditions. Released as Bin 95 (also as Bin 395)

     

     

    1962

    Deep red brick. Intense chocolate/ mocha/ menthol aromas with some herb garden/ demi-glace notes. Sweet mocha/ herb garden flavours/ chocolaty fine grained tannins and underlying cedar/ vanillin notes. Finishes chalky firm, long and sweet. A very beautiful old vintage.  Rare. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2018

    95

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley) Adelaide Hills Blend. Barossa Valley fruit becomes ascendant component. Ideal warm – fairly dry – growing season followed by a warm, dry vintage. Released as Bin 95 ( also as Bins 59, 59A and 456)

     

     

    1963

    Deep brick red. Utterly superb wine with intense perfumed demi-glace/ rose-petal/ apricot/ camomile aromas. Rich chocolaty/ apricot/ demi-glace flavours and sweet velvety tannins. Finishes chalky firm with lovely fruit sweetness and flavour length. Outstanding wine. A very great wine. Will continue to hold for many years. Rare. 100% Shiraz

    Now-2018

    100

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide)Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide) Blend. A warm dry growing season. Released as Bin 95 (also as Bin 65)

     

     

    1964

    Medium brick red. Fresh herb garden/ camphor/ prune/ molasses aromas. The palate is sinewy and dry with leather/ walnut/ prune flavours and slinky/ leafy tannins. Finishes firm and long. Rare. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now

    85

     

    Magill Estate (Adelaide) Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley Blend. A wet growing season followed by a fine cool vintage. Released as Bin 95 ( also as Bins 395, 66, 67 and 68)

     

     

    1965

    Medium deep brick red. Intense earthy/ bitumen/ cedar/ marmalade aromas. Well concentrated but elegant wine with earthy/ dark chocolate/ cedar/ herb flavours and fine chalky/ chocolaty tannins. Finishes leafy firm. Rare. 95% Shiraz 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now - 2016

    88

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) McLaren Vale Blend. Jimmy Watson Trophy Winner – a prestigious Melbourne Show award. A warm dry growing season. Released as Bin 95 ( also as Bins 69, 70 and 71)

     

     

    1966

    Medium deep brick red. Lovely complex but fresh grilled meat/ mocha/ chocolate/ violet aromas. Archetypal Penfolds Grange with sweet meaty/ dark chocolate/ cedar/ graphite flavours, lovely mid plate richness and slinky firm loose knit tannins. Finishes long and sweet. Still has plenty of time ahead. Rare. 88% Shiraz 12% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    96

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Morphett Vale (Adelaide) Blend. A dry growing season was followed by an ideal warm vintage. Released as Bin 95( also as Bins 71 and 72)

     

     

    1967

    Medium deep brick red. Fresh meaty/ mint/ Provençal herb aromas with touches of plum/ liquorice. The palate is elegantly structured with meaty/ ground coffee/ mint flavours and fine grainy slightly leafy tannins. Finishes chalky firm but long and fruit sweet. Increasingly rare. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2015

    80

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Blend. A warm dry growing season. Won the Jimmy Watson trophy at the Melbourne Show – for a second time. A generally dry growing season followed by a warm vintage. Released as Bin 95 ( also Bin 74)

     

     

    1968

    Medium brick red. Intense fragrant herb garden/ mocha/ cedar aromas with some earthy/ rustic notes. Complex cedar/ herb garden/ rustic flavours with leafy firm tannins and underlying malt oak. Finishes brambly dry at the finish. Drink up. Increasingly rare. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now -past

    81

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra Blend. A hot dry vintage with only intermittent rains during the growing season. Released as Bin 95 ( also as Bin 826)

     

     

    1969

    Medium brick red. Lovely fragrant dark chocolate/ mocha/ red berry aromas with some meaty complexity. Fresh richly concentrated wine with plenty of dark chocolate/ mocha red currant flavours and fine slinky dry tannins. Builds up a touch sappy at the finish. Finishes long and sweet. Drink up. 95% Shiraz 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    88

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Clare Valley, Morphett Valle (Adelaide), Coonawarra Blend. Mild wet conditions prevailed during the growing season and vintage. Released as Bin 95 ( also a Bin 826)

     

     

    1970

    Medium brick red. Intense liquorice/ polished leather/ black olive/ Provençal herb aromas. Well developed savoury and sweet palate with black olive/ polished leather/ herbal flavours and fine cedary tannins. Drink soon. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    79

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Blend. A dry mild growing season and vintage. Standardisation of bin numbers starts – all vintages are now released as Bin 95.

     

     

    1971

    Medium deep brick red. A classic Penfolds year with an unusually low alcohol of around 12.3%*. An immensely complex and mature wine with lifted smoked meat/ dark chocolate/ mocha/ liquorice aromas. A silky smooth wine with rich dark chocolate/ espresso coffee/ tobacco/ cedar flavours, underlying vanillin nuances and fine lacy satin tannins. Finishes sinuous, long and bitter sweet. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2016

    95

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. “If you had to point to a wine which fulfilled the ambitions of Grange it would have to be the 1971.” – Max Schubert, 1993.  Topped the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris in 1979 – beating some of the best Rhone wines and creating a sensation. A great South Australian vintage; ideal, generally warm conditions throughout the growing season and vintage. * alcohol originally stated 11.5% but records and analysis reveal  12.3% “A Grange that doesn’t seem to tolerate poor storage or travel.”- Peter Gago

     

     

    1972

    Medium deep brick red. Lovely cedar/ sweet fruit/ hazelnut/ polished leather aromas. The palate is well concentrated with plenty of fruit sweetness/ mocha/ polished leather/ hazelnut/ walnut flavours and fine lacy cedary tannins. A controversial vintage, but often brilliant. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    92

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide), Coonawarra Blend. A very good Grange vintage – but a batch was unintentionally oxidized during bottling – resulting in significant bottle variation. A mild dry growing season and vintage.

     

     

    1973

    Deep brick red. Evolved meaty/ prune/ molasses aromas with some mint/ menthol notes. Richly flavoured but quite rustic with prune/ meaty flavours and leafy/ brambly tannins. Still has plenty of flavour length. 98% Shiraz 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-past

    87

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide)Blend. A dry growing season followed by a cool vintage. Last vintage made in open wax-lined concrete fermenters (completed in barrel) - at Magill Estate

     

     

    1974

    Medium deep brick red. Intense seaweed/ iodine/ prune aromas with some herb garden/ orange peel notes. Sweet prune/ herb garden/ marmalade flavours and slinky dry tannins. Finishes surprisingly long but the fruit is overdeveloped. 93% Shiraz 7% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-past

    80

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Blend. Winemaking transferred to Nuriootpa. Vinification in stainless steel tanks – completed in barrel. A very wet growing season made more difficult by the outbreak of downy mildew just prior to harvest.

     

     

    1975

    Deep brick red. Intense aniseed/ liquorice/ dark fruit/ mocha aromas. Lovely concentrated wine with dark fruit/ mocha flavours, underlying miso-soup/ savoury oak and dry chalky  touch muscular tannins. Finishes very firm and hard but it has plenty of flavour length. A “dark horse” vintage. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now - 2025

    88

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Coonawarra Blend. A cool summer was followed by a mild dry vintage.

     

     

    1976

    Deep brick red. Intense dark chocolate/ mocha/ liquorice aromas with some roasted/ earthy/ meaty notes. The palate is concentrated and sweet fruited with deep set dark chocolate/ mocha/ prune/ liquorice flavours and fine sinewy firm tannins.

    Regarded as a great Grange vintage, but bottles are increasingly variable. The best bottles have levels at base or into the neck or have passed successfully through Penfolds Wine Clinics. 89% Shiraz 11% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2030

    93

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide). The 25th Anniversary of Grange. Max Schubert considered it “More in the old style: a good vintage”. The first Australian wine to cross the $20 barrier. An ideal warm dry growing season.

     

     

    1977

    Deep brick red. Fresh blackberry/ camphor/ cedar/ herb garden aromas. Complex cedar/ blackberry/ apricot flavours, slinky fine tannins and underlying savoury oak. Finishes powdery dry. Drink soon. 91% Shiraz 9% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now

    87

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Clare Valley Blend. Cool mild condition prevailed during the growing season.

     

     

    1978

    Deep brick red. Mocha/ blackberry aromas with some demi-glace/ vellum/ menthol nuances. Lovely concentrated wine with plenty of sweet fruit/ mocha/ blackberry/ camomile/ graphite flavours and chocolaty fine tannins. Builds up dense and chalky but possesses lovely minerality and flavour length.

    This is a very good Grange year. Probably drinking at its very best now. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2020

    94

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. A warm dry growing season followed by mild vintage conditions.

     

     

    1979

    Deep brick red. Fresh blackberry/ redcurrant/ chocolate/ prune aromas with some vanilla notes. A solid wine with redcurrant/ back fruit/ dark chocolate/ pane forte flavours and powerful chocolaty tannins. Finishes hard with some smoky/ bitumen notes. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2018

    86

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), McLaren Vale Blend. An unusual wet – but hot - growing season. Magnums first released. Last vintage bottles using off-white foil capsules

     

     

    1980

    Deep brick red. Fresh minty/ bitumen/ menthol/ earthy aromas. The palate is elegant with sweet mocha/ cedar/ mint flavours and slinky / leafy tannins. It finishes sinewy and dry but long and flavourful. 96% Shiraz 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2020

    83

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), McLaren Vale, Coonawarra Blend. A fine warm growing season followed by cool but late vintage.

     

     

    1981

    Deep brick red. Earthy/ meaty/ cedar/ demi-glace aromas with some farmyard/ silage characters. Sweet liquorice/ meaty/ cedar/ graphite flavours and fine loose knit chalky tannins. Finishes firm and tight. 89% Shiraz 11% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2020

    85

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide), Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. A warm hot – drought affected – summer followed by a warm dry vintage.

     

     

    1982

    Deep brick red. Perfumed red cherry/ red currant/ tea leaf/ aromas with some raisin notes. Rich red cherry/ damson plum/ tea leafy flavours with fine slinky/ chocolaty tannins and underlying savoury notes. An idiosyncratic Grange at its peak of development. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2010

    88

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide), Clare Valley Blend. A mild growing season followed by a hot vintage.

     

     

    1983

    Deep crimson. An intense herb garden/ mocha/ cedar aromas with smoky/ graphite nuances. Ripe dark chocolate/ mocha fruit, underlying savoury oak and ripe fine slinky tannins. Finishes firm with plenty of flavour length. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2025

    93

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Modbury Vineyard Blend. A bizarre growing season marked by drought, the Ash Wednesday bushfires and March flooding. A very low yielding vintage resulting in wine of immense concentration.

     

     

    1984

    Deep crimson. Evolved mocha/ dark berry aromas with cedar/ menthol notes. Ripe concentrated wine with deep set mocha/ dark berry fruit, underlying malt oak characters and chocolaty firm tannins. Very dense plush wine with plenty of fruit sweetness and flavour length. Drinking beautifully now.  95% Shiraz 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    92

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. A cool growing season followed by a cool dry late vintage.

     

     

    1985

    Deep crimson. Intense espresso/ herb garden/ cedar aromas with some developed walnut notes. The palate is richly concentrated with dark chocolate/ herb/ cedar/ malt flavours and sinewy/ savoury dry tannins. Finishes firm and tight. 99% Shiraz 1% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    86

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide) Blend. Cool to mild growing season and vintage – punctuated by intermittent rains. Late rains delayed picking.

     

     

    1986

    Deep crimson. Intense dark liquorice/ mocha/ cedar/ sweet fruit aromas with malty/ smoky oak notes. A richly extravagant palate with complex liquorice/ deep set mocha-berry flavours and dense ripe fruit. Finishes chalky firm but superbly long and flavourful. A great Grange still on the ascendancy.  87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2030+

    98

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide) Blend. A mild relatively dry growing season and vintage. An important and very successful vintage.

     

     

    1987

    Medium crimson. Intense menthol/ dark chocolate/ mocha/ herb aromas. Sweet dark chocolate/ minty/ herb garden flavours, underlying malty new oak and sinewy/ sappy tannins. Finishes very firm and dry.  90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2020

    81

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale Blend. A cool vintage – marked but October hailstorms – and variable yields.

     

     

    1988

    Medium crimson. Lovely mocha/ redcurrant/ brambly/ roasted aromas with underlying vanilla/ menthol notes. Well concentrated wine with mocha/ demi-glace/ vanilla/ menthol flavours and savoury dry soupy tannins. Finishes chalky firm. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2025

    86

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Padthaway, McLaren Vale. Ideal growing season followed by a warm dry vintage.

     

     

    1989

    Medium crimson. Fresh aromatic redcurrant/ musky/ tea leaf aromas with some liquorice. Sweet redcurrant confit/ blackcurrant pastille flavours, plenty of fruit sweetness, underlying vanillin oak and chocolaty dense dry tannins. 91% Shiraz 9% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    89

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale Blend. Extreme heat and heavy March rains followed an ideal warm growing season.

     

     

    1990

    Deep crimson. An ethereal wine with blackberry/ plum/ chocolate/ liquorice aromas and plenty of mocha/ malt oak notes. A rich ripe immensely concentrated wine with generous sweet blackberry/ plum/ dark chocolate flavours, mocha oak, some earthy flavours and velvety smooth tannins. Finishes long and chocolaty. A superb Grange 95% Shiraz 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Now-2035

    97

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. Voted Red Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator magazine in December 1995. A very great Australian vintage with a perfect warm dry growing season and harvest.

     

     

    1991

    Deep crimson. A lovely wine with intense liquorice/ vanilla/ dark chocolate/ dark berry with some cedar notes. A dense, multi-layered palate with plenty of sweet dark chocolate/ malt flavours, cedary tannins and underlying new oak. Finishes chalky firm. Lies in the shadow of 1990 but a great Grange vintage.

    Now-2035

    96

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale Blend. A warm dry year with even ripening conditions. Vintage started early.

     

     

    1992

    Deep crimson. Ripe blackcurrant pastille/ dark chocolate/ Provençal herb aromas. The palate is well concentrated with pure blackcurrant/ dark cherry flavours, savoury/ malty oak and long fine grainy/ cedary tannins. Finishes long and bitter sweet. An elegantly structured Grange with a good future. 90% Shiraz 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2018

    90

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale Blend. A cool to mild growing season marked by intermittent rains.

     

     

    1993

    Deep crimson. Redcurrant/ silage aromas with some graphite/ smoky/ gamy notes. An early drinking Grange with redcurrant/earthy flavours, dense soupy – slightly sappy tannins and malt new oak. Finishes chalky/ grippy firm. A sweet and savoury wine. 86% Shiraz 14% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2015

    84

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Coonawarra Blend. A very wet growing season was followed by warm drier conditions resulting in a very late but sound quality vintage fruit. An Indian Summer in Coonawarra delivered fully ripened fruit.

     

     

    1994

    Medium deep crimson. Lovely roasted coffee/ black cherry/ mocha aromas with hint of fresh mint/ herb. A beautifully balanced wine with deep set blackberry/ mocha/ espresso coffee/ sweet fruit flavours and fine dense tannins. Finishes oaky dry but long and sweet. 89% Shiraz 11% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2030

    93

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale, Coonawarra Blend. A dry mild even-ripening vintage in the Barossa;  intermittent rains – but mild conditions -  in McLaren Vale and a warm dry autumn in Coonawarra delivered a very high quality vintage. A vintage which has gained considerable notice recent years.

     

     

    1995

    Deep crimson. Intense blackcurrant/ liquorice/ herb garden aromas with underlying savoury oak, A substantial wine with prune/ cassis flavours, plentiful firm dry tannins and strong malty new oak. Finishes leafy/grippy but long and sweet. Powerful rather than polished.  94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2020

    83

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Blend. A period of drought and September frosts reduced potential yields. Warm dry conditions prevailed until late March/early April when a cooler weather pattern marked by drizzle set in.

     

     

    1996

    Deep crimson. Lovely fresh beautiful wine with crimson plum/ black currant aromas with some liquorice/ mocha notes. The palate is generous and supple with fresh plum/ blackcurrant flavours, ripe fine grained tannins and savoury/ grilled nut oak. Finishes chalky firm but long and sweet. Superbly balanced wine. A great vintage. Best to hold. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2010-2040

    96

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale,  Magill Estate (Adelaide)Blend. After superb winter rainfall soil moistures improved. This was followed by mild weather dry weather conditions – resulting in a vintage of exceptional quality.

     

     

    1997

    Deep crimson. Liquorice/ blueberry/ dark chocolate/ herb garden aromas with some smoky notes. The palate is fruit sweet and concentrated with dark chocolate/ liquorice flavours and fine slinky/ chalky dry tannins. Malty oak characters pervade at the finish. 96% Shiraz 4% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Now-2025

    84

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Bordertown Blend. Late spring rains followed a generally wet winter. Generally dry cool conditions prevailed during October and November. A hot burst of weather arrived during summer but cooler temperatures and a week of rain during February slowed down ripening. A warm dry period followed over vintage.

     

     

    1998

    Deep crimson. A really beautiful wine with deep set blackberry/ dark chocolate/ mocha/ apricot aromas and underlying cedar complexity. An immensely concentrated and powerful wine with plush blackberry/ dark chocolate/ apricot flavours, fine dense ripe velvety tannins and beautifully season toasty/ malt oak. Finishes long and sweet. A great vintage. 97% Shiraz 3% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2010-2045

    99

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Padthaway Blend. A mild early growing season was followed by very hot dry weather with virtually all damwater reserves exhausted. An exceptional vintage.

     

     

    1999

    Deep purple crimson. Dark juicy blackberry/ mulberry/ herb garden aromas with malty/ savoury oak. Lovely concentrated palate with deep set blackberry/ mulberry/ apricot/ herb garden/ graphite fruit mocha oak and chalky firm tannins. Finishes long, sweet and savoury. A beautifully balanced wine. 100% shiraz

    2010-2040

    98

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) McLaren Vale, Padthaway Blend. Dry winter conditions were followed by intermittent rains. Rain fell during November and December but just enough to maintain healthy vines. The Barossa and McLaren Vale experienced heavy rains in March and ripening slowed. Despite this vineyards with good drainage produced fruit of exceptional quality. Padthaway escaped the burden of March rain and experienced a great vintage.

     

     

    2000

    Deep crimson. Intense brambly/ ginger/ redcurrant/ raspberry/ blueberry aromas with hint of demi-glace/ malt. A very fruit driven fleshy wine with redcurrant/ raspberry/ brambly flavours and fine grainy tannins. Finishes minerally and long. A very moderate vintage. 100% Barossa Valley Shiraz

    Now-2018

    84

     

    Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley Blend. After a dry cool spring and a warm – sometimes hot summer – rains fell in late February/March resulting in a difficult year. A stop-start vintage.

     

     

    2001

    Deep crimson. Intense liquorice/ redcurrant/ cedar aromas with some blackcurrant pastille notes. The palate is richly concentrated, fresh and fruit sweet with redcurrant/ liquorice flavours and chalky firm leafy tannins. It’s a touch soupy but it has good depth of fruit and flavour length.  100% Barossa Valley Shiraz

    2012-2035

    89

     

    50% Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), 50% Barossa Valley. Winter rains replenished soil moistures which sustained vineyards during a very hot dry summer – marked sometimes by extreme heat. By late February/March cool dry temperatures prevailed stabilising baume levels.

     

     

    2002

    Deep crimson purple. Inky/ blackberry essence/ liquorice/ aniseed aromas with plenty of malt/cedar oak.  An immensely concentrated silky textured wine with saturated and juicy blackberry/ meaty/ cedar/ mocha flavours and fine supple tannins. Finishes long and sinuous. A great Grange. 98.5% Shiraz 1.5% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2012 - 2045

    97

     

    50% Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), 50% Barossa Valley. A long, cool summer with intermittent rains was followed by a cool dry summer and a warm, dry autumn. A great vintage.

     

     

    2003

    Deep purple crimson. Intense rhubarb/ elderberry/ vanillin aniseed aromas with hint of tobacco leaf. The palate is sweet and fleshy with generous elderberry/ black cherry/ liquorice flavours, underlying malty oak and fine slinky dry tannins. Finishes grippy firm. 96.5% Shiraz 3.5% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2012 -2030

    85

     

    Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra and Magill fruit. A season of extremes. Drought conditions prevailed over spring and summer. The hot dry weather was interrupted by heavy rainfall in February. A difficult vintage relying strongly on multi-district fruit selection.

     

     

    2004

    Deep purple crimson. Fresh buoyant blackberry/ elderberry/ blueberry/ spice aromas with some vanilla oak nuances. A very concentrated and powerful wine with deepset blackberry/ elderberry fruit, well-balanced vanilla/ malt oak and chocolaty fine tannins. Finishes chalky firm with superb flavour length. A superb Grange Vintage. Released in 2009. 96% Shiraz 4% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2016 -2050

    96

     

    Barossa Valley (including substantial proportion of Kalimna Shiraz), McLaren Vale and Magill fruit. An excellent year. Beneficial winter and spring rains were followed by cool to mild conditions over summer. Ripening accelerated through a warm Indian summer resulting in near perfect fruit. A great Grange Vintage.

     

     

    2005

    Deep purple crimson. Cranberry/ rhubarb/ herb garden aromas with plenty of nut meg/ malty seasoned new American oak. A very elemental wine with ripe cranberry/ blackberry pastille/ fruit sweet flavours, dense touch grippy tannins and plenty of malty new oak characters. Finishes long and sweet. Released in 2010. Will need time to unfold. 95.9% Shiraz 4.1% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2014- 2045

    90

     

    Barossa Valley (including substantial proportion of Kalimna Shiraz), McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. A good even vintage. Regular rainfall fell through winter into early Spring establishing good soil moistures and dam levels. Mild conditions followed by a dry late summer and autumn lead to optimum fruit ripeness.

     

     

    2006

    Deep inky purple crimson. Intense brooding blackberry/ dark chocolate/ spice/ ‘roasted’ aromas with mocha/ toasted malt oak. A very youthful, powerful and balanced wine with concentrated generous blackberry/ dark mocha flavours, dense supple/ chocolaty tannins and plenty of new malty/ cedar oak. Finishes chalky firm with remarkable flavour length. Released in 2011. 98% Shiraz 2% Cabernet Sauvignon

    2016 - 2050

    95-98

     

    98% Barossa Valley Shiraz (including significant contributions from Kalimna and Koonunga Hill Vineyard) 2% Magill Estate Shiraz. A fine Grange vintage, but a short, difficult season. Good winter and spring rainfalls were followed by mild warm conditions over summer. 50 mm of rain at the end of February and a warm burst of weather accelerated ripening. While it rained during vintage, the overall quality of the fruit was excellent.  

     

     

     

     

    Penfolds Grange is totally unique. It is a beautifully seductive, richly concentrated wine which evokes the spirit of the Australian landscape; its natural affinity with Shiraz and Penfolds’ remarkable winemaking philosophy. Each vintage of Penfolds Grange – with its own vintage character - continually evolves in bottle and surprises. Today the style remains distinctive and individual. It is a wine of immense power, plush concentration and balance. The overall philosophy of style relies on a combination of ripe concentrated fruit and fine grained and specially selected American oak woven together by barrel fermentation and careful maturation. Great vintages will last longer than fifty years. Ordinary vintages will last for at least twenty. This is achieved through vintage triaging and classification – a system that ensures that only the best components find their way into the final Grange blend.

     

    A complete review of Penfolds Grange over six decades is a rare event. In many respects each progressive vintage reflects the advancement of the modern Australian Wine industry. While there were other important pioneering winemakers including Maurice O’Shea, Colin Preece and Roger Warren, it is Max Schubert’s legacy that is perhaps the most enduring and inspiring. His work was a collaborative effort. Like Sir Donald Bradman – Australia’s legendary cricketer – Schubert was the star batsman in a team of outstanding players. His brilliance was conviction of his own ideas, inventiveness and leadership. When it was time to go – he passed on the baton allowing his beloved Grange to become entrenched in Australian wine lore with an identity of its own.

     

    While many of the techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds red wines were kept under strict wraps – for commercial advantage – Schubert’s wine-making philosophies and innovations eventually percolated throughout the industry. Many of these methods are now standard wine making practice. The fame of Grange has reached far and wide. Asides from the marvellous tastings, the extraordinary auction values and the controversies, it is really Grange’s aesthetic quality that makes it such an extraordinary wine. It is one of the few wines of the world which is treated like a treasured piece of art work.

     

    Max Schubert (1915-1994) was a pivotal figure in the modern Australian wine industry. Born at Moculta, near Angaston his family moved to Nuriootpa at the age of 5. It was here that he attended high school working part-time at the local butcher to afford his books and pay his way through school. Having completed his intermediate certificate, he joined Penfolds just shy of his 16th birthday. His first job was feeding the horses and cleaning out the stables. Shortly after, he was assigned to the laboratory. Schubert said “I was a fetch and carry boy, but I used to tell people I was a trainee laboratory assistant.” Penfolds was run like a military organisation in the early 1930s and working conditions were tough. Fortified wine production was the main focus although Sherry was an emerging seller.

     

    Working under the notoriously difficult Austrian wine chemist John Farsch, Schubert learned how to propagate and prepare winemaking yeasts, culture and seed flor yeasts into barrel and identify problems including acetic acid, bacterial spoilage and metal contamination. Leslie Penfold Hyland – the Penfold family’s entrepreneurial State Manager - noticed Schubert and relocated him to Magill where he worked with Alfred Vesey – one of the great blenders of his time – helping him prepare samples for wine shows. Don Ditter – who would replace Schubert as national production manager in 1973 said “Alf Vesey was one of the early Penfolds pioneers who attended to the style and quality of Penfolds brands commencing from the early days of operation in South Australia. Max would have learned a thing or two under Alf’s wing.” Vesey also encouraged Schubert to smoke. His penchant for strong French unfiltered cigarettes – called “palate-cleansers” by Vesey – would be the cause of his emphysema in later life.

     

    Schubert studied part time at the Adelaide School of Mines to learn applied chemistry. At the time Penfolds was losing about 25% of its production to spoilage. Ray Beckwith – Penfolds Research chemist at Nuriootpa – made his ground breaking discovery of pH control – around this time. It solved Penfolds spoilage problems and paved the way forward for the production of table wines (notwithstanding its high strength Italian Dry Red – especially made for Italian immigrants working the sugar cane fields of Queensland).

     

    Schubert’s responsibilities steadily progressed to assistant winemaker at Magill. In 1940 he left Penfolds to join the Australian Imperial Forces; “I volunteered for service because I wanted to prove that I was one hundred percent Australian.” He served in the sixth division of the second AIF in the Middle East and was then redeployed to New Guinea in 1942 until 1945. He married Thelma Humphrys – who worked in Penfolds accounts department at Magill – in 1944 while on leave. Schubert rejoined Penfolds in 1946 at the more junior level of laboratory assistant. Within 12 months he was promoted to the role of chief winemaker at Magill. In 1950 Max Schubert was sent to Europe to investigate advances in sherry and port production.

     

    Schubert first arrived in London where he was shocked to observe wine merchants bolstering up Spanish Sherry and cheap French and Italian reds with imported Australian wine. In Jerez he discovered barrel fermentation; an idea that gathered momentum when visiting Bordeaux. He discovered this unusual practice in the cellars of negociant firm Cruse Freres er Fils, Chateau Rausan Segla and Chateau Pontet Canet where towards the end of vinification the wine was racked into new oak barrels to complete fermentation. He also noticed the practice of tannin fining – a technique widely used in France to modify palate texture. Max Schubert was fortunate to have been in Bordeaux 12 months after the great 1949 vintage. He would ever forget what great young Claret tasted like.

     

    The septuagenarian principal Christian Cruse took Schubert around many of the great Bordeaux wine estates including Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Ausone. Such hospitality to a young Australian would have been rare in those days. However Schubert’s charm, inquisitiveness and credentials as an ex soldier may have held him in good stead. The visit to Europe included Germany and first-hand observations the latest advances in white winemaking. While the purpose of the entire trip was to learn about advances in fortified technology – especially sherry – Schubert’s chance visit to Bordeaux altered the course of Australian wine.

     

    On his return to Australia Max Schubert employed newly acquired ideas and made an experimental wine from the 1951 vintage. Sandie Coff – his daughter recalls “Dad told me he designed Grange in his head in the plane on his way back from Europe. It would be a truly Australian wine but able to rival the wonderful French wines he had seen.” Using Shiraz fruit from Magill and Morphett Vale, he produced the first Grange Hermitage – named after the original Grange cottage built by Dr Penfold at Magill in 1844. Max Schubert called the wine Hermitage rather than Shiraz to “pander to the snobs in New South Wales” an important market for Penfolds. Indeed a visitor to Sydney – so impressed by the number of Penfolds wine bars and advertising hoardings – once said that the city might as well be called Penfolds.

     

    Ray Beckwith – Penfolds Research Chemist said “submerged cap fermentation (with the help of heading down boards) was, and still is, in some quarters, the classical method of winemaking particularly the reds. Max Schubert used this method with great success at Magill in the 1950’s in producing his classical Grange Hermitage and other memorable wines.  He did not use a centre pump, but he pumped or drained the fermenting juice from the fermenter completely and returned it via cooling equipment, thereby getting very good extraction of colour and tannin which is such a feature of those special wines, plus good temperature control.”

     

    Schubert favoured the use of drainings to bolster the colour and extract of his wines. At the tail end of vinification, the wines were racked into five 300 litre new American oak hogshead barrels to complete fermentation. The wine was then matured in new oak for a further 18 months prior to bottling. These revolutionary techniques of the time have become practices central to Penfolds wine making philosophy of today. “The story of Grange” (pages ----) written over thirty years ago by its creator Max Schubert makes compelling reading.

     

    In Huon Hooke’s Biography “Max Schubert - Winemaker” (1994), Schubert lists his trademarks as a “penchant for oak in every wine” and “a little shiraz in every thing I make”. The techniques employed in the research and development of Grange, however, are astonishing.  Max Schubert and his team – particularly Ray Beckwith - pioneered major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and application of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically – from the point of view of style; the use of partial barrel fermentation.

     

    One of the great strengths of the Penfolds Grange style is that it does not rely on the performance of a single vineyard. Max Schubert recognised that Grange should be based on a riper spectrum of fruit. He knew – intuitively - that fruit power, concentration and ripe tannins were key components of optimum fruit quality. He was well ahead of his time. His experimental work in the 1950s confirmed his view that Cabernet was unreliable. He observed; “the imbalance of the fruit invariably manifested itself on the palate with a noticeable break in the middle and a thinnish astringent finish.”

     

    The 1951 is  an historical curio and Australia’s most expensive wine. It is now well past its best.  In 2001 it achieved a record price of AUD$52,211 at auction. Don Ditter said “when Max started to put together Grange he only imagined the wine would last at least twenty years. Instead they have aged for fifty years. I am amazed how they have stood up. Some have faded – especially the hidden Granges - but as a group these early 1950s wines are very impressive.”

     

    The criticism fired at Max Schubert’s early Granges – reflected a conservatism prevalent throughout winemaking circles. Australian red wines – at that time – were relatively elegant wines with medium concentration and matured in old oak. Max Schubert remembered the jibes; “A concoction of wild fruits and sundry berries with crushed ants predominating” or perhaps more famously “Schubert, I congratulate you. A very good dry port, which no-one in their right mind will buy – let alone drink.” With the benefit of hindsight it is perhaps unsurprising that Grange attracted so much criticism.

     

    Grange was a radical departure from the norm. Everything about the wine was substantial. The fruit was ripe and concentrated and the new American oak featured strongly. The barrel ferment characters and level of volatile acidity – features of the style – were also greatly misunderstood. To add insult to injury the Grange project was also utilizing a substantial amount of working capital – in the form of unreleased and maturing wine. The infamous tasting of Grange by Penfolds board members (led by Gladys Hyland-Penfold), Sydney wine identities, friends and top management which resulted in the 1957 decision to cease Grange production was a fait-a-compli and a disaster for Max Schubert.

     

    Jeffrey Hyland Penfold who was South Australia Manager of Penfolds, and not one to buckle to authority (he had many run-ins with his father Leslie) – was complicit in the making of the secret Granges. Schubert’s biographer Huon Hooke says “The hidden Granges (1957, 1958 and 1959) were made, matured and bottled in strict secrecy and word never leaked out to the powers-that-be.” Without a budget, Max Schubert had to make do with abandoned bottles found lying in the cellars at Auldana and used American oak hogsheads – although the winemaking technique – comprising partial barrel fermentation was continued. The maturation time in oak however was halved to just nine months. The “hidden” Granges were stored away in the Magill drives built by Alfred Scholz. This whole affair could not have been carried off without the support of Murray Marchant and Gordon Colquist, Schubert’s senior winemakers who helped care for the wines during uncertain times. These early experimental wines – when eventually released – were affixed with Penfolds famous postage stamp labels – especially typed up by Max Schubert’s secretary. Some of the old type labels are actually carbon copies; such was the rudimentary approach to packaging in those days.

     

    A second tasting with the same board members was organised in 1960 by Doug Lamb – a consultant wine merchant, Penfolds director and supporter of Schubert. This time the 1951 and 1955 vintages – both with bottle age development – were greeted with enthusiasm (the 1955 went on to have a very successful wine show career). Grange was reinstated and gradually won acceptance among the cognescenti. Len Evans – in his last published book “How to taste wine” remembered “Great Granges were often quite volatile and the 1955 caused a show incident. I was on a panel of three, two of whom, including me gave the wine a gold (medal). We recognized the acetic acid but also gloried in the flavour, depth and balance of the wine. The other judge gave it 13, a very low score and wouldn’t budge. The chairman, the late great George Fairbrother, a man of infinite patience and great charm, took one sniff of it and said to the dissenter “ Well if you won’t budge, I’m afraid I’ll have to overrule you and give it a Chairman’s gold.” In the 25 to 30 shows I judged under his guidance he only did this with one other wine, the famous Stonyfell 1945 Vintage Port.” George Fairbrother – a doyen of Australian Wine Show judges – was clearly instrumental in garnering support for the style.

     

    In 1960 Schubert was promoted to National Production Manager – the equivalent position to Penfolds Chief Winemaker; he was responsible for all the company’s wineries and vineyards. This was a period of strategic expansion and consolidation in both New South Wales and South Australia. While the purchase of New Dalwood in the Hunter Valley would be short lived, the acquisition of significant vineyard holdings on prime terra rossa soils in Coonawarra was an important step forward for Penfolds during the 1960s. The urbanisation of Adelaide would shortly engulf several longstanding vineyards including Modbury, Morphett Vale, Auldana and Magill.

     

    The expansion of Kalimna and the purchase of Coonawarra vineyards was all about protecting valuable grape supply and maintaining house style. Several of the old vineyard holdings – used for port or sherry production - were replanted to table wine varieties. This was an exciting period at Penfolds where new ideas and practices were implemented at every level. John Bird recollects “Max Schubert adored his senior cellar staff. They had gone through thick and thin with him. As a new staff member, I was completely awestruck by the scale of table winemaking and the great working atmosphere.”

     

    Max Schubert inaugurated the annual vintage Classification Tasting; a convocation of Penfolds winemakers that continues to this day. At this forum all wines of the vintage could be tasted and classified according to style and Penfolds wine type. New technology was also introduced including temperature control, winery hygiene, inert pipes, stainless steel, Willmes air bag presses and general quality control. During the 1960s Penfolds Grange firmed up its position as Australia’s most distinguished wine. Previously it had been a small-scale wine of “only four or five barrels.” Vigneron and wine author Max Lake observed “there has been quite an amount of experimentation with various wines and blends till today it is obvious the style is consolidated into a consistently outstanding wine.”  The 1960 and 1962 Granges were highly successful wines; “they have superb, magnificent bouquet and balance running right through the start to finish.”

     

    While Kalimna has been a longstanding source for Grange (since 1953), Coonawarra has occasionally contributed fruit to Grange since 1961. Schubert oversaw the commercialisation of several new Penfolds red wines including the now-famous Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz and Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon. Several experimental wines were made during this period including special one off wines including 1962 Bin 60A, 1966 Bin 620 and 1967 Bin 7 (see Special Bin Reds). However it is the story of Grange that largely defines Max Schubert’s career at Penfolds.

     

    The 1960 to 1977 Penfolds Grange vintages were regularly entered into Australian Wine Shows with considerable success. Both the 1965 and 1967 vintages won the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne Wine Show. It earned a considerable swag of Gold /Silver and Bronze medals in Australian Capital City wine shows. The 1962 won over 50 Gold medals in its show career! Len Evans – a hugely influential wine show judge and legendary Australian industry leader – said in his publication The Wine Buyer in 1972 “ Most people who have been lucky enough to see the wines of the early 1950s and others like the ’62 would agree that we have been treated to something quite extraordinary. And whatever comparisons made to the wines of Bordeaux I believe that the real Granges represent a new, great wine style of the world.”

     

    Max Schubert retired as Chief Winemaker in 1975 but remained involved as a consultant “winemaker emeritus” for another twenty vintages. He was recognized in his own lifetime with membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1984 and the inaugural McWilliam’s-sponsored Maurice O’Shea Award in 1990. Decanter Magazine conferred him Man of the Year in 1988. Max Schubert – who died in 1994 - was a self-taught – but practical - winemaker with a natural inquisitiveness for winemaking theory. He had a whimsical and romantic view of winemaking too.  He once said; “I’d like to think that the wines with which I have been associated are descended form one ancestor vineyard established many years ago, marrying with another, and another, and even another if you like, thus creating and establishing a dynasty of wines. These may differ in character year by year, but all bear an unmistakable resemblance and relationship to each other……This whole approach and concept has been of great assistance to me, not only in the technical sphere, but as a means of stimulating my imaginative powers as far as winemaking is concerned…All winemakers should possess a good fertile imagination if they are to be successful in their craft.”

    In 2000, the South Australian Parliament created a new State electoral boundary – the Barossa Valley at its centre - called “Schubert” in memory of Max Schubert and his extraordinary contribution to the prestige of South Australia and its wine industry.

     

    Don Ditter, an early graduate of Roseworthy Agricultural College - and who joined Penfolds as a laboratory assistant in 1942 - was appointed by Max Schubert as his successor in 1975. Ditter – who grew up in the Barossa - was interviewed and recommended by Ray Beckwith. He started at Magill and worked for John Farsch who “had a reputation of not being able to keep staff. He was so relieved to have help during vintage that he kept me on.” On turning 18, Ditter joined the Royal Australian Air Force but did not see active service; “The war was ending and they didn’t know what to do with us.”

     

    In 1946 Ditter undertook wine studies at Roseworthy Agricultural College. Les Eckert and Bill Jamieson were class mates. Ray Kidd, Doug Collett and Ray Ward – also important wine industry identities during the 50s, 60s and 70s – were also students at the same time.  During his last year at Roseworthy, Ditter was asked to join Penfolds and was paid a retainer. He graduated in 1950 with first class honours and returned to Penfolds, this time to Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley working with Ray Beckwith. Ditter said “Ray not only trained me about all applied technical aspects of wine, but he also taught me about diplomacy. Whenever I got worked up about an issue I used to sleep on it.” Alfred Scholz – who was manager of Nuriootpa – was an ex miner (he built the wine maturation tunnel at Kalimna and the drives at Magill) with a notoriously fierce temper. He ran his winery with an iron rod. However Don Ditter survived his internship at Nuriootpa.

    In the early 1950s John Ditter worked for John Davoren – the creator of St Henri, but also a highly skilled sparkling winemaker. In 1953 he was transferred to Sydney to take on responsibility of winemaker of the two cellars in Sydney – located at Alexandria and the Queen Victoria Building in the central business district. At the time Penfolds had several depots around Sydney. Ditter said “a lot of the wine was unsound.” Ditter’s diplomatic skills were essential. “The cellars were full of old timers adamant that nothing was going to change.” Bottling was postponed for instance if a thunderstorm was predicted. Within a few years Ditter had successfully put in place a modern winemaking regime paving the way for a golden period of fine table wine production.

     

    In 1958 a new state-of-the-art winemaking facility was built at Tempe near Sydney’s international airport. In 1963 Don was promoted to New South Wales Production Manager. In this position he was responsible for wine making operations in Sydney, the soon-to-close-down Minchinbury, Griffith and the Hunter Valley. Schubert quickly identified Ditter as a kindred winemaking spirit with an eye for detail. They would travel extensively around New South Wales. Max Schubert would comment that Ditter was “a natural talent at blending.” Ditter was an exceptional winemaker whose main ambitions were “to maintain the style, improve the quality and prestige of Penfolds.” In 1973 he was appointed National Production Manager, in control of all winemaking operations. In 1975 the title of Chief winemaker was added following the retirement of Max Schubert.

     

    Don Ditter took the Grange style into the modern era. This included a major overhaul of vineyard management and tracking of fruit. With the advice of his red winemaking team – particularly John Bird and Chris Hancock - he refined a number of techniques including the controversial method of encouraging volatile acidity. “I insisted we keep the VA within legal limits to avoid being challenged by authorities. Further, it wouldn’t have been good if our opposition had pointed it out!” A more flexible approach to maturation and bottling was also implemented. “Maturation has always been an important aspect of Penfolds winemaking. Timing however is everything when it comes to getting the right balance of freshness, fruit and maturation characters. If the wine was a little worn – it can never be reclaimed.” Ditter also paid particular attention to the seasoning of American oak. Under Ditter’s leadership, the Grange style was improved with fresher aromas, more richness and ripeness of fruit and better oak selection. 1976, 1978, 1983 and 1986 are probably his most admired vintages.

     

    The 1986 vintage – Ditter’s last - is regarded by the secondary wine market as one of the greatest Grange vintages of all time.  John Bird said “Don Ditter will be best remembered for adding extra polish and finesse to Grange. While not always deeply involved in the nitty-gritty of the vintage cellar he had a wonderful palate and really understood how to make the best of each vintage.” Further Don Ditter steered Penfolds winemaking through the unchartered waters of further consolidation and company takeover. While the Penfold-Hyland family lost control of Penfolds in 1976, the quality of the wines – especially Grange remained on track.  In 2008 Don Ditter, in recognition of his longstanding and important contribution to wine, was awarded the Order of Australia Medal  (OAM) for “his services to the Australian wine industry, particularly as chief winemaker at Penfolds Wines.”

     

    By the early 1980s – Penfolds stopped entering Grange into wine shows – largely because it is such a distinctive style – that most wine judges could spot it easily in a blind tasting; there was nothing further to be gained. This was perhaps illustrated by the poor wine show results of the 1976 Grange – a wine which Max Schubert regarded as a classic Grange vintage.(Nonetheless, Penfolds has periodically entered Grange into various international wine competitions with considerable success; the 1971 – for instance - created a sensation when it beat the best Rhone Valley wines at the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris in 1979). Further, in Robert Parker – the highly infuential American wine critic  also known as the “Emperor of Wine”- awarded 1976 Grange 100 points.

     

    The winemaking talents of John Duval were spotted early by Don Ditter and Max Schubert. His family; Morphett Vale grape growers were early suppliers to Penfolds. Indeed many of the Shiraz vines at Magill Estate are derived from cuttings from John Duval’s family vineyard. John Duval, however, represented a new generation of winemaker; with a very strong pure science and applied winemaking background. He joined the team at Nuriootpa and worked for John Davoren. For several years he played an understudy role with Kevin Schroeter, Don Ditter and Max Schubert.

     

    Duval was appointed Penfolds Chief winemaker at a remarkably young age. His contribution to the evolution of Grange has been critical. His stewardship saw some of the greatest developments and innovations in viticulture and winemaking. The 1990, 1991, 1996 and 1998 Granges are regarded by many as extraordinary wines with incredible power and finesse. 1999 Grange is fast establishing revisionist critical thought. Many believe that it will equal or eclipse 1998.

     

    Peter Gago – was promoted to the role of Penfolds Chief winemaker in 2002 – only the fourth in 55 years.  A graduate in mathematics and science from the University of Melbourne, Peter completed another degree, graduating as Dux,  in oenology from Roseworthy College – now a part of the University of Adelaide in 1989. Peter’s outstanding winemaking and communication skills – he was teacher for eight years – were quickly recognized by Penfolds. Soon after joining the team he became Penfolds Red Wine Oenologist – a hands-on role maintaining the quality and consistency of the existing Penfolds portfolio and developing new wines for an increasingly global market.

    Gago’s stewardship of Penfolds Grange is timely. He has been described as a “perpertual-motion brilliant speaker, wine educator and winemaker.” In the old days winemakers travelled to learn about new equipment and practices rather than attending speaking and dinner engagements. Peter Gago’s commitments are especially demanding. One commentator remarked once that the job of Penfolds Chief Winemaker is an honour only surpassed by being Captain of the Australian Cricket Team or The Prime Minister of Australia! Under Gago’s leadership, Penfolds Grange has continued to attract worldwide interest and enormous respect. Indeed Grange seems to have established a renewed and vigorous momentum. The accolades continue across a myriad of influential publications in almost every market.

    Peter Gago is the first to acknowledge and credit his red winemaking team - Steve Leinert, Andrew Baldwin and consultant and longstanding Penfolds winemaker John Bird; “The production of Penfolds Grange has always been a collaborative effort. While it is a singular and distinctive style there are many contributors including independent Grange growers, our own vineyard team, red winemakers and support staff.”

     

    The Grange winemaking Philosophy hasn’t really changed that much over 50 years. The style has been refined over the years reflecting progress in both vineyard and winemaking practices. Max Schubert originally aimed to make a wine of between 11.5 to 12 per cent alcohol. This has risen to around 13.0 to 13.5 per cent; tannin ripeness has become as crucial as fruit ripeness. The level of volatile acidity has been dropped and the quality of oak has improved. However many of the original winemaking practices are still central to the style. Penfolds red winemaking team continues to identify the best and most exquisite fruit available; apply submerged cap/ headed down vinification and complete fermentation in new American hogsheads. These techniques have become standard practice across Australia.

    Since the early 1970s Penfolds Grange has created a strong international image for Australian wine. Every time a person opens a bottle of fine mature Grange it strengthens the wine’s reputation. Positive critical reviews have also helped. Hugh Johnson – the notable UK wine critic once called it “one of the only true First Growths of the Southern Hemisphere. Robert Parker – the highly influential US wine critic - called Grange “a leading candidate for the richest most concentrated dry red table wine on planet Earth.” Wine Spectator Magazine has conferred two important honours; the 1955 Grange was named one of the top12 wines of the 20th Century in 2000 and the 1990 vintage was named “Wine of the Year’ in 1995. In 2002 grapes destined for Grange were once again crushed and fermented at Magill. A significant proportion of the blend is also matured in hogsheads in the Magill underground drives.

     

    In 2007 Grange was ranked 15th most tradable wine in the world by Liv-Ex – the London Wine Exchange; “with relatively high production and price, and continued support from Robert Parker, and a series of great wines since 2000, its rise up the charts is understandable.” The Wall Street Journal even published a Dow Jones Grange Index. The accompanying text said “Wine lovers remember their first Grange the way they remember their first kiss!” Grange is the only wine to be heritage listed by the South Australian National Trust. It also heads up the highly influential and internationally recognized Langton’s Classification of Australian wine – in recognition of Grange’s cornerstone presence of the secondary wine market. It continues to generate considerable collector interest and millions of dollars of auction revenue per year.

    Stewart Langton – specialist wine auctioneer and founder of Langton’s said “ Penfolds - especially Grange - has always performed reliably well through the thick and thin of the secondary market. Collectors and wine enthusiasts have a strong affection for the wines. Through a long track record of performance, recorded histories of tastings, and plenty of anecdotal stories and experiences, they know exactly what to expect. Even with changes in ownership, Penfolds has maintained a strong production focused image where quality, consistency and heritage are seen as vitally important. It’s a great reputation to have – especially in times of uncertainty.”

    Until recently Access Economics – an Australian economic think-tank – used the 1971 Grange as an indicator of wine investment performance. Certainly Grange prices ebb and flow according to economic conditions and reputation of vintage. Its sustained strong track record however illustrates Grange’s solid reputation for longevity amongst collectors and wine enthusiasts. Indeed Grange has weathered several economic cycles and trends within the ultra-fine secondary wine market

    Penfolds Grange – originally called Penfolds Grange Hermitage - is a very perfumed, concentrated wine which combines the intensely rich fruit and ripe tannins of Shiraz with the fragrance and complementary nuances of American oak. Partial barrel fermentation – which takes place at the tail-end of primary fermentation (at 2-3 baume) weaves the two elements together – giving a “meaty” complexity and roundness of flavours on the palate. This process has been described as “Barrel fermentation gets the oak into the wine and the wine into the oak” A portion of cabernet is used in some years to further enhance aromatics and palate structure. The 1999 and 2000 vintages, however, are both 100% Shiraz.

     

    Penfolds Grange is released five years after bottling – to allow the wine to further develop. The time-lag is also an historical one; a legacy of its rejection in 1957 by Penfolds management in Sydney, where Max Schubert was accused of “accumulating stocks of wine which to all intent and purposes were unsaleable!” The early Granges were labelled under different but non-sequential Bin numbers. While the line started as 1951 Bin 1, the bin numbers are seemingly ad-hoc. In 1970 Grange was standardised to Bin 95.

     

    Penfolds Grange is considered by many as the ultimate Australian wine experience. At the Penfolds Red Wine Clinics – now held throughout the world – collectors, wine enthusiasts and Grange owners bring their bottles – or even a single bottle - to be assessed by Penfolds winemakers. It has become something of annual ceremony where stories and anecdotes are swapped – while bottles are checked, topped up, recorked and re-capsuled. It is an eclectic crowd comprising millionaire wine collectors, doctors and labourers to taxi drivers and priests. Australians – from all walks of life – are immensely proud of the success of Grange.

     

    In the late 1940s post war Australia was embarking on a journey to modern nationhood. Max Schubert – himself a returned soldier – dreamed of making something different and unique in the world of wine. The development of Penfolds Grange reflects a national mood; a sense of purpose and an enthusiasm for progress. Australia is a young country and does not have the highly evolved traditions of the old world. The future is its only reference point. The stature of Grange has been achieved - not through the hindsight of centuries of heritage and accumulated wealth – but through trial, error and persistence. Max Schubert described Penfolds Grange as “buoyant – almost ethereal”; evocative of companionship, happiness and wonder – the essence of the Grange experience.

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    2015 Bordeaux “en- primeur” “Next in line of a great series of vintages; 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 & 2015.”

     

    2015 is a wonderful Bordeaux vintage without the hype or hysteria associated with 2009 and 2010. The wines are generally expressive and generous with marvellous concentration and structure. Give another year in barrel, the wines should gain more fruit complexity and volume. The Châteaux, across all sub-regions, are excited by the beautiful fragrance, clear fruit flavours and brisk energy of the wines, and believe the vintage to be the best since 2010. More than a few times the phrase “a vintage of the decade” has been mentioned. I have tasted through most of the top wines, some on more than a few occasions, and feel confident that this is a vintage worth supporting. It is a very successful vintage.

     

    Weather conditions were generally ideal with perfect flowering and set during Spring. A hot dry and sunny spell during June and July kept the vines in balance; the near-drought conditions resulted in excellent cluster development. Veraison (in which the grape berries turn from green and hard to coloured and fleshy) began towards the end of July. Light rains refreshed the canopies and hydrated the clusters. Cooler weather arrived in August with above average rainfall. The northern Medoc was exposed to heavy rains, but no berry splitting or significant disease pressure was reported. The cooler conditions running up to harvest in September allowed the grapes to conserve their aromatic potential and ripen relatively evenly.

     

    The red wines across the right bank and the left bank are generally impressive in concentration, vigour and freshness. While all the wines are tasted extremely young, it is easy to see the quality and dimension of the vintage. Merlot performed particularly well, with many Châteaux picking intermittently over a three-week window to achieve optimal freshness, fleshiness and ripeness. Cabernet Franc, its companion in many of the wines, gives an attractive “tannin seam” and structural vigour. Already observers are calling it a right bank (St Emilion & Pomerol) year. Ch Vieux Château Certan, described as “La Force Tranquille,”and Château Petrus were my top two right bank wines followed by Château Ausone. All have a buoyancy and precision that augers well for the future.

     

    The southern left bank (Margaux and Pessac-Leognan) also stumped up some beautiful concentrated wines. The alcoholic strength and tannin ripeness seem to correlate with this impression.  Cabernet Sauvignon, typically ”needing to takes its time”, brought wines of lovely aromaticity, concentration and vitality. The success of this variety has been dependent on the sophistication of harvesting and selection at blending. Château Margaux and Château Palmer are amazing wines. Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion made dense chocolaty styles. Château Haut Bailly is particularly refined and beautifully balanced.

     

    At Château Batailley, the introduction of a second wine and closer attention to differentiation, led to one of the best vintages in its history. Many of the small refinements and decisions in the vineyard and winery allowed several top Châteaux in St Julien, Pauillac and St Estephe to make beautiful wines too. The hard selection process is particularly evident on the left bank. Château Margaux and Château Cos d’Estournel chose to rigorously defend their first wines by very detailed picking and selection. Only 35% and 39% (respectively) of the harvest went into their Grand Vin. St Emilion’s Ch Cheval Blanc on the other hand comprised 95.1% of the harvest, leaving no reason to make Petit Cheval in 2015.

     

    Attention to detail in the vineyard, especially after the August rains, and huge investment in optical sorting machines (at a cost of around 200,000 Euros each) at harvest ensured the grapes were in good condition before vinification. It is quite incredible how the fruit arrives into the winery these days. Meticulous attention to detail has become the norm within the Grand Cru Classé community. The First Growth Estates with their huge financial investments in vineyard and cellar practices, all made impressive wines this year. Perhaps the most evocative of all is Château Margaux. The death of the estate’s longstanding winemaker Paul Pontallier, on Easter Sunday from cancer, rocked Bordeaux’s wine community. He was a man for all seasons. He brought the best out of his people and his wines, whatever the vintage offered. 2015 Château Margaux, in all likelihood, will be the greatest vintage of its modern history.

     

    Despite the sombre mood at this year’s 2015 En Primeurs tastings, the energy of Spring brought a sense of renewal. Budburst in the vineyards, white and pink blossom in full bloom, the pure chirrup of fledglings and the vibrant new wines of the vintage promised the animation and maturation of life. The colours, densities, flavours and tannin quality of the young red wines all suggest a great vintage in the making. It is one of the wine trade’s most curious practices to make comment on unfinished wine, yet somehow the predictions become more or less right. Over the next year the wines will develop more fruit complexity, richness and volume in barrel. The tannins, oak and fruit will further integrate.

     

    The sweet aperitif/ dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac have also fared extremely well. The combination of even ripening and optimum outbreaks of botrytis cinerea has brought some magnificent wines. Some are calling it the best vintage since 2001, arguably the greatest vintage in recent memory. While Ch d’Yquem looked gorgeous, the elegantly styled Ch Climens, still in many parts, will be wonderful. Typically this wine is tasted out of several barrels, and my notes are a composite of eight different elements. The fragrance, vibrancy, freshness, and line are amazing. The dry whites, mainly Sauvignon Blanc or Gris dominant are refreshing styles with attractive freshness and drive. Ch Haut Brion Blanc is an amazing wine, but its release price will reflect its rarity.

     

    The Châteaux will likely bring out the vintage in two tranches to capture the appetite of the world’s wine trade. The first offers will probably be a touch higher than last years opening prices. This will be against the advice of the negociants who have been running on very low margins for many years now. The weakening of the British Pound and the Australian Dollar against the euro may be a stumbling block for some buyers, but there will be value and opportunity in this forthcoming primeur campaign. For Australian buyers, this is absolutely the best way to buy Bordeaux. Provenance is guaranteed, allocations confirmed and the price will still be less than future imports, by virtue of the structure of the Place de Bordeaux.

     

    Better market conditions in China and the US, together with a significant vintage in both quantity and quality, will see momentum return to Bordeaux after a four-year period of stagnation and uncertainty. The cat and mouse game between the Châteaux, the negociants and wine trade now begins. Regardless of the outcome, Bordeaux will continue to be the fine wine reference for many decades. There is something utterly unique, invigorating and evocative about mature Bordeaux wines. The best of the 2015 will be transformative and delicious to drink. All you need is patience, moderately deep pockets and the will to buy!

     

    Margaux Beautiful wines with gorgeous fruit density and fine sinuous tannins. Its is some years since Margaux shone so brightly. Ch Margaux, Ch Palmer, Ch Rauzan Segla, Ch Rauzan Gassies, Alter Ego de Cg Palmer. Ch Pavillon Rouge, Ch Malescot de St Exupery, Ch D’Angludet, Ch Kirwan, Ch Cantenac Brown and Ch Brand Cantenac are highlights.

     

    St Julien Fragrant and well concentrated with slinky textures and inky length. Ch Leoville Lascases, Ch Ducru Beaucaillou and Ch Leoville Barton were top performers. But I also liked Ch Beychevelle, Ch Branaire Ducru and Ch Lagrange, Croix de Beaucaillou and Ch Lalande Borie, both connected to Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, are beneficiaries of meticulous selection.

     

    Pauillac The very top estates made great wine. The First Growths all made very fine wines. There is a debate about which is best. I like Ch Mouton Rothschild the best and admired Ch Latour for its precision and potential for longevity. The latter won’t be released en-primeur so ist academic. Ch Lafite is excellent too. Ch Pontet Canet is outstanding, as you would expect from such an enlightened and eccentric estate.  I was also immensely impressed with Ch Batailley and Ch Lynch Bages. Ch Clerc Milon, Ch Grand Puy Lacoste, Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and its opposite neighbour Ch Pichon Longueville Baron.

     

    St Estephe  Classic wines with aromatic complexity and muscular drive. A little more variable than other sub-regions, probably because of its exposure to heavy rains and Atlantic weather. Ch Montrose and Ch Cos’ d’Estournel made beautiful wines, by very careful selection of the crop. Their associate wines were very good too; La Dame de Montrose, Ch Tronquoy-Lalande and Pagodes de Cos.

     

    Pessac Leognan & Graves  Powerful wines with density and strength. Both Ch La Mission Haut Brion and Ch Haut Brion are standouts with amazing concentration and vigour, accompanied by relatively high alcohols. The superb Ch Haut Bailly, Ch Smith Haut Lafitte, and Domaine de Chevalier are my personal favourites.

     

    Pomerol  Wonderful fleshy wines with superb concentration and chocolaty textures. It is one of the most impressive Pomerol vintages of the last twenty years with "lots of shoulder and length." Vieux Chateau Certan and Ch Petrus were profound standouts. The list is long but Ch Latour-à-Pomerol, Ch La Fleur, Ch Lafleur Petrus, Ch Trontanoy, Ch Hosanna and Ch Bon Pasteur were also highlights.

     

    St Emilion  A very strong year, many wines having superb fruit generosity, freshness and line. Ch Angelus, Ch Ausone, Ch Canon, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Figeac, Ch Trottevielle, and Ch Troplong Mondot are very top performers. Highlights also include Ch Beauséjour, Ch Canon La-Gaffelliere. Ch Gracia, Ch La Couspaude, Ch La Dominique, Ch Larmande, Ch Pavie Macquin, Quinault L'Enclos, Clos Fourtet, La Chapelle d’Ausone and Clos Cantenac. Ch Chantecaille Clauzel, lying like a shag on an encrusted diamond rock, is not particularly well known, but its story is remarkable and the wine worth buying for the conversation alone.

     

    Sauternes Barsac  A very strong year. The wines possess beautiful fragrance, clarity, viscosity, richness and acid line. Ch Climens, Ch Coutet and Ch Guiraud are wonderful standouts. Ch de Rayne Vigneau, Ch Doisy Daene, Ch Doisy Vedrines. Clos Haut Peyraguey, Ch La Tour Blanche, Ch Rabaud Promis, Ch Rieussec and Suduiraut all produced fine examples too. The lesser known Ch Broustet, Ch Caillou, Ch de Myrat and Ch Suau were exemplary. Ch d’Yquem is of course impressive, but next door neighbour Ch Guiraud, offers a very similar quality and style.

    Andrew Caillard, MW

     

     

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    Andrew Caillard MW was born and educated in the UK. Worth School (1978).

    He is a wine marketing graduate of Roseworthy Agricultural College, South Australia (1984) and passed the Master of Wine examination (winning the prestigious Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in wine tasting) in 1993. In 1989 he founded Langton's Sydney and played a key role in establishing Langton's as Australia's leading wine auction house. Langton's Classification of Australian Wine, now in it s6th edition, is regarded as the reference for wine collectors and observers of the ultra-fine wine scene. 

     

    In 2008 Langton;s was acquired by Woolworths, Australia's largest retail group. Langton's has evolved to become a multi-channel brand offering premium Australian and imported wines at auction and through brokerage services. Andrew Caillard continues to work with Langton's in an advisory role and continues his involvement in Langton's Classification of Australian Wine, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2104. Since 2009, Andrew’s primary role is Fine Wine Principal of Pinnacle Drinks a division of Woolworths Liquor Group, Australia’s largest retail group, which involves significant engagement with Australia’s wine industry and the international wine market. This includes working across all of the retail banners including Dan Murphy's, BWS, The Wine Quarter and Langton's. Andrew is a longstanding columnist and tasting panellist for Australia’s Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine.

     

    He chairs Shanghai’s Wine 100 competition, judges at the Japan Wine Challenge and has participated in various shows including the Adelaide Wine Show’s provenance prize. He is the author of the reference book Penfolds “The Rewards of Patience” now its seventh edition. His work as an author, writer and influencer was recognised in 2011 when he won the Australian Wine Communicator of the Year Award. Andrew also holds the rare distinction of being a 'Baron of the Barossa'. Andrew Caillard is the associate producer of the Australian Academy Award winning feature documentary, Red Obsession; a movie that explores the economic shift in power from the west to the east though the prism of Bordeaux’s wine trade with China. Together with his wife Bobby, Andrew is also a Barossa wine producer. Their Caillard Mataro (and Shiraz), which feature Andrew’s paintings on the label, is a micro-wine production that is seen in many of Australia’s top restaurants and specialist wine merchants. The wines are also exported to China, including Hong Kong and Singapore.

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    2016 Bordeaux Primeurs. “A once in a lifetime vintage”

    Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.

    The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.

     

    The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

    This year, the absence of the much loved Paul Pontallier at Chateau Margaux, is keenly felt. What would he have said about this perplexing and brilliant 2016 vintage? There is simply no reference in the span of a lifetime. Yet the body language, the rapid gestures and excitable eyes of wine makers and proprietors across the region fully express a confidence and enthusiasm not seen since we were filming “Red Obsession” six years ago, during the 2010 vintage primeurs.

     

    The growing season was marked by three lucky events; even-flowering, a hot dry summer and miraculous rainfall on the 13th September. The 2016 vintage outcome was a product of a violent swing between El Nino and La Nina weather patterns. After an unseasonably warm November and December, the new year brought with it a six-month deluge of relentless rains and storms. The saturated nitrogen-primed soils allowed for even budburst and “uniformity of shoots”, apparently an exceptional phenomenon according to Bill Blatch a seasoned observer of the Bordeaux growing season. Unlike the misfortunate Burgundians, frost damage was extremely limited. Only the lower lying vineyards in Graves, Sauternes and the right bank suffered any damage on the nights of 7th, 17th and 28th April and most of it was minimal. It was nothing compared to the devastating and historic frosts across including Burgundy, Chablis and the Loire Valley in late April.

     

    A dry spell in early June allowed flowering to take place quickly and evenly. Nonetheless by the end of June over 80% of Bordeaux’s annual rainfall had bedraggled the surrounding vineyards. The humid weather and threat of mildew and grape worm was further compounded by soggy impassable soils which prevented the use of tractors to open up the leaf canopy and treat the vines. Although growers were on tenterhooks throughout May and early June, the weather switched from the great wet to the great dry on the 20th June. Bordeaux then experienced the driest summer since 1893. With more sunshine than usual, warm-to-hot zephyr like weather and cool nights allowed the vines to catch up with seasonal expectations.

     

    Veraison occurred after two light showers in late July and early August. At first the soil moistures and warm dry conditions accelerated growth but by mid Summer and two heatwaves (12th-16th, 22nd- 27th August) the available water was greatly reduced leaving the vines to struggle. By late August drought conditions were beginning to threaten the outcome of the vintage. Vines with established deep root systems, particularly into water-retaining clay sub-soils, continued to perform well, but younger vines on more free draining sandy and gravelly soils began to suffer. Some vineyards closed down into survival mode but most experienced moderate water stress, which has the effect of redirecting the vine’s energy into ripening the grapes and building colour, flavour and tannin. The cool nights – crucial to the success of the vintage - protected aromatics and acidities.

     

    Early September was hot and dry but “miraculous rains” fell on the 13th which allowed the vines to refresh and rebalance. Cool autumn conditions prevailed through to vintage promoting freshness and perfectly balanced and healthy fruit.

    Perfect weather conditions during vintage allowed winemakers to take an unhurried “à la carte” approach to harvesting. Vintage began around the 22nd September in Pauillac. Ch Haut Bailly began picking merlot on the 26th September. The petit verdot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon were harvested from the 11th October onwards, finishing around the 20th October. At Chateau Ausone the vintage started later on the 10th October with the final cabernet franc being picked on the 19th October.

     

    Veronique Sanders of Haut Bailly describes the merlot grapes as having “a good size” and the cabernets being “very small.” Cabernet sauvignon is clearly the star performer in this vintage with its extraordinary skin to juice ratio and freshness. As a consequence the Left Bank, being more cabernet sauvignon dominant, has produced some of the most impressive wines of the 2016 vintage.

    A unique, dramatic and elongated 2016 growing season is typified by wines of remarkable beauty, richness and tension. The pure dark fruited pastille-like fragrance, juicy flavours, dense silky tannin structures and persistent acidities are a feature of the vintage. The balance between elegance and power are often exquisitely poised. It doesn’t take too much imagination to predict the aging trajectory of these impressive and beautiful wines.

     

    The Cabernet sauvignon dominant left bank appears to have an edge. St Estephe, Pauillac and St Julien produced wines of expressive dimension and “dynamic freshness.” Nonetheless all of the sub-regions have made impressive and singularly beautiful wines. This includes the merlot dominant sub regions St Emilion and Pomerol.

    Although I have tasted through many of the great chateaux wines already, I am only half way through the 2016 Primeurs tastings. Highlights already include Ch Mouton Rothschild, Ch d’Armailhac, Ch Pontet Canet, Ch Leoville Lascases, Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, Ch Haut Bailly, Ch Figeac, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Canon, Ch Petrus and Ch Lafleur. Both Ch La Conseillante and Ch Latour, are also being talked about.

     

    The highly competitive nature of wine criticism and cultural differences will no doubt result in disagreements and debate. The 2016s are still incredibly youthful and unevolved wines. Generational change will also lead to new perspectives. Ten years ago, some commentators would have made comment about the linear freshness of the vintage. But the goal posts have changed and Bordeaux is making more modern and approachable wines than ever before. Having tasted through many of the most well known Chateaux of Bordeaux I am impressed by the presence, impact and energy of the wines. Although elemental in nature they have the aromatic complexity, density and fine structure for aging. At such a young age they are utterly delicious wines to drink – a sure sign of potential.

     

    Exit polls, or good old gossip in the trenches, already show that the quality of the 2016 vintage matches up with the local enthusiasm and excitement. Whatever the universal verdict – atypical, classic, great or even overstated – the wines are unique and utterly compelling. I am perfectly sure that these wines, the product of an extreme paradox of weather conditions, will bring great pleasure and excitement to any one who loves Bordeaux. Our Langton’s 2016 Bordeaux Primeurs Campaign is not to be missed!

     

    2016 Bordeaux Primeurs

    Tasting Notes

    Andrew Caillard, MW

    87-90 – good

    91-94 – very good

    95-100 – exceptionally good

    Acte 8        

    BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR                  

    Medium deep crimson colour. Sweet plum juicy fruit aromas, touch sinewy in texture with red fruits rhubarb. Firm chalky touch sappy finish. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 88 points  

     

    Aile d'Argent                  

    BORDEAUX          

    Pale medium colour. Fresh grapefruit, lemon curd aromas with yeasty characters and fresh vanilla oak notes. Well concentrated lemon curd, grapefruit aromas, generous supple textures and fine mineral touch salty notes. Attractive wine with sappy notes. Tasted at Ch Mouton Rothschild. 92 points

                        

    Alter Ego de Palmer    

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, inky espresso aromas with complexing spicy/ cumin notes.. Concentrated and inky textured with dark cherry, dark chocolate flavours, liquorice, fennel notes and fresh long Italianesque acidity. Slinky, al-dente finsih with espresso graphite notes. Lovely aromatics and freshness.  Tasted at Ch Palmer 95 points

     

    Angelique de Monbousquet           

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh plum paneforte aromas. Generous supple sweet fruit flavours, fine chalky looseknit textures and bitter chocolate notes. Lovely fresh bitter sweet notes at the finish. Tasted at Ch Pavie. 92 points          

         

    Angelus     

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Black cherry, liquorice. Dark chocolate touch marzipan aromas. Lovely plush black cherry, blackberry chocolate flavours, roasted chestnut flavours, ultra fine grainy plentiful tannins. Finishes chalky finish. Fresh acidity. Touch saline, very attractive. Tasted at Ch Angelus. 96 points

     

    Angludet   

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Intense ripe blackberry aromas with paneforte, praline, herb garden notes. Richly concentrated wine with ultra ripe dark berry fruits, chocolatey textures and integrated vanilla, bisquity oak notes. Finishes long and chocolaty with linear freshness. Supple and vigorous yet dense and minerally. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points   

     

    Aromes de Pavie         

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh intense dark cherry, liquorice aromas. Plush creamy wine with dense fruit and velvety tannins. Builds up rich and inky with cedar vanilla oak. Modern wine showing amazing, density, extract and persistent acidity. 93 points        

             

    Ausone      

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Red plum, flint, graphite aromas savoury herb spicy oak notes. Lovely richness and volume with pure redcurrant spicy fruits, fine looseknit lacy textures, plentiful new oak and beautiful clear indelible acidity. Really delicious wine with superb pure fruits, density, energy and mineral length. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 97 points

                        

    Balestard La Tonnelle

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh attractice musky plum, redcurrant pastille aromas with vanilla oak complexity. Sweet supple wine with deep set plum, red cherry, red liquorice flavours, supple but dense velvety tannins, chocolaty, roasted chestnut oak notes and long fresh acidity. Quite opulent style with linear acidity giving line and length.Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points

                        

    Baron de Brane             

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh cassis, touch of red cherry with mocha oak notes and graphite complexity. Well concentrated pure cherry flavours, fine chalky textures, attractive mid palate richness and underlying new oak notes. Very juicy fruited with pronounced acidity. Tasted at Ch  Brane Cantenac. 88 points

                        

    Bastor Lamontagne    

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale colour. Fresh grapefruit glacé, lemon curd, mandarin, honeyed aromas with hint of marzipan. Dense sweet grapefruit, lemon curd, tropical fruit flavours, fine supple textures, underlying vanilla oak notes and persistent acidity. Quite unctuous and solid. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

     

    Batailley    

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Classic wine with intense blackberry, juicy black cherry pastille aromas and roasted chestnut/ coffee notes. Beautiful sweet blackcurrant pastille fruit, supple fine tannins and perfectly integrated oak. Finishes inky and long with integrated but linear fresh acidity. Bloody good. For the long haul.  Will be a classic from this producer. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 97 points

                        

    Beau-site  

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep colour. Fresh herb garden, mulberry blackcurrant lead pencil, with touch of vanilla. Generous with saturated dark fruits, fine chocolaty/ graphite textures and biscuity oak. Finishes chalky firm long and minerally. Very expressive. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 93 points

                        

    Beauregard                    

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Roasted coffee, dark plum aromas. Richly flavoured wine with deep set dark plum espresso roasted chestnut flavours, fine plentiful grainy tannins and balanced vanilla oak complexity. Lovely long persistent buoyant fruit and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points    

     

    Belair Monange            

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, dark plum aromas with pastille notes and integrated savoury oak. Well concentrated deep set palate with juicy plum, elderberry mulberry fruit, fine chalky touch graphite tannins. Finishes firm yet long and inky sweet. Still very youthful but all in balance. Tasted at JP Moueix. 95 points   

                 

    Belgrave    

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Intense pure cassis, aniseed liquorice notes. Rich cassis. blackberry pastille fruit with mocha oak complexity. Supple and slinky with pure ripe dark fruits, plentiful fine savoury taninins and fresh integrated acidity. Really decent wine this year. The estate lies against the demarcation ditch/ boundary of St Julien. Tasted at the Unions des Grands Crus and CVBG. 94 points

                        

    Bellegrave Pomerol    

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Intense blackberry aromas, sweet, rich blackberry fruits, graphite textures hint of al dente sappiness long fresh acidity. Attractive mineral touch saline length. Tasted with Jan Thienpont. 91 points

                        

    Bellevue    

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Liquorice all sorts, dark blackberry fruit, praline aromas. Hint of herb.  Well concentrated plummy fruit, plush generous fruit, fine plentiful bitter tannins. Really good concentration and richness. Bitter sweet notes. Really lovely balance between sweetness and savouriness. Average 50 year old vines. Tasted at Ch Angelus. 94 points

     

    Bellevue Mondotte     

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh blackberry graphite aromas with flinty star anise notes. Lovely fresh elderberry blacckberry ginger fruit, plentiful lacy bitter tannins and fine long acidity. Refreshing and lengthy. Tasted at Ch Pavie. 93 points

                        

    Berliquet   

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark plums, elderberry aromas with mocha oak and herb garden notes. Rich and dense with ripe dark plum chocolaty flavours, inky complexity and fresh long chalky dense tannins. Touch soupy but acidity gives life. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points            

             

    Beychevelle                   

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Very attractive pure blackcurrant inky aromas with espresso oak notes. Well concentrated pure blackcurrant, blackberry flavours, fine plentiful al dente touch bitter tannins and beautiful espresso roasted coffee nuances. Finishes long and sweet with lovely pastille-like notes. Lovely wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points

     

    Blanc Sec de Suduiraut                   

    BORDEAUX          

    Pale colour. Honeyed lemon curd aromas with flinty notes. Lemon glacé, apricot flavours, creamy textures and fresh long acidity. Finishes lemony, crunchy  and long. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 91 points   

             

    Bouscaut  

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh dark plums ginger vanilla aromas. The palate is fresh and juicy with deep set cassis dark plum flavours, fine dense chalky textures and mocha oak complexity. Bitter sweet wine with attractive vinosity and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points       

       

    Bouscaut  

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour, Attractive warm grapefruit white apricot aromas with toasty, vanilla notes. Touch of barrel ferment. Lovely grapefruit, roasted chestnut, vanilla flavours, fine chalky textures and integrated mineral acidity. Finishes long and tangy. Very nice. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

     

    Branaire Ducru              

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Elderberry cassis lead pencil aromas. Sinuous wine with fresh elderberry, cassis-like fruit, graphite tannins and underlying toasty oak notes. Finishes muscular firm but long and sweet. Quite vigorous wine with tannins building up at the finish with mouthwatering acidity. Quite Italianesque. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

        

    Brane Cantenac           

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice, dark cherry, pure cassis aromas with violet, savoury oak complexity. Parma Violet, cassis dark cherry flavours, inky density, long refined tannins. A modicum of new oak pervades across the palate giving complexity, vigour and extra firmness. Attractive mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and at Ch Brane Cantenac. 93 points

     

    Broustet   

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale colour. Fresh pear, marmalade, mandarin aromas. Well concentrated slightly flinty wine with pear skin, sweet apple, marzipan flavours, generous sweet citrus peel note, supple richness, underlying oak and long fresh zingy acidity. Plenty of glacé-like elements and long flavours. Quite refined. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

                        

    Caillou       

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale colour. Attractive lime, lemon curd, grapefruit aromas with flinty marzipan notes. Well concentrated and classical with sweet lemon curd, grapefruit fruits, bitter sweet notes, fine chalky textures, yet generous mid-palate viscosity with toasty oak. Finishes long and minerally. Medium weighted wine lovely mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points

    Calon Segur                  

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Fresh spicy dark cassis, graphite, lead pencil aromas. Well concentrated inky textures wine with dark blackcurrant, cassis flavours, juicy textures, fine chalky. Finishes chalky and brambly. Lovely fruit sweetness and complexity. Really lovely wine with elemental structure. Tasted at Ch Calon Segur. 95 points        

             

    Canon

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour, Fragrant cassis dark plum inky graphite aromas. Supple and well concentrated with lovely cassis, dark plum, inky flavours, supple long looseknit graphite textures and fresh vanilla roasted expresso notes. Lovely fine bitter sweet finish with mineral/ salinelength. Very good tension and expression. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points   

     

    Canon La Gaffelière    

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice dark cherry, bitter dark chocolate. Generously flavoured wine with sweet mocha berry fruits, espresso notes and dense chocolaty textures. Finishes long and sweet with fine juicy acidity and touch of bitterness lengthening the palate. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

                        

    Cantemerle                    

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Intense dark berry, mulberry aromas with vanilla bean, roasted coffee notes. Generous and pliant with fresh pure dark fruits, espresso notes and fine long dense chalky tannins. Builds up grainy firm with persistent fruit and spicy oak notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

                        

    Cantenac Brown          

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Dark fruited wine with mocha oak complexity and hints of herbs. Generous wine with dense dark fruits, ripe chocolaty tannins and vanilla roasted coffee oak notes, Finishes chocolaty and long with lovely pure clear acidity. Touch over extracted. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

                        

    Cantin        

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark fruits, dark plum, musky aromas. Rich and chocolates with supple fruit and savoury notes . Generous and dense with vigorous tannins. 94 points

                        

    Cap du Mourlin             

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark chocolate, elderberry aromas with dark chocolate brambly notes. Rich almost thick wine with ultra ripe plentiful elderberry dark plum pastille flavours and dense chalky tannins and savoury oak complexity. Finishes chocolaty firm with integrated juicy acidity. Veers a little of course, but the density and length are impressive. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

     

    Capbern    

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep colour. Fresh black currant pastille with savoury vanilla aromas. Well concentrated inky style with cassis, dark plum flavours, plentiful graphite tannins and underlying savoury notes. Attractive wind with lovely vigour, density and length. Tasted at Ch Calon Segur. 92 points

                        

    Carbonnieux                  

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, cassis liquorice aromas with savoury ginger oak. Medium weighted wine with pure cassis flavours, vigorous brambly textures, attractive mid palate richness and mineral length. Ginger cedar oak build up at the finish with pippy curranty notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and at Ch Carbonnieux. 94 points       

      

    Carbonnieux Blanc      

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Lime lemon aromas with grapefruit notes. Well concentrated lime, lemon fruits, fine searing long acidity. Quite lean and austere with an al dente kick at the finish. Should build up richness with time. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and ch Carbonnieux. 92 points                    

     

    Carruades de Lafite     

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Raspberry, cassis roasted coffee aromas. Inky dark cherry cassis fruit, fine persistent graphite textures, chewy al dente finish and plenty of mineral length. Tasted at Ch Lafite Rothschild. 93 points 

     

    Cartillon    

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Elderberry, blackberry aromas. Richly concentrated blackberry elderberry flavours, fine chalky dense tannins and attractive mineral length. Very good. 93 points      

            

    Certan de May              

    POMEROL            

    Deep crimson. Fresh musky plum, spicy, dukkah aromas. Well concentrated buoyant wine with fleshy dark plum, musky, Parma violet flavours, fine chalky grainy textures and balanced new vanilla oak complexity. Finishes dark chocolaty and long. Generous and velvety wine. Tasted at JP Moueix. 93 points

     

    Ch Pez       

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep colour. Fresh mulberry raspberry cassis aromas with graphite herb notes. Supple and fresh with gentle smooth raspberry mulberry fruits, fine graphite form tannins and supporting bsiquity oak notes. Finishes chalky dry and minerally long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

     

    Chapelle d'Ausone      

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Inky dark blackcurrant flavours, blackberry flavours, bitter sweet tannins, underlying savoury oak. Very attractive fruit complexity with chalky dry finish and persistent blackberry pastille notes. Impressive wine with lovely vigour and ripe fruits. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 95 points

                        

    Chasse Spleen             

    MOULIS                 

    Medium deep colour. Fresh cassis, herb garden, camomile aromas with star anise vanilla notes. Inky cassis, blackberry fruit, vibrant juicy mid- palate, extra fine graphite tannins and mocha oak complexity. Finishes chalky firm with long clear acid   cut. Elegantly styled wine with pure fruits and attractive tannin and acid balance. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points             

     

    Cheval Blanc                 

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense beautiful red plum, blackcurrant pastille aromas with attractive spice, toasted oak notes. Gorgeously balanced wine with pure cassis, red currant fruits, supple looseknit chalky graphite textures, integrated toasty, spicy oak and long fresh acidity. Extraordinary wine with superb density, tannin quality, understated power and pure fruit expression. Finishes graphite firm with persistent perfectly ripe fruits. Tasted at Ch Cheval Blanc. 100 points                    

     

    Citran         

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Medium deep colour. Intense liquorice, aniseed aromas with blackcurrant herb notes. Generous supple liquorice aniseed fruits, fine chalky looseknit textures and long fine mineral acidity. Has the volume, richness, density and acid balance to develop very well. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points            

        

    Clarke        

    LISTRAC          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh cassis herb garden, graphite aromas with biscuity oak nuances. Very minerally in style  with redcurrant, cassis flavours, sinewy textures and underlying savoury oak. Finishes gravelly firm and tight. Will build more volume with time. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 89 points    

     

    Clement Pichon           

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Fresh dark plum, elderberry liquorice aromas with inky ginger, dark plum flavours, fine supple and fresh chalky tannins. Very minerally. and clear fruited. Bitter sweet finish. 91 points         

     

    Clerc Milon                    

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Coffee, cassis aromas with underlying vanilla oak. Generous and chocolaty with fresh cassis, blackcurrant confit flavours, dense chalky chocolaty tannins and vanilla oak notes. Finishes chocolaty and long. A little over extracted with its tannin density. Will no doubt all come together with time. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and Ch Mouton Rothschild.  94 points          

             

    Climens     

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Attractive flinty camomile grapefruit fig aromas with glacé pure honey notes The palate is beautifully concentrated, opulent yet not overly unctuous, with silky textures, sweet apricot grapefruit glacé flavours, fine chalky slinky textures and long mineral cut. Tasted in 12 parts so it takes imagination to make it a whole. 97 points

                        

    Clinet         

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour, Ripe pure dark plums cassis aromas with musky violet notes and underlying bisquity oak. Well concentrated with dark plums, cassis flavours, cedar oak complexity, ripe plentiful touch soupy tannins. Finishes oak firm and long.  Should all integrate in time. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points    

     

    Clos Beauregard          

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Intense dark berry, elderberry, sweet fruit, fine generous tannins and plenty of savoury oak. Inky and long at the finish Very good. Tasted at Chateau Carbonnieux/ Crus et Domaines Tasting. 95 points

                        

    Clos Cantenac             

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh dark plum, dark chocolate, liquorice aromas with underlying savoury notes. Sweet fruited dark plum, dark chocolate, chocolaty savoury textures, generous and richly concentrated. Finishes chocolaty. Very buoyant style with plenty of extract. Minerally finish. Tasted at Clos Cantenac. 94 points                    

     

    Clos du Marquis           

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep crimson colour. Intense liquorice, cassis, espresso aromas with herb notes. Delicious wine duty superb sweet fruit cassis pastille like density, mid palate viscosity fresh fine grained textures and beautiful mocha oak integration. Finishes firm and inky long. Generous and beautifully proprotioned wine.  Tasted at Ch Leoville Lascases. 96 points

     

    Clos Fourtet                  

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense bright dark plum, dark cherry aromas with violet, camomile aniseed notes. Gloriously saturated palate with lovely inky density, superb fine powder tannins, roasted chestnut oak and long fresh indelible acidity. Superb mineral length. A star of St Emilion. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 97 points       

               

    Clos Haut Peyreguey 

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium deep colour. Fragrant pear drop, pine needle, lemon curd aromas with hints of honey. Fresh pears, bitter lemon curd flavours, underlying toasty oak, attractive mid palate suppleness with extra fine lacy textures and persistent acid cut. Hint of limestone, flint at the finish with saline notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

                        

    Clos Lunelles                

    COTES DE BORDEAUX                     

    Deep crimson. Fresh dark chocolate dark cherry, vanilla aromas. Generous chocolaty sweet fruited , paneforte flavours with cedar oak notes, bitter pronounced tannins. But good line of acidity.  Could develop in something but still elemental and difficult to read. 90 points

     

    Clos Saint Martin        

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense elderberry, ginger spice aromas. Richly concentrated and fleshy with elemental elderberry fruit, dear chocolaty tannins  and underlying savoury oak. Very generous and pigmented with touch aldente finish. Hint of raisin. Tasted at JP Moueix. 92 points

                        

    Cos d'Estournel           

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Beautiful dark cherry cassis lead pencil aromas with cedar complexity. Generous supple yet structured with lovely dark fruits, viscosity, vanilla oak notes and plentiful chalky bitter notes. Superb graphite tannin finish with pure fruited length. Very elegant style but with classic undercarriage. Tannin plume. A very expressive wine. Tasted at Ch Cos d'Estournel. 97 points

     

    Cos d'Estournel Blanc                     

    BORDEAUX          

    Pale colour. Grapefruit pear drop aromas with attractive leesy complexity. Generous sweet grapefruit, lemon glacé fruit, supple sweet  fruit flavours, some chalky notes and king fresh acidity. Touch of saline gives length. Really nice. Touch bitter leafy. Tasted at Ch Cos d'Estournel. 91 points     

         

    Cos Labory                    

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Fresh dark berry, cherry liquorice aromas with savoury herb notes. Well concentrated supple wine with dark cherry, dark berry flavours, fine slinky dry tannins and toasty oak notes, Finishes extra firm with cedar and pastille like notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points      

        

    Coufran     

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Medium deep colour. Touch stale, dark chocolate, black cherry, touch white pepper aromatics. Well concentrated and sweet fruited with dense blackberry fruits, fine slinky dry textures and savoury oak. Finishes sinewy firm with linear fresh acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points

                        

    Coutet       

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale colour. Fragrant honey, lemon glacé aromas with hints of marzipan and herbs. Generously proportioned palate with attractive grapefruit, mandarin, crystalline lemon flavours, fine supple sweet textures and underlying toasty oak. Finishes chalky and sweet with persistent fresh acidity. Pretty classic. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 97 points   

     

    Croix du Casse            

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh plum jam aromas with strawberry notes. Generous and supple with sweet plum, vanilla flavours, fine soft plentiful tannins. Finishes long and minerally with al dente cedar notes. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 92 points      

                 

    Croizet Bages               

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour.  Redcurrant, blackberry aromas with toasty oak notes. Sweet chocolaty textured wine with plenty of cassis, mulberry, blackberry fruits, dense chalky tannins and savoury oak. Finishes with a long plume of tannins and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

     

    d'Arche      

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Brassy colour. Over developed sweet brown lemon, grapefruit aromas and vanilla toasty notes. Sweet oaky wine with generous ripe pear orange peel honeyed aromas, supple sweet marmalade like richness and viscosity. Finishes rich sweet and minerally with long acid cut. (Probably not the best of samples) Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points

                        

    d'Armailhac                    

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense blackcurrant graphite aromas with savoury mocha oak notes. Concentrated dark cherry, cassis flavours, beautiful ultra-fine grainy textures and underlying mocha espresso oak. Finishes slinky and long. A very glossy buoyant wine with vigour and complexity. Tasted at the Union de Grand Crus. This is punching well above it weight when it comes to price quality ratio.  On eof my picks of the vintage. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and Chateau Mouton Rothschild. 97 points     

               

    Dame de Trottevielle  

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Touch reductive dark plums flinty aromas with smoky bacon notes. Fresh and supple with smoky black berry plum fruits, slinky dry tannins and inky length. Acidity flows out at the finish. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 91 points

     

    Dassault   

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense musky dark cherry, elderberry, violet aromas. Well concentrated and velvety textured with plenty of dark cherry, dark plum fruits, supple even textures and fresh vanilla oak notes. A really lovely sinuous wine that builds up savoury complexity and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

     

    Dauzac      

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh ginger crackle, touch toffee aromas with mulberry cassis notes. Well concentrated wine with mulberry blackcurrant flavours, fine dense chalky tannins, some juicy elements and underlying savoury oak. Builds up sinewy and dry at the finish but the sweet fruit follows through. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points      

     

    de Boscq  

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice, elderberry, dark cherry fruits. Incredibly deep wine with deep set pure dark berry fruits and fine plentiful graphite textures. Supple yet vigorous with bitter chinotto cedar notes at the finish. Tasted at CVBG. 93 points   

                     

    de Camensac                

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Medium deep colour. Intense liquorice, elderberry, dark plum aromas with spicy dark chocolate notes. Well concentrated mid weighted wine with saturated inky dark berry fruits, fine long vigorous tannins and fine integrated mocha oak. Finishes brambly, with plentiful sweet fruit, cedar characters and appealing mineral length. Should develop well. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

     

    de Chantegrive             

    GRAVES                

    Medium deep colour. Ginger, cassis aromas with herb garden toasty oak notes . Well concentrated cassis, ginger vanillin flavours, looseknit chalky textures and long fresh clear acidity. Cedar oak with a hint of liquorice and spice at the finish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points. 

     

    de Chantegrive Blanc 

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Intense lemon curd pearskin aromas with tonic water notes. Fresh and mineraly with pure lemon juice, tonic water flavours, yeasty complexity and searing long acidity. Minerally and refreshing but quite lean and austere. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points        

     

    de Fargues

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium colour. Fresh brassy, white peach, touch wood varnish aromas with plentiful honey notes. Richly concentrated and dense with deep set sweet lemon, apricot flavours, plenty of mid palate richness, supple textures and vanilla toasty oak notes. Finishes thick with long fresh lively acidity. Quite expansive in scale with attractive mineral cut. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points    

     

    de Fieuzal  

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh elderberry blueberry aromas with graphite notes. Well concentrated with blueberry, liquorice notes, dense touch brambly tannins and long fresh acidity. Fur ball finish. Quite assertive and elemental with cedar oily oak notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points    

     

    de Fieuzal Blanc           

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Lifted lemon grapefruit hint varnishy aromas with toasted almond oak notes. Well concentrated and generous with fresh grapefruit, tropical fruit flavours, toasty oak notes, lacy tannins and fresh acidity. Easy drinking now. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points         

    de Fonbel  

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh plummy elderberry, spicy aromas. Medium weighted minerally wine with dark cherry, mulberry fruit, fresh bitter sweet tannins and persistent mineral length. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 93 points          

    de France  

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Lemon flinty aromas with tonic water notes. Zippy austere wine with plenty of lemon curd, grapefruit flavours, some bruised fruit notes, fine chalky al dente textures and long fresh acidity. Doesn't seem completely balanced. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 86 points        

    de France  

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Red currant, blackberry aromas with dark chocolate notes. Dense rich, almost soupy with concentrated inky blackberry fruits and plentiful fine grained tannin. Finishes chewy oak spicy firm with plenty of flavour length. Tasted at the   Union des Grand Crus. 88 points        

    de Lamarque                  

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Intense dark chocolate, dark plum, roasted coffee aromas with paneforte dried fruit notes. Well concentrated, near-plush wine with deep set dark chcolate dark plum fruits, silky tannins and espresso oak notes. Finishes inky long with fresh persistent chalky tannin kick. Very attractive wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points 

    de Malle     

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium deep colour. Grapefruit, bitter lemon aromas with roasted almond, camomile notes. Well balanced wine with grapefruit, lemon curd, bitter lemon flavours, flinty elements, sinuous lacy textures and lively acidity matched with generous viscosity. Finishes minerally. chalky and long. Attractive wine with plenty of personality. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

    de Myrat      

    SAUTERNES BARSAC               

    Pale medium colour. Fresh lemon, cedar, vanilla aromas with marzipan notes. Classic wine with lemon curd, tasty flavours with lifted wood varnish, cedar, vanilla notes, fine integrated lacy textures and long cutting acidity. Finishes oak firm with plenty of flavour length. Still in parts but all elements are foiled against each other very well. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points

    de Ricaud  

    COTES DE BORDEAUX                     

    Deep colour. Dark blackcurrant praline aromas. Fresh chocolaty wine with fine chalky textures, dense dark fruit flavours and mid-palate inkiness, Finishes long and brambly. A good wine but needs time. Tasted at CVBG 91 points 

    Desmirail   

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Toasty roasted coffee, blackcurrant black olive aromas with herb notes. Toasty, dark fruited wine with flinty notes, graphite tannins and roasted nuts, espresso nuances. Finishes brambly with a fur ball finish. Overly extracted and a touch reductive. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points

    Doisy Daene                  

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale colour. Lifted pear, sweet lemon, lime aromas with honeyed toasty elements. Deep set lemon curd, grapefruit, intense lime flavours, looseknit fine supple textures, attractive marzipan, roasted almond notes and long fresh juicy acidity. Has good tension and vibrancy. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points                  

    Doisy Vedrines             

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale colour. Fresh grapefruit, honeyed aromas with candy floss notes. Rich and unctuous, almost heavy with fresh lemon glacé, grapefruit flavours, fine bitter sweet notes, savour roasted almond notes and long persistent acidity. Very tangy lively finish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                

    Domaine de Chevalier                      

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh classical blackcurrant, dark chocolate liquorice aromas. Well concentrated ripe wine with pure cassis, dark chocolate flavours, plentiful grainy tannins, ginger, mocha cedar oak complexity. Dense chalky finish and tannin plume. Everything in balance. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points

    Domaine de Chevalier Blanc          

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Fresh flinty passion fruit lemon aromas with vanilla notes. Well concentrated sweet lemon curd, passion fruit flavours, looseknit slinky textures, attractive supple mid palate slipperiness and long fresh mineral acidity. Very stylish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                     

    Domaine de L'Aurage  

    COTES DU CASTILLON                     

    Medium deep colour. Fresh red currant, ripe strawberry aromas with a touch of linseed. Lovely strawberry, red cherry herb flavours, beautiful supple richness, and silky textures. Finishes chalky firm with pure fruit strawberry, herb notes. Spectacularly good with seductive fruit complexity and beautiful mineral length. Tasted at Ch Tertre Rotebeouf.  95 points        

    Domaine de L'Eglise    

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Medium deep colour. Fresh elderberry, plum, mulberry fruit.  Sweet plummy supple wine with generous sweet fruit spicy flavours and fine bitter sweet tannins. Finishes long and sinewy with pure fruit length. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 94 points                

    du Tertre   

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Intense Cassis, Blackberry pastille aromas with mocha oak complexity. Generous supple wine with blackcurrant pastille, graphite notes, fine dense grainy textures and underlying savoury oak. Finishes inky and long with plenty of sweet fruit. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points                

    Ducru Beaucaillou       

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Intense black currant, liquorice dark children aromas. Really opulent and beautiful. Generous elegant style with cassis herb flavours, fine mature chalky tannins and integrated savoury oak notes. Lovely natural power, density and length. Will be something. Tasted at Ch Ducru Beaucaillou. 98 points

                        

    Duhart Milon                  

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh raspberry, cassis inky aromas with graphite notes. Expressive and vibrant palate with pure cassis graphite flavours, fine grainy tannins and underlying savoury roasted almond oak nuances. Finishes firm with persistent  oure fruits. A very elegant and classis Pauillac style with impressive balance and proportion. Tasted at Ch Lafite Rothschild. 95 points  

    Durfort Vivens              

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Liquorice, chocolaty aromas with inky nuances. Supple sweet ultra-ripe blackcurrant, raspberry flavours, fine looseknit chalky textures and aniseed notes. Finishes sinewy and minerally with fresh dark berry fruits and underlying oak firmness. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

    Esprit de Pavie             

    BORDEAUX          

    Deep colour. Fresh dark plum mulberry fruits with liquorice notes. Generous and supple with chocolaty textures and fine clear acidity. Very good. Touch bitter. Cotes du Castillon and Ch Pavie young vines.  93 points         

    Faizeau      

    MONTAGNE-ST EMILION                  

    Deep colour. Frankincense, musky plum, with underlying oak. Fresh minerally with dark plum, fine muscular textures, hint of saline. Finishes puppy firm. Elemental with some al dente notes. Tasted at Chateau Carbonnieux/ Crus et Domaines Tasting. 88 points   

    Fayat          

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Elemental juicy Blackberry mulberry fruits. Supple sinuous wine with blackberry cola touch tobacco flavours, fine long sinewy tannins and marked acidity. Juicy finish with pronounced acid cut. 93 points                

    Ferrande    

    GRAVES                

    Medium deep colour. Dark plum, dark cherry with carob (slight staleness – a sample issue). Supple and sweet with dark and red plums, brambly and pronounced chalky dense textures. Finishes chalky firm with savoury persistency. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points           

    Ferrande Blanc              

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Grapefruit, lemon curd, pithy aromas with touch of limes and herbs. Well concentrated grapefruit, lemon curd, sweet fruit flavours, fleshy mid palate, fine loose knit chalky textures and fine long acid cut. Has some savoury toasty ginger 

    elements at the finish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

    Ferrière      

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Red cherry, raspberry, strawberry aromas with camomile, herb notes. Inky textured wine with raspberry, strawberry, dark cherry flavours, fine plentiful chalky al dente tannins and savoury bisquity oak. Juicy finish with pronounced crisp acid cut. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points    

    Figeac        

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark plum, crème de cassis aromas with touches of strawberry and ginger crackle. Pure, fresh, buoyant and beautifully proportioned palate with sweet saturated blackcurrant pastille, dark plum flavours, integrated savoury oak and superb plentiful fine graphite tannins. Finishes brambly and long with lovely mineral persistency. Beautiful vinosity and flavour length. Fabulous Figeac. Best in 20 years. Tasted at Ch Figeac. 99 points

    Filhot          

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale colour. Flinty lime, lemon curd aromas with honey herb lanolin notes. Sweet lime squash, tonic water, pearskin flavours, with flinty, chalky minerally notes. Well concentrated ad supple with long pure crystalline acidity. Finishes minerally and quartz-like. Still elemental with geosmine notes. Interesting wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points

    Fonreaud   

    LISTRAC               

    Medium deep colour. Lead pencil cedar wood, blackberry aromas. Fresh slightly woody wine with plentiful cedary vanilla flavours, dark fruits and stringy long tannins. Finishes long and chewy. Very elemental, but should integrate with time. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

    Fourcas Dupré              

    LISTRAC               

    Medium deep colour. Fragrant blackcurrant touch flyspray, sage herb garden aromas. Attractive sweet black berry currant flavours, with fine looseknit powder dry tannins and fine cedar oak. Finishes sinewy and firm with cocoa notes. Very drying on the palate. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points

    Fourcas Hosten           

    LISTRAC               

    Medium deep colour. Pure blackcurrant pastille redcurrant aromas with fragrant white flower, aniseed notes. Well concentrated blackcurrant pastille fruits, fine plentiful dense chalky tannins and intergated savoury biscuity oak. Finishes brambly firm with long pure blackcurrant pastille flavours. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points            

    Franc Mayne                  

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Deep set dark berry praline/ dark cherry aromas. Concentrated and soupy with rich dark fruits, bitter chocolaty tannins, mocha espresso oak notes and piercing long acidity. Quite extracted and clumpy. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 89 points        

    Gazin          

    POMEROL            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh red cherry, red plum, inky aromas. Well concentrated slinky textured wine with plentiful red fruits, chalky tannins and savoury oak complexity, Finishes graphite firm and minerally. Very elegant style with attractive aromatic complexity and fine boned structure. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

    Giscours   

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Intense dark chocolate, dark cherry, mulberry aromas with graphite notes. Fresh an dinky textured with lovely pure cassis, mulberry, cherry fruits, supple almost silky textures, attractive mid palate density and supporting fresh espresso oak. Builds up firm and tight with lovely mineral length. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points            

    Goulée       

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium colour. Fresh cassis blueberry anise aromas. Attractive wine with medium deep concentration cassus pastille touch musky violet notes and fine looseknit chalky textures. Tasted at Ch Cos d'Estournel. 90 points 

    Gran Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac      

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Still quite youthful with elderberry dark plum flinty wet bitumen notes. Well concentrated and richly flavoured with grainy textures and inky smoothness. Finishes long with juicy pippy notes. Tasted at CVBG. 89 points 

    Grand Faurie La Rose 

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Inky creme  de cassis, dark fruits with herb notes. Fresh dark cherry plum, crisp tannins and fresh long acidity. 88 points 

    Grand Mayne                 

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Elderberry aniseed aromas with dark plum notes and cedar wood. Generous and elemental with clear dark plum, liquorice fruits, attractive integrated roasted cedar wood flavours and fine persistent long tannins. Lovely aromatic complexity, density and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points                  

    Grand Puy Ducasse    

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour, Intense fragrant black berry, dark cherry strawberry notes with toasty oak complexity. Fresh supple and inky with dark cherry, cassis flavours, strawberry notes, slinky textures and plentiful savoury roasted chestnut oak. Finishes graphite firm with plenty of length. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points     

    Grand Puy Lacoste     

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep volume loud. Fragrant pure cherry, cassis liquorice touch of pepper, with vanilla oak notes. Lovely rich but elemental blackberry cassus fruit, brambly chalky textures and savoury vanilla roasted chestnut notes. Finishes firm and slinky. Nice. Tasted at Ch Grand Puy Lacoste. 95 points    

    Grand Villages              

    FRONSAC            

    Medium deep colour. Intense red plum juicy black berry aromas - pastille like notes. Medium powered dark berry fruits, herb notes, graphite textures. Good energy and mineral length.   Touch granular but attractive purity. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 92 points      

    Grand Villages Blanc  

    BORDEAUX BLANC                            

    Pale colour. Flinty reductive aromas with lemon curd tonic water herb notes. Touch under ripe with leafy textures and pronounced acidity. Fur ball finish. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 87 points 

    Gruaud Larose              

    ST JULIEN            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh mulberry, cassis toasty roasted nut aromas with hints of sage. Generous and supple with fresh ripe pure dark fruits, almost velvety textures, juicy notes and lovely vanilla oak complexity. Tannins build up slinky and the acidity carries the whole shebang across the palate. Very impressive wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points                  

    Guillot Clauzel              

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh raspberry cherry  with cedar, vanillin oak, fresh chalky tannins, and attractive density. Finishes firm and cedary with attractive sappy notes. Still needs time. 91 points                 

    Guiraud      

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale slightly brassy colour. Fresh sweet lemon curd, mandarin light marzipan aromas with herb, toasty oak notes. Sweet lemon, Satsuma flavours with touches of toasted almonds, and cashew, fine looseknit lacy textures, attractive mid palate viscosity and long fresh acidity. Well balanced wine with bitter lemon minerally notes at the finish. Very good potential. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points                  

    Haut Bages Liberal      

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Attractive blackcurrant dark cherry aromas with aniseed notes. Well concentrated supple wine with glossy dark berry fruits, fine chalky tannins and plenty of toasty oak, Finishes grainy firm with persistent freshness of line. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points            

    Haut Bages Monpelou                     

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Intense cassis, herb garden/ garrique aromas. Fresh inky style with dark cherry fruits, a touch of chalky saline characters, fine looseknit/ lacy textures, with pure pastille fruit and long fresh crystal acidity. Very good value wine. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 93 points          

    Haut Bailly

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Lovely intense blackcurrant pastille with espresso touch herb notes. Lovely concentrated blackcurrant flavours, superb fine grained tannins and underlying savoury espesso, hint vanilla oak. Finishes with a fine plume of tannins. A dramatic wine where the fruit and textures intensify to the end with beautiful textural plume. Precision, elegance and exuberance give this wine a unique voice. 99 points                  

    Haut Bergey                  

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Limes, camomile aromas with cashew nut notes. Well concentrated pure lemon fruits, juicy/ tangy textures, underlying grilled nut complexity, yeasty notes and bright linear acidity. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

    Haut Bergey                  

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Liquorice dark cherry, blackberry aromas with dark chocolate notes. Richly flavoured with plenty of dark berry fruits, dense chalky/ gravelly tannins and underlying savoury oak. Finishes inky long with some brambly elements. Very nice young wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

    Haut Brion

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Fresh elderberry, cassis aromas, with vanilla oak notes. Richly Dense with voluminous black currant blackberry fruits with cedar oak notes and lovely chocolaty mid-palate textures. All still elemental and unevolved but in symmetry. Finishes gravelly and long. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 96 points

    Haut Brion Blanc          

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Intense lemon glacé, grapefruit aromas and flavours with vanilla marzipan oak. Supple and sweet with salty flinty, notes, and fresh long acidity. Well balanced wine. Not the fuck-off wine it should be though. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 95 points

    Haut Madrac                  

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Medium deep colour. Intense fresh blackcurrant, cedar aromas with herb garden notes. Well concentrated blackcurrant blackberry fruits and velvety fine tannins. Very impressive when seen against Grand Cru examples. Juicy and delicious with aniseed notes. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 93 points

    Haut Simard                  

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fragrant cedar red currant red cherry aromas with roasted coffee notes. Rich and guest with lovely deep set red cherry espresso flavours, plentiful so dente textures, oak beautifully foiled against fruit. and mineral length. Cedar wood finish. Will be very good. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 95 points          

    Hosanna   

    POMEROL            

    Deep crimson. Fragrant aniseed, dark plum mocha aromas with graphite notes. Well concentrated dark plums, dark cherry fruits, fine supple textures, attractive mid palate richness and vanilla oak complexity. Finishes a touch al dente brambly. Generous wine. The 15% Cabernet Franc giving the wine vigour and vinosity. Tasted at JP Moueix. 95 points              

    Kirwan        

    MARGAUX            

    Medium colour. Fragrant red cherry, raspberry mulberry aromas with aniseed Turkish Delight notes. Medium powered wine with fresh red cherry raspberry fruit, some inky notes, silky dry tannins, a touch of cedar oak and long fresh acidity. Elegantly styled wine with vigorously chalky al dente finish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points                 

    L'Evangile 

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Fresh dark cherry confit with flinty chalky notes and underlying savoury oak. Generous sweet supple wine with plummy paneforte liquorice flavours,  looseknit slinky textures, new oak complexity and fine piercing yet balanced acidity. Lovely herb garden aniseed notes at the finish with inky notes. A really impressive wine with lovely density and richness. Tasted at Ch L'Evangile 97 points                     

    L'Exuberance de Clos Cantenac Rosé             

    BORDEAUX          

    Light pink. Fresh strawberry, cherry, nectarine aromas with touch of herb. Sweet strawberry, cherry nectarine flavours, fine chalky textures and long fresh acidity. Lovely classic Rosé made in a highly contemporary style with refreshing minerality and mouth quenching finish. Delicious wine. Made by Lolly Krajewski. Tasted at Clos Cantenac. 94 points             

    La Cabanne                   

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Cranberry, red plum aromas with liquorice chocolate notes. Supple sweet fruited wine with cranberry, milk cholate flavours, fine looseknit chalky textures and savoury oak. Finishes form and long with fresh crunchy acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points  

    La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion               

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Fresh dark berry, black olive, graphite aromas with espresso oak notes. Well concentrated wine with deep set blackberry, grilled almond, vanilla flavours, plentiful fine tannins. Builds up brambly firm. Almost gritty. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 92 points               

    La Clarté Brion                     

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Intense grapefruit, lemon curd, tonic water aromas. Well concentrated grapefruit, lemon curd fruit, touch of saline cnd long mineral acidity. Oak tightens up at finish. Good. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 93 points               

    La Clotte  

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh red cherry spicy/ dukkah. aromas Supple inky flavoured wine with red cherry, redcurrant fruit, fine chalky slinky textures and some savoury notes. Finishes cedar/chewy and long. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 92 points                  

    La Conseillante            

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Intense dark plum, inky aromatics with violet notes touch of praline. Generous and silky textured with lovely pure dark plum, mulberry pastille. fruits, fine chocolaty textures and pronounced long acidity and underlying cedar. Finishes cedary with some brambly bitter notes. Beautiful wine. Tasted at Ch Conseillante. 96 points            

    La Couspaude              

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh toasty dark cherry blueberry aromas with flinty complexity. Well concentrated slightly confectionary-like wine with plentiful raspberry fruits, dense chalky textures and marzipan vanilla oak. Finishes chewy firm and minerally long. Oak is completely over done. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points 

    La Croix Beaucaillou  

    ST JULIEN            

    Beautiful deep colour. Intense dark fruits elderberry plum star anise with a touch of cinnamon. Deep liquorice cassus flavours, dense chocolaty grainy tannins, inky smooth mid palate, cinnamon grilled almond oak. Finishes firm with bitter cola sweet notes. Attractive wine with some brambly notes, but really buoyant and fresh. Tasted at Ch Ducru Beaucaillou. 94 points                  

    La Croix de Gay           

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice, dark chocolate, dark cherry aromas. Beautiful pure blackberry pastille fruits, dense generous almost silky tannins and fresh roasted nut, vanilla oak. Finishes inky firm with a long graphite tannin plume. Very intuitive to the year. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 97 points    

    La Dame de Montrose

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Fragrant dark fruits, lead pencil, elderberry fruit and savoury mocha oak. Gravelly textured wine with rich dark berry, cassus, dark plum graphite flavours, plentiful ripe chalky touch al dente tannins snd fresh mineral length. Still in parts but very good. Tasted at Ch Montrose. 94 points                      

    La Dominique                

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh intense dark plum elderberry praline aromas with fresh herb garden violet aniseed notes. Inky and vigorous with plenty of dark plummy fruits, supple yet chewy textures, underlying savoury ginger oak complexity and long lively acidity. Finishes bitter sweet. and inky.  Quite classical in proportion. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and Ch La Dominique 95 points                  

    La Fleur Petrus             

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Beautiful elder flower, dark plum aromas with mocha espresso notes. Generous and silky with superb fruit density and oak balance. Inky long minerally finish. Wonderful balance and richness of fruit. A wonderful wine with extraordinary density and complexity. Tasted at JP Moueix. 98 points          

    La Fontaine                    

    FRONSAC            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh red plum aromas with touch of bramble blackberry.  Inky and juicy with fine chalky textures and lovely  pure fruits. Crisp and tight. 90 points                     

    La Fortune

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Fresh cassis, vanilla aromas. Generous and supple with attractive pastille-like fruits, fine grainy textures and inky length. Finishes firm. Tasted at Chateau Carbonnieux/ Crus et Domaines Tasting. 93 points         

    La Garde   

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice dark cherry, dark plum aromas with mocha notes. Richly flavoured sweet fruited wine with dense chalky tannins and sweet vanilla oak notes. Nice refreshing acidity at the finish lengthens the palate, although the tannins build up quite brambly. Tasted at CVBG. 91 points          

    La Grave   

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Dark plums and spices with dark chocolate notes. Supple and fleshy with deep set dark berry fruits, touch of kirsch, plentiful chalky tannins and underlying oak. Attractive tannin plume at the finish with aniseed notes. Plenty of substance. Tasted at JP Moueix. 93 points.

    La Lagune 

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour, Fragrant dark cherry, aniseed, blackberry aromas with hints of dark chocolate, sage and espresso oak. Inky rich with vibrant blackberry, dark cherry fruits, fine grainy chalky textures and long chocolaty firm plume at the finish. Beautifully made wine with lovely tannin density and oak balance. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points                   

    La Louviere                    

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Very attractive wine with grapefruit, melon, verbena aromas and toasty oak complexity.  Verbena, grapefruit flavours, chalky tannins and grilled nut oak notes. Lovely mineral length. Well made wine with density and proportion. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                      

    La Louviere                    

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Aniseed cassis dark chocolate herb aromas. Well concentrated dark chocolate cassis flavours, inky mid palate with supple fine tannins and new oak complexity. Finishes chocolaty firm with juicy blackberry fruits. Lovely density and ripeness. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points.         

    La Mission Haut Brion

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Intense dark berry liquorice praline aromas. Lovely concentrated blackcurrant cedar, praline flavours, dense chocolaty textures and touch al dente graphite notes. Beautiful rich fruit density and flavour length. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 98 points        

    La Mission Haut Brion Blanc         

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Fragrant lemon curd, hint of spice, Tropical fruit aromas with bisquity oak. Lovely concentrated lime tropical fruit flavours, chalky textures, some pithy grapefruit / tonic water notes and lovely crunchy length. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 96 points                    

    La Parde Haut Bailly   

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh perfumed violet, dark berry cassis, mulberry aromas with roasted notes. Lovely inky saturated dark cherry, cassis flavours, ultra fine supple - almost silky -  tannins, with superb richness and density. Finishes inky with excellent mineral length. 95 points        

    La Petite Marquise      

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, blackcurrant aromas. Juicy black currant brambly flavours, touch of red fruits, supple smooth ultra fine cashmeretannins. Finishes chalky firm and minerally long. Delicious wine. Tasted at Ch Leoville Lascases. 91 points                    

    La Pointe  

    POMEROL            

    Medium colour. Red fruits, chocolatey aromas with savoury espresso oak notes. Elegantly styled wine with supple red currant cranberry fruits, fine tannins and vanilla oak notes, finishes minerally and long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 89 points                 

    La Tour Blanche           

    BARSAC SAUTERNES                       

    Medium brassy colour. Oxidised crème brulée toffee sweet fruit aromas. Well concentrated lemon curd, touch brassy flavours with tobacco marzipan notes, fine butter sweet textures and persistent fine acidity. Sweet and sour wine. Not in the best conditions. But has the weight and mineral quality to be something. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points               

    La Tour Carnet             

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Medium deep colour. Fresh ultra-ripe dark berry, plummy roasted chestnut aromas. Saturated blackcurrant, plummy flavours, with dense chewy tannins and plentiful mocha, vanilla new oak complexity. Finishes sinewy long with fresh ripe fruits and persistent mineral acidity. Really interesting balance between fruit, tannin, oak and acidity. Appealing wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points       

    La Tour de By                

    MEDOC                 

    Deep colour. Fragrant dark cherry, mulberry aromas with hints of dried roses. Inky textured wine with fresh pure blackcurrant, dark cherry fruits, fine dense graphite tannins and savoury, vanilla oak notes. Finishes chalky firm long and sweet with very pure long mineral cut. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points    

    La Tour Figeac              

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Attractive dark plum, roasted nut, vanilla oak aromas. Lovely ripe expressive wine with deep set plum roasted chestnut, vanilla oak flavours and fine plentiful chocolaty texture, Finishes long with pastille fruits and fresh linear acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                     

    Labégorce

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh blackcurrant, roasted cashew nut aromas with flinty graphite notes. Well concentrated dense wine with ripe blackcurrant, aniseed flavours, fine dense grainy tannins and plenty of espresso, grilled nut oak complexity. Builds up firm, brambly  with persistent but integrated acidity and chocolaty, mocha notes. Very good . Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points      

    Lacoste Borie               

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep crimson colour. Fresh pure blueberry aromas with herb vanillin notes.  Fresh supple inky textured wine with gentle blueberry fruits, touch of cassis and strawberry, fine slinky dry tannins and lovely mineral length. Very good. Tasted at Ch Grand Puy Lacoste. 92 points.      

    Lafaurie Peyreguey     

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium deep colour. Lemon squash light cedar aromas with marzipan notes. Well concentrated bitter lemon, lemoncello flavours, with grapefruit notes, lovely generous sweet yet not sugary mid palate, fine underlying cedar oak notes. Finishes chalky dry with pure citrus fruit notes. Nice wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points     

    Lafite Rothschild         

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense cassis, espresso, chocolate with violet notes. Supple almost silky textured wine with beautiful pure cassis inky flavours, lacy yet vigorous extra fine tannins and slight bitter chinotto, blackcurrant pastille notes at the finish. Very beautiful Lafite with understated power and refinement. A peacock tail finish. Very good. Great wine. Tasted at Ch Lafite Rothschild. 99 points     

    Lafleur        

    POMEROL            

    Medium deep colour. Liquorice, dark plum, dark chocolate aromas with lovely grilled almond, oak notes. Generous and voluminous with fresh dark berry fruits and roses, plentiful chalky tannins and savoury roasted roasted almond notes, Finishes brambly and juicy sweet. Plenty of energy and fruit complexity out. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 96 points                    

    Lafleur Gazin                 

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Fresh plum, mulberry aromas with savoury oak notes. Well concentrated wine with plum mulberry pastille like flavours, find chalky tannins and hint vanilla oak. Finishes firm and long with juicy dark berry notes. Medium powered wine. Tasted at JP Moueix. 91 points           

    Lafon Rochet                

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium colour. Red currant varnishy aromas with bitter chocolate notes. Fresh and minerally with pure red and dark fruits, fine muscular graphite textures and biscuit oak notes, Very chalky at the finish with juicy fruits. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points                

    Lagrange   

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Inky graphite aromas with plum, paneforte notes. Concentrated yet sinewy and muscular with developed dark berry fruits, fine graphite yet vigorous tannins and new cedar oak notes. Builds up brambly firm and juicy with bitter chinotto notes. Touch over extracted. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points.

    Lagrange   

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Dark cherry, liquorice praline aromas. Dense and supple with almost creamy textures. Elderberry, dark cherry fruit, juicy mud palate and lively fresh fine grained tannins. Underlying roasted chestnut new oak. Finishes long and sweet. Very good wine with superb density and tannin ripeness. Tasted at JP Moueix. 95 points    

    Lalande Borie                

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Intense bright dark cassis liquorice ce aromas and dusty oak notes. Lovely concentrated wine with blackcurrant fruits, spices notes, attractive mid palate density and underlying dusty oak. Finishes firm and king. Really good quality wine. Finishes inky with ginger notes. Tasted at Ch Ducru Beaucaillou. 94 points         

    Lamothe Guignard       

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium deep colour. Slightly woolly/ lanolin notes with flinty, lemon curd, mandarin aromas and plentiful vanilla oak. Rich and unctuous with flinty lemon curd, marmalade flavours, gun flinty notes, a hint of crème brulée. Finishes bitter sweet with lanolin notes. Touch of saline. Good length, but a touch unfinished. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points                    

    Langoa Barton              

    ST JULIEN            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh mulberry cassis aromas with toasty oak notes. Medium weighted wine with generous cassis mulberry fruits, silky/ velveteen textures and toasty, vanilla oak notes, Finishes chalky firm but the cassis mulberry fruits persist. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points          

    Larcis Ducasse             

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense liquorice, dark cherry aromas with mocha oak notes. Inky textured wine with dark cherry, plum pastille fruits, fine looseknit textures, savoury oak complexity and crunchy acidity. Finishes firm and tight. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points      

    Larmande  

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark plum roasted chestnut/ coffee aromas with some dark chocolate notes. Richly textured wine with attractive deep set plum liquorice flavours, praline notes, fine plentiful tannins and integrated savoury mocha oak. Finishes firm and inky. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points                

    Laroque     

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. An intensely aromatic wine with dark plum, elderberry liquorice aromas. A generous fleshy, yet vigorous palate with attractive juicy ripe fruits, firm touch bitter tannins and underlying savoury oak. Finishes chalky firm with inky notes. Everything seemingly in balance. David Suire is making impactful wine at this estate. Definitely worth seeking out. Tasted at Crus et Domaines 94 points               

    Larrivet Haut Brion      

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Butterscotch, lemon curd aromas witn vanilla bean notes. Richly concentrated wine with deep set lemon curd, creamy flavours, fine looseknit chalky textures, grainy oak notes and long fresh pure searing acidity. Still in parts. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points    

    Larrivet Haut Brion      

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium colour. Redcurrant, red plum aromas with herb garden notes. Supple red fruited wine, lacy tannins some inky textures and savoury oak notes. Seems underpowered and callow in this company. What happened? Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 86 points    

    Lascombes                    

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. Blackberry kirsch, earthy, slightly baked plum aromas with carob notes. Well concentrated and fruit-sweeted with dense blackberry, dark chocolate flavours, fine plentiful chalky touch al dente tannins and mocha oak complexity. A touch liqueur-like. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90 points

    Latour        

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, blackcurrant wax polish aromas with integrated vanilla oak notes. Beautifully concentrated wine with intense cassis, blackberry, lead pencil flavours, fine grained almost muscular tannins and fine mocha spect oak. Finish firm with a peacock's tail of fine lacy tannins.  Elemental but perfectly balanced and precise with extraordinary density and vigour. Cold beauty. Tasted at Ch Latour. 98 points

                        

    Latour a Pomerol         

    POMEROL            

    Deep crimson. Intense elderberry inky blackberry aromas with savoury notes. Inky dark berry fruits, fine silky tannins, praline chocolates mid palate, underlying new grilled nut vanilla oak notes. Firm finish. Still elemental but lovely glossy freshness. Tasted at JP Moueix. 95 points                

    Latour Martillac            

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Fresh flinty mineral aromas with grapefruit notes. Well concentrated grapefruit lemon lime flavours, chalky touch sappy textures and lively juicy acidity. Finishes a touch grassy/sappy. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points      

    Latour Martillac            

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Liquorice dark cherry cassis aromas with mocha oak notes. Richly flavoured supple wine with dark fruits, supple textures and integrated mocha vanilla oak. Finishes chocolatey and long. Very nice wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus 94 points

                        

    Le Bon Pasteur            

    POMEROL        

    Deep colour.  Intense dark plum, cassis, graphite aromas with underlying cedar notes. Well concentrated dark plum, mocha, toffee oak notes, really lovely dense tannin structure and integrated fresh acidity. Very well made wine. Should develop very well. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points    

    Le C des Carmes Haut Brion         

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour with very pretty youthful violet, elderberry dark cherry aromas, juicy fruit flavours, fine slinky tannins and underlying dark chocolate notes. A lovely Inky graphite finish with superb freshness and line. Although not large scale, this should develop really well for the medium term. Tasted at Carmes Haut Brion 92 points               

    Le Carillon d'Angelus  

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh plum, dark chocolate. Richly concentrated wine with plush blue fruits, fine chalky textures and savoury vanilla notes. Velvety textured wine with persistent   acidity. Touch bitter notes.  Very generous wine. Tasted at Ch Angelus. 94 points

    Le Clarence de Haut Brion              

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                              

    Dark colour. Dark chocolate, blackberry aromas with graphite notes. Quite solid with rich saturated dark cherry, blackberry, praline flavours, rich chocolates tannins and grilled almond nuts. Fine chalky finish. Inky finish. Linear acidity. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 94 points           

    Le Dragon de Quintus 

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Dark plum blackcurrant, espresso aromas with vanilla notes. Quite plush with juicy blackberry, plum flavours, chocolaty textures, mid palate volume and persistent fresh acidity. Medium powered with attractive chalky density and clear ripe fruit. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 91 points               

    Le Marquis de Calon Segur            

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Intense dark black berry dark plummy aromas with biscuity mocha espresso notes. Well concentrated dark berry fruited wine with cassis, dark cherry flavours, chocolaty dry tannins, inky complexity and king fresh acidity. Tannins are muscular but perfectly ripe. Impressive wine. Tasted at Ch Calon Segur. 93 points

    Le Petit Lion                  

    ST JULIEN            

    Medium deep colour. Intense raspberry dark cherry aromas with vanilla oak notes. Well concentrated raspberry, dark cherry fruit with roasted chestnut notes, fine supple tannins, generous mid palate richness and plenty of inky length. Fresh crunchy acidity flows across the palate. Very good wine. Tasted at Ch Leoville Lascases. 91 points              

    Léoville Barton             

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Lovely blackcurrant, creme de cassis aromas with praline notes and inky complexity. Velvety textured wine with fresh saturated pure blackcurrant pastille fruits, fine supple melting tannins and integrated espresso, roasted coffee oak. The finish is chalky firm with beautiful mineral length. Always a bellwether wine and it delivers. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points         

    Leoville Lascases        

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Intense blackcurrant dark cherry, elderberry aromas with underlying roasted almond notes. Beautifully balanced hedonistic wine with ripe blackcurrant pastille fruit, dense fine textures, pure persistent acidity and lovely integrated vanilla oak. Fresh chalky slightly al dente textures and beautiful mineral length. Everything in the right proportion. Voluptuous, seductive, multi-layered and perfectly balanced wine. One of the finest wines of the vintage. First Growth standard by any measure. Tasted at Ch Leoville Lascases. 100 points               

    Les Carmes Haut Brion                   

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. This is a lovely elegant wine with intense dark elderberry, cassis, graphite aromas, slinky fine graphite textures, attractive dense inky cassis fruit, juicy mid-palate, espresso oak notes which pervade to the finish and long fresh acidity. Has lovely weight, extraction and mineral length. Tasted at Carmes Haut Brion. 95 points                 

    Les Carmes Haut Brion                   

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Inky cassis aromas with mocha praline notes. Generously proportioned wine with beautiful mulberry, cherry pastille/ jam flavours, fine slinky dry tannin and mocha oak complexity. Lovely density and mineral length. 96 points                     

    Les Champs Libres Blanc               

    BORDEAUX BLANC                            

    Pale colour. Intense Pear grapefruit lemon glacé aromas with flinty reductive notes. More buoyant and fruit sweet With chalky textures and attractive richness, viscosity and grassy lemony flavour length. Long acid cut gives the wine line and length. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 92 points                  

    Les Forts de Latour     

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Fresh dark berry, blackberry fruits, hint of mocha vanilla. Dense richly flavoured wine with meaty dark berry, graphite notes, fine grainy slightly al dente textures and plenty of inky length. Lovely density richness and structural balance. Like a second growth. Acidity tightens up the palate giving linear persistency. Tasted at Ch Latour. 95 points

    Les Griffons de Pichon Baron       

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense dark plum, mulberries, juicy fruit aromas. Superbly rich and concentrated wine with dense cassis, juicy fruit flavours, plentiful fine grained tannins and mocha vanilla oak notes. A crunchy dry finish with persistent sweet fruit. All in   balance. Touch al dente. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 93 points  

    Les Hauts de Lynch-Moussas       

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh blackcurrant, graphite aromas with fresh walnut notes. Smooth and inky textured with velveteen tannins, sweet fruit mid-palate and long fresh cedar notes. Finishes with a chinotto, pastille note. Very refreshing and delicious wine. 93 points

                        

    Les Pensées de Lafleur                   

    POMEROL            

    Medium deep colour. Plum aniseed aromas with touch of mocha. Hint of herb white flowers. Fresh plum aniseed fruit, plump and round with a long string of fine grainy touch sinewy tannins. Finishes leafy firm with red fruits and star anise. Quite muscular but attractive density. Tasted at Ch Lafleur. 92 points    

    Lestage Simon             

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Well concentrated black fruits, touch aniseed, fresh supple wine with dukkah, savoury oak notes. Finishes chalky and long. Lovely depth of fruit. Tasted at Chateau Carbonnieux/ Crus et Domaines Tasting. 93 points       

    Lions de Batailley        

    PAUILLAC             

    Medium deep colour. liquorice. Praline, dark cherry cassis aromas with herb notes. Sweet blackcurrant, black cherry fruits, touch cola, fine slinky dry tannins and underlying biscuity, toasty notes. Finishes chalky firm and minerally long. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 92 points  

    Lynch Bages                 

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour, Intense blackcurrant, blackberry cedar oak aromas with graphite, bitter dark chocolate notes. Inky dense with pure ripe blackcurrant cedar flavours, fine persistent bitter chocolaty tannins and plenty of mineral length. Very buoyant and fresh with lovely supple almost velvety feel to the wine. Impressive. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points

                        

    Lynch Moussas            

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Fragrant redcurrant, blackcurrant aromas with toasty mocha oak. Rich and plush with blackcurrant paneforte fruits, fine chocolaty textures, persistent mocha roasted coffee vanilla oak and long fresh acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

    Lynch Moussas            

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense dark chocolate mocha dark berry aromas with flinty notes. Concentrated wine with pure blackcurrant essence, underlying chinotto notes and plentiful fine grained tannins. Generous praline paneforte notes at the finish with a plume of chocolaty tannins and mineral freshness. Plenty of roasted coffee notes. Really well made wine. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 95 points           

    Malartic Lagraviere      

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Tropical fruit, lemon curd, grassy aromas and flavours. Supple wine with sweet tropical fruits, grapefruit flavours, grassy notes, juicy elements, chalky touch al dente textures, hint of new oak and lovely fresh zippy acidity. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

    Malartic Lagraviere      

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Blackberry black olive aromas with brambly notes. Sweet inky musky plum flavours, with dense ripe tannins, vanilla oak and integrated mineral acidity. Doesn’t have the vigour of other compatriots. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points              

    Malescot Saint Exupéry                  

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour, Fresh dark cherry, plum aromas with espresso notes. Generous and inky with plenty of cherry, blue berry, plum fruits, fine lacy but dense tannins and savoury nuances, Finishes chalky firm with pastille-like fruit notes. Elegant wine with attractive balance. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points       

    Margaux    

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep crimson colour. Attractive red plum, strawberry, vanilla spice aromas with flowery herb garden notes.  Silky textured supple wine with raspberry, strawberry cassis pastille flavours, looseknit lacy textures and mocha vanilla oak notes. Finishes chalky dense and minerally fresh and long. Very good. Tasted at Ch Margaux.  96 points           

    Marquis de Terme        

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Intense cassis, mulberry aromas with star anise, herb notes and mocha oak. Well concentrated blackcurrant flavours with some jammy/ confit elements, fine chalky dense tannins, attractive mid palate richness and mocha cedar oak complexity. Rich chocolaty slightly brambly finish . Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points

    Marsau      

    BLAYE                    

    Deep colour. Dark plum, graphite floral aromas. Well concentrated plummy dark fruits, supple fine dense chalky textures and plenty of savoury oak. At first velvety building up to a vigorous and juicy finish. Nice. Tasted at CVBG. 93 points           

    Maucaillou

    MOULIS                 

    Medium deep colour. Ripe blackcurrant, dark chocolate hint dried plum aromas with star anise notes. Supple inky wine with cassis, prune, espresso flavours, persistent fine looseknit chalky touch al dente tannins and long minerally acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 89 points                     

    Monbousquet               

    ST EMILION          

    Deep crimson. Fresh blackberry, liquorice aromas. Sweet ripe wine with blackberry inky textures and attractive mineral length. Piercing acidity and cedar oak at the finish. 92 points

                        

    Monbousquet Blanc   

    ST EMILION          

    Pale colour. Perfumed lemon curd, grassy aromas with  flinty, tonic water notes. Clear pure lemon, pear skin flavours, touch of tonic water/ yeasty complexity, lovely mid-palate viscosity and long fresh acidity. A little chalk at the finish gives tension and character. 94 points      

    Montbrison                    

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Redcurrant raspberry cassis with vanilla oak. Sweet mulberry, cassis flavours, fine chalky dense tannins and integrated new savoury bisquity oak. Builds up quite sinewy and dry at the finish, although the fruit weight and oak balance give buoyancy and complexity. Finishes brambly firm and tight. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

    Montrose  

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Inky shellac, blackcurrant black olive aromas with espresso oak notes. Well rounded wine dense dark fruits and plentiful new cedar, touch cloves. Firm oaky finish with bitter sweet notes. Muscular vigorous and persistent. Will be something. Tasted at Ch Montrose. 96 points                     

    Moulin Saint Georges

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fragrant cedar dark plum aromas. Rich red fruits, confectionary flavours with cedar notes and plentiful al dente textures. Mineral salty sour cherry finish. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 88 points                     

    Mouton Rothschild     

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense beautiful cassis fig aromas with elements of strawberry and integrated mocha bisquity oak. Superb dark plum, cassis, fig fruit, espresso bisquity, creme brûlée oak, fine looseknit grainy persistent tannins, inky notes and long fresh acidity. Finishes cedar oaky and tannin firm with long pure fruit notes. Generous yet elegantly proportioned. Very good flavour length. A classic vintage with the complexity, substance and balance for the long haul. Tasted at Ch Mouton Rothschild. 100   points

                        

    Olivier        

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh ginger black cherry cassis aromas with star anise notes. Inky textured wine with supple black fruits, fine lacy tannins, mocha ginger oak notes and persistent fresh clear acidity. Should develop very well. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points            

    Olivier        

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Grape fruit, pithy lemon aromas with flinty notes. Well concentrated lemon grapefruit brown lime flavours, fine looseknit lacy textures, touch of tonic water and attractive mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points          

    Ormes de Pez               

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep colour. Attractive flinty toasty mulberry cassis aromas. Well concentrated deep set mulberry cassis flavours, lovely toasty oak complexity, fine plentiful chalky perfectly ripe tannins and lovely juicy aniseed finish. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                     

    Pagodes de Cos          

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Intense blackcurrant pastille strawberry sweet fruit aromas. Really inky sweet almost plush, with lovely musky plum, cassis strawberry flavours, creamy supple mid palate, savoury oak. Finishes juicy and long. Pretty wine. Tasted at Ch Cos d'Estournel. 94 points

                        

    Palmer       

    MARGAUX            

    Deep colour. A highly evocative and expressive wine with superb and intense pure black cherry cassis aromas, praline oak nuances and herb, star anise notes, The palate is richly concentrated, dense and compact with black cherry, elderberry, pure blackcurrant fruits, fine sinewy long graphite tannins, bitter sweet chinotto notes and beautiful radicchio crunchiness at the finish. Fantastic vinosity and freshness.  Definitely a century innings ahead of it.  Easily one of the great wines of the Bordeaux vintage. Tasted at Ch Palmer. 100 points

    Pape Clement               

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Deep colour. Fresh dark plum, mocha espresso aromas. Richly textured and plush with ripe dark berry, praline flavours, dense chocolaty almost velvety tannins and plentiful cedar vanilla oak. Finishes chocolaty firm with plenty of length. Bitter notes and fresh acid line give the wine vinosity and life. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points             

    Pape Clement Blanc   

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Fresh white apricot, toasty aromas with flinty complexity. Well concentrated apricot, white peach, lemon curd flavours, lovely integrated toasty oak, supple textures and fresh linear acidity. Very good wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points

                        

    Pauillac de Ch Latour 

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense elderberry, dark cherry aromas. Supple rich an voluminous with generous inky black fruits and fine slinky textures. Finishes bitter sweet with subtle savoury notes. Ch Latour. 92 points 

    Pavie          

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense yet lively and complex wine with fresh blackberry, liquorice, aniseed mocha aromas. Beautifully balanced palate with plush, dense dark plum, black currant fruit, chocolaty yet ultra-fine supple textures, fine long acidity and superbly integrated savoury oak. Finishes with an inky minerally plume. This is the most exciting Pavie in at least 15 years. What a statement! 98 points

    Pavie Decesse             

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Lovely dark sweet plum aromas with praline bitter chocolate notes. Plush velvetine textured wine with dense fruits, savoury oak, fine gravelly tannins and a touch bitter at the finish. Freshness, vinosity, and zippy acidity are completely unexpected underlying factors. A surprise wine.  95 points               

    Pavie Macquin              

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark cherry, plum roasted chestnut, spicy oak aromas. Well concentrated supple wine with gentle dark cherry, plum fruits, supple perfectly ripe lacy tannins, fine roasted almond notes and long mineral acidity. Finishes chalky firm and tight with some leafy bitter notes. Very good wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points                   

    Pavillon Blanc               

    BORDEAUX          

    Pale colour. Intense grapefruit, lemon flacé, white peach aromas. Generous grapefruit, lemon glacé fruit, fine chalky textures, tonic water notes, yeasty notes. Finishes chalky with savoury notes. Crystal clear acidity. Touch grassy notes. Tasted at Ch Margaux. 93 points   

    Pavillon Rouge             

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Red currant pure red cherry, strawberry aromas with vanilla notes. Fresh red cherry inky fruit flavours, supple looseknit tannins, fresh savoury textures and attractive mineral length beautiful wine. Really delicious but not overly dense. Tasted at Ch Margaux. 93 points                     

    Petit Cantenac             

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Fresh dark plum, blackberry aromas with lovely dark chocolate notes. Richly concentrated and juicy with dark plum, dark chocolate, fine muscular textures, al dente notes. Quite brambly at the finish. Looks good but elemental.  Tasted at Clos Cantenac. 93 points                 

    Petit Cheval                  

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh Dark cherry, plum, aromas with mi real notes. Sweet fruit dark cherry, dark plum fruits, looseknit chalky textures and fine long quartz acidity. Plenty of freshness and flavour length.  Tasted at Ch Cheval Blanc. 94 points        

    Petit Mouton                

    PAUILLAC        

    Deep colour. Plum confit, vanilla aromas with a touch of herb garden. Inky textured wine with dark plum, mulberry, dark cherry fruits, fine looseknit slightly bitter tannins, attractive mid-palate richness,  vanilla, grilled nut notes. Oaky tannin finish. Still elemental but all in balance. Tasted at Ch Mouton Rothschild. 94 points              

    Petit Village                   

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. Intense dark chocolate dark plum aromas with vanilla herb garden notes. Generous and plummy with bouyant rich ripe dark fruits, dense chocolaty tannins and lovely vanilla oak complexity. Finishes long and sweet with inky notes. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 94 points.

    Petrus        

    POMEROL            

    Dark colour. Intense dark berry, cherry, graphite aromas with blueberry inky tobacco notes. Supple and glossy deep set blackberry inky fruit, touch juicy, with hint of smoke, musky notes. Fine chalky graphite textures, lovely pure fruit notes and exceptional mineral length. Really super wine with freshness silkiness and viscosity. Tasted at Ch Petrus. 98 points                   

    Pey La Tour - Reserve du Chateaux                 

    BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR                  

    Deep colour. Pretty inky blackberry aromas, with aniseed aromas. Well concentrated and pippy with sweet juicy plum flavours, fine brambly textures and attractive mineral length. Good value. Tasted at CVBG 92 points                  

    Phelan Segur                 

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Medium deep colour. Fresh aniseed blackcurrant pastille aromas with fragrant herb aniseed notes.   Inky textured wine with lovely supple fruits, silky fine textures and superb ripe fruits. Builds up slinky firm with gorgeous fruit fruit density and mineral length. A stand out wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 97 points       

    Pibran        

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Vibrant elderberry dark cherry aromas with lead pencil notes. A well concentrated juicy fruited wine with sweet dark cherry pastille flavours, persistent brambly/ grainy textures and attractive mineral length. Plenty of vinosity and substance. Very good. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 93 points              

    Pichon Longueville Baron               

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep glossy colour. Intense dark blackcurrant black cherry aromas with integrated roasted coffee, chestnut aromas.  Well concentrated, rich and chocolaty wine with black currant, almost paneforte fruit, with balsamic notes and savoury espresso oak. Builds up oaky and tannin firm with plenty of rich fruit flavours. One of the more dense and robust styles, yet harmonious and elegant. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 95 points                      

    Pichon Longueville Comtesse Lalande           

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Fresh elderberry, inky, dark cherry, cassis aromas. Pure and fresh with classic saturated cassis flavours, plentiful chalky/ grainy tannins and cedar oak/ chestnut oak complexity. Finishes long and sweet. Lovely vigour and mineral freshness, Touch al dente textures gives freshness and vinosity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus and at Ch Pichon Comtesse de Lalande. 96 points                     

    Picque Caillou              

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Ripe white peach, yeasty tonic water aromas with savoury oak complexity. Well concentrated, but a touch hard with yeasty white peach flavours, cedar oak notes, sappy textures and searing long acidity. Oak dominates wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 88 points                     

    Picque Caillou              

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    Medium deep colour. Fresh red currant, Turkish delight, aromas with herb garden notes. Inky textured wine with redcurrant, cassis fruit, plentiful looseknit grainy tannins and savoury toasty oak notes, Finishes lacy firm with long inky pure fruit notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points          

    Pontet Canet                

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour, Fresh elderberry, cassis aromas with herb notes. Beautiful fruity cassis blackberry flavours, fine supple tannins, inky richness  and savoury new oak notes. Finishes minerally with liquorice/aniseed notes. A generous wine with attractive richness, density and bitter sweet notes. Delicious wine. Tasted at Ch Pontet Canet. 96 points               

    Potensac  

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour. Fresh liquorice, dark berry fruits, with herb aniseed notes. Richly textured wine with elderberry mulberry fruits, five gritty textures and persistent acidity. Quite muscular but good vinosity and richness. Tasted at Ch Leovile Lascases.   88 points         

    Poujeaux  

    MOULIS                 

    Medium deep crimson. Fresh black cherry, cassis aromas with flowery notes. Well concentrated bouyant wine with fresh dark fruits and dark chocolate flavours, plentiful chalky textures, attractive mid-palate inky smoothness and long cedary notes at the finish. Acidity is bright but totally integrated in to the wine. Very good for this estate. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points     

    Prieuré Lichine              

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Classic blackcurrant cedar aromatics with liquorice notes. Saturated cassis fruits, fine looseknit lacy textures and underlying cedar oak. Finishes minerally and long with a fresh long graphite touch bitter tannin plume. Attractive vinosity and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points                  

    Puygueraud                   

    COTES DE FRANCS                           

    Deep colour. Elderberry sweet fruit aromas and flavours, superb chocolaty textures and underlying grilled almond oak notes. Finishes al dente frim with lovely bitter mineral notes. Really good. 93 points 

    Quinault L'Enclos         

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense mulberry hazelnut aromas with salted liquorice flinty notes. Sweet supple fruit with inky mulberry fruit, fine looseknit chalky/ velveteen textures. Attractive mineral length with toasty notes. Tasted at Ch Cheval Blanc. 92 points 

    Quintus     

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Plum shellac, crème brûlée milk chocolate notes. Sweet red plum, touch rhubarb fruit, plentiful chalky al dente notes, toffee oak notes and red liquorice. Finishes chalky sappy and a touch acidic. A lttle over done. Tasted at Ch Haut Brion. 89 points 

    Rabaud Promis             

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale medium colour. Grape fruit, nougat, vanilla aromas with honeyed pear notes. Well concentrated grapefruit, pear glacé flavours, fine tonic water notes, underlying marzipan, vanilla characters and long persistent acidity. Attractive wine with oak already well integrated into the wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

    Rahoul       

    GRAVES                

    Medium deep colour. Attractive dark plums, red cherry, raspberry aromas with roasted almond notes. Generous and a touch chewy with red cherry, plum fruits, fine plentiful chalky tannins and underlying vanilla oak. Finishes firm and long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points

    Rahoul Blanc                 

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Intense lime lemon curd aromas with chalky notes. Well concentrated minerally wine with lemon curd, lime juice flavours, chalky touch sappy textures and finish. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points    

    Rauzan Gassies           

    MARGAUX       

    Medium deep colour. Fresh dark cherry, dark plum aromas with bitter dark chocolate notes. Well concentrated inky textured wine with black cherry, blackcurrant, plum flavours, plentiful graphite tannins and beautifully integrated savoury oak notes. Impressive vinosity and mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points 

    Rauzan Ségla                

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh blackcurrant, mulberry aromas with herb garden aniseed notes. Dense plush wine with inky blackcurrant, mulberry, touch paneforte flavours, rich dense tannins and balance espresso roasted coffee notes. Generous and supple with love pure mineral cut. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points                

    Rayne Vigneau             

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium brassy colour.  Bitter lime, lemon curd, butterscotch aromas with grilled nut notes. Quite thick and unctuous with deep set lemon curd, butterscotch crème brulee flavours, bitter drying chalky textures, attractive sweetness and fine long persistent clear acidity. Has density and length but quite solid and elemental. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 90+ points

                        

    Reaut         

    ENTRE DEUX MERS                          

    Deep colour. Liquorice, chinotto cranberry aromas with  generous chocolate/ mocha oak. Minerally and dense with dark  cherry, cranberry fruits, roasted coffee notes and fine clear long acidity. Delicious and uncomplicated. Tasted at CVBG. 92 points               

    Relais de La Dominique                   

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark berry raspberry fruits with liquorice notes. Generous sinuous wine with dark cherry raspberry flavours, attractive mid palate inkiness and long fine chalky/ graphite tannins. Persistent acid finish. Bitter sweet notes. 93 points                   

    Réserve de la Comtesse                

    PAUILLAC             

    Deep colour. Intense black currant, mulberry aromas with bitter chocolate notes. Generous and supple with glossy dark berry fruits, fine looseknit grainy tannins, savoury salted liquorice notes. Finishes bitter sweet. Finishes long and bitter cacao chocolaty. Acidity pokes out at the finish. Good. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. 92 points               

    Reysson   

    HAUT MEDOC     

    Deep colour, Intense plum, gun flint aromas with savoury notes. Well concentrated and fresh with deep set juicy dark fruits and chalky fine textures. Finishes long with underlying mocha chocolate notes. But the acidity bluntens impact. Tasted at CVBG. 88 points 

    Rieussec   

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium colour. Lemon curd, mandarin bitter lemon aromas with flinty marzipan notes. Fresh and lively with lemon curd, marzipan toasted almond flavours, lovely lacey textures, underlying toasty oak notes and long flinty acidity. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus.96 points                    

    Roc de Combes           

    COTES DE BOURG                             

    Medium deep colour. Complex dried roses red cherry dried roses pot pourri aromas and flavours with hints of tobacco. Generous slinky textures, attractive density and brambly dry finish. Very good. Tasted at Ch Tertre Rotebeouf. 93 points          

    Romer        

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium colour, Flinty touch geosmine, graphite notes with lemon curd, herb notes. Rich slightly odd herbal matchstick flavours, with some lemon curd grapefruit notes, fine bitter sweet textures and fresh long acidity. Finishes al dente form with bitter sweet notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 87 points                

    Romer du Hayot           

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale colour. Attractive lemon apricot aromas with vanilla oak notes and some chalky elements. Richly concentrated with lovely lemon flinty notes, fine lacey textures, toasted almond, cashew notes, creamy textures and attractive mineral cut. Finishes long and sweet with attractive mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points  

    S de Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes      

    BORDEAUX          

    Pale colour. Honey, lemon aromas with oaky ginger notes. Fresh and concentrated with lemon curd, ginger, tonic water flavours and fresh long mineral acidity. Very good. Tasted at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 93 points                   

    Saint Pierre                    

    ST JULIEN            

    Medium deep colour. Intense dark cherry, graphite aromas with chalky notes. Sweet dark cherry, cassis, liquorice flavours, fine looseknit chalky textures and fine long persistent freshness. Finishes minerally firm and long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 92 points

    Sigalas Rabaud            

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium pale colour. Classic pear, white apricot aromas with flinty, marzipan herb garden garrigue aromas, Fresh and persistent wine with pear, apple, white apricot flavours and underling marzipan, honeyed notes and vanilla oak. Well concentrated with lovely mid palate richness, viscosity and mineral length with bitter tonic water notes. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 95 points            

    Simard       

    ST EMILION      

    Medium deep colour. Very attractive wine with pure red cherry redcurrant  aromas and grilled almond notes.  Generous plummy red cherry flavours, plentiful chalky textures, juicy elements and underlying ginger notes. Finishes chalky/ cedary firm. Tasted at Ch Ausone. 94 points   

     

     

    Siran           

    MARGAUX            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh cassis, blackberry touch sage aromas with graphite notes. Well concentered and dense with prominent chocolaty almost soupy tannins, attractive dark berry fruits and supporting grille nut, vanilla oak notes. Finishes   chocolaty/ brambly and crispy long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 91 points

     

    Smith Haut Lafitte       

    PESSAC LEOGNAN                             

    This estate has enjoyed an astonishing ascendancy in the last 15 years. The investment in wine making is extremely impressive. The love and attention to detail is easily seen in a vintage of this calibre. Medium deep colour. Fragrant dark plum, cassis red cherry aromas with herb garden spicy notes. Supple and richly flavoured with inky dark fruits, sinuous velveteen textures, roasted chestnut oak, juicy mid palate richness and fine bitter sweet finish. Lovely volume and acid cut with lacy tannin plume. a really lovely wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 97 points.        

                 

    Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc                

    GRAVES                

    Pale colour. Fragrant camomile, lemon curd aromas with flinty notes. Harmonious and richly flavoured with lovely lemon curd, yeasty creamy flavours, toasty oak complexity, fine plentiful lacy textures and beautiful mineral length. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points           

     

    Soutard     

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense dark berry dark chocolate aromas with vanilla spicy oak notes. Generous and smooth with pure dark plum fruits pastille-like notes, savoury fine tannins and bitter sweet notes. Builds up firm juicy and minerally long. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 93 points     

     

    Suau           

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium colour. Honey pear, lemon curd aromas with toasted brioche notes. Well concentrated and classical in proportions with lemon glacé, grapefruit flavours, supple lacy textures, underlying toasty oak notes and lovely bouyant viscosity. Finishes minerally and long. Very good with beautiful clarity and  acid line. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points

     

    Suduiraut  

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Medium colour. Bitter sweet almost vermouth like aromas with some lemon grapefruit notes. Sweet and unctuous with lemon glacé. Grapefruit flavours, chalky looseknit textures, some grilled nut marzipan notes. Finishes bitter sweet with al dente textures. Attractive wine. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus at Ch Pichon Longueville Baron. 93 points      

     

    Talbot        

    ST JULIEN            

    Deep colour. Liquorice, praline, blackcurrant aromas with inky complexity. Supple and sweet with dark cherry, cassis flavours, dark chocolate notes, dense chalky dry tannins, attractive mid-palate volume and espresso mocha oak notes. Finishes al dente long and minerally.  All in balance. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus.94 points   

                    

    Tertre Rotebeouf         

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep crimson. Beautiful complex dried roses, cherry, smoky oak aromas. Supple and sweet with lovely dried roses, leafy notes, fine al dente tannins and beautiful rich toasty/ roasted chesnut oak. Superb slinky dry tannins. Sensuous wine with chewy long finish. Wonderful and different.Tasted at Ch Tertre Rotebeouf. 97 points

     

    Tonquoy Lalande         

    ST ESTEPHE        

    Deep colour. Elemental yet powerful with intense dark jammy dark cassis Turkish delight aromas. Richly concentrated dark cherry cassis liquorice fruit, beautiful richness and density, lovely bitter sweet dark   Cacao notes at the finish. Lovely vinosity and juiciness. Will last the distance. Superb pure fruit and buoyancy. Tasted at Ch Montrose. 95 Points       

     

    Troplong Mondot         

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Elemental wine with intense dark cherry, dark plum aromas with ginger, spice cedar oak. Substantial and saturated wine with generous sweet fruit flavours, dark chocolate praline notes, cedar oak complexity and vigourous yet dense tannins. Everything in balance. Really good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 96 points     

     

    Trotanoy   

    POMEROL            

    Medium deep colour. Fresh blackberry pastille praline aromas . Well concentrated blackberry, elderberry fruits, fine vigorous touch sappy textures and savoury oak. Quite sinewy at the finish. Muscular and fleshy with persistent acid line. Very elemental and unevolved. Tasted at JP Moueix. 92 points

     

    Trottevielle                    

    ST EMILION          

    Medium deep colour. Fresh plummy inky flinty aromas with meaty notes. Deep set plummy fresh, minerally wine with blackberry jam, raspberry frits, fine chalky textures, attractive butter notes and underlying espresso characters. Quite muscular but pure fruited. Finishes juicy ad long with al dente notes. Tasted at Chateau Batailley/ Borie Manoux. 93 points

     

    Vieux Chateau Certan                     

    POMEROL            

    Deep colour. A brilliant wine with all the high floral notes and the bass richness of a classic Vieux Chateau Certan. Typically, it is Intense with musky violet, dark plummy morello cherry blackcurrant fruits and integrated dark chocolate oak notes. Fresh sweet dark plummy flavours, supple and soft flowing textures, perfectly ripe beautiful fine savoury tannins and silky fruit complexity. A touch cacao-bitter sweet with really superb mineral length at the finish. Understated power and concentration with lovely balance and vigour. Delicious to drink now - always something of an indicator. Tasted at Vieux Chateau Certan. 99 points

     

    99

    Villemaurine                   

    ST EMILION          

    Deep colour. Intense aniseed dark plum herb garden aromas. Well concentrated wine with inky blackcurrant pastille fruits, plentiful fine looseknit grainy tannins, attractive mid palate richness and underlying vanilla spicy oak notes, Finishes grainy and fresh. Very good. Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus. 94 points

     

    d’Yquem    

    SAUTERNES BARSAC                       

    Pale colour. Fresh honeysuckle, apricot  aromas with guava, lemon glacé notes. Generous and medium weighted with lovely sweet white apricot, white peach, baked apple, honey aromas. The palate is classical with intense sweet fruit lemon glacé, apricot marzipan flavours, supple mid-palate textures and pure long fresh acidity. Finishes minerally and flavourful with chalky elements. Lovely precision and freshness. Will not be released en primeur but a strong performing reference for this vintage. Tasted at Ch d'Yquem. 97 points               

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Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  126 Wines  from  107 Producers 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.

 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.

 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

8d 11h ago

Cheval Blanc 2016, Château Cheval Blanc
Château Latour 2016, Château Latour
Les Forts de Latour 2016, Château Latour
d'Yquem 2016, Château d'Yquem
Pétrus 2016, Château Pétrus
Carruades de Lafite 2016, Château Lafite-Rothschild
Lafite-Rothschild 2016, Château Lafite-Rothschild
Château Margaux 2016, Château Margaux
Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc 2016, Château Margaux
Château Margaux Pavillon Rouge 2016, Château Margaux
Château Haut-Brion 2016, Château Haut-Brion
La Clarté de Haut-Brion 2016, Château Haut-Brion
Château Haut-Brion Blanc 2016, Château Haut-Brion
Château Ausone 2016, Château Ausone
Chapelle Ausone 2016, Château Ausone
Château Mouton-Rothschild 2016, Château Mouton-Rothschild
Château Palmer 2016, Château Palmer
Alter Ego 2016, Château Palmer
Vieux Chateau Certan 2016, Vieux Château Certan
Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2016, Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2016, Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Lafleur 2016, Château Lafleur
La Mission Haut Brion 2016, Château La Mission Haut-Brion
La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 2016, Château La Mission Haut-Brion
Arômes de Pavie 2016, Château Pavie
Pavie 2016, Château Pavie
Esprit de Pavie 2016, Château Pavie
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2016, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Château Cos d'Estournel 2016, Château Cos d'Estournel
Latour-à-Pomerol 2016, Château Latour-à-Pomerol
Léoville-Las Cases 2016, Château Léoville-Las Cases
Château Suduiraut 2016, Château Suduiraut
S de Suduiraut 2016, Château Suduiraut
Château L´Evangile 2016, Château L´Evangile
Sigalas-Rabaud 2016, Château Sigalas-Rabaud
Montrose 2016, Château Montrose
Château Rieussec 2016, Château Rieussec
Château Beychevelle 2016, Château Beychevelle
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2016, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste
Château Gruaud-Larose 2016, Château Gruaud-Larose
Château Angelus 2016, Château Angelus
Château Pape Clément Blanc 2016, Château Pape Clément
Chateau Leoville-Barton 2016, Château Leoville-Barton
La Dominique 2016, La Dominique
Chateau Lynch-Bages 2016, Château Lynch-Bages
Château Canon 2016, Château Canon
Le Marquis de Calon-Ségur 2016, Château Calon-Ségur
Château Calon Ségur 2016, Château Calon-Ségur
Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2016, Château Lafleur-Pétrus
Château Coutet 2016, Château Coutet
Château Brane-Cantenac 2016, Château Brane-Cantenac
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2016, Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2016, Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Trotanoy 2016, Château Trotanoy
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2016, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
Château Phelan-Segur 2016, Château Phelan-Segur
Château Pontet Canet 2016, Château Pontet Canet
Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild 2016, Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild
Château Lynch-Moussas 2016, Château Lynch-Moussas
Les Hauts de Lynch-Moussas 2016, Château Lynch-Moussas
Château D´Armailhac 2016, Château D´Armailhac
Château Croizet-Bages 2016, Château Croizet-Bages
Château Langoa Barton 2016, Château Langoa Barton
Château Branaire 2016, Château Branaire-Ducru
Château Rauzan-Ségla 2016, Château Rauzan-Ségla
Château Rauzan-Gassies 2016, Château Rauzan-Gassies
Château Marquis De Terme 2016, Château Marquis De Terme
Château D´Angludet 2016, Château D´Angludet
Château Giscours 2016, Château Giscours
Château Tertre 2016, Château Tertre
Château Les Carmes-Haut-Brion 2016, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Château Les Carmes-Haut-Brion 2016, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2016, Domaine de Chevalier
Domaine de Chevalier 2016, Domaine de Chevalier
La Parde de Haut Bailly 2016, Château Haut-Bailly
Château Haut-Bailly 2016, Château Haut-Bailly
Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc 2016, Château de Fieuzal
Château Guiraud 2016, Château Guiraud
Château de Fargues 2016, Château de Fargues
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2016, Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Château Climens 2016, Château Climens
Château de Myrat 2016, Château de Myrat
Château Caillou 2016, Château Caillou
Château Trottevieille 2016, Château Trottevieille
Château Pavie-Decesse 2016, Château Pavie-Decesse
Château Troplong-Mondot 2016, Château Troplong-Mondot
Château Grand-Mayne 2016, Château Grand-Mayne
Château de Figeac 2016, Château de Figeac
Château La Conseillante 2016, Château La Conseillante
Château Gazin 2016, Château Gazin
Château Beauregard 2016, Château Beauregard
Château La Croix-de-Gay 2016, Château La Croix-de-Gay
Chateau La Lagune 2016, Château La Lagune
Chateau Certan de May 2016, Château Certan de May
Château Pibran 2016, Château Pibran
Château La Louvière Rouge 2016, Château La Louvière
Chasse Spleen 2016, Château Chasse-Spleen
Clos Fourtet 2016, Clos Fourtet
Clos du Marquis 2016, Clos du Marquis
Chateau Bellevue-Mondotte 2016, Château Bellevue-Mondotte
Château La Graves à Pomerol 2016, Châteaux La Grave
Château Cos Labory 2016, Château Cos Labory
Château Lagrange 2016, Château Lagrange Pomerol
Tertre Roteboeuf 2016, Château Tertre Roteboeuf
Château Doisy-Daene 2016, Château Doisy-Daëne
Château Beau-Site 2016, Héritiers Castéja Propriétaires
Château La Tour Blance 2016, Château La Tour Blance
Château Haut-Bages Monpelou 2016, Château Haut-Bages Monpelou
Bélair Monange 2016, Château Bélair Monange
Château Tronquoy Lalande 2016, Château Tronquoy Lalande
Château Villemaurie 2016, Château Villemaurie
Château Haut-Bergey 2016, Château Haut-Bergey
Château Fayat 2016, Château Fayat
Château Cap de Mourlin 2016, Château Cap de Mourlin
Château Pavie-Macquin 2016, Château Pavie-Macquin
Château Soutard 2016, Château Soutard
Château Larmande 2016, Château Larmande
Château Haut-Simard 2016, Château Haut-Simard
Château Le Boscq 2016, Château Le Boscq
Château de Lamarque 2016, Château de Lamarque
Château du Cartillon 2016, Château du Cartillon
Blanc 2016, Château Ferrande
Château Haut-Madrac 2016, Château Haut-Madrac
Château de Camensac 2017, Château de Camensac
Château La Fortune 2016, Château La Fortune
Château Puygueraud 2016, Château Puygueraud
Château du Cartillon, Bordeaux, France
Château Fayat, Bordeaux, France
Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac Leognan, France
Château Certan de May, Bordeaux, France
Château Mouton-Rothschild, Bordeaux, France
Château de Myrat, Barsac, France
Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac Leognan, France
Château Pavie-Macquin, Bordeaux, France
Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, France
Château Haut-Madrac, Bordeaux, France
Château La Lagune, Bordeaux, France
Château Soutard, Bordeaux, France
Château Léoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien, France
Château Trottevieille, Bordeaux, France
Château de Fieuzal, Pessac Leognan, France
Château Pontet Canet, Bordeaux, France
Château Rauzan-Ségla, Bordeaux, France
Château Phelan-Segur, Bordeaux, France
Château Montrose, Bordeaux, France
Château Larmande, Bordeaux, France
Héritiers Castéja Propriétaires, Bordeaux, France
Château Haut-Simard, Bordeaux, France
Château Chasse-Spleen, Bordeaux, France
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Bordeaux, France
Château Grand-Mayne, Saint-Emilion, France
Château Caillou, Barsac, France
Château Puygueraud, Bordeaux, France
Château Brane-Cantenac, Bordeaux, France
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Bordeaux, France
Château Pavie, Bordeaux, France
Château Angelus, Bordeaux, France
Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Bordeaux, France
Château Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien, France
Château Climens, Bordeaux, France
Château Latour-à-Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Château de Fargues, Sauternes, France
Château Ausone, Bordeaux, France
Château de Camensac, Bordeaux, France
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bordeaux, France
Château Cos d'Estournel, Bordeaux, France
Château Bélair Monange, Bordeaux, France
Château Lafite-Rothschild, Bordeaux, France
Clos du Marquis, Burgundy, France
Château Haut-Bergey, Bordeaux, France
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Bordeaux, France
Châteaux La Grave, Bordeaux, France
Château La Louvière , Bordeaux, France
Château Ferrande, Bordeaux, France
Château Gazin, Bordeaux, France
Château Leoville-Barton, Bordeaux, France
Château Cos Labory, Bordeaux, France
Château Villemaurie, Bordeaux, France
La Dominique, Bordeaux, France
Château Beychevelle, Bordeaux, France
Château Tronquoy Lalande, Bordeaux, France
Château Pétrus, Pomerol, France
Château Beauregard, Bordeaux, France
Château Pape Clément, Bordeaux, France
Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild, Pauillac, France
Château La Fortune, Bordeaux, France
Château D´Angludet, Bordeaux, France
Château Pibran, Pauillac, France
Château Tertre, Bordeaux, France
Château La Tour Blance, Sauternes, France
Château Tertre Roteboeuf, Bordeaux, France
Château Pavie-Decesse, Bordeaux, France
Château Cap de Mourlin, Bordeaux, France
Château Rieussec, Sauternes, France
Château Sigalas-Rabaud, Bordeaux, France
Château Haut-Bages Monpelou, Bordeaux, France
Château Lafleur-Pétrus, Bordeaux, France
Château Rauzan-Gassies, Bordeaux, France
Château La Croix-de-Gay, Bordeux, France
Château Le Boscq , Bordeaux, France
Château Guiraud, Bordeaux, France
Château Lafleur, Bordeaux, France
Vieux Château Certan, Bordeaux, France
Château de Figeac, Saint-Emilion, France
Château Troplong-Mondot, Bordeaux, France
Château Canon, St. Emilion, France
Château Cheval Blanc, Bordeaux, France
Château Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Château Trotanoy, Pomerol, France
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Bordeaux, France
Château d'Yquem, Bordeaux, France
Château Latour, Bordeaux, France
Château L´Evangile, Pomerol, France
Clos Fourtet, Bordeaux, France
Château Gruaud-Larose, Bordeaux, France
Château Lynch-Moussas, Bordeaux, France
Château Marquis De Terme, Bordeaux, France
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Bordeaux, France
Château Croizet-Bages, Bordeaux, France
Château Haut-Brion, Bordeaux, France
Château de Lamarque, Bordeaux, France
Château La Conseillante, Bordeaux, France
Château Palmer, Bordeaux, France
Château Suduiraut, Bordeaux, France
Château D´Armailhac, Pauillac, France
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Bordeaux, France
Château Langoa Barton, Saint-Julien, France
Château Bellevue-Mondotte, Bordeaux, France
Château Doisy-Daëne, Bordeaux, France
Château Calon-Ségur, Bordeaux, France
Château Giscours, Bordeaux, France
Château Coutet, Sauternes, France
Château Lagrange Pomerol, Bordeaux, France

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Penfolds Bin CS 389 2010 / Deep crimson purple. Impressively powerful with intense blueberry, blackberry, liquorice aromas and dark chocolate, ginger, marzipan, oak nuances. A substantial palate with remarkable richness and concentration. Saturated blackberry essence, juicy fruit, liquorice, aniseed flavours are balanced by abundant ripe generous tannins and plenty of vanilla, malt, ginger oak notes. It finishes chocolatey firm with tremendous drive and depth of flavour. All the elements are in harmony. It’s delicious but ultimately this wine needs time to reveal its true potential. Keep.

1m 7d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  13 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to build Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers.

Combining the structure of Cabernet with the richness of Shiraz, Bin 389 also exemplifies Penfolds skill in judiciously balancing fruit and oak.

1m 20d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Perfect 100 points Grange - Vintage 2012 / Deep colour. Intense paneforte, dark chocolate, dark blackberry aromas with lifted roasted chestnut, mocha, English-toffee aromas and notes of sweet tobacco, dried roses, shellac and frankincense. Superbly concentrated wine with wonderful presence, structure and density. Plush in scale yet possessing lovely energy and structure...Dense, expansive, rich and voluminous. All in perfect symmetry. A transcendent and powerfully expressive Grange harking back to Max Schuberts original blueprint. Its aromatic complexity, generosity and suppleness is reminiscent of the early 1960s. This has to be in the pantheon of all-time great vintages. Unbelievably good to drink now; a great indication of its lasting quality (but suggest you dont!). Leave it for a minimum of ten years, if you can. 2026-2080.

3m 6d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  13 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 1961-1981 / Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to build Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers.

Combining the structure of Cabernet with the richness of Shiraz, Bin 389 also exemplifies Penfolds skill in judiciously balancing fruit and oak. 

3m 18d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Grosset Gaia 2008 / 99 points / Deep colour. Pure cassis aromas with underlying savoury, vanilla and herb notes. Still elemental but almost perfect. Superb cassis, grilled almond, paneforte, roasted chestnut and vanilla flavours, and loose-knit sweet tannins. Finishes long and sweet-fruited with plenty of roasted chestnut, vanilla and marzipan notes. utterly australian. now – 2040

5m 6d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  6 Wines  from  6 Producers 

2010 Parker Coonnawarra Estate First Growth Cabernet Sauvignon, Connawarra

Dark ripe Cabernet nose with leather, plum, mint, strawberry jam. Beautifully textured on palate with juicy sweet fruit, velvety tannins, a certain note of drier fruit like prunes and some woody notes. Classical and aristocratic texture with great complexity and length. Warm, ripe and big, but very finely balanced and precise with a great varietal expression. 95p

6m 18h ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  9 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Since the early 1970s Penfolds Grange has created a strong international image for Australian wine. Every time a person opens a bottle of fine mature Grange it strengthens the wine’s reputation. Positive critical reviews have also helped. Hugh Johnson – the notable UK wine critic once called it “one of the only true First Growths of the Southern Hemisphere. Robert Parker – the highly influential US wine critic - called Grange “a leading candidate for the richest most concentrated dry red table wine on planet Earth.” Wine Spectator Magazine has conferred two important honours; the 1955 Grange was named one of the top12 wines of the 20th Century in 2000 and the 1990 vintage was named “Wine of the Year’ in 1995. In 2002 grapes destined for Grange were once again crushed and fermented at Magill. A significant proportion of the blend is also matured in hogsheads in the Magill underground drives."

8m 20d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Penfolds Grange 1996 / Deep crimson. Lovely fresh beautiful wine with crimson plum/ black currant aromas with some liquorice/ mocha notes. The palate is generous and supple with fresh plum/ blackcurrant flavours, ripe fine grained tannins and savoury/ grilled nut oak. Finishes chalky firm but long and sweet. Superbly balanced wine. A great vintage. Best to hold. 94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet Sauvignon
Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Magill Estate (Adelaide)Blend. After superb winter rainfall soil moistures improved. This was followed by mild weather dry weather conditions – resulting in a vintage of exceptional quality. 96 points
"

9m 10d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Penfolds Grange 1986 - 98 points / Deep crimson. Intense dark liquorice/ mocha/ cedar/ sweet fruit aromas with malty/ smoky oak notes. A richly extravagant palate with complex liquorice/ deep set mocha-berry flavours and dense ripe fruit. Finishes chalky firm but superbly long and flavourful. A great Grange still on the ascendancy. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon
Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Modbury Vineyard (Adelaide) Blend. A mild relatively dry growing season and vintage. An important and very successful vintage.
"

9m 20d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  11 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Penfolds Grange 1966-1976: Penfolds Grange is considered by many as the ultimate Australian wine experience. At the Penfolds Red Wine Clinics – now held throughout the world – collectors, wine enthusiasts and Grange owners bring their bottles – or even a single bottle - to be assessed by Penfolds winemakers. It has become something of annual ceremony where stories and anecdotes are swapped – while bottles are checked, topped up, recorked and re-capsuled. It is an eclectic crowd comprising millionaire wine collectors, doctors and labourers to taxi drivers and priests. Australians – from all walks of life – are immensely proud of the success of Grange."

10m 17d ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  15 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Penfolds Grange Part I Vintages 1951-1965. A complete review of Penfolds Grange over six decades is a rare event. In many respects each progressive vintage reflects the advancement of the modern Australian Wine industry. While there were other important pioneering winemakers including Maurice O’Shea, Colin Preece and Roger Warren, it is Max Schubert’s legacy that is perhaps the most enduring and inspiring. His work was a collaborative effort. Like Sir Donald Bradman – Australia’s legendary cricketer – Schubert was the star batsman in a team of outstanding players. His brilliance was conviction of his own ideas, inventiveness and leadership. When it was time to go – he passed on the baton allowing his beloved Grange to become entrenched in Australian wine lore with an identity of its own. "

11m 3d ago

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