2019 Bordeaux - The immediate verdict is on - it's truly an exceptional vintage everywhere in Bordeaux
Having been to harvest in Bordeaux in October 2019, I got then an idea of how 2019 will shape up. After tasting samples drawn directly from vats at several properties, before and after fermentation, I made up my mind - a mix of 2018 and 2016.
Because of coronavirus pandemic, it was not possible to travel to Bordeaux this spring and taste 350+ barrel samples. All tastings in Bordeaux were cancelled.
However, thanks to kind proprietors, I've been receiving samples from several chateaux and chateau groups (f.i. 1855 GCC, St.Emilion GCC and Grand Cercle) directly to my address in Copenhagen, Denmark. They were tasted 48 hours after receiving them. I was saying to myself - "If I can't come to Bordeaux, then Bordeaux must come to me!" Not all producers were keen on sending samples, but I'd, of course, to respect their decision not to send samples abroad.
It was a kind of new experience, tasting samples at one single place, not running from one place to another, jumping in and out of the car, trying to fight the queue in the front of the serving table, etc. The main advantage was the possibility to taste samples in silence and peace, and of course retasting these. It was also great to taste some "small wines", I normally don't have time to even look at and also receiving samples unexpectedly from properties I never heard of before. I've made some nice discoveries!
After tasting more than 300-barrel samples from mid-May to the beginning of July, I can say, that 2019 vintage looks stunning. For reds, the ripeness of grapes and tannins, especially the sweetness of tannins and the grained texture of these is fantastic, plus the fact that each grape variety shows in full its typicity and character alone and also greatly compliments the others varieties in the blend! All the samples listed below had been sent over directly from Bordeaux to my home in Copenhagen. They were rested at least 48 hours in an upright position and tasted with label on in the same room (my living room), from the same glasses, often grouped if possible, by commune/district. They were in most cases retasted later the same day.
2019 vintage can be compared to 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018 vintage, depending on the wine-critic you trust, but there's no doubt that the quality for the majority of red wines is just excellent. I personally find Left Bank with especially Saint-Estephe and Pauillac, then Right Bank with Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, particularly strong, but you will easily find a lot of beautiful wines outside classified growth for small money everywhere in Bordeaux. I personally consider that 2019 is a well-prepared blend of 2009 (sweetness of fruit), 2016 (nobility and elegance) and 2018 (quality of tannins).
Whites keep the trend of performing substantially excellent in vintages ending with asymmetric end digit! Dry white wines in 2019 vintage are better than 2018 and remind of 2017 vintage, while 2019 Sauternes & Barsac is of excellent quality and have in my honest opinion the edge over 2017 vintage. 2017 vintage was as we know, great for both kinds of white wines.
The immediate verdict of mine is that 2019 is an exceptional vintage and I'm pretty confident, that it will maintain all the qualities when in bottle in 2021 and even improve.
The primer campaign is now over (ultimo June 2020) and prices were happily in most cases 15-30% lower than in 2018, and many shrewd purchases could be made.
Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux:
Bourdieu - 87% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc, vinification and ageing in stainless steel vats. Black cherries/blueberries, fresh and aromatic, well-equipped with creamy fruit and sweet tannin. Lovely fruity finish. 90p.
Bourdieu N ̊1 - 89% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Malbec, partial ageing in barrels. Aromatic black-/blueberries, fatter and more powerful than standard cuvée, vanilla, complex with a long caressing finish. 91p.
Bourdieu Absolu - 79% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon + 4% Malbec, ageing in barrels for 18 months. Thick and dense, concentrated, plenty of blueberries, strong backbone, delicious complexity and length. 91-92p. A pleasant surprise and a proof that they actually can produce some interesting wines in Blaye! All three cuvées from Bourdieu's owner are like that.
Haut Bertinerie - aroma of roses and yellow cherries, sleek and attractive with tasty berries and sweet tannin, delicate finish. 90-91p.
D'Aiguilhe white – very fragrant on the nose with associations to green apple, white peach and acacia flower, elegant acidity, very crispy on the palate with great length. Well-balanced. Subtle finish. 91p.
Clos des Lunes Lunes d'Argent - 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon, alcohol is 13%. 6 to 7 months ageing in 25% oak barrels. The owner Olivier Bernard's son, Hugo, has been responsible here for exploitation since 2014. This sample is quite fresh and aromatic on the nose and palate with acacia flower/acacia honey, pineapple, pear and dried apricot, and there's fine acidity, length and balance on the palate. The finish is fruity, lively and persistent. The best d'Argent yet produced? Possibly yes. 91-92p.
Cos d’Estournel white - 65% Sauvignon Blanc + 35% Semillon, 14.4% alcohol, 8% new oak. A fatter version of Pagodes with more intensity and concentration, more acidity and longer on the palate. Very pineapple and peach, lively and with much freshness. Splendid effort. 93+p.
Domaine de Cambes - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Vineyard on the banks of Gironde river. Very intense nose of black-/blueberries, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, smooth and creamy on the palate, good backbone, very nice balance and fine fruity finish. Attractive and tasty. Delightful. 90-91p.
Magrez Fombrauge white - plenty of pineapple and green apples on the nose and palate, new oak very eager to support crispy fruit, fine acidity, potent on the palate, firm finish. 92p.
Le Nardian white - it's owned by Jonathan Malthus (Teyssier, Le Carre, Le Dôme and others) and the vineyard is situated several kilometres south of St.Emilion village. It's planted with old vines, which are app. half a century old or even older than that. The blend in 2019 is 70% of Sauvignon Blanc, 15% of Semillon and then 15% Muscadelle. Great freshness and intensity of aromas and fragrances on the nose with acacia flower, pear and peaches. Creamy pineapples, peaches and apricots on the palate. High acidity too to compliment the beautifully scented fruit. Excellent complexity and length. I'm impressed! 93+p.
Pagodes de Cos white - 88% Sauvignon Blanc + 12% Semillon, 14.4% Alcohol, 8% new barrels. Pleasant aromas of litchi, white flowers, aromatic, much pineapple on the palate, vibrant with fine acidity and complexity. Tasty and smooth finish. Will go very well with lighter food. 91-92p.
Valandraud white – 1.5 ha, clayey-limestone, 50% Semillon + 40% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Sauvignon Gris. Myriad of aromas like f.i. acacia flower, peaches, pineapple and mango, vibrant, multi-faceted, splendid complexity and acidity, aftertaste on fresh tones. 93-94p.
Virginie de Valandraud white – a second label of white Valandraud. 2.5 ha, clayey-limestone, 50% Semillon + 40% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Sauvignon Gris. Full of freshness and vivacity, aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, fine acidity, well-bolstered on the palate, delicious fruity finish. 92p.
Single variety wines made by Hubert de Bouard:
Cabernet Franc – freshness, characteristic “green” flavours of leek, ripe fruit, fine acidity and backbone, firm aftertaste. 87-88p.
Cabernet Sauvignon – fine concentration, graphite, pencil, minerality and acidity, grained tannin, persistent finish. 87-88p.
Chardonnay – acacia flower, melted butter, fresh, nice acidity, crispy fruit, nicely structured. 86-87p.
Merlot – cherries/blueberries, violets, soft and sweetness, silky tannins, tasty, lingering finish. 88-89p.
Sauvignon – fine example of this grape’s characteristics. Minerality, green apple, pear, lemongrass, fine acidity and crispiness, lingering finish. 88-89p.
Semillon – aromatic, tropical fruit like mango, honey melon, sweetness, acidity present, crispy fruit, fruity aftertaste. 88p.
20 Mille - 1.4 ha, neighbour to Croix Mouton, 100% Merlot, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 26/27 degrees C, ageing in the specially cigar-shaped barrels from Demptos and Remond. Dense and intense nose of black cherries and blueberries, plush and spicy black fruit on the palate with lovely backbone, complexity, structure and length. Fine depth. Excellent cooperation between aromatic fruit and sweet tannin. Splendid effort. 92+p.
Balthus - which is de Reignac's 100% Merlot cuvée, showed fine intensity of dark cherries and blueberries, lovely complexity, silky texture and fine lingering finish. 91-92p.
Croix Mouton - one of several estates on Right Bank belonging to Jean-Philippe Janoueix, He also owns 20 Mille, La Confession and Cap St. Georges. He stands for running/making wine at Sacre Coeur and La Croix St.Georges. He doesn't use external oenologist at his properties.
70 ha, just outside Fronsac appellation and close to Dordogne river, the blend here is 96% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 26/27 degrees C, ageing in 20% oak and rest in vats. Not as powerful as 2018 but more precise and with more significant depth. It's an enormously seductive and attractive effort filled up with perfectly ripe blackberries and sweet tannin, fine structure and subtle fruity, smooth and lingering finish. Probably the best CM ever produced. For the price, it'll make a great qpr in this vintage! 92+p.
de Reignac and Sainte Barbre - well-constructed, nice concentration and structure, lovely fruity and with grained tannins, sleek and silky. Very attractive effort for both. 91p.
Tayet Cuvêe Prestige - 55% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Sauvignon + 10% Petit Verdot. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. The nose displays a nice intensity of cherries, and on the palate, it seems light in texture and concentration. However, it's a nicely constructed and balanced baby wine with a smooth and fruity finish. 89p.
Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux:
Carat de Reaut - 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot. Special selection of manually harvested grapes from the vineyard ageing in barrels. Only produced in exceptional vintages. More flair and elegance than in Reaut, opulent and splendid length, quite complex and with persistent finish. 92p.
Reaut - 26 ha, Merlot 58%, Cabernet Sauvignon 37%, Cabernet Franc 5%. Purchased in 2012 by Yannick Evenou, at that time manager of La Dominique, who was responsible for creating Terrasse Rouge project at this property. He purchased Reaut together with some investors and then private wine-lovers and others could buy share(s) in it. Jean-Claude Ramonet from famous Burgundy producer, Domaine Ramonet, is among investors!
Strong and potent, lots of creamy dark cherries/blueberries/blackcurrants, well-composed, complex, fat sweet tannin, long and firm finish. Impressive effort, I have to say. Great value for money. 92p.
Gaby Princess - dark berries, nice acidity, polished, nicely structured and good length. 87p.
Gaby - dark cherries on the nose, creamy berries and sweet tannin, but is a bit overshadowed by new oak on the palate, and there's also a hint of over-extraction. Fine structure and length. Long and persistent finish. 90p.
Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux:
D'Aiguilhe – spicy raspberries, earthy, nicely concentrated, some power here, just enough sweet tannin to balance the fruit. Firm finale. 90-91p.
Ampelia – displayed fragrant nose of rose bush, some violets and raspberries, distinct on the palate with creamy berries and sweet tannins, lingering finish. Seductive effort. 91-92p.
L’Aurage - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Made by the son of Francois Mitjavile, Louis. Minty on the nose, spicy berries with some eucalyptus, well-assorted and harmonious. You can taste the presence of Cabernet Franc in the blend (backbone). Fine effort! 91-92p.
La Brande - aromatically scented nose of roses/rosebush, silky all over, crunchy fruit and tannin, vibrant, lovely taste, harmonious and lingering. Pretty good effort. 91+p.
Clos Lunelles - 8.5 ha, 80% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.48% alcohol. fragrance of rose bush, spicy fruit, tannins are a bit dominating, but all in all it's a decent effort with roundness and attraction. 90p.
Cote Montpezat - fine aromatic nose of dark cherries/blackberries, fine acidity, fragrant roses and violets, well-assorted and well-balanced, fine structure. Seductive effort. 91-92p.
Clos Puy Arnaud and Laussac - very raspberry, nicely structured, fragrant and tasty. 90-91p. Laussac Cuvée Sacha - more intensity, more concentration and longer on the palate compared to Laussac. 91-92p.
Le Rey Les Argileuses – parcels 1-3, 12 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.6% alcohol. Vinification in stainless steel tanks, no oak. A lovely and aromatic fragrance of roses/rose bush, round and tasty, catchy, smooth and silky on the palate with raspberries. Perfect for drinking at garden parties and to light dishes. 90-91p.
Le Rey Les Rocheuses – parcels 5-6, 12 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol. 40% new oak, 40% one year, 20% second-year barrels. Vanilla, creamy berries on the palate, impressive depth and complex, sweet tannins, again and again, splendid balance, long fruity finish. It's delicious stuff. 92-93p.
Cotes de Bourg:
Roc de Cambes - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Big, fully packed nose of black fruit, very intense, complex with creamy berries on the palate, splendid acidity and length, fine complexity, velvety texture and persistent finish. Fabulous effort! 93-94p.
Auguste - same owner as Gaby in Canon-Fronsac. Nose of red berries and roses, aromatic and seductive, same fragrances on the palate, tasty berries, delicate, soft aftertaste. Attractive. 88p.
Dalem - dark aromatic cherries on the nose, quite potent on the palate with strong structure, splendid acidity and balance, fine-grained tannin to support creamy fruit, long firm finish. 93p.
Fontenil - 10 ha, 100% Merlot. Potent wine with concentrated black cherries on the nose, strong backbone, minerality, lot of creamy fruit and fat tannin, splendid complexity and meaty aftertaste. Very successful effort for the vintage. 93p.
de la Riviere - everything is in the right place here. Deep and intense nose of blueberries, strong structure and backbone, splendid complexity and length. Some minerality and splendid acidity. 93-94p.
Villars - earthy flavours, spicy black cherries, spicy, potent and well-structured with persistent finish. Fine for the vintage. 92p.
Crabitey white - 70% Sauvignon Blanc + 30% Semillon. Aromatic and attractive on the nose and palate, green apple and pear, well-assorted, corresponding fine acidity, crispy with nice length and smooth aftertaste. 92-93p.
Rahoul – 35 ha, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Robust and intense, well-proportioned, fine structure and length. Light scent of graphite and grilled bacon. Complex and with persistent finish. 91-92p.
Rahoul white – 4 ha, 61% Semillon + 39% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, quite aromatic, delicate, a bit light and linear, reasonable length. 87p.
Roquetaillade La Grange - similar to Saint Robert Poncet Deville with more concentration and length. As seductive and tasty. 92p.
Saint Robert Poncet Deville - aromatic dark berries on the nose and crushed blackcurrant on the nose, all that in a silky package, very good structure and complexity, lingering finish. Well-made. 91+p.
Brondelle, de Cerons and Crabitey - fruity, round, soft fruit and tannin, tasty. 88p to all three wines.
Belgrave – 59 ha, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Cherry/raspberry drops on the nose, polished on the palate, lovely scented, soft texture, appetizing with a mellow finish. 91p.
Cantemerle – fresh cherries, fragrant, polished on the palate, crunchy berries and sweet tannin, gentle kick of oak, subtle complexity. Pretty wine. 90-91p.
La Demoiselle de Sociando Mallet - 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% new oak for 12 months. Very scented, intense and seductive nose of blackcurrants and some roasted bacon flavour. On the palate, there's a nice amount of creamy black fruit and crunchy sweet tannin. Excellent structure and lingering finish. Impressive effort for a second wine. 91p.
La Lagune - 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 4% Petit Verdot, 14% alcohol, 50% new oak. Dense and deep nose of fragrant blackcurrants, scents of roasted bacon and graphite on the palate, splendid acidity, creamy berries and grained tannin. Full-bodied yet elegant with finesse. Complex with splendid structure and length. Long aftertaste. Another great effort from this property. Great value for money here! 95-96p.
Lanessan – spicy blackcurrants, aromatic, polished palate with some bite, nicely structured and with a soft finish. 90p.
Malescasse – very fragrant cherries on the nose and creamy black fruit on the palate. Well-constructed with bold tannins working well with creamy fruit. Persistent finish. Well-made. 91-92p.
Madame de Beaucaillou – comes from vineyards in the district brought by Madame Eugene-Borie through her marriage. 68% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon + 13% Petit Verdot, 13,92% alcohol, 20% new oak. Lovely, tasty black cherries, lush fruit and pleasant tannins. Round and very delicious. 89p
Sociando Mallet - 77 ha, 55% Merlot + 43% Cabernet Sauvignon + 2% Cabernet Franc, 35 years old vines, 90% new oak, malolactic fermentation in vats. Deep nose and palate with the scent of tobacco leaves and cigar box, intermixed with creamy blackcurrants and blackberries. Very potent on the palate with depth, strong backbone and great complexity and balance. Fat tannins and fat creamy finish. It matches in every corner 2018 version and may show even better after bottling. Fully deserved 95p.
La Tour Carnet - spicy berries, earthy flavours, nicely composed on the palate with good structure and length. Harmonious, tasty and crunchy fruit. Soft finish. 90-91p.
Du Cartillon and Lestage Simon - correctly made, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
L'Ambroisie - here is something to hang on. Huge berry nose with some alcohol attack, spicy, concentrated creamy berries on the palate. Very modern approach with power and flamboyant fruit and tannin. No over-extraction here. 91p.
Bertineau Saint-Vincent - 5.6 ha, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Elegant, round and pleasant, tasty berries, silky texture and fruity finish. Immediate pleasure. 88p.
Domaine des Sabines – 6 ha, gravel and clay, 80% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Franc. Fresh, raspberry drops, soft, silky fruit and tannin with pleasant sweetness, very accessible and tasty. Attractive effort. 90p.
Enclos de Viaud - 3.18 ha, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc, 13.8% alcohol. Aromatic blueberries, nice spicy power on the palate, nice structure and depth. Considerable length and fruity finish. A bit one-dimensional but attractive and tasty. 88p.
La Fleur de Bouard - modern style, plenty of black cherries, quite concentrated on the palate, creamy fruit, nice complexity and length, grained tannins. Lingering finish. A good one. 92p.
Haut Chaigneau - it's the domicile of Pascal Chatonnet. He's consulting oenologist with many clients around the world. For instance, in Bordeaux he consults Cos d'Estournel and d'Issan, in Rhone it's Chateau de Beaucastel and in Spain Vega Sicilia. And of course, his own properties (Haut Chaigneau and D'Archange).
It's a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic cherry/raspberry drops on the nose, lovely intensity, structure and concentration, subtle complexity as well, bright fruit well matching sweet grained tannin. Very attractive and tasty. Smooth aftertaste. 91p.
Jean de Gue - nicely made, polished with spicy raspberries, complementing grained tannin, nice structure and lovely fruity finish. 90p.
Le Lion de La Fleur de Bouard - second wine of La Fleur de Bouard. Sweet and tasty cherries, polished on the palate, alcohol well-present, round well-balanced, sweet tannin, soft and silky. 88-89p.
Moncets - well-trimmed, aromatic, classic for the district with spicy fruit flavours, very good balance and sleek, fruity finish. 90p.
Le Plus de La Fleur de Bouard - 100% Merlot. Dense and concentrated cherries/blueberries on the nose, creamy berries on the palate, sweet tannin and adequate acidity, splendid complexity and structure, long lingering finish. Alcohol is there but well masked by wool curtains of fruit! Impressive. 94p.
Sergant - aromatic roses and violets on the nose, spicy blackcurrants on the palate, well-constructed, nice concentration and length, well-balanced and with silky tannins. Very good effort. 91p.
La Sergue - this wine is a combination of 3 parcels in the district with each one having different soil and different grape variety and different microclimate. There is 77% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. The average age of vines is 45 years for Merlot, 35% for Cabernet Franc and 50% for Malbec. Pascal Chatonnet did vinification at his properties by maceration at max temperature than 27 degrees C.
It displays very intense and aromatic dark berries on the nose and palate, creamy and elastic taste with splendid complexity, strong backbone and lingering finish. Excellent winemaking. 92+p.
Baron de Brane - 54% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 1% Carmenere, 14.2% alcohol. Very captivating nose of black cherries/blueberries, aromatic and dense. Fine elegance on the palate, creamy berries and sweet tannins to balance them, silky texture and delicious fruity finish. Fine second label of Brane Cantenac. 92p.
Brane Cantenac – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Carmenere + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.1% alcohol. Distinctive nose of fragrant blackcurrants, scent of grilled bacon and tobacco leaves. Quite concentrated on the palate yet elegant. Creamy with grained tannin and excellent support by acidity. Long lingering finish. Excellent effort for the vintage and may even surpass 2018. 95+p.
Cantenac Brown – 68% Cabernet Sauvignon + 32% Merlot, 60% new oak. Some power, fragrant, blackcurrants and blueberries on the nose in numbers, gentle palate with sweet berries and tannin. On the elegant side with fine structure and lingering finish. Pretty wine. 93p.
Le Coteau and La Tour de Bessan - round and pleasant, nicely structured with delicate fruit and sweet tannin, tasty. 89p.
Le Createur - this is a special cuvée of Haut Breton Larigaudiere. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (old vines) aged in 100% new oak. Dark berries like wild black cherries and blackcurrants. A splendid intensity here both on the nose and palate, fine-grained tannins supporting the fruit, elegant composition and balance, silky texture, lingering finish. Very seductive indeed. 92+p.
Desmirail – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alcohol. Black cherry nose, catchy and seductive, elegant, crunchy fruit and silky tannins, fine complexity and structure. Well-balanced. Attractive and pretty wine. 92-93p.
Giscours – very fine and deep nose of sweet blackcurrants, creamy and potent on the palate, adequate support of oak, splendid complexity and structure. Quite significant effort. 94p.
Haut Breton Larigaudiere - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon + 10% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot. Owners - Famille de Schepper. Displays a very fragrant and attractive nose of black cherries, a palate with attractive silkiness, very nice acidity and harmony. Captivating and tasty wine, well-made and which should improve after staying in new oak. 91+p.
D’Issan – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot, 50% new oak, 13.37% alcohol. Fine cherry/blueberry drops on the nose, elegant with finesse, subtle, velvety texture, silky berries and tannin. Tasty and attractive. Fine fruity finish. 93p.
Kirwan – 59% Cabernet Sauvignon + 28% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc + 6% Petit Verdot + 1% Carmenere. Lot of fragrances here with cherries and blackcurrants. Vibrant, lovely composed with a fine backbone, balance and structure. Creamy berries and sweet tannins on the palate. Fine lingering finish. Excellent effort. 94p.
Lascombes – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak, 14.5% alcohol for Merlot, 13% for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Very intense and noble nose of crushed blackcurrants, refined with great elegance and great finesse. Remarkable precision. Great length and long finish. Sublime stuff! 96p.
Malescot St. Exupery – fresh, vivid, more elegant than usual, splendid acidity, structure and complexity. Excellent balance between crunchy berries and sweet grained tannins. Velvety clad finish. 94p.
Ch. Margaux 1. Growth - only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon + 7% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux' technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me, that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch. Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"
It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with wonderful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 99-100p.
Marojallia - 2.5 ha, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot, 13.5% alcohol. Powerful on the nose and palate with creamy berries and sweet tannin, polished and modern style but not pushed and overdone. Fragrant and delicious with fine backbone and length. Fine caressing finish. 91-92p.
Marquis d’Alesme – 57% Cabernet Sauvignon + 37% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak, 14% alcohol. Densely aromatic blackcurrants, very spicy, powerful on the palate with creamy berries and strong tannin support, superb depth and superb finish as well. Excellent effort for sure. 94p+.
Marquis de Terme – it's pretty wine but rather light-footed. Sweet aromatic berries, delicate structure and balance, lacks a bit of vibrancy and excitement. We'll see after ageing if it puts more on weight and intensity. Not up to 2018 effort. 91p.
Pavillon Rouge de Ch. Margaux - represents 27% of the whole production. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 19% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.2% alcohol. It displays a very intense aroma of black cherries on the nose, very distinctive, deep and noble: silky berries and grained tannin. The acidity keeps the whole thing fresh. Sophisticated and with a long and lingering aftertaste. As excellent as 2018, more typical for the property. 94p.
Prieure Lichine – 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot, 40% new oak. Fresh and vivid, very fragrant with intense blackcurrants, sweet tannins, velvety texture, gentle kick of new oak, subtle and with an attractive finish. Catchy effort. 93-94p.
Rauzan Gassies – 72% Cabernet Sauvignon + 28% Merlot, 50% new oak, 14% alcohol. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and palate, fresh, very elegant with finesse. Tasty with fine complexity, grained tannins, fine structure and length. This property continues its improvement, seen in 2018 vintage. 2019 is as appealing and seductive. 94p.
Du Tertre – gentle and elegant, finesse, splendid composition, silky fruit with helpful tannin support, smooth fruity finish. 92-93p.
Blaignan – aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, ripe fruit and tannin, pleasant on the palate with a nice bite, uncomplicated, soft finish. 88p.
Goulee by Cos d'Estournel - this vineyard is situated further north from Cos d'Estournel and close to the banks of Gironde. 86% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Sauvignon +1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alcohol, 20% new oak. Same owner as Cos d'Estournel (Reybier). Pascal Chatonnet in consulting oenologist here. An aromatic nose here, freshness, crushed blueberries, fine complexity, silky texture and spicy-sweet berries on the palate, sweet tannins. Gentle. It's fine elegance to it. 92p.
La Cardonne and Loudenne - attractive, fruity and tasty wines. 89-90p.
Les Grands Chenes and Griviere correctly made, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
D'Armailhac – voluptuous, creamy blackcurrants, potent and concentrated, luscious fruit on the palate, rich, excellent complexity and length, Persistent and fruity finish. Splendid effort. 94p.
Batailley – 74% Cabernet Sauvignon + 25% Merlot + 1% Petit Verdot. Very fragrant nose with sweet blackcurrants, well-defined and well-balanced on the palate with crunchy berries and sweet tannins, sleek finish. Very elegant in 2019. Terrific effort. 92-93p.
Clerc Milon – it possessed a very inviting nose full of aromatic blackcurrants, well-assorted on the palate, fine structure and splendid concentration, fleshy and with persistent finish. Imho, it equals 2018 effort here. 93p.
Croizet Bages – 66% Cabernet Sauvignon + 34% Merlot, 14.5% alcohol, 50% new oak. Same owners as at sister property in Margaux, Rauzan Gassies. Also, here you can spot the improvement in quality in recent vintages. Quite fragrant on the nose and creamy on the palate, elegant with lovely structure and complex. Sweet and velvety finish. Beautiful wine. 92p.
Fonbadet - fresh, aromatic black cherries/blackcurrants on the nose, nicely structured on the palate with acidity and tasty fruit and soft tannin. Nice balance. Good effort. 90-91p.
Grand Puy Ducasse – 53% Cabernet Sauvignon + 47% Merlot, 35% new oak. Powerful with luscious blackcurrants, tight structure, well-equipped with creamy black fruit and sweet tannin on the palate, subtle complexity and just enough oak to have a perfect balance. Firm finish. It keeps well its style. 93p.
Haut Batailley – 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot, 14.1% alcohol, 60% new oak. This property was purchased in 2017 by Cazes family from neighbouring Lynch Bages. Not surprisingly, 2019 here has many associations to Lynch Bages’ effort in 2019, however it's more elegance and is lighter in intensity. 93p.
Lynch Bages – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Franc + 3% Petit Verdot, 75% new oak. Gentle effort in 2019 and sheer delight for one's taste buds with creamy berries and sweet tannin in every "corner". Silky texture yet quite fleshy and with splendid structure. Finishes well with a long lingering finish. 94p.
Lynch Moussas – 73% Cabernet Sauvignon + 27% Merlot. Belongs to Casteja family who also owns Trottevieille in Saint-Emilion. There's been vast improvement of the quality here in recent vintages, and 2019 confirms it with aplomb. Potent yet elegant and with great flair. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, creamy on the palate with fine-grained tannin, gentle kick of oak to balance the fruit and great length. 93p.
Pedesclaux – 72% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc + 2% Petit Verdot, 13,64% alcohol, 68% new oak. Flowery and fragrant nose of violets plus some spicy blackcurrants. Rather elegant than powerful on the palate with delicate fruit and subtle tannins. Finesse. Soft finish. 91+p.
Pichon Baron – 87% Cabernet Sauvignon + 13% Merlot, 80% new oak. Sheer power and concentration, blocks and blocks of creamy blackberries and sweet tannin, awesome complexity and depth, luscious and with many layers. Spectacular effort and as thrilling as 2018 or maybe even better! 98+p.
Pichon Comtesse – 71% Cabernet Sauvignon + 23% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc, 14.12% alcohol, 60% new oak. Sensual with breathtaking elegance and finesse, refined and sophisticated, long, long rows of creamy blackcurrants and cherries, spectacular complexity and length, multi-layered, noble and refined. Another magic effort from the property! 99p.
Dutruch Grand Poujeaux - nicely composed with flair, nice concentration, acidity, dark cherries with some spice, silky texture and delicate finish. Attractive. 90p.
Bouscaut – intense and fragrant blackcurrants/blueberries on the nose, crunchy fruit and sweet tannins on the palate, silky texture and persistent finish. 92p.
Bouscaut white – displays freshness, fine cooperation between crispy fruit and well-present acidity, some minerality and complexity. Lingering finish. 91-92p.
Cantelys – very appealing nose of ripe blackcurrants and repeat of these on the palate. Very nicely put together, meaning structure, balance and length are just lovely. It finishes off with fruity, mellow finish. Attractive effort. 91p.
Cantelys white – lot of aromas here. Peaches, acacia flower and lemongrass, underlying acidity works well with creamy fruit. Fresh and vivid. Catchy effort. 90-91p.
Carbonnieux – quite intense on the nose and concentrated on the palate with creamy fruit and crunchy tannins, well-structured with splendid complexity. Elegant and lingering finish. 93p.
Carbonnieux white - classy nose of acacia flower, green apple and lemongrass, fine acidity, finesse and refined touch. Delightful on the palate with freshness and crispy fruit. Delicate aftertaste. 93-94p.
Les Chenes de Bouscaut – second wine. Fresh, cherries, aromatic, round and pleasant. 87p.
Les Chenes de Bouscaut white – second wine. Fresh, green apple, round and pleasant, crispy and tasty. To enjoy in its youth. 87p.
Clementin de Pape Clement – second wine. Freshness, nicely composed, aromatic blackcurrants, nice acidity as well, some power and firm finish. 88p.
Clementin de Pape Clement white - second wine. Fresh, nice intensity and acidity. Scents of acacia flower and peaches. Delicate fruity finish. 91-92p.
Clos Marsalette – very aromatic cherries/raspberries, fleshy, delicious fruit and tannin, lovely structure and delicate finish. Cute wine. 90p.
Clos Marsalette white – intense aroma of green apple, pear, acacia flower and lemongrass, acidity very present to balance the fruit, quite elegant with finesse. Soft finish. Attractive effort. 91p.
Couhins – very cherry on the nose and palate, sleek and with a velvety texture, well-structured, creamy, crunchy tannins. Fine fruity finish. 92p.
Couhins white – of course, more of everything than in second wine, some minerality here, more concentration and length. Fine complexity. 91-92p.
Couhins Lurton – 16 ha, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and crunchy fruit on the palate mixing well with soft tannins, nice structure and complexity, caressing fruity finish. 91-92p.
Couhins Lurton white - 6 ha, 100% Sauvignon. Very potent nose of lemongrass, green apple and pear, very expressive, splendidly constructed on the palate with great acidity, intensity and complexity, long and persistent finish. It's classified property, and it never disappoints. Very impressive indeed! 93-94p.
La Croix de Carbonnieux – second wine. Aromatic and attractive, nicely structured, round and with tasty fruit. One to be consumed in its early days. 87p.
La Croix de Carbonnieux white – second wine. Crispy, scent of acacia flower and green apple. Smooth and supple on the palate. Tasty, round and pleasant. 87p.
La Dame des Couhins – second wine. Round, supple, harmonious, tasty black cherries, velvety texture, sleek. 88p.
La Dame des Couhins white – second wine. Pear and apricots on the nose and palate, round and crispy with nice acidity and length, soft aftertaste. 87p.
Domaine de Chevalier red - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot. Alcohol is only 13%. 35% new oak, malolactic fermentation in barrel. A sophisticated, deep and intense nose of blackberries and blueberries, a classy one. Full-bodied with style on the palate with excellent structure, complexity and length. Petit Verdot supports some graphite and scent of red meat on the palate coming from Cabernet Sauvignon, lush black fruit coming from Merlot and strong backbone. The fruit cooperates perfectly with sweet and grained tannin. Great sophisticated touch and great length with a strong finish. Possibly the best vintage for red wine at Domaine de Chevalier yet? For me, it easily reaches heights of 2018 vintage or surpasses a bit compared when tasting from the barrel! 96-98p.
Domaine de Chevalier white - 70% Sauvignon + 30% Semillon. Alcohol is 14%. 35% new oak and ageing on the lees in barrels for 18 months. A dazzlingly fresh, sublime and dignified nose of flowers mixed with peaches and citron grass. Great presence of acidity. Lively, sophisticated and refined on the palate with awesome complexity, depth and length. I'd say a classic and highly stylish wine for the property. Exceptional stuff! 97+p.
De France – 36% ha, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 50% Merlot. Spicy blackcurrants and raspberries on the nose, some creamy berries on the palate well supported by grained tannins, nice length and soft aftertaste. Already very approachable. 91p.
De France white – 3.5 ha, 80% Sauvignon + 20% Semillon. Attractive nose of acacia flower and lemongrass plus some pineapple. Acidity is discreetly present. Elegant and attractive with a nice fruity finish. 91-92p.
La Garde – 50 ha, 52% Merlot + 46% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic cherries/blackcurrants, fresh, nice structure, spicy berries, nicely balanced with a smooth fruity finish. 90-91p.
La Garde white – 3.7 ha, 89% Sauvignon Blanc + 11% Semillon. Very pineapple, pleasant and inviting, elegant and crispy, nice acidity and delicate finish. For drinking in its youth. 88p.
Haut Bacalan - attractive and silky, blackberries and sweet tannin, polished on the palate, delicate with creamy fruit, very good complexity and nice smooth finish. 91-92p.
Haut Bailly II - 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.2% alcohol, 30% new oak. Fine mix of cherries and blackcurrants on the nose, well-constructed with fine complexity on the palate with velvety texture, sweet tannins, persistent aftertaste. Fine second wine. 92p.
Haut Bailly - 56% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Franc + 4% Petit Verdot, 13.7% alcohol, 50% new oak. Very mineral, very Cabernet Sauvignon scented with associations to red meat and grilled bacon. Gentler and more elegant than usual, but keeping the richness and sophisticated touch intact. Excellent complexity, balance and persistent finish. Refined and finesse. Fabulous effort. 97p.
Haut Lagrange - attractive, well-balanced with creamy berries and nice acidity. Fruity aftertaste. 90p.
Hauts de Les Smith – 40% Cabernet Sauvignon + 60% Merlot, 20% new oak. Similar to Le Petit Haut Lafitte, gentler however and softer. 91-92p.
Hauts de Les Smith white – 100% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% new oak. Similar to Le Petit Haut Lafitte white but more expressive and a bit more intense. 92+p.
Latour Martillac – powerful, creamy berries and fat tannin, splendid complexity and length. Strong backbone and lovely balance. Long and delightful aftertaste. 93p.
La Louviere – 48 ha, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot. Well-equipped on the nose and palate with aromatic and tasty blackcurrants/blueberries. Creamy berries and corresponding grained tannin. Excellent complexity and length. Intelligent and thoughtful winemaking here. 92-93p.
La Louviere white – 15 ha, 100% Sauvignon Blanc. This property makes wines of great value for money. I don't remember to ever get a bad white wine from it. In 2019 vintage, it's huge on the nose with intense aromas of pineapple and pear, sublime complexity, striking acidity and great length. Long lingering finish. Spectacular effort. 94p.
Malartic Lagraviere – 56% Merlot + 39% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc + 2% Petit Verdot. Very intense and deep on the nose with concentrated blackcurrants, cherries and a scent of violets. On the palate, there is great complexity, acidity and structure, creamy berries and grained tannin. Very complete effort, refined and with a sophisticated touch. Excellent. 95+p.
Malartic Lagraviere white – 76% Sauvignon Blanc + 24% Semillon. Full-bodied with deep nose of green apple and pear. Vigorous, rich and complex, refined and with a sophisticated touch. Remarkable acidity and minerality. Long and caressing aftertaste. Textbook dry white Bordeaux! 95p.
Olivier – elegant with finesse, subtle, creamy berries and grained tannin, velvety texture, sleek, lovely structure and delicate finish. 93p.
Olivier white – very potent on the nose and palate, lemongrass and white peaches, crispy fruit, splendid acidity, refined. Long finish. 93-94p.
Pape Clement – modern-styled wine with a strong backbone, big concentration, lot of fruit and new oak. Strong structure and acidity well present. Made for long keeping. 94p.
Pape Clement white – big scaled and intense, remarkable acidity and depth, but also possessing a large dose of new oak. Strong structure and lengthy finish. Great future awaits. 95p.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot, 20% new oak. Fresh, powerful and intense on the nose, livid, crunchy fruit and tannin, plenty of blackcurrants, lovely complexity, well-balanced and persistent aftertaste. 92p.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte white – 80% Sauvignon Blanc + 20% Semillon, 50% new oak. Freshness, dense aroma of green apple and lemongrass, crispy, elegant and tasty. Very joyful and attractive. 92+p.
La Reserve de Malartic – second wine. 83% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Petit Verdot. Nose of crushed berries, polished on the palate with crunchy blackcurrants and sweet tannin. Well-balanced and appetizing. 90p.
La Reserve de Malartic white – second wine. 81% Sauvignon Blanc + 19% Semillon. Freshness, aromas of lemongrass and pear, crispy on the palate with acidity well present, pleasant and tasty. Nice fruity aftertaste. 88p.
de Rouillac - on the light side, some delicate berries and tannin, round and tasty. 87p.
de Rouillac white - freshness, crispy fruit and pleasant acidity, some minerality and a nice fruity finish. 89p.
Smith Haut Lafitte – 59% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak. Great, great effort with everything just awesome. Intense, sophisticated, refined, strong backbone, great complexity and depth and great balance. Velvety texture and long, lingering finish. 97+p.
Smith Haut Lafitte white – 90% Sauvignon Blanc + 5% Sauvignon Gris + 5% Semillon, 50% new oak. Fat and creamy with excellent acidity. Lot of green apples, acacia flower and pear. Great complexity and multi-faceted. Fabulous effort. 96-97p.
Seguin - 55% Merlot + 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. It starts quite friendly and attractive with fine aromatics on the nose with violet, mint and cherries. A little touch of heat/alcohol on the nose which disappears rapidly. Silky on the palate with splendid balance and with a gentle kiss of oak, long and firm finish. It's simply great effort, and for me, 2019 here looks like a mix of 2018 and 2016 with the latter's elegance and nobility. 94+p.
Le Thil – intense blackcurrants on the nose, creamy blackcurrants on the palate. A well-constructed wine with a solid backbone, delicate balance and persistent finish. 91+p.
Beauregard - 17.5 ha, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol. The owners of it, purchased recently a neighbour on the other side of the road, (after you leave Catusseau towards Saint-Emilion), Petit Village.
Intense dark cherries on the nose, very aromatic, potent and concentrated, splendid structure and complexity, lingering finish. Very promising and probably best vintage yet from this property! For me it's better than 2016 and 2018. 93p.
Le Bon Pasteur - 6.6 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Potent, well-packed with creamy dark berries, strong backbone, splendid structure and length. Grained yet strong tannin. Persistent finish. Excellent effort. 94+p.
Bourgneuf - 9 ha in one single block, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, the temperature during alcoholic fermentation goes slowly up, continues at max. 28 degrees at the end, 35% new oak. Bourgneuf's consulting oenologist is Stéphane Toutoundji, one of the members of Thomas Duclos' oenoteam. A lot of violets here on the nose intermixed with blueberries and black cherries, very distinctive and noble. On the palate, it's refined with striking complexity and harmony between creamy berries and sweet grained tannin. Lingering and long finish. A beautiful effort from the hands of the very talented winemaker, Frederique Vayron and it deserves all 95p in rating!
Cantelauze – owned by Boidron family (Corbin Michotte). 0.9 ha, vineyard is several parcels different places in Pomerol, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet franc. Aromatic blueberries on the classy and noble nose, very complex and velvety on the palate, sweet tannins, splendid balance. However, it's not as intense and creamy as its 2018 counterpart. It's a lot of elegance and finesse for those who prefer that, instead of much power and strength. 94p.
La Clemence - powerful on the nose and palate with dark sweet berries, fat tannin and plenty of oak as well, well-structured, complex and with a persistent finish. One to keep for a couple of decades to get it softened. 93p.
Le Clos de Beau-Pere – displays an aromatic nose of black fruit, elegant and elaborate on the palate with silky fruit and velvety tannins, fine structure and length, lingering finish. Tasty effort. 92p.
La Commanderie - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. A bit reserved nose of dark chocolate and aromatic cherries. Very potent and creamy on the palate with splendid structure, length and persistent finish. Very complex too. At the moment, it's a notch below in quality of both 2016 and 2018 vintages here, but let's see if it further improve during the stay in oak. 93p.
La Conseillante – 84% Merlot + 16% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, 70% new oak. Marielle Cazaux, winemaker here, used a technique called "debourbage" during maceration, which separates clear juice and solids, so the only clear juice comes back to the vat/barrel. Freshness, complexity, sophisticated and rich. Very blueberry and black cherry. Velvety fruit and tannin. Awesome structure, elegance and impressive length. It seems to me there is more precision in 2019 than in 2018 and more typicity of Pomerol. Stunning effort. 98+p.
La Croix St.Georges - 4.5 ha, surrounded by famous vineyards of Le Pin, VCC and Petit Village. 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at 27-29 degrees C, ageing in 20% cigar-shaped barrels + 80% standard barrels (different coopers). Powerful, tight and tastes a bit lighter than 2018 version tried last year, yet it seems more precise in 2019 version, compote of perfectly ripe dark berries, voluptuous fruit and sweet grained tannin, perfectly balanced. It is imposing effort indeed. 95+p.
Enclos Tourmaline - 1 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.5% alcohol. First sample received wasn't in optimal condition (one week's travel), so I requested a new sample. It arrived in prima condition. Very blueberry and cherry on the nose with cocoa, intense and aromatic. Polished, creamy and velvety on the palate with lovely complexity and length. A seductive effort. 93-94p.
Esprit de la Commanderie - the second label of La Commanderie. 80% Merlot Very fruity, attractive and enjoyable stuff with aromatic blueberries, silky texture, lovely balance, tastes exceptionally well. 88-89p.
Feytit Clinet - 92% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc, 14.8% alcohol. Deep and intense nose of blueberries, blackberries and violets. Powerful on the palate with creamy berries well supported by acidity and silky tannin. The alcohol level is high here, but it's extremely well masked by fruit like packed in the "wool". You can't even taste it. Persistent finish. Very impressive indeed. 94p.
Mazeyres - elegant with a very fragrant nose of violets and blueberries, creamy berries and grained tannin on the palate, well-balanced, complex and with a lingering aftertaste. 92-93p.
La Patache - 3.18 ha, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc, 13.9% alcohol. Nicely made with pleasant aromas of blackberries and blueberries, nice structure and depth. Pleasant sweetness in fruit and tannin. Easygoing, tasty and smooth. 90-91p.
Petit Village - 10.5 ha, 80% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alcohol. Very fragrant on the nose with seductive violets and blueberries. Distinguished and refined. Striking complexity and creaminess on the palate, silky fruit and tannin. The acidity keeps everything in place here. This is a more sophisticated and less concentrated version of 2018. Still a beautifully made one! 95-96p.
Sacre Coeur - this is an exclusive selection made by Jean-Philippe Janoueix from one single parcel at La Croix. 1.5 ha, 100% Merlot, old vines, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at 27-29 degrees C, 50% new oak from Darnajou. Dense and tight on the nose and palate with towering rows of black cherries and blueberries, potent on the palate with creamy berries and creamy sweet tannin as well. Opulent with high complexity and structure. Brilliant, brilliant effort. 94+p.
Taillefer - powerful on the nose and palate with dark sweet berries, fat tannin and plenty of oak as well, well-structured, complex and with a persistent finish. 92-93p.
Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Clos Vieux Taillefer and Lecuyer - modern style with flashy approach, some extraction but not overdone, strong tannins, nice structure and creamy berries and a finish with a little bit of dryness. 91-92p.
3 de Valandraud – clayey-limestone, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Fruity and round, easygoing, tasty, will do well as a picnic wine. 87p. Same owner (Murielle & Jean-Luc Thunevin) as for Clos Badon, Domaine de Sabines, Valandraud and a few others.
Alverne - 3.6 ha, clay-limestone plateau and sandy clay, 85% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. I haven't tasted a wine from this property before, so this sample was an interesting encounter. A surprise in a positive way, because it bubbled with freshness, spicy blueberries and raspberries on the nose. Catchy and polished on the palate with crunchy tannins. Lovely finish. Excellent effort. 92p.
L'Archange - 100% Merlot and 40 years old vines. Cute cherry nose, pleasant on the palate with spicy raspberries, soft and silky texture, sweet tannins, delicate balance and smooth fruity finish. Tasty one with an enjoyable future. 89-90p.
Aromas de Pavie – 29 ha, 65% Merlot + 18% Cabernet Franc + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.67% alcohol. Round and pleasant with a considerable amount of dark cherries and lush tannin. Firm finish. Fine second label of Pavie. 91p.
Les Asteries - 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc. Situated near Clos Fourtet. It's just stunning wine! It reminds me of a great deal of Le Carre, but there is more turbo concerning intensity and concentration. Velvety on the palate. More complex, deeper and longer with a great addition of pure elegance and sophisticated touch. Breaks your heart, so impressive it is! 95-96p.
Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) PGCC – 6.8 ha, clay-limestone plateau on limestones with asteries, 86% Merlot + 14% Cabernet Franc. It's is a beautiful effort! Great, great nose with remarkable intensity of black cherries, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, fleshy on the palate with high complexity and sophisticated touch, luxurious and lingering finish. This wine just oozes of sheer class! 97-98p.
Bel-Air-Ouÿ – 4 ha, clayey-limestone, 65% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Malbec. It meets you with intense cherries and blackberries on the nose and palate. Quite powerful with ripe berry fruit and tannin on the palate, nice length, persistent finish. 89-90p.
Bellefont Belcier GCC - owned by Vignobles K together with Tour Saint Christophe, Haut Brisson, Clos Tourmaline, La Patache, Enclos de Viaud and Chateau le Rey in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux 13.5 ha, 70% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.95% alcohol. Elegant on the nose, noble, finely constructed, polished, catchy sweetness to black fruit and tannin, silky texture and smooth lingering finish. Gorgeous and attractive vine but for me, it doesn't have the opulence and intensity of 2018 vintage. 92-93p.
Bellevue Mondotte - 2 ha, 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.81% alcohol. Dark, dark fruit in big numbers, perfectly ripe, luscious, potent, great depth and complexity, and with a fleshy and intense finish. Modern style here but this wine is neither over-extracted or overdone. Certainly not a wine for faint-hearted wine-freaks but I guess it will go perfectly with strong meat dishes. It shows great quality. 95p.
Cadet Bon GCC – 17 ha, 75% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet aromatic cherries on the nose, attractive and catchy, delicate fruit and silky tannins, complex and well-structured. Lingering finish. A heartbreaker effort. 91-92p.
Canon La Gaffeliere PGCC – there are spicy black cherries/raspberries on the nose and palate, well-constructed and with subtle complexity, well-balanced and with a lingering finish. It proved itself quite well in 2019. 92-93p.
Le Carre - neighbor to Chateau Canon. 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Powerful and intense on the nose with black-/blueberries/blackcurrants, creamy on the palate with splendid acidity. Balance here is just perfect between ripe berries and fat, sweet tannins. A great mix of elegance and power here! 94p.
Le Chatelet GCC – 3.19 ha, limestone and clay-limestone plateau, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Cherry and raspberry drops on the nose, quite concentrated on the palate, very nice complexity and balance, sleek, smooth aftertaste. Pretty nice effort. 91-92p.
Chauvin GCC– 15 ha, sandy clay with iron dirt on clay, 70% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Nicely made with delicious fruit complemented by sweet tannins and smooth finish. Uncomplicated tasty wine. 89p.
Clavis Orea - 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. A joint venture of Lahcene Boutoba and Franck Jugelmann. First vintage was 2015. Grapes come from selected parcels by winemaker Franck Jugelmann (at Vignobles Rollet - plateau) in Saint Emilion. This wine may be the best effort yet, challenging 2018 and 2016. Intense black cherries, splendid complexity and structure, grained sweet tannins, a bit more refined than 2018, velvety texture and long lingering finish. 94+p.
Clos Badon - 5 ha, gravels and sand, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Deep and intense aroma of raspberry drops, strong backbone, potent and well-constructed. Fine future awaits. 92+p.
Clos d'Oratoire GCC – potent, well-structured, savory and meaty, delicious complexity and length. Fruity aftertaste. Fine winemaking. 92p.
Clos des Jacobins GCC– 8.5 ha, clay-limestone, 80% Merlot + 18% Cabernet Franc + 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet aromatic cherries, attractive, robust and elegant, complex, very reliable backbone, silky, well-balanced. Finesse. Pretty confident effort. 93p.
Clos de Sarpe – 3.7 ha, clay-limestone on the plateau, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Fruity and round, pleasant and tasty, a bit linear and light. Maybe it will put on weight during ageing in barrels. 86-87p.
La Commanderie – 3.7 ha, gravel on sandy clay, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Elegant on the nose with a light intensity of blueberries and blackberries. Crisp fruit and tannin, sophisticated and with a smooth finish. 91p.
La Confession - 7.3 ha, 73% Merlot + 27% Cabernet Franc, 14.2% alcohol, ageing in normal barrels and 500 l barrels (Stockinger ones). It's just great stuff! A very dense and opulent, big and deeply scented nose of black cherries and blackcurrants. Vibrant with strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, great structure, tight, great complexity and long persistent finish. I ask myself right now if it's best La Confession ever made – I'm probably right in my prognosis! 95-96+p.
Corbin GCC – 13 ha, clay-sandy clay on ferrous clay, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. A distinctive and classy nose of sweet black cherries and blueberries with fabulous elegance and finesse, vibrant on layers, sophisticated with high complexity. Silky and velvety. It's such a riveting and stylish effort! Will it pass by 2018 on the finish line? I believe so! 96p.
Corbin Michotte – made by Boidron family. 7 ha, sand + clay + gravel on a subsoil of sand and clay. 65% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. I found this sample lighter than in 2018 and 2016, not offering the same intensity and concentration of flavours. Beware, it's a lovely wine with sweet cherries, very accessible, elegant and with finesse. Attractive. I'm sure it puts on weight after ageing and bottling. 92+p.
Cote de Baleau GCC – 11.24 ha, clay-limestone, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Deliciously fragrant and aromatic cherries on the nose. Very fine and potent on the palate with delicious complexity, style and finesse. Creamy berries and sweet tannins. Excellent effort. 93p.
La Couspaude GCC – 7 ha, clay-limestones, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense dark berries like blackberries and black cherries on the nose. Creamy black fruit and corresponding sweet tannins, vibrant with great complexity, long crispy finish. Very impressive. 94p.
Couvent des Jacobins GCC – 10.7 ha, clay-limestones and sandy clay, 85% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc + 5% Petit Verdot. Cherry drops on the nose, spicy black cherries on the palate, sleek with fine cooperation between berries and tannin, nice fruity finish. Attractive and tasty. 90p.
Croix de Labrie - 97% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine or should I call it baby wine started a bit mute but after 15 minutes in a carafe, it turned afterburners on! Deep and intense nose of black fruit (blueberries/blackberries) with great flair, concentrated and seamless on the palate. Voluminous with great complexity and long fruity finish. Seamless so you can't feel the tannin. Alcohol? Where is it? Completely "eaten" or packed in or integrated/masked by fruit. It's very, very impressive effort indeed! 96+p.
Croix Cardinale – 4 ha on clay, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. It's a neighbour to Fleur Cardinale, and Decoster family owns both. Well-defined on the nose and palate, spicy and fragrant raspberries, nice structure silky texture and nice fruity finish. 90-91p.
La Croizille - 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. Lots of blackberries here, intense nose and creamy palate. Tannins are finely grained, and there is fine complexity, elegance and smoothness - a fine effort which is rated 91-92p.
Dassault GCC – 20 ha, sand-clay on clay-molasse, 74% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Elegant and polished, aromatic raspberries and blueberries, silky, fine structure and length. Persistent finish. Nice effort. 91p.
Destieux GCC – 8 ha, clay-limestones, 66% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite powerful, more attacking wine, big backbone and structure. Maybe a little bit too forceful. Anyway, it's a substantial effort, and I am sure it will soften to softer edges when in bottle for several years. 92+p.
Le Dôme - this vineyard is split in different parcels situated on the right side of the slopes near Beausejour Becot and Canon, in the direction towards the village of Saint-Emilion. The first you notice when you "sniff" this barrel sample is a burst of Cabernet Franc, and there is 80% of it in the blend and 20% Merlot to support it. There is a sophisticated and very intense nose of creamy black-/blueberries with great depth, strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, silky texture on the palate yet high concentration and sweet, crunchy tannins. Remarkable complexity, depth and length. It's a beautiful piece of intelligent winemaking! Wow! 96-98p.
Faugeres – 37 ha, clay-limestones, 70% Merlot + 21% Cabernet Franc + 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cherries and blueberries, vibrant, modern style, nicely constructed with fine length. Pretty and attractive wine. 91-92p.
Faurie de Souchard GCC – 12 ha, clay slopes + foot of the hill with sandy clay. Quite compact wine with tannic approach on the palate with nicely expressed fruit, sophisticated and with persistent finish. 89-90p.
Figeac PGCC - 30% Merlot + 34% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Cabernet Franc, 14.1% alcohol. Very complete with great build-up and precision. Both Cabernets were making their contributions perfectly, providing great minerality, depth and backbone. Cabernet Franc here is the best one they've harvested in the last 20 years! Merlot contributes with voluptuousness and creamy fruit. Best Figeac yet made by present staff – I think so! 98p.
De Ferrand GCC – 32 ha, clay-limestones, 79% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot. Aromatic and attractive on the nose, black cherries, intense and sappy on the palate, crunchy tannins, the gentle contribution of new oak, fruity and persistent finish. Beautiful and tasty effort. 92-93p.
Fleur Cardinale GCC – 23.5 ha, clay-limestone slopes, 72% Merlot + 24% Cabernet Franc + 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very fragrant on the nose with violets, blueberries and cherries. Well-defined, vibrant, very complex, elegant with finesse, delicate fruit, lovely finish with persistency. Excellent winemaking here! 94+p.
La Fleur Morange GCC – 2.06 ha, clay-limestones-alluvial, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Cherries with cocoa powder on them, nicely composed and vibrant, modern style, nicely structured with tasty berries. Very catchy and attractive wine which will drink well. 91-92p.
Fombrauge GCC – 58 ha, clay-limestones on molasse Frosandais, 89% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc + 2% Malbec + 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Attractive and aromatic on the nose, vibrant on the palate, creamy berries and sweet tannins, well-balanced. Pretty wine. 91+p.
Fonplegade GCC – 18.5 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone terraces, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Powerful on the nose and palate with concentrated cherries and blueberries. Fat tannins, complex and with a lovely savoury finish. 92-93p.
Fonroque GCC – 17.6 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone slopes, 86% Merlot + 14% Cabernet Franc. Pretty but light wine with aromatically scented berries, lovely tannins, delicate palate and smooth finish. 90-91p.
Franc Mayne GCC – 5.68 ha, limestone plateau + clay-sandy clay, 100% Merlot. A very approachable wine with silky fruit and tannin, on the light side. Delicate structure and length. Correctly made wine but a bit plain. 88p.
La Grace Dieu des Prieurs – 8 ha on sandy clay and limestones, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, ageing in 100% grained new oak from Radoux. New owner since 2013, a Russian art collector. Louis Mitjavile, son of famous Francois Mitjavile from Tertre Roteboeuf, is the winemaker here.
Very intense sweet black cherries wrapped in chocolate on the nose, very fragrant It's seamless on the palate with perfectly integrated luscious fruit and sweet tannin, pure elegance and finesse, and long velvety finish. It catches your attention immediately with so surprisingly complete performance. Hold my beer! 93p.
Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac – 15 ha, 73% Merlot + 23% Cabernet Franc. Attractive with on the nose with fragrant blueberries, polished and velvety on the palate, easygoing with a soft texture, fruity finish. 88p.
Grand Corbin GCC – 28.5 ha, silica on the bed of blue clay, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Very cherry on the nose, aromatic and attractive, polished and crunchy fruit on the palate, sweet tannins, silky texture, lingering finish. 91+p.
Grand Corbin Despagne GCC – 28.8 ha, clay-silica on iron dirt/sandy clay, 75% Merlot + 24% Cabernet Franc + 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Splendid on the nose and palate. Intense with blackberries. Great complexity. The perfect harmony between fruit and sweet tannins. Velvety and persistent finish. Highly impressive. 94p.
Les Grandes Murailles GCC – 2 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. A great nose with a beautiful aromatic string of berries, creamy stuff on the palate, dense and concentrated, velvety tannins, very complex and lengthy finish. An excellent effort. 94p.
Grand Pontet GCC – 14 ha, soil on limestones + clay-limestones and sandy clay, 65% Merlot+ 24% Cabernet Franc + 11% Malbec. Spicy fruit, polished, on the light side with some kind of elegance and roundness. Nice balance and length. Attractive and tasty. 90p.
Haut Brisson - 8 ha, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.95 alcohol. correct wine but I find it a bit anonymous and light-footed. Beware, there is nice spicy fruit and tannin, nice structure and length, but overall, this effort doesn't get me moved. 87p.
Haut Sarpe GCC – 19.5 ha, clay-limestones, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Everything is correct in this wine, nicely made with nice polished aromas and taste. But also, a bit simple. 87p.
Jean Faure GCC – 18 ha, clay-silica plateau, 65% Cabernet Franc + 30% Merlot + 5% Malbec. A rather unusual blend and this sample is different in aromas compared with other tasted wines. A bit peppery and some leek but ripeness is fine here. On the light side, silky texture and smooth finish. 90p.
Laforge - 92% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc. A splendid nose of spicy raspberries/blackcurrants and as splendid on the palate with creamy fruit well-supported by grained and sweet tannins. Violets and some eucalyptus on the palate, strong backbone, splendid complexity and long creamy finish are fragrant. Excellent effort. 93p.
Laniote GCC – 5 ha, clay-limestones on a subsoil of limestones and asteries, 73% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very reasonable effort. An attractive wine with a charming appeal, tasty fruit, sweet tannins and lingering finish. 89-90p.
Laroque GCC – 30.1 ha, clay-limestone plateau, 97% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Franc. All in all, it's a nicely made wine, a bit simple and light. It's, however, a certain charm and roundness. 87-88p.
Larcis Ducasse PGCC – 11.15 ha, clay-limestone plateau and clay-limestone on slopes, 88% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc. Dark cherries on the nose, lovely intensity, elegant and polished, delicate sweet tannins, smooth finish. Tastes a bit light and I hope it will gain some weight after ageing in barrel. 92+p.
Laroze GCC – 27.35 ha, silica + clay, 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. Elegant and delicate, raspberry drops, finesse, quite complex with finesse, silky fruit and tannins, persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort. 93p.
Mangot – 37 ha, 75% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Spicy and aromatic cherries/raspberries on the nose, fresh and vibrant, fine structure, complexity and length. Lingering finish. Lovely stuff. 92-93p.
Mangot Distique 12 – 2 ha parcel selection from 5 plots including three grape varieties, 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. First sample received wasn't in optimal condition (one week's travel), so I requested a new sample. It arrived in prima condition. Dark and heavy berries on the nose, touch of green pepper and spicy raspberries on the palate, strong backbone, meaty, persistent finish. Different but exciting wine to follow up. 93p.
La Marzelle GCC – 17 ha, terraces with gravel, sand and red stones, 75% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet cherries on the nose, aromatic and delicate fruit, well-composed with a velvety texture, silky tannins and lovely fruity finish. Appetizing. 91+p.
La Mondotte PGCC – plenty of sweet black cherries on the nose and palate, very potent, refined, complexity and depth. Silky fruit and tannin yet robust and with fat lingering finish. Imposing effort. 96+p.
Monbousquet – 32 ha, 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.55% alcohol. Owned by Gerard Perse in addition to Clos Lunelles, Bellevue Mondotte, Pavie Decesse. Seductive cherries on the nose, aromatic and attractive, crunchy fruit and tannin, fine composition on the palate, silky texture and fine length. 91-92p.
Moulin de Cadet GCC – 2.85 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. Lovely and aromatic black cherries wrapped up in chocolate and cacao powder, well-defined, delicate, delicious complexity, sweet tannin, velvety structure, attractive finish, lingering. Excellent effort. 93p.
Muse du Val – 1 ha, clayey limestone slopes, 50% Merlot + 50% Cabernet Franc, 100% new barrels. Same owner as Petit Val. Typical blend for Saint-Emilion and there are raspberry drops on the nose and creamy raspberries on the palate. All in all, a quite lovely wine, not an intellectual one, drinks well and have some attraction to it. 90p.
Pavie PGCC "A" – 37ha, 50% Merlot + 32% Cabernet Franc + 18% Cabernet Sauvignon not that different from Pavie Decesse. Dark berries in big numbers with power, great depth, structure and length. Richer and longer on the palate than Pavie Decesse. Persistent finish. Stupendous effort. 97-98p.
Pavie Decesse GCC – 3.65 ha, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, 14.51% alcohol. Excellently scented dark cherries and blueberries, vibrant, potent fruit with adequate kick of tannin. Strong backbone and great complexity. Like in other top wines from the owner, you have here opulent fruit and fat tannins, dark berry flavours. Nothing negative to say, it's just the style they fashioned in 2019. High quality here too. 95+p.
Pavie Macquin PGCC – 15 ha, clay-limestone plateau on limestones with asteries, 78% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. More elegant and with more finesse if compared to 2018. Quite intense on the nose and palate with splendid complexity, depth and length, luscious berries and lingering finish. 94+p.
Petit Val – 12 ha, sandy clay + clayey limestone slopes, 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Petit Verdot, 100% new barrels. Unusual blend for Saint-Emilion with the addition of Petit Verdot, who you rather see on the left bank. I could taste its contribution to the wine with spicy dark fruit aromas and solid backbone on the palate with creaminess. Persistent finish. Not bad at all. 91p.
de Pressac GCC - 36.5 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone plateau, 77% Merlot + 9% Cabernet Franc + 11% Cabernet Sauvignon + 2% Carmenere + 1% Malbec. Tight and intense dark berries, creamy on the palate with vigor and energy, splendid complexity and structure, lingering finish. Splendid effort. 94p.
Le Prieure GCC - 6.24 ha, limestone plateau, 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc. cherry and raspberry drops on the nose, quite concentrated on the palate, harmonious and with subtle complexity. Pretty nice effort. 91-92p.
Ripeau GCC – 16.1 ha, sand + light gravel on vein of clay + iron subsoil, 65% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intensely aromatic blueberries mixed with cherries on the nose and palate, quite well-equipped wine, creamy on the palate, Splendid structure and length. Lovely and persistent aftertaste. 93-94p.
Rochebelle GCC – 3 ha, clay-limestone on the top of the limestone plateau, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Cherry drops on the nose, quite powerful, yet with elegance and finesse, voluptuous. Complex and sleek. Smooth and lingering finish. Pretty enjoyable stuff. 92-93p.
Sansonnet GCC– 7 ha, clay-limestone, 90% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc. Delicate and attractive nose of dark berries, fine structure, silky fruit, crunchy tannins, sleek and elegant. Finesse. Well-made. 91-92p.
La Serre GCC – 7 ha, limestone plateau, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Intense black fruit flavours on the nose and palate, creamy berries and fat tannin, vibrant, well-constructed, splendid complexity and length. Intelligent winemaking. 93-94p.
Tertre Roteboeuf - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. A thick nose full of flower fragrances and blackberry aroma. Violets, wild cherries, cocoa powder and chocolate. Creamy all the way. It's a magical wine with great flair, sophisticated touch, fatness, seamless structure and silkiness. Again an exceptional wine from Francois Mitjavile which hits to roof! Wow! 97-100p.
Teyssier - it's a residence of Jonathan Maltus, an Englishman, who's arrived at Saint Emilion in 1994. He also owns Laforge, Le Carre, Les Asteries, Vieux Chateau Mazerat and Le Dôme, all red wines plus a "white" vineyard, Le Nardian. All situated in Saint-Emilion. It's one of the "hottest" consulting oenologists in Bordeaux at the moment, Thomas Duclos, who advises at all Jonathan Maltus properties.
The blend here is 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Quite intense on the nose with spicy dark blackberries and raspberries, powerful and concentrated on the palate, subtle complexity, depth and length. Cabernet Franc adds backbone and strength to balance the voluptuous Merlot. I firmly believe this is the best vintage from this property I've ever tasted! 92+p.
Tour Baladoz - 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. Displays spicy dark fruit in vast quantities, powerful appearance, tannins not that grained as in La Croizille. Displays a nice complexity, balance and length present. 91p.
La Tour Figeac GCC - 14.5 ha, gravel and sand on clay, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. A bit stern and aggressive, filled with black fruit and tannin, some power here. Needs time to soften. 91+p.
Tour St. Christophe - 20 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.3% alcohol, 40% new oak.2019 vintages great qualities are very apparent here and on constant repeat. Big, intense and dry aromas of sweet blueberries, voluptuous and creamy on the palate with grained tannin, high complexity, and length. The acidity keeps everything in prima order. Sublime effort! 94p.
Trianon - very nice black cherry fragrance on the nose, alcohol very present, sweet tannin and creamy berries. Velvety texture. Well-balanced with a smooth fruity finish. 89p.
Trianon Cuvée Kosher - slightly different than normal cuvée with darker aromas of cherries and blueberries, more depth here and alcohol is better masked by fruit. Longer aftertaste. 89-90p.
Yon Figeac GCC – 24 ha, clay-sand on iron dirt, 80% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Franc + 7% Petit Verdot. Aromatic nose of violets, attractive and elegant on the palate. On the light side concerning concentration. Charming. A little bit four-square but drinks well. 89-90p.
Valandraud PGCC - 7 ha, clayey-limestone, 90% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, It was not a powerhouse in 2019. Still, a wine with pure elegance and finesse, It's also refined and sophisticated with a velvety texture. Remarkable complexity and long lingering finish. Sheer class and refined style we have here! 96-97p.
Vieux Chateau Mazerat - 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. Situated near Angelus. Opulent, bursts on the nose with chocolate wrapped wild cherries and blackcurrants. Classy on the palate, strong and creamy and with crunchy sweet tannins. Great complexity and length.s a fabulous effort. 95+p.
Virginie Thunevin – pretty and quite attractive nose of cherries, well-placed creamy fruit on the palate, silky texture and well-integrated sweet tannin. Catchy wine and not too complicated. 91p.
Virginie de Valandraud – 12 ha, clayey-limestone and gravels, 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 9% Cabernet Sauvignon + 1% Carmenere. Fresh and lively with aromatic and tasty cherries/raspberries, lovely fruit and tannin on the palate, fine length and fruity finish. 92p.
La Voute - 1.42 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.3% alcohol, 100% new oak. Aromatic blueberries, polished, well-balanced, lovely structure, delicate and crunchy tannin, smooth finish. A crowd-pleaser. 90-92p.
Carteau, Faugeres, Godeau, Lynsolence, Pas de Ane, Rol Valentin, Soutard-Cadet and Tauzinat. Attractive with tasty dark berries, nice acidity and lingering aftertaste. Well-deserved 90-91p to all.
Messile-Aubert - round, pleasant with tasty black fruit and delicate aftertaste. 89p.
Fourney, Osage and Vieux Guinot - correct wines, aromatic, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
Le Boscq - 46% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc. Quite compact, nicely constructed, fleshy with very tasty blackcurrants, firm finish. 90-91p.
Calon Segur - 73% Cabernet Sauvignon + 14% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 100% new oak. This property made a blockbuster wine in 2018 vintage and 2019 is close to that effort. As expressive but not as concentrated. There's, in my opinion, more elegance, more silkiness here and more finesse here. Stunning structure and length, sophisticated. Among the best wines in this vintage, that's for sure! 98+p.
Cos d’Estournel - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, 14% alcohol, 55% new oak. Wow, this is real, real enjoyment for one's senses! I think 2019 here definitively breaks up with old-style Cos and continues with the gentler and more soil character-oriented style which started since 2014 vintage. Max. 27 degrees C during alcoholic fermentation. Excellent presence of cigar box, tobacco-leaf and scent of grilled bacon, so typical aromas for Cabernet Sauvignon here. Extremely refined and sophisticated on the nose and palate, multi-layered with stunning complexity, depth and length. Touch down!! 98-100p.
Cos Labory – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 34% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol, 50% new oak. Spicy blackcurrants on the nose, aromatic potent and creamy on the palate, well-structured and with velvety texture. Well-made. 92+p.
Lafon Rochet – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. 14.3% alcohol. Aromatic, vivid, sleek, creamy blackcurrants on the nose and palate, fine complexity and structure, fine balance too, sweet grained tannins. Lingering aftertaste. Splendid effort. 93-94p.
Meyney – whole 16% Petit Verdot in the blend (18% in 2018) and remaining parts split equally between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Voluptuous, strong backbone, lush and concentrated on the palate, full-bodied, creamy and with complexity. Continues in tracks of excellent 2018 but I taste more elegance here. 95p.
Pagodes de Cos - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc + 4% Petit Verdot, 14% alcohol, 20% new barrels. Second wine of Cos d'Estournel. An attractive and aromatic burst of sweet blackcurrants on the nose, quite opulent on the palate, creamy berries, silky texture, splendid support of sweet tannins. Nice touch of minerality. I can easily feel the presence of Petit Verdot which contributes well to backbone here! Sublime effort! 93-94p.
Phelan Segur - 70 ha, 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.5 alcohol. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon in 2019 compared to 2018 (40%) and less Merlot (52%). You can taste the change in the blend proportions immediately! Aromatic cherries and blackcurrants in big numbers! Deep and big scaled nose, strong backbone, high complexity and significant concentration. Large, very complex, big ripe tannins. A beast in ship clothes! Different than 2018, which was much more sheep clothes than the creature. Will it outguns 2018 vintage – I think it will! 95p.
Cap St.Georges - 19 ha, 83% Merlot + 9% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14,2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 28 degrees C, ageing in normal barrels and 500 l barrels (Stockinger ones). Fine aromatic nose of spicy blackberries and creamy black fruit on the palate which is well supported by sweet grained tannin. Focused. Silky texture and smooth lingering finish. Gentle and impressive effort! 93+p.
Beychevelle – 49% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot +3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 13.7% alcohol, 60% new oak. On the nose, it's full of aromas of blackcurrants and black cherries, refined and classy with great elegance, full-bodied, cashmere everywhere, lingering long finish. 94+p.
Branaire Ducru – 56% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot + 4% Cabernet Franc. Young generation at this property seems to have brought the quality at least one step up compared to vintages before that. After the excellent 2018 effort, 2019 is no less exciting. Lots of aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and palate, creamy with silky tannins, complex, elegant and stylish. Precise, and focused. 94p.
La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot + 4% Petit Verdot, 14.3% alcohol, 60% new oak. Dense blackcurrants/cherries on the nose, full-bodied on the palate, fine acidity and structure, creamy fruit well-supported by velvety tannin. Delightful second wine. 92-93p.
Ducru Beaucaillou – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot, 14.2% alcohol, 100% new oak. A textbook effort from this property, perfectly combining power and elegance. Great complex nose of dense blackcurrants and palate coated with creamy berries and sweet tannins. Riveting structure, sophisticated and multi-layered. Awesome finish. Exceptional stuff. 98+p.
Du Glana - elegant with finesse, nicely composed with flair, dark cherries with some spice, silky texture and delicate finish. Attractive. 91p.
Lagrange – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 18% Merlot + 2% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak. Very fragrant on the nose with sweet blackcurrants, stylish, quite beefy and well-assorted on the palate, well-balanced with elegance and finesse. Very seductive effort. 93p.
Langoa Barton – 67% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc, 13.92% alcohol, 60% new oak. Dense blackberries on the nose, sappy and well-assorted on the palate, many layers to take from. Impressive structure and length. Sweet tannins and silky fruit. Delightful stuff! 94+p.
Leoville Barton – 84% Cabernet Sauvignon + 16% Merlot, 13.88% alcohol, 60% new oak. Very detailed and refined nose of high-quality blackcurrants, striking complexity, multi-layered. Great complexity, structure and length. No modern vinification frills here! This property always delivers classy wine to keep for several years. Awesome effort. 96p.
Leoville Poyferre - 67% Cabernet Sauvignon + 27% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.18% alcohol, 80% new oak. Modern style meaning more "attacking" fruit and tannin. Aromatic nose of crushed blackcurrants, splendidly constructed with creamy fruit and sweet tannin, energetic, great complexity and excellent persistent finish. This property you can always rely on - stable and making excellent wines. 95-96p.
Sauternes & Barsac:
21 properties tasted - 19 classified chateaux and 2 unclassified ones (Haut Bergeron and Raymond Lafon).
D’Arche – 50 ha, 90% Semillon + 9% Sauvignon Blanc + 1% Muscadelle. Inviting aromas of white peaches, mango and litchi, splendid acidity keeping it all in fine shape. Fine depth and length. Delicate aftertaste. Attractive effort. 92p.
Broustet – aromas of acacia honey, grapefruit and mango, fine acidity and sweetness. Delicate too on the palate with tasty honey melon and guava, harmonious. Delicate. Fine honeyed finish. Fine effort. 92p.
Clos Haut Peyraguey – 8.5 ha, 95% Semillon + 5% Sauvignon Blanc. Intensely aromatic nose of white flowers/fruit, acacia honey, elegant with finesse, splendid complexity and acidity, splendid structure and complexity, lingering and honeyed finish. 94-95p. Excellent stuff.
Coutet – 38 ha, 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Muscadelle. On the nose you find intensely fragrant sweet pineapple, remarkable acidity and sweetness on the palate, acacia and heather honey, refined and sophisticated, lovely balance and finish. There's a great finesse and elegance. Great effort. 95p.
Doisy Daëne – 17.8 ha, 82% Sémillon, 17.6% Sauvignon Blanc, 0.4% Muscadelle. Very intense on the nose with botrytized flavours of pineapple, acacia flower, peaches, potent with acidity and complexity, refined with great length on the palate. Very significant effort. 95p.
Doisy Vedrines – 30 ha, 96% Semillon + 4% Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle. Fragrant acacia flower and peaches on the nose, quite elegant with finesse, fine acidity and depth on the palate, lingering finish. Tasty and attractive. 92-93p.
Filhot – 62 ha, 50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscadelle Intense aromas of pineapple, sweet grapefruit and some mango on the nose, great cooperation between sweetness and acidity on the palate, Great length too combined with very appetizing honeyed finish. Excellent effort for the vintage. 94-95p.
Guiraud - 25 ha, 65% Semillon + 35% Sauvignon Blanc. Botrytized aromas of grapefruit and orange peel on the nose, harmonious on the palate, finesse and elegance, acidity here supports greatly sweetness and vice-versa. Finishes with creamy honeyed aftertaste. Excellent effort. 94-95p.
Haut Bergeron - it was another surprise and the best effort from this property yet. Fresh, deep and intense nose of pineapple and orange peel, elegant with finesse on the palate, sweetness and acidity make a great pair here. Expressive with flair. Honeyed aftertaste. 94p.
Lafaurie Peyraguey - 30 ha, 93% Semillon + 7% Sauvignon Blanc. Very deep and intense nose of sweet pineapple, grapefruit and orange peel. Very concentrated and powerful on the palate yet with flair and grace. Striking acidity and sweetness. Sophisticated and with mega-long heather honey finish. Exceptional stuff. 96-97p.
Lamothe - 12.8 ha, 85% Semillon + 10% Sauvignon Blanc/Gris + 5% Muscadelle. Light aromas of grapefruit and pineapple, fruity and tasty on the palate with some sweetness and acidity. Nice honeyed finish. 90-91p.
Lamothe Guignard - 18 ha, 90% Semillon + 5% Sauvignon + 5% Muscadelle. Very similar and with the same characteristics as Lamothe. 90-91p.
de Malle - 22 ha, 90% Semillon + 4% Sauvignon + 6% Muscadelle. Acacia flower, sweet pineapple and dried apricots on the nose, fresh attitude with finesse, splendid acidity and complexity on the palate. Refined with beautiful finish of creamy acacia honey. Excellent effort. 95p.
De Myrat - aromas of sweet grapefruit, guava and mango, well-balanced on the palate with elegance and finesse. Sleek and well-structured. Fine acidity and delicate aftertaste. Impressive effort. 94-95p.
Raymond Lafon - fine aromas of pineapple and peaches on the nose, a bit lighter than usual on the palate but still there's great finesse and elegance, fine acidity and honeyed aftertaste. Hopefully, it will take on weight during ageing. 93-94p.
Romer - 6.5 ha, 100% Semillon. Fresh and intense nose of honey melon, guava and mango, fine depth and acidity, a myriad of botrytized flavours on the palate, long lingering finish. Big scaled. Expressive and very captivating. I don't recall such a splendid effort like 2019 ever tasted from this property! 93-94p.
Romer du Hayot - pleasant and round with some pineapple and grapefruit flavours, very enjoyable and tasty. Nice acidity and sweetness. Light honeyed aftertaste. 90p.
Sigalas Rabaud - showed a splendid nose of honey melon, guava and mango, much well-defined on the palate with remarkable acidity, several layers, striking complexity, refined and with a long lingering finish. Impressive effort. 94p.
Suau - 6.5 ha, 100% Semillon. Nice botrytized flavours of mango, pineapple and mandarin peel on the nose. Nice acidity and sweetness on the palate, polished, tasty and with fine appeal. 92p.
Suduiraut - 94% Semillon + 6% Sauvignon Blanc. Very dense and intense on the nose with a large amount of botrytized flavours, great complexity, structure and length on the palate, striking acidity and sweetness make a great pair. Refined and sophisticated. Stupendous effort. 96p.
La Tour Blanche - 6.87 ha, 90% Semillon + 9.5% Sauvignon + 0.5% Muscadelle. Acacia flower, grapefruit and some orange peel on the nose, freshness, finesse, refined, splendid acidity and sweetness as well on the palate, splendid complexity and balance. Excellent effort. 95p.
MY TOP TEN WINES IN 2019
Please notice that 2018 wines are not included since they are not bottled yet.
1. Lafite Rothschild 2016 100p
2. Cheval Blanc 2000 100p
3. Cheval Blanc 2009 99p
4. Lafleur 2016 99p
5. Lafleur 2015 98p
6. Pichon Baron 2010 98p
7. Pichon Comtesse 2017 97p
8. Beychevelle 1949 97p
9. Leoville Barton 2016 96p
10. Les Carmes Haut Brion 1953 96p
MY TOP TEN WINES IN 2018
Please notice that ratings on 2016 wines are from recent tastings after bottling.
1. Lafite Rothschild 1908 99p
2. Tertre Roteboeuf 2016 99p
3. Leoville Las Cases 2015 98-99p
4. Pichon Comtesse 2016 98-99p
5. Trotanoy 2016 98-99p
6. Haut Bailly 2016 98p
7. Belair Monange 2016 98p
8. Les Carmes Haut Brion 2016 97p
9. Pontet Canet 2016 97p
10. Calon Segur 1918 96p
10. Beasejour Duffau 1918 96p
10. Grand Puy Lacoste 1918 96p
MY TOP 10 WINES 2017
1. CH. MARGAUX 2015 100p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. Grand Vin is 38% of total crop and composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. All in silk, epic wine. Exceptional concentration, richness and complexity, super-strong backbone, elegant and sophisticated, perfectly balanced, incredibly aromatic, extraordinary finish. For sure, this is the wine of the 2015 vintage in red. A great, great testimony/hommage to Paul Pontallier!
2. LATOUR 2005 100p
Tasted five times - last time in April 2017. Consistent notes. When tasted in 2008, it had almost coal-black colour, dense and with a powerful nose of black cherries, blueberries and blackcurrants. Incredibly sophisticated and multidimensional on the palate with an enormous load of super-ripe berries and silky tannins, stunning balance and aromatic fruit of highest quality. Finished with an aftertaste, which lasted for about two minutes. It's already legendary and it's sure bet for 30-40 years of cellaring. A little bit less impressive when tasted 7 years later (2015). In April 2017 - closed at first sniff but immense potential waiting to come forward, extremely rich, complex and long. Everything is here to make this wine a legend. 99-100p.
3. MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 2016 100p
Tasted in April 2017. (83% C.Sauvignon + 15% Merlot + 1% C.Franc + 1% P:Verdot). Aristocratic nose of blackberries, cigar box and tobacco leaves, classy stuff with great acidity, velvety all over, stunning richness and structure, excellent complexity, powerful finish. Immensely complete wine. My pick for the best wine of the vintage on the Left Bank!
4. YQUEM 2015 100p
Tasted four times - last time in December 2017. Consistent notes. Unctuous, fabulous acidity and richness, intensity and concentration, fantastic complexity, depth and length. Heavenly stuff!
5. TERTRE ROTEBOEUF 2010 100p
Tasted five times. This wine is no less than phenomenal now after bottling. It's the fifth time I tasted it and ageing in oak seems to have kicked this wine even higher up in quality. What an intensity, opulence, richness, length, depth, velvety fruit and tannin, silkiness all over. Wow!!
6. LAFLEUR 2016 99p
Tasted in March 2017. This wine was big, broad-shouldered with classy and sophisticated nose of black fruit, velvety texture, rich, incredibly complex and long. Distinguished beauty to remain beautiful for many, many years.
7. LE PIN 2016 99p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Awesome wine here, 100% Merlot, low yield per ha (only 28 hl!), would have liked to compare it to 2015, but it wasn't possible as 2015 was resting in vats for upcoming bottling. Very distinguished, refined, rich, velvety wine with stunning complexity and depth Btw, 2016 is the first vintage at the property to be harvested in October (4th-8th)!
8. AUSONE 2016 98p
2016s here are very similar to 2015s.
9. LEOVILLE LAS CASES 2016 98p
Tasted in April 2017. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc. Twin brother of 2015 vintage, but more distinguished and with more elegance. Bull's eye once again!
10. MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 1937 97p
Tasted in April 2017 during dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. Fabulously scented nose and palate with truffles, tobacco and graphite, incredibly elegant and sophisticated, long, long finish.
Here is my top ten wines of 2016:
1. Montrose 1990 100p
2. Latour 2000 100p
3. Lafleur 2000 100p
4. Le Pin 1990 99p
5. Cheval Blanc 1990 99p
6. Lafite 2000 99p
7. Montrose 2010 99p
8. Yquem 1986 98p
9. T. Roteboeuf 2000 98p
10. Certan de May 1982 98p
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too all!
THAT'S THE WAY TO CELEBRATE 70TH BIRTHDAY!
On Friday, the 9th December 2016, at restaurant Le Sommelier in the centre of Copenhagen, I held my pre-birthday party (I’ll pass the 70th milestone of my life in the end of December 2016). I treated my friends and myself with 1 champagne, 3 white dry wines, 20 red wines, 2 sweet white wines and one Armagnac, accompanied by appetizers to champagne, 6 courses, 1 dessert and one birthday cake.
We were only 6 participants due to late cancellations. Anyway I immensely enjoyed a great, great company of Danish wine-friends, my daughter and Olivier Bernard from Domaine de Chevalier. We’ve had a stellar evening. Not a single wine served that evening was corked or oxidized. Many wines were simply stunning and lived fully up to their reputation and fame. All wines were tasted blind and even me, who knew which wines were served in each flight, didn't know the order of these served. Wines were chosen according to the last digit in my birthday year (6) for whites (dry and sweet) and 0 for reds (as I celebrated 70 years). You will think it was outrageous to serve so many wines? - not really imho, you only live once!!
Excellent food was cooked by Chef Christian Marquard and wines were very professionally cared for by young Daniela Mylin, chef of the restaurant/chef sommelier of Le Sommelier. Historic tasting and one I never forget thanks to my precious friends!!
Tasting notes – relatively short ones as I had taken care of my guest and there wasn’t time to write big stories about each wine.
1. Champagne Dom Perignon Rose 1996 – really impressive stuff, virile, sophisticated, rich, great acidity and sweet tones. Awesome to enjoy. 97p.
2. Dry whites – three wines. 1976 D.D.Chevalier had a little touch of oxidation, which disappeared quickly, and showed nice acidity and concentration. Getting old. 89p. 1986 D.d.Chevalier was simply impressive stuff with great acidity, vitality, depth and long aftertaste. Tasted young and fresh despite being 30 years old. 94p. 1996 Chablis Les Clos from Vincent Dauvissat had fine smoked tones of stones, penetrating nose of melted butter and long aftertaste. A bit caught by age and imho it’ll not improve. 93p.
3. Red flight 1 with title “Up and running” – Les Carmes Haut Brion, Seguin and Belle Brise, all in 2010 vintage. I’ve never tasted the two last-mentioned wines together, so it was a kind of test. L.C.H. Brion was muted, light in concentration and structure. It was surprising when you take the quality of 2010 vintage in general. Since the arrival of new manager/winemaker Guillaume Pouthier in 2012, the quality took a big step up. 89p. Seguin from the village of Canejan in Pessac-Leognan AOC (my discovery while touring Graves/Pessac Leognan in September 2010) had an intense nose of cherries, excellent structure and depth, exquisite balance and long persistent finish. Utterly impressive stuff. 95p. Last wine in the flight was Belle Brise from Pomerol, my discovery also but since 1996. This minuscule vineyard/garden is situated very close to Libourne. Strong with modern taste, very cherry, catching sweetness of fruit and tannin, silky fruit and tannin. Long and persistent finish. Fabulous wine. 95+p. No oenologist, no consultant and no modern remedies here – “vin au naturel”!
4. Red flight 2 with title “Magic” – Tertre Roteboeuf 2010-2000-1990 and Domaine de Chevalier 1990. 2010 TR tasted more like kirsch than wine, but I’m pretty sure the alcohol will soon integrate. Otherwise, it was big, packed with silky fruit and tannin, immensely flavoured and long. 96p. 2000 TR was epic wine with an intense nose of truffles, formidable structure and depth, stunning precision, focus and complexity, and mega long aftertaste. Boom! 98p. 1990 TR tasted lighter and not so highly impressive as last time (in 2011) and was clearly surpassed by 2000 version. 92p. 1990 D.d.Chevalier (“black horse” quickly detected by tasters) showed truffy nose, very good complexity and very good length. Fruit tasted a bit warm. 89p.
5. Red flight 3 with the title “Sky is the limit" and six wines in 1990 vintage. Beausejour Duffau was kind of disappointing if you take its fame in the context. One of my guests tasted this wine many times in the recent years and told me it was much better 10 years ago. Fine complexity but not striking concentration and richness. 93p. Angelus didn’t hit the bull’s eye either. Was better too 10 years ago. Truffy, not as powerful as expected, not rich and long as expected. 93p. Montrose once again delivered. It’s easy to fall on your knees and worship this wine, because it’s simply a phenomenal one and masterpiece of winemaking. 100p. Troplong Mondot was a stunning mouthful with everything in perfect harmony. One of my guests said to me that this wine was disguised as a port. Frankly, I didn’t care. I loved it! 97p. Cheval Blanc matched Montrose to great extent with Cabernet Franc at full blossom. Fascinating and riveting display of richness, sophisticated touch and variety of flavours. 99-100p. Le Pin was more kinky and funky than Cheval Blanc, but equal in every aspect to it. Merlot was the showcase. 99-100p.
6. Red flight 4 with the title "Another day in paradise" and four wines in 2000 vintage. La Mission Haut Brion tasted closed but its all cylinders were fully loaded, just waiting for the perfect time to show all the fabulous things. Patience required. 96-98p. Lafleur was just timeless treat, so dense, so sophisticated. Paradise! 100p. Montrose stood up against big hitters here but wasn’t trashed at all. Strong potent and very long finish. 96p. Lafite is just perfect if you want to enjoy finesse, grace and richness of nuances. That was exactly what we had in 2000 plus striking structure, depth and balance. 99p.
7. Red flight 5 with the title “As time goes by” and three wines in 1950 vintage, all chateau bottled. Pavie (B-niveau) was just awesome like well-trained 66 years old guy running a marathon. Very cherry, strong, long and in perfect balance. Still many years to go! Some of my guest took it for 1982 vintage! 94p. Leoville Las Cases, the one with the lowest stand, tasted old like extracted coffee beans. Gone. 75p. Troplong Mondot, despite low stand close to C, made by a cousin of the owner of Pavie at that time, Valette, was as similar and as impressive as Pavie. 94p.
8. Sweet whites – two wines in 1986 vintage. Gilette had a significant flavour of almonds, great sweetness and acidity, great depth and backbone, long and velvety on the palate with strong and fat finish. Aged for 20 years in small concrete vats for 20 years and no wooden vats/barriques here. 96-97 p. Yquem edged Gilette in terms of depth, sophisticated touch and nuance richness but only and just that. 98p.
9. Dinner finished with awesome 1945 vintage Armagnac “Fontaine de Coincy”, same owner as previously mentioned Belle Brise in Pomerol. De Coincy family has owned their property in Bas Armagnac for 400 years.
2016 WILL FOR SURE BE AN AWESOME VINTAGE THAT FOLLOWS IN THE TRACKS OF 2010 AND 2015!!
Perfectly ripe 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at Chateau Seguin in Pessac-Leognan
Birth of 2016 vintage - it will be a beautiful child....
I spent 8 days in Bordeaux between 20 and 27th October, checking the reports beforehand which have said that 2016 is going to be a stunner vintage. I have tasted as many samples as possible of juice after alcoholic fermentation - unbelievable black colour, silky tannins and fresh, vibrant fruit, stunningly concentrated. General opinion is that 2016 will surpass 2015 many places and rival 2010 to great extent! I support this 100%!
Main points of how 2016 growing season went on:
1. Bad beginning of the spring but perfect flowering promising normal yield.
2. Fine summer and no rain in almost 3 months, so the welcome rain came at the end of September, 40-60 mm, just what vines needed. Sunshine, sunshine and sunshine.
3. Harvest took over 1 month many places with big difference between day and night temperatures, allowing perfect ripeness of grapes inside and outside plus freshness and many aromas.
4. All grape varieties did excellently. High ITP (Index Total Polyphenols) like in 2010.
1. Les Carmes Haut Brion - Manager Guillaume Pouthier says 2016 will probably be his best vintage ever here. 2016 samples were extremely promising.
2. Haut Bailly - many samples of 2016 juice after alcoholic fermentation, among others C.Sauvignon and Merlot from over 100 years old vines. Cellar master Gabriel Vialard has been extremely satisfied with what he has in vats/barrels! Maybe the best vintage for the property in the last 50 years!
3. Bourgneuf - also great expectations for 2016 here from Vayron family.
4. Lafleur - stunning 2015 and 2014, all smiles for prospects of 2016.
5. Belle Brise in Pomerol - extremely promising 2016 juice.
6. Olivier Bernard from D.d.Chevalier compares 2016 white to 2009 vintage and 2016 red to 2010 vintage. He says, there was no rush to harvest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes as there was plenty of time to wait for optimum ripeness.
7. Cantenac Brown - great visit, several vintages to taste of red (2015-2014-2013-2012-2011-2010), tasted also white Brane Cantenac (Alto) which was surprisingly well-made. Great 2015 red which edges 2010, fine 2014 and 2011 while 2012 gives very much pleasure. Great hopes for 2016 here also.
8. Moutte Blanc - a property in Macau, produces 100% Petit Verdot cuvée called Moisin, also other cuvées. Tasted 2015 and 2014. I liked 2015 better. Fine quality for money. Moutte Blanc is produced from vines growing in Haut Medoc and near Monbrison in Arsac from 0.75 ha 100% Merlot. The latter vineyard got permission from INAO to use Margaux appellation on the label beginning with 2014 vintage. Splendid 2015 for both Moutte Blancs.
9. Seguin (Pessac-Leognan) - fine 2014 and 2015, 2016 promises quite a "paradise".
10. Great, great visit at Figeac, 1.5 hours entertaining visit with the winemaker Frederic Faye, great improvements are visible. Fabulous 2015 vintage with excellent focus and precision, 2016 maybe even better says F. Faye. I tasted vintages 2012-2013-2014-2015. 2012 is F. Fayes' first vintage at Figeac, but he's been at the property for 14 years now.
11. Tertre Roteboeuf - 2016 promises heaven but 2015 TR was simply otherworldy!
1. I was persuaded by my friend to go to Chateau Julia, a property well-hidden of the beaten tracks in neighbour commune to Pauillac, Saint-Laurent. It's run by a woman, Sophie Martin, who before creating Julia sold her grapes to a cooperative. Quite well-made wines which would be even significantly better, if she had the necessary funds to buy better equipment. Julia is both Haut Medoc and Pauillac wine, meaning there are vines growing in both appellations. The latter has vines growing on excellent soil between Lynch Bages and Latour. Despite many attempts from chateau owners in the area to sell her vineyard in Pauillac, she firmly refuses to do so.
2. Visiting Chateau Tour Saint Christophe. Interesting to visit because of Chinese investments in Bordeaux. Peter Kwok created Vignobles K group in 2014 and it owns 5 properties on Right Bank, Haut Brisson and Tour Saint Christophe in Saint Emilion, Enclos Tourmaline and La Patache in Pomerol, and Enclos de Viaud in Lalande de Pomerol. The experienced Jean-Christophe Meyrou is manager of the group. One Saturday in October I went to Tour Saint Christophe, a property situated magnificently on the border of Saint-Emilion and Saint-Christophe des Bardes. The view from there towards Troplong Mondotte is breathtaking. I tasted 2015 vintage of all properties except Enclos de Viaud. Haut Brisson (90% M+10% CF) had earthy flavours, ripe black fruit and tannin, strong backbone, fine acidity, fine balance and persistent finish. 89p.Tour Saint Christophe (80% M+ 20% CF) was much better wine than HB with more power, concentration and depth. Ripeness of both fruit and tannin was better here. Delightful wine for keeping. 92-93p. La Patache (85%M + 15% CF) from sandy part of Pomerol showed violets and black fruit, also some extraction and earthy flavours, was a little bit tired (racking?). Quite good one. 88-89p. Enclos Tourmaline which consists of four plots in the best part of Pomerol (Le Plateau Argileux) is made in very modern style with the vinification of whole clusters, 100% new oak, etc. For my taste, despite this wine splendid intensity and acidity, it looked a bit overdone and too extracted. Very modern style. 92+p. They are very enthusiastic with 2016 vintage at Vignobles K and I hope they will back down a bit with extraction and stems at Enclos Tourmaline, so 2016 will be fruitier and fresher. Nevertheless, it's a property to follow closely.
Great view from Tour Saint Christophe towards Troplong Mondot
Sandy gravel, limestones and clay - components of great soil here at Tour Saint Christophe
3. Grand Cercle tasting of 85 reds in vintage 2014 and 20 whites in vintage 2015. Reds were up and down, Saint Emilions were the best. Whites were of very fine quality. Tasting took place at Chateau Croizilles, situated close to La Mondotte and Tertre Roteboeuf. View from here to vineyards of Saint Emilion is priceless.
85 2014s in red at La Croizille
Simply magnificent view over vineyards in Saint-Emilion from La Croizille
CHÂTEAU PALMER - PRINCE OF MARGAUX
Château Palmer is one of the few remaining aristocrats among Bordeaux wines. Palmer has neither let it influence by present acrobatics in vinification, technical sidesteps and modern trends. This property has kept hard by the classic style – some would mean genuine Bordeaux style – where ripe fruit and ripe tannin complement each other in the best possible way. Here, aromatic finesse and elegance is mixed in the finest possible way with power and sappiness on the palate, sophisticated structure and exquisite balance. This is exactly what Bordeaux is famous for and something wine producers from all over the world try to incorporate in their wines. Even if Château Palmer is only classified as 3.Growth according to 1855-classification, it's far better than its present classification. Sublime and aristocratic wine!
Palmer is situated in Haut-Médoc on right side of the so-called "Route de Vin", half-way between Cantenac and Margaux communes, with only a few kilometres away from Gironde river. It covers 55 ha of vines growing on mainly gravelly soil with quartz stones in different sizes. The composition of grapes varieties used is classic: 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet and 6% Petit Verdot. Average age of vines is 38 years.
Today, two wines are made at Palmer. Grand Vin which bears the name of the property and Alter Ego (since 1998). Alter Ego isn't a typical second wine of Palmer, more like a blend of cuvees from different parcels of the vineyard, which don't have the quality required for Grand Vin.
Harvest is done manually and both wines undergo in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Only through the end of malolactic fermentation, wine is transferred to oak barrels. It's not filtrated, only clarified with egg-whites. Palmer spends 20-21 months in 50-70% new barrels, while Alter Ego gets 17-18 months in 25-40% new barrels.
In April 1990 I participated in a tasting of 18 vintages in Copenhagen, which took place at one of the best restaurants in Denmark, "Kong Hans". Charles Sichel represented Palmer at this tasting. We tasted following vintages: 1986-85-83-82-81-79-78-76-75-70-67-66-62-61-59(DK)-59-55-52. Unforgettable experience!! 1961 Palmer was otherworldy!
In 2007, during two Palmer tastings, one for Commanderie de Bordeaux and one for wine-sommeliers, I tasted vintages 2003, 2002, 1998, 1991, 1990, 1986, 1981 and 1970 among other wines.
In May 2014 another tasting of Margaux took place for members of Commanderie de Bordeaux. It was conducted by Chris Myers, Palmer's sales director and it offered following vintages: Alter Ego 2009-2005-2004, Palmer 2008-2006-2004-2001-1999-1996-1989-1985.
At private tasting on 15th October 2015 in Copenhagen, I tasted Alter Ego 2003 and 2005, plus Palmer 2005-2001-2000-1990-1988-1985-1979-1967.
Awesome picture taken by my friend Miguel Lecuona at Chateau Palmer on the 31st March - we were all thrilled with 2014 vintage there! Chris Myers did the talking, we tasted!
2015 Palmer (barrel sample) 96+p
Tasted in April 2016. Grand Vin was as always aristocratic with its refined and sophisticated touch, richness, intensity, structure and long finish. Fabulous future waits.
2014 Palmer (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted in March 2015. Big wine but still showing aristocratic touch, high acidity, strong structure, excellent depth, richness and long meaty finish.
2013 Palmer (barrel sample) 92-93p
Tasted in April 2014. Oaky, great acidity, on the light side, elegant and with very fine complexity and structure. Will it put on weight when in the bottle?
2012 Palmer 95+p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. It showed great class and style with excellent aromatic nose of black cherries, richness, velvety palate, excellent structure, balance and very long finish. Fabulous wine for the vintage.
2011 Palmer 95+p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. This wine was aristocratic, powerful though refined with fabulous balance and fabulous finish. Stunning effort.
2010 Palmer 99p
Tasted three times - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine had incredibly scented nose and palate, black cherries and Valrhona chocolate everywhere, awesome complexity structure and length, fat fruit and tannin on the palate. Very sophisticated wine with both power and extreme elegance. Heavenly stuff.
2009 Palmer 97p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. It had a very seductive aroma of dark cherries, great intensity and concentration, silky tannins and graceful finish. Very stylish and sophisticated wine with an extremely well-established combination of elegance and power. A wine of great charisma and excellent quality.
2008 Palmer 96p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. More of everything here compared with 2006. Sappy, riper fruit with a lot of sweetness. Complex, refined and long finish. Great intensity of dark cherries on the nose and palate. Stylish wine with great depth and structure. Petit Verdot was included in the blend and it shows – strong backbone. Great effort for the vintage and this wine will keep for a long time.
2007 Palmer 92p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2010. Consistent notes. It expressed in its special own way seductive aroma of dark cherries, soft texture, silky tannins and soft finish. Very stylish and gracious wine, and therefore so typical for the commune. Now in bottle and it's fulfilled the promises when tasted from barrel. Splendid effort for the vintage.
2006 Palmer 94p
Tasted four times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. Tight and tannic wine, Cabernet Sauvignon shining. Rather powerful than elegant, splendid backbone, depth and complexity. Firm and long finish. Still not quite developed yet and I think this wine needs more than 10 years from now to be approachable. No Petit Verdot in this vintage for Palmer.
2005 Palmer 98p
Tasted four times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. Palmer was as always a perfect example of beautiful elegance and finesse, the goodies Margaux commune is so famous of. This was a complete wine and a heartbreaker of rarely seen calibre. Decadently rich and multifaceted. Aristocratic and sophisticated wine with a really long life ahead. 20-30 years and maybe even longer.
2004 Palmer 95p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. Always one of my favourite Palmers. Extremely elegant and very aromatic wine with much finesse, silky texture and tannin. Fabulous complexity and depth, stunning balance. Long and sweet aftertaste. Aristocratic. Will have a long and great, great life.
2003 Palmer 92p
Tasted in April 2007. Deep red. It had really splendid nose of aromatic Mirabelle plums in the beginning and was fresh all over. Later, both nose and palate took on blackcurrants/blackcurrants drops. This was quite concentrated and powerful wine on the palate, showing splendid intensity of fruit, refinement and fine length, although not quite typical for the property. It finished with long and strong aftertaste. 12-18 years horizontally in the cellar.
2002 Palmer 94p
Tasted in April 2007. Darker colour than in 2003 Palmer! It had an incredible depth on the nose with glorious intensity and refinement, and a strong aroma of blackcurrants and raspberries. This wine was very rich, strong and sophisticated on the palate with formidable balance, finesse, length, structure and aristocratic touch all over the place. It's luxurious enjoyment now and it will be like that in the next 18-25 years. For sure, this is one of the top wines in this vintage.
2001 Palmer 93p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. Really fine and aromatic on the nose with red berries. Vivid and flavorful on the palate. Ripe fruit and tannin. Quite complex and with fine depth. Soft finish.
2000 Palmer 96p
Tasted in October 2015. Fabulous wine with stunning nose, richness on the palate, awesome complexity, remarkable acidity and classy finish. Top effort for the vintage.
1999 Palmer 96p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. 48% CS, 46% M and 6% PV. Probably in top three in this vintage. This wine has always impressed me. Very aromatic dark berries with great intensity. More concentrated, riper and sweeter fruit than in 1996, tight, great finesse and elegance, aristocratic, stunning balance, fabulous complexity and depth. Incredibly stylish and classy. To enjoy in the next 20 years.
1998 Palmer 93+p
Tasted in April 2007. Black red. Classic Bordeaux style with strong tannins and concentrated fruit, which keep each other in "hand", so neither tannin nor fruit breaks out in solo performance. This wine's had little development and needs therefore time to show true face of Palmer. Palmer. Absolutely worth waiting for.
1996 Palmer 95p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. 55% CS, 40% M, 4% CF and 1% PV. Already on the nose, it is obvious, that Cabernet Sauvignon was the winner in this vintage. The ripeness of CS in this vintage was better than Merlot's. Mint, leather and cigar box on large scale. This wine was beautifully constructed, refined and with concentrated shape, powerful and sappy. This is textbook Palmer – beautiful wine which easily can keep its excellent ingredients in an additional 20 years.
1995 Palmer 92p
Tasted twice - last time in June 2012. Consistent notes. Deep red. Powerful nose of ripe blackcurrants and raspberries. On the palate, it was chewy, well-constructed with fine balance and fine aftertaste. This was a bit lighter wine than usual for the property, but nevertheless a wine you really would enjoy without any complaints. This one should keep for additional 10-15 years.
1991 Palmer 90p
Tasted in September 2007. Deep red. Very aromatic on the nose with chocolate powder and prunes. Soft and round on the palate with ripe fruit. Super effort for this difficult vintage, thanks to neighbouring Gironde river, which kept devastating black frost in April away from Palmer. Drinks very well now.
1990 Palmer 94p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2015. Not consistent notes. In 2007 it had a very developed colour for the vintage - medium red. Aromatic with cherries, seemed very mature, well-balanced and very nice to drink. A very enjoyable Palmer, which should keep like that for 4-6 years more. I doubt this bottle came from the cellar of Palmer. In October 2015, I had a great bottle with deliciously ripe fruit, very aromatic and complex, great sweetness of the fruit and sophisticated touch on palate.
1989 Palmer 93p
Tasted in May 2014. Sweet fruit, a bit alcoholic and warm, quite aromatic, fine balance and complexity, long soft finish. This bottle didn't seem to be a perfect example of this vintage for Palmer.
1988 Palmer 91p
Tasted in October 2015. Pure style. Quite complex and refined, fine ripeness of fruit and tannin, but not 100% perfect. Anyway very good effort.
1986 Palmer 93p
Tasted in April 2007. Dark red. It showed superb nose of dark berries, tobacco and liquorice. Splendidly balanced with fine and long palate, plus lasting aftertaste. It did remind in some way of 1996, but 1986 showed less intensity and fewer nuances. Nevertheless, this wine was a stupendous effort for the property and the one to satisfy many wine souls in the next 10-12 years.
1985 Palmer 90p
Tasted in October 2015. Elegant and refined wine, fruity with very good complexity. Tasty and seductive with fruity and smooth finish.
1981 Palmer 88p
Tasted in September 2007. On the light side with spicy fruit. This wine started with somewhat strange flavours, which were not clean. I suspected this wine did suffer from a little oxidation/cork taste, but one hour later these odd flavors luckily disappeared. All in all a nice and round wine to be consumed in the next few years.
1979 Palmer 87p
Tasted in October 2015. Rather light, old-style vinification, lacking ripeness of fruit and tannin.
1970 Palmer 97p
Tasted in April 2007. Still young colour. It shows incredibly rich, sophisticated and intense on the nose. There were many fruit aromas here, wine appeared extremely well-balanced and with sheer elegance. In the palate, it was multidimensional and with such sophisticated touch, that you simply lost your breath. An aristocratic wine with extremely delightful style and high class, which easily holds 10 more years in the cellar, if stored properly as our bottle was.
1967 Palmer 84p.
Tasted in October 2015. Dusty, wet flavours on the nose and on the palate, well past its prime.
1966 Palmer (low stand) 95p
Blind tasted in July 2008. The first thing that strikes me is the beautiful aroma of truffles, chocolate and cherries. Very Merlot for sure! It's obvious, that this wine is Bordeaux, but which Bank? My first impression is Right Bank, somewhere in the '60s. But it wasn't Right Bank and my friend who offered this wine, led me to a Left Bank wine with some good percentage of Merlot. Château Margaux maybe, eh..... Nope, it's the neighbour, Château Palmer 1966! Very stylish, classy wine with striking elegance and finesse, exquisite balance and soft aftertaste. A thrill to drink.
1961 Palmer 99p
Tasted three times - last time in March 2006. Consistent notes. Deep ruby red colour with brown edge. Lots of beautifully scented luscious fruit, silky tannin, incredible balance, sophisticated and refined. This a legendary wine, which hasn't changed significantly since I tasted it for the very first time in 1987. A true dignified aristocrat wine, who firmly has kept its mind-boggling quality during so many years. Simply amazing stuff! Outshined Latour in this vintage.
1865 Palmer 100p
This is the oldest red Bordeaux wine I've ever tasted! And only pre-phylloxera wine I've ever tasted! It happened in June 1993 during a tasting in Arcachon. This wine was recorked at the property in 1990. Very light red colour but with a simply magnificent and otherworldly aroma of cherries, aristocratic elegance and finesse. A real angelic treat from the past - I'll never forget this wine!!
2015 Alter Ego (barrel sample) 93p
Tasted in April 2016. had aromatic nose of black fruit, silky fruit and tannin, velvety texture, excellent acidity, great depth and length.
2014 Alter Ego (barrel sample) 92p
Tasted in March 2015. Spicy fruit, splendid acidity, meaty, splendid depth and fine length.
2013 Alter Ego (barrel sample) 88p
Tasted in April 2014. Fresh, very nice acidity and minerality, on the light side, soft fruit and tannin.
2012 Alter Ego (barrel sample) 91p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine, which represented 45% of the whole production, displayed fine ripeness of fruit and tannin, good concentration, silky fruit and tannin. Well-constructed wine and fine effort for the vintage.
2011 Alter Ego 90-91p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. It showed some power, good quantities of cherry fruit and fat ripe tannin and long aftertaste.
2010 Alter Ego 93p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2013. Consistent notes. This wine displayed big concentration, fat and perfectly ripe black fruit and tannin, refined, well-structured and very long. Impressive stuff. 93p.
2009 Alter Ego 91p
Tasted three times - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes. Compared with 2005, 2009 was a step up in terms of concentration and intensity. Compact and tannic, sappy, great structure and complexity, perfect ripe dark berries with catchy sweetness. Impressive stuff.
2008 Alter Ego 89p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2010. Consistent notes. Aromatic, subtle and elegant wine. Smooth aftertaste. Joyful and seductive. Now in bottle.
2007 Alter Ego 87p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2010. Consistent notes. This wine provided a very delicate, round and extremely charming attitude and was drinking nicely already. Will entertain while we wait for big vintages to mature.
2006 Alter Ego 89p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2010. Consistent notes. Powerful wine which is quite similar in style to 2004, but imho wasn't so aromatically scented as 2004.
2005 Alter Ego 90p
Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. An aromatic wine with fine structure. Fatter and meatier than 2004, more tannic, deeper and longer on the palate. Splendid sweetness of fruit and persistent fruity aftertaste. Very, very adorable wine.
2004 Alter Ego 90p
Tasted twice - last time in May 2014. Consistent notes.Intense nose of black cherries and blackcurrants. This was a well-crafted wine with splendid balance, quite rich and with persistent finish. A real heartbreaker wine to enjoy in the next 10 years.
2003 Alter Ego 89p
Tasted twice - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. This wine contains 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. Aromatic red berries like raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries, and fine balance on the palate. Graphite and tobacco leaves on the nose. This was a quite well-made wine, which in my opinion will mature rather quickly. It's drinkable already now.
2000 Alter Ego 92p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2007. Consistent notes. Coal-black colour, dense and deep. Literally speaking, it rolled over 2003 Alter Ego with a strong nose of blackcurrants, vigour on the palate, big concentration of fruit and hugely long finish for this beauty. All the things vintage 2000 is famous for, you will find in this eminent wine. This wine will be pure enjoyment in the next 10-15 years.