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    2020 Bordeaux is the grand finale of the never-before-experienced, three consecutive run of great vintages. Yes, there has been a few back-to-back double plays, but this is the first time Bordeaux has ever experienced a full hat trick.

     

    There are differences in the vintages, which will become more apparent as the wines age and evolve. Each vintage is unique. Perhaps 2020 is closest to 2018, for its opulent, velvet drenched, sensuous style.  Though, it is important to note that you also find freshness, lift and elegance. Here is something to consider about 2020, alcohol levels are lower for many estates, which is surprising with hot, dry years like 2020.

    It was not an easy year for vignerons. In fact, by the middle of the summer, many were becoming concerned by the drought conditions. The hot, very dry summer shaped much of the vintage’s character.  Fortunately, the summer rain that fell in August saved the vintage. Without that rain, the vintage could have developed like 2003.

    2020 will not only be known for its wines. It will remain famous as the first vintage in over 100 years to be made during a pandemic.  All of the barrel samples were sent to my home in Los Angeles. The same decision was made to send 2019, but 2020 was much easier for the chateau and for me as well.

    With 2019, sending the samples happened so fast, it was not always well-organized. But with 2020, things went smooth from start to finish. Samples were shipped most of the time by FEDEX or other overnight couriers arriving within 3 days on most occasions. The bottles were usually still at cellar temperature! Some of the wines were tasted over video conferencing, but most were simply tasted in my home office.

    As you can see from the selection of tasting notes below, I am a big fan of 2020 Bordeaux!  The combination of changing climatic conditions along with choices in the vineyards and cellars have helped this new modern classic style take over Bordeaux. 2020 is the new version of what I like to call classic modern Bordeaux.

    This report covers the best wines of the vintage, all of which should reach 97-100 Pts by the time the wines are in bottle. But that does not tell the entire story. For the details and tasting notes of the best 900 wines of the vintage: 

     

    2020  Château Angélus St. Émilion Grand Cru Dark in color, the wine explodes with blackberry liqueur, plums, smoke, licorice, Asian spice, cherry blossoms, violets and truffles. The wine is full-bodied, rich, dense and intense, with layers of opulent, cashmere textured fruits. As good as that is, it's the mid-palate and finish, with its non-stop waves of silky, sensuous fruits that build, expands and intensifies, leaving you with a beautiful purity of fruit-infused with spicy chocolate. The endnotes linger for close to 60 seconds. Give this a decade or so of age and it should be a mind-blowing tasting experience. The wine blends 60% Merlot with 40% Cabernet Franc,14.5% ABV, 3.65 pH. The wine is aging in 100% new, French oak, however, 40% of the Cabernet Franc is aged in foudres, allowing the oak to almost finish integrating into the wine on release. Harvesting took place, September 12-September 30. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Belair-Monange St. Émilion Grand Cru Full-bodied, concentrated, rich and velvety, the wine promptly provides layer after layer of flawlessly ripe, black and dark red pit fruits, crushed rocks, licorice, espresso, smoke and flowers. Long, deep, rich, concentrated and focused, the wine finishes with a majestic combination of minerals, black plums, black cherries, dark cocoa, velvet-laced tannins and spice. The stony finish sticks with you for close to 60 seconds. Give this at least a decade before pulling a cork and enjoy it over the next 3 decades with little effort. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Canon St. Émilion Grand Cru Aromatically, this is off the hook with flowers, black, red and blue fruits, licorice, black raspberry, forest leaf, wild cherries and crushed rocks. With polished silk and velvet textures, the wine balances weight, depth, energy and concentration. The layers of perfectly ripe, sweet, fresh, red and black fruits keep on coming. On the palate the wine is both concentrated and weightless, making this is far too easy to drink. The seamless finish delivers length and purity that goes on for more than 60 seconds. This is as good as the famous 2015, and by the time it is in bottle, it could be even better. The wine blends 68% Merlot with 32% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% ABV pH 3.53 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château La Conseillante Pomerol Dark garnet in hue, the wine explodes from the glass with its showy display of lilacs, violets, spice, chocolate, truffle, espresso and black plum liqueur. On the palate the wine is incredibly sexy with its silk and velvet textured fruits. The wine is showy, ostentatious, opulent and frankly decadent. In other words, this is everything you want in a great Pomerol. Full-bodied, rich and with length, purity and energy, the wine deftly balances density with lift, remaining with you for over 60 seconds in its seamless finish. Different in style, this could be at the same level of quality found in the perfect 2016! The harvest took place September 9-September 30, making this one of the longer harvests in the history of the estate. The wine blends 87% Merlot with 13% Cabernet Franc, 14% ABV, 3.67 pH. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Dark, ruby, garnet in color, the wine exudes cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, smoke, roasted cherries, herbs, spice box and forest floor scents. What is amazing here is the incredible level of density, because it is also light on its feet, perfectly balanced, poised and energetic. Texturally, this is surreal. Picture velvet and polished silk on your palate coating each berry. The fruit offers intensity, purity and length, with a finish that exceeds 60 seconds. The seamless finish could put a smile on the most jaded taster. Do not be concerned with the alcohol levels as there is no heat. All of that is buried in the wealth of fruit. If you have the money, this is one of the great vintages of Haut Brion that promises to evolve for at least 4-5 decades with ease. The wine blends 42.8% Merlot, 39.7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17.5% Cabernet Franc, 15% ABV. Harvesting took place  September 7-September 29. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château L'Eglise-Clinet Pomerol Everything you would expect from L'Eglise Clinet is here in spades. The nose shoots from the glass with its truffle, spicy plum, wet earth, herb, smoke, tobacco, cocoa and cherry liqueur scents. Full-bodied, concentrated, focused and fresh, the wine perches on the border between opulence and classic. From a blend that mirrors the vineyard at 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine packs layers of dark chocolate covered ripe plums that coat your palate, linger and expand.  This will age gracefully for 3 decades easily. It is great to see so much continuity here from the Durantou family. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan Green apples, pears, lemon, grapefruit peel, spice, flowers, crushed rocks and stone create the nose. The palate is full, rich, deep and creamy, with endless layers of fresh, ripe, yellow citrus, honeysuckle and minerality tinted fruits that are made even better by its slap of crisp, biting acidity. Made from a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, picking took place August 20, August 27. 99  Pts

    2020  La Mondotte St. Émilion Grand Cru Intensely colored, the aromatic profile, with its licorice, blackberry, bitter chocolate, plum liqueur. crushed rocks and stones get noticed quickly. On the palate, the wine is concentrated, full-bodied and ntense. Picture a giant gulp of ripe black plums, blue fruits, licorice, cocoa and broken stones with salt coating your palate and expanding for at least 60 seconds. Not much wine is made here. In fact, the production was about 1,200  cases. Still young, give this stunner at least a decade and drink it over the next 3 decades or longer. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Larcis Ducasse St. Émilion Grand Cru Pungent aromas of flowers, licorice, crushed rocks, oak, dark cocoa, black, red and blue fruits focus your attention. The wine offers a mineral-driven, full-bodied blast of silky, flamboyant, luscious red fruits with salty tannins. The fruit coats your palate, lingers and seamlessly expands, finishing with licorice, sensuously textured red and black fruits, espresso and oyster shell. This is on the way to developing into one of the best vintages ever produced by Larcis Ducasse. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Margaux Margaux The purity of the fruit in the nose is striking. From there you move to notes of allspice, tobacco, roses, truffle, smoke, roasted plums, cherries and currants. Incredibly sensuous, silky and fresh, the fruit literally coats your palate with layers of velvet and silk textured berries. Intensely concentrated, weightless and effortless to drink, the wine seamlessly glides across your senses and holds with you for at least 60 seconds. This is a prodigious vintage of Chateau Margaux. The product of an early vintage, picking took place September 10 to September, 30. Yields were 36 hectoliters per hectare, with the Grand Vin produced from only 36% of the crop. The wine blends 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% ABV, 3.68 Ph. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac Dark, almost opaque in color, the wine opens with a cornucopia of scents; spice-box, dark Cuban cigar wrapper, flowers, creme de cassis, blackberry espresso, mint and a drop of dark chocolate. Concentrated, full-bodied, deep, long, intense and complex, texturally, the wine is opulent, plush and velvety. But there is also more than ample lift keeping everything upbeat. The seamless finish is perfectly balanced, with all its layers of polished, sensuous, silky fruits in the right place for over 60 seconds! The wine blends 84% Cabernet Sauvignon,13% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 13.1% ABV, pH 3.8. Yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare with only 49% of the harvest going into the Grand Vin, so not much wine was made. The harvest took place September 7-September 24. The first vintage with Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy calling the shots is a tremendous success! This is a contender for wine of the vintage. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Pavie St. Émilion Grand Cru Aphotic ink with purple accents in color,  the intense sensation of crushed rocks and stones, flowers, licorice, truffle, wet forest, smoke, plums, black and blue fruits with oceanic smells captivate your interest. Full-bodied, concentrated, lush and palate-staining, with all its depth of flavor, the wine remains light on its feet. The fruit coats your palate with layers of opulent, sensuous, salty fruits that hold on to you for at least 60 seconds. Leave this in the cellar for 12-15 years and enjoy the thrills for the next 3 decades.  The wine blends 50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.82% ABV pH 3.61. Harvesting took place September 21 - September 30. Yields were low at 31 hectoliters per hectare.  The wine is aging in 75% new, French oak. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Péby Faugères St. Émilion Grand Cru Opaquely colored, the fruit here matches the color. Dark, dense and intense, the wine is packed with licorice, black and blue fruit, chocolate, smoke and espresso. Powerful, sensual, rich and frankly decadent, with a 60 second finish, this is the type of wine Caligula would serve at dinner. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Trotanoy Pomerol Inky garnet in color, the wine is pure hedonism at its best. The attention seeking nose, with its violets, spice, truffle, black and blue fruit, licorice and cocoa is off the hook. And it only gets better from there. Incredibly sensuous and silky, the fruit is drenched in velvet, infused with dark chocolate and is effortless to drink. With a seamless finish that exceeds 60 seconds, this is what great wine is all about. A serious contender for wine of the vintage, fans of Pomerol and Trotanoy should buy this as soon as its offered. It is that good. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Vieux Château Certan Pomerol Inky dark in color, it takes no time to discover the truffle, violets, black plum liqueur, Valrhona chocolate, spice, espresso bean, black raspberry and hints of blue fruit on the nose. Full-bodied, and incredibly concentrated, the wine feels like polished velvet as it caresses your palate. Dense, rich and powerful, yet weightless, balanced and fresh, the finish crosses the 60 second mark and keeps on going! The level of purity, concentration and depth of flavor here is matched by its sensuality. If Caligula were serving wine, this would be his choice. This is better than the 2009, 2016 and probably 2018. This will be one of the legendary vintages for Vieux Chateau Certan.  It is a serious contender for wine of the vintage! The wine blends 85% Merlot with 15% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. The harvest took place September 14-September 24 for the Merlot. Cabernet Franc was picked September 28-September 30. Yields were low at only 30 hectoliters per hectare. 98-100  Pts

    2020  Château Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky in color with purple accents, the wine pops from the glass with notes of crushed rocks, flowers, licorice, espresso, plums, cherries, black raspberries and oceanic nuances. Fresh, full-bodied, concentrated and intense, the layers of plush, pure fruits are made even better by its salty tannins and seamless finish that doesn't know when to quit. There is an incredible sense of purity in the fruits that comes through loud and clear in the more than 50 second finish. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Bellevue Mondotte St. Émilion Grand Cru Almost opaque in color, the wine is equally dark on the palate with its blackberry, black plum and chocolate profile. Full-bodied, rich, opulent and dense, the wine coats your palate, stains your teeth and doesn't relinquish its hold on you for at least 60 seconds, leaving you with waves of opulent, velvet-drenched plums and black cherries. Hedonistic and intense, with a salty, mineralistic, chocolate-tinged, plummy finish, this is a unique style of wine that needs to be tasted. And it needs to be aged for at least 12-15 years due to its intensity. However, it is not easy to find as only 350 cases, give or take were produced. This is the first vintage made from 100% old vine Merlot. 14.81% ABV. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Clinet Pomerol Deep and dark in color, the perfume instantly shoots out its notes of flowers, spearmint, licorice, plums, black cherry, smoke and espresso. Full-bodied, velvety, opulent, sensuous and sexy, the wine is dense, long and silky on your palate. The finish really sticks with you, which is a good thing because you never want this voluptuous stunner to end. The fruits show a remarkable sense of purity, leaving you with over 50 seconds of hedonistic pleasure. This is the best Clinet since 2010. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% AVB, 3.7 pH, with no touch of heat. The harvest took place September 14, finishing September 23. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Deep garnet in hue, the wine shoots from glass with tobacco leaf, currants, spice box, cigar wrapper, blackberry and cassis. Elegant, fresh and vibrant, the wine is silky, long and precise. There is a cool spicy note that rides along with all the layers of soft, polished fruits on the mid-palate and in the finish. This is a refined vintage for COS. You find lower alcohol and the wine feels more energetic on the palate and in the finish, even though the pH is high at 3.9.  Let it sleep for at least a decade before popping a cork.  Produced from a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot, 13.46 % ABV, the harvest took place September 10 to September 24. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien Richly colored, the wine delivers a complex nose of cigar box, tobacco leaf, wet forest floor, camphor, red and black currants, blackberry and creme de cassis. Supple, sensuous, elegant and concentrated, the wine focuses on its refined character, purity of fruit and silky textures. Long, vibrant and incredibly refined, the finish builds as it lingers. This gem should start to really unfurl after its 10th birthday and provide fabulous drinking for 25-35 years after that. Not as powerful as some recent vintages, instead this is a stunningly graceful Ducru Beaucaillou. Produced from blending 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, 13.5% ABV. Picking took place September 11 - September 30. Yields were low at close to 30 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Figeac St. Émilion Grand Cru Roses, tobacco leaf, oak, black raspberries, spice, black currants and plum aromas are all over the place. Incredibly silky on the palate, the wine is fresh and focused on its purity and precision. Elegant, gentle and refined, the sweet, ripe cherries come in waves, building in length and intensity from the mid-palate through the finish, which lasts almost 50 seconds. The wine is effortless to drink. This should age and evolve for decades. The wine blends 37% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.9% ABV, 3.7 pH. Picking took place September 4, October1, making it one of the longest harvests in the history of the estate. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan Deeply colored, the wine explodes with fresh flowers, tobacco leaf, cigar box, currants, blackberry, Allspice, licorice, savory herbs and smoke aromas. On the palate, the wine is intense, balanced, silky and refined. The fruits express purity, harmony, length and complexity, finishing with layers of currants, blackberry, herbs, pepper and plums that hold your focus for at least 50 seconds. Give this at least 10-12 years of age. It will evolve and provide sensuous tasting for at least 25 or more years after that. The wine blends 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc., 14.3% ABV, pH 3.9. The harvest took place September 9 to September 25. The Grand Vin was produced from 60% of the harvest. 2020 was the first vintage produced in their new cellars. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Haut-Brion Blanc Pessac-Léognan Lush, creamy, floral, fresh and packed with flowers, spice, mango, rocks, stone, green apple, lemon peel and waxy aromas. On the palate the wine is bright, crisp, creamy, concentrated, long and intense. The sweet, ripe, fruity, oily, fresh, finish with its spiced yellow citrus, touches of mango and mineral essences carries through to the endnote. The wine blends 71% Sauvignon Blanc with 29% Semillon. Picking took place August 20, August 27. 98  Pts

    2020  Château Hosanna Pomerol Dark in color, the wine is loaded with truffle, flowers, black and blue fruits and spice. Full-bodied with a serious depth of flavor, the wine is rich, supple, silky, long and intense. With the texture of velvet, the perfectly ripe, sweet, plums, cherries, blackberries, blueberries and dark cocoa holds on to your palate for at least 50 seconds. The purity here is just great.  Give it a decade in the cellar and this will be a beauty. Clearly, this is the finest vintage of Hosanna ever produced. 97-99  Pts

    2020  L'if St. Émilion Grand Cru Richly-textured, sensuous and silky, the wine opens with flowers, licorice, plums, spice box, roasted nuts and black, red and blue fruits. Opulent, fresh, long and velvety, the wine is refined, complex and concentrated. The fruit coats your palate, yet retains its freshness, lift, elegance and purity. The over 50 second finish leaves you with layers of vibrant, black and red fruits, savory herbs, minerality and spicy cocoa. This remains one of the new stars of St. Emilion and is a wine to follow before prices jump. The wine blends 84% Merlot with 16% Cabernet Franc, 14.8% ABV, pH 3.52. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château La Fleur Petrus Pomerol Dark in color, the nose, with its bouquet of flowers, truffle, wet earth, licorice, Asian spice and red with black fruits let you know this is special. However, if you were not convinced yet, once the wine hits your palate with its silk and velvet textures, you'll be hooked. Rich, full-bodied, sensuous and sexy, the array of fruits and their purity is spell-binding. The finish lingers, expands and inspires you to take another sip to experience it all over again. One of the wines of the vintage, this stunning Pomerol will age and develop for at least 3 decades. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Dark in color, the wine pops with its profile of Cuban cigars, black currants, camphor, spice, tar and smoke. Full-bodied, powerful, long and rich, the wine builds as it intensifies on your palate. There is length, intensity and layers of mineral-driven, dark red pit fruits with lift and persistency in the extended finish. The wine demands 12-15 years of aging and will evolve for at least 3-4 decades after that. The wine blends 48.6% Merlot, 43.2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8.2% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% ABV. Harvesting took place, September 7, September 29. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac The compelling nose, with its showy notes of lead pencil, tobacco leaf, cedar, cigar box, currants, spice and wet forest leaf comes through easily. The palate is pure silk in texture. Seamlessly moving from the beginning, middle and end, the wine is fresh, bright, long and intense. The purity in the fruit, paired with its energy and lift linger for more than 50 seconds. Refined, elegant, complex and compelling, if you have the patience to wait for 15-20 years before opining a bottle, this is going to be one of the great vintages for Lafite Rothschild.  The wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot 12.8% ABV. The harvest took place September 14 - October 4. With yields of 37 hectoliters per hectare, the Grand Vin represents 45% of the harvest. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac Deep, dark and almost opaque in hue, the perfume is intoxicating with its spice box, dark Cuban cigars, violets, lilacs, oak, savory herbs, roasted plums, currants and cigar box aromas. On the palate the wine is pure silk and velvet with layer after layer of supple textured fruits. Silky, sexy and sensuous, there is richness, depth of flavor, length and purity here that is a treat to feel and taste. The wine blends 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, 13.6% ABV 3.82 pH. Picking took place September 9 - September 30. Yields were low, 30 hectoliters per hectare, 60% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac Richly colored with purple around the edges the wine struts its creme de cassis, tobacco, cigar box, earthy, forest floor and peppery spice nose with ease. On the palate the wine is round, polished, sweet, fresh, ripe, long and elegant. This is a refined, classic, potentially forward vintage of Pichon Baron that should start showing quite well with just a decade of aging. The wine was made from blending 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, 13.6% ABV. Yields were only 33 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Rauzan-Ségla Margaux Incredibly dark in color, the wine explodes with violets, boysenberry, cigar box, graphite, blackberry, plum, black cherry, toasty oak and spice. Full-bodied, with a fabulous depth of flavor, energy, purity and refinement, the wine is long, intense and silky. The finish, with its velvet-drenched layers of fruits entices you to take another sip, simply because it is that good. The finish holds on to for close to 50 seconds, leaving you with a wealth of expansive fruit, espresso and dark cocoa. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% ABV, pH 3.74. The harvest took place September 8 - September 29. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan Incredibly dark in color, the aromatics spring from the glass with smoke, tobacco leaf, blackberry, cassis, licorice, flowers, cocoa and cigar box notes. The wine is full-bodied, rich, lush, opulent and intense. All that power is harnessed by freshness, intensity and lift. There is a beautiful sense of purity and vibrancy not found in previous vintages. With textures of silk and cashmere, with layers of perfectly ripe, seductive, black and dark red fruits accompanied by Valrhona chocolate, the seamless finish stays with you, expanding for close to 60 seconds! This is clearly the best wine Smith Haut Lafitte ever produced! The reason is simple. Previous vintages at times felt like they were made in the cellar. Here you taste a wine that was produced in the vineyard. Blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 14.5% ABV pH of 3.65. The harvest took place September 12 through September 30, yields were only 32 hectoliters per hectare. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Tertre Rôteboeuf St. Émilion Grand Cru The striking nose with its exotic perfume is just the start here. Full-bodied, opulent, sensuously textured, the fruits are perfectly ripe, fresh, sweet and addictive. With a fabulous blend of ripe and almost overripe crushed black raspberries, kirsch, flowers, crushed rocks and forest notes, the wine seeks your attention. Rich, silky, concentrated and multi-faceted, the wine is long, intense, pure and energetic. This uniquely styled wine stands out in a crowd and should age and evolve for at least 2-3 decades with little effort. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Valandraud St. Émilion Grand Cru Completely opaque in color, the wine grabs you with camphor, flowers, plum liqueur, licorice, blueberry, cherry pie and Asian spice aromas. THedonism at its best, this a bringing sexy back to wine with all its layers of voluptuous, opulent, palate staining fruits. Yet, even with all of that going on, the wine remains fresh, focused and complex. The array of sensations here is exactly what the doctor ordered. If you can wait a decade before popping a cork, this is going to be a true cellar treasure.  No guts no glory. But you can quote me. This is the best vintage of Valandraud ever produced. 97-99  Pts

    2020  Château Beau-Séjour Bécot St. Émilion Grand Cru With striking floral notes on the nose, you also find licorice, Asian spice, spearmint, cigar wrapper and an array of red and black plums. The wine is lifted, elegant, refined and focused on its purity and silky tannins. The energetic palate leaves you with layers of velvet-textured, sensuous, spicy fruits that lingers and expands for over 50 seconds in the finish. This is a new level of quality at Beau-Sejour Becot and also a change in style with less volume, but more intensity, purity and precision. The wine blends 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.3% ABV. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Brane-Cantenac Margaux Blackberry liqueur, creme de cassis, violets, tobacco leaf and earthy nuances create the attention seeking nose. Dark in color, with equally dark, palate-coating fruits with layers of velvet-textured, sensuous, sexy, deep red berries. The fruits display a majestic sense of purity. The elegant, silky finish remains with you for close to 60 seconds, expanding and building in intensity. This is a wow wine that fans of the estate should run, not walk and buy as soon as its offered. The wine blends 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere 13.7% ABV pH 3.71. The harvest took place September 14-September 28. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Calon-Ségur St. Estèphe If you are not familiar with everything going on with Calon Segur these days, you need to taste this wine. Deeply colored, without hesitation the wine shoots from the glass with Asian spice, boysenberry, black currants, cedar, cigar box, tobacco leaf, lead pencil and forest leaf. Full-bodied, concentrated, powerful and rich, yet it is also balanced, refined, and intense. There is purity in the fruits, freshness and symmetry, ending with seamless waves of perfectly ripe, creme de cassis. Let this rest for at least a decade and enjoy for 3 or more decades after that. The wine blends 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 13.8% ABV. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan Dark in color, the wine pops with notes of Cuban cigars, smoke, black currants, flowers, blackberries, forest leaf and an intriguing hint of orange rind at the end of the nose.  Full-bodied, plush, polished and well-defined, every layer offers nuance with silk and velvet textures. There is lift, energy, volume and depth on the palate, finishing with waves of dark red currants, creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, blackberry, savory herbs and a gentle wisp of spearmint on the backend. It is going to be quite a treat comparing 2018, 2019 and 2020 over the years. I am certain this will age and evolve for at least 3 decades or more from here. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3 % Cabernet Franc 13.7% ABV. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Clos Fourtet St. Émilion Grand Cru Dark garnet in color, the wine gets your attention quickly with its licorice, smoke, dark cocoa, chalk and plummy aromas. Pure silk and velvet on the palate, with a fabulous sense of purity in the fruits, lift, length, richness, concentration and minerality. This is clearly a top vintage for Clos Fourtet that will age for decades. The wine was made from blending 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% ABV. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Clos St. Martin St. Émilion Grand Cru Opulent, silky and rich, this is pure bottled hedonism. Flamboyant, showy plums, cherries, smoke, licorice, spice, oak and earthy nuances seek your attention. Rich, lush and opulent on the palate, the wine finishes with layers of perfectly ripe, sensuous fruits. Give it 7 years or so for the oak to fully integrate and enjoy over it the following 2 decades. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château L'Evangile Pomerol Dark garnet in color, initially you notice all the truffle, flowers, dark cocoa and plums with a touch of licorice in the aromatics. On the palate the wine is rich, lush, velvety and full-bodied. There is a beautiful richness to the texture on the mid-palate and in the opulen finish with its wealth of chocolate, espresso, black plum and sweet Morello cherries. The endnote lingers, which is what you need, as this tastes and feels so good, you want more of it.  If you can, give this a decade of age this will really be singing. The wine blends 88% Merlot with 12% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. Yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare. The Grand Vin was made from 50% of the harvest. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Le Dôme St. Émilion Grand Cru Flowers, incense, crushed stone, smoke, thyme and red pit fruit aromas get the wine started in the right direction. Full-bodied, fresh, lively, rich, silky and mineral driven, there is purity, lift and richness, leaving you with a gorgeous, elegant, seductive wave of cherries in the end note that lingers long after the wine has left the glass. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan Garnet in color, the wine opens with tobacco leaf, cigar box, thyme, herbs, flowers and red berries. Medium/full-bodied, vibrant, fresh and focused on its purity of fruit and elegance, this sublime wine is silky, sweet and sensuous. This finish is long and refined, with sweet, ripe cherries, dark cocoa, spice, herbs and cigar wrapper with a cool touch of salt and crushed rock in the endnotes. The wine was made using 55% whole bunch clusters during fermentation. From a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot, 13.7% ABV. The wine is aging in 80% new, French oak which is already close to fully integrated. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Léoville Las Cases St. Julien Dark garnet in color, the wine pops with aromas of tobacco leaf, cigar box, cedar, herbs, black currants, coffee and spice. Refined, fresh, polished and firm, the fruit is vibrant, long and intense. The tannins are ripe  almost creamy in texture. The finish is long, regal and compelling, leaving you with layer, of black currants and cassis. Give this at least 12-15 years before popping a cork and enjoy it for the next 3 decades after that. The wine is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, 13.68% ABV, 3.80 pH. The harvest took place from September 12 - September 27, making this the earliest vintage since 1989. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Léoville Poyferré St. Julien Silky, polished, lusciously textured and rich, the wine pops from the glass with incense, smoked berries, cherry blossoms, creme de cassis, tobacco leaf and blue fruit. Full-bodied, silky and opulently textured, this concentrated wine offers layers of deep, ripe fruits that simultaneously coat your palate, yet feel fresh and vibrant. The flamboyant, seamless finish builds in intensity as it expands on your palate. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Pavie Macquin St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky in color, with dark purple accents, the wine explodes with flowers, incense, licorice, black fruit and touches of blueberries. Rich, intense, flamboyant, sensuous and silky, this hits all your pleasure buttons simultaneously. The wine paints your palate with layers of decadently ripe fruit that is simultaneously sweet, fresh and dense. The seamless finish does not quit. Instead it builds and expands, growing in intensity and complexity. This is going to be stunning with a decade or so of aging. 96-98  Pts

    2020  Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc Pessac-Léognan With the pop of grapefruit, white peach, lemon peel, flowers, orange rind and honeysuckle in the nose, and a creamy, sweet, fresh, juicy, slightly honeyed, lush, white peach and citrus finish, you have all the ingredients needed for a luscious, white Bordeaux wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. 97  Pts

    2020  Château Troplong Mondot St. Émilion Grand Cru Inky dark in color with purple around the edges, the wine jumps out of the glass with its complex nose of plum liqueur, flowers, licorice, caramel, cappuccino, herbs and earth. Full-bodied, seductive, concentrated and powerful, yet even with all its richness, the wine remains light on its feet. The strong sense of minerality accompanying the fruit in the end note adds complexity. There is lift, length and purity from start to finish making you want to go back for sip and sip. 96-98  Pts

    Read a complete report from here

     

     

     

    The Top 25 Wines from the Bordeaux 2009 vintage.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. In many ways that old chestnut remains truer than ever when it comes to Bordeaux. I am sure you are wondering what I am talking about. Afterall, the style of Bordeaux wine continues evolving.

    We are on the same page, so not too worry. In fact, those continuing changes are the point I’m making. Give or take, every 10 years or so, Bordeaux takes a leap forward in quality and in style. This is especially true in relatively modern times following World War. Think about it. The 50’s from the 40’s, the 70’s from the 60’s etc., through to today.

    2009 is a big leap forward in quality from 2000. The tannins are riper, more opulent and polished. The wines are richer, deeper, more complex. They are accessible earlier. There is more purity in the fruit and the wines texturally feel more sensuous.

    10 years after the vintage is a good time to see where Bordeaux wines are heading. While the top wines are not mature at that point, they clearly offer a view as to where they are going to be, once they are more evolved.

    2009 is clearly one of the great vintages of Bordeaux. There is a beauty, purity and intensity to the fruit. On the palate, the wines are plush, sensuous and long. While high in alcohol for the time, the wines retain freshness and vivacity.

    2009 produced great wines at all price levels in every appellation from the Left Bank and Right Bank. The remarkable level of consistency found in 2009 Bordeaux, along with its unique character is another reason this is seen as one of the future legendary years from Bordeaux.

    To find the best wines of the vintage, I tasted over 100 of the top examples during both tasting trips to Bordeaux this year, as well as in subsequent tastings from wines purchased on release in my office and home. Every one of the wines in this article represents a singular tasting experience that is unequaled in the world of wine. They are also investment quality wines that as they reach maturity, can only move much higher in price.

     

    The Top 25 Wines from the 2020 vintage.

    https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/bordeaux-wine-producer-profiles)

    2009 Beausejour Duffau - The intensity on the nose is instantly noticeable. The strong aromas of juicy plums, crushed stone, flowers, oceanic nuances and herbs pop right in front of you. The fireworks however is on the palate. The wine is incredibly concentrated, full-bodied, rich, flamboyant and sexy. The fruit is energetic, pure, velvety, long and intense. The wine fills your palate with sweet fruits and doesn't want to leave, which is a good thing as you don't want it to stop! 2009 marks the initial vintage for the team of Nicolas Thienpont, where they were in charge of everything from start to finish.

     

    2009 Cheval Blanc - This is pure, unadulterated, sex in the bottle wine. The textural experience is polished velvet, silk and it really lingers. The nose, with its blend of lowers, wet earth, ripe, very ripe, under-ripe and overripe berries is off the hook. The opulent finish hangs with you for at least 60 seconds. It is scary to consider how good this wine is going to be with an additional decade or 2 of aging. If you have the money, this is a good place to spend it. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Clinet Speciosa Seposito - If scores for special wines could hit 101 Pts, this might hit 102! Mind-blowing in every sense of the wine, it is easy to note this as soon as the wine hits your glass. At 10 years of age, the wine is still the color of glossy, dark ink. On the palate, the texture is akin to motor oil. But even with all its richness and power, the wine is elegant, refined, fresh, incredibly long and exotic. Layer after layer of dark red and black, juicy, sweet, ripe, delicious plums coat every nook and cranny of your palate. This is bottled decadence. The finish passes by the 60-second mark and keeps on going! Good luck finding a bottle, as only 300 bottles of this majestic elixir were produced. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Cos d’Estournel - The wine is just starting to establish itself. The baby fat has melted away. Now you find a wine of intensity. Intense concentration, intense aromatics, intense palate presence and an intense finish. But everything is in balance and harmony here. The fruit is lushly textured with a velvet drenched touch. While your palate is coated with layers of fruit, nothing is overwhelming. This is power and refinement, the true velvet fist in an iron glove. Still primary, give this another 7-8 years and you should have a legendary Bordeaux in your glass by that time. 100 Pts

     

    2009 L’Evangile - Picture smelling roses, smoked truffle with plums and mocha to get the idea of the initial aromatics. Bottled decadence is the perfect descriptor. Opulent layers of velvet drenched fruit are all over the place. The wine has concentration, purity, length, complexity and exudes sensuality. This is a deal closer that is only just now starting to show its stuff. In 5-10 years this is going to be in contention as one of the best wines ever produced at this storied estate. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Haut Brion - Not a lot of wines leave me speechless from start to finish. But this wine did! Still deep, dark, almost inky in color, the wine offers off the hook aromas of smoked truffle, cigar box, tobacco, black and dark red fruit with spice box, tobacco leaf and smoke filled nuances. Deep, rich, full-bodied and with this incredible blend of elegance, power and sensuality, this wine is going to age for decades. The wine was made from blending This 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 14% Cabernet Franc. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Latour - You can sense the ripeness of the sunny vintage in the nose, with its joyous red berries, tobacco leaf, oyster shell, vanilla smoke, mint, cigar box and dark chocolate. Sensuous on the palate, with silky tannins and sweet, ripe, pure fruits, the wine is all power, grace, symmetry and elegance. This is a sexy vintage of Latour that you can really feel, as the wine rests and expands on your palate. Yes this is young. So if you are going to open a bottle, give it 2-3 hours of air, or wait another decade. This is one of the memorable tasting experiences that was impossible to spit. 100 Pts

     

    2009 – Margaux - If you are wondering what heaven in a glass feel, smells and tastes like, look no further. This is everything a great wine needs. The texture is pure silk and velvet. And speaking of purity, the fruit delivers that in spades. The sensual texture really brings everything together. If you have a bottle and can wait another decade, as good as this is today, it will be even better! 100 Pts

     

    2009 Montrose - Full-bodied, powerful and concentrated, the wine clearly takes up a lot room on your palate. Opulent, as well as refined, now, you find an oceanic influence with its saltiness in the tannins. The wine has depth, freshness and perfectly ripe, soft tannins. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle of this gem in your cellar, try to wait another 10 years for it top really start opening up and displaying all of its incredible charms. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Petrus - 2009 Petrus is deep ruby with purple tints at the rim of the glass. Spice, plums, blackberries, and blueberries, with cinnamon, clay, mint, mocha, and kirsch, make up the complex perfume. From a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine is rich, concentrated and packed with surreal levels of glycerin. This viscous, thrilling treat provides a seamless, intensely pure finish of spice, jammy cherries, and chocolate. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Vieux Chateau Certain - Off the hook! This is so sexy, sensual and hedonistic, it is probably illegal in some countries. The fruit is dripping with velvet, the wine coats your mouth, filling your palate with layer after layer with opulently textured, perfectly ripe fruit. Hints of flowers, truffle and chocolate are all over the place. Even in its youth, it is impossible not to be wowed by this stunning wine. It is going to age for decades. But if you have a case and want to take an early look, pop a cork and enjoy the ride. 100 Pts

     

    2009 Clinet - With all its sublime layers of concentrated, lusciously textured fruit, there is more than meets the eye here. Voluptuous in nature, the wine is sensual, plummy and packed with all the dark cocoa and truffle you desire. Full-bodied, deep and rich, this opulent wine has a finish that is close to the 60 second mark. Young, yet approachable, the best years are in its future. 99 Pts

     

    2009 Clos Fourtet - With additional years of aging, this has exploded. The wine has dramatically much more weight, density, softness of tannins and length. The wine is opulent, showy, sexy and feels like crushed velvet on your palate. Layers of perfectly ripe, dark red fruits, licorice, smoke, wet earth and black cherry coat your mouth and palate. The finish hangs in there for at least 50 seconds. With another 5-10 more years of bottle age, this will be screaming! 99 Pts

     

    2009 Ducru Beaucaillou - Now the truffle, crushed stone, Cuban cigar, flowers and crème de cassis is starting to bloom. With ample weight, density, length and purity, silky tannins and vibrancy, at just 10 years of age, this is really starting take off. Nothing is out of place, everything is in balance and the finish, with all its layers of fruit, spice and freshness lets you know, this is a wine of unique character Age this for another 5, 10-15 years and its only going to get better. This stunner should age and evolve with little effort for at least 30 more years or longer. 99 Pts

     

    2009 l’Eglise Client - Starting to show its edge, with a lightening in the color the nose is just display its secondary nuances with truffle, smoke, spice box, licorice, incense, flowers and red pit fruits. With the texture of Cashmere, the power of a great vintage and all the sensuality of Pomerol, this is bottled decadence. You can start to drink this now, but if you can wait 5-8 more years, it will be close to off the hook!

     

    2009 Lafleur -Dark garnet in color, to understand the perfume it's easy. Take a shot of chocolate, sprig of mint, handful of truffles with a bushel of plums and cherries blending it all together you get the idea. As good as that is, the fireworks is on the palate where the wall of fruit coats your palate with layer after of ripe, black plums, kirsch, wild cherries and powdered dark chocolate. Intense, but not over the top, the wine is hangs with you, builds and expands for over 60 seconds!99 Pts

     

    2009 Lafite Rothschild - Elegant, fresh, vibrant, lively, focused and refined, there is a beautiful purity to the fruit found here. Classic Pauillac here, but the wine is also lush and almost opulent in nature. Medium/full-bodied, with delicious array of red and black fruits, tobacco leaf, crushed stone, smoke and crisp red fruits in the end note, this beauty demands at least 15 more years to start delivering its true potential. The wine was made from blending 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and .5% Cabernet Franc. This is the highest percentage of Merlot in the blend since 1995. The wine reached 13% alcohol. 99 Pts

     

    2009 Leoville Las Cases - If you like great Cuban Cigars, the nose here has your name on it. From there, add forest floor, leaf, red fruits, spice, flowers and a waft of smoke. Full-bodied, powerful, graceful and concentrated, this is a perfect example of classic Bordeaux at its best. The wine is firm, focused, fresh, pure and mouth-filling, Light on its feet, especially when you consider the level of density found here, the fruit is what stands out the most, for its vibrancy, purity and length. If you need to see what this is about now, give it 2-3 hours of air. If you can wait, this will rock your glass in another decade or so! 99 Pts

     

    2009 La Mission Haut Brion - Powerful, full-bodied, youthful, mouth filling and packed to gills with layers of dark, red and black fruits, the wine is big. But it is also balanced, long, deep, regal and complex. Made from blending 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc, the finish does not seem to quit. The texture is equally dense and regal, with layer after layer of smoky, tobacco infused fruit. This is still a baby. Give it 10-15 more years and this will be a truly majestic wine. 99 Pts

     

    2009 La Mondotte - Intensely concentrated, the wine combines all its power with a strong sensation of minerality, layers of ripe, sweet, velvet textured fruits, salty tannins and purity. The wine lingers and expands on the palate for close to 60 seconds. Still young, give this stunner another 7-8 years and it will repay your patience with an incredible tasting experience. 99 Pts

     

    2009 Mouton Rothschild - Even at this early stage, it is impossible not to be awed by what's in your glass! Concentrated, opulent, flamboyant and compelling, the wine explodes from the initial scent. Full-bodied, deep, sensuous and rich, the unique concoction of Asian spices, tobacco leaf, dark red fruits, smoke, wet earth, cedar and crushed rocks grabs you. The intense, long, textural finish builds and lingers. The wine needs another 12-15 more years to really hit its stride. But it is going to be worth the wait! 99 Pts

     

    2009 Palmer - Just starting to knock on the door of secondary aromatics, you can peek into the wine and find truffle, flowers, tobacco leaf, smoked cherries and spice. But that is only the beginning. Once you taste the wine and you feel those sensuous textures as the wine glides across your palate, you know this is special. The wine has more than ample density, but it is not heavy. The lift in the mid-palate keeps all those layers of ripe, dark red, earthy fruits alive. Vibrant, elegant and silky, the end note remains with you for at least 50 seconds or more. If you like more youthful fruit in your wine, you can drink this now. If you want to enjoy the wine as it heads to its peak, give it another decade of rest. This should age effortlessly for decades. 99 Pts

     

    2009 Pontet Canet - What makes this all work, is the perfectly ripe fruit that shows off its purity with ease. Supple textured, multi-layered and with a finish that seems to never leave, the wine is rich, luscious, opulent and mouth-coating. Intense, yet not heavy, everything is in balance. The mouth-coating finish hangs with you for close to 60 seconds. Not quite primary, but still obviously young, if you like wines with sweet, exuberant fruit, why not pop a cork and check it out? Else wait another decade for its real character to kick in. 99 Pts

     

    2009 Trotanoy - Majestic in every sense of the word, this wine rocks! With the texture of polished velvet, the waves of perfectly ripe red and black plum, cherry and boysenberry never quit. Hedonistic and impossible to put down, the finish must be tasted and felt to be believed. This is a wine for the future. Give it 5-8 more years and it could hit triple digits as it clearly has all the right stuff. 99 Pts

     

    2009 d’Yquem - Still just a baby as you would expect, yet it is impossible not to be blown by the juxtaposition between the insanely concentrated levels of ripe and over ripe, honey drenched tropical fruit and the bracing acidity that gives the wine life. Everything here is off the hook. This is so good today, I wish I had a bottle tonight. But if I had the wine in my cellar, as tempting as it might be, I'd wait at least 1 more decade, or better yet, 2 before I started thinking about popping a cork. 99 Pts

     

     

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    The Top 2014 wines from the Bordeaux Left Bank

     

     

    2014 Mouton Rothschild - Deep in color with a complex nose of graphite, plum, blackberry and tobacco, this wine is sure to lure you back for yet another sniff. before you get to the first sip. It is full-bodied, silky, fresh and packed with sweet cassis, caressing your palate with a rich velour, leaving a lasting impression of espresso, cocoa and black raspberries. This wine has less concentration than 2009 and 2010 vintages, yet it still leaves you with sweetness, vibrancy and length. Using 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.1% alcohol with a pH of 3.78. 95-97 Pts

     

    2014 Cos d'Estournel - Intense in color with a showy nose and the already present tones of tobacco leaves, anise, earth and vine-ripened berries, this wine is luxurious on the palate, plump and concentrated with roasted espresso bean, cocoa, warm berries, spice and freshness to the ripe fruits in the finish. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon,33% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.77. The wine is aging in 80% new, French oak barrels. After a rocky start with the difficult 2013 vintage, Aymeric de Gironde has clearly stepped up his game! 95-96 Pts

     

    2014 Latour - Fleshy, ripe, concentrated and long, with refined tannins, lush textures, depth and layers of sweet, ripe, dense, juicy berries, the wine promises and delivers purity, length, richness and a serious, age worthy, vibrant character. If I can afford it when it comes up for sale, I’d buy it! Using 89.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.2% Merlot, 0.6 Cabernet Franc and .03 Petit Verdot that reached 12.89% alcohol, the Grand Vin represented 33.9% of the production. 95-97 Pts

     

    2014 Margaux - A valentine of dark chocolate and roses melded with the aromatics of licorice, blackberry and cocoa create a complex perfume. The wine is elegant with a refined character, supple tannins and a burst of fresh cassis, cherry and cocoa that builds on the palate. The most striking quality to this wine is the clarity of fruit in the finish. While this vintage lacks the weight and density found in vintages like 2009 and 2010, the length is quite similar. Produced from a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.68. This represents 36% of the harvest. 95-97 Pts

     

    2014 Haut-Brion- Deep ruby in color, sweet, fresh and concentrated with layers of lushly textured, sweet, red and black fruits, this wine is bolstered with smoke, tobacco and tar. Silky, smooth and concentrated with velvety tannins flowing with pure cassis, the freshness feels good on the palate and will only get better. The wine was made from a blend of 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine reached 14.25% alcohol with a pH of 3.67. 94-96 Pts

     

    2014 Palmer - Espresso bean, truffle, floral, plum and earthy scents pop quickly as your nose meets the glass. A polished and elegant debutante wrapped in a gown of velvety tannins, this wine is fresh, clean and pure leaving you with a sensuous drape of lingering fruits. This wine is the first fully biodynamic vintage for the chateau. Produced from a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, the reached 13.5 alcohol with a pH of 3.6. It represents 55% of the harvest, which took place between September 22 and October 14. 94-95 Pts

     

    2014 Montrose - Cavernous in color and succulently layered with summer boysenberries, there is a refined freshness and a luxurious, creamy, soft texture to this wine. The wine is powerful, tannic and carries the structure to age. A sweet, fruity finish envelops the senses and lingers nicely on the palate. Representing 47% of the production, the blend is from 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine reached 13.7 alcohol. This is a wine that could turn out better after elevage, so stay tuned. Herve Berland is clearly on top of his game producing sublime wines at both his St. Estephe chateaux today. There is going to be a lot of talk and attention focused on Montrose this year, as the annual Fete de la Fleur takes place at the estate in June. 94-96 Pts

     

    2014 Pichon Baron - Dark in color, with black, blue and cassis fruit complicated by smoke, earth and tobacco in the bouquet. This wine is rich, dense, long, silky and lush. There is a beautiful purity to the layers of ripe, sweet, fresh fruit and plush tannins. The finish builds and expands pleasantly in the mouth. This wine is probably better than the delightful 2003 and not far from the even more better 2005. Crafted from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, the wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The Grand Vin represents 45% of the harvest. 95-96 Pts.

     

    2014 Ducru Beaucaillou- Deep, dark ruby with purple in its hue, this wine is brimming with smoke, espresso, blackberry, black cherry, licorice, earth, a whole spice box of aromatics and that’s just the foreplay. The lush velour textured tannins, layers of dark berry liqueur and the lasting sensation of fresh, perfectly ripened fruit elevates this wine to the next level. This is the best wine of the appellation and once again, one of the top wines in the vintage. Produced from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.81 and is aging in 100% new French oak barrels. 95-96 Pts

     

    2014 Leoville Las Cases - With a deep, garnet hue, this full-bodied, concentrated, powerful wine starts off with cedar, earth and cassis. The firm, polished tannins leave your palate loitering about with spice and blackberry. This powerful, structured, bright, crunchy wine has a classic, fresh style. It’s important to note that its ample tannins and classic demeanor will require over a decade—probably two— before it really begins to drink well. Produced from a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot, the wine reached 13.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.49 and is now aging in 85% new French oak barrels. 95-96 Pts

     

    2014 La Mission Haut-Brion - Fleshy, bright, exciting and sweet, this full-bodied, tannic, rich and structured wine delivers a multifaceted finish of cassis, tobacco and dark berry but demands at least a decade to rise to its riches. The wine was made from a blend of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon with a pH of 3.67. 94-95 Pts

     

    2014 Smith Haut Lafitte - With a deep color and a spicy-fruit-cigar-box sensation, the black and red fruits really shine through. There is a plush character to the texture with newness and lift, a touch of oak and sweet, ripe, spicy berries in the finish. From a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. 93-94 Pts

     

    2014 Leoville Poyferre - Intense in hue with silky, bright tannins, this wine offers the palate an assortment of plump, ripe, dark-red skinned fruit and a long, lingering finish with distinctive depth, structure, balance and brightness in the end notes. Blending 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.25% alcohol. 93-94 Pts

     

    2014 Pontet Canet - Inky, dark in color with purple accents in its hue, this wine packs a punch with its full-bodied style. Surprisingly elegant for Pontet Canet , this wine is fresh with sweet, ripe fruits accented by chocolate and black cherry tones. The tannins are neat and refined, leaving you with the sensation of licorice, chocolate-infused cassis and black and blue fruits. 93-95 Pts

     

    2014 Pichon Lalande - This is precisely what I’m looking for in a Pichon Lalande, silken and velvety tannins with a concentration and richness of ripe dark berries, chocolate and black cherries. This wine has length, polish, freshness and sensuous textures. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol, with a pH of 3.7 and was produced with 50% of the harvest. 93-95 Pts

     

    2014 Calon-Segur - Fans of the older, strict-style wine previously produced at this estate might be scratching their heads but I loved it! It is a rich, dense, fat and well-dressed grande dame of a wine with layers of sweet, ripe, juicy black fruits, supple, polished tannins and outstanding concentration. The plum-filled finish is long and clean, fresh, round and sweet. Produced from a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.70. Laurent Dufau has clearly upped the ante in the competition for the best wine in the appellation and the best is yet to come! 93-95 Pts

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    The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

     

    Glasses TopTen Wines of the Year 300x227 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    2016 has been a roller coaster year for life, and with wine. As far as wine goes, The 2016 Top Ten Wines of the Year in many wines is by year of drinking so far. Much of that has to do with my methodology of creating the list of my 2016 Top Ten Best Wines of the Year. Of course the wines are chosen for their quality, style and character. In some cases, scarcity matters as well. However, the common denominator they all share is the unique, memory each wine tasting experience provides. Every wine on my 2016 Top Ten Wines of the Year is my own special time machine. I will always be able to look back and remember the wine and more importantly, the experience and the people I shared that bottle with.

     

    For those of you that read us on a regular basis, I know it looks like we have taken a break, and have not added much new material. But that is not true. While the front page has not seen as much movement as I would have liked, countless new pages have been added to our California wine coverage, with more to follow. The goal is to have over 100 of the best Northern California wineries covered. Cote Rotie and its neighbor to the south, Hermitage have also seen vast amounts of fresh material added. Chateauneuf du Pape offers more coverage on an ever increasing basis for you to read as well.

     

    Plus, as you have noticed, we are a completely new website. Earlier this year, we relaunched the site with a new, responsive design, more powerful, dedicated 4 GB servers and when you peruse any of the pages on wineries and chateaux, they now offer a very cool new feature, a keyword search, which moves you instantly to the section of the page you are most interested in reading. This really rocks for Mobile users. Bordeaux as you would expect has also seen numerous additions to the content provided. We have also added over 1,500 new tasting notes ! By sometime next year, we have close to 15,000 tasting notes on the site! So, as you can see, we have been very busy. 

     

    1795 Madeira 1 275x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    But 2016 has been much more than working on this website. As you can tell by all the new reviews on the site, I’ve been quite busy tasting a lot of wine. Some of the wines have been stunning. Others have been to put it politely, not worth watering my lawn with. And that says a lot as I live in California, which is rationing water! There has also been a few bottles of wine that deserve a place in my 2016 Top Ten Wines of the Year list.

    It seems like I have a lifetime of memories from just this year, when I look back at my list of The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016. I hope you have fun reading this list.

    #10 – 1795 Madeira is not your everyday wine. As a wine, it does not rank with any of the best wines I tasted this year, last year, or the year before. But as a glass of liquid contemplation, blended with a history lesson, it remains unequaled. This is 4 centuries old! In 1795, all the Founding Fathers were alive. George Washington was president, John Adams is Vice President and Thomas Jefferson resigned as Secretary of State. France adopts a new Constitution, Napoleon makes himself known, and Madeira had a great vintage. It only takes a glass with a bit of 1795 Madeira to make it all come alive again.

    The dried fruits, brown sugar, piquant orange with bitter chocolate, roasted tangerine, burnt caramel and sharp acidic character neither add, or subtract from the fact that this is oldest wine I have ever tasted. It is more interesting than pleasurable. But it was truly a great experience, regardless.

     

    Guigal La Mouline 276x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    # 9 – 1983 Guigal  La Mouline – This wine is so good, words alone do not get the point across. It is not just the off the charts perfume, it is the erotic, sensuous texture, with its plush, silky, velvet drenched, tactile sensations that make this a surreal wine tasting experience. Enjoyed with my tasting group, 7 Blind Men, thank you for the treat! 100 Pts

     

    # 8 – 1966 Laville Haut Brion – White wines do not often make my annual list of the The Top Ten Best Wines tasted. I personally do not own the great white wines, most of which are white Burgundies. So I only get the chance to taste them on an infrequent basis. This bottle was served double blind to my tasting group, 7 Blind Men. I know, it really is a fun group that I am lucky to be a part of. When tasted, there was not one person that called the wine as being over 25 years of age. The wine deserves a spot on my Top Ten Best Wines tasted in 2016 because it was so young, fresh, vibrant, complex and enjoyable at 50 years years of age. 96 Pts

     

    1966 Laville Haut Brion 284x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    1966 Laville Haut Brion – Deep yellow in color, with a crushed rock, vanilla, marzipan, citrus, butterscotch, popcorn and lemon liqueur nose, it was hard to put the glass down. Rich, almost oily in texture, with ample freshness, the finish did not seem to quit. It remained with you for at least 40 seconds! The wine did not lose its fruit in the glass during the dinner. 97 Pts

     

    # 7 – 1982 Le Pin – Pomerol can often produce some of the greatest wines in all of Bordeaux. It is funny to think about it, but with the exception of Petrus , as recently as 1982, there were no expensive wines from this appellation. Generally speaking, Pomerol wines were thought of as good, by those few people that were aware of their quality, but for most wine lovers, they were not considered to be at the same level as the 1855 Classified Growths. By 1983, things changed. The word was out and prices skyrocketed. Petrus was until the 1982 vintage, priced about the same as any of the First Growths. But after the 1982 vintage, thanks to a little help from Robert Parker, Petrus was no longer affordable for most wine lovers. It took on a new, unique identity and became one of the world’s most, in-demand and sadly, expensive wines. Two other Pomerol estates were also seeking a crown to wear that same year.

     

    By 1982, Le Pin as a winery was only 3 years old and it also sky rocketed in price. Perhaps, 1979, 1980 and 1981 Le Pin had trouble selling. But 1982 Le Pin was a game changer for this little chateau. 1982 Le Pin earns a spot on the list because it really is one of those true unicorn wines you never think you are going to taste, due to its mix of rarity, price and sublime, hedonistic characteristics.

    1982 Le Pin Pomerol 1 300x296 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    1982 Le Pin – A wine I never thought I’d be able to taste, (again) and I was certainly glad I did. The nose, with its cherry pipe tobacco, floral, mint, oyster shell, wet earth, cherry and mocha aromatics was an easy hook. But the sexy, silky, exotic textures, purity of fruit, and velvet drenched finish brought it all the way home. Fully mature, if you have extremely wealthy friends with a bottle or two, have them pull a cork, as there is no reason to age this any longer. Thank you Eric Cotsen! 98 Pts

     

     

     

     

     

    #6 – 2000 Lafleur – Was it simply coincidence that Lafleur was next on my list of The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016? Or, was I just under the spell of all those decadent Pomerol wines I’ve managed to taste this year?

    With the 1982 vintage, Lafleur joined the same rarefied group as Petrus and Le Pin. Chateau Lafleur had a long history of quietly making stunning wine. In fact, JP Moueix remarked that the only wine of Pomerol that was as good as, or even better than Petrus was Lafleur! 

    2000 Chateau Lafleur is still a baby, with a lifetime of promise to look forward to? With that in mind, this was a great pair of wines to remember. But regardless of how I got here, this wine is off the hook! There are no two ways about it. At its best, Lafleur offers a kinky, exotic, hedonistic profile that is unequaled in other wines. 

    2000 Lafleur 242x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    I bought this wine as a future in 2001 for a then whopping $300 per bottle. That was the most money I had ever spent on a wine. Like Paul McCartney sang, “How I long for Yesterday.”

     

    2000 Chateau Lafleur – I’m thinking this is the wine of the vintage, and that says a lot, when you consider how many great wines were born in 2000. But I have had this stunning Right Bank wine more than enough times to feel quite comfortable proclaiming that. The bottom line here is, the wine is opulence on steroids. It has unbelievable levels of concentration. A mouth feel that words cannot do justice to, and a finish that breaks the one minute mark and keeps on going. 100 Pts

     

     

     

    # 5 – 1955 La Mission Haut Brion – There are great wines that you cannot stop talking about. And then, there are those wines that leave you speechless. Served double blind in my tasting group, from the moment I connected with this wine, it was obvious that I was in for a wild ride! Trying to think of the right thing to say about the wine, I was speechless! What makes it even more amazing when you think about older, mature wines is that even with little of the know-how growers and wine makers have today, with little selection, the best terroir, in the right hands was able to turn out wines of this quality. I have never done a year by year comparison between Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion over a long period of time. If I did, I am convinced that La Mission Haut Brion is the equal of Haut Brion in most vintages and there are several years when La Mission Haut Brion produced an even better wine. 1955 is one of those years.

     

    1955 La Mission Haut Brion Wine 300x273 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

     

    1955 La Mission Haut Brion – An easy candidate for wine of the year. This is everything you dream about in a great wine, with room to spare. Once past the smoky, cigar store aromatics, the richness of the fruit, matched with its length and purity are really the stuff dreams are made of. Ridiculously expensive, but if you just won the lottery, or have wealthy friends, this bottle should be on your wishlist! 100 Pts

     

     

     

     

    #4 – 2009 Ducru Beaucaillou – To make my list of The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, the wine had to be stunning, but it also needed a story, a special memento of the event that shares equal billing in my memory. This bottle of Ducru Beaucaillou did exactly that.

    For those of you that have had the pleasure of spending time with Bruno Borie, the proprietor of Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou in St. Julien , I am sure you know, he is fun, interesting and engaging, as well as a generous host. 

    We have been talking about cooking together for years, as we both share that passion. While we have not yet managed to share kitchen duties, I was able to enjoy a lunch prepared by Bruno Borie. As you can see, he really does work in his kitchen!

    Bruno Borie Ducru Beaucaillou Cooks 296x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    2009 Ducru Beaucaillou – There is so much ink in the color, it looks like a barrel sample. The wine perfectly combines power, elegance, flesh and opulence, with the breeding of a First Growth . This is breathtaking, even at this early stage of development. If you have a case, and you want a glimpse, pop a bottle. Else, give it until the wine is between 15-20 years of age. This is a future legend in the making! 99 Pts

     

     

     

    # 3 – 1934 Cheval  Blanc – OK, this choice might be a little sappy. But that’s OK, it’s my list of The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, right? As you can now probably guess, the #4 wine of the year earned its place on my list this year for combining memories with a great wine.

    Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem was coming to Los Angeles and we managed to schedule a friendly dinner. Friends asked what wines they should bring? Aside from the obvious, “Bring something good,” the only other instructions were, no vintages of Chateau Cheval Blanc please. One would assume Pierre Lurton drinks more than his share of Cheval Blanc already. Right?

    1934 Cheval Blanc 278x300 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    One friend sent me a picture of an old Cheval Blanc bottle, asking if that would be a nice wine for the night. I was busy cooking and did not even bother looking at the vintage, just the logo and asked him to please bring another bottle, as it would be more fun for Pierre Lurton to taste something other than Cheval Blanc. Good thing my friends do not always listen to me. He brought the bottle anyway.

    It is good thing that he did. As my father, Don Leve was with us at my home for dinner that night, the vintage on this older Cheval Blanc turned out to be 1934, his birth year! Of course I could not thank my friend enough. My dad has tasted more 1934 Bordeaux than most people on the planet. I am happy to say, now he has tasted 1934 Cheval Blanc as well.

    1934 Cheval Blanc – The color of rose hip tea, the wine is sublime for 82 years of age. Elegant, soft and fragrant, the red berry fruits alternate from sweet to tart, while the silky, soft textures really grab your focus. 94 Pts

     

     

    # 2 1959 Heitz  Cabernet Sauvignon – I do not drink enough Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. When I set my goals for 2017, perhaps that should be on the top of my list. For all those naysayers claiming that Caifornia Cabernet Sauvignon does not age, or evolve, this almost 60 year old bottle of wine disproves that theory! Joseph Heitz is one of the true pioneers of the rebirth of Napa Valley. I recently put together an extensive History of Napa Valley and California Wines and Joe Heitz is one of the most prominent people in the 20th century. Heitz was one of the earliest produces to plant and make wine from Cabernet Sauvignon. 

    Heitz Cabernet 1959 300x200 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

    Tasted double blind, I was just this bottle was about 20 years younger than its true age. This is the first vintage of Heitz. As you can see from the image, they did not even have labels for their wine yet. Just a simple, typed sticker. The grapes did not come from his own vineyard. This was far too early for that To make his debut vintage, Joseph Heitz purchased grapes from another grower.

    I know I will never see another bottle of this stunner. And that’s OK, as I will retain the memory and the empty bottle for years.

    1959 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon – Stunning in every sense of the word, especially when the wine was revealed, as it was served double blind. I was sure it was a strong, fully mature Pauillac . Full bodied, with a good concentration of fruit, cedar wood, cigar box, cassis and wet earth, this can easily go another decade or longer. What a treat Steve Matthesen!

     

    1900 Lafite Rothschild 2 The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016, and the Stories Behind the Wines

     

     

    # 1 – 1900 Lafite Rothschild – We had to arrive at the number one wine on my list of The Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016 sooner or later. Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are here. The wine was not picked because it was the best wine of the year. Far from it. But it was certainly a bottle I would never have guessed I’d ever see, let alone taste. Achim Becker, who has a great website, although it is mostly in German, Wine Terminator, is one of those true wine lovers, with a passion for older wine. His tasting group, which I am proud to have come up with their name, “The Cellar Devils of Dusseldorf” are absolutely nuts, in all the right ways! I am more than happy that the hotel I stay in is within walking distance of where we eat. So, it is difficult for me to get lost, even after one of their debauched, Bacchanalian evenings. Trust me, in ancient Rome, The Cellar Devils of Dusseldorf would have dined with Caligula, often! Listen up you guys, I am already in training for my visit next year.

    1900 Lafite Rothschild – Served double blind, in my wildest dreams I never though the wine was this old. My guess placed it in the 1940’s. The nose showed off with the array of scents ranging from truffle, autumn leafs, forest floor, 5 spice, cigar box, lead pencil and cedar chest. A whisper of fruit popped in, but the secondary aromatics were all mattered here. Elegant, light on its feet and still offering spicy cassis flavors in the mouth, the silky tannins, freshness and extreme patina of age got even better in the glass! What a great experience! This is a wine I am not going to forget tasting. Speechless is all I can say. 94 Pts

    Well, that’s it for my Top Ten Best Wines Tasted in 2016. There is one commonality that all these wines share, they were all enjoyed with good friends. Because that is what we buy cellar and open our bottles for. 2016 was an amazing year of wine, friends and family. 2017 is rapidly approaching. Looking over this list, it is going to be hard to top it. But who knows? I might get lucky.


    Read more at:http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/2016/12/top-ten-best-wines-tasted-2016/

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    2011 Bordeaux: A difficult year in more ways than one.  / It’s a reasonable debate as to which got off to a more difficult start, the vintage, or the effort to sell the wines. If you’re a wine maker, you’re probably going with the topsy-turvy 2011 growing season. If you’re a wine merchant offering Bordeaux futures, your vote is cast for the almost non-existent 2011 Bordeaux futures campaign.

     

    2011 Bordeaux is the child of a difficult year. With today’s modern wine making abilities and vineyard management techniques at their disposal, the best producers were able to fashion some nice wines from an atypical year. They were able to turn lemons into lemonade. The merchants trying to sell the wines were not that lucky. The 2011 Bordeaux futures campaign got off to a rocky start and then went downhill. The campaign officially kicked in when Robert Parker posted a tweet that was heard around the world: “Heading Back to Bordeaux next week to taste the 2011. Absolutely no interest in this vintage, if my instincts are correct.”

     

    With fewer than 140 characters, Parker lowered expectations for the wines and the commercial viability for the vintage. Keep in mind that Parker wrote those words without tasting the wines. Once his official report was published, considering the arduous growing season the wine makers experienced, he was reasonably positive. He likened the wines to the underrated 2001 and 2008 vintages. That is a compliment. 2001 continues getting better, especially in the Right Bank. 2008 offered some very nice wines as well.

     

    What went wrong with the campaign?

    Fingers can be pointed in numerous directions, but the bottom line is that most of the wines were priced at more than what the market was willing to pay. They were too expensive. We wrote prices needed to drop by 50% to stimulate demand. We were not the only ones making the call for lowered prices. Journalists and all the top merchants begged for serious price reductions. 2009 was the most expensive vintage in history. People were shocked at the prices. But the wines were stunning! Many properties produced the best wines in their entire history. Yet, 12 months later, prices shot up even higher with the 2010 vintage. That is a lot for consumers to take. It was obvious to most people that prices needed to come down fast. Sadly, not enough chateau owners listened.

     

    The press and the wine buying public screamed for fair prices. While some producers gave serious reductions in their price, that is not the case across the board. On average, 36% of the wines saw reductions of only 10% from 2010. That was not going to get consumers to spend their money in a tight economy. On average, the wines were discounted 15.81% from 2010. Some chateaux understood the market and dropped their prices between 40% and 50%, but not nearly enough.

     

    To paint an accurate picture, it’s good to look at a few of the wineries that offered the biggest discounts:

    Angelus -38%, Ausone -55%, Beausejour Duffau -71%, Brane Cantenac -41%, Cheval Blanc -51%, Clinet -41%, La Conseillante -52%, Cos d’Estournel -45%, Ducru Beaucaillou -50%, L’Eglise Clinet -63%, La Fleur Petrus, -45%, Lafite Rothschild -50%, Latour -45%, Haut Brion -46%, Leoville Las Cases -48%, La Mission Haut Brion- 63%,Pavie -49%, Pavie Macquin -49%, Pichon Lalande -47%, Pontet Canet -31%, Mouton Rothschild -46%, Margaux -42%, Pichon Baron -45%, Troplong Mondot -40% and Vieux Chateau Certan at -45%.

     

    Those are most of the wineries offering the best discounts from the previous vintage. On the other side, here are a few examples of wineries that refused to listen to what the market clearly stated it was willing to pay:

    Beychevelle -16%, Cantemerle -6%, Cantenac Brown -24%, Les Carmes Haut Brion -4%, Dassault -3%, Duhart Milon -9%, Gruard Larose -17%, Hosanna -25%, Magdelaine -16%, Magrez Fombrauge -9%, Monbousquet -3%, Palmer -24%, Petit Village -11%, Providence -16% and Soutard -18%.

    Of course there are numerous other examples of pricing available, but this short list paints an accurate picture of the prices being asked for the vintage. In the end, the market is going to decide on a fair price. Because the market has declared it is unwilling to pay the prices asked, the majority of wines are not selling. These wines will need serious discounts to sell through. In most cases, that is going to happen once the wines are in bottle and available for delivery.

     

    The wines that were discounted to appropriate levels sparked some demand. Chateau Pontet Canet, Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, Vieux Chateau Certan, Chateau Lynch Bages and Chateau L’Eglise Clinet are some of the wines that managed to sell. In a series of conversations about sales of 2011 Bordeaux wine, the name that popped up again and again as the most successful wine of the campaign was Pontet Canet.  Shaun Bishop of JJ Buckley was the first major American merchant to make that point. “Pontet Canet is riding a huge wave of success in the American market right now. The chateau has done a great job of building their brand in the U.S., and combined with a perfectly scheduled release date in the campaign at very good pricing, it was one of our top sellers. Vieux Chateau Certan from Pomerol was another winery that performed well this year.”

    Browett was equally open as to his best-selling wine, Pontet Canet. Browett said, “It haws the quality of a Super Second and sells for a lot less money.”

     

    Of course there are other properties that experienced limited sales, but across the board, it is hard to call this effort successful. That lack of success will force prices down when the wines are in bottle. John Fox of Premier Cru was able to sell a few wines, most notably Pontet Canet, Vieux Chateaux Certan and Ausone. When asked about the First Growths, “The First Growths did not sell as well as we expected.  Ausone sold through, due to their pricing policy. But across the board, sales of the traditionally solid First Growths were moderate at best.”

    While the First Growths did not sell with some retailers, others experienced at least slightly more demand. Stephan Browett of Farr Vintners sold all the Latour and Lafite he was able to gain allocations of.  When asked what wines did not sell for him, he offered a candid reply. “Cheval Blanc was a complete failure as far as sales in this campaign.  The wines being made at Cheval Blanc are great, but they are pricing the wines at levels our customers will not pay.”

     

    The pace of the campaign was another problem.  There was no rhyme or reason as to the schedule of releases.  Instead of an orderly campaign, some wines were released to fast. On one day dubbed Super Tuesday, 40 different wines were offered for sale. That was far too many wines for the market to absorb. Shaun Bishop of JJ Buckley agreed on the lack of the lack of cohesion: This year, like last year, saw the chateaux and negociants release too many wines at once, which made it difficult for many wineries to get appropriate campaign visibility. We prefer to tell the story behind the wines and offer our personal perspective—it's hard to do that when 20-30 wines are released on one day. The wineries, negociants and retailers all suffer when relases are congested like they have been during the last two years. Many of the Super Seconds of the Medoc suffered from weak sales this vintage. At least some of this can be attributed to the bottle-necked scheduling of offers we saw this year.”

     

    Due to the perceived quality of the wines, and the lack of interest from consumers, 2011 Bordeaux should have been a quick campaign. However, far too many wines took too long to price and consumers lost interest in buying them as a future.

    The common refrain heard in Bordeaux is, the market sets the price.  Stephan Browett of Farr agrees. When asked what pricing was needed for 2011 Bordeaux to reach customer acceptance, he was quick with his response. “As the vintage is comparable with 2008, the wines should have been priced at the level that 2008 is selling for today.”

     

    Other merchants had similar comments on the pricing for 2011. Mark Bedini of Fine and Rare Wines remarked, “We only managed to sell 20% of the amount of wine we sold in 2010. The high prices created a missed opportunity for a useful vintage. As a point of reference, we sold the smallest amount of wine for an En Primeur campaign in the history of the company.”

    It is important to keep in mind that just because most wines are not worth buying as futures does not mean the wines are not worth taking a serious look at once the wines are in bottle.  The 2011 Bordeaux futures campaign offered a few surprises, starting with Chateau Latour's announcement that this would be the last vintage offered as a future. Starting with 2012, Chateau Latour will hold back the wines until the estate declares them ready to drink.

     

    When this was first announced, consumers and merchants question this action. Could this be a harbinger of things to come? How many other chateaux will stop selling their wine as a future?

    Chateau Latour occupies a different position from most Bordeaux chateaux. They have the unique combination of a small production coupled with a big demand for their wine. The sole owner does not need the cash flow. The estate knows where the buyers are. It could easily sell its entire production to consumers and merchants at a price and time of its choosing.


    Most Bordeaux estates do not have that same ability. Since the top 50 properties are flush with cash, they could easily go 3-5 years without selling a bottle. I've had that conversation with numerous owners. Although that move is quite possible, the situation is complicated. To follow in Latour’s big foot prints, the estate would also need an owner with autonomy. Many of the top properties have numerous shareholders. Not everyone is going to agree on that course of action. Other estates might have interests in several properties that do not have the same selling as Latour. Some chateaux are also negociants. If they stopped offering their wine, that could cause an adverse reaction.

     

    The situation at Chateau Latour is unique. What could change in time is that, as prices rise and margins shrink for negociants and merchants, wines would not be offered for sale as futures. They would only be sold in bottle. There are hundreds of millions of bottles of Bordeaux made every year. The system needs money and negociants to work to sell most of the wine.

     

     

     

     

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    Me

    Jeff Leve- Founder, Contributor and Editor of “The Wine Cellar Insider”

    The Wine Cellar Insider focuses on Bordeaux wine. Thousands of exclusive, searchable wine tasting notes with ratings, winery histories and profiles, images, in-depth articles, links and up to the minute harvest news. The Wine Cellar Insider also publishes special guest contributors ranging from chateaux owners, wine makers, consultants, negociants, retailers and more. T

    he Wine Cellar Insider is the world’s leading source for Bordeaux harvest news. We also offer a wine and food community where you can talk about wine with others. Wine and Food Talk Forums
     

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    Pro Me

    The Wine Cellar Insider focuses on Bordeaux wine. Thousands of exclusive, searchable wine tasting notes with ratings, winery histories and profiles, images , in-depth articles, links and up to the minute harvest news. The Wine Cellar Insider also publishes special guest contributors ranging from chateaux owners, wine makers, consultants, negociants, retailers and more. The Wine Cellar Insider is the world’s leading source for Bordeaux harvest news. We also offer a wine and food community where you can talk about wine with others. Wine and Food Talk Forums

    Jeff Leve has traveled to the Bordeaux wine region to barrel taste more than 20 times. He’ll be there twice this year. Each visit includes tastings at all the major Bordeaux Chateau and lasts between 2-3 weeks. The visits also include several tastings at Bordeaux negociants. He is in Bordeaux on average at least twice a year. Jeff Leve is also in Chateauneuf du Pape on a regular basis. Jeff Leve has been officially inducted into the following important Bordeaux societies:

    The Jurade of St. Emilion
    Jurade
    Hospitaliere de Pomerol
    de l’Ordre des Hospitaliers de Pomerol 
    Commanderie de Bordeaux, MedocGravesSauternes
    Commanderie de Bordeaux
    Fronsac La Confrérie des Gentilshommes Fronsac Confrerie

    In the Rhone Valley, Jeff Leve is also a member of the Brotherhood of Chateauneuf du Pape; La Confrerie Bachique de Chateauneuf du Pape. Les Echansonnerie Des Papes

    Jeff Leve is a self taught, wine enthusiast who has been tasting, collecting and traveling to wine regions in France, as well as in America for over 15 years.

    Jeff Leve has given speeches on wine, most recently in China for the Hong Kong Trade Board at the International Wine and Spirits convention in Hong Kong. Our notes and scores are being carried by several web sites including ours. They are on Robert Parker’s site as well as the other following important web sites including;

    Wine-Searcher – Wine-Searcher
    Liv-ex Exchange – Liv-ex Exchange
    BordOverview – BordOverview
    Bertrand Le Guren Bordeaux Ratings Overview – Bleguern
    Farr Vintners – Farr Vintners
    Bordeaux Index – Bordeaux Index
    Fine & Rare Wines London –  Fine and Rare Wines London
    Los Angeles Wine Company LA Wine Company
    Wallys Wine and Spirits Wallys Wine and Spirits
    Wine Decider Wine Decider
    Numerous other merchants, chateaux and Bordeaux negociants use them as well.

    He also writes about Bordeaux wine and the wine market for Pekka Nuikki’s Fine Magazine and previously for Tasted magazine, which are distributed to over a dozen countries. He is also the moderator for Robert Parker’s web site.   In his home city, Los Angeles, California, he consults numerous restaurants, merchants and private collectors on cellar acquisitions. He’s the former president of the Westwood Food and Wine Society, a Los Angeles based tasting group that has been together for over 4 decades. He is the founder and president of “7 Blind Men”, an important, Los Angeles based wine tasting group, dedicated to tasting wines blind.

    Aside from wine, he is the president of a broadcasting company: The Mike Harvey Show. His passions include travel, cooking, music, collecting historic artifacts by 60’s rock music artists and his personality filled Yellow Labrador, HerculesHercules , better known as Herky by his friends and fans has his own page on this site as well.

    Visit Jeff Leve’s Facebook profile or join the The Wine Cellar Insider Fan Page on Facebook.

    We prefer you ask wine questions in the Wine and Food Talk Forums  but if you want to send wines for reviews, or have business or personal related questions, you can use the Contact page.

    The Wine Cellar Insider was founded and is managed as well as edited by Jeff Leve. The Graphic design was created with the help of Todd Pearl Designs.


    Read more at:http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/about/

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    Digital Me

    All About Bordeaux Wine, The Complete Bordeaux Wine Guide to the Best Bordeaux Wines and the Top Bordeaux Chateaux

    This page is all about the best Bordeaux wine. It is the complete guide to the top Bordeaux wines, wineries and winemakers with easy to follow links to everything you want to know about all the best, Bordeaux wines, chateaux and vineyards featured in The Wine Cellar Insider . 

    This Complete All About Bordeaux Guide to Bordeaux and the best wines of Bordeaux offers links to detailed histories and wine tasting notes , with ratings for all the important Bordeaux chateaux and all the best winemakers, vineyards and chateaux. Each page in the complete Bordeaux wine guide features images and information on the terroir, soils and wine making techniques used to produce Bordeaux wine. We cover everything about Bordeaux and their chateaux, with complete profiles, detailed information and an analysis for all the best chateaux. Not only do we cover all the top Bordeaux wines and producers. We also focus on the all the best, affordable, Bordeaux wines to help savvy consumers discover the best deals for Bordeaux today. The Complete All About Bordeaux Wine Guide is also a detailed, guide to all the top Appellations of Bordeaux.

    In the complete Bordeaux guide you’ll also discover detailed articles on a myriad of important Bordeaux topics ranging from; Bordeaux wine buying guides, the grapes used in producing Bordeaux, how to make red and white Bordeaux wine, how to taste Bordeaux wine, The First Growths , what Bordeaux negociants really do and more! You can easily search through all the top Bordeaux regions and the best Bordeaux appellations for all the important Bordeaux wines you desire to discover. You can also read a detailed history of the Bordeaux region: History and description of the Bordeaux Wine Region and its Wines

    The Complete Bordeaux Guide to Bordeaux and its Wines, links to Bordeaux Wine Buying Guides

    You can read detailed vintage and harvest summaries from 1900 to today! In the complete Bordeaux guide you can learn about and the historic 1855 Classification of the Medoc . You can also read a detailed history of the Bordeaux region from its birth in Roman times to today. The complete Bordeaux guide also offers detailed information on the Bordeaux negociant systems, The First Growths, maps of all the major Bordeaux regions, appellations and communes.

    The Complete Guide to the best Bordeaux wines and wineries

    The Complete Bordeaux Guide to everything about Bordeaux and its Wines offers links to fully detailed profiles, histories, wine tasting notes, ratings and look at their terroir, soil and wine making techniques, along with images for every important Bordeaux Chateaux from the Left Bank , Right Bank , Pessac Leognan GravesHaut Medoc, Listrac, Moulis and other AppellationsSauternes/BarsacPetits Chateau and Satellite Appellations sorted: Alphabetically, Grouped by Region
    .


    Read more at:http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/bordeaux-resources-buying-guides-education-questions-answers/

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  10 Producers 

2020  Château Lafite Rothschild / The compelling nose, with its showy notes of lead pencil, tobacco leaf, cedar, cigar box, currants, spice and wet forest leaf comes through easily. The palate is pure silk in texture. Seamlessly moving from the beginning, middle and end, the wine is fresh, bright, long and intense. The purity in the fruit, paired with its energy and lift linger for more than 50 seconds. Refined, elegant, complex and compelling, if you have the patience to wait for 15-20 years before opining a bottle, this is going to be one of the great vintages for Lafite Rothschild.  The wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot 12.8% ABV. The harvest took place September 14 - October 4. With yields of 37 hectoliters per hectare, the Grand Vin represents 45% of the harvest. 97-99  Pts

1m 3d ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  20 Producers 

2020 Bordeaux is the grand finale of the never-before-experienced, three consecutive run of great vintages. Yes, there has been a few back-to-back double plays, but this is the first time Bordeaux has ever experienced a full hat trick. There are differences in the vintages, which will become more apparent as the wines age and evolve. Each vintage is unique. Perhaps 2020 is closest to 2018, for its opulent, velvet drenched, sensuous style.  Though, it is important to note that you also find freshness, lift and elegance. Here is something to consider about 2020, alcohol levels are lower for many estates, which is surprising with hot, dry years like 2020.

1m 23d ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  14 Wines  from  14 Producers 

Bordeaux has been on a hot roll lately. Think about it. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018 and who knows, even though it is early, 2019 is also looking good!
Each vintage has its own mark, its individual sense of identity and uniqueness of character. 2016 Bordeaux is such a great vintage!  Consider this. Out of all those above-named vintages, there are 2016 wines better than you find in any of those years. And that is really saying something!
In 2016, like in all great years, every appellation produced beautiful wines, and each has its own stars. You can find fabulous wines on both banks and in all price ranges. The Petit Chateaux are superb. Right Bank wines are gorgeous and some of the best wines from the Medoc are potentially the best-ever from their respective vineyards.
2016 has it all. The wines combine concentration of flavor, purity of fruit, zesty acidity, ripe tannins, power, elegance, refinement and richness. The aromatics are complex, and the length and mouthfeel go on and on. The best wines offer the ability to age and evolve for decades!
2016 is the most recent bottled vintage in Bordeaux. The wines are currently available to consumers. If you are seeking to enjoy the best of the best, this article is for you.
During both tasting trips to Bordeaux this year, I tasted close to 500 recently bottled 2016 wines. These are the top 25 wines of the vintage.

1y 1m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  10 Producers 

2009 Petrus is deep ruby with purple tints at the rim of the glass. Spice, plums, blackberries, and blueberries, with cinnamon, clay, mint, mocha, and kirsch, make up the complex perfume. From a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the wine is rich, concentrated and packed with surreal levels of glycerin. This viscous, thrilling treat provides a seamless, intensely pure finish of spice, jammy cherries, and chocolate. 100 Pts

2y 56s ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  11 Wines  from  11 Producers 

Bordeaux has been on a hot roll lately. Think about it. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018 and who knows, even though it is early, 2019 is also looking good!
Each vintage has its own mark, its individual sense of identity and uniqueness of character. 2016 Bordeaux is such a great vintage!  Consider this. Out of all those above-named vintages, there are 2016 wines better than you find in any of those years. And that is really saying something!
In 2016, like in all great years, every appellation produced beautiful wines, and each has its own stars. You can find fabulous wines on both banks and in all price ranges. The Petit Chateaux are superb. Right Bank wines are gorgeous and some of the best wines from the Medoc are potentially the best-ever from their respective vineyards.
2016 has it all. The wines combine concentration of flavor, purity of fruit, zesty acidity, ripe tannins, power, elegance, refinement and richness. The aromatics are complex, and the length and mouthfeel go on and on. The best wines offer the ability to age and evolve for decades!
2016 is the most recent bottled vintage in Bordeaux. The wines are currently available to consumers. If you are seeking to enjoy the best of the best, this article is for you.

2y 2m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  13 Wines  from  12 Producers 

Château Lafleur 1982 / 101 Points / This remains one of the great wines of the 20th century! Stunning in every sense and meaning of the word. The floral, truffle, cherry, black and red plum, spicy perfume is off the hook. The intensity of flavor, concentration, richness and length is worth an easy 101 Pts!

2y 3m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  7 Wines  from  7 Producers 

Château Latour 1982 - 100p - Stunning from top to bottom, and from start to finish, this is a strong contender for wine of the vintage. With mouth coating layers of dark red fruits, tobacco, cigar wrapper, cedar wood and smoked earth aromatics, the wine kicks off with all the right stuff. But it is on the palate where the wine is really on full display. Intensity, length and regal in character, there is a firmness to the structure along with elegance and formality in the finish, which by the way must stick with you for 60 seconds! Thank God I have friends that can afford this. Because it really is a benchmark wine that at close to 30 years of age is almost in the right place for prime time drinking. Well stored bottles should offer pleasure until 2082!

3y 2m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  3 Wines  from  3 Producers 

1795 Madeira is not your everyday wine. As a wine, it does not rank with any of the best wines I tasted this year, last year, or the year before. But as a glass of liquid contemplation, blended with a history lesson, it remains unequaled. This is 4 centuries old! In 1795, all the Founding Fathers were alive. George Washington was president, John Adams is Vice President and Thomas Jefferson resigned as Secretary of State. France adopts a new Constitution, Napoleon makes himself known, and Madeira had a great vintage. It only takes a glass with a bit of 1795 Madeira to make it all come alive again.

The dried fruits, brown sugar, piquant orange with bitter chocolate, roasted tangerine, burnt caramel and sharp acidic character neither add, or subtract from the fact that this is oldest wine I have ever tasted. It is more interesting than pleasurable. But it was truly a great experience, regardless.

3y 9m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  6 Wines  from  6 Producers 

"Top 2014 Left Banks:Mouton Rothschild - Deep in color with a complex nose of graphite, plum, blackberry and tobacco, this wine is sure to lure you back for yet another sniff. before you get to the first sip. It is full-bodied, silky, fresh and packed with sweet cassis, caressing your palate with a rich velour, leaving a lasting impression of espresso, cocoa and black raspberries. This wine has less concentration than 2009 and 2010 vintages, yet it still leaves you with sweetness, vibrancy and length. Using 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.1% alcohol with a pH of 3.78. 95-97 Pts"

5y 8m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  19 Producers 

"Bordeaux 2011 Vintage part V -Fine Le Pin."

6y 5m ago

Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  22 Wines  from  21 Producers 

"Bordeaux 2011 part 4"

6y 6m ago

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