2015 Bordeaux – The Whole Story
My tasting this year at Château Palmer in
I was in Bordeaux last week. The rest of the world
was there with me. And those that weren’t were
able to keep up with my wanderings on my blog here.
Is it important to know anything about the weather
during the growing season to more fully understand
the wines? Not in my opinion. Everything is
irrelevant bar the quality of the liquid in the
glass. So, you will hear from other merchants about
so-much rain here, rather than there and suchlike,
but I will talk only about what I tasted, not what
the met office can offer by way of historical
A Magritte-meets-Play-School moment in the Pontet
Canet tasting room
What we have here is an extremely attractive vintage
for those that have room for Bordeaux wines in their
portfolios. The wines are a fresh and generally
transparent bunch that offer ripe, silk or velvet
tannins and great length.
In the northern Médoc – St
Estèphe, Pauillac and St Julien – I
found many wines of extraordinary elegance and
loveliness. Langoa-Barton, for example, was utterly
A little further to the south, Margaux wines are a
rather more concentrated bunch and it’s here
that many tasters found the cream of the Left Bank.
Château Margaux itself (in fitting tribute to
managing director Paul Pontallier who had died just
eight days before his son hosted our tasting at the
property) is perhaps the most wonderful of all the
wines I tasted during my visit. Mortgage the
mother-in-law if you have to…
Ornamental pool at Léoville
I thought that there were absolutely super wines
– both red and white – down south in
Pessac-Léognan, too. And the Sauternes are
completely delicious, having plenty of what last
years wines rather lacked - i.e. botrytis – and
lacking very slightly in what last year’s wines
had in spades i.e. acidity. N.B. Yquem, tasted at
Cheval Blanc, transports one to a paradisiacal
parallel universe made out of my grandmother’s
lemon meringue pie.
The Right Bank has met with notable success, too. I
have, however, a bit of an issue with
booze…and by that I mean “levels
of” in modern wines. The Merlots of the Right
Bank were ripe; oh yes. 14.5%abv was pretty common in
The well-managed château of Beauregard in
Having said that, there was a great deal to like
here. The top wines have performed wonderfully well,
of course, but really, as with the Left Bank
there’s hardly a dud wine here right through
Communes and Their Wines
N.B. The following notes were taken from my
tastings in the Bordeaux region during the primeurs
tasting week. They are notes on very, very young
wines and this should be taken into account when
Click on the commune names to go to the relevant
Marquis de Calon – N.B. 57% Merlot;
33% Cab Sauv; 10% Cab Franc. 13.7%abv. Floral aromas
of purple, slightly glace fruits, plus a touch of
smoky violet. Palate is pure and fresh and a bit
floral. Snappy-tacky tannins punctuate this wine.
Very long wine of distinct Cab Franc influence.
Superb 2nd wine.
Calon Ségur – N.B. 82% Cab
Sauv; 16% Merlot; 2% Petit Verdot. Very lovely nose,
very pure and quite smoky/toasted. Smells of
fabulous, sweetly-ripe, damson and blackcurrant
fruit, plus a hint of liquorice. This is a very cool,
very finely built wine. It’s also very pretty.
Fruit is red and black, fresh and clean. Very fresh,
with floral, ravishing fruit. Lovely, cool and
upright. Delicious floral berry aftertaste. Me gusta
Capbern – N.B. 68% Cab Sauv; 28%
Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot. Very nice crunchy dark plum
sweet fruit. Plush, dark and suave on entry. Then
tacky with gravelly tannin. There’s fabulous
freshness at the core of this . Won’t need too
Pagodes de Cos – A floral nose that
smells crunchily of red- and blackcurrant fruit. A
cool and nicely dense wine, quickly fresh, exhibiting
domextic, dew-fresh fruit, including red apple in the
mid-palate. Nicely long wine of granular tannin and a
busy structured finish.
Cos d’Estournel – Floral, pure
currant fruit inc damson darkness. This is structured
right through, with fine, rich tannin, tacky and
cool. This is backward, albeit full of ripe fruit.
Long and straight and juicy-cool. Fine sustain here.
Really good example, if embryonic.
Cos Labory – A pretty, blackcurrant
wine of elegant shape. Everything’s integrated
here. It has structure, but is essentially quite
forward. Lunch anyone?
Le Crock – Lovely spicy-dark nose, a
trouch meaty, with some biscuit wood. Silky-suave,
dark fruit is a little chocolaty and takes on
freshness steadily as it goes, becoming minerally
fresh. Complete. Very long wine with a fabulous
Lafon Rochet – Instantly, a very
fresh nose of lovely, floral blackcurrant fruit. A
scented wine. Goes in the mouth rich and plush, but
not without a core of structure that gains in
intensity, but never dominates. Juicy-fresh and
gravelly. Very long wine of fresh grip. Very St
Estèphe, but amicable. Good intensity to this
very, very long wine.
Lilian Ladouys – The nose dark,
earthy and redolent of dark flowers. The palate
offers lovely fresh, mineral grip. This is very St
Estèphe, albeit not the biggest wine of the
commune in the vintage.
Meyney – A mineral-smelling wine,
fresh and creamy-cool. A suave entry is followed by
an extremely direct 2nd half swathed in
nutty tannin . This is a baby, but everything’s
here. Just needs time.
Dame de Montrose – N.B. 55% Cab Sauv;
41% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot. Aromas are lovely:
restrained scents of pure blackcurrant. This is
juicy-snappy from the off. And there’s some
firm ‘n’ fine tannin – rocky
– throughout this very long wine. The rockiness
becomes rather spicy. Backward and very mineral and
the fruit is clear-voiced and clean and very pretty.
Fabulous and wonderfully direct wine.
Montrose – N.B. 67% Cab Sauv; 29%
Merlot; 4% Cab Franc. Really floral nose and very
Cabernet aromas of snappy blackcurrant. A
fresh-smelling wine. Indeed, there’s an aroma
of fresh oranges here. A cool and compact and very
rocky example. There’s fresh grip righth
through this, buut it never becomes overly assertive.
Straight and there’s a cached core of really
juicy acidity. Tannin is fresh, piquant and upright.
Very long wine. This finishes full and structured.
Dense and backward, with high, very juicy-fresh grip.
De Pez – Dark plum-ripe fruit, a
touch smoky. Hint of chocolate to the aromas. Fruit
on the palate is sweet plum up front. The tannins are
very fine and it seems pretty forward. However, it
does become drily tannic at the death. A juicy and
quite powerful wine. Hmm. Seems okay.
Phélan Ségur – Wild
hedgerow fruit on the nose, but aromas are not that
pronounced. This is a very, very cool wine that has
quite a bit of woody tannin at the moment. Very
grippy and a bit featureless at this stage. Hard
tasting. Highly structured, fresh and very grippy.
Needs plenty of time.
Ormes de Pez – Richly smoky/oaky
nose. This is backward, cool and fresh. A dense wine
of medium weight. Great sustain here. And that purity
of blackcurrant fruit. Very juicy through. Rather
Tronquoy Lalande – N.B. 30% new oak;
14%abv; 55% Merlot; 27% Cab Sauv; 6% Petit Verdot; 2%
Cab Franc. Very dark aromas. There are hints of
flowers, and this is very pure, yet there’s
something animal lurking, too. Cool and dark and
there’s nice cool structure to its compactness,
Fabulously fresh. Nice hooch.
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Armailhac (at the UGC tasting) –
Floral nose of red and black fruit, really
crunchy. Very pure blackcurrant flavours and aromas.
Tannins are velvet and lead one through to a juicy,
Armailhac (at Mouton) – A floral and
very pretty nose; very Cabernet aromas, red and
black. This is quickly fresh and piquant, with a
really firm core of freshness. And the palate
continues the very pretty, floral theme with very
domestic fruit mid-palate and through. Medium weight.
There’s a gravelly, rocky minerality that
becomes almost peppery. Very long and pretty
Batailley – Nose is really quite shy
and includes a hint of mint. Pure, dark, fresh fruit.
Goes into the mouth cool and a touch creamy. An
upright wine offering a very fine swathe of tacky
tannins. Long. Mint returns. Cool, structured and
backjward. Big finale, too, with lots of crunch and
Clerc Milon (at the UGC tasting) –
Touch of the wood to the nose. Darker aromas, but
really fresh and including mint. A rich and dark
wine: big, with integrated, fresh, upright tannins.
Great push and intent here. Long and backward and
very good indeed.
Clerc Milon (at Mouton) – There are
floral scents here, too, and this is also very
Cabernet to smell, but this offers a cassis ripeness
i.e. is darker. Pure and a little minty. This is much
more backward and is really spicy/stony across the
tongue. It offers firm and fresh grip and really firm
acidity. A fresh wine of snappy substance. Tannins
emerge to cloak the finish. Excellent.
Duhart Milon Rothschild – Nutty and
dark, plumy-ripe nose. There are hints of walnut
here. Goes in supple-cool and nutty across the
tongue. Then starts to pick up minerality that become
increasingly pronounced. A long wine that becomes
tacky-fresh; a wine of rocky, tannic grip at the
back. Very long and very juicy at the death.
Grand Puy Ducasse – This is really
shy on the nose. Fresh though. Then the palate is
very cool; creamy, with integrated, tacky tannins and
a fresh crunch to the fruit. Long wine of elegant
shape. Structured sustain. A dry wine, long and
tingly. Seems very good.
Grand Puy Lacoste – Really floral and
fresh the nose here, of blackcurrant purity. Pretty
wine: cool, mineral and transparent. Ravishing
blackcurrant fruit is really juicy-fresh, yet
there’s a core of rocky structure within. Very
long and very lovely. Easy grace.
Carruades de Lafite – There’s a
light chocolate note to the very dark fruit, a touch
smoky. This is very coiol and fresher from further
forward than the Duhart. Quite a backward wine of
very fresh, rocky grip. Uber-cool and very fresh
fruit, red and black. Very long and there’s a
juicy intensity at the death. Very nice. Rich with
tacky, integrated tannins. Singing!
Lafite Rothschild – Walnut and the
burnt crust of gingerbread (all of which could be
coming from the wood). Cool and supple up front, then
very, very mineral and increasginly dense. A fresh
and very long example; juicy and dense and tacky with
fresh incisive tannins. Fabulous. There’s so
much here. The freshness is almost cranberry. Like
this a great deal…but I bet it splits the
opinions of the commentators.
Pauillac de Château Latour –
N.B. 54.2% Cab Sauv; 41.7% Merlot; 4.1% Petit
Verdot. 13.5%abv. There’s a hint of the rose
garden to the lightly spiced red and black currant
fruit. Nice snap and zing to this. Super-fine,
integrated tannins spread out through the finish. The
finish is very long and even. A pure wine, a touch
peppery; cool and long and rocky-mineral. Easy grip
sustained. Very nice.
Les Forts de Latour – N.B. 63% Cab
Sauv; 35.6% Merlot; 0.5% Cab Franc; 0.9% Petit
Verdot. 13.3%abv. This is, if anything, redder than
the Pauillac, with very nice fresh tang to those
aromas. The palate is very quickly very fresh and
snappy. Quite a backward example. The tannins are
fresh and very rocky and quite textured. Touch of
peppery spice about this and very nice intensity.
Fabulous grip at the end. Very, very long indeed.
Superb. Has real juicy scrunch to the ending.
Latour – Floral and delicious very
mineral scents of very pure, dark fruit. Snap and
smoke to the aromas. This is, of course, very young.
Very rich and plush entry. There’s a creaminess
here, but also a crisp core. And those very, very
fine tannins. The juiciness pushes into enormous
length. Nice energy here. There’s intent and
grip. A rich and busy wine. And a very fine wine
Lynch Bages – Pretty shy
aromatically, but there’s some wood, plus dark
and dense dark and fresh fruit areomas. A cool and
medium weight wine. This is reserved and really
rather smart. Pure blackcurrant fruit, plus rocky
length and juicy grip. Seriously good density to this
backward example. Very long and juicy wine
that’s almost endless on the palate. A very
Le Petit Mouton – Rich and floral
nose showing some varnished-smelling wood. There are
purple flowers among the pure blackcurrant fruit;
some are dried. Hint of violet. Quickly fresh, this,
in the mouth, from its reserved start. Compact and
very rocky; long, with really juicy acidity held
within the dense fruit. This has tang all through it.
Long and backward wine to an almost peppery death.
Really very good indeed.
Mouton Rothschild – N.B. 82% Cab
Sauv; 16% Merlot; 2% Cab Franc. Dense nose not giving
that much away. Blackcurrant and crushed rock aromas
and a hint of something herbal. This is really very
minty. Entry is supple and very suave, of pure
blackcurrant fruit. Fabulous shape and direction.
Swells with piquant, very rocky grip. And there are
no fireworks at the finish, just steady, even drive
of excellent volume and structure. I like this a
great deal. Palladian Mouton.
Pedesclaux – N.B. 60% Cab Sauv; 25%
Merlot; 10% Cab Franc; 5% Petit Verdot. Dried flowers
and dark fruit aromas, with a hint of chocolate.
Delicious, very pure and floral blackcurrant fruit
and an orange note. Nutty/grippy tannins. Very long.
Les Griffons de Pichon Baron – N.B.
60% Cab Sauv; 40% Merlot. Really quite a shy wine on
the nose: just some very floral dark fruit aromas.
Sweet, light fruit aromas: dark plums. Palate offers
very cool, very pure black plum fruit and integrated,
nutty-fine tannins. This becomes very fresh with real
lift at the back. There’s almost a citrus
quality to the acidity here, the it’s quite
forward overall. Very nice structured sustain.
Pichon Baron – N.B. 77% Cab Sauv; 23%
Merlot. 80% new oak. Deep and dark nose.
There’s a touch of chocolate to the black plum
and cherry fruit aromas. A touch smoky, this. This
smells of sweetly ripe fruit and powdered stones.
Entry is suave and plush, the fruit very pure and
dark and ripe. The mineral freshness really becomes
juicy. I like this. It’s piquant and has very
good drive. Super-long and lovely.
Reserve de la Comtesse – N.B. 53% Cab
Sauv; 40% Merlot; 4% Cab Franc; 3% Petit Verdot.
13.5% abv. Lovey, lovely nose: a ripe, fresh plum and
black cherry aroma of confident simplicity. Delicious
palate: forward, with integrated, very suave and mild
tannins. There’s nice intent right at the back
in the fresh structure. Hint of gravel and warmth.
This’ll be a superb drink.
Pichon Lalande – N.B. 68% Cab Sauv;
29% Merlot; 2% Cab Franc; 1% Petit Verdot. This is
much ddeeper in colour than its second wine above.
And the nose is really quite shy. The smell is a
touch inky, masculine, smoky. It smells redder than
the Réserve. Entry is very richj, dark and
creamy, becoming quickly piquant with freshness.
Tannins are wonderfully silky. There’s great
sustain to a crunch of a finish. Very long, with
rocks entering the death. Dark, cool and controlled;
straight; elegant. Knit, with controlled sustain.
Pontet Canet – Quite shy on the nose:
just faint nutty wood and a wisp of pure blackcurrant
fruit. Then the palate is rich and fresh on entry.
This is a pure wine and a really quite sizeable one,
with integrated, very mineral freshness which pushes
through to the very long finish. A complete wine and
more assertive than some. Very gravelly finish. Pure
and lovely example. Richly tannic, but very finely
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Beychevelle – Crunchy-sweet, dark
cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Lovely purity and vim
about the palate. Lively, with almond paste-rich
tannins. Long. Really good rive here. I like it.
Branaire Ducru – Touch floral and
very berry-ish nose. Dark fruit aromas and a violet
note. The tannins are really very fresh. Fresh grip,
too. And then really good sustain. A nutty
through-put, to a very fine finish.
La Croix de Beaucaillou – N.B. 3%
Petit Verdot; 52% Cab Sauv; 45% Merlot. Dark fruit,
dried flowers and very walnut aromas. And the walnut
theme continues on the palate (is this the Petit
Verdot?). A dense wine of rich, fine tannins. Long.
Becoming rich and richly structured by the finish.
Lovely equilibrium here. This is dark and lovely,
becoming granular with mineral tannin at the back.
Very good example.
Ducru Beaucaillou – N.B. 95% Cab
Sauv; 5% Merlot. A dark and earthy nose that’s
a bit out of sorts today. This is a medium weight,
very suave wine of creamy, silky structure
throughout. Tacky with upright tannin. There’s
a fine push through this. Very, very minerally fresh:
lip-smacking. Massive persistence to be found here. A
very, very elegant wine; very blackcurrant. And it
becomes really quite intense at the back. Haute
couture indeed. I find it wholly desirable.
Gruaud Larose – Lovely, spicy,
nutty-creamy blackcurrant fruit, a touch floral.
There are pure and very delicious floral flavours to
be found on the structured palate. Cool wine; cool
structure. Very upright, tacky-fresh tannins. Very
long, mineral wine. Excellent example.
Lagrange – Lovely sweet, rich
‘n’ ripe red and black fruits to the
nose. Summer pudding! Palate is mineral, fresh and
stony. A long wine of good intensity and an intense
juicy lift at the end.
Lalande Borie – N.B. 55% Merlot; 45%
Cab Sauv. Earthy-dark cocoa aromas. Plush, very silky
wine with some mild and very fine silk tannins at the
end. Some minerals at the death. Could be drunk with
great pleasure quite soon.
Langoa Barton – Floral, stony aromas
of fruits red and black. Really dry nose. Medium
weight wine; very direct and natural. Very long.
Juicy crunch about this and there’s a great
fresh lift at the back to an intense death. Almost
cranberry crunch. Fabulous!
Léoville Barton – Darker
aromas, really minty, taking in liquorice, along with
very mineral, rocky aromas. This is, of course, more
backward, with paste-like, really classy tannins.
There’s a powerful push to a dark, snappy,
complex death. Great sustain becoming intense at the
back. Needs lots of time.
Le Petit Lion (2nd wine of
Léoville Lascases) – N.B. This is 40%
Cab Sauv; 60% Merlot. A touch shy, this, but very
fresh and airy, of blackcurrant aromas and the better
aspects of wet paint. Some nutty wood, too. A very
cool and lofty wine and fresh juice quickly emerges.
The grip contains some tackily assertive tannin. This
is very long and very mineral. It’s also very
Léoville Lascases – Dark nose,
nutty and a little inky. And it includes something
rooty like liquorice. Dense and cool and very dark
aromas. Immediate freshness on the palate. A reserved
and classy wine; very, very rich, with very fine
tannins. Very mineral juicy length. This is dense,
but unusually elegant wine of exquisite balance.
Great nutty, elegant sustain. It’s not big, but
it is very lovely. I wondered whether these Lascases
wines had been picked a little earlier than some, as
they’re notably juicy-fresh.
Le Petit Marquis (new 2nd wine of
Clos du Marquis) – N.B. This was 12-13% of
the harvest. 52% Cab Sauv; 48% Merlot. Touch flora
the aromas here, of red and black fruit, all a little
creamy. This is instantly very fresh and very juicy.
The very fine tannins become nuttier and more
assertive and cloak the length. Red and black palate
of medium weight. This is light on its feet and
really very nice.
Clos du Marquis – N.B. 66% Cab Sauv;
31% Merlot; 3% Cab Franc. Lovely, pure and aristo
aromas of blackcurrant richness, plus a slatiness.
Ripe and dark and dense, this; rich and snappy with a
really good, firm core of acidity. Persistent, juicy
length. Elegant wine, with snappiness right through.
The tannins are super-fine and finely integrated.
Classy stuff. There’s a mineral lick of
freshness at the end.
Moulin Riche (2nd wine of
Léoville Poyferré) – A fresh
and snappy-smelling red and black wine, a touch
mineral. It enters the mouth silky and quickly juicy.
Cool, snappy fruit, both red and black. Just lovely
acidity. It gains in dimension. The finish is lovely:
very long and a touch nutty.
Léoville Poyferré – A
complex and really rather beautiful nose of flowers
and wild black fruits, all a touch smoky. A fresh
wine to smell. Damsons etc. Palate is supple, then
very quickly snappy and juicy, with very fine, fresh
tannin. An elegant wine with a swathe of super-fine,
fresh tannins. Very long, classy wine, classic and
ravishing. Hope it doesn’t take up too much
Saint Pierre – Very smoky/oaky at
this stage, showing fruit aromas of very dark and
pure damsons. Rich wine of very dark fruit and loaded
with rich, very tacky-spicy tannins, some
wood-derived. Should be very good.
Talbot – Rich and mostly blac fruit
aromas, touch floral, ripe, nuanced by mocha oak.
Cool, friendly wine with a granular minerality. Very
fresh structure. Juicy-dense, snappy and long and
very stony. Like this a great deal.
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Angludet – Lovely floral, black
cherry fruit, very pure. Ripe, pure, plush and
lovely. Touch creamy. Cimplete wine of integrated
tannin, fine and upright, that straighten and lift
and push along with juicy acidity that grips gently.
This is very tasty indeed.
Brane Cantenac – Very dark, very pure
and really quite aristo, violet-tinged blackcurrant
fruit, plus a note of the wood. Very cool, very
Cabernet fruit; very pure. A fabulous swathe of fine
tannins held to the really firm acidity and push
through to the crisp finish, clad in wood tannin.
Great, even, mineral death of real dimension. Wow.
This is super-cool, direct and energetic.
Cantenac Brown – N.B. 61% Cab Sauv;
39% Merlot. Rather a shy nose: just a hint of floral,
dark berries. An integrated wine with a rocky core.
Cassis on entry. Very steady and unwavering. Long.
Stuffed, this. Rocky structure. Lots here.
Dauzac – Piquant, rather floral,
clay-like scent of red- and blackcurrant. This is
cool and straight and reserved. Great tang. Very long
and the finish is full of energy. Really very nice
Desmirail – Really rather oaky aromas
with some dark fruit: hint of prune to the
blackcurrant and black cherry. Entry is suave and
sweet, then there are masses of wood tannins. A long
wine of nice, sustained juicy, firm grip. Uber-cool.
And very, very oaky at the moment. Hmm.
Giscours – Not much nose: just a hint
of dark fruits and a note of chocolate wood. Palate
offers dense, supple blackcurrant fruit melded to a
core of really firm, rocky structure. Becomes intense
and energetic. Very, very long indeed. Highly
credible. This will be superb in time.
Blason d’Issan – N.B. 60% Cab
Sauv; 40% Merlot. Dense nose, tangy and largely red,
with mineral-fresh scents and a hint of something
earthy. Orange notes. Creamy-cool and dense with
fabulous flow and a lovely, fresh mineral grip. This
really is something. Bring on the Grand Vin!
Issan – There’s a degree of
smoky wood to the nose. Plus the classy, integrated
red and blac fruit. Across the tongue one finds
creamy-rich red fruits and a core of life and
freshness. Super-long wine and a fabulous full
finish. Great mineral freshness here. This really is
top Issan. Delicious.
Kirwan – Floral nose, firmly of cool
clay and red and black fruits. Fruit is very fresh
red- and blackcurrant. This is backward, very cool
and direct. Straight. Very long and crunchy right
through. Rocky, architectural grip becomes
increasingly intense throughout. Very long. Really
Labégorce – Aromas are floral
and there are scents of the wood. Absolutely
delicious and aristo cassis fruit. Entry is
creamy-rich and there’s a raft of fine, woody
tannin. Very long wine. Fabulous intentful
through-put. Very pure damson and blackcurrant blast
mid-palate. Very long, with a busy, structured
Lascombes – Almost nothing on the
nose. Palate is cool and creamy. There’s a
touch of prpper to the tannin and a grip of wood
tannin. Quite powerful, this. Very long, with a spine
of really incisive acidity. Dry and hard work at the
Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux
– N.B. 74% Cab Sauv; 21% Merlot; 5% Petit
Verdot/Cab Franc mix. Clay like, ripe aromas of
peanut and dark fruit and dried flowers, crisp and
broad. This is really plush and full of fresh
limestone minerality and its grip. Very long. Lovely
juicy ending. Fabulous energy and an almost metallic
minerality at the core. Stunning!
Margaux – N.B. 35% of the crop. 87%
Cab Sauv; 8% Merlot; 5% Cab Franc/Petit Verdot mix.
Beautiful, complex floral aromas of loam and red and
black very aristo fruit. Scent of the rose garden.
Sweet and crunchy in the mouth; cool and very pure.
Medium weight with a mineral core of freshness. Very
fresh energy. Very direct, fresh sustain. Hugely
long, with the most ravishing fruit. Personally
speaking, I would mortgage my house for some of
Malescot St Exupéry – Not much
on the nose: just a widp of fresh blackcurrant fruit.
This is dark and very backward. Loaded with oak
tannin at the moment. Very rocky-mineral and direct,
powerful drive to a very long finish. Mineral
freshness. Very long and raw. Needs time and lots of
it. Should be really very good.
Monbrison – Nice nose of crunchy
plums and their skins, plus blackcurrant. Backward,
tight and with very mineral freshness. Very straight
anhd long. It’s all here; just a very young
wine. Beautifully haunting fruit flavours…
Alter Ego de Palmer – N.B. 52%
Merlot; 42% Cab Sauv; 6% Petit Verdot. 14%abv. Nose
is really out of sorts in this sample. Palate starts
plush, then rich and dense and a touch creamy.
Mineral at the core and gaining in proper intensity.
A long and deliciously rich wine. Super stuff.
Palmer – N.B. 50% Cab Sauv; 44%
Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot. Lovely nose, very ripe, of
black cherry and plum fruit. Plush and very, very
suave palate: seamless entry. Rich and stuffed and
very straight, with upright, fresh tannins. Very,
very juicy grip. Very long and backward. Powerful
example. Top Palmer here.
Prieuré Lichine – Lots of
dried flower aromas, plus mulberry fruit. A cool
wine, a touch creamy. Dense, with a rocky structure.
Lovely powerful push.
Rauzan Gassies – Nose has sulphur all
over it. Palate offers a plush entry, is cool, and
there are fine, chunky, integrated tannins. Very long
and assertive. Should be good at the very least.
Rauzan Ségla – Floral and red
and black aromas, very lovely, of great purity.
Creamy-but-fresh and very, very mineral wine. Very
long. Great restraint and mineral intensity. Very
long and busy. Will be a stunner…
Siran – A dark damson purity of a
nose. This is creamy, complete and structured with
upright, fresh tannin within. Long and dark and
lovely. Fine and tacky tannic support. This is really
Du Tertre – Lovely nose of aristo,
pure blackcurrant fruit. Enters the mouth plush and
cool, with a controlled, rockily-mineral core. This
has real direction and firm stuffing, with acid grip
that’s pretty incisive. Very long, granular and
gravelly through to a very long, aristo death.
Properly fabulous. Lilke this a lot.
La Tour de Mons (tasted in haste at an evening
event in Bordeaux) – Silky, black and red
fruit, with a really firm core of mineral acidity.
Some nutty wood here, then a nippy-fresh finish.
Seems very lovely.
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Other Left Bank
Beaumont, Haut-Médoc - There
are floral notes to the creamy red and black fruit
aromas. This is fresh-smelling and there’s a
hint of rhubarb amongst the currants. Entry is plush
and supple. Then fine, tacky tannins appear, rather
rocky-fresh. This is long and really juicy. Good
intent here. Showing well.
Belgrave, Haut-Médoc - Rich,
dark and smoky nose of gingerbread singed crust and
very black fruits. Cool and very tangy palate, with
masses of tacky-fine tannin. Long and becoming spicy
and phenolically very dry. Whew…
Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc -
Really lovely nose of dark flowers and pure black
cherry and plum fruit. Very cool wine; almost too
much so. Very backward and very juicy; highly tacky,
with fine-grained, woody tannin. The finish is
superb, so I think this will be very good indeed.
Charmail – Very nice nose: gravel and
rich, slightly smoky black fruits. Plush, rich, cool
entry. The through-put is elegant and pure. This is
long and very nicely fresh. A fabulous finish of good
intensity and incisive freshness. Ends very
Chasse Spleen, Moulis-en-Médoc -
Very dark and smoky aromas. This is a touch
reduced, I think. Very fine tannic grip here. Fresh
and lipsmacking; long and juicy. Really fine shape
Fourcas Hosten, Listrac – Dark nose,
a touch smoky. Decently fresh wine; very cool and
quite backward. There’s mineral freshness
through this. Quite an earthy wine and rather hard
work at the moment. Dry and unlovely.
Goulée, Médoc – Rich
fruit araoms of bramble and ripe plums. Plush entry
of plum fruit, ripe and supple. There are some very
fine, integrated, quite piquant tannins. This is a
nicely long wine of fresh grip. Really reptty much
the best Goulée I have tasted. Pleasure
La Lagune, Haut-Médoc – The
blackcurrant fruit has a floral aspect and scents of
the soil. A pure nose: very nice. The palate is nutty
with big tannins that seem fruit-derived, integrated
and fine-grained. BIG push to the long finish. Rocky
through-put here. Very long wine with a big, rich,
Chapelle de Potensac, Médoc –
Very nice nose of pure blackcurrant fruit. And an
almost orange acidity that, together with the fine,
snappy tannins gives this attractive structure. Long
and a touch mineral. Some grip at the death. Dark and
snappy wine. Good stuff.
Potensac, Médoc – Nose is purer
than its second wine: more aristo Cab Sauv aromas,
plus a floral note. This is fresh from the off:
snappy-but-ripe with very fresh through-put. Tannins
are integrated and upright and the finish is long and
minerally. Really good example.
Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Médoc –
Very fresh nose of red, just-picked fruits. Very
cool wine of fresh and upright tannins. Pretty
overbearing at the moment: very apple-pippy. Long and
really assertive. Ooof.
Sociando Mallet, Haut-Médoc (tasted in
haste at an evening event in Bordeaux) –
Rich, creamy nose. This is big and dense, but
freshly mineral and with very good push through. Very
La Tour de By, Médoc –
There’s a fresh note of citrus about the
aromas of blackcurrants. Rich, plush entry, then
masses of fine, tacky tannins. This is coolly
reserved. Very long and fresh wine. Like this.
La Tour Carnet, Haut-Médoc –
Nose a rich, dark and oaky liqueur of black cherry
and bramble fruit. Oak tannin here. This comes across
as rather made; hard work. |Very, very cool wine,
quite smoky. Highly grippy, fresh and intense.
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Bouscaut – Lots of toasty wood
here…predictably. Palate is toasty/smoky, too.
The fresh, dark fruit is a touch floral. Dry with
wood tannin, yet this is dense and long and has
sustained grip. Finishes very well, too. WAIT!
Carbonnieux – Very shy, rather
our-of-soirts nose. But the palate is super-cool, a
touch creamy and absolutely loaded with nutty-rich
tannin. This has great length, but is really hard to
taste at present.
Carmes Haut Brion – N.B. 45% Cab
Franc; 25% Cab Sauv; 30% Merlot. This is rather shy
on the nose, with just a wisp of red and black fresh
fruit, a touch creamy, emerging. Smells of domestic
fruits. Plush/supple, cool entry. I could find
liquorice and minerals and pure, domestic, plum and
raspberry fruit. Tannins are nutty-fine and mineral.
A very long wine with a touch of peppery spice to the
structure. Very, very long. Lovely.
Chantegrive – Lifted, quite
high-toned nose of floral, red, spiced fruits, quite
snappy. Hint of rhubarb here and a touch of
creaminess on entry. There’s some grip from the
mineral – and perhaps wood – tannins.
Long and cool. Nice.
Domaine de Chevalier – Nose is not
that pronounced, but what I can smell is a rosy,
gravelly, dark and nutty, domestic fruit nose of
blackcurrant and rhubarb. The palate offers similarly
cool domestic fruit, blackcurrant and plum. The very
fine, cached tannin is perfectly judged. A long wine
of lovely cool, elegant fruit and structure.
Ferrande – Dark cherries, but pretty
shy on the nose. Goes in the mouth cool and quickly
amasses structure, including the pretty firm acidity.
Some cool, very piquant, assertive tannins. Rocky and
long and very, very fresh. Good and snappy.
De Fieuzal – This has a floral aspect
to the aromas (as do so many wines this vintage), but
also slightly creamy, milk chocolate wood aromas. It
offers a cool palate of plum fruit and fine,
well-hidden tannins that are super-tacky and, at
least in part, woody. A long and nicely fresh wine
that finishes very, very well. Should work.
De France – Airy and rather shut-up
aromas, but very freshly of blackcurrant fruit. Very
cool, blackcurrant domestic, forward fruit on the
palate. This is structured with very fine-grained,
tacky, paste-like tannin supporting a pleasing
freshness of fruit. Not so complex, but very
Haut Bergey – Just rather nutty aromas
emerge from the glass, along with some red and black
fruit. ENtyr is very, very plush and creamy, then
there are masses of drying, very fine tannins
(wood?). A long and mineral wine with a fresh acid
core. This is very hard work at the moment, but
Le Clarence de Haut Brion – N.B. 42%
Cab Sauv; 57% Merlot; 1% Cab Franc. A touch floral,
thnis, with plum-rich and spiced aromas, very dark.
Good snap here, too. Rather sweeter-smelling than the
Chapelle de La Mission. And there’s something a
touch earthy, like fresh tilth. Suave, cool entry,
quickly rich with crushed rock tannin. Long and this
picks up pretty intense grip. Very cool, backward
wine. That rockiness is paste-fine and grips coolly
but firmly for a very long time. Super-long, spiced
Haut Brion – N.B. 50% Merlot; 8% Cab
Franc; 42% Cab Sauv. Les mineral to smell, more on
the fruit of ripe black cherry, with sweet liquorice
notes. A fluid-cool, dark cherry and plum entry meets
the taster. Super-fine, paste-like tannins are held
within. This is really lively and the grip starts way
forward. Big stuff and fresh with it. Very, very long
and loaded with powdered gravel. Fabulous! A
Latour Martillac – Dark and pure nose
showing some smoky depths. Ripe – this is nice
– domestic cherry and dark fruit and
natural-seeming tannic support. Very cool and really
quite pretty. Tacky long and very good.
Malartic Magravière – Nose
here is completely out of sorts. A very cool wine of
very fine and tacky tannin. Good dense wine of
mineral, fresh grip. Very fine tacky tannin along its
length, then a sudden saline blast towards the
finish. Should work well.
Clos Marsalette – A scented nose of
glace fruits, red and black. And there’s a
floral aspect, too. Entry is plush and pillowy. This
is elegant and knit and very lovely. Long and very
straight, with a lovely persistence. Nice grip: fresh
and a touch gravelly.
La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion –
N.B. 30% Merlot; 25% Cab Franc; 45% Cab Sauv. Good
snap to the aromas here. There’s a touch of
menthol to the creamy-ripe black cherry and sweet
dark plum aromas. A hint of something like graphite,
plus liquorice. And a note of the wood also. This is
pretty compact and gravelly from near the front.
Loaded, this, with rich and rocky tannin. It becomes
peppery and with really quite fresh acidity. Very
long and structured wine. Fabulous finish. This is
cool and direct, with great energy and drive.
Stunning full dense finish.
La Mission Haut Brion – N.B. 56%
Merlot; 7% Cab Franc; 35% Cab Sauv. 15.1%abv. Dry,
blackcurrant nose showing the gravel. Nicely pure and
really quite a firm nose. Rich, dense and dark. Entry
is rich, cool and supple. Dense, and there’s a
sudden rhubarb note. The tannins are better covered
than in the 2nd wines; nutty, piquant and
upright, becoming peppery. Very nice sustain: an even
note until the full, tacky-rich, structured finish.
Very cool and direct wine of subtle assertiveness.
Very backward. An arrow.
Pape Clément – The usual
compote of mixed black summer berries, plush and
ripe. And plush and ripe also describes the entry,
along with masses of piquant, tacky tannin. This is
really quite grippy. A long wine and the finish is
really pretty serious. Domestic-dark, cherry-ish
fruits. As ever, this is a bit Magrez, but it’s
also very good indeed.
Pique Caillou – Floral and pretty,
ripe nose of blackcurrant purity. Almost has a cake
icing quality to the aromas. Very cool, with rich,
tacky tannins. A long wine, structured and with fresh
grip. Seems very good.
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Carbonnieux – Light and leafy cirus
(lemon) aromas. Pure enough. This is elegant and
controlled, with subtle grip and mineral density. A
very long wine, with fine, clean shape. Fabulous
finish. A stunner!
Chantegrive Cuvée Caroline –
Lovely purity of aromas taking in grapefruit and
lime leaves, plus a hint of struck match. The palate
is more on green orange and offers nice grip and
intent. This is very pretty and very pure. Some grip.
Domaine de Chevalier – Pungent and
complex nose of lime leaf and pear and herbs. Fruit
is rich; palate is rich. The plush entry gains
structure and seriousness quite quickly. This is
long, but the finish, whilst very long, spiced, dense
and mineral, is a touch closed. A big, serious and
age-worthy example with fine energetic through-put. A
Cos d’Estournel Blanc – N.B.
75% Sauvignon Blanc; 25% Semillon. Catty, crushed
Choisya leaf aromas. Firm acidity within this dense,
long wine. Nice presence here. Rocky minerals inside
the fruit. Long and straight and juicy-cool, with
fine sustain. Really good example.
Ferrande – Quite shy on the nose,
with just some lemon and lemon leaf scents emerging,
a touch herbal. A grippy, zippy, peary palate. Good
grip and length. Good wine.
De Fieuzal – Airy-fresh nose not
giving a great deal away: just a little green apple
fruit at present. Palate, on the other hand, is rich
and very tasty and quickly structured, with powdery,
mineral texture. Quite powerful push here, plus very
fine energy at the back. Super long. Very nice
De France Blanc – An airy-fresh nose
not giving a great deal away: just some wisps of
green apple fruit. The palate, however, is rich and
very tasty indeed and quickly structured with a
powdery mineral texture. Quite powerful through-put
here and very fine energy at the back of this
super-long wine. A fabulous example…and will
be great value.
G de Guiraud – Very nice, clean and
fresh wine with a touch of grapefruit and a hint of
Choisya. Lovely white currant fruit. Fab structure.
Wow, this is good…
Haut Bergey – Nothing much on the
nose: touch of something meaty (that chicken skin
thing). Palate is all about sweet pear and small
orange fruit, plush and forward. There’s some
guts to this, but it does seem very flatteur. Comes
across as a very early drinker…
Le Clarté de Haut Brion – Rich
nose, a touch toasted, showing complex aromas of lime
and kaffir lime leaves, citrus, green orange. Nicely
dense palate. Similarly flavours to the aromas.
Lasting note of lime leaves. Long and quite forward.
Haut Brion – Much more shy on the
nose than the La Mission. Herbal scents. Very green
orange and pear. There’s proper complexity
here. It is rich in the mouth and quite quickly
fresh. There’s aniseed at the core. More zip to
the grip. Becomes peppery. Very long and complex and
busy. Fabulous push and lovely flavours.
Latour Martillac – Rich nose.
There’s a hint of pineapple to the ripe pear
fruit. Very nice tension in the mouth. Peppery zip. A
dense and very spicy wine, long and backward. Very
nice. Needs time.
La Louvière – Nose is a touch
shy. There’s a hint of Golden Delicious. Palate
is rich and sweet, tasting of apple juice. Just lacks
a bit of energy…but it is delicious for
Malartic Lagravière – N.B. 85%
Sauvignon Blanc; 15% Semillon. Lovely fresh and clean
aromas of orchard fruits, a touch meaty. And
there’s rather nice energy through this. A very
apply wine; ripe and with decent acidity. Delicious
and a touch peppery. Quite forward.
Clos Marsalette – N.B. 65% Sauvignon
Blanc; 35% Semillon. Lovely clean, crisp pear aromas
here, a touch lemony. There are white currants and a
touch of earth about this. The palate is a little
creamy up front. Nicely dense and intense and stony.
Long and grippy. Very nice fruit flavour
Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux
– N.B. 14%abv. Pale straw in colour with
lime lights. Pungent nose: lovely, herb-rich, with
white peach and lemon/lime scents. Great upright,
slightly peppery palate with big mineral
density. Huge drive here, plus the grip. This is
La Mission Haut Brion Blanc – Nose of
crushed Choisya leaves withy some kaffir lime leaves
and aniseed. Finer and more direct than the
Clarté. A dense, mineral wine that powers
through its length. Great sustained grip here. Very
long, with a lemon/lime push at the core. Bit less
density than the HK at the finish, but it is perhaps
Pape Clément – Sauvignon
Choisya notes are rich and a touch orangy. A little
creamy, this. Decent concentration, then very
incisive, peppery finish. Really painful death. This
cuts like a rapier at the back. Seems pretty
Pique Caillou – Exotic mélange
of citrus fruits. Oranges and limes. Oranges are the
main flavour, too. Some density here. Long and rocky
and clean. Good wine.
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D’Arche – Lovely aromas loaded
with botrytis, along with scents of haystacks,
pineapple chunks and spice. Really rich nose. This is
dense and intense. Nicely crunchy wine. Long and the
grip arrives at the back. Crisp, tangy, gingery
Bastor Lamontagne – Aromas of lemon
and lemon flowers. Very fresh wine of some botrytis.
This is very nice, with some rock-like minerality at
the core. Just fades a little, perhaps, at the
Broustet – Merest whiff of a nose:
some spice, is all. Spiced palate, too: almost a
curried wine! Piquant minerality. Lacking a touch of
freshness on the warm finish.
Coutet – Nose is all about mixed
citrus fruits and there’s a hint of toast from
the wood. Nice energy here. An elegant, spicy wine,
nutty and long. Takes on some minerals throughout to
a nicely grippy finish.
Doisy Daëne – Very gingery,
lemon aromas, plus the botrytis. There’s a real
weal of lime-y fruit through this. A spicy wine, long
and gaining in intensity. Lovely grippy acidity, too.
This is fabulous.
Doisy Védrines – A scented
wine. Citrus leaf aromas nuance what are really quite
Sauvignon Blanc aromas. Lime cordial and fresh-cut
ginger. The palate is rich and gingery: really very
spicy. There’s a firm mineral core from which
nice acid tension emerges. Very long and spicy
De Fargues – A rich and richly nutty
nose of slightly waxy Semillon fruit. There’s a
very rich weal of ripe fruit across the tongue.
Nutty, poached pear fruit. Rich and mineral and this
picks up intensity, becoming a great push through the
palate. This is really fine. Very spicy, with dry,
grippy, mineral earth at the end.
Guiraud – Lovely floral, airy nose,
very spring-like! This is a rich and highly
structured wine; some tannin, even. Nice attack and
direction. There’s intent and grip here. Long
and juicy-fresh. Again, this is a fabulous wine. The
finish tastes of fresh lime juice.
2nd showing – A richly botrytised
wine. Lemon and lime fruit, inc lime cordial.
There’s mint here too. The palate, a sweet weal
of delicious, exotic, citrus fruit. Candied lemon,
peach and nut. Quite peppery, this. Long and really
intense and mineral. Just fabulous.
Clos Haut Peyraguey – Very rich nose
full of fat peary fruit and nutty botrytis. Smells
delicious. On the tongue, this offers supple,
peary-flowing fruit. An elegant and persistent wine
of lovely tension and length. Wheaten flavours and
this is mineral at the core. Very long and lovely.
Another top wine!
Lafaurie Peyraguey – Lovely floral
aromas: daffodils. Densely smelling of white flowers
and citrus. A fresh and backward wine of very
spicy/nutty grip. Long and really rather fabulous.
One of the best, this. Very juicy death. Yes!
De Malle – Lovely, peary spiced nose
of some richness. Palate is rich, too: concentrated
and nutty/spicy. And it offers a good, purposeful
finish. Perhaps just lacks something in between? Very
spicy at the back. Would like to see
De Myrat – This is completely out of
sorts and, IMO, untasteable. What a shame.
Rabaud Promis – Toffee and spice
aromas. Pretty lemon oil fresh and a hint of
bitterness. Rich and fresh wine of excellent tension.
Becomes dry and really freshly lime-y grippy. Very
Rayne Vigneau – Really nutty and
fresh nose. And the palate is dense and straight and
finely wrought. Direct wine with easy grip and
Rieussec – Nutty, nicely focused
nose, but not that pronounced. This is very, very
rich indeed in the mouth. Fruit is fleshy and, at
this stage, quite loose. Doesn’t have the drive
of some though. And the finish is really
peppery/spicy. Would like to look at this again.
Sigalas Rabaud – Airy nose of peary
fruit. Pear drop flavours. This is dry and direct and
very long. Great mineral sustain to this. Nicely
fresh wine. I like this. It has real intent about
Suduiraut – (tasted at Pichon Baron)
N.B. 94% Semillon; 6% Sauvignon Blanc. 138g/ltr
sugar. 5 tries starting 4/9, ending 27/10. Lots of
clean, nutty botrytis overlays lime meringue pie and
ripe apple fruit. Smells utterly delicious! Palate is
dense, fresh and lime-y. There are mineral notes
here. Long wine that becomes a touchy toasty. Good
structure and control here. Could drink early, but
will keep very well.
La Tour Blanche – Rather shy nose:
just some orange and grapefruit scents. Silky entry,
then flavours of botrytis. This becomes really dry
and nutty. Long. Fabulous intense, nutty death, a
touch toasted. Lovely.
Yquem – The colour is a very pretty
lime-tinged gold, quite pale. Super-rich nose of
lemon meringue pie and spice. So much here. Apricot,
orange and mint, but much else besides. The palate
offers a very, very rich weal of ripe citrus (orange;
lemon) fruit with a mineral core within. Some
freshness to the honey and blossom flavours. Lasting
taste of small oranges. Minerals form the structure.
Very, very long wine. Quite stunning.
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Carillon d’Angélus – Rather
a shy nose, red and black. The palate is a fine paste
with big grip that takes hold. Fresh and long and
pretty big stuff. Very fine nutty tannins. Very long
wine. Should be good.
Angélus – Scented, smoky and very
black nose of nori and cola and black cherry with
something intriguingly floral. Palate is very, very
rich, but credible, with upright, tacky-fresh tannin.
Hugely direct and intentful. Very, very long and
super-cool. Really confident and direct. A very fresh
and puissant example showing black cherry and salt
flavours., Pretty amazing stuff. I wonder how it will
– N.B. 45%
Merlot; 45% Cab Franc; 10% Cab Sauv. Really firm nose
of graphite and black plum, with hints of dried herbs
and blackcurrant. Entry is plush and creamy becoming
structured with very fine, integrated-fresh, upright
tannins. Very, very elegant wine, straight and
controlled. A subtle thing and very lovely with it.
Finishes confidently, yet not a big thing. Fine grip.
– N.B. 50% Merlot; 50% Cab
Franc. Masses of summer flowers and red and black
cherry fruit with a note of orange within. Rich,
plush entry. This is fresh from the off.
There’s a slightly peppery quality to the
limestone, sustained grip. Very minerally-fresh wine.
Highly controlled sustain here. And incisive
peppery-mineral grip, almost capsaicin-like. And
elegant, very impressive example.
Balestard La Tonnelle – Odd,
completely out of sorts nose. Very tangy/sour. Rich
and complete and tangy palate. Juicy, really incisive
acidity. Long, knit and with peppery death. Tacky,
long and assertive. Just hard to taste today.
Barde Haut – Touch of smoke and
something minty-fresh here. Rich aromas that include
new leather and red and black, creamy fruit. Palate
is cool and creamy and elegant, with integrated,
tacky-fine tannin. Fresh, lasting grip here. Real
presence at the back. Very nice. I like it.
Beauséjour (Duffau-Lagarosse) –
The nose is a very dark, smoky, pot pourri of very
dark fruits. Singed gingerbread crust. Quite piquant.
Pure black cherry fruit; creamy, rich and cool wine
rich and long and cool and minerally
grippy…but integrated. Great drive and
direction with a fabulous lift at the back.
Bellevue – Black nose of seaweed and
very peppery, black, mineral fruit. Dark, with very
pure sweet black cherry and plum fruit. Masses of
wood tannins. This becomes super-mineral and intense.
Lovely cool fruit. Long sustain and sizeable grip.
Highly piquant and nippy wine. Should be very good,
but oof, it’s an assault at present.
Berliquet – Chocolaty-rich nose with
some very fresh red fruit and red liquorice aromas.
This is a bit closed and rather hard to evaluate
2nd showing – Very cool, black
cherry fruit, plus a hint of nut. Grippy and a touch
creamy, but well controlled from the front. Great
sustain. Very long and juicy, with real power at the
Canon – N.B. 72% Merlot; 28% Cab
Franc. 14.5%abv. This note from the barrel: Very
deeply coloured. Lovely elegant apple blossom, clay
and black cherry aromas. Just delicious cool and
dense entry. A complete wine, loaded with integrated,
very fine tannin, tacky. Finely balanced acidity.
This is chocker, but elegant, mineral and very, very
long. This note from the winery sample: Sweet dark
cherry, pure fruit aromas. A cool and elegant wine
with a fresh core. Mouthcoating, but suave and tacky
with grip. Very long and mineral. Fabulous juiciness
at the end.
Canon La Gaffelière – The nose
is rather shy, just hinting at some dried flower
aromas. This is really quite firm and cool from the
off. Tannins are fine, rich and tacky/rocky. A cool
and controlled wine, very long and with great intent
and a red fruit juiciness. Very long. Lovely.
Cheval Blanc – N.B. 45% Cab Franc;
55% Merlot. Subtle nose, with pipe tobacco spice,
black cherry and dark flowers. Very Cab Franc nose. A
regal thing to smell, of red- and blackcurrants.
Violet touch here and a hint of the wood. Plush entry
quickly becomes spicy, then the cool structure.
There’s a mineral lift of spiced grip well
sustained. Blackcurrant ripeness. This is one very,
very elegant example. There’s a core of firm
acidity that adds lift. Super-long wine of mineral,
rocky grip. Fabulous.
La Clotte – N.B. 80% Merlot; 15% Cab
Franc; 5% Cab Sauv. Really pungent aromas of sweet
wet pipe tobacco and citrus/orange notes to the black
plum fruit. This is fresh right through, with very
juicy acidity. A long wine with a fabulous swathe of
fine tannin. Very long. Very cool and elegant.
Stunning wine with a very juicy death.
La Couspaude – Spiced nose, a touch
saline, of red and black fruit of cherry and plum.
Quite woody, this. A touch creamy, then quickly tacky
with wood tannin and their grip. Hm.
Dassault – There’s a hint of
graphite to the slightly floral black cherry fruit.
Lots of spice here. Lush entry, then emergent mineral
spine with tacky grip. Quite a classy example, this.
A long wine of good control and freshness.
La Dominique - Very hard nose that
shows a citrus aspect to the fresh black fruit. Touch
of liquorice about it. This is rich and structured
right through. Lots of wood tannins here. A long wine
with very juicy grip. Seems good, but it’s very
hard work today., Hmm.
Clos l’Eglise – Almost black
wine. Nose is not that pronounced: biut of black
cherry, ripe fruit. Highly structured with big,
tacky-fine, rich tannins. Cool and a touchy orangy.
Very long. WAIT! Fresh…
De Fonbel – N.B. 80% Merlot; 10% Cab
Sauv; 5% Carmenère; 5% Petit Verdot. This is
also floral, but the fruit more on a damson tang with
the black chery. There’s a candied note here.
The palate has freshness right through it from front
to back. Very cool and direct wine. Parallel and
juicy-fresh. There’s clay-like minerality that
really grips. And that grip is lasting and tacky.
Clos Fourtet – Rich, smoky nose
that’s not that pronounced. But there is a nice
liqueur of ripe, dark fruit, plus a hint of something
saline: nori? Plush and rich entry. A long and very,
very mineral wine. Medium plus acidity at the core.
Tacky and very long and cool, the finish layered and
incisive and juicy-fresh.
Franc Mayne – A high-toned, rather
pretty nose of really tangy, very domestic plum
fruit. Even a hint of strawberry here. A rich wine
with a tangy core. Very, very fresh, with lots of
credible, rich and rocky tannins. Very, very long and
juicily grippy. Like it.
La Gaffelière – Lovely
raspberry pie nose. This is controlled and knit with
high, credible, rather lovely tannins buried within
plum-rich, fresh fruit. Grippy fresh and very long
and elegant wine. Lovely.
Grand Mayne – This smells rather
over-ripe and a bit prune-y. Comes across as picked
too late, although there’s some acidity there.
Don’t think this will age.
Haut Sarpe – N.B. 70% Merlot; 30% Cab
Franc. Very rich and black and smoky nose with an
iodine note. Plum. Palate is creamy dark with fine,
mineral, steady grip. Straight and sustained. The
fruit is very ripe. There are lots of fine, nutty,
integrated tannins and a great, intense push at the
Haut Simard – N.B. 60% Merlot; 40%
Cab Franc. Quite high-toned this. There’s a
hint of ink and earth to the very black plum fruit.
The palate offers super-integrated, very fine tacky
tannins and the sweet black cherry/plum fruit. Fresh
and with lovely take-off at the end. Superb, fresh,
Larcis Ducasse – Smells of the swdeet
shop! Dark bon-bons, mulberry and sweet plum. Cake
icing. Cool and creamy, but direct with lots of wood
tannins. Yet this is integrated and very long. Really
pretty intense, this. Oof. KEEP!
La Mondotte – Very nice nose,
mineral, of red and black aristo fruit. There are
complex depths here and a citrus (orange) freshness
and a hint of walnut. Fruit on the palate is cool and
very domestic; well reserved and shapely and gains
dimension and juice and minerality. Massive length
here. This is loaded with legant structure. A very
persistent wine. The finish is other-worldly. Peppery
at last. Lovely stuff…
Moulin Saint Georges – N.B. 80%
Merlot; 20% Cab Franc. Oak here on the nose: a milk
chocolate aromas, plus the lightly floral, sweet,
dark plum fruit that’s a touch inky. Entry is
plush, black and pillowy-cool. Then it becomes
direct, with a spine of limestone. A long wine of
very good sustain.
Pavie Macquin – Smoky-dark aromas
that include a tangy cola note and something briary.
Ooh, this is backward and tacky with very fresh
structure. Very hard to evaluate. A bit fishy
mid-palate…to a saline death. Very long and
very juicy. Hm. Think so…but hard to see
Poésia - Pronounced floral
aromas are very sweet Wistaria? There’s real
spice, too, to the red and black fruit. Rich and a
touch roasted. The palate offers cool fruit,
structured right through, with fine, rich, mineral
tannins and really juicy acidity. Tangy-crisp, pure
black plum fruit. Very long and energetic.
Quinault l’Enclos – N.B. 19%
Cab Sauv; 12% Cab Franc; 69% Merlot. Very fresh red
and black fruits, largely of red plum. Good tang to
the aromas: touch of cranberry, perhaps. Plush, cool,
red fruit entry. This is cool and a touch orangy.
Forward, knit and shapely. Very, very elegant and
nicely long wine. Super energy and lift at the
Le Dragon de Quintus – N.B. 76%
Merlot; 23% Cab Franc; 1% Cab Sauv. Dark,
liquorice-inflected brambly-fresh nose. Then a sweet
bramble/cherry entry, which soon gathers very piquant
spicy-firm minerality. There’s a touch of
warmth here and mild tannins come together into
nippy-fine grip at the end. Long and warm wine. The
fruit seems cool enough. Nice drink.
Quintus – N.B. 76% Merlot; 24% Cab
Franc. This was Tertre Daugay and
l’Arrosée. 15.2%abv. Sweet plum and
bramble aromas of decent focus. And there’s
something a touch medicinal here, plus dark flowers
and something herbal. Entry is plush, cool, dark
dew-fresh plum. There are very fine clay-like
minerals at the core. Really juicy at heart. Pushes
forward well and there’s good energy at the
death. Very long, with a rather fabulous finish.
Clos de l’Oratoire – Delightful
sweet black cherry aromas of great purity. Hint
floral and very delicious smelling. A rich entry of
pure, domestic, black plum fruit. After a while,
chalky tannins. This starts to grip freshly and
there’s a cool thrust at the back. Very nice,
tacky grip. Nutty death. Very good drive here. Can
drink soon or keep.
Saintem – N.B. 100% Merlot. Rich and
snappy and red and black. Touch nutty. This has real
presence in the mouth. Rich, integrated, tacky-fine
tannin. Upright and really fresh structure becoming
very grippy. Cool wine, good and assertive.
Simard – N.B. 80% Merlot; 20% Cab
Franc. Very floral black cherry fruit nose: really
pungent and very tangy aromas. Creamy-cool and plush
entry. Then nutty, very fine tannins. This is long
and quite forward. Really juicy acidity at its heart
and then through to the juicy death.
Troplong Mondot – Smoky-dark and
intense nose. Umami aromas. Palate is crisp and dark
and rich. Creamy-cool entry and very fine, piquant
tannins. Long and impressive.
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Beauregard – Nice nose: lots of
toasty wood plus red and black fresh plum fruit. Very
nice density and something high-toned here. A touch
liqueur-like. Cool palate. A flavour of chocolate
orange. Very fine, piquant, grippy tannins. Very
juicy acidity. Very long and lovely. Intense at the
Bon Pasteur – Big, rich, chocolaty
sort of a nose with a hint of something saline. Dark
plum spread of a palate. Big, rich, chocolaty palate.
Could be fresher. I don’t find it terribly
interesting, at least not at this stage.
La Cabanne – Creamy-ripe, with
a clay-like aroma to the fresh black cherry
fruit. Plush and juicy, with energetic through-put.
Fabulous acidity. Needs some time. Long. Very nice
and very juicy.
Clinet – Touch shy. Iodine-dark spice
and black bramble fruit. Quite hard work at the
moment, but very nice juicy acidity. Masses of wood
tannins. Very long and busy wine. TIME!
Duo de Conseillante – Floral aromas
in a higher register. Pure black cherry fruit and
something herbal here. A rich and mouthfilling wine
giving sweet cherry and sweet tobacco fruit. Rich and
super-fine silky tannin; long and minerally cool.
Really pure and very elegant with mineral piquancy at
La Conseillante – Rich aromas of
bonfires ands bacon fat and complex black
fruits: tangy, smoky damson. There’s a
clay-like scent, too. There’s something saline
here on this very cool palate. Masses of tacky, very
upright, piquant-rocky tannins and a core of juicy
acidity. Firm through-pout and a touch of warmth.
Cashmere structure. Long and packed. Fabulous.
Croix de Gay – Big, clay-like,
spicy-dark aromas of chocolate and cocoa and bramble,
with a hint of orange. Entry is plush. Grip is
mineral and really lively. A long wine, fresh, direct
and intentful. Very mineral, tacky tannins. I like
Petite Eglise - N.B. 100% Merlot.
Very lovely and floral aromas of black plums.
Stunning nose, regal and dark and tangy. A rich wine,
incisive and tacky and purely of black cherry fruit.
There’s fine, piquant and really spicy
minerality to this very direct wine of excellent
energy. A delight.
Eglise Clinet – N.B. 90% Merlot; 10%
Cab Franc. Natural-looking, very deep colour. A touch
closed on the nose, this. Some very pure red and
especially black fruit of black cherry, plus the
spice of wet pipe tobacco. This goes in the mouth
plush and lush and steadily gains in depoth and
intensity. This is tacky with nutty, mouth-coating
tannin, then really determined grip. Cool wine. Wow.
The finish is huge: highly structured, too. Very
mineral. Very, very long and very fabulous.
Evangile - N.B. 84% Merlot; 16% Cab
Franc. 14.8%abv. Very dark, very pure, lovely aromas
of bramble fruit. This has an almost star anise
spiciness to the aromas. Rich-but-cool, plush bramble
entry. Lovely domestic fruit cage flavours; brambles.
Very pure. Tacky-cool tannin emerges, really glue-y.
Lovely flavours. Structured, nutty-rich, busy and
Gazin – Lots of smoky bacon wood here
and lovely smoky-dark cherry/plum fresh fruit, ripe
and sweet. Plush entry, but very quickly becomes
evident that there’s a great deal of tannin at
the core: very fine, mineral tannins. Great powerful
push at the end. Quite fresh enough. Very long wine
of great intent and vigour. Big, rather fabulous
Petit Village – N.B. 71% Merlot; 20%
Cab Franc; 9% Cab Sauv. Tasted at Pichon Baron:
Rather shy, but fresh and juicy wine of excellent
density. Very pure and delicious fresh black fruit.
Something Médocain here (that Sab Sauv?). PV
is getting better and better. Tasted at the UGC
Pomerol tasting: Airy, dark and lovely black cherry
and chocolate aromas. This is dry with wood tannin. A
long and massively grippy wine. Hard to taste, but
will work out, I feel.
La Pointe – Juicy, rhubarb-inflected
red and black fruit, a touch creamy. Cool, supple
entry, then burly-fresh with chunky tannins. Very
long wine of fresh grip and a blackcurrant
Vieux Château Certan – N.B. 80%
Merlot; 19% Cab Franc; 1% Cab Sauv. Spicy-firm, dark
nose. There aqre some dried flowers to the black
cherry and blackcurrant fruit, plus a distinct aroma
of graphite. Suave and cool entry of lightly creamy,
dark fruit. The grip is mineral and starts quite far
forward. Not big, this, but lovely, with cool sustain
and with a burst of domestic red- and blackcurrant
fruit in the mid-palate. This is rockily mineral.
Fabulous sustained level grip. Graphite pushes
through. Delicious, proper VCC of Cab Franc
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Other Right Bank
Côtes de Castillon
– Nose a rich and dark liqueur. Brambles and
clay; very dense and dark and a touch smoky. Very
dense, rich and not without intent from the front.
Wow. This is stunning. Big and busy finish. Fabulous,
domestic, dense; very long and busy and mineral.
La Chenade, Lalande-de-Pomerol – N.B.
80% Merlot; 20% Cab Franc. Lovely nose, tangy and
clay-like aromas of very pretty fruit. Fresh and
pure. The palate is really tangy from the off. Fresh
and quite compact wine of very upright, fresh tannin
and high grip. Really quite rocky. Very long and
intense. Very fresh, juicy and backward. Direct
Les Cruzelles, Lalande-de-Pomerol –
Rich and dark and chocolaty nose of cherry fruit.
Very cool and plush on entry, with nutty, incisive
tannins later. Long and red and black and very fresh.
Very tacky. Long and loaded with structure.
La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande-de-Pomerol
– Very smoky from the wood. The palate is
rich and tacky from the fruit and there’s a
very fine-grained glue of tannin. The fruit is pretty
fresh. Very long. Very good, I think.
Le Plus de La Fleur de Boüard,
Lalande-de-Pomerol – Smoky, dark fruit
of bramble and plum. There’s a hint of cola
about the plum fruit flavours. High mineral structure
to this and lots of wood tannins. Long, tacky and
intense wine. Very modern. I like the fruit. Keep
Montlandrie, Côtes-de-Castillon –
N.B. 75% Merlot; 20% Cab Franc; 5% Cab Sauv.
Pungent aromas of black cherry density: very fresh
fruit and wet tobacco. Tangy cherry skins and a hint
of chocolate. Cool, suave wine. Very cool, the
chocolate tannins are upright to a piquant
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