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2015 Bordeaux – The Whole Story

 

 


My tasting this year at Château Palmer in Margaux

 

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 information.

 

 

 

 

 

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 ravishing.

 

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 Poyferré

 

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 ’15.

 

 

 

 

 

The well-managed château of Beauregard in Pomerol

 

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 the hierarchy.


The 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 reading them.

 

Click on the commune names to go to the relevant section:

 

St Estèphe

Pauillac

St Julien

Margaux

Other Left Bank

Pessac-Léognan

Dry Whites
Sauternes/Barsac

St Emilion

Pomerol

Other Right Bank

 

 

St Estèphe

 

Marquis de CalonN.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 SégurN.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 mucho!

 

CapbernN.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 long.

 

Pagodes de CosA 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’EstournelFloral, 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 LaboryA pretty, blackcurrant wine of elegant shape. Everything’s integrated here. It has structure, but is essentially quite forward. Lunch anyone?

 

Le CrockLovely 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 finish.

 

Lafon RochetInstantly, 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 LadouysThe 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.

 

MeyneyA 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 MontroseN.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.

 

MontroseN.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. Just fabulous.

 

De PezDark 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 SégurWild 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 PezRichly 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 fabulous.

 

Tronquoy LalandeN.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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Pauillac

 

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, crunchy death.

 

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 wine.

 

BatailleyNose 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 structure. Fabulous.

 

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 RothschildNutty 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 DucasseThis 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 LacosteReally 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 LafiteThere’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 RothschildWalnut 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 LatourN.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.

 

LatourFloral 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 indeed.

 

Lynch BagesPretty 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 fine example.

 

Le Petit MoutonRich 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 RothschildN.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.

 

PedesclauxN.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. Lovely.

 

Les Griffons de Pichon BaronN.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 BaronN.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 ComtesseN.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 LalandeN.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. Lovely wine.

 

Pontet CanetQuite 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 so. Yes.

 

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St Julien

 

BeychevelleCrunchy-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 DucruTouch 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 BeaucaillouN.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 BeaucaillouN.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 LaroseLovely, 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.

 

LagrangeLovely 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 BorieN.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 BartonFloral, 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 BartonDarker 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 nice!

 

Léoville LascasesDark 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 MarquisN.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 PoyferréA 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 wood…

 

Saint PierreVery 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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Margaux

 

AngludetLovely 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 CantenacVery 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. Fabulous!

 

Cantenac BrownN.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.

 

DauzacPiquant, 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 wine.

 

DesmirailReally 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.

 

GiscoursNot 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’IssanN.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!

 

IssanThere’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.

 

KirwanFloral 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 good example.

 

LabégorceAromas 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 ending.

 

LascombesAlmost 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 moment…

 

Pavillon Rouge du Château MargauxN.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!

 

MargauxN.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 this…

 

Malescot St ExupéryNot 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.

 

MonbrisonNice 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 PalmerN.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.

 

PalmerN.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 LichineLots of dried flower aromas, plus mulberry fruit. A cool wine, a touch creamy. Dense, with a rocky structure. Lovely powerful push.

 

Rauzan GassiesNose 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 SéglaFloral 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…

 

SiranA 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 very good.

 

Du TertreLovely 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-MédocThere 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-MédocRich, 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-MédocReally 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.

 

CharmailVery 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 elegantly.

 

Chasse Spleen, Moulis-en-MédocVery 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 here.

 

Fourcas Hosten, ListracDark 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, MédocRich 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 wine.

 

La Lagune, Haut-MédocThe 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, structured finish.

 

Chapelle de Potensac, MédocVery 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-MédocVery 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 long.

 

La Tour de By, MédocThere’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-MédocNose 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. Err?

 

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Pessac-Léognan

 

BouscautLots 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!

 

CarbonnieuxVery 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 BrionN.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.

 

ChantegriveLifted, 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 ChevalierNose 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. Delicious!

 

FerrandeDark 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 FieuzalThis 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 FranceAiry 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 drinkable.

 

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 should work…


Le Clarence de Haut BrionN.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 finish.  

 

Haut BrionN.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 rock…

 

Latour MartillacDark 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 MagravièreNose 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 MarsaletteA 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 BrionN.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 BrionN.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 ClémentThe 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 CaillouFloral 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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Dry Whites

 

CarbonnieuxLight 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 CarolineLovely 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. Nice wine.

 

Domaine de ChevalierPungent 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 fabulous example.

 

Cos d’Estournel BlancN.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.

 

FerrandeQuite 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 FieuzalAiry-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 indeed.

 

De France BlancAn 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 GuiraudVery 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 BergeyNothing 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 BrionRich 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. Very tasty.

 

Haut BrionMuch 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 MartillacRich 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 LouvièreNose 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 drinking soon…

 

Malartic LagravièreN.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 MarsaletteN.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 throughout.

 

Pavillon Blanc de Château MargauxN.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 completely lovely.

 

La Mission Haut Brion BlancNose 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 more elegant.

 

Pape ClémentSauvignon 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 good.

 

Pique CaillouExotic 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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Sauternes/Barsac

 

D’ArcheLovely 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 fruit. Fabulous!

 

Bastor LamontagneAromas 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 death…

 

BroustetMerest 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.

 

CoutetNose 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 DaëneVery 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 VédrinesA 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 death.

 

De FarguesA 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.

 

GuiraudLovely 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 PeyragueyVery 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 PeyragueyLovely 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 MalleLovely, 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 again…

 

De MyratThis is completely out of sorts and, IMO, untasteable. What a shame.

 

Rabaud PromisToffee 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 good.

 

Rayne VigneauReally nutty and fresh nose. And the palate is dense and straight and finely wrought. Direct wine with easy grip and tension. Fabulous!

 

RieussecNutty, 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 RabaudAiry 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 it.

 

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 BlancheRather 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.

 

YquemThe 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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St Emilion

 

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 turn out…

 

Chapelle d’Ausone – 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. Super stuff.

 

Ausone – 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 TonnelleOdd, 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 HautTouch 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. Fabulous.

 

BellevueBlack 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.

 

BerliquetChocolaty-rich nose with some very fresh red fruit and red liquorice aromas. This is a bit closed and rather hard to evaluate today.

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 finish.

 

CanonN.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 GaffelièreThe 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 BlancN.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 ClotteN.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 CouspaudeSpiced 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.

 

DassaultThere’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’EgliseAlmost 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 FonbelN.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 FourtetRich, 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 MayneA 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 GaffelièreLovely 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 MayneThis 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 SarpeN.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 back.

 

Haut SimardN.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, structured ending.

 

Larcis DucasseSmells 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 MondotteVery 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 GeorgesN.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 MacquinSmoky-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 it.

 

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’EnclosN.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 back.

 

Le Dragon de QuintusN.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.

 

QuintusN.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’OratoireDelightful 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.

 

SaintemN.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.

 

SimardN.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 MondotSmoky-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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Pomerol

 

BeauregardNice 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 back.

 

Bon PasteurBig, 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 CabanneCreamy-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.

 

ClinetTouch 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 ConseillanteFloral 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 the death.

 

La ConseillanteRich 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 GayBig, 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 this…

 

Petite EgliseN.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 ClinetN.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.

 

EvangileN.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 pure. Lovely.

 

GazinLots 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 Pomerol.

 

Petit VillageN.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 PointeJuicy, 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 finish.

 

Vieux Château CertanN.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 distinction.

 

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Other Right Bank

 

Aiguilhe Côtes de CastillonNose 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-PomerolN.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 wine.

 

 

Les Cruzelles, Lalande-de-PomerolRich 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-PomerolVery 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-PomerolSmoky, 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 it…

 

Montlandrie, Côtes-de-CastillonN.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 ending.

 

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