Bordeaux in March/April 2002
My opinion of 2001 vintage? It's a classic Bordeaux, lighter and more concentrated than in 2000. The fruit (red wine) is also different. 2000 is a year of dark berries (blackberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants), while 2000 is a year of red fruit (raspberries and cranberries). Two thousand one red wines are also incredibly aromatic, fresh, and balanced.
The tannins are far from that fat and silky compared to 2000 because weather conditions were responsible for this. 2001 tannin appears as it used to be in classic Bordeaux vintages - strong, edgy, and rustic. My experience tells me that maturing in oak will soften and round its edges.
2001 is a significantly better vintage than both 1997 and 1999. It may turn out better than in 1998. And I'm sure that 2001 wines will even be more surprising in a positive way when in the bottle. Are they wines to keep? Here I'll claim that the best wines can easily keep for 20-25 years, while the lower-classified wines are good for 12-16 years in the cellar.
Sauvignon Blanc reached a rare grade of perfect maturity – pickers ate grapes because they were luscious and sweet. Harvesters rarely eat Sauvignon Blanc grapes because this variety usually has a pretty tarty taste. The other important variety, Semillon, was also harvested in perfectly ripe shape. That's why 2001 vintage is so remarkable for dry white wines in Bordeaux. Regarding quality, 2001 is very close to 1998 and 2000, two exceptional vintages for white Bordeaux.
Domaine de Chevalier (what refinement and finesse) was enormously impressed for 96+p, and Pape Clement (incredibly complex and refined). 94p. Haut Bergey (exceptionally full-bodied and well-structured) was memorable and got 93p, Smith Haut-Lafitte (refined and with sheer elegance) got 92p, and de Fieuzal (powerful and well-structured) received 91p.
The following wines were splendid and deserved 90p: Carbonnieux (intense aroma of peach/acacia and long on the palate), Chantegrive (full-bodied and well-composed), La Louviere (a lot of character and well-structured), Latour Martillac (intense aroma of acacia flower and long aftertaste), Malartic Lagraviere (refined and elegant) and Picque Caillou (charming and very elegant).
Red wines couldn't match the great success of whites, but there's nothing to be ashamed of. They're significantly lighter than their "brothers" and "sisters" from 1998 and 2000, but they compensate for it with fresh fruit, elegance, and finesse.
Haut Bergey (very complex and with exquisite structure) reached 92p, and La Louviere (juicy and delicious on the palate) received 91p, de Fieuzal (intense and concentrated), Domaine de Chevalier (sheer finesse and elegance) and de France (perfectly ripe fruit and long aftertaste) got each 90+p.
Carbonnieux (elegant and with finesse), Les Carmes de Haut Brion (intense ripe blackcurrants and fine length), Chantegrive (full-bodied with sun-ripe fruit), Haut Bailly (compact and aroma of violets), Malartic Lagraviere (succulent and with splendid balance), Pape Clement (succulent and strong), Picque Caillou (gracious and charming) and Smith Haut Lafitte (powerful and well-structured), got altogether well-deserved 89p.
Sauternes & Barsac
A stunningly exceptional vintage! Botrytis cinerea had optimal conditions for carrying out its work - was helped a lot by perfect weather (warm days, cool nights, and almost no wind) and perfectly mature grapes. Wines show extremely well-developed botrytis, extraordinary richness, finesse and refinement, and a breathtakingly delicate balance between sweetness and acidity. Whoa!
All the mentioned wines here were tasted blind.
De Malle (perfect botrytis, enormous body, and fantastic sweetness) hit the bull's eye with its 97p, and so did Sigalas Rabaud (very concentrated and incredibly refined). 95+p. Clos Haut Peyraguey (fabulous botrytis and extremely complex) and Nairac (super elegant and super-refined) got both 94p, while Romer du Hayot (powerful and full-bodied) was very satisfied with 93p.
Broustet (honeyed and very refined on the palate), Doisy Vedrines (splendid botrytis and big body), Lafaurie Peyraguey (incredibly nuanced and sophisticated), La Tour Blanche (lovely and refined), and Suduiraut (very luscious and extremely well-balanced), were all honored with 92+p.
Bastor Lamontagne (a lot of character and full-bodied), Doisy Daene (beautiful botrytis and sheer elegance), Guiraud (rich, intense, and incredibly harmonious), Lamothe Guignard and de Myrat (splendid sweetness and balance) impressed a lot, and got 92p.
Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and several lower-classified wines from AOC Haut-Médoc, succeeded well in 2001, especially with a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon.
In Moulis, Chasse-Spleen (full-bodied, aromatic, and harmonious) and Poujeaux (reminded a lot of Chasse-Spleen) were very impressive. 91p for both.
From AOC Haut-Médoc, Belgrave (ripe berries and great complexity), Camensac (full-bodied, well-structured, and with pure elegance), and Coufran (as impressive as Belgrave and Camensac) were instant hits worth 90+p. La Lagune (aromatic and finesse) with 89+p and La Tour de By (fresh blackcurrants fruit, aromatic and harmonious) with 89p tasted simply terrific. Clarke from Listrac impressed with splendid structure and harmony and deserved its 90p.
In Margaux, Lascombes was brilliant with magnificently composed and complex wine and received 92p. Rausan Segla was compact, tasty, and well-balanced and got 91+p, du Tertre, with its delicious and luscious fruit, pure finesse, and elegance, was worth all its 91p. Brane Cantenac greatly impressed me with its beautiful aroma of ripe berries, big body, and long aftertaste. 91p. Cantenac Brown (91p), Siran (90+p), Marquis de Terme (90p), d'Angludet (89p), and Prieure Lichine (89p) were all splendid wines with fine structure, finesse, and exquisite balance.
In Saint-Julien, Leoville Barton showed great complexity, many ripe blackcurrants and raspberries, refinement, and much finesse. Rings simply the bell with its 94p. Branaire was irresistible and catchy with its delicious fruit. 93p. Leoville Poyferre (violets, ripe tannin, and strong structure) got 92p, while Lagrange and Talbot, both getting 91p, had a beautiful aroma of violets and tasted deliciously of cherries.
In Pauillac, Pichon Baron stole the show; it was very fruity, superbly concentrated, and intense—well-deserved 94p. The always reliable Lynch Bages was also stunning and got 92p, while Haut Bages Liberal had many nuances and tasted like a dream worth 91p.
In Saint-Éstephe, Phelan Segur had a delicate aroma, structure, and complexity. 90/100p. Cos Labory (88-89p) and Lafon Rochet (88p) were powerful, robust, and edgy.
Here, 2001-wines aren't entirely up to level with 1998 and 2000. Quality is different everywhere in the district. Light structure, elegance, and finesse are characteristic of many wines.
Cheval Blanc (aristocratic and with many nuances) got 93+p, while Belair (mega aromatic and full of finesse) fully deserved its 93p. Beausejour Duffau (as always very classic and sophisticated) and Trottevieille (refined and with impressive finesse) were very happy for 92p.
Angelus (finesse and long aftertaste), Beau-Sejour Becot (aromatic and full-bodied), Clos Fourtet (well-composed with many nuances), La Gaffeliere (corpulent and very harmonious), La Mondotte (muscular and fat), Pavie (happily not over-extracted as I feared) and Canon-La-Gaffeliere (complex and very nuanced) performed splendidly at 91p.
Clos de L'Oratoire, Corbin Michotte, Grand Mayne, and Larcis Ducasse were extraordinarily aromatic and got 90-91p. At the same time, Cap de Mourlin, La Confession (same owner as Mouton and de Chambrun, first vintage), La Couspade, and La Dominique showed elegance and delicious style at 89+p.
Tertre Roteboeuf tasted at the property and was slightly behind the exceptional 2000. 93+p. Pavie Macquin, tasted in May 2002 (in Copenhagen), showed a great class with the delicious sweetness of the fruit. 91p.
Wines in this district performed very well in 2001 but weren't at the same level as 2000 or 1998. On the other hand, they will outplay in vintages 1996 and 1997. Charm, sweet fruit, and strong but ripe tannin is present in many wines.
Vieux Château Certan (incredibly nuanced and with stunningly built structure) counted for 93p, Bon Pasteur (very concentrated and with delicious fruit-sweetness) and La Croix St.Georges (strong and robust) reached 92+p, Cantelauze (appetizing, delicate and luscious) got well-deserved 92p, La Cabanne (very aromatic, sappy and harmonious) came to 91p. In contrast, La Pointe and Petit Village (aromatic, well-structured, and full-bodied) got 90+p. La Croix de Gay was a charming and tasty wine at 89p.
2001 vintage has confirmed the continuing progress of this district with many fabulous and splendid wines. While not at the same level as 1998 and 2000, 2001 seems to be at least a class above 1999.
Barrabaque Cuvée Prestige (aromatic, deliciously ripe fruit and great complexity) and Moulin Haut-Laroque (dense and superbly concentrated) were honored with 92+p. Fontenil (big fruit extract and sappy), du Gaby (raspberry fruit drops, aromatic and well-structured), Moulin Pey Labrie (delicious raspberries and plenty of charm), and La Vieille Cure (a lot of nuances and strong) was worth a gold medal with their 91+p.
Arnauton, Belloy (delicious raspberries on the nose, intense), Dalem (very aromatic and luscious), La Dauphine (powerful with ripe berries), Magondeau Beau-Site, Mazeris, de La Riviere (robust), Rouet, La Rouselle, La Valade, and Vrai Canon Bouche were all dazzlingly fine at 89+p.
De Carolus tasted at the property was one of the exceptions in 2001. It was even better than the fantastic 2000! What the intensity of fruit and class! 93+p.
Lalande-de-Pomerol's uncrowned king, de Chambrun, made fabulous wine with delicious sweet fruit and splendid structure. 91p.
Roc de Cambes from Côtes de Bourg, which has the same owner as Tertre Roteboeuf, showed a nice stream of ripe red berries, fine harmony, and complexity. 89p.
Mouton (same owner as de Chambrun) from AOC Bordeaux Superieur was an elegant wine with an enchanting fruity character and fine length on the palate. 88-89p.