BORDEAUX 2019 BARREL SAMPLES TASTED FROM MAY TO JULY 2020,
AT LOCATION COPENHAGEN, DENMARK!
Having been to harvest in Bordeaux in October 2019, I learned how 2019 would shape up. After tasting samples drawn directly from vats at several properties, before and after fermentation, I made up my mind - a mix of 2018 and 2016.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was impossible to travel to Bordeaux this spring and taste 350+ barrel samples. All tastings in Bordeaux were cancelled.
However, thanks to kind proprietors, I've been receiving samples from several chateaux and chateau groups (f.i. 1855 GCC, St.Emilion GCC and Grand Cercle) directly to my address in Copenhagen Denmark. They were tasted 48 hours after receiving them. I was saying to myself - "If I can't come to Bordeaux, then Bordeaux must come to me!" Not all producers were keen on sending samples, but I'd, of course, respect their decision not to send samples abroad.
It was a kind of new experience, tasting samples at one single place, not running from one place to another, jumping in and out of the car, trying to fight the queue in the front of the serving table, etc. The main advantage was the possibility to taste samples in silence and peace, and of course, retasting these. It was also great to taste some "small wines" I normally don't have time to even look at and receive samples unexpectedly from properties I never heard of before. I've made some nice discoveries!
After tasting more than 300 barrel samples, I can say that the 2019 vintage looks stunning. For reds, grapes and tannins' ripeness, especially the sweetness of tannins and the grained texture, is fantastic. Each grape variety shows in full its typicity and character alone and also greatly compliments the other varieties in the blend!
All the samples listed below had been sent over directly from Bordeaux to my home in Copenhagen. They were rested at least 48 hours in an upright position and tasted with label on in the same room (my living room), from the same glasses, often grouped if possible by commune/district. They were, in most cases, retasted later the same day.
2019 vintage can be compared to 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018 vintage, depending on the wine critic you trust, but there's no doubt that the majority of red wines is just excellent. I personally find Left Bank with especially Saint-Estephe and Pauillac, then Right Bank with Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, particularly strong, but you will easily find many beautiful wines outside classified growth for small money everywhere in Bordeaux. I personally consider that 2019 is a well-prepared blend of 2009 (the sweetness of fruit), 2016 (nobility and elegance) and 2018 (quality of tannins).
Whites keep the trend of performing substantially excellent in vintages ending with asymmetric end digit! Dry white wines in 2019 vintage are better than 2018 and remind of 2017 vintage, while 2019 Sauternes & Barsacs are of excellent quality and have, in my honest opinion, the edge over 2017 vintage. 2017 vintage was, as we know, great for both kinds of white wines.
The immediate verdict of mine is that 2019 is an exceptional vintage, and I'm pretty confident that it will maintain all the qualities when in the bottle in 2021 and even improve.
The primeur campaign is now over (ultimo June 2020), and prices were happily in most cases 15-30% lower than in 2018, and many shrewd purchases could be made.
Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux:
Bourdieu - 87% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc, vinification and ageing in stainless steel vats. Black cherries/blueberries, fresh and aromatic, well-equipped with creamy fruit and sweet tannins. Lovely fruity finish. 90p.
Bourdieu N ̊1 - 89% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Malbec, partial ageing in barrels. Aromatic black-/blueberries, fatter and more powerful than standard cuvée, vanilla, complex with a long caressing finish. 91p.
Bourdieu Absolu - 79% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon + 4% Malbec, ageing in barrels for 18 months. Thick and dense, concentrated plenty of blueberries, strong backbone, delicious complexity and length. 91-92p. A pleasant surprise and proof that they actually can produce some interesting wines in Blaye! All three cuvées from Bourdieu's owner are like that.
Haut Bertinerie - the aroma of roses and yellow cherries, sleek and attractive with tasty berries and sweet tannin, delicate finish. 90-91p.
D'Aiguilhe white – very fragrant on the nose with associations to green apple, white peach and acacia flower, elegant acidity, very crispy on the palate with great length. Well-balanced. Subtle finish. 91p.
Clos des Lunes Lunes d'Argent - 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon, alcohol is 13%. 6 to 7 months ageing in 25% oak barrels. The owner, Olivier Bernard's son, Hugo, has been responsible here for exploitation since 2014. This sample is quite fresh and aromatic on the nose and palate with acacia flower/acacia honey, pineapple, pear and dried apricot. There's fine acidity, length, and balance on the palate. The finish is fruity, lively and persistent. The best d'Argent yet produced? Possibly yes. 91-92p.
Cos d’Estournel white - 65% Sauvignon Blanc + 35% Semillon, 14.4% alcohol, 8% new oak. A fatter version of Pagodes with more intensity and concentration, more acidity and longer on the palate. Very pineapple and peach, lively and with much freshness. Splendid effort. 93+p.
Domaine de Cambes - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Vineyard on the banks of Gironde river. Very intense nose of black-/blueberries, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, smooth and creamy on the palate, good backbone, very nice balance and fine fruity finish. Attractive and tasty. Delightful. 90-91p.
Magrez Fombrauge white - plenty of pineapple and green apples on the nose and palate, new oak very eager to support crispy fruit, fine acidity, potent on the palate, firm finish. 92p.
Le Nardian white - it's owned by Jonathan Maltus (Teyssier, Le Carre, Le Dôme and others), and the vineyard is situated several kilometres south of St.Emilion village. It's planted with old vines, which are app. half a century old or even older than that. The blend in 2019 is 70% of Sauvignon Blanc, 15% of Semillon, and 15% Muscadelle. Great freshness and intensity of aromas and fragrances on the nose with acacia flower, pear and peaches. Creamy pineapples, peaches and apricots on the palate. High acidity, too, to complement the beautifully scented fruit. Excellent complexity and length. I'm impressed! 93+p.
Pagodes de Cos white - 88% Sauvignon Blanc + 12% Semillon, 14.4% Alcohol, 8% new barrels. Pleasant aromas of litchi, white flowers, aromatic, much pineapple on the palate, vibrant with fine acidity and complexity. Tasty and smooth finish. It will go very well with lighter food. 91-92p.
Valandraud white – 1.5 ha, clayey-limestone, 50% Semillon + 40% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Sauvignon Gris. Myriad of aromas like f.i. acacia flower, peaches, pineapple and mango, vibrant, multi-faceted, splendid complexity and acidity, aftertaste on fresh tones. 93-94p.
Virginie de Valandraud white – the second label of white Valandraud. 2.5 ha, clayey-limestone, 50% Semillon + 40% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Sauvignon Gris. It was full of freshness and vivacity, aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, fine acidity, well-bolstered on the palate, delicious fruity finish. 92p.
A single variety of wines made by Hubert de Bouard:
Cabernet Franc – freshness, characteristic “green” flavours of leek, ripe fruit, fine acidity and backbone, firm aftertaste. 87-88p.
Cabernet Sauvignon – fine concentration, graphite, pencil, minerality and acidity, grained tannin, persistent finish. 87-88p.
Chardonnay – acacia flower, melted butter, fresh, nice acidity, crispy fruit, nicely structured. 86-87p.
Merlot – cherries/blueberries, violets, soft and sweetness, silky tannins, tasty, lingering finish. 88-89p.
Sauvignon – fine example of this grape’s characteristics. Minerality, green apple, pear, lemongrass, fine acidity and crispiness, lingering finish. 88-89p.
Semillon – aromatic, tropical fruit like mango, honey melon, sweetness, acidity present, crispy fruit, fruity aftertaste. 88p.
20 Mille - 1.4 ha, neighbour to Croix Mouton, 100% Merlot, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 26/27 degrees C, ageing in the specially cigar-shaped barrels from Demptos and Remond. Dense and intense nose of black cherries and blueberries, plush and spicy black fruit on the palate with lovely backbone, complexity, structure and length. Fine depth. Excellent cooperation between aromatic fruit and sweet tannin. Splendid effort. 92+p.
Balthus, de Reignac's 100% Merlot cuvée, showed the fine intensity of dark cherries and blueberries, lovely complexity, silky texture and fine lingering finish. 91-92p.
Croix Mouton - one of several estates on Right Bank belonging to Jean-Philippe Janoueix, owns 20 Mille, La Confession and Cap St. Georges. He stands for running/making wine at Sacre Coeur and La Croix St.Georges. He doesn't use an external oenologist at his properties.
70 ha, just outside Fronsac appellation and close to Dordogne river, the blend here is 96% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 26/27 degrees C, ageing in 20% oak and rest in vats. Not as powerful as 2018 but more precise and with more significant depth. It's an enormously seductive and attractive effort filled with perfectly ripe blackberries and sweet tannin, fine structure and subtly fruity, smooth and lingering finish. Probably the best CM ever produced. For the price, it'll make a great qpr in this vintage! 92+p.
De Reignac and Sainte Barbre - well-constructed, nice concentration and structure, lovely fruity, and grained tannins, sleek and silky. A lovely effort for both. 91p.
Tayet Cuvêe Prestige - 55% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Sauvignon + 10% Petit Verdot. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. The nose displays a nice intensity of cherries, and on the palate, it seems light in texture and concentration. However, it's a nicely constructed and balanced baby wine with a smooth and fruity finish. 89p.
Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux:
Carat de Reaut - 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot. A special selection of manually harvested grapes from the vineyard ageing in barrels. Only produced in exceptional vintages. More flair and elegance than in Reaut, opulent and splendid length, quite complex and with persistent finish. 92p.
Reaut - 26 ha, Merlot 58%, Cabernet Sauvignon 37%, Cabernet Franc 5%. Purchased in 2012 by Yannick Evenou, at that time manager of La Dominique, responsible for creating Terrasse Rouge project at this property. He purchased Reaut together with some investors, and then private wine-lovers and others could buy a share in it. Jean-Claude Ramonet from famous Burgundy producer, Domaine Ramonet, is among investors!
Strong and potent, lots of creamy dark cherries/blueberries/blackcurrants, well-composed, complex, fat sweet tannin, long and firm finish. An impressive effort, I have to say. Great value for money. 92p.
Gaby Princess - dark berries, nice acidity, polished, nicely structured and good length. 87p.
Gaby - dark cherries on the nose, creamy berries and sweet tannin, but is a bit overshadowed by new oak on the palate, and there's also a hint of over-extraction. Fine structure and length. Long and persistent finish. 90p.
Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux:
D'Aiguilhe – spicy raspberries, earthy, nicely concentrated, some power here, just enough sweet tannin to balance the fruit. Firm finale. 90-91p.
Ampelia – displayed fragrant nose of a rose bush, some violets and raspberries, distinct on the palate with creamy berries and sweet tannins, lingering finish. Seductive effort. 91-92p.
L’Aurage - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Made by the son of Francois Mitjavile, Louis. Minty on the nose, spicy berries with some eucalyptus, well-assorted and harmonious. You can taste the presence of Cabernet Franc in the blend (backbone). Fine effort! 91-92p.
La Brande - aromatically scented nose of roses/rosebush, silky all over, crunchy fruit and tannin, vibrant, lovely taste, harmonious and lingering. Pretty good effort. 91+p.
Clos Lunelles - 8.5 ha, 80% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.48% alcohol, a fragrance of rose bush, spicy fruit, tannins are a bit dominating. Still, all in all, it's a decent effort with roundness and attraction. 90p.
Cote Montpezat - fine aromatic nose of dark cherries/blackberries, fine acidity, fragrant roses and violets, and well-assorted and well-assorted. Balanced, fine structure. Seductive effort. 91-92p.
Clos Puy Arnaud and Laussac - very raspberry, nicely structured, fragrant and tasty. 90-91p. Laussac Cuvée Sacha - more intensity, more concentration and longer on the palate compared to Laussac. 91-92p.
Le Rey Les Argileuses – parcels 1-3, 12 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.6% alcohol. Vinification in stainless steel tanks, no oak. A lovely and aromatic fragrance of roses/rose bush, round and tasty, catchy, smooth and silky on the palate with raspberries. Perfect for drinking at garden parties and to light dishes. 90-91p.
Le Rey Les Rocheuses – parcels 5-6, 12 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol. 40% new oak, 40% one year, 20% second-year barrels. Vanilla, creamy berries on the palate, impressive depth and complex, sweet tannins, again and again, splendid balance, long fruity finish. It's delicious stuff. 92-93p.
Cotes de Bourg:
Roc de Cambes - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Big, fully packed nose of black fruit, very intense, complex with creamy berries on the palate, splendid acidity and length, fine complexity, velvety texture and persistent finish. Fabulous effort! 93-94p.
Auguste - same owner as Gaby in Canon-Fronsac. The nose of red berries and roses, aromatic and seductive, same fragrances on the palate, tasty berries, delicate, soft aftertaste. Attractive. 88p.
Dalem - aromatic dark cherries on the nose, quite potent on the palate with strong structure, splendid acidity and balance, fine-grained tannin to support creamy fruit, long firm finish. 93p.
Fontenil - 10 ha, 100% Merlot. Potent wine with concentrated black cherries on the nose, strong backbone, minerality, a lot of creamy fruit and fat tannin, splendid complexity and meaty aftertaste. A very successful effort for the vintage. 93p.
De la Riviere - everything is in the right place here. Deep and intense nose of blueberries, strong structure and backbone, splendid complexity and length. Some minerality and splendid acidity. 93-94p.
Villars - earthy flavours, spicy black cherries, spicy, potent and well-structured with persistent finish. Fine for the vintage. 92p.
Crabitey white - 70% Sauvignon Blanc + 30% Semillon. Aromatic and attractive on the nose and palate, green apple and pear, well-assorted, fine corresponding acidity, crispy with nice length and sleek aftertaste. 92-93p.
De Portets - fresh, green apples and acacia flower, fine acidity, crispy fruit, nice length and sleek aftertaste. 90-91p.
Rahoul – 35 ha, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Robust and intense, well-proportioned, fine structure and length. A light scent of graphite and grilled bacon. Complex and with persistent finish. 91-92p.
Rahoul white – 4 ha, 61% Semillon + 39% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, quite aromatic, delicate, a bit light and linear, reasonable length. 87p.
Roquetaillade La Grange - similar to Saint Robert Poncet Deville with more concentration and length. As seductive and tasty. 92p.
Saint Robert Poncet Deville - aromatic dark berries on the nose and crushed blackcurrant on the nose, all that in a silky package, excellent structure and complexity, lingering finish. Well-made. 91+p.
Brondelle, de Cerons and Crabitey - fruity, round, soft fruit and tannin, tasty. 88p to all three wines.
Belgrave – 59 ha, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Cherry/raspberry drops on the nose, polished on the palate, lovely scented, soft texture, appetizing with a mellow finish. 91p.
Cantemerle – fresh cherries, fragrant, polished on the palate, crunchy berries and sweet tannin, gentle kick of oak, subtle complexity. Pretty wine. 90-91p.
La Demoiselle de Sociando Mallet - 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% new oak for 12 months. Very scented, intense and seductive nose of blackcurrants and some roasted bacon flavour. On the palate, there's a nice amount of creamy black fruit and crunchy sweet tannin. Excellent structure and lingering finish. Impressive effort for a second wine. 91p.
La Lagune - 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 4% Petit Verdot, 14% alcohol, 50% new oak. Dense and deep nose of fragrant blackcurrants, scents of roasted bacon and graphite on the palate, splendid acidity, creamy berries and grained tannin. Full-bodied yet elegant with finesse. Complex with splendid structure and length. Long aftertaste. Another great effort from this property. Great value for money here! 95-96p.
Lanessan – spicy blackcurrants, aromatic, polished palate with some bite, nicely structured, and soft finish. 90p.
Malescasse – very fragrant cherries on the nose and creamy black fruit on the palate. Well-constructed with bold tannins working well with creamy fruit. Persistent finish. Well-made. 91-92p.
Madame de Beaucaillou – comes from vineyards in the district brought by Madame Eugene-Borie through her marriage. 68% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon + 13% Petit Verdot, 13,92% alcohol, 20% new oak. Lovely, tasty black cherries, lush fruit and pleasant tannins. Round and very delicious. 89p
Sociando Mallet - 77 ha, 55% Merlot + 43% Cabernet Sauvignon + 2% Cabernet Franc, 35 years old vines, 90% new oak, malolactic fermentation in vats. Deep nose and palate with tobacco leaves and cigar box scent, intermixed with creamy blackcurrants and blackberries. Very potent on the palate with depth, strong backbone and great complexity and balance. Fat tannins and fat creamy finish. It matches in every corner 2018 version and may show even better after bottling. Fully deserved 95p.
La Tour Carnet - spicy berries, earthy flavours, nicely composed on the palate with good structure and length. Harmonious, tasty and crunchy fruit. Soft finish. 90-91p.
Du Carillon and Lestage Simon - correctly made, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
L'Ambroisie - here is something to hang on to. Huge berry nose with some alcohol attack, spicy, concentrated creamy berries on the palate. A very modern approach with power and flamboyant fruit and tannin. No over-extraction here. 91p.
Bertineau Saint-Vincent - 5.6 ha, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Elegant, round and pleasant, tasty berries, silky texture and fruity finish. Immediate pleasure. 88p.
Domaine des Sabines – 6 ha, gravel and clay, 80% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Franc. Fresh, raspberry drops, soft, silky fruit and tannin with pleasant sweetness, very accessible and tasty. Attractive effort. 90p.
Enclos de Viaud - 3.18 ha, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc, 13.8% alcohol. Aromatic blueberries, nice spicy power on the palate, nice structure and depth. Considerable length and fruity finish. A bit one-dimensional but attractive and tasty. 88p.
La Fleur de Bouard - modern style, plenty of black cherries, quite concentrated on the palate, creamy fruit, nice complexity and length, grained tannins. Lingering finish. A good one. 92p.
Haut Chaigneau - it's the domicile of Pascal Chatonnet. He's consulting oenologist with many clients around the world. For instance, in Bordeaux he consults Cos d'Estournel and d'Issan, in Rhone it's Chateau de Beaucastel and in Spain Vega Sicilia. And of course his own properties (Haut Chaigneau and D'Archange).
It's a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic cherry/raspberry drops on the nose, lovely intensity, structure and concentration, subtle complexity as well, bright fruit well matching sweet grained tannin. Very attractive and tasty. Smooth aftertaste. 91p.
Jean de Gue - nicely made, polished with spicy raspberries, complementing grained tannin, nice structure and lovely fruity finish. 90p.
Le Lion de La Fleur de Bouard - second wine of La Fleur de Bouard. Sweet and tasty cherries, polished on the palate, alcohol well-present, round, well-balanced, sweet tannin, soft and silky. 88-89p.
Moncets - well-trimmed, aromatic, classic for the district with spicy fruit flavours, outstanding balance and sleek, fruity finish. 90p.
Le Plus de La Fleur de Bouard - 100% Merlot. Dense and concentrated cherries/blueberries on the nose, creamy berries on the palate, sweet tannin and adequate acidity, splendid complexity and structure, long lingering finish. Alcohol is there but well masked by wool curtains of fruit! Impressive. 94p.
Sergant - aromatic roses and violets on the nose, spicy blackcurrants on the palate, well-constructed, nice concentration and length, well-balanced and with silky tannins. Terrific effort. 91p.
La Sergue - this wine is a combination of 3 parcels in the district, with each one having different soil and different grape variety and different microclimate. There is 77% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. The average age of vines is 45 years for Merlot, 35% for Cabernet Franc and 50% for Malbec. Pascal Chatonnet performed vinification at his properties by maceration at a max temperature of 27 degrees C.
It displays very intense and aromatic dark berries on the nose and palate, creamy and elastic taste with splendid complexity, strong backbone and lingering finish. Excellent winemaking. 92+p.
Baron de Brane - 54% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 1% Carmenere, 14.2% alcohol. A very captivating nose of black cherries/blueberries, aromatic and dense. Fine elegance on the palate, creamy berries and sweet tannins to balance them, silky texture and delicious fruity finish. Fine second label of Brane Cantenac. 92p.
Brane Cantenac – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Carmenere + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.1% alcohol. The distinctive nose of fragrant blackcurrants, a scent of grilled bacon and tobacco leaves. Quite concentrated on the palate yet elegant. Creamy with grained tannin and excellent support by acidity. Long lingering finish. Excellent effort for the vintage and may even surpass 2018. 95+p.
Cantenac Brown – 68% Cabernet Sauvignon + 32% Merlot, 60% new oak. Some power, fragrant, blackcurrants and blueberries on the nose in numbers, gentle palate with sweet berries and tannin. On the elegant side with fine structure and lingering finish. Pretty wine. 93p.
Le Coteau and La Tour de Bessan - round and pleasant, nicely structured with delicate fruit and sweet tannin, tasty. 89p.
Le Createur - this is a special cuvée of Haut Breton Larigaudiere. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (old vines) aged in 100% new oak. Dark berries like wild black cherries and black currants. There is a splendid intensity here on the nose and palate, fine-grained tannins supporting the fruit, elegant composition and balance, silky texture, and lingering finish. Very seductive indeed. 92+p.
Desmirail – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alcohol. Black cherry nose, catchy and seductive, elegant, crunchy fruit and silky tannins, fine complexity and structure. Well-balanced. Attractive and pretty wine. 92-93p.
Giscours – very fine and deep nose of sweet blackcurrants, creamy and potent on the palate, adequate support of oak, splendid complexity and structure. Quite a significant effort. 94p.
Haut Breton Larigaudiere - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon + 10% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot. Owners - Famille de Schepper. It displays a very fragrant and attractive nose of black cherries, a palate with attractive silkiness, very nice acidity and harmony. Captivating and tasty wine, well-made and which should improve after staying in new oak. 91+p.
D’Issan – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot, 50% new oak, 13.37% alcohol. Fine cherry/blueberry drops on the nose, elegant with finesse, subtle, velvety texture, silky berries and tannin. Tasty and attractive. Fine fruity finish. 93p.
Kirwan – 59% Cabernet Sauvignon + 28% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc + 6% Petit Verdot + 1% Carmenere. A lot of fragrances here with cherries and blackcurrants. Vibrant, lovely composed with a fine backbone, balance and structure. Creamy berries and sweet tannins on the palate. Fine lingering finish. Excellent effort. 94p.
Lascombes – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak, 14.5% alcohol for Merlot, 13% for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. A very intense and noble nose of crushed blackcurrants, refined with great elegance and great finesse. Remarkable precision. Great length and long finish. Sublime stuff! 96p.
Malescot St. Exupery – fresh, vivid, more elegant than usual, splendid acidity, structure and complexity. Excellent balance between crunchy berries and sweet grained tannins. Velvety clad finish. 94p.
Ch. Margaux 1. Growth - only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon + 7% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux' technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch. Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"
It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with wonderful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 99-100p.
Marojallia - 2.5 ha, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot, 13.5% alcohol. Powerful on the nose and palate with creamy berries and sweet tannin, polished and modern style but not pushed and overdone. Fragrant and delicious with fine backbone and length. Fine caressing finish. 91-92p.
Marquis d’Alesme – 57% Cabernet Sauvignon + 37% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak, 14% alcohol. Densely aromatic blackcurrants, very spicy, powerful on the palate with creamy berries and strong tannin support, superb depth and superb finish. Excellent effort for sure. 94p+.
Marquis de Terme – it's pretty wine but rather light-footed. Sweet aromatic berries, delicate structure and balance, lacks a bit of vibrancy and excitement. We'll see after ageing if it puts more on weight and intensity. Not up to the 2018 effort. 91p.
Pavillon Rouge de Ch. Margaux - represents 27% of the whole production. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 19% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.2% alcohol. It displays a very intense aroma of black cherries on the nose, very distinctive, deep and noble: silky berries and grained tannin. The acidity keeps the whole thing fresh. Sophisticated and with a long and lingering aftertaste. As excellent as 2018, more typical for the property. 94p.
Prieure Lichine – 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot, 40% new oak. Fresh and vivid, very fragrant with intense blackcurrants, sweet tannins, velvety texture, gentle kick of new oak, subtle and with an attractive finish. Catchy effort. 93-94p.
Rauzan Gassies – 72% Cabernet Sauvignon + 28% Merlot, 50% new oak, 14% alcohol. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and palate, fresh, very elegant with finesse. Tasty with fine complexity, grained tannins, fine structure and length. This property continues its improvement, seen in the 2018 vintage. 2019 is as appealing and seductive. 94p.
Du Tertre – gentle and elegant, finesse, splendid composition, silky fruit with helpful tannin support, smooth fruity finish. 92-93p.
Blaignan – aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, ripe fruit and tannin, pleasant on the palate with a nice bite, uncomplicated, soft finish. 88p.
Goulee by Cos d'Estournel - this vineyard is situated further north from Cos d'Estournel and close to Gironde banks. 86% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Sauvignon +1% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alcohol, 20% new oak. Same owner as Cos'd'Estournel (Reybier). Pascal Chatonnet in consulting oenologist here. There is an aromatic nose here, freshness, crushed blueberries, fine complexity, silky texture, and spicy-sweet berries on the palate, sweet tannins. Gentle. It's fine elegance to it. 92p.
La Cardonne and Loudenne - attractive, fruity and tasty wines. 89-90p.
Les Grands Chenes and Griviere correctly made, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
D'Armailhac – voluptuous, creamy blackcurrants, potent and concentrated, luscious fruit on the palate, rich, excellent complexity and length, Persistent and fruity finish. Splendid effort. 94p.
Batailley – 74% Cabernet Sauvignon + 25% Merlot + 1% Petit Verdot. Very fragrant nose with sweet blackcurrants, well-defined and well-balanced on the palate with crunchy berries and sweet tannins, sleek finish. Very elegant in 2019. Terrific effort. 92-93p.
Clerc Milon – it possessed a very inviting nose full of aromatic blackcurrants, well-assorted on the palate, fine structure and splendid concentration, fleshy and with persistent finish. Imho, it equals 2018 effort here. 93p.
Croizet Bages – 66% Cabernet Sauvignon + 34% Merlot, 14.5% alcohol, 50% new oak. Same owners as at sister property in Margaux, Rauzan Gassies. Also, here you can spot the improvement in quality in recent vintages. Quite fragrant on the nose and creamy on the palate, elegant with lovely structure and complexity. Sweet and velvety finish. Beautiful wine. 92p.
Fonbadet - fresh, aromatic black cherries/blackcurrants on the nose, nicely structured on the palate with acidity and tasty fruit and soft tannin. Nice balance. Good effort. 90-91p.
Grand Puy Ducasse – 53% Cabernet Sauvignon + 47% Merlot, 35% new oak. Powerful with luscious blackcurrants, tight structure, well-equipped with creamy black fruit and sweet tannin on the palate, subtle complexity and just enough oak to have a perfect balance. Firm finish. It keeps well its style. 93p.
Haut Batailley – 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot, 14.1% alcohol, 60% new oak. This property was purchased in 2017 by the Cazes family from neighbouring Lynch Bages. Not surprisingly, 2019 has many associations to Lynch Bages effort in 2019; however, it's more elegant and lighter in intensity. 93p.
Lynch Bages – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Franc + 3% Petit Verdot, 75% new oak. Gentle effort in 2019 and sheer delight for one's taste buds with creamy berries and sweet tannin in every "corner". Silky texture yet quite fleshy and with a splendid structure. It finishes well with a long lingering finish. 94p.
Lynch Moussas – 73% Cabernet Sauvignon + 27% Merlot. It belongs to the Casteja family, who also owns Trottevieille in Saint-Emilion. There's been a vast improvement of the quality here in recent vintages, and 2019 confirms it with aplomb. Potent yet elegant and with great flair. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, creamy on the palate with fine-grained tannin, gentle kick of oak to balance the fruit and great length. 93p.
Pedesclaux – 72% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc + 2% Petit Verdot, 13,64% alcohol, 68% new oak. Flowery and fragrant nose of violets plus some spicy blackcurrants. Rather elegant than powerful on the palate with delicate fruit and subtle tannins. Finesse. Soft finish. 91+p.
Pichon Baron – 87% Cabernet Sauvignon + 13% Merlot, 80% new oak. Sheer power and concentration, blocks and blocks of creamy blackberries and sweet tannin, awesome complexity and depth, luscious and with many layers. Spectacular effort and as thrilling as 2018 or maybe even better! 98+p.
Pichon Comtesse – 71% Cabernet Sauvignon + 23% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc, 14.12% alcohol, 60% new oak. Sensual with breathtaking elegance and finesse, refined and sophisticated, long, long rows of creamy blackcurrants and cherries, spectacular complexity and length, multi-layered, noble and refined. Another magic effort from the property! 99p.
Dutruch Grand Poujeaux - nicely composed with flair, nice concentration, acidity, dark cherries with some spice, silky texture and delicate finish. Attractive. 90p.
Bouscaut – intense and fragrant blackcurrants/blueberries on the nose, crunchy fruit and sweet tannins on the palate, silky texture and persistent finish. 92p.
Bouscaut white – displays freshness, fine cooperation between crispy fruit and well-present acidity, some minerality and complexity. Lingering finish. 91-92p.
Cantelys – very appealing nose of ripe blackcurrants and repeat of these on the palate. Very nicely put together, meaning structure, balance, and length are just lovely. It finishes off with a fruity, mellow finish. Attractive effort. 91p.
Cantelys white – a lot of aromas here. Peaches, acacia flower and lemongrass, underlying acidity works well with creamy fruit. Fresh and vivid. Catchy effort. 90-91p.
Carbonnieux – quite intense on the nose and concentrated on the palate with creamy fruit and crunchy tannins, well-structured with splendid complexity. Elegant and lingering finish. 93p.
Carbonnieux white - classy nose of acacia flower, green apple and lemongrass, fine acidity, finesse and refined touch. Delightful on the palate with freshness and crispy fruit. Delicate aftertaste. 93-94p.
Les Chenes de Bouscaut – second wine. Fresh, cherries, aromatic, round and pleasant. 87p.
Les Chenes de Bouscaut white – second wine. Fresh, green apple, round and pleasant, crispy and tasty. To enjoy in its youth. 87p.
Clementin de Pape Clement – second wine. Freshness, nicely composed, aromatic blackcurrants, nice acidity as well, some power and firm finish. 88p.
Clementin de Pape Clement white - second wine. Fresh, nice intensity and acidity. Scents of acacia flower and peaches. Delicate fruity finish. 91-92p.
Clos Marsalette – very aromatic cherries/raspberries, fleshy, delicious fruit and tannin, lovely structure and delicate finish. Cute wine. 90p.
Clos Marsalette white – intense aroma of green apple, pear, acacia flower and lemongrass, the acidity present to balance the fruit, quite elegant with finesse. Soft finish. Attractive effort. 91p.
Couhins – very cherry on the nose and palate, sleek and velvety texture, well-structured, creamy, crunchy tannins. Fine fruity finish. 92p.
Couhins white – of course, more of everything than in second wine, some minerality here, more concentration and length. Fine complexity. 91-92p.
Couhins Lurton – 16 ha, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and crunchy fruit on the palate mix well with soft tannins, nice structure and complexity, and a caressingly fruity finish. 91-92p.
Couhins Lurton white - 6 ha, 100% Sauvignon. A very potent nose of lemongrass, green apple and pear, very expressive, splendidly constructed on the palate with great acidity, intensity and complexity, long and persistent finish. It's classified property, and it never disappoints. Very impressive indeed! 93-94p.
La Croix de Carbonnieux – second wine. Aromatic and attractive, nicely structured, round and with tasty fruit. One to be consumed in its early days. 87p.
La Croix de Carbonnieux white – second wine. Crispy, a scent of acacia flower and green apple. Smooth and supple on the palate. Tasty, round and pleasant. 87p.
La Dame des Couhins – second wine. Round, supple, harmonious, tasty black cherries, velvety texture, sleek. 88p.
La Dame des Couhins white – second wine. Pear and apricots on the nose and palate, round and crispy with nice acidity and length, soft aftertaste. 87p.
Domaine de Chevalier red - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot. Alcohol is only 13%. 35% new oak, malolactic fermentation in barrel. A sophisticated, deep and intense nose of blackberries and blueberries, a classy one. Full-bodied with style on the palate with excellent structure, complexity and length. Petit Verdot supports some graphite and scent of red meat on the palate from Cabernet Sauvignon, lush black fruit coming from Merlot and a strong backbone. The fruit cooperates perfectly with sweet and grained tannin. Great sophisticated touch and great length with a strong finish. Possibly the best vintage for red wine at Domaine de Chevalier yet? For me, it easily reaches heights of 2018 vintage or surpasses a bit compared when tasting from the barrel! 96-98p.
Domaine de Chevalier white - 70% Sauvignon + 30% Semillon. Alcohol is 14%. 35% new oak and ageing on the lees in barrels for 18 months. A dazzlingly fresh, sublime and dignified nose of flowers mixed with peaches and citron grass. Great presence of acidity. Lively, sophisticated and refined on the palate with awesome complexity, depth and length. I'd say a classic and highly stylish wine for the property. Exceptional stuff! 97+p.
De France – 36% ha, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 50% Merlot. Spicy blackcurrants and raspberries on the nose, some creamy berries on the palate well supported by grained tannins, nice length and soft aftertaste. Already very approachable. 91p.
De France white – 3.5 ha, 80% Sauvignon + 20% Semillon. Attractive nose of acacia flower and lemongrass plus some pineapple. Acidity is discreetly present. Elegant and attractive with a nice fruity finish. 91-92p.
La Garde – 50 ha, 52% Merlot + 46% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic cherries/blackcurrants, fresh, nice structure, spicy berries, nicely balanced with a smooth fruity finish. 90-91p.
La Garde white – 3.7 ha, 89% Sauvignon Blanc + 11% Semillon. Very pineapple, pleasant and inviting, elegant and crispy, nice acidity and delicate finish. For drinking in its youth. 88p.
Haut Bacalan - attractive and silky, blackberries and sweet tannin, polished on the palate, delicate with creamy fruit, excellent complexity and nice smooth finish. 91-92p.
Haut Bailly II - 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.2% alcohol, 30% new oak. A fine mix of cherries and blackcurrants on the nose, well-constructed with fine complexity on the palate with a velvety texture, sweet tannins, persistent aftertaste. Fine second wine. 92p.
Haut Bailly - 56% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Franc + 4% Petit Verdot, 13.7% alcohol, 50% new oak. Very mineral, very Cabernet Sauvignon scented with associations to red meat and grilled bacon. Gentler and more elegant than usual, but keeping the richness and sophisticated touch intact. Excellent complexity, balance and persistent finish. Refined and finesse. Fabulous effort. 97p.
Haut Lagrange - attractive, well-balanced with creamy berries and nice acidity. Fruity aftertaste. 90p.
Hauts de Les Smith – 40% Cabernet Sauvignon + 60% Merlot, 20% new oak. Similar to Le Petit Haut Lafitte, gentler however and softer. 91-92p.
Hauts de Les Smith white – 100% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% new oak. Similar to Le Petit Haut Lafitte white but more expressive and a bit more intense. 92+p.
Latour Martillac – powerful, creamy berries and fat tannin, splendid complexity and length. Strong backbone and lovely balance. Long and delightful aftertaste. 93p.
La Louviere – 48 ha, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot. Well-equipped on the nose and palate with aromatic and tasty blackcurrants/blueberries. Creamy berries and corresponding grained tannin. Excellent complexity and length. Intelligent and thoughtful winemaking here. 92-93p.
La Louviere white – 15 ha, 100% Sauvignon Blanc. This property makes wines of great value for money. I don't remember ever getting a bad white wine from it. In 2019 vintage, it's huge on the nose with intense pineapple and pear aroma, sublime complexity, striking acidity, and great length—long lingering finish. Spectacular effort. 94p.
Malartic Lagraviere – 56% Merlot + 39% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc + 2% Petit Verdot. Very intense and deep on the nose with concentrated blackcurrants, cherries and a scent of violets. On the palate, there is excellent complexity, acidity and structure, creamy berries and grained tannin. A complete effort, refined and with a sophisticated touch. Excellent. 95+p.
Malartic Lagraviere white – 76% Sauvignon Blanc + 24% Semillon. Full-bodied with a deep nose of green apple and pear. Vigorous, rich and complex, refined and with a sophisticated touch. Remarkable acidity and minerality. Long and caressing aftertaste. Textbook dry white Bordeaux! 95p.
Olivier – elegant with finesse, subtle, creamy berries and grained tannin, velvety texture, sleek, lovely structure and delicate finish. 93p.
Olivier white – very potent on the nose and palate, lemongrass and white peaches, crispy fruit, splendid acidity, refined. Long finish. 93-94p.
Pape Clement – modern-styled wine with a strong backbone, big concentration, lot of fruit and new oak. Strong structure and acidity well present. Made for long keeping. 94p.
Pape Clement white – big scaled and intense, remarkable acidity and depth, but also possessing a large dose of new oak. Strong structure and lengthy finish. A great future awaits. 95p.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot, 20% new oak. Fresh, powerful and intense on the nose, livid, crunchy fruit and tannin, plenty of blackcurrants, lovely complexity, well-balanced and persistent aftertaste. 92p.
Le Petit Haut Lafitte white – 80% Sauvignon Blanc + 20% Semillon, 50% new oak. Freshness, dense aroma of green apple and lemongrass, crispy, elegant and tasty. Very joyful and attractive. 92+p.
La Reserve de Malartic – second wine. 83% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Petit Verdot. A nose of crushed berries and polished on the palate with crunchy blackcurrants and sweet tannin. Well-balanced and appetizing. 90p.
La Reserve de Malartic white – second wine. 81% Sauvignon Blanc + 19% Semillon. Freshness, aromas of lemongrass and pear, crispy on the palate with an acidity well present, pleasant and tasty. Nice fruity aftertaste. 88p.
De Rouillac - on the light side, some nice berries and tannin, round and tasty. 87p.
De Rouillac white - freshness, crispy fruit and nice acidity, some minerality and a nice fruity finish. 89p.
Smith Haut Lafitte – 59% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 4% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak. Great, great effort with everything, just awesome. Intense, sophisticated, refined, strong backbone, great complexity and depth and great balance. Velvety texture and long, lingering finish. 97+p.
Smith Haut Lafitte white – 90% Sauvignon Blanc + 5% Sauvignon Gris + 5% Semillon, 50% new oak. Fat and creamy with excellent acidity. A lot of green apples, acacia flower and pear. Great complexity and multi-faceted. Fabulous effort. 96-97p.
Seguin - 55% Merlot + 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. It starts quite friendly and attractive with fine aromatics on the nose with violet, mint and cherries. A little touch of heat/alcohol on the nose disappears rapidly. Silky on the palate with splendid balance and a gentle kiss of oak, long and firm finish. It's really a great effort, and for me, 2019 here looks like a mix of 2018 and 2016 with the latter's elegance and nobility. 94+p.
Le Thil – intense blackcurrants on the nose, creamy blackcurrants on the palate. A well-constructed wine with a solid backbone, delicate balance and persistent finish. 91+p.
Beauregard - 17.5 ha, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol. The owners of it purchased recently a neighbour on the other side of the road (after you leave Catusseau towards Saint-Emilion), Petit Village.
Intense dark cherries on the nose, very aromatic, potent and concentrated, splendid structure and complexity, lingering finish. Very promising and probably the best vintage yet from this property! For me, it's better than in 2016 and 2018. 93p.
Le Bon Pasteur - 6.6 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Potent, well-packed with creamy dark berries, strong backbone, splendid structure and length. Grained yet strong tannin. Persistent finish. Excellent effort. 94+p.
Bourgneuf - 9 ha in one single block, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, the temperature during alcoholic fermentation goes slowly up, continues at max. 28 degrees at the end, 35% new oak. Bourgneuf's consulting oenologist is Stéphane Toutoundji, one of the members of Thomas Duclos' oenoteam. Many violets here on the nose intermixed with blueberries and black cherries, very distinctive and noble. It's refined with striking complexity and harmony between creamy berries and sweet grained tannin on the palate. Lingering and long finish. It is a beautiful effort from the hands of the very talented winemaker, Frederique Vayron, and it deserves all 95p in rating!
Cantelauze – owned by the Boidron family (Corbin Michotte). 0.9 ha, a vineyard is several parcels different places in Pomerol, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet franc. Aromatic blueberries on the classy and noble nose are very complex and velvety on the palate, sweet tannins, and splendid balance. However, it's not as intense and creamy as its 2018 counterpart. It's a lot of elegance and finesse for those who prefer that, instead of much power and strength. 94p.
La Clemence - powerful on the nose and palate with dark sweet berries, fat tannin and plenty of oak as well, well-structured, complex and with a persistent finish. One to keep for a couple of decades to get it softened. 93p.
Le Clos de Beau-Pere – displays an aromatic nose of black fruit, elegant and elaborate on the palate with silky fruit and velvety tannins, fine structure and length, lingering finish. Tasty effort. 92p.
La Commanderie - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. A bit reserved nose of dark chocolate and aromatic cherries. Very potent and creamy on the palate with splendid structure, length and persistent finish. Very complex too. At the moment, it's a notch below in quality of both 2016 and 2018 vintages here, but let's see if it further improve during the stay in oak. 93p.
La Conseillante – 84% Merlot + 16% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, 70% new oak. Marielle Cazaux, winemaker here, used a technique called "debourbage" during maceration, which separates clear juice and solids, so the only clear juice comes back to the vat/barrel. Freshness, complexity, sophisticated and rich. Very blueberry and black cherry. Velvety fruit and tannin. Awesome structure, elegance and impressive length. It seems to me there is more precision in 2019 than in 2018 and more typicity of Pomerol. Stunning effort. 98+p.
La Croix St.Georges - 4.5 ha, surrounded by famous vineyards of Le Pin, VCC and Petit Village. 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at 27-29 degrees C, ageing in 20% cigar-shaped barrels + 80% standard barrels (different coopers). Powerful, tight, and tastes a bit lighter than the 2018 version, tried last year, yet it seems more precise in the 2019 version, compote of perfectly ripe dark berries, voluptuous fruit and sweet grained tannin, perfectly balanced. It is an imposing effort, indeed. 95+p.
Enclos Tourmaline - 1 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.5% alcohol. The first sample received wasn't in optimal condition (one week's travel), so I requested a new sample. It arrived in prima condition. Very blueberry and a cherry on the nose with cocoa, intense and aromatic. Polished, creamy and velvety on the palate with lovely complexity and length. A seductive effort. 93-94p.
Esprit de la Commanderie - the second label of La Commanderie. 80% Merlot Very fruity, attractive and enjoyable stuff with aromatic blueberries, silky texture, lovely balance, tastes exceptionally well. 88-89p.
Feytit Clinet - 92% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc, 14.8% alcohol. Deep and intense nose of blueberries, blackberries and violets. Powerful on the palate with creamy berries well supported by acidity and silky tannin. The alcohol level is high here, but it's extremely well masked by fruit packed in the "wool". You can't even taste it. Persistent finish. Very impressive indeed. 94p.
Mazeyres - elegant with a very fragrant nose of violets and blueberries, creamy berries and grained tannin on the palate, well-balanced, complex and with a lingering aftertaste. 92-93p.
La Patache - 3.18 ha, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc, 13.9% alcohol. Nicely made with pleasant aromas of blackberries and blueberries, nice structure and depth. Pleasant sweetness in fruit and tannin. Easygoing, tasty and smooth. 90-91p.
Petit Village - 10.5 ha, 80% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alcohol. Very fragrant on the nose with seductive violets and blueberries. Distinguished and refined. Striking complexity and creaminess on the palate, silky fruit and tannin. The acidity keeps everything in place here. This is a more sophisticated and less concentrated version of 2018. Still a beautifully made one! 95-96p.
Sacre Coeur - this is an exclusive selection made by Jean-Philippe Janoueix from one single parcel at La Croix. 1.5 ha, 100% Merlot, old vines, 14.2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at 27-29 degrees C, 50% new oak from Darnajou. Dense and tight on the nose and palate with towering rows of black cherries and blueberries, potent on the palate with creamy berries and creamy sweet tannin as well. Opulent with high complexity and structure. Brilliant, brilliant effort. 94+p.
Taillefer - powerful on the nose and palate with dark sweet berries, fat tannin and plenty of oak as well, well-structured, complex and with a persistent finish. 92-93p.
Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Clos Vieux Taillefer and Lecuyer - modern style with a flashy approach, some extraction but not overdone, strong tannins, nice structure and creamy berries and a finish with a little bit of dryness. 91-92p.
3 de Valandraud – clayey-limestone, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Fruity and round, easygoing, tasty, will do well as a picnic wine. 87p. Same owner (Murielle & Jean-Luc Thunevin) as for Clos Badon, Domaine de Sabines, Valandraud and a few others.
Alverne - 3.6 ha, clay-limestone plateau and sandy clay, 85% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. I haven't tasted a wine from this property before, so this sample was an interesting encounter. A surprise in a positive way because it bubbled with freshness, spicy blueberries and raspberries on the nose. Catchy and polished on the palate with crunchy tannins. Lovely finish. Excellent effort. 92p.
L'Archange - 100% Merlot and 40 years old vines. Cute cherry nose, pleasant on the palate with spicy raspberries, soft and silky texture, sweet tannins, delicate balance and smooth fruity finish. Tasty one with an enjoyable future. 89-90p.
Aromas de Pavie – 29 ha, 65% Merlot + 18% Cabernet Franc + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.67% alcohol. Round and pleasant with a considerable amount of dark cherries and lush tannin. Firm finish. Fine second label of Pavie. 91p.
Les Asteries - 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc. Situated near Clos Fourtet. It's just stunning wine! It reminds Le Carre a great deal, but there is more turbo concerning intensity and concentration. Velvety on the palate. More complex, deeper and longer with a great addition of pure elegance and sophisticated touch. It breaks your heart, so impressive it is! 95-96p.
Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) PGCC – 6.8 ha, clay-limestone plateau on limestones with asteries, 86% Merlot + 14% Cabernet Franc. It's is a beautiful effort! Great, great nose with a remarkable intensity of black cherries, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, fleshy on the palate with high complexity and sophisticated touch, luxurious and lingering finish. This wine just oozes sheer class! 97-98p.
Bel-Air-Ouÿ – 4 ha, clayey-limestone, 65% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Malbec. It meets you with intense cherries and blackberries on the nose and palate. Quite powerful with ripe berry fruit and tannin on the palate, nice length, persistent finish. 89-90p.
Bellefont Belcier GCC - owned by Vignobles K together with Tour Saint Christophe, Haut Brisson, Clos Tourmaline, La Patache, Enclos de Viaud and Chateau le Rey in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux 13.5 ha, 70% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.95% alcohol. Elegant on the nose, noble, finely constructed, polished, catchy sweetness to black fruit and tannin, silky texture and smooth lingering finish. Gorgeous and attractive vine, but it doesn't have the opulence and intensity of the 2018 vintage. 92-93p.
Bellevue Mondotte - 2 ha, 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.81% alcohol. Dark, dark fruit in big numbers, perfectly ripe, luscious, potent, great depth and complexity, and a fleshy and intense finish. A modern style here, but this wine is neither over-extracted nor overdone. Certainly not a wine for faint-hearted wine-freaks, but I guess it will go perfectly with strong meat dishes. It shows great quality. 95p.
Cadet Bon GCC – 17 ha, 75% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet aromatic cherries on the nose, attractive and catchy, delicate fruit and silky tannins, complex and well-structured. Lingering finish. A heartbreaker effort. 91-92p.
Canon La Gaffeliere PGCC – there are spicy black cherries/raspberries on the nose and palate, well-constructed and with subtle complexity, well-balanced and with a lingering finish. It proved itself quite well in 2019. 92-93p.
Le Carre - neighbour to Chateau Canon. 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Powerful and intense on the nose with black-/blueberries/blackcurrants, creamy on the palate with splendid acidity. Balance here is just perfect between ripe berries and fat, sweet tannins. A great mix of elegance and power here! 94p.
Le Chatelet GCC – 3.19 ha, limestone and clay-limestone plateau, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Cherry and raspberry drops on the nose, quite concentrated on the palate, very nice complexity and balance, sleek, smooth aftertaste. Pretty nice effort. 91-92p.
Chauvin GCC– 15 ha, sandy clay with iron dirt on clay, 70% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Nicely made with delicious fruit complemented by sweet tannins and a smooth finish. Uncomplicated tasty wine. 89p.
Clavis Orea - 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. A joint venture of Lahcene Boutoba and Franck Jugelmann. The first vintage was in 2015. Grapes come from selected parcels by winemaker Franck Jugelmann (at Vignobles Rollet - plateau) in Saint Emilion. This wine may be the best effort yet, challenging 2018 and 2016. Intense black cherries, splendid complexity and structure, grained sweet tannins, a bit more refined than 2018, velvety texture and long lingering finish. 94+p.
Clos Badon - 5 ha, gravels and sand, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Deep and intense aroma of raspberry drops, strong backbone, potent and well-constructed. A fine future awaits. 92+p.
Clos d'Oratoire GCC – potent, well-structured, savoury and meaty, delicious complexity and length. Fruity aftertaste. Fine winemaking. 92p.
Clos des Jacobins GCC– 8.5 ha, clay-limestone, 80% Merlot + 18% Cabernet Franc + 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet aromatic cherries, attractive, robust and elegant, complex, very reliable backbone, silky, well-balanced. Finesse. Pretty confident effort. 93p.
Clos de Sarpe – 3.7 ha, clay-limestone on the plateau, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Fruity and round, pleasant and tasty, a bit linear and light. Maybe it will put on weight during ageing in barrels. 86-87p.
La Commanderie – 3.7 ha, gravel on sandy clay, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Elegant on the nose with a light intensity of blueberries and blackberries. Crisp fruit and tannin, sophisticated and with a smooth finish. 91p.
La Confession - 7.3 ha, 73% Merlot + 27% Cabernet Franc, 14.2% alcohol, ageing in normal barrels and 500 l barrels (Stockinger ones). It's just great stuff! A very dense and opulent, big and deeply scented nose of black cherries and black currants. Vibrant with strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, great structure, tight, great complexity and long persistent finish. I ask myself right now if it's the best La Confession ever made – I'm probably right in my prognosis! 95-96+p.
Corbin GCC – 13 ha, clay-sandy clay on ferrous clay, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. A distinctive and classy nose of sweet black cherries and blueberries with fabulous elegance and finesse, vibrant on layers, sophisticated with high complexity. Silky and velvety. It's such a riveting and stylish effort! Will it pass by 2018 on the finish line? I believe so! 96p.
Corbin Michotte – made by the Boidron family. 7 ha, sand + clay + gravel on a subsoil of sand and clay. 65% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. I found this sample lighter than in 2018 and 2016, not offering the same intensity and concentration of flavours. Beware, it's a lovely wine with sweet cherries, very accessible, elegant and with finesse. Attractive. I'm sure it puts on weight after ageing and bottling. 92+p.
Cote de Baleau GCC – 11.24 ha, clay-limestone, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Deliciously fragrant and aromatic cherries on the nose. Very fine and potent on the palate with delicious complexity, style and finesse. Creamy berries and sweet tannins. Excellent effort. 93p.
La Couspaude GCC – 7 ha, clay-limestones, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense dark berries like blackberries and black cherries on the nose. Creamy black fruit and corresponding sweet tannins, vibrant with great complexity, long crispy finish. Very impressive. 94p.
Couvent des Jacobins GCC – 10.7 ha, clay-limestones and sandy clay, 85% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc + 5% Petit Verdot. Cherry drops on the nose, spicy black cherries on the palate, sleek with fine cooperation between berries and tannin, nice fruity finish. Attractive and tasty. 90p.
Croix de Labrie - 97% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine, or should I call it baby wine, started a bit mute but after 15 minutes in a carafe, it turned afterburners on! Deep and intense nose of black fruit (blueberries/blackberries) with great flair, concentrated and seamless on the palate. Voluminous with great complexity and a long fruity finish. Seamless, so you can't feel the tannin. Alcohol? Where is it? Completely "eaten" or packed in or integrated/masked by fruit. It's a very, very impressive effort, indeed! 96+p.
Croix Cardinale – 4 ha on clay, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. It's a neighbour to Fleur Cardinale, and the Decoster family owns both. Well-defined on the nose and palate, spicy and fragrant raspberries, nice structure silky texture and nice fruity finish. 90-91p.
La Croizille - 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. Lots of blackberries here, intense nose and creamy palate. Tannins are finely grained, and there is fine complexity, elegance and smoothness—a fine effort rated 91-92p.
Dassault GCC – 20 ha, sand-clay on clay-molasse, 74% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Elegant and polished, aromatic raspberries and blueberries, silky, fine structure and length. Persistent finish. Nice effort. 91p.
Destieux GCC – 8 ha, clay-limestones, 66% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 17% Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite powerful, more attacking wine, big backbone and structure. Maybe a little bit too forceful. Anyway, it's a substantial effort, and I am sure it will soften to softer edges when in a bottle for several years. 92+p.
Le Dôme - this vineyard is split into different parcels situated on the right side of the slopes near Beausejour Becot and Canon, heading towards the village of Saint-Emilion. When you "sniff" this barrel sample, the first you notice is a burst of Cabernet Franc, and there is 80% of it in the blend and 20% Merlot to support it. There is a sophisticated and very intense nose of creamy black-/blueberries with great depth, a strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, silky texture on the palate yet high concentration and sweet, crunchy tannins. Remarkable complexity, depth and length. It's a beautiful piece of intelligent winemaking! Wow! 96-98p.
Faugeres – 37 ha, clay-limestones, 70% Merlot + 21% Cabernet Franc + 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cherries and blueberries, vibrant, modern style, nicely constructed with fine length. Pretty and attractive wine. 91-92p.
Faurie de Souchard GCC – 12 ha, clay slopes + foot of the hill with sandy clay. Quite compact wine with a tannic approach on the palate with nicely expressed fruit, sophisticated, and persistent finish. 89-90p.
Figeac PGCC - 30% Merlot + 34% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Cabernet Franc, 14.1% alcohol. Very complete with great build-up and precision. Both Cabernets were making their contributions perfectly, providing great minerality, depth and backbone. Cabernet Franc here is the best one they've harvested in the last 20 years! Merlot contributes to voluptuousness and creamy fruit. Best Figeac yet made by present staff – I think so! 98p.
De Ferrand GCC – 32 ha, clay-limestones, 79% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot. Aromatic and attractive on the nose, black cherries, intense and sappy on the palate, crunchy tannins, the gentle contribution of new oak, fruity and persistent finish. Beautiful and tasty effort. 92-93p.
Fleur Cardinale GCC – 23.5 ha, clay-limestone slopes, 72% Merlot + 24% Cabernet Franc + 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very fragrant on the nose with violets, blueberries and cherries. Well-defined, vibrant, very complex, elegant with finesse, delicate fruit, lovely finish with persistency. Excellent winemaking here! 94+p.
La Fleur Morange GCC – 2.06 ha, clay-limestones-alluvial, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Cherries with cocoa powder are nicely composed and vibrant, modern style, nicely structured with tasty berries. Very catchy and attractive wine, which will drink well. 91-92p.
Fombrauge GCC – 58 ha, clay-limestones on molasse Frosandais, 89% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc + 2% Malbec + 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is attractive and aromatic on the nose, vibrant on the palate, creamy berries and sweet tannins, well-balanced. Pretty wine. 91+p.
Fonplegade GCC – 18.5 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone terraces, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Powerful on the nose and palate with concentrated cherries and blueberries. Fat tannins, complex and with a lovely savoury finish. 92-93p.
Fonroque GCC – 17.6 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone slopes, 86% Merlot + 14% Cabernet Franc. Pretty but light wine with aromatically scented berries, lovely tannins, delicate palate and smooth finish. 90-91p.
Franc Mayne GCC – 5.68 ha, limestone plateau + clay-sandy clay, 100% Merlot. A very approachable wine with silky fruit and tannin on the light side. Delicate structure and length. Correctly made wine but a bit plain. 88p.
La Grace Dieu des Prieurs – 8 ha on sandy clay and limestones, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, ageing in 100% grained new oak from Radoux. New owner since 2013, a Russian art collector. Louis Mitjavile, son of famous Francois Mitjavile from Tertre Roteboeuf, is the winemaker here.
Very intense sweet black cherries wrapped in chocolate on the nose, very fragrant. It's seamless on the palate with perfectly integrated luscious fruit and sweet tannin, pure elegance and finesse, and a long velvety finish. It catches your attention immediately with so surprisingly complete performance. Hold my beer! 93p.
Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac – 15 ha, 73% Merlot + 23% Cabernet Franc. It is attractive on the nose with fragrant blueberries, polished and velvety on the palate, easygoing with a soft texture and fruity finish. 88p.
Grand Corbin GCC – 28.5 ha, silica on the bed of blue clay, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. It is very cherry on the nose, aromatic and attractive, polished and crunchy fruit on the palate, sweet tannins, silky texture, and lingering finish. 91+p.
Grand Corbin Despagne GCC – 28.8 ha, clay-silica on iron dirt/sandy clay, 75% Merlot + 24% Cabernet Franc + 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Splendid on the nose and palate. Intense with blackberries. Great complexity. The perfect harmony between fruit and sweet tannins. Velvety and persistent finish. Highly impressive. 94p.
Les Grandes Murailles GCC – 2 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. A great nose with a beautiful aromatic string of berries, creamy stuff on the palate, dense and concentrated, velvety tannins, very complex and lengthy finish. An excellent effort. 94p.
Grand Pontet GCC – 14 ha, soil on limestones + clay-limestones and sandy clay, 65% Merlot+ 24% Cabernet Franc + 11% Malbec. Spicy fruit, polished, on the light side with some kind of elegance and roundness. Nice balance and length. Attractive and tasty. 90p.
Haut Brisson - 8 ha, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.95 alcohol. correct wine, but I find it a bit anonymous and light-footed. Beware, there is nice spicy fruit and tannin, nice structure and length, but this effort doesn't get me moved overall. 87p.
Haut Sarpe GCC – 19.5 ha, clay-limestones, 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Everything is correct in this wine, nicely made with nice polished aromas and taste. But also, a bit simple. 87p.
Jean Faure GCC – 18 ha, clay-silica plateau, 65% Cabernet Franc + 30% Merlot + 5% Malbec. A rather unusual blend and this sample are different in aromas compared with other tasted wines. A bit peppery and some leek, but ripeness is fine here. On the light side, silky texture and smooth finish. 90p.
Laforge - 92% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc. A splendid nose of spicy raspberries/blackcurrants and as splendid on the palate with creamy fruit well-supported by grained and sweet tannins. Violets and some eucalyptus on the palate, strong backbone, splendid complexity and long creamy finish are fragrant. Excellent effort. 93p.
Laniote GCC – 5 ha, clay-limestones on a subsoil of limestones and asteries, 73% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very reasonable effort. An attractive wine with a charming appeal, tasty fruit, sweet tannins and lingering finish. 89-90p.
Laroque GCC – 30.1 ha, clay-limestone plateau, 97% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Franc. All in all, it's a nicely made wine, a bit simple and light. It's, however, a certain charm and roundness. 87-88p.
Larcis Ducasse PGCC – 11.15 ha, clay-limestone plateau and clay-limestone on slopes, 88% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc. Dark cherries on the nose, lovely intensity, elegant and polished, delicate sweet tannins, smooth finish. It tastes a bit light, and I hope it will gain some weight after ageing in the barrel. 92+p.
Laroze GCC – 27.35 ha, silica + clay, 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. Elegant and delicate, raspberry drops, finesse, quite complex with finesse, silky fruit and tannins, persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort. 93p.
Mangot – 37 ha, 75% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Spicy and aromatic cherries/raspberries on the nose, fresh and vibrant, fine structure, complexity and length. Lingering finish. Lovely stuff. 92-93p.
Mangot Distique 12 – 2 ha parcel selection from 5 plots including three grape varieties, 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The first sample received wasn't in optimal condition (one week's travel), so I requested a new sample. It arrived in prima condition. Dark and heavy berries on the nose, a touch of green pepper and spicy raspberries on the palate, strong backbone, meaty, persistent finish. Different but exciting wine to follow up. 93p.
La Marzelle GCC – 17 ha, terraces with gravel, sand and red stones, 75% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet cherries on the nose, aromatic and delicate fruit, well-composed with a velvety texture, silky tannins and lovely fruity finish. Appetizing. 91+p.
La Mondotte PGCC – plenty of sweet black cherries on the nose and palate, very potent, refined, complexity and depth. Silky fruit and tannin yet robust and with a fat lingering finish. Imposing effort. 96+p.
Monbousquet – 32 ha, 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.55% alcohol. Owned by Gerard Perse in addition to Clos Lunelles, Bellevue Mondotte, Pavie Decesse. Seductive cherries on the nose, aromatic and attractive, crunchy fruit and tannin, fine composition on the palate, silky texture and fine length. 91-92p.
Moulin de Cadet GCC – 2.85 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. Lovely and aromatic black cherries wrapped up in chocolate and cacao powder, well-defined, delicate, delicious complexity, sweet tannin, velvety structure, attractive finish, lingering. Excellent effort. 93p.
Muse du Val – 1 ha, clayey limestone slopes, 50% Merlot + 50% Cabernet Franc, 100% new barrels. Same owner as Petit Val. Typical blend for Saint-Emilion: Raspberry drops on the nose and creamy raspberries on the palate. All in all, a quite lovely wine, not an intellectual one, drinks well and have some attraction to it. 90p.
Pavie PGCC "A" – 37ha, 50% Merlot + 32% Cabernet Franc + 18% Cabernet Sauvignon not that different from Pavie Decesse. Dark berries in big numbers with power, great depth, structure and length. Richer and longer on the palate than Pavie Decesse. Persistent finish. Stupendous effort. 97-98p.
Pavie Decesse GCC – 3.65 ha, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, 14.51% alcohol. Excellently scented dark cherries and blueberries, vibrant, potent fruit with an adequate kick of tannin. Strong backbone and great complexity. Like in other top wines from the owner, you have here opulent fruit and fat tannins, dark berry flavours. Nothing negative to say. It's just the style they fashioned in 2019. High quality here too. 95+p.
Pavie Macquin PGCC – 15 ha, clay-limestone plateau on limestones with asteries, 78% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. More elegant and with more finesse if compared to 2018. It is quite intense on the nose and palate with splendid complexity, depth and length, luscious berries, and lingering finish. 94+p.
Petit Val – 12 ha, sandy clay + clayey limestone slopes, 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Petit Verdot, 100% new barrels. Unusual blend for Saint-Emilion with the addition of Petit Verdot, who you rather see on the left bank. I could taste its contribution to the wine with spicy dark fruit aromas and solid backbone on the palate with creaminess. Persistent finish. Not bad at all. 91p.
de Pressac GCC - 36.5 ha, limestone plateau and clay-limestone plateau, 77% Merlot + 9% Cabernet Franc + 11% Cabernet Sauvignon + 2% Carmenere + 1% Malbec. Tight and intense dark berries, creamy on the palate with vigour and energy, splendid complexity and structure, lingering finish. Splendid effort. 94p.
Le Prieure GCC - 6.24 ha, limestone plateau, 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc. Cherry and raspberry drop on the nose, quite concentrated on the palate, harmonious, and subtle. Pretty nice effort. 91-92p.
Ripeau GCC – 16.1 ha, sand + light gravel on vein of clay + iron subsoil, 65% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc + 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intensely aromatic blueberries mixed with cherries on the nose and palate, quite well-equipped wine, creamy on the palate, Splendid structure and length. Lovely and persistent aftertaste. 93-94p.
Rochebelle GCC – 3 ha, clay-limestone on the top of the limestone plateau, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Cherry drops on the nose, quite powerful, yet with elegance and finesse, voluptuous. Complex and sleek. Smooth and lingering finish. Pretty enjoyable stuff. 92-93p.
Sansonnet GCC– 7 ha, clay-limestone, 90% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Cabernet Franc. Delicate and attractive nose of dark berries, fine structure, silky fruit, crunchy tannins, sleek and elegant. Finesse. Well-made. 91-92p.
La Serre GCC – 7 ha, limestone plateau, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Intense black fruit flavours on the nose and palate, creamy berries and fat tannin, vibrant, well-constructed, splendid complexity and length. Intelligent winemaking. 93-94p.
Tertre Roteboeuf - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. A thick nose full of flower fragrances and blackberry aroma. Violets, wild cherries, cocoa powder and chocolate. Creamy all the way. It's a magical wine with great flair, sophisticated touch, fatness, seamless structure and silkiness. Again an exceptional wine from Francois Mitjavile hits to roof! Wow! 97-100p.
Teyssier - it's a residence of Jonathan Maltus, an Englishman, who's arrived at Saint Emilion in 1994. He also owns Laforge, Le Carre, Les Asteries, Vieux Chateau Mazerat and Le Dôme, all red wines plus a "white" vineyard, Le Nardian. All situated in Saint-Emilion. It's one of the "hottest" consulting oenologists in Bordeaux at the moment, Thomas Duclos, who advises at all Jonathan Maltus properties.
The blend here is 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. It was quite intense on the nose with spicy dark blackberries and raspberries, powerful and concentrated on the palate, subtle complexity, depth, and length. Cabernet Franc adds backbone and strength to balance the voluptuous Merlot. I firmly believe this is the best vintage from this property I've ever tasted! 92+p.
Tour Baladoz - 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Owners - Famille de Schepper - de Mour. Displays spicy dark fruit in vast quantities, powerful appearance, tannins not grained as in La Croizille. It displays a nice complexity, balance and length present. 91p.
La Tour Figeac GCC - 14.5 ha, gravel and sand on clay, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. A bit stern and aggressive, filled with black fruit and tannin, some power here. It needs time to soften. 91+p.
Tour St. Christophe - 20 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.3% alcohol, 40% new oak. 2019 vintage's great qualities are very apparent here and on constant repeat. Big, intense aroma of sweet blueberries, voluptuous and creamy on the palate with grained tannin, high complexity, and length. The acidity keeps everything in prima order. Sublime effort! 94p.
Trianon - very nice black cherry fragrance on the nose, alcohol very present, sweet tannin and creamy berries. Velvety texture. Well-balanced with a smooth fruity finish. 89p.
Trianon Cuvée Kosher - slightly different than normal cuvée with darker aromas of cherries and blueberries, more depth here and alcohol is better masked by fruit. Longer aftertaste. 89-90p.
Yon Figeac GCC – 24 ha, clay-sand on iron dirt, 80% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Franc + 7% Petit Verdot. Aromatic nose of violets, attractive and elegant on the palate. On the light side concerning concentration. Charming. A little bit four-square but drinks well. 89-90p.
Valandraud PGCC - 7 ha, clayey-limestone, 90% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, It was not a powerhouse 2019. It's still wine with pure elegance and finesse. It's also refined and sophisticated with a velvety texture. Remarkable complexity and long lingering finish. Sheer class and refined style we have here! 96-97p.
Vieux Chateau Mazerat - 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. Situated near Angelus. Opulent, bursts on the nose with chocolate wrapped wild cherries and blackcurrants. Classy on the palate, strong and creamy and with crunchy sweet tannins. Great complexity and length.s a fabulous effort. 95+p.
Virginie Thunevin – pretty and quite attractive nose of cherries, well-placed creamy fruit on the palate, silky texture and well-integrated sweet tannin. Catchy wine and not too complicated. 91p.
Virginie de Valandraud – 12 ha, clayey-limestone and gravels, 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 9% Cabernet Sauvignon + 1% Carmenere. Fresh and lively with aromatic and tasty cherries/raspberries, lovely fruit and tannin on the palate, fine length and fruity finish. 92p.
La Voute - 1.42 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.3% alcohol, 100% new oak. Aromatic blueberries, polished, well-balanced, lovely structure, delicate and crunchy tannin, smooth finish. A crowd-pleaser. 90-92p.
Carteau, Faugeres, Godeau, Lynsolence, Pas de Ane, Rol Valentin, Soutard-Cadet and Tauzinat. Attractive with tasty dark berries, nice acidity and lingering aftertaste. Well-deserved 90-91p to all.
Messile-Aubert - round, pleasant with tasty black fruit and delicate aftertaste. 89p.
Fourney, Osage and Vieux Guinot - correct wines, aromatic, round and pleasant. 87-88p.
Le Boscq - 46% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc. Quite compact, nicely constructed, fleshy with very tasty blackcurrants, firm finish. 90-91p.
Calon Segur - 73% Cabernet Sauvignon + 14% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 100% new oak. This property made a blockbuster wine in 2018 vintage, and 2019 is close to that effort. As expressive but not as concentrated. There's, in my opinion, more elegance, more silkiness here and more finesse here. Stunning structure and length, sophisticated. Among the best wines in this vintage, that's for sure! 98+p.
Cos d’Estournel - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, 14% alcohol, 55% new oak. Wow, this is real, real enjoyment for one's senses! 2019 here definitively breaks up with old-style Cos and continues with the gentler and more soil character-oriented style, which started in 2014. Max. 27 degrees C during alcoholic fermentation. Excellent presence of cigar box, tobacco-leaf and scent of grilled bacon, so typical aromas for Cabernet Sauvignon here. Extremely refined and sophisticated on the nose and palate, multi-layered with stunning complexity, depth and length. Touch down!! 98-100p.
Cos Labory – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 34% Merlot + 6% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol, 50% new oak. Spicy blackcurrants on the nose, aromatic potent and creamy on the palate, well-structured and with a velvety texture. Well-made. 92+p.
Lafon Rochet – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. 14.3% alcohol. Aromatic, vivid, sleek, creamy blackcurrants on the nose and palate, fine complexity and structure, fine balance, and sweet grained tannins. Lingering aftertaste. Splendid effort. 93-94p.
Meyney – whole 16% Petit Verdot in the blend (18% in 2018) and remaining parts split equally between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Voluptuous, strong backbone, lush and concentrated on the palate, full-bodied, creamy and with complexity. It continues in tracks of excellent 2018, but I taste more elegance here. 95p.
Pagodes de Cos - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon + 36% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc + 4% Petit Verdot, 14% alcohol, 20% new barrels. Second wine of Cos d'Estournel. An attractive and aromatic burst of sweet blackcurrants on the nose, quite opulent on the palate, creamy berries, silky texture, splendid support of sweet tannins. Nice touch of minerality. I can easily feel the presence of Petit Verdot, which contributes well to the backbone here! Sublime effort! 93-94p.
Phelan Segur - 70 ha, 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.5 alcohol. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon in 2019 than in 2018 (40%) and less Merlot (52%). You can taste the change in the blend proportions immediately! Aromatic cherries and blackcurrants in big numbers! Deep and big scaled nose, strong backbone, high complexity and significant concentration. Large, very complex, big ripe tannins. A beast in ship clothes! Different than 2018, which was much more sheep clothes than the creature. Will it outguns 2018 vintage – I think it will! 95p.
Cap St.Georges - 19 ha, 83% Merlot + 9% Cabernet Franc + 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14,2% alcohol, alcoholic fermentation at max. 28 degrees C, ageing in normal barrels and 500 l barrels (Stockinger ones). The fine aromatic nose of spicy blackberries and creamy black fruit on the palate is well supported by sweet grained tannin. Focused. Silky texture and smooth lingering finish. Gentle and impressive effort! 93+p.
Beychevelle – 49% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot +3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 13.7% alcohol, 60% new oak. On the nose, it's full of aromas of blackcurrants and black cherries, refined and classy with great elegance, full-bodied, cashmere everywhere, lingering long finish. 94+p.
Branaire Ducru – 56% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot + 4% Cabernet Franc. The young generation at this property seems to have brought the quality at least one step up than vintages before that. After the excellent 2018 effort, 2019 is no less exciting. Many aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and palate, creamy with silky tannins, complex, elegant and stylish. Precise and focused. 94p.
La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot + 4% Petit Verdot, 14.3% alcohol, 60% new oak. Dense blackcurrants/cherries on the nose, full-bodied on the palate, fine acidity and structure, creamy fruit well-supported by velvety tannin. Delightful second wine. 92-93p.
Ducru Beaucaillou – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 20% Merlot, 14.2% alcohol, 100% new oak. A textbook effort from this property, perfectly combining power and elegance. Great complex nose of dense blackcurrants and palate coated with creamy berries and sweet tannins. Riveting structure, sophisticated and multi-layered. Awesome finish. Exceptional stuff. 98+p.
Du Glana - elegant with finesse, nicely composed with flair, dark cherries with some spice, silky texture and delicate finish. Attractive. 91p.
Lagrange – 80% Cabernet Sauvignon + 18% Merlot + 2% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak. It was very fragrant on the nose with sweet blackcurrants, stylish, quite beefy and well-assorted on the palate, well-balanced with elegance and finesse. Very seductive effort. 93p.
Langoa Barton – 67% Cabernet Sauvignon + 26% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc, 13.92% alcohol, 60% new oak. Dense blackberries on the nose, sappy and well-assorted on the palate, many layers to take from. Impressive structure and length. Sweet tannins and silky fruit. Delightful stuff! 94+p.
Leoville Barton – 84% Cabernet Sauvignon + 16% Merlot, 13.88% alcohol, 60% new oak. A very detailed and refined nose of high-quality blackcurrants, striking balance and multi-layered. Great complexity, structure and length. No modern vinification frills here! This property always delivers classy wine to keep for several years. Awesome effort. 96p.
Leoville Poyferre - 67% Cabernet Sauvignon + 27% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot + 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.18% alcohol, 80% new oak. Modern style meaning more "attacking" fruit and tannin. Aromatic nose of crushed blackcurrants, splendidly constructed with creamy fruit and sweet tannin, energetic, great complexity and excellent persistent finish. This property you can always rely on - stable and making excellent wines. 95-96p.
Sauternes & Barsac:
21 properties tasted - 19 classified chateaux and 2 unclassified ones (Haut Bergeron and Raymond Lafon).
D’Arche – 50 ha, 90% Semillon + 9% Sauvignon Blanc + 1% Muscadelle. Inviting aromas of white peaches, mango and litchi, splendid acidity keeping it all in fine shape. Fine depth and length. Delicate aftertaste. Attractive effort. 92p.
Broustet – aromas of acacia honey, grapefruit and mango, fine acidity and sweetness. Delicate too on the palate with tasty honey melon and guava, harmonious. Delicate. Fine honeyed finish. Fine effort. 92p.
Clos Haut Peyraguey – 8.5 ha, 95% Semillon + 5% Sauvignon Blanc. Intensely aromatic nose of white flowers/fruit, acacia honey, elegant with finesse, splendid complexity and acidity, splendid structure and complexity, lingering and honeyed finish. 94-95p. Excellent stuff.
Coutet – 38 ha, 75% Sémillon, 23% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Muscadelle. On the nose, you find intensely fragrant sweet pineapple, remarkable acidity and sweetness on the palate, acacia and heather honey, refined and sophisticated, lovely balance and finish. There are great finesse and elegance. Great effort. 95p.
Doisy Daëne – 17.8 ha, 82% Sémillon, 17.6% Sauvignon Blanc, 0.4% Muscadelle. It was very intense on the nose with botrytized pineapple flavours, acacia flower, peaches, potent with acidity and complexity, refined with great length on the palate. Very significant effort. 95p.
Doisy Vedrines – 30 ha, 96% Semillon + 4% Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle. Fragrant acacia flower and peaches on the nose, quite elegant with finesse, fine acidity and depth on the palate, lingering finish. Tasty and attractive. 92-93p.
Filhot – 62 ha, 50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Muscadelle. Intense aromas of pineapple, sweet grapefruit and some mango on the nose, great cooperation between sweetness and acidity on the palate, Great length too combined with a very appetizing honeyed finish. Excellent effort for the vintage. 94-95p.
Guiraud - 25 ha, 65% Semillon + 35% Sauvignon Blanc. Botrytized aromas of grapefruit and orange peel on the nose, harmonious on the palate, finesse and elegance, acidity here supports greatly sweetness and vice-versa. It finishes with a creamy honeyed aftertaste. Excellent effort. 94-95p.
Haut Bergeron - it was another surprise and the best effort from this property yet. Fresh, deep and intense pineapple and orange peel nose, elegant with finesse on the palate, sweetness and acidity, make a great pair here. Expressive with flair. Honeyed aftertaste. 94p.
Lafaurie Peyraguey - 30 ha, 93% Semillon + 7% Sauvignon Blanc. Very deep and intense nose of sweet pineapple, grapefruit and orange peel. Very concentrated and powerful on the palate yet with flair and grace. Striking acidity and sweetness. Sophisticated and with a mega-long heather honey finish. Exceptional stuff. 96-97p.
Lamothe - 12.8 ha, 85% Semillon + 10% Sauvignon Blanc/Gris + 5% Muscadelle. Light aromas of grapefruit and pineapple, fruity and tasty on the palate with some sweetness and acidity. Nice honeyed finish. 90-91p.
Lamothe Guignard - 18 ha, 90% Semillon + 5% Sauvignon + 5% Muscadelle. Very similar and with the same characteristics as Lamothe. 90-91p.
de Malle - 22 ha, 90% Semillon + 4% Sauvignon + 6% Muscadelle. Acacia flower, sweet pineapple and dried apricots on the nose, fresh attitude with finesse, splendid acidity and complexity on the palate. Refined with a beautiful finish of creamy acacia honey. Excellent effort. 95p.
De Myrat - aromas of sweet grapefruit, guava and mango, well-balanced on the palate with elegance and finesse. Sleek and well-structured. Fine acidity and delicate aftertaste. Impressive effort. 94-95p.
Raymond Lafon - fine aromas of pineapple and peaches on the nose, a bit lighter than usual on the palate, but still there's great finesse and elegance, fine acidity and honeyed aftertaste. Hopefully, it will take on weight during ageing. 93-94p.
Romer - 6.5 ha, 100% Semillon. Fresh and intense nose of honey melon, guava and mango, fine depth and acidity, a myriad of botrytized flavours on the palate, long lingering finish. Big scaled. Expressive and very captivating. I don't recall such a splendid effort like 2019 ever tasted from this property! 93-94p.
Romer du Hayot - pleasant and round with some pineapple and grapefruit flavours, very enjoyable and tasty. Nice acidity and sweetness. Lightly honeyed aftertaste. 90p.
Sigalas Rabaud - showed a splendid nose of honey melon, guava and mango, much well-defined on the palate with remarkable acidity, several layers, striking complexity, refined and with a long lingering finish. Impressive effort. 94p.
Suau - 6.5 ha, 100% Semillon. Nice botrytized flavours of mango, pineapple and mandarin peel on the nose. Nice acidity and sweetness on the palate, polished, tasty and with a fine appeal. 92p.
Suduiraut - 94% Semillon + 6% Sauvignon Blanc. Very dense and intense on the nose with a large number of botrytized flavours, great complexity, structure and length on the palate, striking acidity, and sweetness make a great pair. Refined and sophisticated. Stupendous effort. 96p.
La Tour Blanche - 6.87 ha, 90% Semillon + 9.5% Sauvignon + 0.5% Muscadelle. Acacia flower, grapefruit and some orange peel on the nose, freshness, finesse, refined, splendid acidity and sweetness as well on the palate, splendid complexity and balance. Excellent effort. 95p.
1. Up left - samples from Cos d'Estournel
2. Upright - samples from Association de Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion
3. Middle left - samples from 1855 Grands Crus Classes without Sauternes & Barsac samples
4. Middle right - my friends Anne and Ivar Bjurner helping me with tasting samples and participating in the evaluation of these
5. Bottom left - Zoom conference with Marielle Cazaux from La Conseillante