In the process of assessing this vintage - looks fabulous after initial tastings!

2019 Bordeaux

 

BORDEAUX 2019 BARREL SAMPLES BEING TASTED AS PER 2ND JUNE 2020

 

Having been to harvest in Bordeaux in October 2019, I got then an idea of how 2019 will shape up. Already then I'd made up my mind -  a mix of 2018 and 2016, better than in 2017.

Because of coronavirus pandemic, it was not possible to travel to Bordeaux this spring and get tasted 350-400 barrel samples. All tastings in Bordeaux got cancelled.

However, thanks to kind proprietors, I'll continuously receive samples from several chateaux and associations directly to my address in Copenhagen, Denmark. They will be tasted 48 hours after receiving them. I'm saying to myself - "If I can't come to Bordeaux, then Bordeaux must come to me!" I expect to taste some 200-300+ barrel samples in the coming weeks, and I hope these to confirm further the exceptional quality of 2019.

After tasting several barrel samples, I can already say, that 2019 vintage looks just stunning. For reds, the ripeness of grapes and tannins, especially the sweetness of tannins and the grained texture of these is fantastic, plus the fact that each grape variety shows in full its typicity and character alone and also greatly complements the others varieties in the blend! 

Whites keep the trend of performing substantially in vintages ending with asymmetric end digit! And they just did that in both dry and sweet version in 2019! Big and happy future awaits them.

Stay tuned!

Bordeaux:

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, and 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.

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 then 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 compliment 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. 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 – a second label of white Valandraud. 2.5 ha, clayey-limestone, 50% Semillon + 40% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Sauvignon Gris. Full of freshness and vivacity, aromas of pineapple and grapefruit, fine acidity, well-bolstered on the palate, delicious fruity finish. 92p.

Bordeaux Superieur:

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.

Croix Mouton - one of several estates on Right Bank belonging to Jean-Philippe Janoueix, He also owns 20 Mille, La Confession and Cap St. Georges, and stands for running/making wine at Sacre Coeur and La Croix St.Georges. He doesn't use 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 up with perfectly ripe blackberries and sweet tannin, fine structure and subtle 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.

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.

Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux:

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.

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. I 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.

Graves:

Rahoul – 35 ha, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Potent and intense, well-proportioned, fine structure and length. 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, good length. 87p.

Haut Medoc:

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. 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.

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 the scent of tobacco leaves and cigar box, 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 at every corner 2018 version and may show even better after bottling. Fully deserved 95p.

Lalande-de-Pomerol:

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.

Haut Chaigneau - it's here Pascal Chatonnet lives. He's consulting oenologist with many clients around the world. For instance, in Bordeaux he consults Cos d'Estourrnel 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.

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 max temperature than 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.

Margaux:

Haut Breton Larigaudiere - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon + 10% Merlot + 5% Petit Verdot. Owners - Famille de Schepper. 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.

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 blackcurrants. A splendid intensity here both on the nose and palate, fine-grained tannins supporting the fruit, elegant composition and balance, silky texture, lingering finish. Very seductive indeed. 92+p.

Medoc:

Blaignan – aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, ripe fruit and tannin, pleasant on the palate with a nice bite, uncomplicated, soft finish. 87p.

Goulee by Cos d'Estournel - this vineyard is situated further north from Cos d'Estournel and close to the banks of Gironde. 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.  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.

Pessac-Leognan:

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 fruity, mellow finish. Attractive effort. 91p.

Cantelys white – lot of aromas here. Peaches, acacia flower and lemongrass, underlying acidity works well with creamy fruit. Fresh and vivid. Catchy effort. 90-91p.

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 coming from Cabernet Sauvignon, lush black fruit coming from Merlot and 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.

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

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.

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.

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. 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 which disappears rapidly. Silky on the palate with splendid balance and with a gentle kiss of oak, long and firm finish. It's simply 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.

Pomerol:

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. A lot of violets here on the nose intermixed with blueberries and black cherries, very distinctive and noble. On the palate, it's refined with striking complexity and harmony between creamy berries and sweet grained tannin. Lingering and long finish. A beautiful effort from hands of the very talented winemaker, Frederique Vayron and it deserves all 95p in rating!

Cantelauze – another property owned by Boidron family. 0.9 ha, vineyard is several parcels different places in Pomerol, 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet franc. Aromatic blueberries on the classy and noble nose, very complex and velvety on the palate, sweet tannins, splendid balance. However, it's not as intense and creamy as its 2018 counterpart. There's a lot of elegance and finesse here for them who like that in favour of power and strength. 93-94p.

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 with fine intensity. 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 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 2018 version,  tried last year, yet it seems more precise in 2019 version, compote of perfectly ripe dark berries, voluptuous fruit and sweet grained tannin, perfectly balanced. It is imposing effort indeed. 95+p.

Enclos Tourmaline - 1 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.5% alcohol. 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 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 like packed in the "wool". You can't even taste it.  Persistent finish. Very impressive indeed. 94p.

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.

Sacre Coeur -  this is a special 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.

Saint-Emilion:

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.

Les Asteries - 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc. Situated near Clos Fourtet. It's just stunning wine! It reminds me of a great deal of Le Carre, 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. Breaks your heart, so impressive it is! 95-96p.

Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) – 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 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 of 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 - 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 for me, it doesn't have the opulence and intensity of 2018 vintage. 92-93p.

Cadet Bon – 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.

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 – 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 – 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 smooth finish. Uncomplicated tasty wine. 89p.

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. Fine future awaits. 92+p.

Clos des Jacobins – 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 blackcurrants. 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 best La Confession ever made – I'm probably right in my prognosis! 95-96+p.

Corbin – 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 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 usual, 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 wonder if it put on weight after ageing and bottling? Let's hope so. But for now, I rate it 92p, and I'm maybe a too generous.

Cote de Baleau – 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 – 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 – 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 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. Ivery, 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 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 which is rated 91-92p.

Dassault – 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 – 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 very solid effort, and I am sure it will soften to softer edges when in bottle for several years. 92+p. 

Le Dôme - the vineyard is split in different parcels situated on the right side of the slopes near Beausejour Becot and Canon, in the direction towards the village of Saint-Emilion. The first you notice when you "sniff" this barrel sample 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 big depth, strong backbone provided by Cabernet Franc, silky texture on the palate yet big concentration and sweet, crunchy tannins. Awesome complexity, depth and length. This is a wonderful piece of clever 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 – 12 ha, clay slopes + foot of the hill with sandy clay. Quite compact wine with tannic approach on the palate with nicely expressed fruit, complex and with persistent finish. 89-90p.

De Ferrand – 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. Very pretty and tasty effort. 92-93p.

Fleur Cardinale – 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 – 2.06 ha, clay-limestones-alluvial, 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Cherries with cocoa powder on them, nicely composed and vibrant, modern style, nicely structured with tasty berries. Very catchy and attractive wine which will drink well. 91-92p.

Fombrauge – 58 ha, clay-limestones on molasse Frosandais, 89% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc + 2% Malbec + 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Attractive and aromatic on the nose, vibrant on the palate, creamy berries and sweet tannins, well-balanced. Pretty wine. 91+p.

Fonplegade – 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 appetizing finish. 92-93p.<

Fonroque – 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 – 5.68 ha, limestone plateau + clay-sandy clay, 100% Merlot. A very approachable wine with silky fruit and tannin, on the light side. Nice 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 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. Attractive with on the nose with fragrant blueberries, polished and velvety on the palate, easygoing with a soft texture, fruity finish. 88p.

Grand Corbin – 28.5 ha, silica on the bed of blue clay, 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. Very cherry on the nose, aromatic and attractive, polished and crunchy fruit on the palate, sweet tannins, silky texture, lingering finish. 91+p.

Grand Corbin Despagne – 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. Excellent complexity. The perfect harmony between fruit and sweet tannins. Velvety and persistent finish. Highly impressive. 94p.

Les Grandes Murailles – 2 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. A noble nose with a fine aromatic string of berries, creamy stuff on the palate, dense and concentrated, velvety tannins, very complex and long finish. Simply an excellent effort. 94p.

Grand Pontet – 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 overall, this effort doesn't get me moved. 87p.

Haut Sarpe – 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 – 18 ha, clay-silica plateau, 65% Cabernet Franc + 30% Merlot + 5% Malbec. A rather unusual blend and this sample is 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 – 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 nice appeal, tasty fruit, sweet tannins and lingering finish. 89-90p.

Laroque – 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 – 11.15 ha, clay-limestone plateau and clay-limestone on slopes, 88% Merlot + 12% Cabernet Franc. Dark cherries on the nose, nice intensity, elegant and polished, nice sweet tannins, smooth finish. Tastes a bit light and I hope it will gain some weight after ageing in barrel. 92+p.

Laroze – 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. 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, touch of green pepper and spicy raspberries on the palate, strong backbone, meaty, persistent finish. Different but interesting wine to follow up. 93p.

La Marzelle – 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.

Moulin de Cadet – 2.85 ha, clay-limestones, 100% Merlot. Very attractive and aromatic black cherries wrapped up in chocolate and cacao powder, well-defined, delicate, delicious complexity, sweet tannin, velvety structure, lovely finish, lingering. Excellent effort. 93p.

Pavie Macquin – 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. Quite intense on the nose and palate with splendid complexity, depth and length, luscious berries and lingering finish. 94+p.

de Pressac - 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 verve and energy, splendid complexity and structure, lingering finish. Splendid effort. 94p.

Le Prieure - 6.24 ha, limestone plateau, 83% Merlot + 17% Cabernet Franc.cherry and raspberry drops on the nose, quite concentrated on the palate, harmonious, fine balance, fine complexity. Pretty nice effort. 91-92p.

Ripeau – 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 – 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 fine stuff. 92-93p.

Sansonnet – 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 – 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. This is a magical wine with great flair, sophisticated touch, fatness, seamless structure and silkiness. Again an exceptional wine from Francois Mitjavile which hits to roof! Wow! 97-100p.

Teyssier - the 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. Quite intense on the nose with spicy dark blackberries and raspberries, powerful and concentrated on the palate, fine 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 that grained as in La Croizille. Displays a nice complexity, balance and length present. 91p.

La Tour Figeac – 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. Needs time to soften. 91+p.

Tour St. Christophe - 20 ha, 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.3% alcohol, 40% new oak.2019 vintages great qualities are very apparent here and on constant repeat. Big, intense and dry aromas 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.

Yon Figeac – 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 – 7 ha, clayey-limestone, 90% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, It was not a powerhouse in 2019 but a wine with pure elegance and finesse, It's also refined and sophisticated with a velvety texture. Great complexity and long lingering finish. Sheer class and pure 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 - aromatic blueberries, polished, well-balanced, lovely structure, delicate and crunchy tannin, smooth finish. A crowd-pleaser. 90-92p.

Saint-Estephe:

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.

Cos d’Estournel - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, 14% alcohol, 55% new oak. Wow, this is real, real enjoyment for one's senses! I think 2019 here definitively breaks up with old-style Cos and continues with the gentler and more soil character-oriented style which started since 2014 vintage. 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, multilayered with stunning complexity, depth and length. Touch down!! 98-100p.

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 great complexity. Continues in tracks of awesome 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 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 compared to 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.

Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion:

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). Fine aromatic nose of spicy blackberries and creamy black fruit on the palate which is well supported by sweet grained tannin. Focused. Silky texture and smooth lingering finish. Gentle and impressive effort! 93+p.

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My top ten wines tasted in 2019

1. Lafite Rothschild 2016                                  100p

2. Cheval Blanc 2000                                         100p

3. Cheval Blanc 2009                                          99p

4. Lafleur 2016                                                   99p

5. Lafleur 2015                                                   98p

6. Pichon Baron 2010                                          98p

7. Pichon Comtesse 2017                                    97p

8. Beychevelle 1949                                            97p

9. Leoville Barton 2016                                       96p

10. Les Carmes Haut Brion 1953                         96p