Bordeaux is well on the way to do a hattrick! After epic 2018 & 2019 vintages, 2020 is an excellent one judged from barrel tastings, but can improve when in bottle

2020 Bordeaux from barrel

I didn't travel to Bordeaux in the late autumn of 2020 and oversee the harvest as I usually do every year. It was for well-known reasons - coronavirus and travel restrictions. Neither did I attend primeur tastings in April 2021 and got instead barrel samples of 2020 vintage sent to my home in Copenhagen. They were tasted in approximately two months, primo April to primo June.

Winter 2020-2021 started quite wet but wasn't especially cold. Vines started quite early with bud breaks (mid-March), and there were frost spots around Bordeaux but with very little one none damage. The first half of April was warm, and afterwards, some rain fell, causing a significant outbreak of mildew in several places in Bordeaux.

Flowering took place in mid-May, meaning two weeks in advance. June treated winegrowers with rather cool weather, and for almost two months between mid-June and mid-August, no rain fell. Limestone and clayey soils had big water reserves, which they built up during the winter. Merlot took big advantage of this on the Right Bank. Gravelly soils had not that privilege. For that reason, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon experienced hydric stress, especially in the north for St. Julien, but not significantly in Graves/Pessac-Leognan.

Much-needed rain arrived in mid-September and helped Cabernet Sauvignon obtained optimum maturity outside and inside the skins.

Harvest of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon started at the end of August and finished at the beginning of September. Merlot started to be harvested in early September, and then it was Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot turn. The harvest was over at the end of September for the majority of producers. Grapes were small everywhere, concentrated and full of tannin due to the almost two months-long drought.

2020 saw a gentler vinification than usual with lower maceration temperatures and less oak. Again, it was to preserve the fruity character and add more freshness to the wines. More and more properties started to use amphoras in varying amounts for ageing the wines to preserve freshness and fruit. 

So how is it 2020? Generally, I think it's not that homogenous as 2018 and 2019 and, for the most, better on the Right Bank than on the Left Bank. The soils with clay and limestones, which had big water reserves, planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, did best. This is particularly evident in Saint-Emilion, which produced plenty of excellent wines and counts as the best commune in 2020. However, I'm not that convinced that 2020 should be called an exceptional vintage among red wines. 

On the Left Bank, Graves/Pessac-Leognan and southern Medoc properties with water reserves in the soil and having a significant portion of Merlot in their blends did great as well. At the same time, the northern part of Medoc isn't that consistent because of not 100% perfect Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, it was perfectly ripe, but in several places, not that grained, polished and elastic as f.i. seen in 2018 and 2019. Tannins are firmer there in 2020 than in 2018 and 2019, and their structure reminds me of 2005 and 2010. Classified wines in Haut Medoc generally made wines close to the quality of 2019 and 2018; some excelled in comparison.

There's a lack of opulency and a touch of dryness on the palate in wines from the lesser soils on the Left Bank.

Alcohol levels were generally 0.5-1% lower in 2020 than in 2018-2019, despite grapes being small and concentrated. 

White dry and sweet white wines remind of the 2018 vintage and are marginally more consistent in 2020. They also have more acidity.

I couldn't receive barrel samples from Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Petrus, Trotanoy, Lafleur, Lafite, Montrose, and Le Pin for various reasons. Still, I hope to catch up with tastings when I come next time to Bordeaux, and I hope it'll be possible in late autumn this year.

-----

Grades of rating wines:

98-100p - perfectly made wines, well on the way to becoming legends.

96-98p - truly remarkable wines with a lot of style and class, great, great potential, fabulously made.

94-96p - very focused wines with great precision, personality, and complexity.

92-94p - remarkable wines with style and class.

90-92p – well-made wines with nice personality and focus.

88-90p - admirable quality.

87p – correct wines.

85-86p - acceptable wines.

84p and below - barely acceptable wines.

Wines in the two last categories won't always be described one by one but can be grouped under the same short description in their respective communes/districts.  

Important!

All the wines mentioned below were tasted not blind in Copenhagen, under identical conditions, meaning tasting in the same room at 16-18 degrees C and using only Spiegelgau Authentis red wine glasses (48 cl). They have been tasted again during the following days. Unfortunately, because of large deliveries of samples at one day and next day and so on, it wasn't possible to taste them all at once. Furthermore, about 5% of received barrel samples were oxidised and tired and not included in tastings, particularly among the lesser ones.

All wines did come directly from the properties (sent by both separately and grouped by organisations). 

Abbreviations:

CB - Cru Bourgeois

CBS - Cru Bourgeois Superieur

CBE - Cru Bourgeois Exceptionel

CC - Cru Classé (Haut Médoc)

GCC - Grand Cru Classé (Saint-Émilion)

PGCC - Premier Grand Cru Classé (Saint-Émilion)

-----

Resumé

Outstanding in 2020 vintage with different price levels. If you can afford them, buy them:

Haut Brion (Pessac-Leognan), Ch. Margaux (Margaux), Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac), Angelus, Figeac and Tertre Roteboeuf (St.Emilion), Les Carmes Haut Brion, Domaine de Chevalier and La Mission Haut Brion (Pessac-Leognan), Ducru Beaucaillou and Leoville Las Cases (St.Julien), Clinet, La Conseillante and L’Eglise Clinet (Pomerol), Pichon Baron and Pichon Comtesse (Pauillac), Calon Segur and Cos d’Estournel (St.Estephe).

Best value for the money:

Bourdieu Absolu (Blaye), 20 Mille + Croix Mouton (Bordeaux Superieur), CarlMagnus, Dalem, La Dauphine, Fontenil, de La Huste, de La Riviere and La Vieille Cure (Fronsac), La Lagune (Haut Medoc), Le Rey Les Rocheuses (Castillon), Sociando Mallet (Haut Medoc), Sergue and Sergant (Lalande-de-Pomerol), La Rose Perriere (Lussac), Bourgneuf (Pomerol), Clarisse Cuvee Vieilles Vignes and Roc de Becot (Puisseguin), Clos de Jacobins, Fonplegage, Laroze, Ripeau and La Serre (all St.Emilion), Capbern, Phelan Segur and Tour des Termes (all St.Estephe).

-----

Tasting notes:

Bergerac

I received 2 different Bergerac wines in the 2020 vintage from Rolland Labs to assess. 

1. N.1 Saint-Cernin Rouge - this wine comes from Perigord. Aromatic with cherry tones added some spices. Delicate on the palate with mineral tones, bright acidity and fine tannin. Fine structure and length. Well-made. 89p.

2. N.1 Saint-Cernin Blanc - 100% Chardonnay from Limoux appellation. Melted butter on the nose, fresh, crispy and nicely structured. Pleasant and tasty. 87p.

Bordeaux/Bordeaux Superieur

20 Mille (Bordeaux Superieur) - 100% Merlot, 14.81% alcohol. Neighbour to Croix Mouton. Dense and intense nose of black cherries and blueberries, plush and spicy black fruit on the palate with lovely backbone, complexity, structure and length. Splendid effort. 93p.

Bad Boy - very fresh on the nose and very aromatic, catchy and seductive, silky fruit and tannin, caressing fruity finish. It drinks beautifully already now. 90-91p.

Balthus (Bordeaux Superieur) - 100% Merlot cuvée from Reignac. A lovely intensity of aromatic berries, polished and well-covered with creamy and tasty berries on the palate, well-knitted and lingering finish. 88p.

Clarendelle red – fresh, crunchy berries, good acidity, nicely structured, tasty and round. 89-90p.

Clarendelle white – very aromatic on the nose with acacia flower and lemongrass, crispy and nice acidity on the palate, tasty and caressing aftertaste. 89p.

La Clarte de Haut Brion – lemongrass and white peach on the nose, delicate, crispy and well-defined on the palate, lingering finish. 92p.

Clos des Lunes d'Argent - 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Pleasant and round, a scent of acacia honey, pear and dried apricot. Some acidity, good balance and length. It makes a lovely aperitif. 89p.

Clos des Lunes d'Or - 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon Blanc. More sweetness here than in d'Argent, more intensity and length. Tasty and attractive. 90-91p.

Confidence de Bastor Lamontagne white – 71% Sauvignon Blanc +Gris and 29% Semillon. Aromatic and crispy, fresh, well-trimmed, nice acidity, lingering finish. Tasty and attractive. 88p.

Cos d’Estournel white – 66% Sauvignon Blanc + 34% Semillon.  Fresh. A fatter version of Pagodes de Cos with more intensity and concentration, more acidity and length on the palate. Very pineapple and lemongrass, crispy and lively. Splendid effort. 93p.

Croix Mouton (Bordeaux Superieur) - the blend here is 97% Merlot + 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2% alcohol. It was a very seductive and attractive effort, fresh, aromatic and lively, with perfectly ripe blackberries and finely scaled tannin, fine structure and lingering finish. Very consistent wine. Great qpr in this vintage! 92+p.

Curton La Perriere, La Fleur Mongiron,  La Fontaine de Genin and Haut L’Abeille “Les Robins” – well-trimmed, crunchy berries, silky fruit and tannin, nice length and smooth finish. 86-87p.

Domaine de Cambes - a part of Roc de Cambes vineyard situated closest to Gironde river banks and therefore not entitled to have appellation Côtes de Bourg. Plenty of seductive black cherries, velvety texture, silky fruit and tannin, lush finish. A true heartbreaker wine. 91p.

Franc Magnus – this property is situated outside the appellation Fronsac/Canon-Fronsac. Same owner as CarlMagnus in Fronsac. Liquorice and vanilla on the nose, freshness, and raspberries too, well-knitted, bright acidity, good length and persistent finish. Terrific effort. 90p.

Ad Francos white - some crispiness, light-body, lovely fruit, pleasant and round. For everyday consumption. 85-86p.

Girolate red - made by Despagne family, who also have other properties in the appellation, Mont Perat, Naujan and Tour de Mirambeau. Lovely and delicate nose of blueberries,  silky on the palate, well-balanced, smooth and attractive. Enjoyable. 88p. 

Fleur Haut Gassens, (Bordeaux Superieur), Pey La Tour (Bordeaux Superieur), Mongiron (Bordeaux Superieur) and Timberlay (Bordeaux Superieur) - fresh, vivid, crunchy berries, polished, tasty fruit and smooth aftertaste. Round and pleasant. 87p.

Leroy Beauval red (Bordeaux Superieur) – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot. Fresh, fragrant black- and redcurrants, fine midpalate, vibrant, well-knitted, finely scaled fruit and tannin, polished and attractive. Lovely wine. 91p.

Leroy Beauval white – 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, aromatic, round and tasty. For immediate consumption. 85p.

Magrez Fombrauge white - some pineapple and green apples on the nose and palate, nice crispiness and acidity. 87p.

Mont Perat red - cherries and raspberries, good intensity and length, polished palate covered by creamy and tasty berries. Lingering finish. Well-made and attractive. 89p.

Mont Perat white - was a well-assorted wine with a scent of acacia flower and lemongrass on the nose and peach and pineapple on the palate. Crispy and with refreshing acidity. Smooth and fruity finish. 88p.

Le Nardian (white wine) - from Jonathan Maltus (Vieux Chateau Mazerat and others). Very aromatic on the nose with pineapple, acacia flower and pear. Full of freshness with very pronounced acidity, crisp fruit on the palate and persistently fruity finish. Splendid for the vintage. 93p.

Naujan - similar in style and quality to Girolate. The only difference is the fruit's spicy flavour and spicy taste. 88p.

Pabus (Bordeaux Superieur) – is made from relatively young vines. It is very cherry on the nose and relatively smooth on the palate, with a nice bite, balance and concentration. A bit plain in construction but has tasty and attractive fruit to compensate for it. 86p.

Pagodes de Cos white – 90% Sauvignon Blanc + 10% Semillon. Pineapple and lemongrass on the nose, lively with tension, fine acidity and complexity, crispy on the palate. Refreshing finish. Well-made. 91-92p.

B de Chateau Bastor Lamontagne, Chardonnet, Haut L’Abeille “Les Robins” white, Prior de Chateau Mongiron white and La Rose Perriere white – well-made, acacia flower, lemongrass and green apple on the nose, crispy and nicely composed on the palate, bright acidity and smooth finish. 87p.

Penin Les Cailloux (Bordeaux Superieur) and Prieure Marquet (Bordeaux Superieur) - fresh, vivid, crunchy berries, polished, tasty fruit and smooth aftertaste. 87p.

Reignac (Bordeaux Superieur) - fragrant on the nose, delicate, smooth with polished fruit, soft tannin and nice length. 87p.

Sainte Barbe (Bordeaux Superieur) – Ok wine, fruity, round, pleasant and tasty. 85p.

Sainte Marie Vieilles Vignes red (Bordeaux Superieur) – 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cherry drops, vibrant, well-structured, polished, lingering finish. Very solid effort. 90-91p.

Sainte Marie Vieilles Vignes white - some crispiness, light-body, lovely fruit, pleasant and round. For everyday consumption. 85-86p.

Valandraud white - acacia flower, green apple and pear, crispy, acidity well-present, splendid structure and complexity, vibrant, persistent finish. 93p.

Virginie de Valandraud white - second wine of Valandraud. Fresh pineapple, citron grass, aromatic and crunchy, nice acidity to support the fruit, excellent structure and length. Smooth aftertaste. 88p.

Virginie Thunevin - Not that different from Bad Boy, spicier fruit here, same attraction easygoing, fruity and seductive wine. Crowd pleaser. 90p.

Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux

Bourdieu - 87% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. Elegant on the nose and palate with crushed blackcurrants and raspberries, polished, silky berries and ripe tannin. No oak is utilized here. Lovely wine. 89p.

Bourdieu N.1 - 89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec. Aromatic black cherries, blueberries and blackcurrants. Elegant, silky and tasty on the palate with some complexity and nerve. Vibrant and lingering finish. Splendid effort. 91p.

Bourdieu Absolu – 79% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Malbec. It is produced from the best plots in the vineyard. Quite a dense aroma of dark berries on the nose, luscious and well-defined on the palate, layered, ripe, and fat tannin to support the luscious fruit. Terrific wine. 92p.

Haut Bertinerie red – delicate cherries on the nose and palate, sleek and attractive with tasty berries, silky texture and intensity, well-made. Catchy wine. 88p.

Haut Bertinerie white - 100% Sauvignon. Classic stuff with very nice crispiness, nice acidity, fresh pineapple, lemongrass and acacia flower, fine structure and balance. Lingering finish. Quite a reasonable effort here. 87p.

Peyredoulle – fruity, round, pleasant and tasty. 85p.

Côtes de Bordeaux/Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux

Birazel Auguste – elegant nose of black cherries, crunchy berries on the palate, silky and smooth, attractive. 87p.

La Doyenne (Côtes de Bordeaux) - fragrant blueberry nose, fresh and vivid, nicely structured, silky blueberries/raspberries on the palate, harmonious and with an elegant fruity finish. A solid effort. 87p.

Carat de Reaut is located in Rion village outside the town of Cadillac and overlooking Garonne-river. A selection of grapes from the best plots in the vineyard is chosen for this wine, vinified in oak barrels and ageing in barrels and amphoras. Plenty of aromatic blueberries and mulberries on the nose and creamy berries on the palate. Well-defined, grained tannin, lively, velvety texture and delicate structure, quite complex and with persistent finish. Simply splendid stuff. 92p.

Reaut was purchased in 2012 by Yannick Evenou, who was La Dominique’s manager then and responsible for creating the Terrasse Rouge project at this property. He purchased Reaut from Roederer champagne house with some investors, and then wine-lovers could buy a share in it. Jean-Claude Ramonet from famous Burgundy producer, Domaine Ramonet, is among investors! Lots of aromatic and creamy dark cherries/blueberries/blackcurrants, well-composed, nice complexity, grained tannin, long and firm finish. 90-91p.

Reynon - aromatic blackcurrants and cherries, fresh and vibrant, sappy, bright acidity, luscious berries and grained tannin, lovely structure and caressing finish. Excellent performance. 88p.

Left Bank:

Graves

D’Arche – made in new cellar and with new personnel. Didier Galhaud, who came here after 14 years at Guiraud, became a manager in 2020. Lovely aromatic nose of spicy raspberries and nice minerality, bright acidity, well-structured and fine length. Well-made. 89p

Brondelle red - delicate on the nose with smoky blackcurrants, nice balance, smooth and attractive, tasty, and soft finish. Nice effort. 86p.

Brondelle white - pleasant, fruity and round, nice crispiness and acidity, tasty and harmonious. Smooth finish. 86p.

De Cerons red, Clos Floridene red, Crabitey red and Rahoul red - delicate on the nose with smoky blackcurrants, strong backbone, nice balance, smooth and attractive, tasty and with a persistent finish. Nice effort. 87p

de Cerons white - acacia flower, pineapple and lemon, bright acidity, elegant, crispiness, delicate harmony and taste. Lovely wine. 87p.

Clos Floridene white and Crabitey white – subtle nose of pear/acacia flower, crisp fruit on the palate, bright acidity and lingering finish. 90p.

Clos d’Uza and Perron – mineral and smoky on the nose and palate, soft, round, harmonious and tasty. 86p.

Le Prelat de Pape Clement – very nice blackcurrants and cherry nose, soft fruit and tannin on the palate, fruity finish. 86p.

Roquetaillade La Grange and Saint Robert Poncet Deville red - reasonable on the nose with some blackcurrants, powerful on the palate with spicy berries and meaty tannin. 86-87p.

Saint Robert Poncet Deville white – flint and acacia flower on the nose, nice crispiness and acidity, tasty and harmonious. Smooth finish. 88p.

Pessac-Leognan

Top wines in this wine district did exceptionally well in 2020.

D’Alix red – fresh, spicy and smoky berries, luscious fruit and silky tannin, fine structure, velvety texture, smooth finish. 88p.

D’Alix white – light aromas of green apple and pear, crunchy fruit, nice acidity. Everyday drinking. 85p.

Brown white – fresh, green apple and acacia flower, crisp fruit, nice acidity and smooth finish. 87p.

Cantelys red - fresh and aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, nice structure, silky fruit and tannin, lingering fruity finish. 89p.

Cantelys white – properly aromatic nose of acacia flower and green apple flavours, crisp fruit and bright acidity on the palate, well-constructed and with a lingering finish. 88p.

C des Carmes Haut Brion – it’s not the second wine of Les Carmes Haut Brion but a separate vineyard in the commune of Martillac. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. There were 20% of whole grape bunches included in vinification. 13.8% alcohol. 75% of 1-year-old barrels and foudres + 25% new oak. Lovely aromatic nose full of cherries and blackcurrants, fine midpalate with luscious berries and grained tannin, complex, fine acidity and lingering finish. It might be the best vintage yet for this property. 92-93p.

Les Carmes Haut Brion - 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot. There were 55% of whole grape bunches included in vinification. 13.65% alcohol. 80% new oak, 11% foudres and 9% amphoras. The nose was a paradise of fragrances, and the palate was a paradise of tastes. When you additionally find spectacular complexity, sophisticated touch, liquid cashmere and seamless structure in this wine, the result is true perfection! 2020 is the best vintage Guillaume Pouthier has ever produced at LCHB; that’s it! 99-100p.

Le Clarence de Haut Brion is similar to La Chapelle with more tobacco flavour on the nose, spicier taste, and a slightly more concentrated and more robust structure. Equally fine second wine of Haut Brion. 92p.

La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion - splendid nose of aromatic blackcurrants, grilled bacon, luscious berries, mineral, grained tannin on the palate, strong backbone, good complexity and persistent finish. Excellent second wine of La Mission Haut Brion. 92p.

Cruzeau red - same owner as Rochemorin. Fat and intense blackcurrants, spiciness, creamy fruit and smooth tannin, sappy and vibrant. Lingering finish. Well-made. 90p.

Cruzeau white - distinct nose of green apple and acacia flower, fine acidity and complexity, crispy taste, fine structure and lingering finish. Textbook white wine for Pessac-Leognan and a reliable one. 91p.

Domaine de Chevalier - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol. Intensely aromatic nose of classy blackcurrants, tobacco and black winter truffle, very refined and lush on the palate, spectacular midpalate, structure and length. Riveting complexity. It’s a stunning addition to excellent 2018 and 2019. Maybe the 2020 vintage here will end as the best one of the trilogy! 97-98p.

Domaine de Chevalier white - 70% Sauvignon Blanc + 30% Semillon. A very distinct nose of pineapple, acacia flower and lemongrass, splendid acidity and crunchiness of fruit, racy with finesse and sophisticated touch, persistent aftertaste. A spectacular effort for the vintage. Sheer class! 96p. 

Domaine de la Solitude red - 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Lovely cherry nose, very aromatic, seductive, tasty with delicate balance, velvety tannin. Smooth and fruity finish. Very solid effort. 90-91p.

Domaine de la Solitude white - 60% Sauvignon Blanc + 40% Semillon. Fresh, some lemongrass and pineapple flavours, nice acidity and lovely structure, crispy and lingering aftertaste. Amiable effort. 89p.

L'Esprit de Chevalier red - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot. 13.5% alcohol. Second wine of Domaine de Chevalier. Fresh with crunchy blackcurrants and redcurrants. Luscious and finely scaled on the palate, vibrant, fine midpalate, splendid structure, complex and persistent finish. In my honest opinion, it’s the best vintage of L’Esprit I’ve ever tasted! 93p.

L'Esprit de Chevalier white - 60% Sauvignon Blanc + 40% Semillon. Aromatic with pineapple and pear flavours, splendid crispiness and acidity on the palate, and smooth lingering finish. 92p.

De France red is well-equipped with silky fruit and tannin, fine structure, and complexity on the elegant side. Smoky berries on the nose. Caressing finish. 88p.

De France white - mineral and stony on the nose and palate, crunchy green apple, nice acidity, lovely intensity and length. Maybe a bit too light in intensity. Solid wine. 88p.

La Garde red - plenty of blackcurrants and redcurrants on the nose and palate, dense and very aromatic, vibrant, strong structure, fine midpalate, tension and persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort. 92p.

Haut Bacalan – fresh, aromatic, polished, lively, well-knitted. Finely scaled fruit and tannin on the palate. Lingering finish. 88p.

Haut Bailly II - 54% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot. 13.8% alcohol. Reminiscent of its big brother, however, in smaller doses. Subtle. Less tight and less powerful, more accessible and more upfront fruit. Mineral. Persistent aftertaste. Impressive for the second wine. 92p.

Haut Bailly - 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc 3% Petit Verdot. 14.3% alcohol. It was a potent and concentrated wine with a strong backbone, cigar box, mineral with evident graphite flavour, great structure, complexity, and length. Ripe but firmer tannin in 2020. Stupendous effort. 97p.

Haut Brion – intense nose of tobacco leaf, forest floor and grilled bacon on the nose, excellent structure, fat yet silky tannin, exceptional on mid-palate and great complexity, long, long finish. Exceptional effort. 98-99p.

Haut Brion white – dense, powerful and classy on the nose, crispy, excellent acidity and complexity, long-lasting finish. Spectacular effort. 96p.

Haut Lagrange red - very spicy berries on the nose and palate. Potent and strong, well-composed, lush finish. Very solid effort. 88p.

Haut Lagrange white – lovely on the nose and palate with green apples and lemongrass, reasonable structure, crispiness and acidity. 86p

Les Hauts de Smith - reminded a great deal of Le Petit Haut Lafitte. Vibrant, plenty of fruit well-supported by fat tannin. Persistent finish. 92p.

Les Hauts de Smith white - aromatic nose of lemongrass and green apple, bright acidity and tension. 90-91p.

Larrivet Haut Brion red – 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc. Fresh and vibrant, elegant, aromatic and tasty blackcurrants, some smokiness, fine acidity and structure. Persistent finish. Terrific wine. 93p.

Larrivet Haut Brion white – delicate aroma of acacia flower and lemongrass on the nose, crispy fruit on the palate, vivid, splendid acidity, well-structured, lingering finish. 92p.

Lespault Martillac red - 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. !4% alcohol. Plenty of aromatic blackcurrants and blueberries, creamy fruit and tannin on the palate, well-trimmed, sleek, meaty finish. An excellent effort. 92p.

Lespault Martillac white - 70% Sauvignon Blanc + 30% Semillon. Green apple, pear and acacia flower on the nose, crispy and delicious on the palate, nice acidity and concentration. Sleek and tasty. Smooth aftertaste. Fine for the vintage. 91-92p (91-92p).

La Louviere red – fragrant nose with some smokiness. Fresh, smoky blackcurrants and raspberries on the palate, a hint of liquorice, juicy, fine acidity, grained tannin. An elegant wine with finesse and one which never disappoints! 92p.

La Louviere white - 100% Sauvignon Blanc. It was a very stylish wine with finesse end elegance showing the aroma of green apple and lemongrass, fresh and crispy, and a persistent finish. Always a very reliable wine and great value for money from this property. 92p.

La Mission Haut Brion red - dense and tight, but also incredibly elegant and refined. Well-packed with concentrated blackcurrants and fat tannin. Creamy and with great complexity and a large structure. Mega long finish. Riveting. Classic stuff. 98p.

La Mission Haut Brion white - freshness, acacia flower, fine acidity, crispy fruit, great elegance and finesse. Sophisticated touch. Tremendous effort. 95-96p.

Pape Clement red - a wine with layers of luscious fruit and grained tannin. All that is kept in subtle form without traces of extraction and not too much modern style. Fresh, spicy blackcurrants with smoky touch and velvety texture. A superb effort. 94-95p.

Pape Clement white – intense nose of pear and lemongrass on the nose, delicate crispiness and acidity on the palate, well-structured, concentrated, persistent finish. Splendid effort. 94+p.

Le Petit Haut Lafitte – powerful and intense on the nose, dark chocolate and black cherries, crunchy fruit and tannin, plenty of luscious blackcurrants, lovely complexity, well-balanced and persistent aftertaste. 92+p.

Le Petit Haut Lafitte white – aromatic and well-assorted, splendid acidity, crispy, splendid length and fruity aftertaste. 91p.

Rochemorin red - smoky blackcurrants, fine structure, polished on the palate with creamy berries, silky texture, fine length and persistent finish. Splendid effort. 91p.

Rochemorin white - similar to its sister property, Cruzeau. A distinct nose of green apple and acacia flower, fine acidity and complexity, crispy taste, fine structure and lingering finish. Textbook white wine for Pessac-Leognan and a reliable one. 90p.

Rouillac red - smoky blackcurrants, sappy and vibrant, creamy berries and fine tannin on the palate, well-structured and harmonious. Persistent finish. Solid effort. 89p.

Rouillac white – a lovely nose of green apple and acacia flower, fine acidity and complexity, crispy taste, fine structure and lingering finish. 88p.

Seguin – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon + 30% Merlot. 14% alcohol. First vintage with Stephane Derenencourt’s team as an external consultant. Great nose of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon with tobacco leaf. Mineral, lush berries and grained tannin, great complexity and length, elegant and refined. Impressive stuff. 94+p.

Smith Haut Lafitte - lots of aromatic blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose, powerful on the palate with a strong backbone, big concentration, multilayered and with great length. Long, long finish. Impressive effort. 96-97p.

Smith Haut Lafitte white – deep and classy on the nose, fresh pineapple, lemongrass and citrus, crispy with tension on the palate, fine acidity and intensity, persistent finish. 95p.

Le Thil - dark aromatic berries, sleek and harmonious, milky (yoghurt), silky fruit and tannin, A nicely constructed wine with a solid backbone and delicate finish. 90p.

Medoc & Haut Medoc

Some stand out performances from well-known names and less-known names!

Belgrave CC - 53% Cabernet Sauvignon + 44% Merlot + 3% Petit Verdot. Delicate nose of ripe blackcurrants and cherries, well-balanced and silky on the palate with fine-grained tannin. Light texture and a bit diluted aftertaste. Pretty wine anyway. 90p.

Bel Orme Tronquoy Lalande CB – powerful, earthy flavours, fleshy, morello cherries mixed with cassis, well-balanced, fine structure and spicy aftertaste. Solid effort. 90p.

Bibian, Bournac CB (Medoc) and Clement Pichon – attractive wines with a lovely cherry nose, tasty berries and soft tannin on the palate. Smooth finish. Pleasant. 86p.

Camensac CC – fresh blackcurrants on the nose, fleshy palate with meaty structure, ripe tannins, silky texture and fine acidity. More than solid effort. 91p.  

Cantemerle CC - 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Quite a seductive nose of blackcurrants, exquisite and stylish. Sappy and lively, held well on the midpalate, fine structure, complexity and length. 92p.

La Cardonne CBS (Medoc) - fresh and aromatic dark berries, sappy, fine acidity, well-balanced, sleek, and smooth tannin. Lovely wine. 88-89p.

du Cartillon CBS - 55% Merlot, 25% Petit Verdot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Same owner as Lestage Simon. The wine itself was a well-made one with aromatic and spicy blackcurrants on the nose, a well-structured palate with crunchy berries and soft tannin, and a lingering finish. Splendid effort. 91p.

La Chandelliere CB (Medoc) - similar in style to Bournac. Attractive wine with a lovely cherry nose, tasty berries and soft tannin on the palate. Smooth finish. Pleasant. 86p.

La Clare (Medoc) and Griviere (Medoc) - aromatic cherries and blackcurrants, well-knitted, soft tannin and pleasant acidity, and smooth finish. A bit chunky but ready to drink. 86p.

Clavis Orea (Medoc) – 50% Merlot, 35% Petit Verdot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. This is the second vintage made from a plot at ideally located Chateau Carcanieux in mid-Medoc. The same team who’s behind Clavis Orea St.Emilion. Powerful, strong backbone, tobacco leaf, graphite, mineral, nice complexity and structure, long-lasting finish. Lovely effort and promising beginning. 92p.

La Demoiselle de Sociando Mallet - 87% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Second wine of Sociando Mallet. Over 20% more of Merlot in the blend compared with the 2018 vintage. Blackcurrants and cherries covered with chocolate on the nose, lively, well-knitted on the palate with a silky texture, delicate balance and persistent finish. 90p.

Goulee - this vineyard is situated further north from Cos d'Estournel and close to Gironde banks. Same owner as Cos'd'Estournel (Reybier). Fresh, crushed blueberries and tobacco leaf on the nose, spicy cherries on the palate with delicate complexity and refined minerality. Persistent aftertaste. Lovely effort. 91p.

Greysac CBS - among the five properties Jean Guyon owns, Haut Condissas, Rollan de By, La Clare and Tour Seran. It was very cherry on the nose and palate, earthy, some oak, acidity, balanced, and firm aftertaste. Solid effort. 87-88p.

Haut Condissas - aromatic morello cherries on the nose and palate, with a dash of truffle and earthy tones, harmonious and well-structured, crushed cherries and grained tannin. Persistent and lingering aftertaste. An admirable wine. 90-91p.

La Lagune CC – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit-Verdot. 14 % alcohol. Wow, this was great stuff! A fabulous and pure nose of blackcurrants, luscious berries on the palate, tension and vibrancy, great complexity, sheer finesse and elegance. The long and caressing aftertaste completed this sensual wine! Pure class. Caroline Frey has made a riveting trilogy of vintages, and 2020 fits in there perfectly! 95-96p.

Lamothe Bergeron CBS – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Same owner as Grand Puy Ducasse. Aromatic on the nose with fragrant black cherries and cassis, fresh and sappy, fine midpalate with delicate fruit and finely scaled tannin, silky texture and well-tuned aftertaste. 91-92p.

Lanessan - plenty of aromatic blackcurrants on the nose and palate, fresh, vibrant, well-structured and silky, fine acidity, harmonious, fine length and persistent finish. Fine mouthfeel! 91p.

Lestage Simon CBE – 80% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Delicate aroma of ripe blackcurrants and yellow-red cherries on the nose, lush and silky berries on the palate, ripe tannin, sappy, vibrant, fine acidity, well-balanced and persistent finish. A wine with a good personality. 91-92p.

Loudenne (Medoc) – spicy red fruit, nice fruitiness and light tannin, tasty and pleasant. 85p.

Malescasse – similar to Lanessan, fleshier and more concentrated, splendid structure, excellent complexity and length, lively, persistent finish. Terrific effort. 91-92p.

Madame de Beaucaillou – 66% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Fresh, fragrant and tasty cherries/blackcurrants, silky berries and fine tannin, nicely structured palate and lingering aftertaste. Quite attractive. 89-90p.

L’Ormes de Rauzan Gassies – pure, cherries on the nose, sappy and lively, tasty and attractive, lovely fruity aftertaste. 89p.

Peyredon Lagravette CB - this wine was a well-made one with aromatic and spicy blackcurrants/raspberries on the nose, a nicely structured palate with tasty fruit and soft tannin, and a nice fruity finish. Much approved effort. 88p.

Potensac CB (Medoc) - 44% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 14.05% alcohol. Fresh, aromatic blackcurrants and cherries, vivid and well-structured, acidity, nice complexity and persistent finish. Lovely effort. 91p.

Ramafort CB (Medoc) – fresh and lively, spicy berries on the nose and palate, polished, delicate fruit, smooth tannin, nice balance and fine fruity finish. 90p.

Rollan de By (Medoc) – very similar to Haut Condissas in the quality. Delicious raspberry drops, creamy cherries and blackcurrants, well supported by ripe tannin and bright acidity. Lovely balance, structure and persistent finish. Terrific effort. 91p.

Sociando Mallet - 53% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Sublimely aromatic with dark berries and mint, creamy on the palate, more elegance than usual, great precision and focus, excellent structure, depth and complexity. It gives several classified growths in Haut Medoc run for their money. 94-95p.

La Tour Carnet CC - lovely nose of spicy blackcurrants, rather elegant than powerful on the palate with admirable fruit intensity, smooth tannin and soft finish. Lighter than usual and will provide early drinking. 88p.

Tour Seran CBS (Medoc) – very much in style as Rollan de By. More concentrated and longer. More depth and more focused as well. Terrific wine. 92p.

De Villegeorge - same owner as La Tour Bessan in Saint-Estephe (Marie-Laure Lurton). Fragrant blackcurrants and cherries, acidity to keep everything in good order, nicely structured, sappy, smooth tannin, fruity finish. A bit on the light side but attractive and tasty. 87p.

Listrac

Cap Leon Veyrin - 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Aromatic blackcurrants on the nose, well-structured on the palate with earthy and spicy tones, perfect support of bright acidity. Finely scaled ripe tannin and meaty aftertaste. Very typical in style for this commune. 89p.

Rose Sainte-Croix was barely so well-made as CLV, but it was a fruity, polished, tasty, and attractive wine with a soft texture and supple finish. For immediate consumption. 86p.

Moulis

Boyqueyran is an attractive and pleasant wine with a lovely cherry nose, tasty berries, and soft tannin on the palate. Smooth finish. Light and with a diluted aftertaste. 85p.

Dutruch Grand Poujeaux – 50% Merlot + 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. Quite reminiscent of Poujeaux. Same fine quality, vibrant, well- structured and with delicate finish. 89p.

Mauvesin Barton - plenty of intense black cherries/blueberries on the nose, vibrant and delicate on the palate, luscious berries and grained tannin, complex and persistent finish. Fine performance. 91+p.

Poujeaux – 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Cherry drops, elegant and polished, well-trimmed on the palate with silky fruit and smooth tannin, lovely structure and solid finish. 90p.

Margaux

One of the most successful communes on the Left Bank.

Benjamin de Marojallia – second wine of Marojallia – aromatic berries, round, pleasant and tasty. Designed for quick consumption. 84p.

Blason d’Issan - 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 57% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Attractive, fleshy, sappy, lush cherries and smooth tannin. Ready to be consumed after bottling. 87p.

Boyd Cantenac – sister property to Pouget. Black cherries, cassis, coffee beans and almonds, deliciously scented fruit on the palate and grained tannin, vibrant, excellent acidity, splendid complexity, and long, persistent finish. Another drop-dead gorgeous wine from this property! 94+p.

Cantenac Brown CC - 67% Cabernet Sauvignon + 33% Merlot. It's a modern wine with upfront fruit, energetic and vibrant, aromatic and luscious on the palate with splendid acidity and persistent finish. Heartbreaker wine. 94p.

Clos Margalaine - the owner, is Domaines Philippe Porcheron, which also has another vineyard in the commune, Marojallia. Fresh, fragrant blueberries and cherries, succulent, vibrant, well-knitted, luscious fruit in good co-operation with fat tannin. Modern style.  Nice effort. 91p.

Le Coteau – fruity, round and pleasant. Designed for ultra-quick consumption. 84p.

Confidence de Prieure Lichine – second wine of Prieure Lichine. Delicious and attractive stuff, tasty ripe cherries, will be ready to drink when released after bottling. 86p. Le Coteau

Dauzac CC - 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 14% alcohol.  Intensely aromatic nose of grilled bacon, cigar box and coffee beans, fresh and livid, potent with splendid structure and balance, lush, velvety tannin and lingering finish. High quality here. 94p.

Desmirail CC - 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. 13% alcohol. Shows an elegant and fragrant nose of blackcurrants and black cherries. Fresh, vivid, fleshy, luscious berries and grained tannin on the palate, and it all ends with a fine and lingering finish. Quite a seductive effort. 93p.

Ferriere CC - 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. It was lovely on the nose with fragrant blackcurrants, with fine structure and complexity, lively and elegant on the palate, and with a smooth aftertaste. Very true to Margaux commune's style. 92-93p.

La Fortune - fragrant black cherries on the nose, lush berries on the palate, nicely structured, juicy, well-scaled tannin. Smooth aftertaste. Solid effort. 88p.

Gassies – quite well-assorted second wine of Rauzan Gassies with nicely tuned nose and palate, crunchy blackberries and smooth tannin. Nice lingering finish. 86p.

Giscours CC - 56% Cabernet Sauvignon + 44% Merlot. Fabulous on the nose and palate. Intense nose of red meat and tobacco leaves, very complex and powerful on the palate, strong backbone, plenty of dark berries and fat tannin, long-lasting finish. A classy and stylish effort that brings a big and broad smile to your face! 95-96p.

Haut Breton Larigaudiere - quite lovely on the nose with aromatic morello cherries and raspberries, finely composed on the palate with lush berries and ripe tannin, harmonious. Attractive effort. 88p.

d'Issan CC - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 25% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. 13.3% alcohol. Very true to Margaux style with elegance, finesse, velvety texture, silky fruit and tannin. Subtle complexity and lingering aftertaste. Lovely effort. 93+p.

Kirwan CC - 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. 14% alcohol. Deliciously aromatic and subtle on the nose, vibrant, well-trimmed on the palate with lush cassis and grained tannin, bright acidity, complex, and long lingering finish. Eminent wine. 94p.

Lascombes CC - 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. It had a sensual and aromatic nose of grilled bacon and coffee beans, great elegance and finesse, powerful, sophisticated touch, silky berries and very finely grained tannin. It's so true and classy Margaux wine as it can be! Wonderfully captivating effort. 95-96p.

Margaux 1. Growth - 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. 14% alcohol. Only 36% of the harvest into Grand Vin. Impressed greatly with pure elegance, finesse, extraordinary length, and astonishing richness and complexity. Classy aristocrat, no less. Amazing stuff. 98-100p.

Marojallia - potent with a solid backbone, black tea and blackberries/blackcurrants, well-structured, vivid, luscious fruit, a gentle touch of oak, smooth tannin and long lingering finish. Splendid effort. 92p. 

Marquis d’Alesme – very classic for Margaux commune with pure elegance and finesse. Dark chocolate and black cherries with some blackcurrants as well, lush on the palate and silky tannin. Lovely complexity and depth. Very much approved. 93+p.

Marquis de Terme CC - 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.  It’s an upgrade on the 2018 version.  An attractive wine with plenty of lush and tasty fruit supported by grained tannin, fleshy and elegant with a delicate and soft finish. Terrific effort. 93+p.

Pavillon Rouge de Margaux - 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.6 alcohol. Fragrant and creamy blackcurrants covered with grated chocolate, great intensity and balance, finely grained tannin and bright acidity and a long, lush finish. Touch of aristocratic style. It might be the best vintage produced yet here. 94p.

Pouget CC - sister property to Boyd Cantenac, and the style are similar, with Pouget being a bit lighter. Attractive, delicate aroma of grilled bacon and fresh coffee beans, seductive raspberries, well-constructed, elegant and fruity with a fine midpalate and lingering finish. 92p.

Prieure Lichine CC - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. It was an elegant wine with finesse, a bit light on the palate, silky and tasty fruit, smooth tannin, and a subtle finish. Pretty wine. 91-92p. 

Rauzan Gassies CC - 73% Cabernet Sauvignon + 27% Merlot. 13.5% alcohol. Lovely and fragrant nose of cassis and black cherries, velvety fruit and grained tannin on the palate, elegant and seductive, smooth and lingering finish. It Has significantly improved in recent vintages, including the new vintage. Terrific effort. 93-94p.

Rauzan Segla CC - 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Grillet bacon and tobacco on the nose, fresh and vibrant, dense and creamy, great complexity and structure, sophisticated, elegant and very long aftertaste. Great, great future. Tremendous effort. 96-98p.

Ségla - second wine of Rauzan Segla. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 13.5% alcohol. Lovely on the nose with fresh cherries and tobacco leaves, velvety texture, sappy and well-knitted on the palate, well-structured and with persistent finish. Splendid effort. 91p.

Du Tertre CC - delicate nose of tobacco box, very cassis and blueberries. Grained tannin. Elegant and fleshy with finesse, velvety texture, well-structured and persistent finish. Well-deserved 93p.

La Tour Bessan - fresh cherries and blackcurrants on the nose and palate, vivid and well-constructed, juicy, smooth tannin, acidity well present. Persistent finish. A wine with a lovely personality. 90p. 

Saint Julien

I didn't taste that many wines from this commune, but I absolutely can't complain about the ones I tasted. Some of them have been genuinely emphatic. They benefitted from water reserves in the subsoil (clay) to successfully overcome the drought.

Beychevelle CC - 51% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. Intense aroma of black fruit, excellent structure and complexity on the palate, silky berries and tannin, creamy and vibrant, lingering long finish. Great style and sheer class! 95-96p.

Branaire Ducru CC - 58% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Fragrant raspberries on the nose, elegant with finesse on the palate, sleek with delicate balance and smooth finish. Very solid wine but could use some more concentration and depth. 92p.

Clos de Marquis - 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. 13.57% alcohol. Dense, vibrant, concentrated black cherries, blackcurrants and tobacco, sappy and luscious on the palate, excellent structure, great complexity and sophisticated touch. You can truly rely on wine from this property vintage after vintage. They are utterly brilliant! 95p.

La Croix Ducru Beaucaillou - 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.75% alcohol. It's not the second wine of Ducru Beaucaillou as grapes for this wine come from separate parcels in Ducru Beaucaillou's vineyard, not used for Grand Vin. It was potent and intense wine with a distinctive tobacco leaf and forest floor tones on the nose, lush black fruit on the palate with corresponding fine acidity, lovely complexity, and a long meaty finish. Splendid effort for the vintage. 93p.

Ducru Beaucaillou CC - 81% Cabernet Sauvignon + 19% Merlot. 13.5% alcohol. Very classic for the commune, dense and tight, refined, finesse, sophisticated, riveting structure and spectacular complexity. Luscious fruit and exquisitely grained tannin on midpalate, perfect balance. Classy and stylish. It is slightly under the extraordinary 2018 in performance, but I won’t be surprised if it will be better after ageing and bottling. 98+p.

Du Glana - aromatic black cherries on the nose, lush berries on the palate, nicely structured, sappy, well-scaled tannin. Smooth aftertaste. Solid effort. 89p.

Lagrange CC - 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Aromatic black cherries and cassis on the nose, velvety texture, focused, tasty, sleek and elegant, lingering finish. Beautiful effort. I would be perfect with slightly more concentration! 92-93p.

Langoa Barton CC – 53.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 8.5% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol. Sister property to Leoville Barton and similar to her big "sister" in terms of the quality. Big scaled on the nose and palate with creamy blackcurrants, graphite, fat tannin, strong backbone, and striking complexity. Classy stuff. 94+p. 

Leoville Barton CC – 85.5% Cabernet Sauvignon + 14.5% Merlot. A very detailed and refined nose of high-quality blackcurrants mixed with tobacco and mint. Sophisticated and very stylish, dense and multi-layered Great complexity, structure and length. A pin-point traditional St.Julien wine which can last for many decades. Upper-class stuff! 96-97p.

Leoville Las Cases CC - 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Franc. 13,68% alcohol. Sophisticated and classy on the nose, very distinct with black cherries, black tea and tobacco leaf. Spectacular on the midpalate with a silky texture, yet the wine was very concentrated, with great depth, strong structure, awesome complexity, and a mega long finish. Incredible to taste a wine of great concentration and at the same time being so silky in texture. 99p.

Leoville Poyferre CC - very dense nose of intense blackcurrants and tobacco leaves. Dense and multilayered, plenty of black fruit and fat tannin, great depth, complexity and length, firm structure and long, long finish. Modern style but not too trendy. This wine is just so, so badass sublime. 97p.

Moulin Riche - same owners as Leoville Poyferre. Plenty of delicious black fruit Sparky, lively and vibrant, fat and creamy palate, splendid complexity, and a long meaty finish. Great quality here! 93p. 

Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre - the second label of Leoville Poyferre, showing the same excellent characteristics as Grand Vin but in a less intense and less concentrated fashion. Dark berries are covered with chocolate and vivid on the palate. 91p.

Le Petit Ducru – aromatic morello cherries on the nose, well-assorted with finely scaled berries and tannin on the palate, vibrant, nice acidity, silky and with a persistent aftertaste. 91p.

Saint-Pierre CC - 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. 13.3% alcohol. No complaints here. It was a beautiful wine with the fragrance of blackcurrants and cherries on the nose, lively and refined midpalate, bright acidity, complex, and a persistent finish. Fine effort. 93+p.

Pauillac

This commune has kept its ground very well!

Alias Croizet Bages – second wine of Croizet Bages. Fruity, round and pleasant. To drink soon after bottling. 85p.

D’Armailhac CC - 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.3% alcohol. A gorgeous wine, which reminds me a lot of sister property Clerc Milon. Same opulence. Very Cabernet Sauvignon with cigar box and tobacco leaf.  Same splendid quality.  93-94p.

Batailley CC - this one was a bit old school Pauillac with a tannic approach, oaky, well-structured, strong backbone. The fruit here is not allowed here to move freely around yet. Maybe in 5-10 years. 92p.

Bellegrave – quite a dense nose of cassis and grilled bacon, well-structured, lively, ripe fruit, smooth tannin and persistent aftertaste. 89-90p.

Clerc Milon CC - 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. 13.3% alcohol.  Cassis and black cherries covered with dark chocolate on the nose, opulent and concentrated on the palate with lush berries and bright tannin, lovely complexity, and lovely, long-lasting finish. Highly entertaining wine. 94p.

Croizet Bages CC - 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Jean-Philippe Quié and his sister Anne-Francoise have successfully improved the quality here in the recent vintages. It was quite an aromatic, complex and well-composed wine with elegance and finesse, juicy and vivid. Delicate and lingering finish. Gorgeous wine with an identity. 92-93p.

Fonbadet - grapes come from parcels well-placed close to Mouton Rothschild, Lynch Bages and to Latour/Pichon Comtesse. Intense blackcurrants, tobacco leaves and pencil on the nose, luscious blackcurrants on the palate are well-supported by fine acidity. Complex and persistent finish. Very true to the style of Pauillac commune and a splendid effort. 92-93p.

Grand Puy Ducasse CC - 55 % Cabernet Sauvignon + 45% Merlot. Powerful, fleshy and tight, strong backbone and persistent finish. Lovely complexity and length. Long and meaty aftertaste. A well-made, characterful and stylish Pauillac. 94p.

Grand Puy Lacoste CC – 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot. Everything is correct and acceptable in this wine, but it lacks, in my opinion, some concentration, depth, excitement and energy to be even better and compete with bigger guys. 92+p.

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron - 50 % Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot. Aromatic black cherries and dark chocolate, full-bodied, luscious and fat, potent, splendid acidity, meaty finish. Superb second wine. 92p.

L’Harmonie de Fonbadet – second wine of Fonbadet. Nice wine, pleasant and round. Plenty of tasty fruit and soft tannin here made it adorable. 85p.

Haut Bages Liberal CC - 78% Cabernet Sauvignon + 22% Merlot. It was a very nicely made wine. Delicate, sappy, polished and with a smooth finish. 91+p.

Haut Batailley CC - same owner as Lynch Bages. Spicy blackcurrants and tobacco leaf on the nose. Powerful wine but with grace. Finely scaled tannin for the vintage. Excellent structure and complexity, vibrant and with a persistent aftertaste. It impressed me a lot! 94p.

Lynch Bages CC - this wine was imposing on the nose with classy blackcurrants, cherries and grated dark chocolate. Dense and abundant on the midpalate, vibrant and in perfect balance, strikingly complex and multilayered. Long and lush aftertaste. Great effort. 95-96p.

Lynch Moussas CC - this property has vastly improved a lot in recent vintages, and 2020 confirms that. Intense blackcurrants and grilled bacon on the nose, dark chocolate, polished, luscious on the palate with grained tannin. Elegant with finesse. Long lingering finish. A terrific effort here! 93+p.

Mouton Rothschild 1. Growth - 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 13.1% alcohol. It is the first vintage. It was made by the new technical director, Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy, before Clerc Milon's manager. Upper-class nose, distinctive, and deeply intense. Potent with a strong backbone, layers and layers of creamy fruit and fat tannin cover the palate. Spectacular structure and complexity, sophisticated and mega long finish. This wine ticks all the boxes and will for sure be another legend in the making! 98-100p.

Pauillac - made by the Peyronie family, owners of Fonbadet. Grapes for this wine come mainly from the parcel between Latour and Pichon Comtesse. 60 years old vines. Low yield - only 20hl/ha. More intense and more concentrated than Fonbadet and with more depth and length. Plenty of luscious blackcurrants on the palate. Grained tannin and strong backbone. Impressive effort. 93+p.

Pedesclaux CC - 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. 13.1% alcohol. Dense dark berries on the nose, luscious fruit and fine tannin on the palate, strong backbone, persistent aftertaste. Pretty wine. 92p.

Petit Mouton – 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 13.1% alcohol. Second wine to Mouton Rothschild. Intense blackcurrants on the nose, fresh and vibrant on the palate, succulent, complex, bright acidity and meaty finish. Splendid performance. 93-94p.

Pibran - 55% Merlot + 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh, captivating on the nose with dark berries and grilled bacon, dark chocolate, complex, fine acidity, finely scaled tannin, silky texture and persistent finish. Splendid qpr for money. 92p.

Pichon Baron CC - 76% Cabernet Sauvignon + 24% Merlot. Very intense nose of tobacco and grilled bacon, tight, dense, fat and luscious on the palate with a strong backbone. Tannin seemed to be a bit firmer than compared to vintages 2018 and 2019. Nevertheless, it’s a complete wine with fabulous complexity, rich, and excellent length. Stupendous wine. 98+p.

Pichon Comtesse CC - 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. I found this wine slightly tighter and more pronounced tannic structure than I experienced in 2018 and 2019 vintages. Nevertheless, we have an incredibly complex, rich, sophisticated and multilayered creature, which needs several decades to develop awesome things. 97-99p.

Pichon Comtesse Reserve – 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. Delicate cherries on the nose, vivid, attractive, well-assorted on the palate with fine structure. Successful second wine. 92p.

Les Tourelles de Longueville - 64% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc. Powerful stuff, pencil and tobacco leaves, plenty of well-defined fruit, solid and creamy, strong backbone, lovely complexity and firm finish. Impressive second wine. 92p.

Saint Estephe

This commune had the privilege of having sufficient water reserves in the soil, so vines didn’t suffer.

Le Boscq CBE - notes of cigar box and spicy blackcurrants on the nose, dark fruit and firm tannin, complementing acidity, sappy, meaty finish. Rather a wine to drink with food than one to accompany conversation. 91p.

Calon Segur CC - 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 13.8% alcohol. This wine was less opulent compared to the monstrous 2018. It’s 1% down on alcohol and a bit lighter and more classic St. Estephe one. A classy nose of cigar box and forest floor. Touch of black winter truffle. Distinguished with a strong backbone. Potent with fat tannin, complexity, structure and length, excellent acidity. Long-lasting finish. Tremendous effort! 98p.

Capbern - 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 14.1% alcohol. Fresh, intense aroma of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf and mint, juicy and well-knitted on the palate, finely scaled tannin, complex. Long meaty finish. This property is a very stable performer and offers excellent quality for money. Excellent performance. 93p.

Cos d'Estournel CC - 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 38% Merlot. 15% more Merlot in 2020 compared with the 2018 vintage. 13.46% alcohol. This wine is a very St.Estephe, very Cabernet Sauvignon, yet taking advantage of more Merlot in the blend. Grilled bacon, cigar box and tobacco, excellent midpalate, powerful with strong backbone, yet vibrant and juicy. Fantastic complexity and long-lasting finish. Spectacular effort. 98-99p.

Cos Labory CC - 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. 13.26% alcohol. Stylish, succulent, vibrant, complex, luscious berries and finely scaled tannin. Quite sleek and well-knitted on the palate with delicate balance and length. Appetizing performance and third fine vintage in the row. 92+p.

Le Crock CBE - Same owner as Leoville Poyferre and Moulin Riche. Typical wine for the commune with a dense and tight approach, strong backbone, splendid depth and length, juicy palate and persistent finish. Terrific effort. 92p.

La Haye - subtle on the nose, cassis and freshly crushed cherries on the palate, sappy, nice acidity, and bright tannin. Lingering aftertaste. Solid effort. 88p.

Lafon Rochet CC - 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol. Tobacco leaf and grilled bacon on the nose, crunchy blackcurrants on the palate, grained tannin, fine composition and a long finish. Terrific effort. 93-94p.

Le Marquis de Calon Segur - second wine of Calon Segur. 50% Merlot, 49% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. 14.6% alcohol. Minty on the nose with morello cherries and blueberries. Corpulent, lively and long on the palate. Splendid effort. 92-93p.

Pagodes de Cos - 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Second wine of Cos d’Estournel. Tobacco leaf and black tea on the nose, sappy and mineral on the palate, sappy, powerful yet elegant. Strong backbone, splendid structure, very complex and lengthy aftertaste. Superior performance. 93p.

Petit Bocq CBS - powerful on the nose and palate, firm tannin, oak was disrupting the balance a bit, acidity well-present. Earthy finish. Old school St.Estephe. 87p.

De Pez - aromatic with sweet fruit, a bit on the light side but subtle and quite complex, fine acidity, well-balanced and with a smooth finish. Very solid performance. 91-92p.

Bernard Magrex and 2nd de Pez – attractive, spicy berries, tasty, round and pleasant. Soft fruity finish. 86p.

Phelan Segur CBE - 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 1.5% Cabernet Franc and 1.5% Petit Verdot. Superb nose of grilled bacon and tobacco. A full-bodied wine with a strong texture, fat tannin, splendid complexity, an impressive structure and midpalate, and a long-lasting finish. Great performance for the vintage. 94-95p.

Serilhan – minty and earthy flavours on the nose, solid and meaty on the palate, well-constructed, sappy, nice acidity. Persistent. Solid effort. 89p.

Tour des Termes CBS - full and intense nose cassis with a dash of dark chocolate and mint. It was robust and vibrant on the palate with luscious fruit and finely grained tannin, juicy and terroir-driven, complex, and lengthy lingering finish. Terrific performance. 92p.

Tour Saint Fort CB – potent and voluptuous, aromatic blackcurrants and raspberries on the nose and palate, fine midpalate with luscious fruit and finely grained tannin, fine structure and persistent finish. Lovely wine indeed. 91p.

Sauternes & Barsac

On the whole, 2020 is a very good vintage in the district and comparable to 2018. But, unfortunately, weather conditions didn’t allow the wine-growers to have a great one.

d'Arche GCC - 85% Semillon + 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Intense orange peel and honey melon flavours on the nose and clementines/mandarins on the palate, well supported by bright acidity and fine balance. Delicate honeyed finish. Lovely effort. 91p.

d’Arche Cuvée Arche Lafaurie – special cuvée made from the very first botrytized grapes and only in good vintages. Better than standard cuvée in terms of concentration, acidity and sweetness, depth and length. Honeyed finish. 92+p.

Bastor Lamontagne – nice sweetness on the nose and palate, light and soft, not exciting. Just acceptable. 86p.

Broustet GCC – 80% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle. Acacia honey and orange peel on the nose, lovely structure, acidity and sweetness, honeyed finish. Seductive and tasty. 91p.

Cantegril – fresh, delicate nose of sweet elderberries and acacia honey, fine acidity and sweetness on the palate, well-equipped with lush fruits. Deliciously fruity finish. 90p.

Caillou GCC – 100% Semillon. Attractive with some acacia honey and sweet grapefruit flavours, very enjoyable and tasty. Nice acidity and sweetness. Light, honeyed aftertaste. 89p.

Clos Haut Peyraguey GCC - 95% Semillon + 5% Sauvignon Blanc. Aromatic pineapple and orange peel, fresh and delicate, stylish, nice acidity, quite elegant, and finesse. Delicious stuff. 92+p.

Coutet GCC - 95% Semillon, 4% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle. Considerably more of Semillon in the blend in 2020 (around 20%). Fresh and intense nose of sweet pineapple, peach and mango, luscious tropical fruits on the palate, excellent acidity, finesse and sophisticated touch, complex with a long-honeyed finish. 95p.

Doisy Daëne GCC - 100% Semillon. It was intense on the nose with acacia honey and sweet pineapple, intense fruit on the palate well supported by splendid acidity, complex and caressing finish. Terrific performance. 94-95p.

Doisy Dubroca GCC – touches the vineyard of Doisy Daëne and is made by the same team. It’s reminiscent a great deal of the style of sister property but lighter and more delicate. Lovely effort. 91p.

Doisy Vedrines GCC - 80% Semillon, 18% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle. Acacia honey and orange peel on the nose and palate, elegant with finesse, fine acidity and depth on the palate, lingering finish. 92p.

Filhot GCC - 50% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle.  Honey melon and apricot on the nose, elegance and finesse, delicate fruit sweetness and corresponding acidity, honeyed aftertaste. Fine honeyed aftertaste. 92p.

Guiraud GCC – 65% Semillon + 35% Sauvignon Blanc. Sweet grapefruit and honey melon, elegant with finesse, bright acidity, pleasing sweetness and delicate finish. 91p.

Haut Bergeron – apricot and acacia honey, significant intensity, acidity and sweetness, refined and layered, long honeyed finish. Splendid performance. 92p.

Lamothe Despujols GCC - on the light side with some nice acidity and sweetness, delicate flavours of apricot and orange peel, simple structure and lightly honeyed finish. OK wine. 86p.

Lamothe Guignard GCC – Pleasant and round with some honey melon and sweet grapefruit flavours, very enjoyable and tasty. Nice acidity but not much sweetness. Light, honeyed aftertaste. 88p.

De Myrat GCC - elegant nose of acacia honey, apricot and honey melon, delicate with lovely sweetness, acidity well-present, lingering finish. Attractive effort. 92p.

Raymond Lafon is a very stylish wine with a botrytized aroma of sweet pineapple, guava and mango, rich, elegant, excellent acidity, sophisticated touch, and long finish. Impressive performance from this consistent property. 95p.

Rayne Vigneau GCC - 76% Semillon + 24% Sauvignon Blanc. This property has produced excellent wines in recent vintages, and its 2020 fitted almost perfectly in the description. Splendid intensity on nose and palate, flair, elegance and precision, fine acidity. Delicate sweetness and complexity. Lingering aftertaste. Classy but lighter than usual. 93p.

Romer du Hayot GCC - 90% Semillon + 10% Sauvignon Blanc. Pleasant and round with some honey melon and sweet grapefruit flavours, very enjoyable and tasty. Nice acidity but not much sweetness. Light, honeyed aftertaste. 88p.

Suduiraut GCC - 100% Semillon. Rich and concentrated, sweet grapefruit and apricot, very refined and elegant, fine acidity and length. Delicate aftertaste with heather honey. Excellent effort. 94+p.

Right Bank:

Cotes de Bourg/St.Georges-de-Saint-Emilion

Cap St. George - 84% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh, nose full of fragrant raspberries, well-trimmed on the palate with some grained tannin, lush, silky and well-constructed, persistent finish. Top. Great value for the money. 93p.

Roc de Cambes (Cotes de Bourg) - made by magician winemaker Francois Mitjavile from Tertre Roteboeuf. More elegant than usual, velvety texture, vibrant and complex. Splendid midpalate, great structure and long-lasting finish. Sublime stuff. 94p.

Canon-Fronsac/Fronsac

A lot of splendid wines and repetition of a successful 2018 vintage. Excellent value for the money.

CarlMagnus – It was a potent and concentrated wine with a deep nose of spicy black cherries, freshly crushed berries and fat tannin on the palate, bright acidity, fine complexity, structure and a long lingering finish. Terrific performance. It follows in the track of an excellent 2018! 93p.

La Croix "Madeleine" - aromatic, spicy raspberries on the nose and palate, full-bodied, sweet berries well-supported by fine tannin and pleasant acidity, lovely complexity and length. Well-crafted effort. 91-92p.

Dalem – aromatic dark cherries on the nose, quite potent on the palate with solid structure, vivid splendid acidity, fine-grained tannin to support luscious fruit, complex, long firm finish. 93p.

La Dauphine - aromatic cherries and raspberries, sleek and attractive, well-knitted and complex, vibrant, luscious fruit and lingering finish. Impressive wine. 93p.

Fontenil - 100% Merlot from vines that are more than 50 years old. Home of Dany and Michel Rolland, famous Bordeaux oenologists. It was powerful with plenty of black cherries grated with dark chocolate, luscious berries and fat tannin on the palate, complex, strong backbone, long finish. An excellent effort, and firing on all cylinders. 94p.

De La Huste is Brigitte Rullier-Loussert, who pulls strings here, and she also owns another nearby property (Dalem). The wine here was a dense and full-bodied wine with a strong backbone, minerality, black cherries on the nose and palate, vibrant, sappy and complex, long and meaty finish. Splendid effort. 93p.

De La Riviere – it’s an utterly reliable property producing wines of very high quality. As always, pure and stylish, great flair, vivid and vibrant, lush berries with the great support of grained tannin, great complexity and long finish. Stable quality as a rock! 94p.

Roullet – fresh, spicy raspberries on the nose, well-defined on the palate, lively, finely scaled tannin, lovely complexity and length. Tasty with a lingering finish. 91-92p.

Les Troix Croix - 81% Merlot + 19% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic dark berries, vibrant, luscious berries well supported by finely grained tannin, strong structure, complex and persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort. 92p.

La Vieille Cure - powerful yet in perfect balance, black cherries with a touch of dark chocolate and cocoa on the nose, luscious fruit and fat tannin on the palate, splendid complexity and length. Persistently long finish. Remarkable effort. 93-94p.

Villars - fresh with aromatic and crunchy dark berries, sappy, elegant, fine acidity and balance between luscious fruit and ripe tannin. Complex. Persistent finish. Lovely wine. 92p. 

Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux

A very successful wine district again in 2020. It’s produced some excellently perfumed (rose/rose bush!), seductive, elegant, and silky wines for little money.

Alcée – rose bush compote flavour on the nose and palate, fresh and vivid, silky texture, polished, lingering and tasty. Lovely stuff. 91p.

Ampelia - spicy raspberries and scent of roses on the nose and palate, fresh, harmonious, polished and tasty. Velvety texture. A lovely and elegant wine. 91p.

D’Arce – 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Delicate nose with some rose flavours, raspberries and a bit of liquorice, tasty berries and soft tannin, silky texture and smooth aftertaste. Pretty wine indeed. 89-90p.

L'Aurage – 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. Fresh, vivid, seductive perfume of roses/rose bush, silky fruit and tannin, luscious, smooth and tasty. Very catchy and attractive wine. 91p.

La Brande – 67% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. Trademark perfume of rose bush that's so typical for the soil of Castillon. Round and attractive wine with spicy raspberries, silky and smooth, soft finish. Nice taste. 90p.

Cap de Faugeres – only 19 hl/ha produced. Rosebush and morello cherries on the nose, bright acidity, crunchy berries on the palate with finely scaled tannin, complex, fine midpalate, persistent finish. Happily, the winemaker didn’t overdo this wine as it did happen in a couple of earlier vintages. 92-93p.

Clos Puy Arnaud – fresh, fruity, round and pleasant. Nicely structured and tasty. 87p.

Cote Montpezat – violets on the nose, delicious on the palate and well-assorted, balanced, fine structure. Nice complexity and lush finish. Seductive effort. 90p.

Dubois Grimon - 100% Merlot. Attractive on the nose with black cherries and boysenberries, sappy, luscious on the palate with finely scaled tannin, fine concentration and depth. Powerful yet elegant finish. Terrific effort. 92+p.

De Lussac - 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Rosebush fragrance for all the money on the nose, fresh and lively, well-constructed, velvety texture and lingering aftertaste. Seductive effort. 91p.

De Lussac Cuvée Sacha - 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc. A special selection from a part of the vineyard (old vines and low yield) with grapes undergoing more "luxury" vinification. Similar to standard cuvée but understandably with more intensity, concentration and length. Splendid effort. 92p.

Montlandrie - 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. Fresh, very aromatic nose of a rose bush, well-defined, lush and meaty, velvety on the palate, fine complexity, long lingering finish. Catchy wine. 92p.

Le Rey Les Argileuses - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.6% alcohol. Vinification and ageing are carried out 100% in stainless steel tanks. A lovely and aromatic fragrance of roses/rose bush on the nose, round and tasty, catchy, smooth and silky on the palate with raspberries. 91p.

Le Rey Les Rocheuses - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.7% alcohol. Vinification is carried out in stainless steel tanks while ageing in oak. A delightfully aromatic and seductive fragrance of roses/rose bush, vibrant, creamy berries on the palate, fine complexity, bright acidity, superb balance, long fruity finish. Delicious stuff! 92-93p.

Francs Côtes de Bordeaux

Ad Francos - 100% Merlot. Vinification in stainless-steel vats. Full blueberry nose with an addition of boysenberries/blackberries scent and a hint of roses. Luscious and well-constructed on the palate. Lingering finish. A solid showing. 89p.

Ad Francos Reserve ad Aeternam - 100% Merlot. Vinification in oak barrels. Small production. Fresher than standard cuvée, fatter and longer finish. Quite complex and balanced. Seductive effort. 90p. 

Puygueraud – lovely nose of black cherries and raspberries, polished and lush on the palate with ripe and soft tannin, nicely structured and balanced, fruity finish. Amiable effort. 90p.

Lalande de Pomerol

Splendid to excellent wines produced here.

L’Ambroisie – morello cherries and raspberries, fresh and lively, well-structured, silky texture, nice balance and lingering finish. Pretty wine. 88p.

Bechereau – 100% Merlot. Special cuvée aged in oak barrels. A mix of black and wild cherries, luscious berries and fat tannin on the palate, corpulent and well-structured. Long finish. The first time I’ve tasted this wine, and it was an excellent experience. 91p.

Bertineau and de Chambrun – both wines were aromatic on the nose with black cherries and spicy berries on the palate, backed up by nice tannin, juicy and lively. 87p.

La Chenade - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Belongs to the Durantou family who also have Montlandrie, Les Cruzelles, Saintayme, La Petite Eglise and L'Eglise Clinet in their portfolio. It had spicy raspberries on the nose and was delicate and vibrant on the palate, with nice structure and bright acidity. Splendid effort. 92p.

La Croix Chaigneau - second wine of Haut Chaigneau based on young vines. Aromatic, round, sleek and harmonious, attractive and tasty. Even if it's lightfooted, there's a lot of charm. 87p.

Les Cruzelles - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Very similar wine to La Chenade, but more intensity, concentration and depth here. Splendid effort as well. 92+p.

Domaine des Sabines – strawberries and blueberries, juicy and voluptuous, intense, fine structure and length. Spicy and persistent finish. 91-92p.

Enclos de Viaud - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. 13.8% alcohol. Potent with crushed cherries, pleasant, delicate balance, well-structured with a persistent finish. Very nice effort. 88p.

Expression de Bechereau – 100% Merlot. Special plot selection. Compared with Bechereau itself, there was more intensity, concentration and depth here. Splendid effort. 92p.

Grand Ormeau - pretty nose of black cherries and lush cherries and raspberries on the palate, well-structured, juicy, well-balanced, sleek, and elegant. Grained tannin. Lots of pleasure here. 91-92p.

Haut Chaigneau - home of Pascal Chatonnet, a renowned oenologist who consults Cos d'Estournel, Chateau de Beaucastel, Vega Sicilia, and owns L'Archange in Saint-Emilion in addition to Haut Chaigneau. Fragrant dark cherries and blueberries, well-knitted, lovely intensity, structure and concentration, subtle complexity as well, bright fruit matched sweet grained tannin. Very attractive and tasty. Lingering aftertaste. 91-92p.

Jean de Gue – delicate nose of fragrant cherries, crunchy sweet berries on the palate, soft tannin, nice acidity to keep everything in order and caressing finish to round it up. 91p.

Lafleur de Viaud – flowery on the nose (violets and iris), light on the palate but overall round, pleasant and tasty. For early consumption. 86p.

Maine Chaigneau Cuvée JS – 100% Merlot. Plenty of intense black cherries and roasted nuts on the nose, corpulent and sappy, fine on the midpalate with creamy berries and grained tannin. Powerfully caressing finish. Excellent performance. 92-93p.

Moncets - Same owner as de Chambrun. Very discreet on the nose, some extraction on the palate, upfront fruit and nice tannin. Tasty. Modern style. Lacked freshness. 86p.

Sergant – 100% Merlot. Spicy and earthy on the nose with morello cherries and violets, vivid, well-equipped on the palate with lush fruit and grained tannin. 92p.

La Sergue - this wine is made from 3 parcels in the district, with each one having different soil and diverse grape variety and different microclimate. It was similar to Haut Chaigneau but had a more robust structure, more elegance, and more flair. 92p.

Lussac-St-Emilion

Barbe Blanche - attractive raspberry nose, spicy berries on the palate, light but nicely constructed, silky and smooth. 86-87p.

Courlat and de Lussac - delightfully aromatic wine with fragrant and tasty dark berries, soft tannin, polished and delicate on the palate. It's already quite enjoyable. 86p. 

La Grande Clotte - aromatic violets, raspberries and blueberries on the nose, nicely structured, silky and luscious on the palate with tasty dark berries, Attractive wine. 87-88p.

La Grande Clotte L'Envolée - 100% Merlot coming from old vines. It is aged in new barrels.  It is more intense on the nose and longer on the palate than in standard cuvée, creamy on the palate, well-structured, and velvety texture. Delicate and crunchy. Very seductive effort. 90p.

La Rose Perriere - same owner as of Grand Cru wine, Clos Les Grands Versannes from Saint-Emilion. Splendid and elegant nose of iris, violets and roses, luscious berries on the palate, finely grained tannin, vibrant, discreet acidity, lovely length and lingering aftertaste. Splendid effort for the vintage. 92p.

Montagne-St-Emilion

This commune offers wines of terrific quality for the money!

La Bastienne - 100% Merlot. Fresh black cherries on the nose and palate, aromatic, well-constructed, polished and elegant, well-balanced with fine tannin. Sleek finish. A bit on the light side but quite attractive. 88p.

Bechereau Coleur Malbec – 82% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot. Spicy berries and wild flowers on the nose and palate, particular taste but nothing wrong with it, fleshy with a strong backbone. Persistent aftertaste. 89p.

Clos de Bouard - intense wild cherries on the nose, vibrant, concentrated and crunchy on the palate, complex and splendidly balanced, fine length and long finish. This wine is excellent entertainment! 93+p.

La Couronne - 100% Merlot. Blueberry and raspberry nose with the addition of cherry tones. Some spiciness on the palate, nice acidity, sleek fruit and soft tannin. Pleasant and tasty wine to enjoy. 87p.

Dame de Bouard - it's the second wine of Clos de Bouard and a joyful one to taste. Fresh, aromatic cherries and blueberries, lush and silky fruit combined with grained tannin on the palate, harmonious, velvety texture and lingering finish. Catchy and seductive effort. 90-91p.

L’Envie Franck Despagne – 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very blueberry on the nose and palate, fresh, elegant and harmonious. Silky tannin and acidity keeping all the good things together well. Lovely effort. 89p.

Heritage de Negrit - 100% Merlot. Blueberry and raspberry nose with the addition of cherry tones. Some spiciness on the palate, nice acidity, sleek fruit and soft tannin. Pleasant and tasty wine to enjoy. 87p.

L’Hôte Antique – 1/3 of each grape variety, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is aged in 100% amphoras. Made by Franck Despagne, and when compared to his other wine (L’Envie), you taste a softer, very fruity and very charming wine. Delicate and seductive. 88p.

Montaiguillon - 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very blueberry on the nose and palate, fresh, elegant and harmonious. Silky tannin and acidity keeping all the good things together well. Lovely effort. 89p.

Reclos de La Couronne - 100% Merlot. It’s a selection of grapes from the oldest and best plots in Couronne's vineyard. Vibrant, lush, finely scaled tannin. It was polished and well-structured. Lovely finish. 90-91p.

Roudier - 70% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. No oak is involved here. Both vinification and ageing take place in cement vats. Fragrant violets, roses and iris on the nose with the scent of raspberries, delicate fruit and soft tannin on the palate. Silky texture and fine fruity finish. Lovely wine and an excellent value for money. 88p.

Tour Bayard - a bit discreet on the nose but marching on the palate, covered by a large chunk of luscious berries and a fat tannin. Lingering aftertaste. Pleasant to drink already. 89p.

Tour Bayard L'Angelot - 100% Malbec. Old vines. It's not often one comes across a full "house" of this grape variety. It's atypical. Plenty of violets, iris and roses on the nose and palate, a robust backbone, well-marked acidity and fine structure. Long and lingering finish. Terrific wine. 92p. 

Vieux Chateau Palon - 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic black cherries, luscious and well-defined on the palate with splendid structure and bright acidity, lush berries and grained tannin. Persistent finish. Lovely performance. 91p.

Puisseguin-St-Emilion

Some splendid wines for little money in 2020! 

Clarisse – fat cherries, meaty, vibrant, fine acidity, well structured, silky fruit and tannin, lingering finish. This normal cuvée isn’t much behind Vieille Vignes’ one! Terrific performance. 91+p.

Clarisse Cuvée Veilles Vignes - 75 years old vines on average! Fresh and dense on the nose with intensely flavoured black cherries and morello cherries, creamy on the palate with fine-grained tannin. All this was supported by fine acidity, structure and length. A great discovery for me and a great juice for a decade to enjoy! 92+p.

Guibot La Fourvieille - well-made wine with a pretty attractive scent of morello cherries and a creamy palate that was well-structured and had a delicate interplay between lush berries and fat tannin. Persistent finish. Catchy effort. 90p.

Bernon Becot – sister property to Roc de Becot. Fresh, aromatic cherries and blueberries on the nose, luscious on the palate with bright acidity, creamy fruit and fine supporting tannin. Well-composed and lengthy finish. Fine quality. 91p.

des Laurets Baron - 100% Merlot. This wine is a selection of the best plots from the top of the vineyard. Intense morello cherries on the nose with a scent of black truffle, luscious berries and grained tannin, great structure and density, and fat cherry finish. Not as riveting as the 2018 version, but the fine quality of this wine is unquestionable. 92p.

Pontet Bayard is a simple, pleasant, round, and tasty wine consumed very early in its life. 85p.

Roc de Becot - Caroline and Pierre Becot own this property. Very comparable with other property they own and manage, Bernon Becot. However, there is more intensity and concentration here. A delightful aroma of raspberries and roses, creamy berries and grained tannin. Complex and with a lingering aftertaste. Terrific effort. 92p.

Pomerol

One of the most successful districts in 2020, and I can assure you that there is enough exceptional goof for all lovers of Pomerol.

Le Bon Pasteur - intense black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate and cocoa powder on the nose. Some black truffle too. Voluminous, well-packed with everything, strong backbone, creamy fruit and grained tannin. Long-lasting finish. Distinct and excellent effort. 95p.

Bourgneuf - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. 14.8% alcohol. Intense blueberries and raspberries on the nose with a touch of black winter truffle, luscious dark berries on the palate, well supported by finely grained tannin. Freshness, vibrancy and delicate complexity. Long finish. Great focus and precision here! In my opinion, this is the best vintage yet from the winemaker, Frederique Vayron! Bravo! 96p.

Cantelauze – same owner as Corbin Michotte. Black winter truffle and black cherries on the nose, and some violets too. Sappy and vibrant on the palate, much focused, tight structure and bright acidity. Splendid structure, complex and robust backbone. It is proper Pomerol stuff! 94+p.

La Clemence - modern-styled wine, potent and full-bodied with many chocolate/cocoa powder/cherry aromas, well-structured, complex, and meaty finish. Well-made. 92p.

Clinet - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Upper-class stuff with fatness and great density on the nose and palate. Intense aroma of black cherries with sliced truffles, sophisticated and powerful palate with creamy berries, finely grained tannin, excellent complexity, and long aftertaste. Tremendous effort. 97-98p.

Clos 126 – rich and strong, crushed black fruit, ripe and grained tannin, well-defined and lively. Lingering finish. Lovely effort. 91p.

Le Clos de Beau Pere - deliciously fragrant dark berries on the nose, powerful and dense on the palate, splendid acidity, lush berries and fat tannin. Subtle complexity and persistent finish. Splendid effort. 92p

Clos de Clocher – fragrant black cherries and dark chocolate on the nose, well-assorted on the palate with crushed berries and silky tannin. Quite complex and tasteful. Lovely effort. 92p.

Clos de La Vieille Eglise – 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Similar to Clos Vieux Taillefer. Modern style and upfront fruit. 90p.

Clos L'Eglise - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alcohol. Classic nose for the district with a touch of black winter truffle, violets and black cherries. Opulent and luscious on the palate with grained tannin, great structure and length. Sophisticated with finesse and elegance. Great effort. 95-96p.

Clos Vieux Taillefer - modern style with a flashy approach, some extraction but not overdone, velvety fruit and tannin, well-structured, and persistent finish. Solid one. 90p.

La Commanderie - It's been owned by a couple from Hong Kong since 2013 and consulted by a well-known oenologist, Pascal Chatonnet. Fresh, intense and luscious dark berries on the nose and palate, fat tannin, sappy, balanced, pleasing complexity and depth. Splendid effort. 93p.

La Conseillante - 87% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Dense nose of winter black truffle and violets. I found out that it had a more tannic structure on the palate than usual, but finesse and elegance were still there with great complexity and sophisticated touch. Excellent precision and tremendous length. Utterly impressive stuff from the winemaker, Marielle Cazaux. Wow! 98+p.

Croix des Rouzes - fruity, attractive and enjoyable stuff with aromatic cherries and blueberries, silky fruit and tannin on the palate, lovely balance and smooth aftertaste. 88p.

La Croix St. Georges - 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. 14.62% alcohol. This property is situated in the middle of Catusseau village and neighbour to Le Pin. It’s managed and made by Jean-Philippe Janoueix (La Confession). Potent and tight, freshness, strong backbone, plenty of intense black cherries/blueberries, grained tannin, excellent complexity, very concentrated and long-lasting finish. Best vintage yet from this property? It’s possible. 96p.

Enclos Tourmaline - 100% Merlot. 14.7% alcohol. Several parcels inside lieu-dit (hamlet) of Clinet. Intense dark cherries with the scent of black winter truffles on the nose, fat and creamy fruit on the palate with grained tannin, all supported by fine acidity, strong backbone and delicate structure, Dense and long on the midpalate. No less than a terrific effort. 95p.

L'Eglise Clinet - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14.4% alcohol. Classic stuff and no modern tweaks here. Powerful and concentrated, strong backbone, fat and dense on the palate (old vines), lot of minerality, great complexity, multilayered and excellent length, and long, long finish. Denis Durantou deceased in May 2020, and his three daughters continue the superb work of their father. 98-99p.

Esprit de la Commanderie - it's the second wine of La Commanderie and mainly contains Merlot. Fruity, attractive and enjoyable stuff with aromatic blueberries, silky fruit and tannin on the palate, lovely balance and smooth aftertaste. Tasty. 87p.

Fayat – similar to Croix des Rouzes but with better complexity and better structure. 89p.

Feytit Clinet – 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Fresh, intense black cherries, aromatic and complex, sleek and silky. Well-balanced and well-knitted on the palate. Persistent and lingering finish. 92+p.

Lafleur de Gay – intense cherry nose with black winter truffle, vivid, delicate complexity and fine structure to depend on. Meaty finish. Terrific effort. 93p.

Le Gay – quite modern with a lot of oak, black truffle on the nose, opulent, well-knitted on the palate, fine structure, lengthy and meaty aftertaste. Strong effort. 93-94p.

Lecuyer – 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. The delicate and distinctive nose of morello cherries and cocoa powder, well-structured and polished on the palate, silky fruit and gentle tannin. Delicate fruity aftertaste. 90p.

Mazeyres – what a change compared to the rather bland 2018 version. Elegant and complex, polished, silky texture, fragrant berries and fine tannin. Seductive effort. 91p.

Monregard La Croix - 100% Merlot. Crushed blueberries on the nose, fresh and lively, opulent on the palate with nice complexity, structure and depth. Surprisingly well-made. 91p.

Le Moulin - Modern styled wine with upfront black fruit, meaty tannin, strong backbone, vibrant and powerful, well-constructed, persistent finish. Fine effort. 91p.

Nenin - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Black cherries grated with black winter truffles, vibrant, fine midpalate, fine structure, luscious berries and grained tannin, splendid complexity and long-lasting finish. The best vintage for this property yet, without a doubt. 94p.

La Patache - 85% Merlot + 15% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. A full-bodied wine with lots of creamy dark cherries and raspberries, a touch of truffles, fat tannins, fine structure and depth, and a complex and persistent finish. Classic for the district. 91p.

La Petite Eglise - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Fresh and lively, intense nose of violets and cherries, luscious black cherries on the palate, well-knitted and possessing splendid complexity, and a persistent finish. 93p.

Petit Village - 60% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. 27 hl/ha. A small number of plots were ageing in amphoras. The first time there are more Cabernet Franc in the blend (10%), which seems to have given the wine a more robust backbone and more tannin. Intense nose with aroma of freshly sliced black winter truffle and great depth and length on the mid-palate. This vintage is probably the most precise and focused one of Petit Village, Diana Garcia Berrouet has made during her reign! The new label has been introduced for the 2020 vintage because the new owners wanted to mark their arrival, and it’s incredibly stylish and inspired by the labels from the 1920s and 1930s. The vax covering the cork with engraved PV letters is pretty cool as well. 96+p.

Pierhem - fruity, attractive, silky fruit and tannin on the palate, sappy, tasty and pleasant. Smooth aftertaste. Solid performance. 88p.

Pierre 1ER – modern style, oaky, potent and succulent. Meaty. Good enough. 87p.

Rouget - very aromatic and intense nose of dark berries, compact, delicate complexity, splendid structure and depth, luscious fruit and grained tannin. Persistent finish. Impressive effort. 94p. 

Sacre Coeur - 100% Merlot. 14.3% alcohol. Made from the selected parcel in La Croix vineyard and vinified by Jean-Philippe Janoueix (La Confession and La Croix St.Georges). Plenty of fat black cherries on the nose, vibrant, luscious berries and grained tannin, considerable complexity and long aftertaste. Brilliant wine. Best vintage yet I’ve tasted from this property. 95p.

Taillefer – spicy raspberries on the nose, a bit hollow on the palate, light and simple. 85p.

Tour Maillet - 100% Merlot. Intense cherry nose with black winter truffle, vivid, delicate complexity and fine structure to depend on. Meaty finish. Terrific effort. 92-93p.

Vieux Maillet – violets and black cherries on the nose, juicy, vibrant and finely composed on the palate. Grained tannin. Lovely stuff. 91-92p.

La Violette - 100% Merlot from very old vines. Indeed, it’s very floral on the nose – violets (!), morello cherries, elegant, finesse, great complexity. Distinguished and sophisticated. 96p.

Saint-Emilion

One of the best districts in 2020. A lot of wines to taste and a wide variety of styles. Some stand-out performances among less-known Grand Crus.

Angelus Nr. 3 - 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh, attractive black cherries and raspberries on the nose, lush berries on the palate, silky tannin and lingering finish. Charming wine. 91p.

Angelus - 60% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Franc. 2020 vintage is another sublime wine. Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal can add to her remarkable achievements since her arrival on the scene in 2015.  The specially selected Cabernet Franc plots are ageing in so-called foudres, which have a volume of 30 hl each. They preserve the subtle character of this grape variety. There is a significant density on the nose and palate, intense black cherries, bright acidity. Spectacular elegance and finesse, sophisticated touch. This wine oozes great precision! Breathtaking quality. 98+p.

L'Archange - 100% Merlot. Deliciously aromatic and seductive wine with luscious cherries and blackberries. Fresh, sappy and well-structured, fine intensity and lingering finish. It's a  fine quality effort. 91-92p.

Badette - fresh and fruity, noticeable acidity, ripe tannin, nicely constructed and smooth finish. Attractive and friendly wine. 91p.

Balestard La Tonnelle GCC - aromatic cherry nose, lush berries and tannin on the palate, lively, well-knitted and complex, a lingering finish. Delightful effort. 91p.

Barde Haut - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. More intensity and depth here compared to Poesia. Silky package as well, deliciously creamy, tasty and seductive. Long and lingering aftertaste. 93-94p.

Bellefont Belcier GCC - 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. Delicate nose of ripe raspberries and blueberries, powerful on the palate with fine acidity, grained tannin, elegant, complex and with a long and persistent finish. A stylish wine with great confidence. 94p.

Bellevue GCC – 100% Merlot. Catchy and aromatic nose of violets and iris, well-constructed and elegant, crushed black fruit, pure and silky on the palate. Subtle and lingering aftertaste. Terrific performance. 93-94p.

Berliquet GCC - 69% Merlot + 31% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Fresh, attractive, and lovely intensity of black fruit on the nose, silky and tasteful on the palate, elegant and finely composed. Enjoyable. 91p.

Cadet Bon GCC - 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Sweet aromatic cherries on the nose, attractive and catchy, delicate fruit and silky tannins, elegant and well-structured. Lingering finish. A heartbreaker wine. 91-92p.

Canon PGCC "B" - 68% Merlot + 32% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Intense aroma of black cherries/blueberries on the nose, creamy on the palate with silky berries and grained tannin, great complexity and elegance, sophisticated, excellent depth, long, long aftertaste. Spectacular effort. 98+p.

Cantin, La Croix Younan and Godeau – more or less good everyday wines. 85p.

Cap de Mourlin GCC – fresh, elegant, polished, spicy dark berries, well-constructed, soft tannin. Smooth aftertaste. 88p.

Carillon d'Angelus - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. The beautifully scented nose of morello cherries, freshness, luscious berries are perfectly supported by grained tannin, creamy texture, great complexity, long and persistent finish. Best vintage so far. Riveting second wine and best effort yet. 93-95p.

Carteau, Patris and Rol Valentin – tasty, round and pleasant. 86p.

Chatelet GCC - 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic, round and pleasant wine with tasty fruit and smooth tannin. On light feet but quite attractive wine. 87p.

Chauvin GCC - 70% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Almost three times as much Cabernet Franc in the blend as usual. Crushed berries on the nose, lively, elegant and well-constructed on the palate with a solid backbone, complex and with a lingering aftertaste. Splendid effort. 92p.

Clavis Orea - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Dense on the nose with dark berries, vibrant and spicy with some minerality, concentrated and complex. Tighter than usual, but the superb quality remains. 93p.

Clos Badon – fine and energetic nose of dark berries, fresh and vibrant, concentrated, succulent and meaty, luscious fruit and fat tannin. Persistent finish. Strong effort. 91-92p.

Clos des Jacobins GCC - 80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. Great cherry nose, very distinct. Dense, luscious and silky on the palate. Grained tannin, excellent complexity and structure. Long-lasting aftertaste. Excellent performance. 94p.

Clos Fourtet – this wine was big, opulent and voluminous. Concentrated with a strong backbone. You can’t question the excellent quality of this wine, but… For me, it’s too modern, too much “in your face” attitude. I would love to see a winemaker here to dampen extraction a bit, use less new oak and maybe harvest a little before to make this wine fresher and more elegant. 95p.

Clos des Prince - well-crafted wine with fragrant cherries, fine structure, silky texture and ripe tannin. Smooth finish. 90p.

Clos Les Grandes Versannes - fragrant nose of different sorts of dark berries, finely composed, polished on the palate with a velvety texture, juicy, lush, bright acidity and lingering aftertaste. Lovely wine. 91p.

Clos St. Martin GCC - 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. Intense nose of fragrant cherries, vibrant and polished on the palate with pleasing complexity, structure and balance. Lingering finish. Strong effort. 92p.

La Commanderie GCC - 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Aromatic, round and pleasant wine with tasty fruit and smooth tannin. On light feet but quite attractive wine. 87-88p.

La Confession - 74% Merlot + 26% Cabernet Franc. 14.73% alcohol. Exceptionally aromatic on the nose with black cherries and boysenberries, fresh and vibrant, silky fruit and grained tannin, great complexity and acidity, firm structure. Alcohol is well hidden in the fruity backyard of this wine. Multilayered. It is an imposing effort. 95-96p.

Corbin GCC - 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Vinified in new oak, vats and glass jars/wine globes. Corbin’s owner, Anabelle Cruse Bardinet, said in an interview a few months ago: “…I’ve never had such pleasure making Corbin as I’ve had to make the 2020 vintage.” You can feel the pleasure in the wine! No external consulting oenologist for the first time. It was sublime stuff with a distinct nose of fragrant raspberries, liquorice, pure elegance, finesse, and high-quality grained tannin. The focus and precision in this wine were just truly remarkable. Best vintage ever for the present owner. 96+p.

Corbin Michotte – aromatic morello cherries and dark chocolate flakes on the sensual nose, luscious on the palate with silky fruit and grained tannin, keeps well on the midpalate, vibrant, bright acidity. Very seductive and tasty wine, which in my opinion, surpass the 2018 vintage. I hope this property will return to the GCC club next year when the 2022 classification will occur. 94+p.

Cote de Baleau GCC - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14.2% alcohol. Same owner as Clos Fourtet. Deliciously fragrant cherries, fresh and vibrant, luscious berries on the palate well-matched by fat tannin, lovely complexity and structure. Very much approved. 91-92p.

La Couspaude GCC - 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense blackberries and black cherries on the nose. Luscious black fruit and corresponding grained tannin, vibrant with great complexity, bright acidity, elegance and finesse. Long crispy finish. Very impressive. 93-94p.

Couvent de Jacobins GCC – 85% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc + 5% Petit Verdot. Cherry drops on the nose, spicy black cherries on the palate, sleek with exemplary cooperation between berries and tannin, nice fruity finish. Attractive and tasty. Similar to the 2019 version. 90p.

Croix Canon - second wine of Canon. 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Deliciously seductive on the nose with sweet cherries and blueberries, silky on the palate with elegant tannin, tasteful and with a lingering aftertaste. Pure enjoyment. 91p.

Croix Cardinale - 87% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. More Merlot in the blend than usual. Spicy raspberries, delicate, smooth tannin, soft texture, beautifully balanced, nice complexity and lingering finish. A delightful effort indeed. 90-91p.

Croix de Labrie – 92% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Classy nose with liquorice and raspberries, great complexity, vibrant, luscious fruit and grained tannin, fine acidity and intense finish. A sophisticated wine with a great personality. It combines perfectly the best things from 2018 and 2019 vintages. Kudos to Axelle and Pierre Courdurie! 96-97p.

La Croizille - fresh and aromatic, elegant and polished wine, silky fruit and gentle tannin, nicely structured and tasty. Solid one. 89p.

Dassault GCC - 86% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.8% alcohol. Elegant and polished, aromatic raspberries and blueberries, silky, nice structure and length. Smooth finish. Nice effort. 90p.

La Dominique GCC – taking a bath in oak on the tasting day, more approachable the next day. There were signs of good potential in this wine, but it’s to see after further ageing in barrels and after bottling. Maybe it was a bad sample. I’ve to retaste it. 88+p?

Le Dôme - 80% Cabernet Franc + 20% Merlot. 13.9% alcohol. A jewel in the collection of properties owned by Jonathan Maltus, Bog concentration and bog structure. In addition to that, luscious berries and fat tannin, great midpalate with complexity and a long-lasting finish. Fabulous stuff. 96p.

Le Dragon de Quintus - fresh, aromatic raspberries, lively and tasteful, sleek, upfront fruit, pleasant and with a silky texture. Amiable and enjoyable wine. 88p.

Faugeres GCC - 70% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic and vibrant, delicious on the palate with crushed berries, elegant with finesse, acidity, polished, complex and lingering aftertaste. 91-92p.

Faurie de Souchard GCC - 78% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.1% alcohol. Aromatic and seductive on the nose, lush and elegant on the palate, cosy, joyful and tasty, silky fruit and tannin. Lingering finish. 91p.

De Ferrand - 74% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot. Aromatic and attractive on the nose, black cherries, intense and sappy on the palate, finely scaled tannins, fruity and persistent finish. Seductive and joyful effort. 92p.

Figeac PGCC "B"- 32% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.9% alcohol. Fabulous nose of well-scented raspberries and redcurrants, classy and sophisticated, tremendous on the mid-palate with a constant stream of creamy berries and grained tannin. A great contribution of Cabernet Franc here. It’ll challenge the 2016 version to be the best vintage in recent times. 98+p.

La Fleur - owner as Dassault. Fresh, fragrant nose of crushed cherries and violets, well-defined and lush on the palate with tasty berries and bright tannin. Lingering aftertaste. Lovely and seductive effort. 91p.

Fleur Cardinale - 77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. This property is situated on the hills of Saint-Etienne-de Lisse commune and close neighbour to Valandraud. The 2020 vintage was made in a fully operational new cellar, and for the first time, two 750 hl amphoras were used for ageing Cabernet and Merlot grapes from old vines. Dense and fragrant black cherries on the nose, intense and creamy on the mid-palate with velvety tannin and acidity, keeping everything in perfect order. Subtle complexity and finesse. As thrilling as 2019 but a little more precise. Tremendous effort. 94-95p.

La Fleur d'Arthus – very seductive and classy nose of black cherries, fresh, succulent, polished, layered and silky. Luscious fruit compliments the grained tannin greatly. Lingering aftertaste. Lovely wine. 91-92p.

Fleur de Lisse – aromatic cherries on the nose, catchy and attractive on the palate with crunchy berries and copious tannin, fine structure, some complexity and lingering finish. Lovely effort. 90p.

Fombrauge GCC - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. It was potent and robust with a lot of upfront fruit and fat tannin, well-balanced with fine midpalate and meaty finish. Splendid effort. 92p.

Fonplegade - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. Intense raspberries on the nose with added dark chocolate on the nose, potent, fine midpalate with luscious berries and grained tannin, bright acidity and lingering aftertaste. 92-93p.

Fonroque GCC - 87% Merlot + 13% Cabernet Franc. Delicate nose of fresh raspberries, elegant, polished and crunchy on the palate. This wine could use some more spark, more concentration and complexity here. Correct wine but made without risking anything and still searching for its identity. 88p.

La Grace Fonrazade and L’Hermitage de Lescours – both had similar characteristics. Overall, delicious morello cherries and raspberries, bright acidity, polished palate with lush fruit and gentle tannin, well-knitted and with a lingering finish. Very likeable wines, both of them. 90p.

Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac – on the light side with nice structure and length, soft fruit and tannin. Tasty. Smooth finish. 87p.

Grand Corbin GCC - 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. This wine was very cherry on the nose, violets, aromatic and vivid, polished with silky tannin and subtle aftertaste. Solid effort. 91p.

Grand Corbin Despagne - 75% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.8% alcohol. A potent, juicy and elegant wine with finesse. Aromatic red fruit (raspberries and redcurrants) on the nose, luscious on the palate and complex. Well-made. 92p.

Grandes Murailles – 100% Merlot. 14.5% alcohol.  A delicate nose with aromatic berries, creamy stuff on the palate, nicely constructed, velvety tannins, smooth and subtle finish. Splendid effort. 91-92p.

Grand Pontet GCC - 77.5% Merlot, 17.5% Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. This property is owned by a member of the Becot family, who also runs nearby La Gomerie and Beausejour Becot. It was a lovely, polished wine with a nicely scented nose of black cherries, a sappy, finely composed palate with creamy berries and matching ripe tannin. Lingering finish. Delightful effort. 92p.

Haut Brisson - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 13.8% alcohol. A lovely and seductive nose of blueberries, vivid and sappy, well-knitted on the palate with silky fruit and tannin, lovely intensity and length.  An upgrade on 2018 and 2019 vintages. 90p.

Haut Sarpe - an attractive wine with a charming appeal, tasty fruit, sweet tannins and lingering finish. 89p.

Jean Faure – 65% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 5% Malbec. Cheval Blanc is only 100m away, Figeac 500 m away and L’Evangile just behind! Powerful, milky (yoghurt) on the nose (Cabernet Franc!), fine structure, quite complex and well-trimmed. A fine balance between silky fruit and ripe tannin. This wine tasted just splendidly and looked like a real deal. 93p.

Laforge – 92% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc. 13.8% alcohol.  Because of mildew which strongly reduced the number of grapes at several estates, Jonathan Maltus didn’t produce Le Carre and Les Asteries in 2020. Instead, the remaining grapes were added to ones at his other properties, including Laforge. Pure, intellectual, aromatic with delicious dark berries, luscious and silky on the palate, complemented by a grained tannin, finesse and subtle finish. Gorgeous wine. 93p.  

Laniote GCC - 74% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. An attractive wine with a nice appeal, tasty fruit, silky tannins and a smooth finish. 88p.

Laplagnotte Bellevue – morello cherries on the nose, juicy, nice acidity, well-constructed, balanced, silky fruit and gentle tannin, good length and lush aftertaste. An amiable wine. 90p.

Larcis Ducasse PGCC "B" - voluptuous nose of cherries, potent and concentrated on the palate, fat tannin. It’s dominated by oak right now. This wine needs some time to get a better balance in it. 94p.

Larmande GCC - 77% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.8% alcohol. It's the sister property to Soutard, situated just opposite it. Violets and crushed dark berries on the nose, vibrant, finesse and elegance, complex, very stylish and with a persistent finish. Simply a terrific performance. 94p.

Laroque GCC - 99% Merlot + 1% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Delicate nose of crushed raspberries and polished and smooth on the mid-palate with silky fruit and some vibrancy. Pretty wine. 91-92p.

Laroze GCC - 68% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. This property has come to a level up in recent vintages. After splendid vintages, 2016, 2018 and 2019, 2020 confirms the improvement. It's a very stylish wine for the district. Delightfully aromatic on the nose with crushed cherries and raspberries, polished on the palate with grained tannin. Pure elegance and finesse. Complex and subtle. Persistent finish. 94p.

Mangot - 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. A powerful wine with well-shaped blueberries/raspberries, silky tannin, well-composed and well-balanced on the midpalate, and persistent finish. A splendid effort. 92p.

La Marzelle GCC - 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. The distinct nose of coffee beans and some freshly cut dark cherries, luscious and delicate fruit, and silky tannins are quite focused, vivid, and well-composed with a velvety texture. Subtle finish. Very catchy wine. 91-92p.  

Montlisse - an attractive and seductive wine with soft fruit and tannin, round and pleasant. For a quick consumption. 87p.

Moulin de Cadet GCC - 100% Merlot. 14.5% alcohol. Chocolate box with different aromas and tastes on the nose, vibrant, splendid structure, complexity and length. Bright acidity and persistent aftertaste. 92p.

Muse du Val – 50% Merlot + 50% Cabernet Franc. Same owner as Petit Val. More of everything compared with Petit Val. Raspberry drops on the nose and creamy raspberries on the palate. All in all, a pretty lovely wine, not an intellectual one, drinks well and have some attraction to it. 90-91p.

Pas de L'Ane – certainly not overdone in 2020 as I found it to be in earlier vintages! Cherry drops, fresh and vibrant. Nice midpalate with bright acidity and lush berries. Splendid effort. 91p.

Pavie Macquin PGCC "B" - powerful, many strings to play on, lush and creamy with voluptuous fruit on the palate balanced by fat tannin. Powerfully structured and with exquisite complexity. Persistent finish. Terrific wine. 96p.

Petit Faurie de Souchard GCC – A lovely and seductive wine with soft fruit and tannin, round and pleasant. For a quick consumption. 87p.

Petit Val – 70% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 10% Petit Verdot Unusual blend for Saint-Emilion with the addition of Petit Verdot, which 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 luscious fruit and fat tannin. Persistent finish. Not bad at all. 90p.

Poesia - 70% Merlot + 30% Cabernet Franc. Same owner as Barde Haut and Clos L’Eglise. Delicate nose of blackberries and raspberries, silky package with bright acidity, tender fruit, soft tannin and elegance. Adorable and seductive. 91p.

Pontet Labrie - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 13.4% alcohol. Plenty of raspberries and liquorice on the nose, vibrant and luscious, splendid structure and complexity, long-lasting aftertaste. That’s a real deal! 93+p.

de Pressac GCC – 79% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Carmenere and 2% Malbec. Very traditional in style. Plenty of spicy dark berries well matched by fat tannin and bright acidity. Splendid structure, delicate complexity and fine balance as well. Persistent aftertaste. Terrific wine. 93p.

Le Prieure – cherry nose, reasonably attractive, juicy, delicate complexity and structure, silky berries and tannin, polished and subtle finish. 91p.

Quintus - fresh, succulent and vibrant, harmonious, lush crunchy cherries and raspberries, fine structure, complex and lingering finish. Splendid effort. 93+p.

Ripeau - 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14% alcohol. Intense nose of black cherries and dark chocolate, silky and smooth on the palate, crunchy tannins, lively. Well-balanced, delicate complexity and a lingering finish. Terrific effort. 92-93p.

Rolland Maillet – 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic cherries, fresh and vivid, very nice structured, velvety texture with tasty fruit and gentle tannin. Lovely effort. 89p.

Saintayme - 100% Merlot. Spicy berries and violets on the nose, silky berries on the palate accompanying gentle tannin, lively and with a lingering finish.  Tasty and seductive effort. 90-91p.

Saint Georges Cote Pavie – crushed black cherries and blackberries, vibrant, nice acidity, elegant, light on the palate but had a lot of charm and attraction. Made for quick consumption. 87p.

Sansonnet GCC - 90% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Delicate nose of black cherries and dark chocolate, silky and smooth on the palate, crunchy tannins, lively. Well-balanced, tasteful and with a lingering finish. Well-made and attractive wine. 92p.

La Serre GCC - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Raspberry drops on the nose, vibrant on the palate with luscious berries and fat tannin, vibrant, well-constructed, splendid complexity and length. Elegance and finesse. Excellent stuff. 93-94p.

Sol Beni 3.4.3 – 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. 40 years old vines on average. 3.4.3 is a football formation as the owner trained the Japanese football team. I never came across this wine before. Its owner, Philippe Troussier, is a friend of Jean-Christophe Meyrou (Vignobles K). Fresh, round, balanced, velvety texture, tasty fruit, smooth tannin. Very nice wine. 88p.

Sol Beni Coup de Chapeau – 100% Merlot. 14.2% alcohol. 25hl/ha. Small vineyard plot close to Valandraud. Thick and dense, dark fruit and finely scaled tannin, fine structure and lingering finish. Pretty and seductive effort. 89p.

Soutard-Cadet - aromatic and seductive nose of cherry drops and raspberries, delicate and silky on the palate, elegant and polished, well-balanced and lingering on the aftertaste. Immediate attraction. 91p.

Tertre Roteboeuf – 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 15% alcohol. Incredibly perfumed nose of dark cherries/wild cherries/morello cherries. The palate is a paradise with outstanding purity, beautiful berries and tannin, drive and complexity. The high alcohol is hidden in the skirts of this wine and not noticeable at all! An eternal and sublime effort from a magician winemaker, Francois Mitjaville! 98-100p.

Teyssier - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 13.9% alcohol. A very distinctive nose of raspberries and wild cherries. Intense and concentrated on the palate, subtle complexity, depth, and length. Bright acidity to support fruit and tannin. It mirrors a great deal the splendid 2019, which in my opinion, is the best vintage yet for the property. 92p.

Todeschini Distique 13 - 40% Cabernet Franc + 40% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a special blend of grapes from a vineyard of 2 ha and ageing in 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 in used barrels and 1/3 in amphoras. There was a very intense aroma of blackberries and violets on the nose, luscious spicy berries on the palate, grained tannin, vivid and sappy and lush, fine complexity and persistent aftertaste. Impressive effort. 93p.

Tour Baladoz - discreet on the nose, but everything on the palate was just lovely. Tasty berries, ripe and soft tannin, round and pleasant. 88p.

Tour de Pressac – cherry drops, fresh, vivid, velvety on the palate with fine structure, silky fruit and tannin. Fruity finish. Fine effort. 89p.

La Tour Figeac GCC – 65% Merlot + 35% Cabernet Franc. 14.5% alcohol. Potent, coffee beans and mocha, polished, firm structure, finesse, long aftertaste. 91p.

Tour Fonrazade - 100% Merlot. It had a lovely cherry nose, silky and polished palate, tasty berries and a smooth finish. Solid effort. 88p.

Tour St. Christophe - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. 14.7% alcohol. Classic nose of ripe cherries/raspberries. Potent, well-defined on the palate, concentrated, structure and length, quite complex and meaty finish. Catchy wine. 92-93p.

Trianon – delicate aromatic nose of black cherries, fine acidity, crunchy berries, lively, well-constructed palate with finely scaled dark berries and tannin, complex and plush finish. Very solid performance. 90-91p.

Valandraud PGCC "B" – very classy nose of high-quality black cherries and fresh coffee beans, excellent purity, precision and focus, great complexity and fabulous structure, sophisticated touch, and great length. It makes a beautiful addition to 2018 and 2019 vintages! Highly impressive. 98p.

Vieux Chateau Mazerat - 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. 13.2% alcohol. Among the properties owned by Jonathan Maltus. It was a powerful, dense and well-equipped wine with luscious fruit and considerable tannin, excellent midpalate, great complexity, structure, and intense finish. Impressive effort. 95p.

Villemaurine - 80% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc. Delightful wine, balanced, silky fruit and gentle tannin, lovely length and lush aftertaste. An amiable wine. 90p.

Virginie de Valandraud - second wine of Valandraud. Pleasing and intense aroma of dark cherries on the nose, intense and concentrated on the palate, sappy, luscious berries and fat tannin, fine structure and complexity and persistent aftertaste. Brilliant effort. 92+p. 

La Voute - 100% Merlot. Old wines. A close neighbour to Fleur Cardinale and Valandraud. Aromatic black cherries on the nose, lush and concentrated on the palate, fat tannin, well-structured with delicate complexity, persistent and lingering finish. Terrific effort. 92p.

Yon Figeac GCC - 88% Merlot + 6% Cabernet Franc + 6% Petit Verdot. A distinct nose of fresh cherries and dark chocolate, vibrant, focused, luscious on the palate with fine structure and length. Sleek and complexity. Fine fruity aftertaste. 91+p.

Latest news

NEW!!full report on the 2020 vintage tasted from the barrel is now available (June 2021). Around 500 tasted samples. Check out chapter "2020 FROM BARREL" in "VINTAGES".

full report on the 2018 vintage (around 500 tasted wines)is available (April 2021). Check out chapter "2018 IN BOTTLE" in "VINTAGES".

full report on the 2019 vintage tasted from the barrel (300+ tasted samples) is available (July 2020). Check out chapter "2019" in "VINTAGES".

The planned addition of a property profile during late autumn 2021 - Angelus.

A new feature is the Burgundy blog in the News chapter, which includes impressions from tastings/tasting dinners attended since November 2018.

In addition to my website, I also post tasting notes to a well-driven and hugely- scaled website, www.tastingbook.com, where I've 8.600+ followers and 2.500+ TNs by primo July 2021.