Bordeaux AC Elevé en Fut de Chene Domaine de Mayat, 2014
This classic and well vinified Bordeaux wine has a pleasant nose of ripe red fruits, a very expressive, fruity mouth with a fresh finish.
Château Brane-Cantenac, Margaux, Grand Cru Classé, 2005
This wine (a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc) has a stunning nose of forest floor, licorice, blackcurrants, plums and spring flowers. Soft tannin, full-bodied opulence and beautifully textured, lush richness, make for a brilliant wine from this large, 180-acre vineyard. In spite of the wine’s stunning forward fragrance and lushness, the color still looks as if it is 3-4 years old, rather than a decade. This is a big-time winner in 2005 and should drink well for at least another 25+ years.
Château Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
A classic Pessac-Leognan, the 2009 Carbonnieux possesses aromas of sweet black currants and cherries intermixed with hints of roasted herbs, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal and licorice. Medium to full-bodied with more concentration than many vintages, this surprisingly fleshy effort has more poundage and glycerin than this normally light-styled Bordeaux has offered in the past. Harmonious sweet tannins and low acidity give the wine a fleshy mouthfeel and immediate appeal, but most of its aromatic complexity will not emerge for another 5-7 years. It should keep for two decades or more.
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2008
Soft and approachable, this fruit forward claret has immediate appeal. Concentrated black cherry aromas dominate the nose alongside herb and sweet spice hints. The palate shows earthy and more savoury characters and is rounded with a pleasing mouthfeel, all very well balanced.
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2010
A beautiful effort from Chasse-Spleen, this dense purple wine exhibits plenty of black currant and black cherry fruit with some licorice, roasted herbs and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied and supple, the final blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot has produced a fleshy, succulent style of Chasse-Spleen to drink over the next 15+ years.
Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2010
A superb wine from the Southern Medoc, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc is a real sleeper of the vintage. Floral notes intermixed with forest floor, black currant and some subtle smoke and truffle are all present in this seriously endowed, full-bodied wine that is performing beautifully.
Château d’Aiguilhe, Comtes von Neipperg, Côtes de Castillon, 2010
One of the best-run estates in the underrated and undervalued appellation of Cotes de Castillon is Chateau d’Aiguilhe, which is owned by Stephan von Neipperg. As with all of von Neipperg’s wines, Stephane Derenoncourt is the consulting winemaker. The blend is usually 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, although I did not see the statistics on this particular vintage. The 2010 (10,000 cases produced) achieved 14% natural alcohol from modest yields of 34 hectoliters per hectare. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue, lots of cassis, crushed rock and floral characteristics, a round, generous, savory, broadly textured style and sweet tannins. Drink it over the next decade.
Château d’Issan, Margaux, 2005
From 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, the wine was aged in 55% new oak. Still deep in color, the wine opens with floral, black cherry, forest floor, cassis, tobacco and spicy aromas. With supple, refined textures, concentration of fruit and a long, elegant, blackberry finish, this continues to develop perfectly.
Château de Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 2007
Three grape varieties are planted: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle. Sémillon is the principal grape, because it is especially susceptible to noble rot, Sauvignon is used for its naturally high acidity, whilst tiny proportions of the capricious Muscadelle are used for aromatic qualities. Sweet wine has been made here at least since the late 18th century. Its position is unique, close to two rivers, the broad Garonne and its small tributary, the Ciron. In autumn, the cool Ciron waters flow into the warmer tidal Garonne, evening mists develop that envelop the vineyards until late morning the following day, after the sun has burnt the mist away all that is left is moisture on the grapes that encourages noble rot or Botrytis cinerea. This fungus attacks grapes, causing them to shrivel, concentrating flavour sugars and acids.
Chateau d`Yquem 1999 (37.5cl)
Chateau d`Yquem is often described as the greatest sweet wine in the world. Yquem is located on the highest hill in Sauternes and enjoys the best growing conditions in the whole appellation. The 110-hectare vineyard is planted with 80% Sémillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Only fully botrytized fruit is picked by the 150 highly skilled pickers and yields are so low that each vine produces only one glass of wine. Yquem is fermented in oak barrels (100% new) and is left in barriques to mature for up to 36 months. Intensely opulent when young, Yquem develops an extraordinary complexity and exotic richness when fully mature, with the best vintages lasting for over 50 years. Château d’Yquem is classified as a 1er Cru Classé supérieur.
Château Filhot, Sauternes, 2009 (375ml)
– Intense aromas of beeswax and honey combine with a luscious, full-bodied palate of ripe tropical fruit, bitter orange and quince with lovely fresh acidity to balance the richness of this delicious sweet wine.
– Classified a Second growth Cru Classé in 1855, Château Filhot is a famous Sauternes property producing wonderful sweet wines from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The vineyard originally dates back to the seventeenth century and the Château was built in 1709. Now covering 62 hectares on deep gravel, sand and clay soils, Filhot displays the classic characteristics of Sauternes produced from low-yielding, nobly-rotted grapes individually picked by hand. The long, dry growing season of 2009 produced extremely healthy grapes and this wine, although beautiful to drink now, has the capability to age for well in excess of 20 years.
Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc, 2009
Fourcas-Hosten has long had a reputation as one of the best Châteaux in the commune of Listrac in the Médoc. This vintage is very classically profiled with a nose of cassis, cocoa, and cedar followed by a complex array of black and red fruits on the palate. Exceptionally well-balanced, this is a wine that can improve over the next couple of years, but is already a joy to drink. Jancis Robinson MW said “…quite an intriguing nose, full, firm and dramatic. Nicely balanced with polished tannins and very appetising, the type of wine that could be a pleasure to drink all its life.”
Château Kirwan, Margaux, Grand Cru Classé, 2009
After bottling, wine often goes through a difficult period of weak aromatic expression and/or imbalance, with a sensation of hollowness. This stage is called “Bottle Shock”. In the case of Kirwan 2009, this phase is over and the fruit dominates, with robust notes of black cherry. The attack is soft, round and juicy in the mouth. The flesh has a velvety character that blankets the palate while aromas of pepper, cedar, cocoa and light roasted coffee complement the pervasive fruit. Even young, Kirwan 2009 already presents remarkable complexity. The months to come will further accentuate these perceptions of volume and smoothness. As for the bouquet, it will continue to develop for many years…..patience.
Château la Tour Carnet, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Deeply-coloured. Powerful nose of ripe red fruits (strawberry) with slightly burnt oak presence. Power takes centre-stage on the palate with lovely fat at point of entry. A robust style with a good framework still showing pronounced oak. Slightly dry tannins on the finish. Wonderful potential.
Château Lafon-Rochet, Grand Cru Classé, Saint Estèphe, 2008
A strong effort for this vintage, the 2008 exhibits a dark plum/purple color, plenty of firm, rugged, austere tannins, copious red and black fruits, admirable flavor intensity and medium body. Cellar it for 3-4 years and drink it over the following 15.
Château Lalande-Borie, Saint Julien, 2009
This is a beautifully elegant Saint Julien from a top vintage – a velvety texture, plenty of exuberant, ripe berry fruit and great length. Top critic Robert Parker declared the 2009 to be “the finest wine I have ever tasted from Lalande Borie”.
Château Latour-Martillac, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
The best ever wine from this estate (even better than their sensational 2005), this full-bodied wine offers notes of blueberry, black currant, asphalt and burning charcoal embers in a deep, layered and multi-dimensional style. It is impressively pure and well-built, with far greater concentration and length than I ever remember this wine having in the past. Forget it for 5 years and drink it over the following three decades.
Château Meyney, Saint-Estéphe, 2010
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot. Deep, dark cherry red. Smells more pure-fruited than the 2009 and doesn’t have its dusty mineral character. Much more down the line Cabernet aroma of cassis and cedar but the fruit is intense so that there is also a touch of dark chocolate – in a thick, chewy texture as well as in the flavour. Firm and chewy and with real mass as well as structure and still finishes fresh thanks to the fruit clarity. This has some way to go but has fine St-Estèphe direction and firmness and the fruit to fill out the middle. Long and satisfying and attractively aromatic as well as powerful.
Château Petit-Village, Pomerol, 2008
Deep, intense, ruby red colour. On the nose there are aromas of violets and ripe soft red fruits with a touch of vanilla. The tannins are ripe and the aromas on the nose are reflected on the smooth palate. Finish is long, this is a wine to drink now or left to further develop in the bottle.