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 Kirwan is a 3ème Cru Classé. The wine is typically a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. The wine is then matured in oak barriques (30-50% new) for 18 months. Owned by Dutch Bordeaux négociants firm Schröder and since 1925, it has enjoyed an upsurge in quality since the 1990s when bringing the estate back to its true status as a classed growth.
Château Phélan Ségur, Saint-Estèphe, 2009
‘The best Phelan-Segur since the 1990, this is a rather dense, full-bodied, massive wine for a cru bourgeois. Sweet blackberry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with crushed rock and a hint of subtle oak jump from the glass of this full-bodied, intense, yet attractive and alluring wine. There is significant depth and substance to this Phelan-Segur, which is a sleeper of the vintage that should last up to 15 or more years.’ – 90pts, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, March 2012.
Phélan-Ségur is a Cru Bourgeois property which was established by Irishman Bernard Phelan in in the early nineteenth century. The estate was bought by by Xavier Gardinier in 1985 and is now run by his sons, Thierry and Laurent.
Phélan-Ségur’s wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%) and Cabernet Franc (10%), matured in oak barriques (30% new) for 15 months. It can typically can age up to 15 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 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.
‘This dense purple wine displays notes of charcoal, subtle toast and white chocolate as well as blueberry and blackberry liqueur intermixed with hints of graphite and licorice. Dense, full-bodied, unctuously textured, and quite long and thick, this concentrated, impressively endowed wine is silky-textured and already accessible. However, I suspect its best days are at least 5-7 years ahead of it. It should keep for a minimum of two decades.’ – 92pts, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (199), March 2012.
Château La Tour Carnet
Château La Tour Carnet is a 4emé Cru Classé property owned since by Bernard Magrez. ‘It is one of the most picturesque chateaux in Bordeaux, dating from the 12th century, with real towers and a Camelot-style moat surrounding it. A large estate, they have been making top-flight wines for well over a decade, yet the prices remain very realistic for a classified growth Bordeaux.’ – Robert Parker, Wine Critic.
Château Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estèphe 2014
– The nose is full of bright red fruit flavours and even a hint of warm orange peel, more of the same on the palate with hints of cedar and gunflint and rounded tannins.
– Fantastic aromas of blueberries, orange peel and flowers. Full-bodied, fruity — yet silky and focused with a beautiful center palate of fruit and ripe tannins. Remains fresh and gorgeous. Best ever. Drink in 2019 – 93 Wine Enthusiast
– Under the ownership of Jacky Lorenzetti, president of one of France’s top rugby clubs, this estate is now performing impressively. The wine is finely structured with dark tannins and tight acidity and a hint of minerality. It is Merlot dominated, although it is the 40% Cabernet Sauvignon that brings out the black-currant fruitiness. Drink from 2022. – 90 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
– The 2014 Lilian Ladouys 2014 has a crisp, masculine, tightly wound bouquet with blackberry, briary and cedar emerging with aeration. There is clearly prudent use of oak here, complementing rather than dominating the wine. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, a pleasant sous-Bois note underpinning the layers of cedary black fruit and a touch of spiciness on the finish. This comes highly recommended plus great value. Tasted February 2017. – 90 Wine Spectator
Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac 2014
– 92 points Wine Enthusiast
For the vintage, this is a particularly rich wine. It is structured and firm with opulent black-plum fruit that gives the wine a ripe character. Dense with supporting tannins, the wine is going to develop well over the medium term. Drink from 2022. (RV) (2/2017)
– 91 points James Suckling
The forthright cassis note is immediately appealing, then the rather bold tannic structure sneaks up on you and shows that this is a serious wine. Maybe not quite the power and length of the appellation’s top wines in 2014, but still an impressive wine. (2/2017)
– 90 points Wine Spectator
Ripe and racy, with a graphite streak that drives the core of cassis and plum fruit along, picking up an anise edge on the finish. Not big, but fresh and well-defined. Shows some sneaky grip. Best from 2018 through 2026. (JM) (3/2017)
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 Meyney is a Cru Bourgeois estate located in St Estèphe. Owned by Domaines Cordier, it neighbours Château Montrose and has relatively small production of 30,000 cases per year.