Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc, 2009

Soft and silky on the palate with an almost Right Bank feel, the 2009 Ch. Cantemerle is full if generous, mulberry fruit and supple tannins. The fruit is well balanced by the refreshing acidity, leading to a crisp, clean finish.

‘Gorgeous ripe fruit character, with loads of blueberries, blackberries and flowers. Full body, with velvety tannins and a fruity, fresh, grapefruit aftertaste. Really beautiful. Best ever from here. Best after 2018.’ – 95pts, James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2012.

The Estate
Cantemerle is a Cinquième Cru Classé (Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855) and has 94 hectares of vineyards, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Franc (6%) and Petit Verdot (4%). The wines are made under the guidance of consultant oenologist, Eric Boissenot, undergoing 12 months’ ageing in French oak, of which 40% is new.

£39.45 Add to cart
Château Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
Château Carbonnieux, Grand Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
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.

£39.45 Add to cart
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2008
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2008
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

Château Chasse-Spleen is a leading estate in Moulis. Although classified as a Cru Bourgeois, it regularly outperforms many of the Médoc’s more renowned classed growths.

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. It is matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 18 months and is bottled unfiltered.

£30.95 Add to cart
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2009
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2009
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2009

Beautiful blueberry, black raspberry and cassis fruit as well as incense and graphite jump from the glass of this inky ruby/purple-colored wine. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, dense and rich, this is one of the stars of Moulis in 2009.

Château Chasse-Spleen

Château Chasse-Spleen is a leading estate in Moulis. Although classified as a Cru Bourgeois, it regularly outperforms many of the Médoc’s more renowned classed growths.

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. It is matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 18 months and is bottled unfiltered.

£36.75 Add to cart
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2010
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2010
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 Chasse-Spleen

Château Chasse-Spleen is a leading estate in Moulis. Although classified as a Cru Bourgeois, it regularly outperforms many of the Médoc’s more renowned classed growths.

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. It is matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 18 months and is bottled unfiltered.

£39.45 Add to cart
Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2010
Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2010
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.

£27.50 Add to cart
Château d’Aiguilhe, Comtes von Neipperg, Côtes de Castillon, 2010
Château d’Aiguilhe, Comtes von Neipperg, Côtes de Castillon, 2010
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.

£31.45 Add to cart
Château d’Issan, Margaux, 2005
Château d’Issan, Margaux, 2005
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.

£78.75 Add to cart
Château de Camensac Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc 2014
Château de Camensac Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc 2014
Château de Camensac Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc 2014

– The robe is garnet and bright. The nose is neat and straight. Before stirring, candied citrus notes, fine wooded touch and vanilla. After stirring, come the red fruit aromas, gunflint and spice as pepper. The attack is right. Nice balance. The half body has a beautiful silky and tight grain in an ample and supple volume. The finish is very long with lots of cherry.

– Wine Advocate-Parker :
The 2014 Camensac has a vivid and vivacious bouquet with bright black cherry and boysenberry fruit, a touch of pencil lead developing in the glass. The palate is well balanced with thickset tannin, an Haut-Medoc of commendable structure that may well see it aging more slowly than others. I appreciate the fruit concentration here, while it exerts a pleasant grip on the finish. Give it two or three years in bottle just to soften those edges.

£25.00 Add to cart
Château de Sarenceau, Saint-Emilion AC 2001
Château de Sarenceau, Saint-Emilion AC 2001
Château de Sarenceau, Saint-Emilion AC 2001

Fully matured. Notes of truffle, prune & licorice on the nose. Extremely soft on the palate with fresh black fruit flavours despite its age.

£16.50 Add to cart
Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc, 2009
Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac Médoc, 2009
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.”

£26.50 Add to cart
Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac 2014
Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac 2014
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)

£35.00 Add to cart
Château Kirwan, Margaux, Grand Cru Classé, 2009
Château Kirwan, Margaux, Grand Cru Classé, 2009
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

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.

£61.95 Add to cart
Château la Tour Carnet, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Château la Tour Carnet, Grand Cru Classé, Haut-Médoc, 2009
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.

£36.75 Add to cart
Château Lafon-Rochet, Grand Cru Classé, Saint Estèphe, 2008
Château Lafon-Rochet, Grand Cru Classé, Saint Estèphe, 2008
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 Lafon-Rochet

Château Lafon-Rochet is a 4ème Cru Classé St-Estèphe estate that has been owned by the Tesseron family since 1959. The property has one of the best terroirs in Bordeaux: its one block of 45 hectares is on a gravelly rise not far from Pauillac, and overlooks first growth Lafite Rothschild and second growth Cos d’Estournel.

£39.45 Add to cart
Château Latour-Martillac, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
Château Latour-Martillac, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan, 2009
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 Latour-Martillac

Château Latour-Martillac is a Bordeaux wine from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, rated a Cru Classé (Classed Growth) in the 1953 Classification of Graves wine. The Château has been owned and managed by the Kressmann family since the late 19th century. The wines gold and black label dates back to 1929 and was designed specifically for a bottle served in 1936 for the coronation of George Vl.

£39.40 Add to cart
Château Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estèphe 2014
Château Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estèphe 2014
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.
James Suckling
– 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

£28.00 Add to cart
Château Meyney, Saint-Estephe, 2009
Château Meyney, Saint-Estephe, 2009
Château Meyney, Saint-Estephe, 2009

Ripe dark fruits, licorice, smoke, earth and spice aromas open to a medium/full bodied, soft, round, forward wine that can be enjoyed in its youth or aged, as there is enough stuffing for this wine to improve for at least a decade or more.

Chateau Meyney

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.

£39.45 Add to cart
Château Meyney, Saint-Estéphe, 2010
Château Meyney, Saint-Estéphe, 2010
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.

Chateau Meyney

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.

£39.40 Add to cart
Chateau Musar – ‘Gaston Hochar’, Beeka Valley, Lebanon 2000
Chateau Musar – ‘Gaston Hochar’, Beeka Valley, Lebanon 2000
Chateau Musar – ‘Gaston Hochar’, Beeka Valley, Lebanon 2000

In youth, Chateau Musar Reds are dense and richly-textured, with intense ‘baked fruit’ characters: plums, damsons, cranberries, cherries, figs and dates. Bordeaux grape Cabernet Sauvignon lends black fruit flavours; Rhône grapes Cinsault and Carignan contribute fragrance (violets; pepper) and supple spiciness. Either set of qualities might dominate a particular vintage, but the style is always emphatically Lebanese: enticingly aromatic, with persistent fruit flavours. Over decades the wines acquire tawny hues and mellow notes.

Chateau Musar
In 1930, at just 20 years old, Gaston Hochar founded Chateau Musar, inspired by Lebanon’s 6,000 year winemaking tradition and his travels in Bordeaux. His ‘wines with noblesse’ greatly impressed senior officers in the army following on from the French mandate of the 1920s. Major Ronald Barton, of Château Langoa-Barton, stationed in Lebanon during World War II became a great friend, strengthening the links between Chateau Musar and Bordeaux that remain to this day.

 

Serge Hochar, Gaston’s eldest son trained as a civil engineer, then decided to study oenology and with the encouragement of his father became a student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux. Having declared to his father “I want to make the wine my way, I want it to be known world-wide – and I want you to quit!” he became Chateau Musar winemaker in 1959, Gaston senior having graciously given way. He then spent 18 years perfecting the formula for Chateau Musar’s Red and was chosen as Decanter Magazine’s first ‘Man of the Year’ in 1984 for his dedication to producing superb quality wines during Lebanon’s Civil War (1975-1990). Serge has two sons: Gaston and Marc. Both have studied engineering and worked in the banking sector. Gaston now manages the day-to-day running of the Chateau Musar winery, Marc its commercial aspects.

 

“My brother looks after the liquid, I look after the liquidity.” Like his brother Serge, Ronald Hochar was encouraged to participate at Musar from an early age: both grew up washing bottles and working at the winery before pursuing their separate paths within the business. Ronald would work 7am-5pm in Ghazir then work in the evenings at the Musar shop in Beirut. “We were paid 5 Lebanese pounds a day” says Ronald “I learned everything about selling from my father.” Having studied law, Ronald’s good-humoured contributions on the commercial and logistical fronts (against huge odds he kept Musar’s trucks running during the war) remain vital to the business. Ronald’s son Ralph works with the on-trade sector from Chateau Musar’s UK office and his daughter Elsa recently produced a documentary film about Chateau Musar.

£34.95 Add to cart
Château Phélan Ségur, Saint-Estèphe, 2009
Château Phélan Ségur, Saint-Estèphe, 2009
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.

Château Phélan-Ségur

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.

£44.75 Add to cart
Chateau Pineraie AC Cahors, 2014
Chateau Pineraie AC Cahors, 2014
Chateau Pineraie AC Cahors, 2014

It has subtle tangy red fruit flavours such as redcurrant and cranberry, undertones of earth and ripe red cherries with some sweet liquorice on the delicate long finish.

£11.95 Add to cart
Château Rollan de By, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2009
Château Rollan de By, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2009
Château Rollan de By, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2009

Very fleshy, this delicious red shows plum, raspberry and blackberry pâté de fruit notes backed by spice cake, anise and toasty vanilla. The finish is long and polished. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Chateau Rollan de By

The property is owned by Jean Guyon and is a leading estate in the Medoc and of the Cru Bourgeois chateaux. The wine spends 15 months in 100% new French oak barrels and consistently offers good value.

£29.95 Add to cart
Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, 2009
Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, 2009

‘This is a major sleeper of the vintage and the finest Senejac I have tasted. The team from Pontet Canet, who have done such a phenomenal job at that estate, were in charge of making this Senejac, and the result, not surprisingly, is a sensational wine that consumers need to buy by the case. Dense purple, with notes of creme de cassis, incense, licorice and forest floor, this wine is delicious and full-bodied, with sweet tannins, low acidity, copious fruit and exceptional concentration. Everything is in balance, and the wine is capable of lasting 10 or more years.’ – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Feb 2012.

Chateau Senejac

Owned by Lorraine Cordier, whose family also own Château Talbot. One of the better known Crus Bourgeois of the Haut-Médoc and always offer very good value for money.

£27.45 Add to cart