Château Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2006
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate 92 points.
“Stephan von Neipperg’s splendid 50-acre vineyard on clay and limestone soils has once again produced a beautifully ripe, concentrated, textured, sensual wine of both power and elegance. The 2006, an unfined, unfiltered blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, reveals sweet aromas of fruitcake, cassis, black cherries, roasted herbs, cedar, and spice box. This pure, textured, forward beauty should drink well for 12-15+ years.” February 2009
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate 91-94 points.
“Stephan von Neipperg’s flagship estate (and, in my opinion, one that should have been upgraded to a premier grand cru classe in the new St.-Emilion hierarchy) has turned in another stunning performance. A blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, from small yields of 35 hectoliters per hectare, the 2006 exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as scents of creme de cassis, pain grille, espresso roast, chocolate, and spicy roasted herbs. Dense, medium to full-bodied, and surprisingly opulent for a 2006, with oodles of fruit, and terrific structure as well as purity, it is a more noble expression of Neipperg’s other St.-Emilion, Clos de l’Oratoire. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2024.” April 2007
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.
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.
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, 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Château Pontet Canet, 5eme Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2006
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 95+ points.
The 2006 is a wine to stockpile, especially for those in their thirties and forties as it needs another decade to reach maturity, after which it should keep for 30+ years. This vineyard, just south of Mouton Rothschild, has produced an opaque bluish/purple-colored 2006 with an extraordinarily pure nose of graphite, charcoal, sweet creme de cassis, and a hint of scorched earth. Incredible concentration, stunning richness, and a 60-second finish result in a wine that transcends the vintage as well as this estate’s 1855 classification. This enormously endowed, modern day classic is a legend in the making. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2050+.
Enormous credit is due proprietor Alfred Tesseron for turning things around at this estate in 1994, and continuing to produce first-growth level wines. Pontet-Canet is one of the few bio-dynamically farmed vineyards in the Medoc, and Tesseron is such a perfectionist in both the vineyard and wine cellars that his nickname among other bordelais is “”Monsieur Bonsai.”” February 2009
Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, 94 points.
“The 2006 Château Pontet-Canet has an extremely pure, vivacious, perfumed bouquet with crushed violets infusing the blueberry and blackberry fruit. But it is all about the detail and precision in this wine. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip in the mouth: lightly toasted black fruit, dried orange peel, cedar and a pinch of white pepper. This feels very cohesive and poised with just a touch of mint entering right on the finish. What a great wine from Alfred Tesseron and Jean-Michel Comme. Go grab the corkscrew now, but don’t feel that this wine has to be opened for another 5-6 years.” May 2016
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.
Clos Puy Arnaud, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon, 2009
– For one of the best wines Bordeaux can offer, look no further than this one! With an immense palate, highly concentrated notes of cassis, and firm, ripe tannins, this wine is the ideal vintage to show off class and elegance. You’ll love the hint of clove in the aftertaste, as well as the notes of blackberry, cedar, forest floor, and licorice. There’s even touch of incense in this opulent wine, which only tastes better the longer it is allowed to age.
This biodynamic Bordeaux with its intense fruit character is the perfect wine to go with venison.
– This stunning wine, with black/purple color, exhibits notes of blackberry, licorice, incense, forest floor and cedar along with a hint of toasty oak. The wine is opulent, even sumptuous in texture, has stunning purity and a provocative 45+ second finish. This is another over-achieving Castillon that should drink well for at least a decade or more.’ 92 points Robert Parker, Feb 2012