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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Château Sociando-Mallet, Jean Gautreau, Haut-Médoc 2014
– Château Sociando-Mallet produces full-bodied wines with a deep, dark colour. Their complex bouquet is usually dominated by black fruit aromas with a touch of minerality and well-integrated, elegant oak. Often somewhat “virile” when young, the wines gain in balance and complexity with age. They are fresh, straightforward, and have a wonderful length.
Château Sociando-Mallet has always been a wine with great ageing potential. A wine to be enjoyed even after 30 years in great vintages.
– The Wine Cellar insider 88-90
2014 Sociando Mallet – Firm, bright, crisp and fresh, with blackberry, tobacco, smoke and spicy cassis character, the wine is full bodied, tannic and should age well.
Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Villa Antinori, 2015
An intense ruby red in color, Villa Antinori 2013 shows aromas of red fruit well amalgamated with spicy and balsamic notes. The palate is ample and enveloping and features firm and supple tannins. The wine is very persistent and the aftertaste brings back the notes first felt on the nose.
Chinon Cuvée Prestige “le Villy”, Domaine du Raifault, 1989
Fully mature and still full of life, this parcel shows why Chinon is so special. Dried red fruits, tobacco leaf and mushroom combine with mouthwatering ferrous acidity and lacy tannins to make a wine that’s nearly irresistible.
Chocolate Box “Dark Chocolate” Shiraz by Rocland, 2015
On the nose there are strong aromas of coffee chocolate, blackberries and spice which is supported by sweet vanilla oak. On the palate, this wine is textured, powdery tannins and dark chocolate beneath a pastiche of coffee, apricot and liquorice.
Clos Louie – ‘Louison & Leopoldine’, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon, France 2014
A tiny organic vineyard with pre-phylloxeric vines owned by Pascal and Sophie Lucin Douteau. ‘Louison & Leopoldine’ is their second wine; with a high proportion of Cabernet Franc it has a charm and elegance and is drinking wonderfully right now.
‘Red cherry with hints of mint, creamy and smooth on the palate. Expressive and with fine depth of flavour – a good find.’ – www.bordeaux.com