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4th May 2016

Tasting the 2015 vintage in Bordeaux at the En Primeurs


2015 is a really very good vintage indeed in Bordeaux, for reds and sweet wines certainly. The very hot weather in July and August caused rapid ripening, which seems to have softened the acidity of the white grapes, resulting in some delicious, but not long term, dry white wines. September rains, not very heavy, but protracted, delayed (especially the Cabernet Sauvignon) harvest in many places, which seems to have resulted in one of two things: either the fruit was left to ripen fully, and sometimes became over-ripe in the process, resulting in soft wines which while delicious in youth, may not have longevity (and occasionally have the dusty/muddy/clay flavours that seem to accompany very rapid ripening of thick skinned varieties), or the grapes were picked a little earlier, or microclimate or canopy management helped to ameliorate the heat issues, resulting in elegant wines, some supremely so. A very few of these tended toward the more ‘hollow’ end of the elegance spectrum.

Any wine with a large percentage of Cabernet Franc seems to have had an exceptionally good vintage, indeed at Cheval Blanc, there will be no Petit Cheval second wine this year, because all of the production was of a quality to make up the Grand Vin blend. Merlot also appears as elegant and refined, or massively extracted and rich, with few between these two extremes, especially on the right bank, where this is, in contrast to 2014, a superb vintage. For the left bank communes, there is more variation due to the Cabernet Sauvignon dominance, and it is Margaux, and those properties of Graves/Pessac for whom Merlot (or Cabernet Franc) is a major part of the blend which appear to have had the greatest success. Botrytis was early this year, meaning that it is a very good to exceptional vintage for Sauternes, although they are relatively soft and low in acidity, even for those with large percentages of Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard (for similar reasons to the dry whites). The next twelve months elevage are of great significance for the further development of all the wines, but none more so than with Sauternes, so these are the hardest to assess at this age.

There are some astonishingly good wines, but also a slightly unexpected degree of variability given the commentary from Bordeaux, at and just after, harvest.

Some of the star wines:
White, dry:
Pape Clement (18), Haut Brion (19)
White, sweet:
La Tour Blanche (18.5) d’Yquem (19)
Red, Right Bank
Le Gay (18), La Conseillante (19), Quintus (18.5), Cheval Blanc (18) Angelus (18.5), Figeac (19), La Mondotte (19).
Red, Left Bank
Pape Clement (19), Haut Brion (19), La Mission Haut Brion (19.5), Brane-Cantenac (18), Rauzan-Segla (18.5), Leoville-Barton (18), Pichon Longueville Comtessse de Lalande (18), Pichon Baron (19), Mouton-Rothschild (19), Calon Segur (18.5) Montrose (19)


Bordeaux is awash with wine at the moment. Large stocks of the vintages 2011- 2014 remain, even though some of these are very good wines indeed (especially from 2012 and 2014, the latter for Cabernet Sauvignon especially). This run of less that especially stellar vintages since 2010 coincided with the global economic crisis that started in 2008, and the Chinese anti-corruption legislation which had the effect of softening the market for fine red wine, which had hitherto been growing at an exceptional rate.

Because 2014 seemed to end the run of poor vintages – and it did in the case of many left bank wines – it was understandable that the En Primeur Château prices should rise from those of 2011-2012-2013, with several of the most successful wines increasing by 15%, in many cases with the stated motive being a ‘weak euro’. While this was true (at the time) it was hardly relevant, certainly with a long term perspective. Indeed the subsequent change in the rate of the Euro versus the £Sterling, even if temporary, means that prices remain unattractive for UK based buyers.

While it remains possible to buy the exceptionally good, and generous, 2010 and 2009 vintages in the market, the prices for 2015 will need to compete substantially with these to constitute an attractive offer for buyers.
But Bordeaux is caught in a trap of its own devising. The prices for the 2015 wines need to be - and justify being - higher than those of 2014 – the wines are substantially superior, and 2015 is (like all recent vintages divisible by 5!) going to be regarded as a very good, and even a great, vintage. The talk in Bordeaux is of prices rising by 8 – 15%. At the lower end of this spectrum (or even less for the commercially aware chateaux) then the 2015 wines will constitute a sound En Primeur purchase from an economic point of view. Towards the +15% end, then the buyer may well be better served by purchasing 2010, 2009 and even 2005 vintage wines already in the market place, which are, after all that much more ready for drinking, and immediately available also.

For example, two top performing (and consistent wines):
Château Troplong Mondot
Price ex-Chateau €57.60, retail est €63
Current Price*: €62
Current Price*: €89
Current Price*: €124
Current Price*: €188

Château Cantenac Brown
Price ex-Chateau €25.80, retail est €29
Current Price*: €29
Current Price*: €49
Current Price*: €51
Current Price*: €60

* aggregate,


Wine Notes and Scores 2015 Vintage
Arranged in order of scores awarded, sorted from lowest to highest.
Tasted 4-7 April 2016
Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez. BVS Evening. 04/04/16
Joanne, Carignan de Bordeaux 05/04/16
Château Mouthon Rothschild 06/04/16
Château La Mission Haut Brion 07/04/16
“With tasting – always tannins before acidity – red before white”
Château Angelus 07/04/16
Château Pavie 07/04/16
Château Cheval Blanc 07/04/16

(Scores rated relative to other wines tasted. Would form centre part of a range.)
(P14 = xx) = Château release price for 2014 vintage in €, and tasted at Joanne.

Latour-Martillac Blanc
Dry smoky oak scents. Hiding fruit. More Sauvignon Blanc to taste, some green, lean and bean-like flavours. A little unbalanced fruit to acidity to phenolic at this stage. 14.5

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc
Very smoky oak, green-bean and citrus aromas. A little disappointing, hollow and slightly fruitless midpalate. 14.5

Monbousquet Blanc
Grapefruit pith and citrus zest. Fresh aromas and flavours, but relatively soft acidity. Oak (50% new) is apparent but neither overwhelming or obtrusive. Slightly worry about the very soft acidity however. 15

Magrez-Fombrauge Blanc
Smells like its big cousin – lots of fumey smokey oak, some grapefruit pith. Dry and very oaky even now, crisp fruit underneath, citrus and floral. 16

De Fieuzal Blanc
Grapefruit and citrus to scent. Soft, creamy. Plenty of oak, but not harsh and in the background at this stage. 16.5

de Chantegrive Blanc
A bit more semillon in here, waxy and lemony not too much oak dominating. Good texture. Simple fruit flavours, but quite long in the mouth. Good. 16.5

Carbonnieux Blanc
Good fresh citrus and peach aromas, not too much oak. Good weight and oiliness of texture. Rich. Citrus extract and depth. Good. 16.5

La Clarté de Haut Brion Blanc
73 Sem 27 Sauv
Stone fruit, baked citrus, waxy lemon, spicy oak aromas. Very creamy and rounded. Kick of crisp acidity underneath. Not in any way integrated, but all the elements are there. Oaky finish. 16.5

Aile d’Argent
Rich citrus and cooked lime aromas. Not obvious oak. More Semillon-y than previously (43%), rich and soft. Soft acidity, rounded. Long finish. Very appealing, but may not be for the long-term? 17

Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc
Very fresh and citrus, passion fruit scents, spicy, but not too much oak. Rounded and well balanced fruit and oak flavours. Fresh crisp acidity and good length. Very good. 17.5

Pape Clément Blanc
Spicy, gunsmoke oak and citrus. Great extract and oiliness of Sémillon, with rich citrus. This is going to be sensational. 18

La Mission Haut Brion Blanc
Warm oaky and creamy aromas, with some stone fruit underneath. Fresh acidity but with a rich, oily texture and still very oaky. Hugely mouthfilling and rich with oily fruit and waxed lemon flavours, and a long crisp, mouthfilling, almost phenolic finish. 18

Haut Brion Blanc
Oaky and spicy aromas. Baked stone fruit underneath, but mainly oak at this stage. Rich and textured lemon-meringue pie flavours. Good acidity and great extract with some phenolic hints and plenty of baked citrus, grapefruit and floral flavours. Very long finish. Balanced, even at this stage. 19


Right Bank
Joanin Becot Côtes de Bordeaux Castillon
Dry cassis aromas. Spicy hints. Not intense. Lacking body, but with a richness of coffee and fruit. A little simple and short on the finish. 13

Esprit de Pavie (Bordeaux a.c.)
Big sweet rich, soft fruit, juicy blackcurrants, some spices, very vanilla and sweet. 14

La Fleur de Boüard Lalande de Pomerol
Deep spicy oak scents. Very dry extract, spicy, coffee. A little hot and lacking fruit. Very deep long, but dry finish. Bit hot. 14.5

Puygueraud Francs - Cotes de Bordeaux
Crisp blue fruit aromas, blackcurrant and plum. No oak apparent. Juicy fruit, dry tannins, some pyrazine. Fresh. Simple, but very pleasant. 15

Clos Lunelles Cotes de Castillon
Bright vibrant red and black cherry fruit aromas. Good tannin extraction, bright fruit. Not too much oak, good acidity, dry tannins, Long supple fairly light finish. Fairly straightforward but works well. 16

Clos Rene
P14 = 16.20
Bright, quite baked fruit aromas. Soft acid and a little floppy and lacking structure. 13.5

P14 – 13.95
Bright vibrant fruit. (This is following La Mondotte – not an easy act). Fresh and well balanced fruit, soft tannins and bright acidity. Well made and delicious, if a little straightforward. 15.5

La Pointe
P14 = 20.40
Spicy rich oak aromas. Some baked fruit underneath. Rich extract and sweet fruit, but soft acidity. Very pleasant, but will it keep or be worth keeping for the long term? 16

P14 = 25
Juicy, almost jammy, fruit aromas, some sweet oak alongside. Liqourice and sweet herbs as well as coffee and cocoa. Dry tannins, good acidity and richness. Very impressive, and easy wine, with far more potential than la Pointe. 17

P14 = 39.60
Savoury, earthy oak aromas. Very dry extracted and classic style. Deep, spicy flavours and good tannic extract. Long, very dry finish. Traditional style. Good. 17

Le Bon Pasteur
P14 = 42
Sweet bright juicy fruit aromas. Very intense and with some sweet oak too. Dry tannic extract, with lots of coffee, cocoa, chocolate and spicy fruit. Very rich and juicy. Long, sweet modern style, done well. 17.5

P14 = 27
Very rich, spicy and inviting open fruit aromas. Dry but rich and great extract. Good mouthfilling texture and depth. Very good. 17.5

Petit Village
P14 = 42
Violet and deep spicy fruit aromas. Very open and inviting. More rich extract and depth than the Nenin, more tannins too. Big depth and monster tannins and extract. Will be very good indeed. 18

Le Gay
P14 = 60
Bright fresh fruit aromas, and some sweet smoky oak hints. Very well extracted and with good balancing acidity, massively rich and intense. Complex long finish. Very good indeed. 18

La Conseillante
P14 = 66
Very fresh, leafy and fruity aromas. Smoky oak. Full in the mouth with dry tannins, and not obvious jamminess or super-richness of fruit. Very delicious and well balanced in the mouth. Very long dry but balanced finish with excellent tannins. Very good. 19

St Emilion
Grand Cru
Spicy smoky oak scents, black and sweet red fruit underneath. Packed and powerful extract. Sweet fruit, dry tannins, soft acidity. Mid length dry finish. Lacks elegance. 15

Pierre 1er (was La Croix Figeac)
P14 = 10.40
Open, inviting, juicy fruit aromas. Good supple lean fresh fruit extract. Well balanced tannins, but light and fairly insubstantial. Good value. 15.5

Magrez Fombrauge
Juicy and rich fruit extract. Sweet aromas. Violet and red cherry. Balanced tannins and acidity, good fruit extract but again just lacking a bit of precision and soupy. 15.5

Le Dragon de Quintus
Rich, deep spicy fruit aromas. Some chalky blue fruit. Rich and balanced in the mouth, with relatively soft acidity, plum and cherry fruit flavours, no obvious oak domination. Soft tannins and rounded relatively long finish. 17

Spicy, rich savoury smoky oak scents. Not massively fruity. Hugely extracted, good acidity, massive tannins. Serious, dense structure with plenty of black fruit to accompany the power. Very good, and a keeper. 17

Quinault l’Enclos
Warm baked fruit, sweet oak and spice aromas. Inviting. Very rich and rounded flavours. Good ripe tannin extract. Soft acidity. Rich and warm. A showstopper, but staying power? 17

P14 = 67
Some spicy oak aromas. Plenty of warm red fruit, but fresh. Supple red fruit. Lots of oak, and dry tannins, but with excellent balancing acidity and freshness. Very long, complex finish. 18.5

Grand Cru Classé
Bright vibrant fresh black fruit. Some feint oak, but very much dominated by the bright fruit. Rich in the mouth with coffee and cocoa, sweet red and black fruits. Dry finish which tapers a bit. Good acidity, but slightly hollow. 14.5

Cote de Baleau
P14 = 13.20
Spicy and already quite open fruit. Fairly juicy, but simple and straightforward fruit profile. 14.5

Corbin d’Espagne
P14 = 15.90
Spicy meaty savoury oak scents. Lots of fruit lurking underneath. Rich, savoury, but maybe a little over-extracted and dry tannins. Not very integrated. 14.5

P14 = 19.50
Warm, sweet juicy fruit aromas. Some cherry and plum. Not too oaky. Plenty of tannic extraction, soft acidity. Just a bit wishy-washy. 15

La Gaffeliere
P14 = 33.60
Warm, soupy alcoholic and baked fruit aromas. Hot and rich, A bit over the top for me. 15

Angelique de Monbousquet
Spicy, rich smoky oak aromas. Massive, sweet fruit flavours, violet and cherry. Fairly jammy and hugely extracted. Sweet fruity finish, soft acidity. 15.5

Le Carillon d’Angelus
Inky, sweet rich fruit, some earthy toasty oak. Brooding and concentrated. Full and sweet fruit with rich extraction, ripe tannins, relatively soft acidity and powerful fruit. Just something every so slightly hollow on the back palate. 15.5

P14 = 14.04
Rich and extracted. Deep juicy fruit and oak in balance. Creamy textured and with great extract, forceful but balanced tannins and acidity. Very good, if just a little soupy 16

Grand Corbin
Spicy oaky closed aromas. Powerful fruit, good texture, creamy, silky mouthfeel. Rich black and red fruit. Soft acidity, restrained tannins. Good, but not especially complex. 16

Clos des Jacobins
Rich spicy oak aromas. Some black fruit pushing through. Rich, spicy, earthy. Big extract, lots of tannins, reasonable fruit weight, good balancing acidity. Fresh dry finish. Pretty good. 16.5

Aromes de Pavie
Black as pitch in colour. Intense inky aromas of sweet fruit and herbs, some smoky oak
Very rich and jammy with big sweet rich tannins, mid acidity and plenty of sweet oak. Soft jammy fruit flavours, dry tannins on finish. 16.5

P14 = 15
Bright blue fruit aromas. Vibrant, not too much oak. Very fresh, slightly simple, but elegant and well made. Delicious. 16.5

Grand Pontet
P14 = 16.50
Fresh, plum and ripe forest fruit aromas. Inviting and not over-oaky. Soft ripe fruit and good tannin extract. Juicy cherry and plum flavours. Some spicy oak hints. Good balance of acidity to tannin, and good length. Very good. 16.5

Franc Mayne
P14 = 16.80
Very juicy black fruit aromas. Sweet and inviting. Not too much oak dominating. Very well extracted and delicious. Warm, quite high alcohol, and very juicy and jammy. A real palate-friendly bruiser with soft acidity. Very good, but?? 16.5

Clos de l’Oratoire
P14 = 20
Juicy and sweet fruity aromas. Not too much oak. Very fruity and well made with good tannic extract, fresh acidity and a long, balanced finish. 16.5

Lots of spicy, smoky oak. A bit closed, but very powerful and brooding aromas. Very concentrated and sweet in the mouth, rich, jammy fruit flavours with kirsch, cherry jam and spices. Vanilla and toast to the oak element. Soft acidity and warm alcohol. Too much for me has taken away a sense of balance, but some will love this. 16.5

Quinault l’Enclos
Warm baked fruit, sweet oak and spice aromas. Inviting. Very rich and rounded flavours. Good ripe tannin extract. Soft acidity. Rich and warm. A showstopper, but staying power? 17

P14 = 17.40
Sweet juicy fruit aromas. Some coffee-ish oak scents. Rich sweet black fruit flavours. Ripe tannins good acidity and freshness. Very long and complex finish. 17

Grand Mayne
P14 = 21.20
More classic black fruit nose, with some smoky oak aromas. Rich and inviting. Lots of tannic extraction. Long juicy deep finish. Very suave and super-rich. 17

Very rich and sweet chocolate and black forest gateau aromas. Plenty of sweet oak underneath. Super concentrated and rich flavours with huge extract and deep tannins. Very deep and complex mouthfeel, very intense concentrated finish. Big tannins, balanced acidity, good length. Very good. 17

Bellevue Mondotte
Rich sweet black and red fruit and oak scents with perfume (90% M). Very concentrated and sweet, almost jammy and hot. Massive tannins on the finish, but accompanied by creamy sweet oak. Just about has the acidity to accompany all this, but a bit much for me. 17

La Dominique
P14 = 24
Tasted twice:
Very earthy, spicy meaty rich oak scents. Deep fruit underneath. Quite a brooding monster. Massive extract and depth with lots of new oak, but enough fruit. Spicy finish. Mouthfilling. Excellent, but maybe lacks the balance of the Petit Village. 17

Pavie Decesse
Rich sweet oaky aromas with packed chocolate and kirsch to accompany. Hugely extracted, but with good balancing acidity. Very concentrated tannins, and smoky, coffeeish and cocoa fruit. Spices and dry tannins on the lengthy finish. Very good in the extracted style 17.5

Belfont Belcier
P14 = 22.80
Lots of fresh black fruit aromas, some cassis and mure even. No oak overpowering, although spices present. Sweet fruit and eep spicy tannins. Very rich and powerful, but maintaining good acidity. Long and fresh finish. Very good. 17.5

P14 = 26
Rich sweet fruit aromas, some oak and spice underneath. Very sweet rich fruit flavours. Good extract of tannins, but with good acidity to balance. Well structured and very well made. Good, harmonious, balanced long finish. 17.5

Les Grandes Murailles
Very rich and deep fruit aromas. Spicy and plum cake scents. Oak not dominant. Sweet fruit, and excellent tannins. Very rich and supple. This really is delicious. 17.5

Beau Sejour Becot
P14 = 33.60
Very oaky spicy scents. Deep fruit closed underneath. Sweet and extracted. Very oaky but with balanced acidity and good tannic structure. Mouthfilling and long. Very good 17.5

Canon la Gaffeliere
P14 = 41.30
Sweet earthy spicy oak scents, some fruitcake richness. Sweet fruit extract. Good tannins, well balanced acidity. Delicious and well made. Very long and balanced. 17.5

Clos Fourtet
P14 = 50.50
Cool, blue fruit scents. Floral perfume and spices. Inviting. Fresh acidity and well balanced tannins, with good extract and length. Very good. 17.5

P14 = 38.50
Earthy spicy smoky oak aromas. Plenty of ripe but not baked fruit underneath. Rich, but not over extracted. Good acidity to balance, and well handled tannins. Very fine. 18

Pavie Maquin
P14 = 40.80
Fresh and juicy cool fruit aromas. Great extract of tannins and with fresh acidity, well made and balanced. Harmonious and long finish. Very good. 18

Cheval Blanc
No need for a second wine this year. All parcels went into Cheval Blanc. All now blended.
Quite closed, very rich oaky scents. Sweet deep fruit and coffee, spice. Very rich and extracted, deep sweet cassis and blueberry fruit. Good acidity and silky texture, ripe, almost soft tannins. Very long, soft and extracted finish. Manages elegance despite the power. But lacking just the hint of complexity of some of the best of the rest. 18

Peby Faugeres
P14 = 66
Deep spicy and inviting red and blue fruit scents. Very intense. Juicy and fruity. Super rich and extracted with lots of everything. Massive oak, tannins and deep spicy fruit. Very intense long, sweet finish. High alcohol. Impressive, but not because of its elegance 18

62 M 38 CF
Spicy, oaky. Liquorice and juicy fruit, some coffee and cocoa. Massive extract with juicy almost jammy fruit, glass-staining concentration. Warm, powerfully extracted, sweet ripe tannins but acidity to keep in check. Balanced very long finish. Rich and complex. Very good indeed. 18.5

Troplong Mondot
P14 = 57.60
Spicy, smoky oak. Some bright fruit scents. Very inviting. Juicy, sweet fruit flavours. Fresh acidity and good balanced tannins. Not too extracted, and very well balanced. Great long finish. 18.5

P14 = 60
Spicy, deeply oaky scents. Lovely violetty perfume and bright fruit. Very inviting aromas. Wonderfully extracted and delicious. Rich, and spicy, but with lots of blackcurrant fruit and good acidity. Very good indeed, even if not in the traditional Figeac style. 19

La Mondotte
P14 = 108
Rich, deep chocolatey spicy oak aromas. Very rich extract, but with good tannins and acidity to balance and no jamminess. Well balanced. Rich but elegant. Long, spicy and well extracted finish. Terrific. 19

Left Bank
Medoc - Haut Medoc - Moulis
Les Grands Chenes
P14 = 9
Sweet spicy black fruit aromas. Reasonable depth and juiciness. Sweet fruit, not too much oak. A little hollow on the midpalate and not especially long. 13.5

P14 = 12.15
Fresh, cool dry fruit aromas. Not giving very much. Dry and slightly soupy, very dry tannins. A little unhinged. Very disappointing for the normally reliable Maucaillou, maybe going through a poor stage. 13.5
(Note: others have reported much greater success with Maucaillou, which is normally a very good wine, and resembles a Margaux in many ways. Presumably the particular sample we tried [at Joanne] was in some way out of condition.)

Spicy, savoury oak scents. Black cassis fruit underneath. Mid fruit extract, moderate tannins, soft acidity relatively. Slightly floppy insubstantial finish. 14.5

P14 = 13.80
Very sweet warm bright fruit and juiciness. Not much oak to scent. Juicy fruit, sweet, soft tannins. Bright acidity, but not high. Balanced, but fairly straightforward and simple. Delicious in a simple way. 15.5

La Tour Carnet
P14 = 17.52
Closed and oaky aromas. Some black fruit creeping through. Packed tannins and extract. Very dry, good depth and flavour. Not massively complex or long, but good. 16

P14 = 9.10
Very juicy sweet fruit aromas. Quite warm, extracted. A little chalky, clayey. Rounded tannins, juicy fruit, some green. Fresh good acidity, Well balanced. Long finish. 16

P14 = 15
Oak scents with black fruit underneath. Inviting. Green pyrazine streak, but well integrated tannins. Full, balanced acid finish. This will be good. 16

P14 = 16.80
Rich and sweet fruit extract. Lots of oak and massive dry tannins. A little rustic, but rather appealing. 16

Chasse Spleen
P14 = 17.40
Earthy clayey scents. Juicy black fruit. Not too much oak. Very dry tannic extract, good length and elegance. Fresh. Should be good as long as the oak is not allowed to dominate. 16.5

La Lagune
P14 = 28.80
Elegant leafy green hints with lots of oak and depth. Very serious tannic structure, but a bit hollow on the finish which just leaves dry tannins in its wake. 16.5

P14 = 17.50
Savoury oak aromas, spice, some meat. Bright vibrant blue fruit. Good balance of acidity to tannin to fruit extract. Very appealing and well made wine. 17

Sociando Mallet
P14 = 18
Dry, sweet earth scents. Black fruit and smoke. Rich, well extracted, with dry grainy tannins but good weight and length. Quite classic approach. 17.5

Graves/Pessac Leognan
de Chantegrive
P14 = 8.40
Spicy savoury earthy oak aromas here. Lots of oak. Plenty of fruit extract underneath. Rich but very oak-dominant at this stage. 14

de Fieuzal
P14 = 19.80
Rich and spicy oak aromas with plenty of black fruit in support. A little soupy and lacking definition. Dry slightly hollow finish. Nose does not deliver on the palate. 14.5

P14 = 16.80
Bright blue fruit, some smoky oak scents. Very inviting. Some leaf-edged black fruit, good tannic extract, juicy, but slightly hollow mid length finish. 15.5

Lespault Martillac
Lifted violet perfume, sweet black fruit, dry oak. Fairly straightforward, but well made and balanced soft fruit, tannins and acidity. Good if inexpensive. 15.5

Carbonnieux G
P14 = 19.80
Rich and very fruity aromas. Some oak not dominant. Plenty of cassis and black fruit. Really very good, if elegant and not hugely complex or extracted. 16

Malartic Lagraviere
P14 = 26.40
Cherry cake aromas. Good oak, sweet fruit and juice. Very sweet and rich, but harmoniously so. Ever so slightly ‘hot’ finish. 16

Smith Haut Lafitte
P14 = 45.60
Smoky oak scents and more restrained fruit than the above. Inviting and less ’showy’. Well extracted and supple - almost too soft – approachable tannins. Good depth and length. 16

Latour Martillac
P14 – 18.90
Very deep rich fruit aromas. Good balanced oak, and rather inviting. Excellent dry tannic structure. Mouthfilling and balanced. Very good 16.5

Larrivet Haut Brion
P14 = 18.10
Sweet coffee-ish oak, inviting. Juicy, rich deep spicy flavours, plenty of oak, but with rich sweet fruit to accompany. Well extracted tannins, but quite soft acidity. Delicious, but long term? 16.5

Les Carmes Haut Brion
P14 = 32.40
1st bottle - Something a little weird here. Hot and soupy aromas. No. Need to retaste. 10
2nd bottle – Sweet blackcurrant pastille fruit aromas, and restrained oak. Definitely different, but not quite as stellar as everyone has been saying. Well extracted sweet fruit flavours and great depth. A shade hot on the finish. 16.5

Domaine de Chevalier
P14 = 33.60
Juicy blackcurrant and floral aromas. Inviting. Rich and well extracted with soft fruit, good acidity and tannins in harmony. Long, balanced finish. 16.5

La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion
45 CS 30 M 25 CF
Very bright, vibrant blue fruit aromas. Some rich oaky spice, but mainly minty fresh fruit. Dry chalky tannins and some spices. Long dry finish. 17

Le Clarence de Haut Brion
57 M 42 CS 1 CF
Richer and more fruit forward. (More Merlot – 57%). Plum and some smoky oak scents. Lots of dry extract and cassis flavours in the mouth though. Big tannins but well balanced, relatively soft acidity. Long, dry finish. 17.5

Haut Bailly
P14 = 43.20
Warm spicy oak scents, rich soft plum fruit to accompany. Inviting, and quite warm. Juicy black fruit flavours, some green leafiness. Good tannins, acidity. Mouthcoating, long complex finish. 17.5

Pape Clement
P14 = 49.80
Lots of oak, but with delicious ripe fruit underneath. Very complex aromas of cassis and kirsch. Mouthfilling and well textured with a rich, creamy extract, integrated oak and spicy tannins. Shows its class. Supertop 19

Haut Brion
50 M 42 CS 8 CF
Hugely rich and more open than the MHB. Sweet oak and savoury coffee and spices. Lots of rich fruit. Very deep and packed rich creamy fruit. Bright acidity, sweet tannins, rounded and soft, yet with a dry powerful finish. Very intense and powerfully long. 19

La Mission Haut Brion
Much higher percentage of Merlot (58%) than normal, and in HB (50%). 45hl/ha – normal yield, but only 8% rejected for use in Grand/Second wine (which is a very low figure). They compare vintage to 05 and 09. Good, generous vintage
58 M 35 CS 7 CF
Inky, spicy and sweet oak and coffee aromas. Very dense and concentrated, almost closed, but still inviting. Rich and very expansive in the mouth. Massive concentration and depth, with multilayered fruit, smoke, coffee, earth and spice. Very deep long finish with balanced acidity and tannins. Very compelling indeed. 19.5

Rauzan Gassies
P14 = 25
Green, herby and leafy pyrazine aromas. Almost stalky, and lots of oak. Some dusty black fruit underneath. Juicy fruit in the mouth, but finishes a bit hollow and lacking richness. Not well balanced. 15

P14 = 20.40
A hint of muddy clay aroma (definitely not the glasses though, maybe the speed-ripening thing of a warm vintage/canicule). Warm spicy oak and black fruit underneath. Rich, soft and long balanced finish. Not hugely complex. 15.5

P14 = 22.50
Hints of clayey black and red fruit aromas. Juicy and floral. Great extract of tannin and spice. Good acidity and fresh sweet fruit. Not hugely deep, profound or long on the finish. 15.5

Marquis d’Alesme Becker
P14 = 22.50
Sweet juicy fruit and floral aromas. Hints of dusty savoury oak and cool fruit. Fruity but a little insubstantial in the mouth. Mid length finish. 15.5

P14 = 17.50
Dry, chalky blue fruit scents. Some oak hints. Sweet fruit, soft juicy blackcurrant. Dry tannic extract. Juicy mid length finish. Delicious if a little uncomplex. 16

P14 = 25.80
Dusty oak and black fruit scents. Well balanced extract and acidity, but lacking a little depth and substance. Balanced and pretty long though. 16

P14 = 20
Slightly earthy, dry fruit and smoky oak. A little of the clay ‘thing’. Soft and rounded fruit, with sweet tannins and a dry finish. Well made and really quite soft for this stage of its life. But delicious. 16.5

Malescot Saint Exupery
P14 = 29.50
Lots of green pyrazine/spearminty notes to accompany the cassis fruit and spicy oak here. Fresh acidity and well structured dry tannins. Good depth and length but a little green somehow. 16.5

P14 = 42
Rich and spicy oak scents, some savoury meatiness, but also a hint of clay and cool blue fruit. Rich and extracted, but soft squidgy red and black fruits. Very ripe tannins, but somehow lacking just enough freshness to keep it in check. Very good, but not showing as well today as several of the others. 16.5

Prieure Lichine
P14 = 22
Spicy and meaty aromas. Sweet black fruit flavours. Good tannic extraction and depth, balanced acidity and great length. Very good. 17

Du Tertre
P14 = 20.40
Savoury, meaty spicy oak scents. Sweet cassis black fruit. Serious and inviting. Rich, well extracted tannins. Serious and powerful, will be very classic. Very good. 17.5

Cantenac Brown
P14 = 25.80
Smoky, rich almost coffee-like oak aromas, with rich fruit. Sweet juicy extract. Good dry tannic structure, excellent balancing acidity and richness. Good length. 17.5

Marquis de Terme
P14 – 22.80
Very juicy sweet red and black fruit on the nose. Some oak. Great tannic extract and depth in the mouth. Good acidity, and balance. Concentrated and long. Very good. 18

P14 = 27.60
Dense oak and sweet black fruit scents. Inviting and complex. Rich and great extract with mouthfilling tannins, good acidity and structure. Delicious and very appealing. Should become very good indeed. 18

P14 = 30
Sweet oak and spice scents. Coffee hints. Rich in the mouth with packed black cassis fruit and dry tannic structure. Great concentration and depth. Rich, long and complex finish. Very good. 18

P14 = 31.50
Cool black fruit and elegant oak scents. Rich and sweet fruit with well extracted tannins and balanced oak. Good concentration and depth. Good Length. Very good indeed. 18

Rauzan Segla
P14 = 38.50
Very rich, warm oaky and deep fruit aromas – with coffee and spices. Great extract and huge depth of richness and spice. Packed fruit concentration with fruitcake, and plum flavours, serious but balanced tannins, good acidity and mouthfilling length and depth. Exceptional 18.5

St Julien
Petit Lion de Las Cases
P14 = 21.50
Earthy spicy oak scents, some black fruit. A little lacking in definition, and slightly soupy. Perfectly pleasant, but not great. 14.5

Lalande Borie
P14 – 15
Sweet, juicy fruit and spices. Simple, but inviting. Sweet fruit and juiciness. Fairly straightforward, but very enjoyable. 15.5

P14 = 29.40
Juicy fruit, some greenness and leafiness, with subdued savoury oak. Sweet and soft juiciness. A bit ripe and almost flat, less defined. Rich ripe tannic finish. 16

Clos de Marquis
P14 = 29.50
Dry, spicy oak scents and black fruit. Has the slightly over-extracted soupy thing of the other St J wines. Really good, but lacking the structure and tightness you need at this age. 16.5

P14 = 21
More serious oak and dry extract, smoke to scent. Soft fruit extract and ripe tannins. Once again a little light and approachable, but firmer than the Beychevelle. 16.5

P14 = 24
Very juicy and blackcurrant fruity aromas, some clay-earth. Mouthfilling and soft fruit and fairly light tannins (maybe a St J thing?) but delicious nevertheless. Long finish. 16.5

P14 = 29
Dry earthy spicy oak and some dusty black fruit. Well extracted and flavour packed in the mouth with rich tannins, good acidity and great length. Classic and elegant, if a little soft. 17

Leoville Las Cases
P14 = 96
Lots of warm spicy oak scents, some cool blue fruit, coffee and mint. Rather classic and appealing nose. Great extract of supple fruits and spicy flavours, although just slightly lacking the racy excitement expected. Soft long finish. Rather disappointing. 17

Saint Pierre
P14 = 31.20
Lots of spicy rich oak aromas. Much more classic, black fruit, herbs, mint. A relatively lightweight St Julien, but more balanced than the really big names, with a dry tannic streak that is necessary and typical. Should be a goody. 17

P14 – 43.20
Plenty of classic smoky sweet oak scents, brooding black fruit underneath. Well balanced and deep extract. Spicy and structured. Deceptively approachable, may not be such a great long-term thing, but delicious. 17

P14 – 44.40
Warm, rich and spicy oak aromas. Some fresh cool fruit. Mouthfilling and spicy with good soft extract and juiciness of fruit. Some spices and good acidity. Soft and marginally lacking the definition of the L-Barton. 17

P14 = 29.50
Warm, spicy oak aromas. Some black fruit. Rich and mouthfilling with good spices, coffee, and powerful black fruit. Very well extracted and with good tannins and acidity. Powerful and very well delineated – best St Julien so far. 17.5

P14 = 44
Very warm spicy oak scents, rich coffeeish black fruit underneath. Inviting. Rich, well extracted tannins and balanced acidity. Complex and multilayered. Long, soft finish. Terrific, although may lack the longevity of some of the Margaux wines, but nevertheless a beautiful wine. 18

Croizet Bages
P14 = 19.95
Some leafy stalky aromas, and spicy oak. Not a huge amount of fruit. Just a bit green and hollow in the mouth, but clean and fresh. Dry, tannic finish. 14.5
(Very specific vineyard analysis – 54.62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36.80% Merlot, 5.50% Cabernet Franc, 3.58% Petit Verdot. All out of 28.54ha. Which would come close to narrowing it down to the individual plant…)

Lacoste Borie
P14 = 14.50
Light (even in colour) Fragrant and floral with juicy fruit scents. Fairly simple but appealing aromas. Juicy fruit, soft acidity, simple tannins. Easy to drink, but not really very Pauillac-y. 15

Haut Bages Liberal
P14 = 22.70
Bright blackcurrant and cassis fruit. Warm oak. Inviting. Soft acidity, dry tannins. Mouthcoating but not completely in balance. Long dry finish. 15

Lynch Moussas
P14 = 21
Massive scents of meaty, savoury new oak. Brooding black fruit underneath. Inviting. Full fruit and rich tannins. Relatively soft acidity. Appealing, but not hugely complex. 15.5

P14 = 24
Fresh, supple and leaf-edged fruit. Some smoky oak. Sweet juicy fruit in the mouth. Good acidity, restrained oak. A little straightforward but very bright and appealing. 15.5

Grand Puy Lacoste
P14 = 38.50
Sweet, almost baked, fruit aromas. Very rich. Some spicy oak. Rich, good tannic extract, but balanced acidity. Dry finish, but somehow just a tiny bit hollow. 15.5

Meaty, savoury oak aromas. Deep brooding fruit underneath. Wonderful extract of fruit and tannin and good acidity. Classic and delicious. Really good, especially at the price. 16.5

Reserve de la Comtesse
P14 = 21.60
Fresh, leafy fruit and spicy oak aromas. Tight, closed, but inviting nevertheless. Complex extract with spicy tannins and good acidity. Very well structured and long finish. Very good second wine. 16.5

P14 = 24
Huge spicy, savoury oak aromas. Some rich cocoa bean and dark fruit. Sweet and rich fruit extract. Big tannins, but balancing acidity. Lots of oak, but fruit weight just keeping up. Long, dry finish. 17

Le Petit Mouton
As last year, this has a massive intensity of aroma, spices and cassis fruit, not hugely dominated by oak. Inviting. Packed black fruit, spices and coffee. Very complex with some graphite and herbs. Multilayered. Dry long structured finish. 17

Grand Puy Ducasse
P14 = 22.20
Rich spicy oak scents, savoury and spicy. Some coffee bean. Rich, packed tannins, but with enough acidity to keep balance. Complex and deep with elegance, but richness on the finish. Really very good. 17.5

Savoury oak and much more black fruit, some dry spices. Very rich extract, deep fruit, dry tannins. Rich and multilayered complexity. Very Pauillac style, classic and very good. 17.5

Haut Batailley
P14 = 22.80
Bright vibrant blue fruit aromas, some oak and leafiness underneath. Sweet fruit, hints of leafy fresh mint and pepper. Very classic. Lots of oak, but not overpowering. Big tannins, but that’s what you’d expect. Very well extracted, good acidity, long finish. Special 18.

Pichon Longueville Comtessse de Lalande
P14 = 64.80
Massively oaky savoury, spicy scents. Chocolate and coffee bean, some leaf, and packed black fruit. Smells very inviting. Great tannic extract, good balancing acidity. Sweet fruit flavours. Rich, deep, long finish. Very well balanced. Very special 18

Pichon Baron
P14 = 66.00
This has leafy (watercress?) fresh, big oaky scents with richness and complexity. Plenty of rich cassis fruit lurking. Wonderful extract and packed tannins, spices and richness, off set by balanced acidity. Very long, harmonious finish. 19.

Mouton Rothschild
Hugely intense aromas of spice, herbs and sweet oak. Very complex and inviting. Blackcurrant and spearmint. In some ways lighter and more elegant than the Petit Mouton, but finer tannins and silky texture. Great concentration and deft tannins on the finish. 19

St Estephe
Lilian Ladouys
P14 = 11.10
Smoky oak scents, some cassis, mint and tea. Inviting. Very dry, enormous tannic extract. Good acidity, but just slightly lacking fruit weight for the structure. Good nevertheless. 15.5

Clos Labory
P14 = 19.80
Rich and warm sweet fruit and oak aromas. Juicy and fairly light, with dry tannins, but not too much, midweight palate and good length. Elegant and appealing, if a little insubstantial. 15.5

Haut Marbuzet
P14 = 22.50
Slightly stinky SO2 aromas alongside loads of new sawn wood. Greenish notes of mint and pepper with fresh black, leafy fruit to balance. Fairly lightweight, but appealing. 15.5

La Dame de Montrose
Eucalypt hints and minty, with fresh leafy black fruit underneath. Inviting. Juicy blackcurrant and plum flavours. A little bit wishy-washy, but long, softly tannic finish. 15.5

Lafon Rochet
P14 = 22
Leafy fruity aromas, blackcurrant and spicy oak, some mint. Dry tannic extract, good acidity. Blue fruit, but slightly lacking richness. Dry finish. 15.5

Le Marquis de Calon-Segur
P14 = 14.40
Lots of savoury meaty oak scents dominant. Fresh black fruit in the mouth. Juicy and leafy. Not hugely complex but really delicious. 16

P14 = 16.55
Bright blue fruit – cassis, with smoky oak scents underneath. Inviting. Well extracted, with packed tannins and spices. Dry fruit extract, good acidity and potential. Rather impressive for the price. 17

Phelan Segur
P14 = 22.80
Packed brooding oaky spice aromas. Quite closed, powerful black fruit underneath. Deep blue fruit flavours. Spices, and good tannic extract with balanced acidity. Complex and deep. Very appealing, and well balanced. Really good. 18

Calon Segur
P14 = 42
Spicy oak aromas, some smoke and dry cassis fruit scents. Medicinal, herby hints. Very dry tannins and extract, good length. Well made and a keeper. 18.5

Spicy and rich oaky scents, some leafy black fruit. Beautifully extracted black and blue fruit flavours and a complex, soft texture which leads to a spicy tannic finish. Really very good indeed. 19

Doisy Vedrines
P14 = 22
Rich botrytis aromas and flavours. Lots of new wood. Maybe slightly lacking citrus freshness. 15

Clos Haut-Peyraguey
P14 = 22.70
Similar deep colour. More honey-botrytis to scent, alongside citrus and stone fruit. Very sweet and slightly soft acidity. A mildly hollow finish. 15.5

P14 = 42
Quite a deep colour. Fresh lemon meringue pie aromas. Citrus, citrus and more citrus, Fairly restrained botrytis and oak. Mouthfilling and rich, with more apricot and botrytis here than to scent. Mid weight and length. Fresh and good, not great. 16.5

Doisy Daene
P14 = 26.40
Fresh, lime and grapefruit aromas, with some botrytis hints. Oak fairly apparent also. Creamy and rich with citrus and baked apple, relatively restrained botrytis. Well balanced acidity and structure. 17.5

P14 = 30
Oak and honey with deep lime and mandarine fruit scents. Very rich, but balanced acidity and limey freshness on the creamy, mouthfilling finish. Very long, not quite as good as la Tour Blanche. 17.5

La Tour Blanche
P14 – 26.40
Lots of warm vanilla oak, sweet botrytis and honey aromas. Very creamy and rich – baked citrus and candied grapefruit peel. 18.5

Lots of botrytis to scent, honey, marmalade and apricot. New oak, but not dominant. Vanilla, cream, butterscotch and super ripe fruit. Good balancing acidity – lime, and grapefruit. Very long, rounded and balanced complex finish. Very compelling and deep without being too luscious or unctuous. 19
(144 g/L 13.9% alc))


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