The wines included in our brochure are listed below. Our tasting notes, critics' notes and scores, and release dates and prices are all available below. You can check availability in our list of released wines, but we will be able to source many wines on request so do get in touch.
48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot. The generous dose of Petit Verdot (a success in 2016) increases every year in Palmer’s second wine. It adds a meaty, spicy note with a peppery, menthol lift. It also contributes to the deep purple dye of the wine. The abundant tannins give this wine a density on the palate and a volume on the finish. CP
The 2016 Alter Ego de Palmer is a blend of 40% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot this year (a little less Merlot than usual). That exuberant Merlot drives the aromatics along, almost citrus-like with scents of blood orange and blueberries soaring from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin on the entry, quite sharp acidity at first, quite structured for an Alter Ego with a grippy finish. I think the new oak will bind this together, this sample coming from a used barrel. Drink Date 2021 - 2036
48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot. Very bright dark glossy crimson. Very rich and sweet and approachable. Round and fresh. Meaty. Very, very sweet start and then chewy. Lots going on here but not that much tannin, much less than in most other 2016s. Very juicy. 13% Drink 2022-2030
This is very concentrated yet soft and fresh in texture. Full-bodied and round and mouth-filling. So impressive how it fills your mouth yet remains fresh. It’s so framed.
The 2016 Alter Ego represents a fairly big departure is style from what has been the norm in recent vintages. Bright red stone fruit, tobacco, flowers and herbs. The combination of less Merlot and naturally lower alcohol are among the factors that have contributed to an especially silky, perfumed Alter Ego built on considerable finesse.
Palmer lost 20% of its crop in the spring, and the Merlot was affected more than the Cabernet so there is only around half as much Alter Ego as normal. The yield here is 29hl/ha, so a lot less than most of Margaux, mainly due to vineyard rebalancing after moving to biodynamics and the spring crop loss. The harvest start date of 3rd October was the latest on record, following on from a very long, slow ripening leading to lots of tannins (71 IPT) which although soft and integrated are at a higher level than 2015, while the 3.65pH remains the same. Late harvests encourage elongated tannins, and Thomas says he has never seen such sophistication in the construction of the wines here, so different from the 2015. As with Palmer, Alter Ego has a highly aromatic nose, majoring here on damson and blackberry. Tasted on an overcast Friday morning and yet it sings, with the most beautifully soft expression of black fruits. It's a different style to others, the 13% ABV being extremely low for this amount of Merlot. Beautiful.
The wine is very fruit-driven with exotic plum, mulberry and very bright cassis notes. Many estates have Merlot on lesser sites and therefore there is more Cabernet in their wines. Here, there is Merlot planted on top terroir and it shows in this wine. Luxurious and with the lower alcohol there is no make-up here - the tannins are precise with no flesh covering them and this makes this wine so unique. Stylistically, this is a Thomas Duroux-style vintage and it shows! I think that this is an astonishing Alter Ego.
Production of the second wine at Palmer was down to 35% of the total in 2016, reflecting the quality of the vintage. Given the majesty of the Grand Vin, it’s no surprise that this is impressive too: floral fine and well balanced with plum and cassis fruit, nuanced tannins and refreshing acidity. 2020-30
Elevated to Grand Cru Classé A status in 2012, this château reigns as one of the kings of the appellation. This wine is a glossy, deep purple. The nose is brimming with spiced black fruits – damsons, blackberries, sloes. The palate is supported by tannic density and voluminous fruit, lifted by some fresh acidity. CP
The 2016 Angelus is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc and 60% Merlot with much of the production zoning in on the more clayey soils that are ideal in a dry growing season like this. Picked from 4 to 21 October and matured entirely in new oak, it has a very intense bouquet with multilayered blackcurrant, blueberry and floral notes, very refined and precise, not unlike the 2010 in some ways, but I would argue this is more sophisticated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, symmetrical in terms of focus with just the right amount of sappiness on the saline finish. It is a superb Angelus from the de Boüard family, destined to give pleasure over many, many years. Once in bottle, I expect it to land towards the top of my banded scale. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Strong balsam notes. Rather luscious fruit and lots of life and interest. Real vivacity. In this wine, in this stable, although it has a drying finish, the fruit is so overwhelming that it distracts from the drying finish. Well done in a distinctly modernist style. Though the finish is a little weak. Drink 2027-2042
Incredible depth of fruit to this Angélus, which is dense yet also agile and energetic. There’s just so much dynamic fruit and tannin structure. Makes you want to taste and taste. What a young wine! We will see if 2016 is better than 2015. Both are great.
One of the more surprising wines of the vintage, the 2016 Angélus shows a level of finesse that has not exactly been the norm here in recent years. Persistent and energetic on the palate, the 2016 Angélus boasts tons of nuance, with plenty of detail in all of its elements. A closing burst of Cabernet Franc-inflected floral and spice overtones give the wine an exotic flair. The 2016 is a fabulous Angélus. It's as simple as that.
The nose is incredible with stunning intensity and power. The palate is equally bullying but this time the oak takes over and this sours the palate. A very focussed wine, this is so youthful and with such a long way to run it is remarkable. A little too tough for me, but I can report it is in great balance for such a powerful wine.
Angélus is in a rich vein of form at the moment, with the quality of the wines living up to the ambitions of the owners. Dense, powerful and concentrated, with plum, damson and black fig flavours, some Asian spices, rich, scented oak and a long, refreshing finish. A wine to tuck away for a decade or more. 2028-40
This has a bright cherry red robe, which is matched by the vibrant red fruit flavours on the palate. Its fine powdery tannins, medium body, and vibrant freshness make it ideal for early drinking. CP
The 2016 D'Angludet has a rather conservative bouquet that needed some encouragement from the glass. But it eventually reveals attractive blackberry, briary and subtle pressed flower aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with good body and fine density with this Margaux property's consistent sense of approachability. It sounds banal, but there is something instantly likeable about this D'Angludet. It is not an extravagant Margaux, however there is enchanting purity and harmony. It's just the charm that I am sure will be intact by the time of bottling. Drink with pleasure 8-10 years. Drink Date 2020 - 2032
Dark crimson. Some sweetness and slightly simple fruity aromas. Some silky quality and the merest hint of less-than-perfectly-ripe fruit. Pretty and unforced but not top drawer. A bit stringy on the end. Drink 2025-2040
The ever-popular Angludet is success again this year. Maybe not better than the excellent 2015, but who's complaining when there is this depth of fruit and presence. As it opens in the glass, you really start to see and enjoy the sheer quality on display. Cassis, coffee bean, beautiful richness to the fruit, and well held together by freshness and tannin.
Impressive and also focussed, this is a superb Angludet with gently extracted Cabernet holding court and freshness and lifted tannins on the finish. Without the naked power and richness of 2015 vintage, this is an incredibly engaging wine with energy and drive. Winemaker Benjamin Sichel thought that initially this wine was lacking in depth, but it has grown during its élévage and I think that the balance is perfect. It is amazing that a wine made without any obvious excess of richness or tannins can be so satisfying and complete.
Another Pauillac property in the Baron Philippe de Rothschild stable. Deep purple hue, the scent of smoky, toasty oak circles around dark fruit aromas. There is a chalky freshness to the tannins and vibrant acidity, with a long, lively finish. CP
The 2016 D'Armailhac is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that was picked between 27 September and 14 October. The bouquet is very impressive, typical d'Armaihlac in terms of the opulence and flamboyance with lush black cherry and boysenberry fruit, a subtle floral note developing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a crisp and tensile entry; there is immense purity here with some lovely blue fruit appearing on the finish. This is a d'Armailhac that is emboldened by unprecedented tannic structure that gives it real backbone and a sense of authority. Quite simply, this is one of the best wines of Château D'Armailhac that I have tasted, somehow not a million miles away from Grand Puy Lacoste in style. Drink Date 2021 - 2045
Very dark, blackish purple. Perfumed and rather seductive. Pretty chunky and solid. Tannins more in evidence than in some (though admittedly this is my first Pauillac in a long run of wines). A long-distance runner. Very juicy. Drink 2027-2045
This is really tannic and muscular for d’Armailhac. Perhaps the most powerful ever. Full and chewy yet balanced and polished. Very, very impressive. Greatest ever?
The 2016 d'Armailhac is surprisingly dense and powerful, almost shockingly so. A burst of sweet red cherry, tobacco, smoke, earth and grilled herbs gives the wine a smoky, savory dimension that is quite attractive and nicely complements the intense fruit. Far from an easygoing wine, the 2016 is massively tannic, even if that is not always evident because of the wine's raciness and pure fruit density. The Cabernet Sauvignon is especially dominant today. D'Armailhac often develops into a fairly rustic Pauillac, so it will be interesting to see what happens here. Tasted three times.
Such richness through the palate, with deep crushed blackberry notes alongside soft coffee bean. I get hints of Petit Mouton here. The Mouton stable measure their tannins in weight, not IPT, and this year comes in even higher than 2010, 4.5g compared to 4g. You don't feel it because the grain of the tannins is so fine, but it is clearly going to age well, without any dryness. Incredible balance, with a pH of 3.55 giving freshness to the alcohol, and making these wines really not very difficult to taste. 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, to be aged in 30% new oak.
This is a tight, firm, slightly tense d’Armailhac with sour fruit and a distinct lack of juiciness. The nose is introverted showing earthy, skinsy notes and the palate, while long, is unresponsive. This coating of firmness hides a plummy core which is reluctant to show itself right now but which also looks rather ravishing with some vigorous swirling. I think that this will work well, but you must give it time.
A wine that always delivers on the value for money front, this is a serious, well made red that doesn’t lack ambition. The oak is a little prominent, but there’s more than enough leafy fruit sweetness and fine-grained tannins to soak it up. 2020-28
A sensational Ch Ausone, a straightforward blend 50/50 merlot and Cabernet Franc. Deep crimson in the glass. The complex, subtle, and savoury nose announces this as a very senior wine. It has the smoky scent of bonfire cinders and the peppery herbal tones from the top quality Cabernet Franc, with plummy richness from the Merlot. The spiralling helix of tannins that weave through the palate lead on to a lingering finish. CP
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc picked 10-14 October and 14-19 October, respectively, at 40 hectoliters per hectare. It is matured in 80% new oak with a light toasting, a move that Alain and Pauline Vauthier have made in recent years just to lessen the impact of the oak. There is a palpable...stateliness about the Ausone this year. It is extraordinarily pure and articulates its terroir as well as any vintage that I can remember over the last 20-odd years. It is not as flamboyant as other Saint Emilions, more correct and precise. The palate is very elegant and precise. I adore the exquisite balance of this Ausone, the precision and fineness of the tannin, the effortlessness that it conveys. This is classy and sophisticated, satin-like in texture with a long and sensual finish. Not an Ausone that is going to blaze across the sky, this is a cerebral, intellectual Ausone that will entrance for many years to come. Drink Date 2022 - 2070
Deep crimson. Very ripe nose and then rather chewy end. Drying finish. Not charming for the moment - even a little exaggerated. Though there is a broad panoply of fruit flavours that come rather precipitously to a drying end. Drink 2028-2042
This is one of the most subtle and ethereal Ausones I have encountered in a while. It’s a full-bodied wine, yet one that’s very refined in texture, all the way to the extremely long finish. Shows real dignity and character. A throwback to the great years of the 1950s.
A regal, soaring wine, the 2016 Ausone is one of the wines of the vintage. Cabernet Franc aromatics meld into a core of beautifully layered, exquisite fruit. The flavors are bright, lifted and wonderfully focused throughout. Sweet red berry, blood orange, jasmine and sweet spice notes build into a super-expressive, silky finish supported by bright acids and vibrant salinity. Stunningly beautiful and precise, Ausone is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine.
This is one of the most aromatic and complete wines of the vintage with exquisite, fleshy, ripe black fruit and stunning oak in perfect harmony. This is not a massive wine, but a long, urgent, determined Ausone with a huge finish which never diminishes it message. The tannins are spicy but not astringent and the acidity is razor sharp and this bodes well for a very long life. On the prettier side of the fence as opposed to the monstrous side, 2016 Ausone is a superb wine with immense grace and style.
Cheap it will not be when it’s released, but this is a magnificent, even stately Ausone, with masses of colour, beautifully integrated 80% new oak, beguiling freshness, layered tannins and a core of fruit sweetness complemented by chalky minerality. 2028-40
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. This property offers savvy buyers a classical portrait of Pauillac, with its high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a sweetness to the cassis fruit tones, lifted by a leafy Cabernet freshness. Fine, firm, ripe tannins drive through the finish. CP
The 2016 Batailley is a blend of 12% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped at 50h hectoliters per hectare. Matured in 60% new oak. It has an intense graphite infused bouquet with fine delineation, some freshly picked Pauillac mint coming through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin that grip the mouth insistently; with graphite and tobacco-infused black fruit dominating, this a classically styled Batailley in the vein of previous vintages with the elegance coming through towards the finish. This is one of those wines that grows on you, perhaps not as easy or as charming to taste as other Pauillac 2016s at this stage, but knowing this property well, I know how it can blossom when it matters, which is when you and I drink it. Drink Date 2022 - 2050
Lifted, sweet and very Pauillac on the nose. Thick and sweet on the palate though – rather different from the nose. Pretty sharp on the palate with some overtones of the right bank even though the nose is pure Pauillac. Quite a dramatic play, this wine! Drama in spades. Drink 2025-2043
I thought the 2015 defined the new Batailley, but this is fantastic. Full-bodied and so tannic and powerful. Flavors of chocolate, coffee and spices. Excellent finish. Very muscular. Tight and precise.
A tunnel of tannins takes you right through the palate, but it is not fully walled in as with 2010, rather the tannins are pliable and the overall feeling is of well controlled fruit that deepens as you go along. The blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 12% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, and a pH of 3.6. Wonderfully deep fruit flavours of blackberry and crushed cassis reside against black chocolate and well contained tannins. A lovely vintage that has power but is just the right side of big extraction. Good persistency with a coffee-scented finish. This is a buy, for sure.
Decent attack, as always, with quite sour tannins but enough fruit to prop them up, this is a typically robust Batailley with masses of dark fruit at its core and enough swagger to carry it off.
Deep brooding dark black fruits on the nose, which flow through into the palate. Not a robust wine, just deliciously approachable, pure and fresh, with a gentle sweetness on the finish. Very classical. DR
The 2016 Beaumont, owned by Suntory and Castel, has a rather conservative bouquet, a little backward and surly compared to its peers with undergrowth aromas coming through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, quite lithe and agile in the mouth, a wine willing to go out and please and not worry too much about cellaring. Whilst it does not quite have the complexity of the 2015, it is still a mouthful of potentially delicious wine. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
Deep crimson. Muted but 'correct' aromatically. Some richness on the front palate. Very dry finish. More flesh than usual and a good expression of vintage and estate. Drink 2024-2033
A juicy and pretty wine with berry and chocolate character, a medium body and a clean finish. Clearly better than the 2015.
From the Beychevelle team, this is a good wine. The mid-palate fills out with brambly fruit, and it is a little rustic on the finish. An even split between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with 8% Petit Verdot.
A lovely nose and some ripe, juicy blackberry fruit make this a pretty and engaging wine. The tannins are powdery and present but they will melt soon into the fruit offering a veritable bargain in this vintage.
A stylish, well made Cru Bourgeois that always punches above its weight and ages well in bottle, this is the sort of classic claret that excites a certain type of Englishman: smooth, forward and refreshing with a touch of sweet mocha oak and fine tannins. 2020-26
This estate’s new winery is the envy of its neighbours, and quality is clearly on the up. Crunchy black and red berry flavours swirl in the glass. It has a nicely juicy tannic structure and a brisk line of acidity flickering through the end. CP
The 2016 Beauregard, which now boasts one of the most modern cellars since its acquisition by the Cathiard and Moulin-Houzé families (although with winemaker Vincent Priou still on board), has a clean and pure bouquet with detailed blackberry and raspberry notes tinged with vanilla and light violet aromas. This is a classy set of aromatics from Beauregard that show more intensity than usual. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, a little foursquare in style, quite conservative yet with abundant freshness and fine tannin towards the finish. It is nothing flash. It is the best Beauregard that I have tasted. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
Dark purple. Very heady and rich on the nose. Super-luscious and easy to like with the richness of the appellation but not too much sweetness and certainly no oak or alcohol in evidence. Just not especially long but a decent effort. Drink 2023-2037
Tight and linear on the palate with a lovely depth of fruit and polished tannins. Medium to full body and an attractive, fine-grained texture.
The 2016 Beauregard offers good depth and immediacy. Although not especially complex, it is well balanced. Somewhat chunky tannins attenuate the midpalate. Clearly, it will be a few years before new owners Daniel and Florence Cathiard get Beauregard into shape. Overall, the 2016 is solid, but that's it. Tasted two times.
This is a solid and well-made Beauregard without being anything particularly special. The fruit is balanced and the oak is, too, in spite of being quite strident right now. Otherwise the length is fine and the tannins are not too raw. It just doesn’t go out of its way to impress.
This is the second vintage under Daniel and Florence Cathiard’s ownership and more than delivers on the promise of the first. Scented, restrained and pleasantly leafy and refreshing, it’s a balanced, focused, polished Pomerol with nuanced tannins. 2023-30
The amalgamation of two great St Emilion estates, Ch Belair and Ch Magdalene, has created one of the appellation’s finest vineyards. Deep dark chocolate and Christmas pudding aromas. This is a deliciously rich and full style. Masses of intense dark fruit concentration, with a line of freshness on the finish. A wine that really catches the eye. DR
The 2016 Belair-Monange, the home of Edouard Moueix and his family, is a blend of 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. It has a tightly wound bouquet with red and black fruit, touches of cedar and smoke developing in the glass, reticent at first but unfolding nicely in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin, a more structured and rigid Belair-Monange compared to recent vintages, adorned with fine salinity on the finish. It will require several years in bottle to show its best, but it will be worth waiting for. Drink Date 2022 - 2056
A Jean-Pierre Moueix wine. Sweet, relaxed nose. A little edge of damp webbing. Mid weight only, and less compelling than the run of top Pomerols tasted just beforehand. No trace of any forcing in the cellar but it seems a little tentative. Nice that it's not flashy. Quite serious intention here. Drink 2025-2040
A very dense and pretty center palate of dried fruit, spices and dried tobacco. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and a savory finish. Linear and racy. Tight and reserved now but wait to see the structure develop fabulously.
The 2016 Bélair-Monange is silky, bright and polished, with plenty of floral notes wrapped around a core of expressive red-toned fruit. In 2016, the wine is quite delicate and restrained, with perhaps a bit less depth than in its very best recent vintages.
) Incredible. This wine is resplendent in every way, with layer upon layer of minerality enveloped in fruit. I have no doubt that this is a fifty-year wine such is the exquisite balance and ratio of vivid, purple fruit to raucous, life-affirming acidity. Stunning, ethereal and involving, this is a veritable tour de force.
Often the most backward wines in the Moueix range - it’s always shown last in the tasting in Libourne - this comes from the St Emilion limestone plateau and it shows on the palate. It’s a very dense, tightly wound wine with masses of oak and tannin supported by acidity. Tricky to judge at this young age. 2026-40
Polished as always, this is a luxurious expression of St Julien. This always has a higher proportion of Merlot than many of its neighbours. Voluptuous on the palate, like pomegranate molasses it has both fruit sweetness and tangy acidity. Textural tannic power and dense fruit richness propel the wine on to a long and luscious finish. CP
The 2016 Beychevelle is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare between 3 October and 18 October. It is matured in 50% new oak. Furthermore, it is the first vintage to be matured in the new chichi winery whose glass exterior overlooks the passing traffic on the D2. It has a very pure, fragrant bouquet with black cherries, cassis, cedar and wet limestone, extremely precise to the point where you might think it was from the Right Bank (logical given the proportion of Merlot in the blend). The palate is sensational: understated at first and bridled with ultra-fine tannin, it is a Beychevelle armed with a disarming sense of symmetry. It builds in the mouth towards a fabulously tensile finish that is so fresh and full of energy that the senses are almost overwhelmed. Frankly, it leaves all the other Beychevelles in recent years standing. This is an electrifying 2016 from winemaker Philippe Blanc and his right-hand man, technical director, Romain Ducolomb. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Dark purple. Light peppery nose. Sweet palate entry with a hint of sweet oak, and then a bit austere on the palate. Lively coconut hint. Falls away on the finish. Competent rather than exciting. Drink 2025-2040
The softness and finesse to this are indeed impressive with blackberry and blackcurrant character. Full-bodied, dense and polished. Lovely texture and length. It builds on the palate. Clearly better in 2015. This is the first year in from the new cellar.
A heady wine, the 2016 Beychevelle possesses off-the-charts richness and intensity. White truffle, plum, lavender, black cherry and incense, along with an unctuous, racy feel, give the wine much of its exotic, voluptuous personality. Not at all subtle, the 2016 shows the more flamboyant side of Saint-Julien. Its balance is beyond reproach, however. Ripeness is pushed to the edge in 2016, yet the wine is absolutely compelling. This is a fabulous showing from Beychevelle and technical director Romain Ducolomb. Tasted two times.
There is a dark, tea-like perfume at the core of this wine and it is incredibly attractive. The richness and power of carefully macerated berries, on the nose, never oversteps the mark and the summer sunshine is evident at the same time as the cool nights, too, in the restraint and finesse throughout. The finish is long and spicy and it props up the oak perfectly while hinting at the superb condition of the fruit at harvest. Exotic and floral, this wine will be slow to soften but when it does it will be a real eye-opener and it is another massive performance for this impressive estate.
At the annual Southwold Bordeaux blind tasting, which takes place two years after the wines have been bottled, Ch Bouscaut is regularly in the top 3 white wines. I suspect this excellent 2016 will be a strong contender to continue this tradition. Fresh citrus aromas, bright, clean purity, with a long rewarding finish. DR
They 2016 Bouscaut Blanc has an attractive apricot blossom and citrus peel nose that is actually one of the most satsifying and charming dry white Bordeaux that I encountered during my tastings. The palate is well balanced with a peachy opening, good weight and acidity with just the right amount of tropical fruit without impeding upon terroir expression. This comes recommended. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
A big step up from the Graves blancs I have been tasting. Perfumed layer on top of a graceful cocktail of Sémillon and Sauvignon. Really quite superior. And very much a Pessac-Léognan. Well assembled! Drink 2019-2025
With a classy nose and palate that continues along a lemony theme, this a rather nice and very long wine. The acidity is mouth-watering and the fruit character superb and it will drink well young.
Bouscaut often makes some of the best value whites in Pessac-Léognan and - fingers crossed - this should be no exception. Light, sappy and aromatic, with notes of white flowers and cut grass and a herbal twist. 2017-21
Patrick Maroteaux and his son François-Xavier make a great team; this excellent 2016 highlights their attention to detail and perfectionism. Sweet dark youthful plum fruits on the nose, in the palate there are hints of liquorice and cinnamon. Full of explosive flavours, slightly less buxom than some vintages of Branaire, which creates an harmonious and approachable style. Excellent. DR
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years. Drink Date 2023 - 2050
Juicy, savoury nose. Fresh and fine-boned. Could only be bordeaux – tant mieux! Silky texture with some energy. Drink 2026-2043
This is clearly the best wine I have tasted from Branaire-Ducru. Exquisite depth and richness are on offer, yet this is always framed and focused. Layers of fruit and tannins. So deep and long. Incredible quality.
Branaire-Ducru is gorgeous in 2016. A rush of inky blue/purplish fruit, licorice, violet, lavender and dark spices give the wine its rich, textured feel. Gracious and nuanced, in the classic Branaire style, the 2016 possesses lovely depth and sensuality, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. Time in the glass brings out the wine's more floral and spiced notes. Above all else, Branaire is a wine of finesse despite its considerable intensity. It is also arguably the most polished of the Saint-Juliens. Tasted two times.
A brilliant Branaire and one of the most shocking and memorable wines of the week, there are stunning aromatics here and a huge finish. This is a triumph for this estate and I love the way it gives the illusion of being a richer wine but it is a focussed, epically balanced creation. The nose is heroic and this alone warrants a huge score. That the finish is also sublime makes this one of the hidden gems of the Left Bank in 2016.
Comparatively closed at this stage, as it was in 2015, this is a firm, concentrated, structured wine that has its eye on the future rather than the present. Sturdy and dense, this is a wine to forget about for at least eight years. 2025-32
Henri Lurton’s wine at Ch Brane-Cantenac is, much like himself, quietly understated but never to be underestimated…This is an absolute cracker. It has everything that fine Margaux should. Polished, refined, gloriously pure with lovely perfumed red fruit flavours, supported by a hint of mocha and spice. The fruit is almost crystalline in its purity. I simple love this. Yet another for my cellar! DR
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed. Drink 2026-2044
This is really strong from Brane-Cantenac this year with toned muscles and beautiful fruit. Full-bodied, chewy and polished. Shows wonderful intensity and density yet remains reserved and very tight. Very impressive from here. Grabs you. One of the best ever from here.
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is terrific, and also a worthy follow-up to the 2015, although it naturally reflects the very different personality of the year. Dark red and purplish fruit, mocha, spice and leather infuse this super-expressive Margaux. Vivid and intense, but with a perceptible feeling of translucent finesse, the 2016 is wonderfully complete and expressive. It also has quite a bit of potential to grow from there. Tasted three times.
Gorgeous campsite woodsmoke effect on the nose and the effect, as is so often the case with Brane, is that their use of oak ageing is extremely cleverly thought out. This is a luscious wine with rich, deeply layered fruits and gentle spices, all set against well brushed, caressing tannins. This is a great vintage for this property, so effortless. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (now old enough at 10 years, and successful enough due to the late harvest, to finally make it into the grand vin). Excellent.
Smoky and quite powerful, the nose on this wine is a little coarse and this hard edge carries on through the fruit and onto the finish. Tough and tannic and also a little raw and green, this will take time to come around, but the fruit is persistent and so I am confident that it will.
As an appellation, Margaux didn’t quite hit the same heights in 2016 as it did in 2015. This is well made enough, but the tannins are a little firm, as if they were baked by the summer heat wave. The underlying fruit is impressive, but this needs to soften in bottle. 2024-30
The new regime at Calon-Ségur, under the careful guidance of Laurent Duffau, goes from strength to strength. This glorious 2016 highlights St Estèphe’s success in this vintage. Deep purple in colour, with perfumed aromas of violets and dark summer fruits. A very harmonious style balancing intense Cabernet flavours with some luscious Merlot sweetness. Mouth filling with many layers, it is destined to give huge pleasure. It is little surprise that historical owner, the Marquis de Calon, said that, despite also owning Lafite and Latour, his heart always lay at Calon-Ségur. DR
The 2016 Calon Segur is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot cropped at 42 hectoliters per hectare between 29 September and 15 October (finishing with the Cabernets and the Petit Verdot). Notice that Cabernet Franc, which excelled not just here but around Saint Estèphe in this vintage, given that there was not a drop in the 2015. It has a very elegant bouquet, very pure with small macerated black cherries, blueberry, a hint of licorices and juniper berries, all effortlessly detailed and exuding what I term "controlled opulence." The palate is medium-bodied with a sense of symmetry on the entry, the acidity very well judged and the tannins far less rustic than the Calon-Ségurs of old. What I like about this Calon-Ségur is that it could not come from anywhere apart from Saint Estèphe: that structure, that obduracy counterbalanced by the opulence bestowed by the growing season. There is freshness locked in here from start to finish, with a subtle tang of seaweed and black pepper on the long aftertaste. For me this is a serious step up from the 2015, and the structure augurs a Calon-Ségur destined to last as long as those legendary wines from the 1920s and 1940s. Chapeau to winemaker Vincent Millet and estate director Laurent Dufau. This is easily the best Calon-Ségur that I have tasted from barrel. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. Rich, deep, glowing purplish crimson. Pungent and really interesting and layered on the nose already. Creamy texture and massive energy. Lots of tannin but all beautifully balanced. This is seriously intriguing rather than just ticking boxes. Glows on the end. Old-vine influence – really gives layers and intrigue. Sweetness of tannin. But the freshness really lifts it. 14% Drink 2028-2055
Wow. This is the Calon we have been waiting for! Intensity and power. Chewy and polished tannins. Full body, great depth. It goes on for minutes. Shows a classic, historical character that really excites me. The essence of this estate and St.-Estèphe. Best ever?
The 2016 Calon Ségur is dense, powerful and radiant. Even so, it possesses striking aromatic intensity. Much of that no doubt comes from the Cabernet Franc. Sweet red cherry, plum, spice, mint and rose petal build into the silky, textured finish. In 2016, Calon Ségur is all class. There is quite a bit of tannin (more than 2014 and 2015) but the tannins are totally woven into the wine's fabric. The 2016 is not an explosive or obvious Calon, but rather a wine of exquisite beauty and pure class. Don't miss it! As of today, the best Saint-Estèphe wine of the vintage.
There is stunning balance and even a little exoticism here. This is a rich, full, bold Calon with momentum, freshness and lift. Stunningly forward with cassis fruit leading the way this is a lovely, clean, robust and structured wine which will age perfectly. Winemaker Vincent Millet explained that this vintage stands alone as a marker for the future because the weather conditions resemble nothing from the past. I believe that it is a truly great Calon.
Maybe it’s taken a vintage or two for the new installations to bed in at Calon, because this is a superb expression of the estate that’s as good as anything I’ve tasted from Vincent Millet. The high percentage of Cabernet Franc gives the wine remarkable lift and perfume, adding top notes to the structured, savoury, dark-fruited core. 2024-36
76% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc. This is Nicolas Audebert’s second full vintage at the helm after John Kolasa’s retirement, and he has excelled yet again. The Cabernet Franc gives this wine a fragranced density. At 1% lower alcohol than the 2015, this is a classical example of Canon: pure, mature, not overripe, not over-extracted. Having been picked a little earlier than some neighbours the wine has a freshness and an energy that mark it out as a great St Emilion. Like a “kilo of feathers”, Nicolas describes it: “great volume, but no weight at all”. CP
The 2016 Canon makes it a double slam-dunk for head winemaker Nicolas Audebert and his team, as it is the second of two ethereal wines that will put the estate right at the top of the Saint Emilion tree. This year is a blend of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc picked from 22 September until 10 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare. It delivers 14.02% alcohol and an IPT of 65. Matured in 65% new oak, it has a compelling bouquet with intense black cherry and blueberry fruit, a tincture of oyster shell, all with exquisite definition. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, and again, there is stunning, almost ineffable precision. It is attired in a seamless texture with real density yet weightlessness on the finish. The persistence on the aftertaste is extraordinary. I composed this entire tasting note after spitting out the wine, but I can still feel my mouth tingling now. The 2015 was magnificent, but could this 2016 surpass that? "The 2016 is more Canon in style, more classic," commented Nicolas, and he could be right, although intuition tells me that the 2015 might be a hair's breadth better. I would not refuse either if they were opened before me. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Lively dark crimson. Very smart and complex on the nose - distinctively different. Really focused and rich but not sweet. Real lift and drive. So complete! Opulent on the nose but nothing remotely simple and sweet. Throbs with excitement. Drink 2025-2048
Very intense aromas already of pure berry, mineral and spice. Full body yet refined and tight with gorgeous linear and refined character. Beautiful and classic beauty.
The 2016 Canon is a wine of pure sophistication and polish. A rush of red cherry, plum, mint, rose petal and blood orange gives the 2016 its sexy, racy personality. Underlying veins of minerality and salinity provide finesse and persistence. In 2016, Canon is pure class. It doesn't reach the stratospheric level of the 2015, but that is too much to ask in a vintage that presented significant challenges in the vineyard. Tasted four times.
A fairly quiet Canon with controlled fruit and a long finish, this is a well-made wine with a lovely texture and no excesses of fat or tannin and it is surprisingly forward, too. The oak is well-judged and it perfectly matches the mood of the red fruit.
“A real terroir wine that I prefer to the 2015 is how maître de chai, Stéphane Bonnasse, describes his majestic 2016. You’d expect a wine owned by Chanel to be perfumed and that’s the case here on this scented, refined, beautifully balanced cuvée, showing refined oak, velvety tannins and flavours and texture that are as close as St Emilion gets to great Burgundy. 2024-36
This was one of the successes at the Union des Grands Crus tasting. It has a dense purple colour, and is full of ripe plum flavours, leaning even as far as prunes. The palate is accented by some sour black cherry freshness, and the chunky tannins give it a well-built structure. CP
The 2016 Canon la Gaffeliere is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (vines organically certified) picked from 26 September to 15 October and matured in 60% new oak. The yield is 42 hectoliters per hectare. This offers one of the most cerebral aromatics that I have encountered from this Saint Emilion estate: mineral-rich red and black fruit, quite edgy, almost flinty in style. I adore the focus of these aromas that are wired directly into the olfactory senses. The palate is very well balanced and governed by the Cabernet component. The black fruit is lifted by some lovely graphite notes that lend it a very Left Bank-like personality. It is fresh, taut and linear with a very persistent finish. Unlike other vintages of Canon la Gaffelière, I feel that this will require four to five years in bottle. As good as the 2015 last year, it might even surpass it. Drink Date 2023 - 2050
Dark crimson. Very rich sweet nose slightly reminiscent of the 'modernist' style. Rather thick and heavy. Suffers from being tasted immediately after the superior and sophisticated Ch Canon. Rather drying end. Good effort. Sincere but a tad vieux jeu. Hint of meatiness, then slightly drying tannins but good energy. Drink 2025-2040
The 2016 Canon La Gaffelière is a huge, voluptuous wine with no hard edges and exceptional balance. Often in the early going, the Merlot and Cabernet Franc elements are easily discernible, but in 2016 all the elements are wonderfully fused together. It will be interesting to see if this powerful wine finds a bit more finesse over time. The 2016 was even more impressive when I tasted separate components from barrel in January 2017. In 2016, the wine spent 30-32 days on the skins and will see approximately 60% new oak. Tasted three times.
A beautiful wine - the nose is heavenly and delicate and yet incredibly persistent and the palate is also medium-weight, smooth and cultured. Very long and very closed this precision organic viticulture perfectly aligned with ‘gentle extraction’ winemaking and the results are sensational.
Canon La Gaffelière is exploiting a rich vein of form at the moment. This is always wonderfully perfumed and intense, with smoky, floral, cedar wood aromas, fine-grained tannins, subtle red and dark berry fruit, crunchy acidity and real energy. 2023-34
A vibrant fresh style with herbal Cabernet flavours. This has a bite of tannic structure, with a cool freshness. Dark black fruits on the finish provide for intensity and structure. DR
The 2016 Cantemerle has a tightly wound bouquet and it never quite delivers the detail and mineralité that some of its peers have produced in this vintage. There are attractive undergrowth scents and a touch of tobacco, but it does not leap from the glass with joy. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, good depth of fruit, blackberry laced with cedar and graphite. One sample was missed a little precision, however, a second and third demonstrated much more precision and tension. My score reflects this. Drink Date 2020 - 2030
Light nose and a little dull overall. Lacks energy. Is this a tired sample? Drying. 15.5 (Drink 2022-2030). Second sample at UGC: Quite pungent with treacly notes on the nose. Fairly light and soulless - not to say a little fruitless. Green notes on the end. Drink 2023-2030
Dense and chewy already with plenty of ripe tannins and bright fruit. Vivid acidity. Full body, a firm and silky texture and a flavorful finish. Lots going on. Excellent follow-up to the great 2015!
The 2016 Cantemerle comes across as raw and not fully put together. Even so, the wine possesses superb richness, volume and depth. Iron, smoke, raspberry jam and succulent cherry notes are all pushed forward. Plush and racy, with striking depth, this succulent, expressive Haut-Médoc is built for pleasure. Tasted two times.
For me this is easily one of their best ever wines, totally living up to its fifth growth billing. Lovely and juicy with excellent tension, really walking that line. Menthol, cassis and cedar are framed by well-wrought tannins that bring the whole thing together and lead onto a juicy finish. The blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot is aged in 40% new oak for 12 months, followed by a further four months in vats before bottling.
With a darker shade of purple fruit than its neighbouring wines this is a fabulously exotic and unusual wine with serious appeal and detail. The oak is powerful, but this doesn’t detract from the lovely fruit and the perfectly balanced finish. Superb.
Lovers of good value claret should flock towards this lovely red blend in 2016. Fresh, sappy and grassy, it’s a wine that’s all about texture and fruit flavour rather than oak and tannin. Elegant, subtle and effortlessly complex. 2020-28
The 2016 Capbern (the erstwhile "Château Capbern-Gasqueton") is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, delivering around 14% alcohol with a total acidity of 3.5 grams per liter. It was cropped at 42 hectoliters per hectare and is being matured in 60% new French oak. It has a clean and precise bouquet with blackberry, mint and just a hint of boot polish. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin; this is a typical Saint-Estèphe in terms of a bold, almost Montrose-like tannic structure, gently grippy with more than enough freshness on the pert finish. There is a lovely touch of cracked black pepper on the aftertaste. Give this three or four years in bottle as this is a fine Château Capbern. Drink Date 2021 - 2040
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 4% very old Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. 60% new oak. Very deep crimson. Round and flattering texture with lots of zappy tannin. A little more angular than the famous 2009 but very easy to drink. Tannins quite marked at the moment. Very round tannins but they are there in such profusion that you will have to wait... GV 14% Drink 2024-2032
Love the stone, tar and black currant in this. Full and tight with firm and silky tannins and a long, long finish. Spicy, too. Can’t wait to see how this evolves. Serious.
One of the sleepers of the vintage, the 2016 Capbern is a gorgeous wine. Plump, juicy and expressive, with good aromatic nuance throughout, the Capbern is once again terrific. Sweet tobacco, grilled herbs, licorice and succulent red cherry infuse this racy, exquisitely beautiful Saint-Estèphe. The Cabernet Sauvignon is quite expressive today, while soft contours and silky tannins add to the wine's considerable appeal. The 2016 is without question the most complete of the mid-tier Saint-Estèphes. Don't miss it. Tasted three times.
Winemaker Vincent Millet explained that the big diurnal temperature differences in August, between 15C at night and 40C during the day lead, to great finesse in this wine because while it gained superb ripeness the crucial acidity was still present and in perfect balance. This is a little richer and a little darker than the superb 2015 and it is a wine with considerable focus but also incredible freshness. This is a superb vintage for Capbern.
A serious contender for the crown of best value wine of the vintage, this a supremely drinkable St Estèphe with no rough edges. Grassy, aromatic and beautifully weighted, it’s a comparatively forward style with a touch of underlying grip and a mineral flourish. 2020-28
This extraordinary walled 5 hectare estate in the suburbs of Bordeaux is as unique in style to Pessac-Léognan as Tertre Rôteboeuf is to St Emilion. The vineyard itself is a little sun trap, some 2 degrees warmer than its illustrious neighbour Haut-Brion. The result is a wine uniquely high in Cabernet Franc for the Graves (40%) and one of stunning juicy succulence. Using a proportion of whole bunch fermentation creates a very supple style, with perfumed fruit flavours and delicate tannic structure. Totally unlike any other wine in the appellation, but extremly delicious. DR
The 2016 Les Carmes Haut Brion is a blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot, with 13.8% alcohol and a pH of 3.55, the lowest acidity for many years. It was vinified in their Philippe Starck-designed "submarine" (this is what their aesthetically arresting winery looks like as it surfaces in the Bordeaux city suburbs!) with 48% whole berry fruit. Winemaker Guillaume Pouthier (ex-Chapoutier) showed me a large inflatable ring used to submerge the cap to create more of an "infusion" rather than a maceration. The 2016 is matured in 65% new oak, 30% one year old and 5% in amphora. It has a very pure, very attractive bouquet with ample blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry and fresh fig aromas, a little more extravagant than some other Pessac-Léognan 2016s, yet it maintains impressive control and focus. It develops more pressed flower aromas with time. The palate is medium-bodied with tannins that gently grip the mouth, tertiary notes on the entry, fine acidity vis-à-vis the fruit, then a slight tarriness towards the broody black fruit on the saline, marine-influenced finish. It is an intriguing take on the vintage, classic in style like many others, detailed with impressive complexity. You know, it is not a million miles away from Lafleur in Pomerol, but in the same sense, it will require a decade in bottle to show what it can do. It is a new benchmark for this estate with big ambitions. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink Date 2026 - 2050
Dark crimson. Sumptuous texture if not that much flavour at present. Very round and gorgeous with lovely Graves freshness on the finish. Very glossy and winning. Nicely managed tannins. Drink 2024-2040
Extremely long and erudite with crushed stones, blackberries and blueberries. Hints of fresh herbs. Full-bodied, tight and polished. The balance and beauty are amazing. Salty and minerally. More polished than the 2015. Wait and see. From biodynamic grapes.
The 2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is one of the most distinctive wines of the vintage. A wine of real depth and density, it possesses stunning richness and intensity in all of its dimensions. The high proportion of Cabernet Franc and the 50% whole clusters give notable aromatic lift, saline intensity and drive. Ample, full-throttle and unapologetically intense, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is once again superb. Tasted three times.
Slowly but surely, Carmes Haut-Brion is moving from being 'an estate to watch' to one that has fully arrived. This gives the appearance of effortless extraction, where the vibrant black fruits seem artfully placed along the palate, fleshed out with liquorice, dark chocolate, graphite and violet notes. This has the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc on the left bank, and it can be austere at en primeur, but in this vintage the fresh fruit reads as juiciness and persistency. I love it, what a stunning wine, and what a testament to the benefits of investing in terroir. Biodynamic farming also, although not certified. Tasted at the château and again with the UGCs. Technical director Guillaume Pouthier used a good amount of whole bunch pressing, over 20%, because he felt the stalks were ripe.
A superb wine, with thoroughbred tannins and perfectly judged fruit, this is a wonderful success for Les Carmes Haut-Brion in 2016 and unlike previous vintages where everything seems slightly forced and dense, this is a wine with an effortless feel and I like it all the more.
Serious and dense, especially when contrasted with the second wine, this comes from soils with a higher percentage of clay. Focused, concentrated and made for the longer haul, it’s smoky, rich and compact, with plush dark berry fruit and layered tannins. 2026-38
Refined damson fruit aromas, this has a fresh herbal sensation of bright Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. Tightly knit with the structured central tannic core so typical of Pauillac, followed by wild hedgerow fruits unfurling in the palate. A balanced blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. DR
The 2016 Carruades de Lafite is a blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot this year that matured in around 20-25% new oak. Eric Kohler told me that they now practice more selection for the Carruades and in this respect, the great fruit concentration means that he has just tweaked the level of new oak upwards. It has an attractive bouquet with smoke and tobacco infused black fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin. This is a linear and conservative Carruades, one without the frills, almost economical but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is fresh and focused, demonstrating more ripeness than previous vintages, and has a little more length. Drink it over the next decade. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. There's a putty note on the nose. Neat, restrained, rather tight nose and a tad mean on the end. Just as there's a big gap between Petit Mouton and the grand vin, so there seems to be between Carruades and Lafite. Drying tannins on the end. Seems to be a lack of phenolic ripeness towards the end of the palate experience even though it starts out pretty ripe and round. Drink 2024-2038
The most tannic and textured Carruades ever. Full-bodied, big and powerful. Very, very long. New style?
The 2016 Carruades de Lafite is a sexy wine. Inviting scents of ripe black cherry, plum, smoke, torrefaction and mocha set the stage nicely. Deep and textured on the palate, yet also light on its feet, the 2016 exhibits terrific balance and striking purity in its fruit. I especially like the way the fruit fans out to cover every inch of the palate on the finish. This is impressive stuff.
This is a rich, deep, elegant and well structured Carruades, clearly better than the 2015 and 2014, a great success in this vintage. Lafite have increased the percentage of third wine, so in this vintage 35% of the production went into Carruades and 40% into the grand vin. The blend is 49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
Decent depth and some pungent red fruit highlights mean that this is a very pure and lifted wine with superb freshness and vivacity. It is not as profound as I would have hoped, with some jammy notes disrupting the flow of fruit, but it is going to be a crowd-pleaser early in its life.
The oak is still a little marked on this second wine, but that’s forgivable in a six-month-old sample. Like the Grand Vin, it’s a fine, graceful, elegant claret with notes of blackcurrant leaf and cigar box, filigree tannins and a tangy, palate-cleansing finish. 2022-30
This château was host of this year’s Union des Grands Crus Graves tasting. As you taste around the room there is a noticeable step up in intensity when you reach the host’s wine. Dominated by Sauvignon Blanc it has a precise and quenching length. A charming example of the appellation, very refreshing. CP
The Carbonnieux 2016 Blanc has a gentle nose of peardrop, citrus peel and orange blossom: attractive if just missing the race and drive of either the 2014 and 2015. The palate is well balanced with lime and a touch of orange zest on the entry. There is good depth of fruit here and a pleasant saline finish—it just needs more acidity. Drink Date 2018 - 2024
Bit stinky and reduced on the nose. (Bordeaux University is experimenting with sulphur use here.) Fruit lacks vitality. Solid and stolid but not much fun. Quite long though, so perhaps it will improve? Drink 2020-2024
Scents of slate, pear, green apple, mint and herbs give the 2016 Carbonnieux Blanc much of its distinctive personality. Bright and nuanced, with good depth, the 2016 hits all the right notes. This is terrific.
The Carbonnieux white rarely disappoints and this is no exception. It’s a floral, zesty, crunchy, sappy cuvée with attractive beeswax and herbal notes, understated oak and a lightfooted, tangy finish. 2018-24
65% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Franc from this tiny 5.5 hectare estate. Deep and inky in colour. It is at once juicy and fresh with a combination of plummy succulence and leafy energy. There is a salty minerality running through the palate, and some impressively tight knit and well-formed tannins. CP
The 2016 Certan de May is a blend of 65% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a perfumed bouquet with bright red fruit laced with wilted rose petals, the oak nicely integrated, although it just lacks a little complexity compared to other recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied and felt rather "skinny" on the entry with some hardness to the tannin. Linear and austere, this is a perplexing showing of a Pomerol that I have a lot of time for, continuing a patchy run of form. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
Dark crimson. Particularly rich, curranty nose. Really quite intense. And then on the palate it's all freshness and light. Should be a long-distance runner. Lots of sinew. Drink 2026-2044
This is really powerful with big tannins and strong acidity. Full and intense. A wine for long-term aging yet one that offers accessibility at the same time. This estate is on a roll now.
The 2016 Certan de May is powerful and dense in the glass. Dark tonalities of fruit and a sense of gravitas are two of the signatures. This is an especially vertical, baritone expression of Pomerol. Dark spice, lavender, leather and licorice infuse the dark, potent finish. The 2016 delivers serious flavor intensity while retaining its super classic midweight sense of structure.
A structured Certan de May with a large slug of the Cabernets on board, this is an exciting wine with a rich mass of fruit and also a lusty finish. I particularly like the freshness and slight green hints which offset the dark core.
Well situated on the plateau of Pomerol, with a combination of clay and gravel soils, this is very fine and well balanced in 2016, with a lightness of touch that is beguiling. Fresh and grassy with crunchy acidity and fine-grained tannins. 2022-32
A lovely second wine possessing sweet fruit, a poised, smoky aroma, and a delicious palate of crushed raspberries, with composed tannins. A worthy sibling to the grand vin. CP
The 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone has the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc at 56% this year, complemented by 22% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured in 80% new oak, it has a very floral, incense and rose petal-scented bouquet that blossoms from the glass. There is an underlying mineral vein here, but it may take a few years to come out. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, crisp acidity, cohesive with good backbone, with fine salinité on the finish. It is just a fabulous Deuxième Vin. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
80% of the two Cabernets - young vines. Very deep crimson. Round and polished. Very grown up and glossy. Lots of drive and ripe fruit. Long and luscious. Difficult to see what is wrong with this. Except it's a little dry on the end. Drink 2024-2038
A firm and silky red with lovely plum and berry character plus hints of wet earth and rose petals. Medium-bodied, very fine and wonderfully juicy. Another wine with finesse and length.
One of the real standouts of the vintage, the 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone is mostly young vine Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a dollop of old-vine Merlot. Pliant, supple and inviting, the 2016 is flat-out delicious. Readers who can find the 2016 should not hesitate, as it is not really a second wine, but more of an accessible version of the Grand Vin.
This is a wonderfully succulent and juicy Chapelle with superb richness and depth and also stunning harmony on the finish. The Cabernet Franc leading the way has heightened the aromatics for this wine and it has also given it its own clear identity. Amazing.
The Grand Vin at Ausone was so good in 2016 that only 25% of production went into Chapelle, but this is still a very smart St Emilion. Serious, yet elegant, with lovely perfume of summer berries, crunchy acidity, fine-boned tannins and impressive length. 2024-34
42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36.5% Merlot, 21.5% Cabernet Franc. Another stellar effort from the La Mission Haut-Brion team, this second wine is deeply coloured, and has the intense aromatics of ripe damsons. Grippy little tannins abundantly fill the palate, and the wine finishes with a long, savoury attitude. CP
The 2016 La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 36.5% Merlot, 21.5% Cabernet Franc and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 19 September to 14 October. Matured in 23% new oak, it has a very succinct bouquet with tensile black cherry and pressed flower aromas, subtle at first but soon gaining intensity in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, very precise and focused with razor-sharp definition. This is one of the most sophisticated La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion releases that I have tasted from barrel and it bodes well for the future. I expect this will nudge past the 2015 once in bottle. Let's see! Drink Date 2022 - 2040
Sumptuous first-growth suavity on the nose. Sinews and dry finish but a little austere. Just slightly muscular. Dry but not drying finish. Drink 2023-2033
Minerals and blueberries with plenty of blackcurrant character. Medium body and silky tannins. Pretty second wine of La Mission.
The 2016 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion is a striking second wine. Medium in body, but certainly not lacking in depth, the 2016 speaks to balance and feel above all else. Gravel and floral notes lead into a core of intense dark red cherry/raspberry fruit, licorice and dried flowers. There is wonderful depth and density here, but also a refreshing sense of grace.
The success of La Mission is even more impressive as this was not an easy vintage for the Haut-Brion stable. They are close to the city here, and things got hot on their gravel soils. It is one of the main reasons that alcohols are lower than in recent years, because various plots shut down and stopped accumulating sugar. Although yields were high at 52hl/ha, the extra volume was mostly put towards the third wine. They have performed an amazing sleight of hand here, as La Chapelle has plenty of the signature of its brilliant big brother. There is less persistency but still plenty of juicy, ripe fruits and a toasty edge to the aromatics that is a classic signature of the house. There is a gap between the two wines, perhaps more than in some other years, but it's a space where you would be very happy to sit and enjoy the view. From a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36.5% Merlot and 21.5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 25% new oak. 3.6pH.
October This is a stunning La Chapelle with very expressive fruit and really sensual, open, floral tones. Beautifully aromatic and really inviting, this is a bouquet of a bouquet which is fascinating and enthralling. The tannins are really bright, punchy, fresh and clean and this lifts the whole wine to another level. This is a forward wine and it is stunning. It is unprecedented for me to award a Grand Vin and a Second wine the same score, but the two wines from La Mission are so different and so engaging that I cannot resist it in this vintage. I judge all wines on flavour and not on label or indeed whether they are first, second, third or last. In this instance this is one of my favourite, early-drinking wines of the vintage and it thoroughly warrants its massive score.
Made with 25% of the total production at La Mission in 2016, this is a subtle, serious, appealingly restrained wine with real finesse and poise. Savoury, fresh tobacco aromas segue into nuanced, sappy, dark berry fruit flavours and a patina of scented oak. 2022-30
Certainly one of the more successful in this category. With a nice volume of black berry flavours and powdery tannins, this flows through to a balanced finish. A very good example from this excellent, affordable estate. CP
The 2016 Chasse-Spleen has a very elegant bouquet with neatly integrated oak, the terroir really showing through here, hints of cedar and smoke emerging with time. The palate is fresh as a button on the entry. It is cut through with a superb line of acidity that engenders superb tension, the tannins firm but fine with a subtle marine influence towards the persistent finish. This is a fabulous Chasse-Spleen, the best I have ever tasted from the estate. It could end up at the top of by banded score. Drink Date 2021 - 2045
Dark crimson. Scented and rather voluptuous. Not forced. Medium weight. Very classic. Pimento and satin somehow! Bone dry. Tannins maybe just a tad too much? Just slightly sour on the rather sudden end. Drink 2023-2032
The 2016 Chasse-Spleen is dense, powerful and super-concentrated. There is not a whole lot of subtlety, that much is obvious. Even so, the 2016 is quite pleasing. Scents of graphite, smoke, crème de cassis, licorice and dark spice infuse the racy, potent finish. The 2016 is a big boy. This hearty, flavorful Moulis will drink well with minimal cellaring. Tasted two times.
The fruit here is good, ripe and carefully extracted. There is freshness and the whole thing hangs together with well worked tannins, offering excellent quality for the mid-tier price of Médoc wines.
Rather powerful and hard but with a delicious, mouth-watering fruit quality, this is a structured Chasse-Spleen and it is full and imposing on the palate. What it lacks in grace it makes up for in effort.
The best of the crus bourgeois have really over-delivered in 2016 and it’s a delight to see Chasse-Spleen on such outstanding form. Bramble and cassis fruit, serious tannins, coffee bean oak and lovely freshness, balance and poise. 2022-30
A delicious Merlot-based Lalande de Pomerol exuding aromas of damsons and early autumnal fruits. A bright feeling of crisp freshness, with the finely balanced tannins supported by deliciously juicy ripe fruit flavours. Soft, succulent and very appealing. DR
The 2016 La Chenade is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from Denis Durantou's estate in Lalande-de-Pomerol. It was picked 24-29 September for the Merlot and 6 October for the Cabernet Franc at 39 hectoliters per hectare and then matured in 40% new oak. It has a lovely nose that needed some coaxing from the glass, eventually revealing black cherries and touches of bergamot with Earl Grey following later. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, fresh right from the start, very harmonious with an elegant, quite minerally finish. Very elegant, very suave, very promising. Drink Date 2020 - 2032
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc on gravelly part of Cruzelles. Always picked first by Denis Durantou because it's the warmest of his terroirs. New oak 40%. 1,700 cases. Luscious and florally perfumed. Not immensely long but hugely enjoyable. GV. Drink 2020-2026
So delicious already with delicious depth and fruitiness, yet this always retains its balance and length. Fine tannins and a raspberry, cassis finish. You want to drink this now.
The 2016 La Chenade is plump, juicy and absolutely delicious. Soft and pliant, with silky tannins, the 2016 will drink well upon release. Sweet floral and spice notes infuse a core of dark red stone fruit in this polished, classy Lalande de Pomerol from Denis Durantou. Tasted two times.
A Denis Durantou favourite, always worth following. This is a major buy, so juicy with cooling fruit on the finish, it softens and lifts at the same time. Some floral character caresses the fruit. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc on gravel picked between 24th and 29th September, and aged in 40% new oak.
Very floral and seductive on the nose, this is a wild red berry concoction with stunning purity and a slim chassis but there is huge energy and drive here with actively feisty tannins overlaying epic acidity. Wonderful and in time, this will grow and grow. I expect the nose to develop more, too, into a complete beauty.
“The revenge of the Merlot” is how Denis Durantou describes his 2016s. This comes from gravel soils and is almost indecently perfumed in 2016, with notes of wild Mediterranean herbs, some grassy, leafy undertones and fleshy, yet refreshing flavours. 2022-28
This extraordinary St Emilion is never the showiest during the primeur tastings, but its class this year could not be questioned. A classical blend of 60% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Refined and beautifully subtle with berry and currant aromas. The Cabernet Franc component provides a wonderful line of distinction and the Merlot adds a delicious degree of sweetness and volume. The tightly knit tannins provide greater depth and persistence on the finish. DR
The 2016 Cheval Blanc is a blend of 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and (the return of) 3% Cabernet Sauvignon from the gravel soils since in this vintage the vines showed absolutely no stress. It delivers 14.25% alcohol with an IPT of 75 and a pH 3.67, which Pierre Lurton told me is a little lower than normal. As usual, it is matured in 100% new oak. It has a very pure, correct and quite penetrating bouquet with black cherries, blackcurrant, graphite and a touch of wild mint. It is bashful at first but opens with confidence with aeration (incidentally, I allowed my sample 40 minutes to open). The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin and a killer line of acidity that imparts so much freshness from the starting gun. That soupçon on Cabernet Sauvignon does make a difference, lending a subtle vein of graphite that runs throughout the wine. It remains linear, with laser-like focus towards the extraordinarily persistent finish, pencil lead on the "HB" aftertaste. This is a classic and intellectual Cheval Blanc, not as charming perhaps as the 2015 Cheval Blanc, but it will unquestionably age gracefully over decades not years. Drink Date 2024 - 2060
The property is divided into 45 different plots and each plot has made some grand vin in the last five years. This is from 33 plots. 38% Cabernet Franc, 59% Merlot. The remaining 3% is Cabernet Sauvignon, from a parcel that has been replanted with Cabernet Franc successively. But they have decided to recover this gravelly plot by the road to St-Émilion with Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the first year it's in the grand vin as a reflection of the traditional assemblage of Cheval Blanc. Tasty floral start and then quite rich. A bit of grainy astringency (from those concrete vats?) in terms of texture - by no means unpleasant. Lots of floral notes, hint of putty and then lovely richness underneath. Quite a contrast between nose and palate. Smudgy palate and precise nose. Tannins really present on the end. Very floral on the nose. Big gap! Not sweet!! Drink 2028-2045
This is very powerful Cheval with searing tannins and bright fruit, acidity and mineral undertones. Full and muscular yet beautifully formed and polished. It’s all about the form to this. Better than 2015.
A wine of precision and extraordinary beauty, the 2016 Cheval Blanc is also one of the highlights of the year. In the glass, it is precise, delicate and understated. Hints of espresso, plum, spice and wild cherry all develop in the glass, but it is the wine's feel and vivid personality that stand out most. I expect the 2016 will put on weight during its aging, both in barrel and later in bottle. It is an absolutely stunning wine in every way.
The production is 100000 bottles (the same as last year when they made no second wine). They were saved by the clay in the soil as this regulated the water amazingly and the resulting wine is dense, tannic and powerful but at the same time melodic, sensual and refreshing. Terrific richness and length and with superb gloss, this is a wine in perfect equilibrium and it signals a precision move for Cheval Blanc.
Cabernet Sauvignon makes a (small) appearance in the Grand Vin for the first time in ten years at Cheval in 2016. It’s a suitably dense, grippy, well-structured wine, with fine, savoury tannins, taut acidity, layers of dark plum and blackberry fruit and stylish oak. 2028-40
The class of a top second wine very often reflects the origins and quality of the terroir of its Grand Vin. This is most certainly the case in this superb wine from the Ch Haut-Brion stable. With Merlot as the dominant grape variety at 55% in this blend, it is full of rich bramble and plum aromas. In the mouth it has a wonderfully rich succulence, supported by some powerful, chunky intensity, with hints of a gritty tannic structure, providing depth and complexity. DR
The 2016 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a blend of 51.3% Merlot, 13.1% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2.6% Petit Verdot. It has a little more fruité compared to the La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion, yet not quite the same mineral tension or complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with supple black fruit, a fine line of acidity and gentle grip, but I would be seeking a little more personality and depth towards the finish. That said, it does have commendable freshness, but my money would be on the La Chapelle this year. Drink Date 2020 - 2032
Dark crimson. Intense nose that's very Haut-Brion. Fine, restrained and just a bit low key. But very classy fruit and oak. Would give a lot of pleasure quite young. Drink 2023-2038
This is powerful and intense with lots of minerals, crushed stones and dark fruit. Dense and linear. Minerally and very energetic.
The 2016 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a dense, powerful wine. I have no doubt that at other times in Bordeaux's history, the 2016 Clarence could have passed for Grand Vin in terms of its quality. Gravel, woodsmoke, tobacco, incense and dried flowers infuse a core of dark red stone fruits in this powerful, voluptuous second wine from Haut-Brion. This is a tremendous showing.
As with La Mission Haut-Brion and La Chapelle, there is a beautiful signature here running from grand vin to second wine, a clear indication of quality. This is a little more intense than La Chapelle, which was pretty and floral, showing a firmer side with cassis and blackberry. A gorgeous, confident wine. It's very hard to think of a vintage where things are so well constructed and yet so soft. Clarence de Haut-Brion represents 31% of production, from a blend of 51.3% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.1% Cabernet Franc and 2.6% Petit Verdot aged in 33% new oak.
Tense and rather firm and the difference between this wine and La Chapelle is one of nervousness. Le Clarence is very grainy and active and rather firm and dry and this makes it a much harder wine to loosen up and investigate. The power is undoubted but it is also rather gruff and belligerent and this makes it rather massive and blunt at this stage. The future will be bright but I have no idea when this wine will start to drink. It could be as far away as fifteen years...
Made with 31% of the total production at Haut-Brion, this second wine is noticeably lighter and more forward than the Grand Vin. It’s a subtle, refined, scented red with raspberry and black cherry flavours, a hint of dried herbs and good underlying structure. 2022-30
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenère. This fifth growth’s superb terroir has come to the fore in 2016. It closely neighbours Mouton and Lafite and has a high proportion of old vines, including the now rare Bordeaux variety of Carmenère. Purchased by Baron Philippe de Rothschild in 1970, its 2016 is a wonderful example of the property’s potential. It has an elegant, sophisticated fruit aroma, and mineral, savoury tannins that give the wine a nervous energy. The long salty length promises nuanced complexities to come with age. CP
The 2016 Clerc Milon is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (the latter vinification intégrale, so that it includes 50% of the stems, and Philippe Dhalluin said he was pleased with the results). It has a very pure bouquet, a mixture of red and black fruit, a touch of cedar and ash in the background. It takes time to really unfold in the glass. The palate is adorable: svelte tannin, beautifully pitched acidity, great depth with a silky smooth finish that just caresses the mouth. There is a little tightness here compared to the more expressive 2016 d'Armailhac, but I have no doubt that it will turn into a top-flight Clerc-Milon. Drink Date 2023 - 2050
Real aromatic lift. Calm, collected, lovely 'minerality'. Completely pure. Fully ripe but not a trace of sweetness. So cool! Drink 2025-2043
Refined and ultra-fine with a linear and polished character. Full-bodied, yet tight and racy. A classy and sophisticated young wine.
The 2016 Clerc Milon is dense, plush and undeniably appealing. Plump fruit and supple tannins add to the wine's considerable charm. Here, too, the texture is sweet, plush and quite generous. A burst of dark blue/purplish fruit, grilled herbs, menthol and licorice punctuates the vivid finish. Clerc Milon has been terrific on each of the three occasions I have tasted it so far.
An estate that has been making great leaps forward over recent years, and once again we have a gorgeous Clerc on our hands. This is extremely succulent, with aromatic complexity and a freshness that just bursts out of the glass. Things start off closed for the first minute or so, then the juice comes rushing through. The mid-palate is smooth and polished but also bursting with energy. This is quite clearly one of their best ever wines, ripped through with sweet cherry and wild blackberry fruit, tightened up by slate and cedar. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (some of the oldest plantings of this grape in Bordeaux).
This is another superb Clerc Milon and it shows the continued renaissance of this eminent label. While retaining the characteristic vintage tenseness and longuer it also has a juicy core which is easy to identify and this will grow and grow over time, pushing the astringency aside. I think that this might be a wine which blossoms rather earlier than many and then, keeping its plump cassis fruit aloft, gain complexity as it softens and matures.
Very different from but just as enjoyable as the richer, smoother 2015, this is a very impressive Clerc-Milon showing more freshness and precision. Bright and aromatic, with cut grass and black fruit notes, granular tannins and deftly integrated oak. 2022-30
Shining purple colour. This wine highlights the outstanding success of St Julien this vintage. Full of deep blackforest fruits with hints of violets and liquorice. In the palate it has a delicious sense of depth with great volume and layered tannic structure. A bold and full style, balancing richness with a bite of lively freshness. A real feeling of class and tremendous length on the finish.
The 2016 Clos du Marquis was picked from 30 September to 19 October and consists of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, matured in 55% new oak. Yields came in at 40 hectoliters per hectare and the alcohol at 13.55%. The bouquet is very intense at the moment with small black cherries, incense, iris and a touch of shucked oyster shells. The palate is beautiful, perhaps one of the most powerful that I came across in Saint Julien, certainly no shy retiring flower, yet it effortlessly manages to retain the precision and tension one expects from this cru. There is a firm back bone here, but the tannins are so precise that you barely notice, while the aftertaste has superb salinity. This is a majestic Clos du Marquis, but it will require several years in the cellar. Drink Date 2025 - 2055
73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 55% new oak. Exotically rich on the nose! I would never have believed I could encounter such richness at this address. Some real life here. Racy and rich and lots of black fruit. Richness but some structure too. Racy. 13.55% Drink 2023-2040
The clarity and beauty of this young red are brilliant with blackberry, blueberry and mineral undertones. Full and racy. Long and wonderfully polished. Racy. Better than the 2015.
The 2016 Clos du Marquis is a striking Saint-Julien. Vibrant, nuanced and finely sculpted, it captures the essence of the appellation in its dark fruit and inviting personality. Freshly cut flowers, mint, berries and sweet herbal notes are all laced together in the glass. Medium in body and very classic in feel, the 2016 is showing very well today. The blend is 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, with the Cabernet Sauvignon very much at center stage.
After taking out Le Petite Marquise fruit from the overall Clos du Marquis harvest, we are left with an even more focussed wine than before. This has given the flavour more identity and succulence. This is a full, velvety, silky wine with stunning balance and it is also very true to its commune. Thrilling aromatics and also very silky and suave, this is a more intense wine than of late and it looks very smart indeed.
Clos du Marquis is not the easiest wine to taste young, as it’s pretty uncompromising stuff that needs time in barrel (and bottle) to soften. There’s a touch of the hair shirt here, with bloody, ferrous grip, savoury tannins, plenty of oak and hunkered down fruit. 2025-38
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Under the precise and assiduous guidance of winemaker Marielle Cazaux, La Conseillante has produced a stellar wine this year. The fruit is held in a cold room for one night before sorting. This helps retain the natural freshness of the fruit flavours, and the characteristic floral notes of violets and peonies. Black fruit flavours soak the palate, highlighted with some liquorice spice and velvety tannins. CP
The 2016 La Conseillante is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc picked from 22 September to 13 October and 12-17 October at 39.5 hectoliters per hectare. Winemaker Marielle Cazaux told me that there is 13.8% alcohol, nearly one degree less than in 2015, with a pH of 3.65 and it is matured in 70% new oak. This has a succinct bouquet that is stylistically not that far removed from its neighbor Vieux Château Certan: detailed and understated at first with scents of blackberry, wild hedgerow and a touch of pressed flowers. The palate is very well balanced with a fine backbone, but what really marks out this La Conseillante is the salinity that comes through on the second half. It exerts a gentle grip in the mouth, reveals a little spiciness towards the finish whereupon it gently fans out, leaving a touch of black pepper on the saline aftertaste. This is a classic La Conseillante and the best since the majestic 2010. Similar to that vintage, it will require several years in bottle, but it will be well worth the wait. Drink Date 2023 - 2060
Not as aromatic as some of the very top Pomerols. Lovely texture but not as expressive as some. A hint of soapiness. Lots of texture buried under the substance here but needs time for the flavour to develop. Lots to chew on. Drink 2026-2040
This is the greatest Conseillante in modern times. Full body and incredible tannins that are polished and velvety. The texture lasts for minutes. I am speechless. What a young and awe-inspiring wine!
The 2016 La Conseillante is one of the undisputed stars of the vintage. Dark, rich and voluptuous, with no hard edges and exceptional balance, the 2016 has been simply extraordinary on the two occasions I have tasted it so far. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, lavender and spice notes flesh out in the glass, but it is the wine's textural feel and overall balance that stand out most. The 2016 is plush, deep and textured, yet retains the super-classic midweight feel that is such a Conseillante signature.
They only lost 2-3% of their crop in the rainy weather, but they work organically and so everything seemed to perform really well. When the sun came out the vineyard sprang into life. The old vines looked great but some of the younger vines needed to have their grapes chopped off to save the vines. During August the vines shut down and this means that the alcohol level is lower than normal, but the flavours are even more focussed. Beautiful weight and structure coupled with the epic purity and lift on the finish makes this a hedonistic and extraordinary La Conseillante. Extremely well made and packed with finesse and charm, this is a near perfect creation. They employ 100% cold pre-fermentation maceration and also pre-rinse the barrels in order to soften the impact of the new oak and these details have really paid off. They adjusted the Cabernet Franc percentage from 15% to 20% by taking a little from the second wine Duo and this has helped the aromas and also the acidity perfectly. At La Conseillante this was known as the wow blend and it certainly made me say the same word when I tasted it. This is the finest young La Conseillante I have ever had the pleasure of tasting and winemaker Marielle Cazaux and her team should take a bow!
Back on form after a slight dip in quality in 2015, this feels like a more assured, confident wine, with classic La Conseillante perfume, grassy, leafy freshness, fine-grained tannins and lovely elegance and balance. Deceptively forward, it will age very well. 2026-36
Unquestionably the most exciting en primeur Cos I have tasted for many years, this is an absolute beauty. It possesses all the polish that one would expect from this distinguished neighbour of Ch Lafite, classically blended with 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot (1% Cabernet Franc). It has a deep vibrant purple colour. The initially reserved blackberry aromas evolve in the palate, balancing a silky freshness with a finely polished grainy tannic structure. This has huge class and is a great wine in the making.
The 2016 Cos d'Estournel takes the 2016 baton and runs with it. A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 26 September and 15 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare, this fabulous Saint Estèphe will be matured in 60% new oak. The alcohol level this year is 13.07%, which proprietor Michel Reybier reminded me is almost 1.5% lower than in 2010. This is clearly a more classically styled Cos d'Estournel that is completely different than say, the 2009 Cos d'Estournel and the more flamboyant, exotic wines in recent years. It actually bears more stylistic similarities to its neighbor Montrose. It is extremely detailed with blackberry and a touch of boysenberry, the fruit almost "creeping up" on you by stealth and then underneath, an undertow of minerals, wet limestone and even flint. The palate has astonishing: exquisite balance, perhaps the most precise and detailed Cos d'Estournel that I have encountered in many years of tasting at this address. It segues into a Pauillac-like second-half with veins of graphite strafing the black fruit, but what marks this Cos d'Estournel is the palpable energy and tension allied with an effortless nature. The persistence, the reverberation in the mouth is quite magnificent, perhaps even longer on my second visit to the property compared to the first. It really is a brilliant Cos d'Estournel that oozes class and sophistication, moreover, a wine that is going to give serious amounts of drinking pleasure over a very long period of time. Boom—and Cos drops the mic. Tasted twice, almost three weeks apart, with consistent notes. Drink Date 2026 - 2065
Energy and raciness on the nose. Gentle and lifted. And then lots of tannins underneath. Fresh almost sandy tannins. Good energy and tea-leaf sensation. Excellent freshness. Long. Restrained. Elegant.
The finish is something else here. This is a wine that's so powerful and tannic yet at the same time so polished and superb on the finish. Full-bodied, beautifully crafted and precise. This is a wine that really grabs your attention. The agility and power are more than impressive. Wow is the word.
The beautiful 2016 Cos d'Estournel is one of the most polished, gracious young Cos d'Estournels I can remember tasting. Aromatic freshness and lift, along with a distinctly red fruit profile, are among the signatures. It will be interesting to see if this style of Cos - one in which concentration and textural richness are backed off - is the result of the vintage or an evolution in winemaking philosophy, or perhaps, as is most likely, a little bit of both.
This is one of the best Cos d'Estournels that I can remember trying at this early stage, it really does have every hair standing up on end. Powerful and deep, with a clear intensity but such delicacy; this is fresh, beautiful and succulent. It moves effortlessly through the palate without ever letting you forget that it's there. Deep black cherries, touches of dark chocolate and graphite are driven forward by a pulse of energy. From a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 60% new oak.
The nose here is stunning with clear, bright, perfume and exceptional direction. The energy and impact of the fruit is very impressive and while it is closed and tart the length is amazing. There was some ‘blockage’ in the summer and when the leaves shut down this had the effect of decreasing the overall power and alcohol of this wine. In addition, the cold, clay soils also helped to temper the dry conditions and the heat. The tannins are tasty, long and savoury and they lengthen the experience. There is a possibility that they will alter the length of time that this wine spends in oak, according to its flavour, but they are not sure yet. Either way, this is a slender, long and fascinating wine and I am happy to suggest that it will fatten up with time and possess the magical qualities of a very long-lived wine.
“There’s a freshness in the wine and I’m not exactly sure where it came from,” admits Dominique Arangoits. And very tasty it is too. Graphite and orange zest aromas segue into a fine, elegant, leafy palate with stylish oak and filigree tannins. 2024-36
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, with 50% new oak. Located on the gravel rise of St Estèphe, this 18 hectare vineyard benefits from a sunny exposure. A deep plummy purple with cool Cabernet fruit aromas of blackcurrant and graphite. There is some plumpness on the palate from the high proportion of Merlot, and the chewy tannic texture is supported by fresh acidity. CP
The 2016 Cos Labory has a pleasant, almost nonchalant bouquet with blackberry, briary and pressed flower aromas. It just needs a little more delineation. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, finer tannins than I found in the 2015 last year, with a harmonious, if not awfully complex finish. Yet, I can see this Saint-Estephe giving pleasure over the next decade or so. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
Dark crimson. Thick, sweet and high toned. Then a bit too tarted up. You would certainly enjoy this wine, provided you didn't taste it alongside another 2016 from the same appellation. Lots here and pretty supple. Just a tiny hint of green at the end. Drink 2026-2040
A medium to full-bodied red with polished, chewy tannins and a fresh finish. Tight and structured. A little lean but this should develop nicely.
The 2016 Cos Labory is bold, racy and flamboyant. An immediate, voluptuous wine, the 2016 possesses striking density and silkiness in its red toned fruit. I imagine the 2016 will drink well right out of the gate. Even today, its balance is simply exceptional. Bright red cherry, blood orange, spice and wild flowers infuse the seductive finish. This is very nicely done.
A blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 29% Merlot. Striking aromas of pomegranates and dark fresh blackcurrants. In the palate a very straightforward St Julien style, it has real energy, with its bright fresh fruit flavours and rounded tannic texture on the finish. DR
The 2016 La Croix de Beaucaillou is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot that is matured in 60% new oak for 12 months and the remainder in one-year-old barrels. It has quite a rich and opulent bouquet, quite glossy with scents of kirsch, crushed strawberry, crème de cassis and a touch of vanilla. The palate is medium-bodied with quite sumptuous tannin counterbalance but a keen thread of acidity (the pH is 3.65). There is great tension here, immense purity with quite a structured, almost flinty finish that is classic in style. Though it is a Deuxième Vin, it deserves several years in bottle. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. Not a second wine but from a particular area in the middle of the AOC. 60% new oak. IPT 78. Bright, deep crimson. Tastes so dramatic that it's on the edge – almost camembert notes. Lots of spiciness and glamour and then the oak insists a bit. The new oak is a tad obvious at the moment. 13.44% Drink 2026-2040
This is very tight and focused with blackberries, blackcurrants and licorice. Lots of crushed stones, too. Full-bodied, tightly wound and pretty. Exciting second wine from Ducru.
The 2016 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou is a wine of pure sensuality. Silky tannins, soft contours and deeply spiced flavors inform this racy, supple Saint-Julien from proprietor Bruno Borie. A gracious yet dense wine, the 2016 will drink well with minimal cellaring. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off the 2016. It is a wine of pure and total pleasure. Tasted two times.
Beaucaillou) (64 Cabernet Sauvignon, 33 Merlot, 3 Petit Verdot) | 60% new oak | 13.4% alc. | 78 IPT This is a very exotic and very attractive La Croix. Great focus and also seductively spicy with Asian notes and also coffee and chocolate notes which I think come from the hot summer. Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, this is a modern and succulent wine and I think that it will do very well. Superb glossiness and exuberance mark this as a very fine selection.
Not a second wine, says Bruno Borie with defiance, but a vineyard selection from the central part of the estate, this is a delicious St Julien, combining perfume with structure, concentration with freshness and balance. Long and beautifully balanced. 2024-32
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. This is always a good bet from the Denis Durantou cellar. A spicy fruit nose is supported by compact tannin layers and ripe berry fullness on the palate. CP
The 2016 Les Cruzelles, Denis Durantou's second estate in Lalande-de-Pomerol, is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc picked 22-29 September and on 6 October, respectively. The yield is 40 hectoliters per hectare, and it is matured in 50% new oak. It has a very fragrant bouquet with perfumed red cherry and crushed strawberry fruit infused with minerals, like the La Chenade, very harmonious and detailed. The palate is medium-bodied with crunchy red berry fruit, crisp acidity, a little spicier than the La Chenade and perhaps with a touch more persistence on the finish. Cellar space should be made for this sensual and engaging wine, and if prices follow their trend as in previous years, it could be one of the Right Bank's outstanding values. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. Picked 22-29 September and 6 October. More clay and 50% new oak. Ripe and round with real racy structure. Lots of energy and a little more tannin than the Chenade. Good stuff! GV. Drink 2022-2030
A very finely textured red with cherries, chocolate and berries. Medium body and fine tannins. A beauty.
The 2016 Lés Cruzelles is a more serious, structured wine than the Chenade. Beams of tannin give the wine its sense of energy and drive. Blue and purplish hued stone fruits, licorice, lavender, menthol and graphite are nicely delineated. Far from an easygoing wine, the 2016 will need a year or two in bottle to be at its best. I was not at all surprised when Denis Durantou told me he planned to give the 2016 an extra month or two in barrel. The wine will probably need all of that added time in barrel to fully come together.
Another success from Denis Durantou. How many times does this man need to prove that he can deliver in every vintage? His wines are just so utterly drinkable, that's the key to Durantou. This was a little tighter and more serious, then we changed samples to a younger one which is more expressive, and you feel the juice catching the tannins in that wonderful way where there are two tracks happening - the top frame of fruits and wet stones, and then the juice bubbling underneath, filling out the mid-palate. Love this. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc on gravel-clay soils yielding 40hl/ha, aged in 50% new oak. The Merlot was picked between 22nd and 29th September while the Cab Franc was picked on 6th October.
If La Chenade (q.v.) is the Red Maiden then Les Cruzelles is the Black Knight. The liquorice and black cherry notes here, coupled with the delicious, lip-smacking acidity and plush mid-palate make this a drop dead gorgeous wine.
Les Cruzelles is sourced from clay soils and tends to be more structured and backward than its stable mate, La Chenade. Firm and slightly gruff in its youth, but with lovely underlying fruit, subtle oak and the texture that it always a feature of Denis Durantou’s wines. 2022-30
52% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. This has absorbed all the Petit Verdot in 2016. Exceptionally deep blackish crimson. Not especially expressive on the nose but really deep and intense on the palate Very dense for a second wine but with a good raciness and energy. Rather elegant and flattering without resorting to sweetness. Quite cool on the end. Lighter and less dense than the grand vin. Drink 2024-2039
A linear and fine rendition of Montrose’s second wine with blueberry and blackberry character. Medium to full body, firm tannins and a juicy finish. Structured. Racy.
The 2016 La Dame de Montrose is plump, juicy and seductive from the very first taste. Bright floral notes give the wine lovely aromatic expansiveness. Sweet red cherry, plum, pomegranate and sweet spice notes are all pushed forward. In many vintages, La Dame is a smaller-scale version of the Grand Vin, but in 2016 it is almost unusually polished and sensual, an impression that is enhanced by voluptuous, almost opulent fruit and ripe, silky tannins. In 2016, La Dame is also dominated by Merlot, which no doubt contributes to its personality. Tasted two times.
As you’d expect from the second wine of Montrose in a top year like 2016, this is a muscular, sinewy, densely constructed wine with lots of smoky, aromatic oak, damson and blueberry fruit and layered, compact tannins. Needs time. 2025-36
Ch de Fieuzal is sometime overlooked in the line-up of great white wines in Pessac, which is such a shame as this property is firing on all cylinders. Gentle lime colour, bright and fresh, with hints of crushed blackcurrant leaves and lemons. In the palate there is a focused balance between alcohol, fruit and acidity. Utterly harmonious and beautifully made. DR
The De Fieuzal 2016 Blanc has a rich, tropical tinged bouquet with scents of guava, pineapple and mango, nicely defined and probably one of the most commercially minded dry white bordeaux. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, with subtle notes of orange rind and nectarine dovetailing into a lightly spiced, stem ginger finish. Certainly this is one of the better examples of its kind this year. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
Lively and lemony. Directed and fresh, but a tad skinny. Fast fade. Drink 2017-2021
The 2016 de Fieuzal Blanc is done in a soft, succulent style that offers considerable appeal. Citrus, white flowers, mint and almonds all flesh out in the glass. Sémillon and Muscadelle add that extra kick of mid-palate sweetness that is one of the wine's main signatures.
Very laid back and ancient-feeling with relaxed fruit and a very high tensile finish. It has all of the ingredients required for a long-lived wine.
This charming property owned by Denis Lurton first caught our eye in 2015 and it is great to see his 2016 continuing in the same vein. This looks destined to be one of the great bargains of the vintage. Full of smoky, coffee aromas, and succulent richness with a little bit of Margaux suaveness and sophistication. Earlier drinking, but hugely rewarding. A lovely wine. DR
The 2016 Desmirail is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. It does not possess the most complex Margaux nose, although the purity deserves a commendation with blueberry and cassis fruit. The palate has quite a rich and showy opening though fortunately it does not go over the top. There is a slight metallic edge towards the finish, which I hope will disappear by the time of bottling. It just feels a little pinched at the moment, so there is room for improvement here. Drink Date 2020 - 2032
Dark crimson with a slightly weak rim. Very sweet, almost chocolatey oak (like the old Tertre nose). Really nice texture and pace on the palate though. Provided you don't have anything against that aroma, you could take a lot of pleasure from this wine. Drink 2025-2043
A chewy and rich red with plenty of currant and black-cherry character. Tannic. Should come together nicely with some barrel aging.
The 2016 Desmirail is a bold, powerful wine. The darker side of the appellation comes through in the wine's dark flavor profile and imposing structural profile. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco and licorice run through the 2016. Potent and virile, the 2016 is likely to need a few years to come into its own. Even so, it is impressive today.
Denis Lurton is in charge at this 37ha Margaux estate, and he has produced a classy, cedar-scented 2016 that has a beautiful vibrancy to it. It is a fairly dramatic take on the year, with full extraction of damson fruit and chewy tannins.
Slight bitterness on the palate detracts from an overall nice wine with decent density of fruit and tell-tale coffee notes. I would like more silkiness but the blunt tannins will subside in due course leaving a competent wine.
A sister property to Roc des Cambes, with vines planted on the flat terraces below the slopes of the Côtes de Bourg. There is an intense interplay between fruit and oak, with aromatic grace. It has a luscious intensity on the palate with a formidable density of tannins for a modest unclassified Bordeaux. Its freshness brings a tasty length to the wine. CP
The 2016 Domaine de Cambes, owned by the Mitjavile family of Le Tertre-Rôteboeuf fame, is a blend of 5% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc and 80% Merlot this year. It has a detailed, juicy bouquet with mulberry, wild strawberry and just a touch of iodine that comes through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin on the entry, dark berry fruit with a touch of cola, nicely balanced with a harmonious and approachable finish. Give this a year or two after bottling, and it should drink well for the next 8-10 years. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Just across the Gironde from Issan, from the flat land at the base of the slope of Roc de Cambes. Lively and sweet and with lots of richness and energy. Amazingly good for an AOC Bordeaux. Luscious richness. Fantastic length. Exoticissimo. RRP €40 in France – perhaps the most expensive AOC Bordeaux? Drink 2020-2030
The 2016 Domaine des Cambes is rich, sumptuous and beautiful, all qualities that readers will be able to enjoy pretty much as soon as the wine is released. Super-ripe, dark and racy, it captures the more overt side of the vintage. A wine of exotic ripeness and intensity, the 2016 is gorgeous today. A rush of black cherry, plum, menthol and licorice infuses this expressive Côtes de Bordeaux from the Mitjaville family.
Completely unhinged on the nose with the wildest fruit and texture imaginable, this wine has a thrilling cadence with powdery tannins and skins infiltrating the flavour throughout. Serious length and lovely balance mark this as a superb Domaine de Cambes. The sauvage notes are fascinating and the tannins are perfectly balanced with no trace of astringency.
A bold and rich Domaine de Chevalier Rouge. This has deep intense dark Black Forest fruits on the nose and in the palate. The mouthfeel is one of warm rich intensity, with notes of dark chocolate and oriental spice. A long and sweet finish provides huge pleasure. DR
The 2016 Domaine de Chevalier is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot picked between 4-21 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare, and matured in 35% new oak. Oh yes! This is a perfumed bouquet that unfolds beautifully in the glass with blackberry, cedar, smoke and a light marine influence, not unlike Japanese nori. The palate is medium-bodied with such fine tannins that it bought to mind Burgundy rather than Bordeaux. There is a grainy texture here, quite saline in the mouth with an entrancing sense of symmetry, very classic but not austere on the finish, with a long and saline aftertaste. This is an outstanding Domaine de Chevalier from the busiest man in Bordeaux, Oliver Bernard. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink Date 2025 - 2060
A dense and tight DC with minerals, crushed stones, cement and blackcurrants. Full, tight and racy. Gorgeous. Leaf and tobacco undertones. Very tannic. Tight. So structured. Complex.
A dense and tight DC with minerals, crushed stones, cement and blackcurrants. Full, tight and racy. Gorgeous. Leaf and tobacco undertones. Very tannic. Tight. So structured. Complex.
The 2016 Domaine de Chevalier is a wine of total precision and class. Today, the flavors are remarkably primary, while the tannins, unusually, are totally buried by the fruit. It will be many years before the 2016 is ready to show all of its cards, but it is a brilliant wine in the making. Dark red cherry, blood orange, mint, white pepper and rose petal infuse the strikingly delineated, vibrant finish.
Rich, round and beautiful, there really is distance between red and white this year. This has all the signature welcome and power of the very best vintages of Domaine de Chevalier, one of the 'clue' châteaux you should follow to track the quality of reds and whites in Bordeaux in any given vintage. Here you see that 2016 hits it out of the park with the reds. Rich damson, deep black cherry, slate, wet stones and curls of cold ash - this has beautiful complexity and texture. Stunning.
This is a flamboyant, layered, upholstered DdC with succulent fruit and also very well-judged oak. There is tannin here but it is sprinkled generously along the whole length of the palate as opposed to arriving solely at the end. Impressive and with an extra level of juiciness on board, this is a very charming wine.
Like the white Domaine de Chevalier, this is made to age and wasn’t showing at its most open and appealing during en primeur week. It’s a dense, firm, serious wine that needs quite a bit of time to digest its oak. But who’s in a hurry here? 2024-34
Olivier Bernard’s brilliant estate never fails to impress with its white wine. Extraordinarily intense citrus fruits on the nose. The palate starts with huge drive, bite and freshness which then evolves into a mouth-coating richness. Beautifully layered with hints of fresh pineapple and grapefruit. Incredibly long and simply delicious. DR
The Domaine de Chevalier 2016 Blanc has a somewhat delicate, nuanced bouquet this year, one that demanded gentle coaxing from the glass. It reveals delineated aromas of green apple, gooseberry and kiwi fruit, flintiness tucked just behind. The palate is well balanced and slightly Burgundy-like on the entry (strangely, not unlike a Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc!). It opens nicely in the glass but never looses its head. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity and fine delineation, with pretty lemongrass and shaved ginger notes judiciously sprinkled over the finish. It is a Domaine de Chevalier Blanc that I would be inclined to consume in its youth rather than cellar, but hey, you never know the longevity of these wines; they can always surprise you. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
Light and so discreet one can understand why it never shows well in blind tastings. Edge of green. Succulent but so dry and low key… Wait a decade at least and it should please enormously… Drink 2030-2050
Domaine de Chevalier's 2016 Blanc is unusually soft and silky, words I can't believe I’m writing about a young vintage of this reference-point white. Creamy, ample and inviting, the 2016 should drink well pretty much right out of the gate. These wines have a track record of aging for decades; I imagine the 2016 might have a slightly shorter life than other recent vintages, but not by much. The only thing missing is the delineation and explosive energy that, in the best vintages, makes the Blanc one of the world's most distinctive and pedigreed whites.
This is clearly one of the more impressive whites on display here. They have teased out a sense of verticality, and you can feel the walls and scrape the flesh of the citrus. If it wasn't for the heights that we know Domaine de Chevalier can ascend to, you would be sighing over the structure of this wine. White peach and rich pear are seasoned with beautiful spicing, but it just lacks the grip and drama of the best vintages.
Powerful and oaky, this is a structured wine with some considerable muscle and it is quite hard to see any tenderness within. It will take a while to soften.
One of the tighter, more focused Pessac-Léognan whites in 2016, this is smoky, concentrated and almost coiled on the tongue, with plenty of toasty oak, pithy acidity and considerable underlying concentration. 2019-28
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. The intensity of fruit is so precise and poised, this wine’s quality is clear from the start. The 100% new French oak is seamlessly integrated with the pure, perfumed aromas of blackcurrants, cedar and spice. The tannins melt in the mouth, and the high acid gives tremendous freshness. All these elements are neatly tied up in a balanced 13.5% alcohol. CP
The 2016 Ducru Beaucaillou is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot cropped at 36 hectoliters per hectare between 24 September and 14 October and matured in 100% new oak barrels (for a total of 18 months). The alcohol level comes in at 13.63% with a pH of 3.71. The bouquet is very closed at first, and so I aerated the Grand Vin by transferring from one glass to another. It gradually unfurls to reveal scents of blackberry, bilberry, cedar and a touch of pencil lead. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm backbone cloaked in layers of black fruit. The new oak is probably more present here than some of its peers, but there is more than sufficient substance to absorb that. The mineralité surfaces right towards the persistent finish, completing what is a Ducru Beaucaillou built for the long term. Drink Date 2026 - 2065
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 100% new oak. Yields were the lowest in the commune: just 37 hl/ha because of poor flowering, esca pruning and selection. Still, 7,500 cases made! Very dark. Racy and sinewy with lots of richness and energy. Smooth and supple and quite sweet – arguably too sweet? – but with masses of tannins buried down there. Blackberry compote mixed with health juice. 13.63% Drink 2026-2046
Very focused and reserved with a mineral, blackberry, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and refined. Walking a tightrope between steely tannins and and dark fruit. This is highly intellectual and unique. Great finish. Remake of the extraordinary 2014? Stronger than the 2015, for sure.
One of the highlights of the vintage, the 2016 Ducru-Beaucaillou is simply magnificent. Vertical structure and intensity in all of its dimensions make a strong opening statement. Dark blue and black fruit, spice, new leather and smoke run through this superb, spectacularly rich, voluptuous Saint-Julien. The tannins are present, but they are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. Nothing really stands out. In the end, the 2016 is a wine of spectacular balance and pure class. The natural richness comes through in the gravitas and profoundness of the finish. Even with all of its intensity, the 2016 comes in at just 13.5% alcohol. Tasted two times.
Ducru has a magnificent nose with layers of fruit and there is some wonderful density here with admirable focus. The tannins are bright and they lift the wine superbly. The tone is not quite as dark as the Pauillacs and it is also more red-fruited in spite of the high Cabernet Sauvignon percentage and yet this is a more sensual style. Lovely and pure, this is a more forward wine than many but it will also keep for a long time because the tannins are so refined.
A delicious, focused, well-structured Ducru from a very fine vintage, this has fine tannins, very stylish oak integration, dark berry scents, some Asian spices and a silky, polished finish. Deceptively forward, because this should age beautifully in bottle. 2025-40
Duhart sometimes gets overlooked amongst its illustrious companions at Lafite, but on this occasion it was an absolute showstopper. Full of bright currants and pomegranates on the nose. In the palate it is as complete a wine as one could ask for, expressing real harmony, with an almost velvety tannic texture. The flavours are gorgeously layered, aided by a deliciously crisp freshness. Very classy and totally balanced. Quite lovely. DR
The 2016 Duhart-Milon-Rothschild is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot picked between 26 September and 12 October with around 13.3% alcohol, slightly higher than in 2015 that suffered a little dilution. The bouquet is tightly wound with blackberry, cigar box and sous-bois aromas that gently unfold in the glass. This is classic, conservative Duhart-Milon. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a crisp line of acidity, just a touch of black pepper enlivening the black fruit. Overall, this represents in some ways a return to the slightly more austere style of Duhart-Milon, yet there is perhaps now more approachability and certainly plenty of freshness. For me, this is a step up from the 2015 and it comes recommended. Drink Date 2023 - 2045
67% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 3 to 12 October, 33% Merlot picked 26 to 29 September. Dark glowing crimson. Black pepper and intensity on the nose. Bone dry and enormous energy and savour. Real elegance and some majesty. Neat and well balanced. Bravo! Very much speaks of the vintage with its freshness and intensity. Drink 2027-2042
A firm and silky young red with a medium to full body and lovely chocolate, cedar and currant character. Flavorful finish. One of the best in a very long time.
The 2016 Duhart-Milon is an attractive midweight wine. Floral aromatics and soft, silky tannins give the wine its gracious personality. Dark cherry, plum, lavender and new leather all develop in the glass, but above all else, the 2016 is a gentle, subtle Pauillac that shows the more understated side of the year. I imagine it will drink well pretty much right out of the gate. Today, the Duhart is perhaps just a touch narrow in its construction. It will be interesting to see if it fleshes out a bit more during its aging.
Streamlined and pared back to the essentials, this is an excellent Duhart that has the classic reserve of this wine but with a pure fruit quality. There is a beautiful balance between fruit and tannins, and a clear elegance, almost surprisingly soft for a wine known to be backwards when young. But the softness is deceptive because there is both concentration and richness, it's simply the 2016 sleight of hand. From a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot, to be aged in 50% new oak.
Quite dark and chewy, this is a stocky wine with some power and depth but not much beauty. The fruit is compact and robust and there is a faint hint of wildness but otherwise it is a rather predictable Pauillac with grunt and muscle.
Refreshingly low in alcohol, as it was last year, and as most of the wines from the Lafite stable are again 2016, this is at the lighter, more elegant end of the spectrum for Pauillac, with scented cassis and dark plum flavours, a hint of cedar wood and bright acidity. 2021-26
Despite its long history, this sister property of Ch Giscours had remained in the shadows until the early 2000s. This sample was a little backward on tasting, but the palate has some charming fruit. It has a lighter in body than some others from this commune and should make for enjoyable early drinking. CP
The 2016 Du Tertre is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot picked from 27 September until 19 October. Estate manager Alexandre van Peek told me that this represents one of the highest levels of Cabernet Sauvignon in recent years. Matured in 35% new oak, it has a harmonious bouquet with pure blackberry, raspberry and mineral scents that are neat and well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, quite saline on the entry, understated at first, but gaining weight in the mouth and delivering a precise and minerally, classic Margaux finish. All it's missing is the persistence on the finish. It just seems to rush out the exit door before you've really gotten to know it. Hopefully it will develop that side during barrel maturation. Drink Date 2021 - 2045
Dark with the usual sweet oak nose. Just a little dead on the palate. Round and very well worked tannins but just a little short of freshness. Drink 2023-2040
A dense and tight red with currants, blueberries and hints of walnuts. Changes from pure fruit and then back to wet earth. The purity in the cabernet, the linear tannins and the drive with acidity behind it makes it one of the best Tertres ever. Better than 2015?
The 2016 du Tertre is soft, pliant and quite expressive. Sweet red cherry, white pepper, herbs, iron and smoke give the wine its distinctive savory personality. The 2016 is medium in body, yet offers lovely depth and midpalate pliancy. Floral notes and bright acids add freshness on a finish supported by firm tannins and creamy, expansive fruit. The 2016 is a terrific du Tertre. Tasted two times.
A beautifully smooth, silky du Tertre in 2016, with an emphasis on subtle spicing, full of subtle but unmistakably exotic black chocolate, white pepper and cloves. Elegant and slightly restrained with generously silky tannins, a lovely wine.
Always one of the most typical and recognisable of Margaux, this is delicate, floral and refreshing, achieving its effects without over-ripeness or extraction. Light and well balanced, with just a whisper of toasty oak and grassy elegance. 2021-28
90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. From Denis Durantou’s tiny 4.2 hectare estate. Glossy crimson red in the glass, with rich plum and sweet spice notes, and hints of cedar and tobacco. Denis keeps fermentation temperatures in check (between 26-28°C) so as to extract the highest quality tannins only. The palate is plump with juicy fruit and firm tannins, and this has the structure for ageing majestically. CP
The 2016 L'Eglise-Clinet is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc picked between 21 September and 4 October for the former and on 6 October for the latter. It was cropped at 43 hectoliters per hectare and matured in 80% new oak, with around 14.2% alcohol. Lucid in color, it has a quintessential L'Eglise-Clinet bouquet with blackberry, raspberry coulis, liquid minerals and hints of iris and incense. The palate is very precise and crisp, some of the finest tannins that you will encounter in Pomerol, tensile right from the beginning, taut and linear with immense precision towards the extended mineral-soaked finish. This is nothing less than a brilliant wine from Denis Durantou, undoubtedly one of the stars of the vintage. Drink Date 2024 - 2050
90% Merlot picked 21 September to 4 October (earlier than most), 10% Cabernet Franc picked 6 October. 43 hl/ha. 80% new oak. Deep sultry crimson. Heady. Savoury nose. Meaty flavours and fantastic structure with enough flesh in the middle. Not the sweetest and not as fat as usual but there is drama and depth here. Very long. I think this will come round. 14.3% Drink 2028-2045
This has so much violet and black-olive character to it. It’s full-bodied and powerful with incredible power and depth of old-vine tannins. It just rolls on and on. What a finish.
The 2016 L'Eglise-Clinet is a magnificent, heart-stopping wine. Deep and expressive, yet with striking translucence, the 2016 simply has it all. Scents of graphite, crushed rocks, blueberry jam, spice, menthol and smoke resonate on the palate with soaring intensity and tremendous richness. Mind blowing in its depth, with tremendous persistence, an extraordinary poise, the 2016 is captivating.
This is an imposing wine with huge, grainy, blackberry and violet-soaked flavours all backed up with otherworldly tannins and an immense finish. It is so spicy and so dramatic and the freshness on the finish is equal to the exuberance of the fruit and tannin. There is balsamic power here coupled with earthiness, but it is all set against a backdrop of lush fruit. Amazing.
You’d better not be in a hurry to drink this, because it’s a dense, thick, sinewy wine that will reward long cellaring. Serious and concentrated, it has notes of damson, black fig and roasted herbs and a foundation of layered tannins. 2029-35
One of the most exciting Evangiles of recent times, which highlights the extraordinary quality in this area of Pomerol between Pétrus and Vieux Château Certan. With 92% Merlot, this is jet black in colour, and oozes sweet scented cherries and damsons. An absolute charmer if ever there was one, this is perfectly balanced between elegance and extraordinarily ostentatious deep dark spiced fruits. Very fine, very long and totally irresistible. DR
The 2016 L'Evangile is a blend of 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc; the latter suffered more stress than the Merlot this year, especially the younger three and ten-year-old plantings. It was picked from 26 September until 10 October, which is earlier than many other Right Bank properties. It has a clean and precise bouquet with mineral-infused black fruit, more "distant" than the 2015 last year. With time, that small proportion of Cabernet Franc becomes more evident. The palate is medium-bodied with firm and grainy tannin. This is very structured as this Pomerol is wont to be, a gentle grip in the mouth, touches of tar and tobacco towards the finish that needs a little more flesh. I feel that this will develop during its élevage. This is excellent, although I do miss the contribution of the Cabernet Franc. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
Average yield 29 hl/ha, reduced by very low yields on their heavy percentage of young Cabernet Franc vines. 8% Cabernet Franc. They cooled the must to 5 °C for 5-10 days until the alcohol had reached 10%. Extremely deep colour. Very intense, concentrated wine. Sweet start. Very muscular. Almost like cassis cordial! Massive 14.5% alcohol. Exotic and distinctive. Big and muscular. Brooding. Savoury. 14.5% Drink 2030-2050
This is a remake of the great 2015 but it’s much finer and more sophisticated. Such great quality and very sexy. Full body and ultra-polished and clean tannins. Salty, dark fruit. Superb length. Want to drink it!
Jean-Pascal Vazart has done a magnificent job with the 2016 L'Évangile. Silky and caressing on the palate, the wine soars out of the glass with extraordinary perfume. Somehow it manages to be incredibly dense and deep yet stay light on its feet. Perfectly ripe, silky tannins add to an impression of total finesse. Captivating and riveting in its beauty, the 2016 L'Évangile is without question one of the most brilliant and memorable wines of the year. Vazart gave the 2016 lots about 31 days on the skins, with a gentle extraction, followed by malolactic fermentation in barrel.
Much darker than the 2015, with dense, blackberry fruit and superbly suave tannins this is a wine with considerable length and winemaker Jean-Pascal Vazart was justifiably thrilled with his wine’s performance. This is a superb, swarming L’Evangile with a dark, soy, richness and it will age forever. With superb glossiness and weight the power is delivered over minutes and not seconds. Stunning.
The balance of this wine was hard to get right, according to Jean-Pascal Vazart, but it doesn’t show on the nose or the palate. Using half of the normal percentage of Cabernet Franc, it’s a fine, sculpted, elegantly poised wine with a winning combination of texture, ripe fruit and balancing acidity. 2026-36
This well-appointed vineyard adjoining Ch Latour Martillac, run by the delightful Philippe Lacoste, highlights the advantage of the water retentive clay based soil in Martillac, replenishing the vines with moisture during the drier summer months in 2016. Deep dark opaque colour, this is a full and concentrated wine, with hints of mocha and cinnamon spice and a long rounded finish. DR
The 2016 Ferran has an intense bouquet of black cherries, blueberry and a slightly minerally edge, very well defined and displaying superb focus. The palate is medium-bodied with silky smooth tannins, very well-judged acidity and impressive complexity towards the finish. This is an outstanding Ferran—the best I have tasted (thus far!). This comes highly recommended. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
Round and fruity wine with plum and berry character. Medium to full body and a chewy finish.
The 2016 Ferran is plush, dense and inviting, all qualities that are best appreciated sooner rather than later. Dark tonalities of fruit, along with hints of espresso, tobacco and leather, give the wine its juicy, open-knit personality.
A particular favourite of mine taking its name from two famous neighbours, Lafleur and Pétrus. This is an exquisitely dense opaque colour. The initial attack is one of sweet vanilla oak and then the delicious succulent Merlot-esque black cherry and blueberry fruits come through. A wine which, whilst rich, has a beautiful degree of subtlety. It is very complete and the balance between freshness and the central tannic core mark this out as a very classy wine. DR
The 2016 La Fleur Petrus is a blend of 91% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. I prefer the aromatics here compared to the Latour-à-Pomerol and Hosanna: much more fruit (raspberry coulis and crushed strawberry), allied with mineralité and a sense of joie-de-vivre. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, supple tannin. It offers black fruit infused with melted tar and graphite notes, the Cabernet Franc imparting a very subtle bell pepper note towards the finish. This is a very fine La Fleur Petrus, not as flamboyant as the 2015, yet pretty and sophisticated. Drink Date 2021 - 2045
Dark crimson. Floral and complex bouquet that's not as dense as Hosanna's. The personality is not as clear. I wonder how many parcels went into this wine? Solid but not thrilling performance. Very dry end. Drink 2025-2040
The 2016 La Fleur-Pétrus is all finesse. A wine of translucence and nuance, it is utterly captivating from the very first taste. Blood orange, chalk and white pepper overtones give the wine lift and tension that drive through to the finish. I imagine the 2016 will need a few years to enter its prime drinking window, but it is an absolute stunner today. The Cabernet Franc is especially expressive. The vintage was not without its challenges; some of the younger-vine Merlot succumbed to heat stress and was not used in the final blend. As a result, yields in finished wine are down about 20 percent.
This is a firm, introverted, powerful LFP with serious levels of complexity. It is very closed and yet the nose reveals some majestic fruit within its heart. While not overly showy, this is a long wine with immense tension and control and it will age incrementally and slowly for a very long time.
One of my favourite Pomerols in 2016, this is a dense, complex, nuanced wine with remarkable structure, depth of flavour and focus. The tannins caress the tongue here, supported by aromatic oak, bright acidity and layers of savoury berry fruit. 2026-40
2016 really played into the hands of this great estate, showing the very best of its Cabernet and Merlot vines. A blend of 36% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Cabernet Franc, this is a hugely classy wine. Deep black cherry colour, a very full an unctuous wine, it is drenched in rich black cherry fruits. Dense and concentrated without excess, this has great Cabernet drive and intensity, with hints of Merlot-esque flamboyance. Quite simply delicious. DR
The 2016 Figeac is a blend of 36% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked from 23 September until 20 October at 49 hectoliters per hectare with 13.9% alcohol. The acidity is 3.67 pH, and it matured in 100% new oak (focused on five cooperages). This is a property that opened a new chapter in 2013, when Michel Rolland's services as a master blender have been called upon and engendered far greater harmony between the three grape varieties, now all singing from the same hymn sheet. It has a crisp blackberry nose, a little closed at first, opening nicely in the glass and offering raspberry coulis, pencil box and subtle mint aromas—classic Figeac in many ways. The palate is extraordinarily well balanced with a fine lattice of tannin sculpted to perfection. There is a slight edginess to this Figeac that I adore, the Cabernets very expressive, more so than the 2015, with graphite infusing every pore of the black fruit. This Figeac has an outstanding structure and a saline finish that beckons you back for another sip. The 2015 Figeac was stunning and the 2016 no less. Tasted on four separate occasions, and in the end, only one (banded) score became inevitable. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
36% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. No pigeage, more like an infusion with gentle remontage. Lively and very Figeac. Just as it should be. Zesty and confident and of the place. Rich palate entry and then lovely freshness. Firm and glorious. Like an arrow. Very pure. Frédéric Faye and the Manoncourt family should be very proud. Classic. Racy and juicy and beautifully balanced. Long. 14%. Drink 2024-2040
Splendid texture and finesse to this young Figeac with a pure silk texture. Full-bodied and ultra-fine. Lovely combination of fruit and freshness. The polish is gorgeous to this. Precision redefined. Pretty follow-up to the 2015.
The 2016 Figeac has been super-impressive on both occasions I have tasted it so far. A big wine, the 2016 exudes depth and power. Even so, the forbidding tannins are almost shockingly buried by the sheer intensity and purity of the fruit. Graphite, savory herbs, smoke, menthol, licorice and smoke are some of the many accents that infuse the huge finish. As good as the 2016 is today, it is clearly for readers who can afford to be patient, as it will likely be many years before the wine is ready to drink. Technical Director Frédéric Faye, consulting winemaker Michel Rolland and the team have done a superb job with the 2016.
The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is much lower than it was in 2015 (43% then), but is still among the highest in St Emilion. It’s a superb and beautifully judged Figeac from the new team, confirming its move back towards the appellation’s top tier. Grassy, elegant and textured, with effortless concentration. 2024-36
Alain Moueix consults. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Concentrated, meaty nose. Dense and robust. Dry end and very solid. Not so much juice. Drink 2024-2033
Bright, mid crimson. Some pepperiness and real drive on the nose. Not the most concentrated wine, with quite marked acidity as well as light tannins at the moment. Very sandy finish. Competent rather than thrilling. Drink 2021-2032
One of St Emilion’s most consistent estates. This has poise and harmony with rich dark cherry and plum fruits. This has a silky tannic texture, with a line of uplifting freshness. Extremely complete and classy. DR
The 2016 Clos Fourtet is a blend of 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc aged in 60% new oak. It has a generous, well defined licorice-tinged fruit that is very focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, blackberry and boysenberry fruit with that salted licorice theme continuing. This Clos Fourtet has impressive concentration, yet there is real elegance and persistence, fanning out wonderfully towards the finish. Mathieu Cuvelier has overseen another outstanding Clos Fourtet. Tasted twice, with a second bottle demonstrating a tad more backbone but equally admirable. Drink Date 2023 - 2055
Very sweet nose. Something a little dead about this sample. Not enough freshness. Smooth tannins but just a bit of lack of life on the mid palate. Obviously ambitious. I'd love to taste another sample. A saliva-sucker. Drink 2023-2037
This is a solid and structured 2016 with fabulous density and freshness. Full-bodied yet vibrant and exciting. Wow. We will see.
Vivid, creamy, ample and explosive in all of its dimensions, the 2016 Clos Fourtet maintains striking aromatic freshness and tension despite its intensity. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The final blend is 88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The 2016 spent about four weeks on the skins. New oak is around 60 percent. This is a superb showing from an estate that has been on a roll. Tasted three times.
The sample here was from a new barrel, whereas the finished wine will only have 50% new oak, so this is woodier than it will be in bottle. No matter, as it’s a wonderfully polished wine, with lovely freshness, poise and structure, restrained alcohol, chalky minerality and very fine tannins. 2024-36
So often overlooked, this beautifully positioned property offers one of the most classical examples of Pomerol year in year out. In addition, when considering all its illustrious neighbours, it is regularly one of the bargain wines of the vintage. Watch out for its release, (normally one of the first!) as the 2016 is a beauty. Full of aromas of the Orient and Black Forest fruits, this is a deliciously rich wine without excess. Lots of grace and delicacy on the finish, poised and very long. DR
The 2016 Gazin is a blend of 87% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc this year, picked from 22 September with respect to the Merlot and from around 7 or 8 October for the Cabernet Franc. Now this has quite a powerful bouquet for Gazin, more heightened fruit compared to recent vintages with blackberry, briary and pressed flower aromas that are well defined (although my sample demanded two or three minutes to really find its voice). The palate is medium-bodied with a gently grip on the entry. I adore the tannic structure to this Gazin, equidistant between masculine and feminine, a backbone that will ensure this will age over many years. There is abundant, lightly spiced black fruit with a touch of cracked black pepper and clove towards the finish. The 50% new oak will add a little muscle onto the finish, thereupon you will have a really marvelous Gazin that will give three years of drinking pleasure, possibly more. Drink Date 2023 - 2055
Dark crimson. Rich, shiny, blackberry aromas. Sinew and a dry but not drying finish. A little austere and lacking juice but creditable. Correct. Drink 2024-2037
Tight and silky with plum, blackberry and blueberry character. Medium-to full-bodied, firm and silky. Very linear and bright. A pretty follow-up to the stupendous 2015.
The 2016 Gazin is bold and powerful, yet also retains striking freshness and energy throughout. Sweet red plum, blood orange, wildflowers and mint are some of the many notes that are delineated in this super-classy, refined Pomerol. All the elements come together effortlessly in the glass. The 2016 is not a big Pomerol; rather, it is a wine that impresses with its nuanced expression of the vintage. Hints of smoke, tobacco and grilled herbs add closing shades of complexity. Tasted two times.
Spicy and rather dry on the finish, this wine still manages to retain some freshness and lift and so the overall effect is not bad and the core fruit has some character so I am sure it will become a charmer in time.
This doesn’t quite hit the same heights as the 2015, but it’s still a very stylish Pomerol, with plenty of zip, perfume and backbone from the Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. The tannins are a little firm, but should soften in bottle. 2024-34
With an impressive 80 hectares of vineyards, Giscours can be relied upon to produce a classic portrait of Margaux. Deep ruby colour. This has a perfumed fruit nose, with aromatic, spiced fruit following through to the palate. Chewy cherrystone tannins and bright freshness give this a nice length. CP
The 2016 Giscours is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, the highest percentage of Cabernet in recent years, picked between 26 September and 20 October. It was cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare with 13.2% alcohol, which is a little less than in 2015. Naturally that dominant proportion of Cabernet drives the aromatics with blackberry, cedar and graphite aromas. The palate is very well structured, more masculine than the 2015 and maybe without quite the same level of precision, but there is great density and length to this Giscours. I found that improved in the glass, gaining more energy from the ether. It is an impressive follow-up to last year's Giscours. Drink Date 2022 - 2055
Glowing purple. Concentrated and sappy - real energy here. Glossy and fresh. Really exuberant. Perhaps not one of the most earnestly fashioned for the very long term but a real crowd-pleaser. Drink 2024-2040
This is extremely long and linear with a powerful and refined texture of superfine tannins. Full-bodied, yet so tight and polished. The finish is very, very impressive. Snaps at the end. Better than the 2015?
The 2016 Giscours is fabulous. In fact, the 2016 may be one of the best recent vintages of this wine I have tasted. Dense, powerful and voluptuous in the glass, the 2016 possesses superb depth and intensity in all of its dimensions. The fruit is creamy and textured, while the flavors are remarkably precise throughout. Hints of smoke, licorice, tobacco and incense lead into the potent but well-judged finish.
Giscours has been hitting it out of the park for a number of vintages now, and we are squarely back in this territory for the 2016. Firm tannins, among the biggest in the appellation, but not overdone because of a vibrant, flexible quality to these essential elements of structure. The sheer volume of bilberry and cassis fruits on the full, dark palate show that clearly the anthocyanin and IPT counts are right up there. This is complex, layered and well held together.
A stern, commanding Giscours with some good concentration and firm focus this is a long wine with a considered finish. This is a second vintage on the trot where I would happily buy this wine. It is classic Giscours, too, with restraint and also some admirable power in perfect harmony.
As always a wine that sits beautifully in its category for its price quality ratio. Shining purple colour, it has pure dark elderberry aromas. In the palate, it is a very enticing harmonious style, with ripe rounded black fruit flavours, a feeling of richness, and subtle smooth tannins. A real star. DR
The 2016 Gloria is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc that was picked from 29 September until 17 October. It is matured in slightly less oak than the Saint-Pierre, at 40%. This is a little more backward and broody compared to the Saint-Pierre and indeed its Saint Julien peers, demanding more coaxing from the glass. It almost reluctantly unfolds and unveils subtle pencil box and dry tobacco aromas. The palate is more outgoing than the aromatics with a vibrant, almost citrus-fresh opening, tensile tannins and a satisfying sense of energy. This feels nimble and agile in the mouth with a touch of white pepper lingering on the aftertaste. You come away with the feeling that this Gloria has something up its sleeve for those with patience to cellar it for eight to ten years. Drink Date 2024 - 2060
Sweet and energetic and very glossy. Just a little austere on the end. Bone dry. Quite demanding. Just not quite enough ripe fruit for the not inconsiderable tannins. Drink 2024-2038
Dense and layered red with berry and tobacco character, a full body and a savory finish. Got it all here.
The 2016 Gloria is striking. Ripe, dense and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2016 exudes class. Super-ripe red cherry, plum, pomegranate, rose petal, cinnamon and licorice notes abound, but it is the wine's juiciness and overall texture that are most appealing, A super-classic Saint-Julien, Gloria delivers serious quality for the money. Despite its obvious depth and fleshiness, the 2016 Gloria is also one of the most restrained, gracious Saint-Juliens readers will come across.
Working with its new winery for the first time in 2016, Gloria has made a fine, aromatic, well structured blend, with more tannin and concentration than the 2015, but similar levels of perfume and finesse. Serious and age worthy, it’s sappy and long. 2024-36
Perched on a small rise in Pauillac, this superb property belonging to François-Xavier Borie is currently one of the most consistent in the appellation. A luxuriously deep purple, this wine is scented with the wisp of smooth, smoky oak. A rich, dark fruit spectrum dominates the concentrated palate that flows along gorgeously silky tannins. A brilliant wine with impressive length. CP
The 2016 Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot that matured in 75% new oak. It has 13.3% alcohol this year. It has an extraordinarily pure bouquet with blackberry, briary, touches of pencil shaving and cedar aromas--quintessential Grand-Puy-Lacoste, basically. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin. Gone are the days when this Pauillac was as hard as nails for the first decade. The tannins are nowadays much finer and the acidity lends this tension and plenty of freshness. There is an effortless quality to this Pauillac with wonderful length and such finesse on the finish that you immediately want to go back and re-taste it. Like so many others, this improved with aeration, gaining ever more harmony and precision. What a brilliant wine. It is classic Pauillac to its core. Drink Date 2024 - 2050
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot. Harvested 28 September to 13 October. 45 hl/ha. Very dark crimson. Very ripe and fresh. Pretty glorious expression of the vintage on the nose. Slightly dry finish but really very energetic and may be a fairly good buy. Slightly dry on the end – very British claret! Drink 2025-2040
One of the successes of the vintage, the Grand-Puy-Lacoste is fabulous. Racy, forward and incredibly inviting, the 2016 makes a strong first impression and then never lets up. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, white pepper and floral notes give the wine its brightness and aromatic nuance. Deep, fleshy and utterly exquisite on the palate, yet light on its feet, the 2016 exudes finesse. The flavors are remarkably vivid, but in the end, it is the wine's sublime balance that places it among the highlights of the vintage. Don't miss it!
This has a spicy, almost toasted edge, perfectly balanced depth and a retraction of the tannins through the mid-palate that springs back again on the finish. This vintage sees the addition of 15 new small 80hl stainless steel vats in the cellar, allowing for more precision during fermentation. There is plenty of hidden power going on in this wine, with a tannin index of 79IPT, similar to the 2010. The silky tannins make this large-structured wine deceptive right now, but it is extremely well handled, particularly in the teasing out of mineral, wet stone touches flicking through the dark berry fruits. I expect it will close down a little more than some this year.
François-Xavier Borie told me that his Cabernet berries were full of ‘thick juice’ as opposed to being made from smaller grapes than usual, which other properties reported, and this is the reason for the amazing concentration in this wine. The intensity of fruit is incredible with rare depth and traction on the tongue and this is also a vehicle for superb, grainy tannins. The oak is more obvious on the nose than usual and it is clear that this is a wine to keep for a long time. Powerful but also relatively lithe in terms of structure and weight, this is an amazing wine and a perfect counterpoint to the more exuberant 2015. The style and accuracy paraded by GPL in 2016 is a model for the commune and I anticipate it outliving the more flamboyant 2015, too.
It’s up against stiff competition, but this is my pick of the Pauillac Fifth Growths in 2016. It’s a perfumed, high-toned, structured red with savoury, fine-grained tannins, a core of piercing cassis and wet stone-like flavours and haunting sweetness. Bravo! 2024-38
The later harvest in 2016 meant this wine was a little backward at the primeur tastings. Considered amongst the appellation’s most reliable properties, it was slightly shy when tasting. After the initial abundance of ripe blackberry fruit, the wine was less expressive in the palate and will surely benefit from maturation in cask to show its true colours. DR
The 2016 Gruaud Larose is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc this year, picked between 29 September until 15 October (with the Petit Verdot) and matured in 80% new oak, the remainder one or two years old. The alcohol is a modest 13.02%. It has a generous bouquet with scents of blackberry, briary, a touch of sandalwood and tobacco, gaining more precision as it aerates in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, certainly one of the most finessed Gruaud Larose in recent years, with perfectly judged acidity. I love the focus here, a little understated at first but you cannot deny the intensity and precision on the finish. Moreover, this seems to be a slightly more detailed Gruaud, nuanced and long in the mouth. Excellent—and I suspect it might be a little more approachable than some of its peers. Drink Date 2023 - 2060
Initially there's a whiff of sweet oak, and then underneath there is the vineyard and real savour. Ripe but not forced. Good stuff with a 'mineral' whiff. Not a blockbuster but very well balanced with lovely length. Drink 2025-2045
Full-bodied, layered and juicy young wine. Very tannic yet ripe and intense. Powerful finish. This will be excellent. Better than the 2015.
Very succulent and buoyant on the palate this is an indulgent Gruaud with stern tannins which finish off a mediumweight palate which is dotted with green highlights. Cooler and calmer than most this is a slightly confusing wine in 2016 and while everything seems in place it lacks the true lift and personality associated with this esteemed property.
It’s a pleasure to see this winery producing clean, well-made wines without any of the farmyards notes of the past. The blend is still quite serious and austere at the moment, with a carapace of firm tannins and plenty of supporting acidity, but the dark berry fruit is there too. 2026-36
With an enviable position next to Latour, and with vineyards stretching down to the banks of the Gironde, this relatively uncelebrated property can offer good value. A little backward at the time of tasting, it has the elements to evolve well over the next few months in cask. Deep purple colour, wild dark hedgerow fruit aromas, and a structured mid-palate. CP
The 2016 Haut Bages Liberal has a very focused and much more sumptuous bouquet than in previous years, thankfully without dispensing any of its character. It just seems more confident on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, pretty blackberry and boysenberry fruit laced with a touch of oyster shell, sashaying towards a quite elegant finish with admirable depth. You would not describe this as a potentially exciting Pauillac, but I suspect it will be delicious once in bottle. Drink Date 2021 - 2042
Bright, deep crimson. A little simple in the context of other Pauillac classed growths. And some greenness on the end. Not fully formed. Drink 2025-2035
Very chewy and long already with ripe tannins and plenty of fruit suggesting tobacco and blackcurrant character. Long finish. From biodynamic grapes.
The 2016 Haut-Bages Libéral is gorgeous. Succulent red cherry and plum fruit are pushed forward, with brighter, citrus-driven and chalky notes that add aromatic lift and energy. Silky, supple and inviting, the 2016 is built to deliver considerable pleasure. The 2016 shuts down quickly in the glass, which is probably a very good sign for the wine's potential longevity. I very much like the sense of energy here. Tasted two times.
This wine shows notes of charcoal, cassis and blackcurrant bud. It is more restrained than some in the appellation, with a well placed structure and a pleasurable future ahead of it. A Villars-Lurton estate in the process of converting to organic and biodynamic farming methods. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot aged in 40% new oak.
Floral and oaky on the nose this is a punchy, fairly tannic wine with a slim chassis which is straining to cope with the dryness at the moment but I would venture that the fruit will manage to make its way through the astringency given time.
Véronique Sanders is rightly proud of her superb 2016, which I give the edge to over her already excellent 2015. She says the warm summer days allowed the fruit to reach the phenolic ripeness of 2005 and 2009, but the cool August and September nights maintained an acid level equal to the 2010 vintage. The perfect combination. Shining purple colour, with a lovely floral nose full of violets and fresh summer fruits. A very layered style of wine, rather than being flashy, with a lovely line of tannic intensity flowing throughout this fine wine, guaranteeing long term complexity. Superb. DR
The 2016 Haut Bailly is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked between 26 September until 18 October. Coming in with 13.6% alcohol and an IPT of 81, which is quite close to 2010, this was quite closed at first and so I allowed my sample 15-20 minutes to open while discussing the vintage with Véronique Sanders and technical manager, Gabriel Vialard. It has a classic bouquet that is certainly less opulent and extravagant than recent vintages. This is more controlled and focused, beautifully delineated with blackberry, cedar and Earl Grey aromas that gently waft from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine-grain tannin, sappy with superb delineation and real weight and presence in the mouth. There is just the right amount of spice and salinity, the latter beckoning you back for another sip and there is a haunting pencil lead note that forms the closing credits on the aftertaste. What a brilliant Haut-Bailly, perhaps the best that I have tasted in almost 20 years of tasting at this estate. Drink Date 2024 - 2060
Picked 26 September to 18 October. Rather floral nose. Ripe and broad. Quite chewy and structured. Cool and pretty dry. Pretty chewy! Lots of dynamism. Drink 2025-2040
This young wine shows such pinpoint precision with a full body, dense fruit and gorgeous intensity. Muscular yet toned and beautiful. It really builds on the finish. Very fine-grained. So long and beautiful. Sophisticated power. Oyster shell and iodine undertones. Traditional style yet with a modern interpretation. Savory.
The 2016 Haut-Bailly is a huge, powerful wine that explodes in all directions. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco, licorice, menthol, incense and gravel are all pushed forward, but it is the wine's volume and pure intensity that stand out most. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is likely to be a slow-maturing wine, but even today the phenomenal finish is a marvel. The 2016 is a great Haut-Bailly in the making. It will reward several decades of cellaring.
Hugely successful, a wine where the architecture becomes clearer with every minute that it remains in your mouth. Each strand of those softly-spun tannins really stands out, giving effortless support to the cassis, charcoal, tobacco and slate. Over it all, the most appealing, gently curling woodsmoke comes right on up through the palate. The whole effect is of a soft, caressing texture that manages to also be hugely intense. A wonderfully complex layering of flavours, absolutely no doubt that this is going to age beautifully. Harvest lasted for 12 days but was spread out over four weeks. Alcohol levels are the same as last year because they had no blockages of ripening. The blend is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc aged in 50% new oak. 3.7pH.
The aromatic attack is amazing in this wine. There is serious intensity here, but this is not a heavy or muscular Haut- Bailly. The fruit is compact and sour, raging with powdery tannins and considerable energy, but the wine’s framework is bold and it takes this onslaught in its stride. The length is staggering and the balance spot on and while this is a very early moment in this wine’s life (I can see it making 40 years of age with ease) it is clear to see that this is a true Grand Vin. The overriding scent of roses and musk coupled with exoticism and also classicism is all-consuming. Delicious and lip-smacking but with a huge warning sign, saying ‘do not approach’, it is still easy to appreciate the generosity of fruit underpinned by the immensity of the power in this landmark vintage of Haut-Bailly.
Winemaker Gabriel Vialard puts the freshness of his wine down to the cold nights during the growing season, especially in September. Whatever the reason, this is an excellent Haut-Bailly with remarkable focus, precision and balance, stylish, scented oak and a long, satisfying finish. 2026-36
56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc. Beneath its youthful reticence there is no doubt a great wine here. Deep ruby in colour, this has subtle aromas of ripe black fruits, with a hint of liquorice spice. There is nuanced power in its complex palate. The tannins are tightly furled at this early stage, but their chalky, fine nature should evolve with great grace over the years. CP
The 2016 Haut Brion is a blend of 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 19 September and 13 October. Jean-Philippe Delmas told me that this represents a touch more Merlot than last year's vintage. It clearly has a more powerful and intense bouquet compared to the La Mission Haut-Brion, although maybe not the same killer level of detail and delineation. The palate is beautifully balanced with arching tannins that insistently grip the mouth. There are layers of black fruit, minerals, sea salt and a touch of crushed violets. Unlike the 2015 Haut-Brion, this is more linear, stricter and you could argue more nimble on its toes. Yet maybe it does not quite have the same depth and labyrinthine complexity that made the 2015 such an astonishing wine. Nevertheless, this 2016 is not far behind and it will be fascinating to compare in the future. Drink Date 2026 - 2070
Even deeper colour than La Mission. Broad and spicy and very rich and a compote of warm bricks. (La Mission is more muscular and obviously tannic.) Firm and not over the top. Prances. Transparent and very much Haut-Brion. Drink 2028-2050
This is a monument for Haut-Brion and reminds me of the great 1998 but in a modern and bright style. Full-bodied, very tannic and superbly structured yet always agile and vivid. Its energy and dynamic nature grabs you by the shoulder and tells you it’s great. Staggeringly precise. It can’t get better than this, can it?
The 2016 Haut-Brion is shaping up to be one of the jewels of the vintage. Towering, powerful and intense, the 2016 is marvelously complete in all of its dimensions. Gravel, bacon fat, black cherry, smoke, leather and licorice are all pushed forward. The 2016 is quite rich, but never heavy. It is especially polished, even understated Haut Brion built more on finesse than power.
This opens very beautifully in the glass with a high level of aromatics, but just needs a few minutes to reveal these tight citrus peel and pink grapefruit flavours. Haut-Brion have navigated a tough year for whites far better then most, as you would expect. This has volume through the mid-palate and a well constructed, dancing minerality on the finish. 30% grand vin for the white, from a blend of 70.5% Sauvignon Blanc and 29.5% Sémillon aged in 35% new oak.
The splendour is evident from the off with a veritable tsunami of black fruit engulfing the palate and drenching every taste bud in stunning fruit. This is yet another epic Haut-Brion and it is so controlled and considered it is incredible. The tannins are, admittedly, huge, but they don’t back into the wine, staying discreetly on the finish. These tannins are seriously plush and exuberant and the fruit joins hands with these elements embracing their unique partnership. Their relationship with the oak is, too, incredible. Complete harmony is evident already in this wine. This is a masterful Haut-Brion and it is one of the wines of the vintage.
Ambitious, concentrated and built for the long haul, this is a superb Haut-Brion that’s combines density and concentration with grace and fine balance. Scented, grassy and floral, it shifts into another gear on the palate, with layers of fine tannins, dark, savoury fruit and refreshing acidity. 2028-40
70.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 29.5% Sémillon. Pale lemon yellow. This has spicy notes of crystallised ginger on the nose, with juicy peach fruit and zingy pineapple. The palate has both power and a long elegant finish, with well-balanced acidity. CP
The Haut Brion 2016 Blanc is a blend of 70.5% Sauvignon Blanc and 29.5% Sémillon picked from 1-13 September. I found a little more complexity and mineralité here compared to the La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc this year, scents of chalk and lime flower complementing the citrus fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, notes of lime cordial, orange zest and grapefruit, almost flinty towards the finish that lingers long in the mouth with great vigor from start to finish. This is excellent, but not the best Haut Brion Blanc that I have tasted in recent years. Drink Date 2020 - 2045
The 2016 Haut-Brion Blanc is rich, ample and captivatingly beautiful. A wine that fills every corner of the palate with its intensity and breadth, the 2016 represents one the few peaks of true excellence among the whites of the year. The blend is 69% Sauvignon and 31% Sémillon, but above all else, Haut-Brion Blanc is a wine of place. That is especially evident when tasting it next to the La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, which is so clearly Sauvignon Blanc-dominated, whereas the Haut-Brion Blanc maintains a great deal of its own personality and signatures. In the glass, the 2016 is voluptuous, racy and impossible to resist.
Picked before the rain and made from a predominance of Sauvignon Blanc for the first time ever, this is a historic wine and it is also a thriller. It is heretical to say, but if Montrachet was planted to Sauvignon Blanc it might taste like this. Thanks heavens it is not, so this is the only place on earth where you can taste this flavour. It is atypical, awe-inspiring and never-ending. The fruit is searingly dry but also bitingly fresh and layered. The oak is sublime - I could eat a stave for lunch. The finish stayed with me for a few days. It is sheer heaven in a glass.
There’s very little of this wine produced - and what’s made isn’t cheap - but it’s one of the great whites of the world, even in a tricky vintage when acidity was at a premium. Broad, textured and intense, with leesy richness, stylish oak and a saline flourish. 2020-32
Boasting Vieux Château Certan, Certan de May and Pétrus as neighbours, the relatively recently renamed Hosanna is one of the many great estates under J-P Moueix ownership. A densely rich and concentrated wine, this has notes of mocha, liquorice and black fruits. Lots of intense sweetness, with a rounded tannic structure. Long and full. DR
The 2016 Hosanna is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. It has a clean, detailed bouquet with truffle-tinged black fruit, fine mineralite and impressive vigor, certainly less opulent than some of the Hosannas from the noughties. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, a masculine Hosanna with fine tension, a little savory with black truffle and white pepper sprinkled liberally over the finish. I would have liked more flesh to show on the finish, although that should develop to an extent during its barrel maturation. Give this three or four years in bottle. Drink Date 2020 - 2040
Very deep crimson. Heady and seductive nose. Both rich and lifted. Real substance and richness. Polish and depth. Massive dimension. Panoply of spice and fruit. Very exciting. Drink 2025-2045
This really shows a lot at the end of the palate with a powerful, tannic finish. Even so, the fruit and flavor profile are very, very impressive. Lots of dark fruit and walnut undertones. Muscular Hosanna.
The 2016 Hosanna is outrageously beautiful. Creamy, ample and powerful, yet also remarkably light on its feet for such a big wine from clay soils, it exudes finesse from start to finish. The 2016 simply has it all. As always, the flavor profile leans toward the darker end of the spectrum, with hints of mocha and chocolate that are quite complementary. The tannins are there, but they are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. With time in the glass, the 2016 becomes more and more captivating. Hosanna is often a wine of allure. The 2016 is that, but it is incredibly elegant as well.
There is a little bit more sweetness in Hosanna than some of the other Pomerols and with the controlled (not excessive) oak this is further enhanced, giving this wine a very sexy aroma. The palate is not too lean, nor is it too tannic and I think that once it has lost its grip, in five or so year’s time, this will be one of the stars in the Moueix firmament.
Some of the vineyards on gravelly soils suffered in 2016 but Hosanna, with its high percentage of old vines on the plateau, appears to have coped just fine. It’s a grippy, sappy, savoury Pomerol with scented oak, plenty of underlying structure and a floral lift. 2024-34
A wine of elegance, balance and poise. A delicious example of the harmonious, refined characteristics from the appellation of Margaux. Perfumed, scented aroma of violets and freshly picked loganberries. This wine has a lovely sweetness of fruit, with a great degree of purity and a central tannic core. Destined to age beautifully, it is really quite lovely. DR
The 2016 D'Issan is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot cropped between 29 September and 19 October, and matured in 50% new barrels. The alcohol is 13.3% and with a pH of 3.71. It has a very classic, slightly introverted bouquet with a light marine influence coming through, but remaining very reserved, a little aloof. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin and fine delineation; it is very crisp and focused, a classic Margaux through and through with outstanding salinity and persistence towards the precise finish. This is a beautiful D'Issan for long-term ageing, on par with the 2015. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Mid crimson. Vigorous nose. Round texture and really rather admirably relaxed. Certainly not sweet. Quite long. Drink 2025-2040
This is so energetic for a young d’Issan with lots of white pepper, crushed stones and blackberries. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and great length. One of the greatest ever. Superb depth and intensity to this real Bordeaux. Wow.
The 2016 d'Issan is bold, plump and juicy, all qualities that will make it easy to drink and appreciate young. Most of the wine's appeal is up front, as the intensity trails off slightly on the midpalate and finish. There is not a ton of complexity, at least not today, but the elements are all so well balanced that the 2016 makes a strong statement based on its sheer appeal. Dark red/purplish fruit, sweet spice and floral notes add to the wine's forward, fruit-driven personality. Tasted two times.
Beautiful violet and lilac-tinted edging to the colour, a promising sign of a vibrant, balanced wine, and it absolutely delivers on the palate. This is so fresh and uplifting, it has fruit intensity balanced with a perfumed elegance. Over 80% of the vines at Issan are at least 20 years old, and many much older, so they coped very well with the dry summer. This is a lovely classic Margaux, sculpted with a core of fine tannins that promise excellent ageing. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot. Blending was finished in late January with consultant Eric Boissenot.
Quite exotic and darker than many Margaux, this is a full-bodied wine with structure and tannin and it is backward but I have no fear that all is present and correct. Good power coupled with enough fruit integrity = a wine to savour in the long term. This will work well.
From the famous Moueix stable of wines, Ch Juguet is all about classicism in its style and character. 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, it has an open sweetness of dark black fruits, with a gentle grainy tannic structure and subtle freshness on the finish. A very appealing wine. DR
A very deep purple in the glass. This has high-drama oak wrapped around juicy, sweet fruit. It is modern, and full of flare. The palate is well executed, with supple, plush tannins, a ripe fruit core, and balancing acidity. CP
The 2016 Labegorce is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot picked between 4-21 October and matured in 45% new oak. What I like about the bouquet is that it is quintessential Margaux--it could not come from anywhere else. Crushed violets infuse black cherries, blueberry and iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well-judged acidity, an elegant and very charming Margaux with pencil lead and a touch of spice on the long finish. What a brilliant wine from a Margaux estate that has really upped its game. Drink Date 2026 - 2055
Very scented. Maybe slightly tarty but it delivers lots of flashy fruit. It does seem almost too sweet to me and the oak is not yet fully integrated. Drink 2024-2038
This may be the best Labégorce ever. Full-bodied and dense yet vivid and energetic. Greatness in the making.
The 2016 Labégorce is terrific. Pliant, supple and accessible, it offers considerable near- and medium-term appeal in a pliant, juicy style. Dark red fruit, grilled herbs, smoke, licorice and tobacco all flesh out nicely. The 2016 is powerful and dense, but also comes across as a bit less heavy than in the past. It will be interesting to see if that is more related to the vintage or a slightly stylistic shift. Time will tell. Tasted two times.
Deep, rich extraction, black cherry in colour with very well controlled aromatics of damson and creamy cappuccino. This is a gorgeous wine and there are going to be many many fans of the contemporary but utterly controlled and well judged flavours on display here. Luscious and big, but everything has a reason for being where it is, nothing superfluous. One of the best ever from this property.
This is another coffee-scented wine with an espresso bean note pervading the dense dark fruit underneath. I like this trait a lot as it builds complexity and also complements the oak used (in fact it is probably linked). The fruit flavours are lovely and the finish is tight and keen and overall this is a very good effort for this Château.
There’s quite a bit of oak on this ambitious, well-structured red blend, but it’s a wine that’s made for a middle distance race rather than sprint. The tannins are well judged, built around a core of red fruits, tobacco spice and tangy acidity. 2024-30
A very scented wine, full of bright fresh red currant fruits. An approachable style, with subtle tannic structure, for early to midterm drinking. DR
The 2016 Lacoste-Borie is a blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, cropped at 50 hectoliters per hectare. It has a clean and precise bouquet, not as complex as some of its peers, yet with thoroughly enjoyable raspberry and blackcurrant leaf tinged with cedar. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy, slightly dry tannin on the entry, hints of dark chocolate interlacing the black fruit with a touch of cracked black pepper on the finish. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
The Lacoste-Borie 2016 is soft, pliant and inviting. This attractive midweight Pauillac will drink well with minimal cellaring. There is lovely purity and depth to the dark berry, chocolate and spice flavors, even if the wine is a bit slender in construction. Tasted two times.
The nose is just perfect with bright blackberry juice notes and sensational pencil shavings - so classic. The mid-palate is smooth and polished with ripe fruit breaking through the whole with very attractive oak and also lovely amplitude. The finish is crunchy and refreshing with perfectly clean tannins and a snap of gravelly freshness. A sublime Lacoste-Borie with perfect balance and disarming immediacy, this is a wine which will sit alongside all of the First Wines in this commune with ease.
This vineyard-based selection from Denis Durantou is a notable success in 2016, showing plum and damson flavours, rich, compact, concentrated tannins, serious oak and, wafting above the whole thing like a fluttering angel, scents of violet and liquorice. 2024-32
This is a great Lafite in the making and everything that I look for from this the most aristocratic of first growths. A wine full of composure and restraint, it evolves slowly, as if fully cognizant of its own pedigree. With 92% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend there is no better example of this great grape variety’s credentials. It will require patience, but I suspect if ever a wine could delight the next 3 generations of wine lovers with its greatness, this could be it. DR
The 2016 Lafite-Rothschild is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot picked from 23 September until 12 October with the Cabernet Sauvignon (and unused Petit Verdot). It has 13.3% alcohol, a pH of 3.65 and the IPT of 74. Matured in 100% new oak, it has a fresh and vibrant bouquet whilst retaining the classicism of this First Growth. This is more subtle than Mouton-Rothschild or Latour, which is always the case at en primeur, yet there is a brooding intensity that draws you in as it unveils some gorgeous blackberry and graphite aromas. The palate is just superb. This has more density, more vigor, more depth and you could even argue more ambition than the 2015 Lafite-Rothschild showed last year. It gently grips the mouth with unerring focus and symmetry, just a touch of spiciness developing with a long, saline finish that lingers two minutes after the wine has departed. Lafite-Rothschild always develops and meliorates in barrel during its élevage and I suspect this will ultimately turn out to be a regal Lafite-Rothschild. Drink Date 2030 - 2070
92% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 29 September to 12 October, 8% Merlot picked 23 to 28 September. High IPT of 75. Very rich, dense dark crimson. Not much nose, just a vague impression of quality lurking beneath the super-subtle aroma. Round texture, tannins are in a very low register indeed. Then I'd love to see just a little bit more energy. Round and it may all get together. A really rather delicate Lafite. Nothing in excess; it's true and very classic claret - very Lafite - but arguably just a little muted. 13.4% Drink 2026-2045
Even stronger and more toned than the excellent 2015, this Lafite shows incredible power yet also finesse. Full-bodied, superfine and chewy wine. Muscular yet agile. Goes on for minutes. Stunning. Perhaps the greatest Lafite since the legendary 1959?
The 2016 Lafite-Rothschild is polished, silky and captivatingly beautiful. There is a level of precision to the flavors that is simply mind-blowing. Even so, the 2016 remains ethereal and light on its feet, with all the grace of a ballerina. I imagine the 2016 will develop into a stunning wine once it comes together a bit more fully. Even so, it is striking today.
An awesome Lafite, this is elegant to a fault. It has the classicism of the very best vintages, and the pulse of electricity that runs through it is clear from the first moment you taste it. You are absolutely in Pauillac here, the epitome of what the left bank can deliver in terms of elegance and density: menthol edged tobacco, charcoal and cassis with both a subtlety and an intensity at once. It totally expands through the palate and pulls itself out, stretching out in front of you. It's a serious wine, but seamless. Concentrated, pure and fresh, everything is in its place. The blend this year is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot. Harvest took place between 23rd September and 12th October.
This is a very exciting Lafite with buoyant, ripe fruit and lovely density of flavour without being in any way heavy. This is a superb Lafite which breaks away from some of the introverted recent vintages and embraces a more forward-facing, engaging style with a profound core balanced with a shinier, more exuberant veneer. Delicious.
Not far off wine of the vintage territory. Like the 2015 (under-rated by many, in my view), it’s a scented, refined, almost delicate Pauillac with red berry and floral notes, effortlessly integrated new oak and fine-boned tannins. 2026-40
The combination of a new state-of-the-art winery and the wonderful dynamism and energy of the winemaking team, headed by the delightful Basile Tesseron, ensure that this is one of the sensations of the vintage in its category. Brilliant purple in colour, this has an abundance of black berried fruits on the nose. In the palate it is full of blackberries and loganberries, with shining bright freshness, giving a feeling of joy and pleasure. DR
The 2016 Lafon Rochet is a blend of 25% Merlot, 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc cropped at 46 hectoliters per hectare and matured in 50% new oak. The harvest was between 1 October and 20 October. The alcohol is 13.6%, which is just a little higher here than say Cos d'Estournel or Montrose. It has a very succinct bouquet with blackberry, bilberry and light oyster shell aromas, classic in style, more reserved than I found the 2015 Lafon Rochet last year. The palate is medium-bodied with powerful tannin on the entry, a keen line of acidity (3.65 pH), fine symmetry with a pleasant rondeur on the finish sprinkled with black pepper and tobacco. This is a very fine Lafon Rochet from Basile Tesseron and his team.
Not the deepest crimson. Broad and rich and a bit beefy and yeast-extract-like. A tad scrawny on the end. Drink 2024-2038
Plenty of fruit and concentration to this wine, and it’s buttressed by the tannins. Muscular and intense. Full-bodied yet reserved and tight. Excellent.
The 2016 Lafon-Rochet is a worthy follow-up to the 2015, although it is much less obvious than that wine. Scents of smoke, graphite, leather, wild cherry, lavender and blueberry give the 2016 its beguiling, expressive personality. Deep and concentrated but not big or overdone, it is likely to require at least a handful of years to be at its best. The long, persistent finish, punctuated by grippy tannins, is a thing of beauty. The 2016 has the most Cabernet ever at the estate. Proprietor Basile Tesseron told me he expects to increase plantings of Cabernet Franc at the property. Tasted three times.
Classic, layered and suave, this is a focussed, intense Lafon-Rochet with serious intent and masses of power beneath the bonnet. The nose shows the way with succulent fruit and showy oak and then the palate calms down to reveal a wonderful, balanced finish.
Another winery that’s benefited from a shiny new cellar in recent vintages, this is every bit as good as the 2015, which was made in more difficult circumstances. Blueberry and cassis fruit, floral aromas, tangy acidity and a nip of fine-grained tannin. A very stylish St Estèphe. 2024-32
The Cinderella of St Julien. So easily overlooked, but one of the most consistent and rewarding wines within the appellation. This is a benchmark Lagrange. Dense purple colour, it has masses of dark cassis fruit aromas and flavours. Deliciously direct, with a fine central tannic core so characteristic of the estate. Classical in every way, in the most positive sense of the word. DR
The 2016 Lagrange is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot that is matured in 50% new oak. The yield came in at 46.5 hectoliters per hectare, lower than in 2015. It has a very well defined bouquet with intense black cherry, red plum, touches of cedar and with continued aeration, a hint of blueberry. It certainly is one of the most expressive Lagrange that I have tasted (and I write that having tasted them all back to the early 1980s). The palate is extremely well balanced with tensile tannin, vibrant and animated with blackberry, crème de cassis, a hint of orange zest. This is a great Lagrange, one that almost "zings" around the senses, barely able to contain the energy. A superior Lagrange to the 2015, this may well rank as the finest produced. Drink Date 2025 - 2060
Dark purple. Quite high apparent volatile acidity. Big and broad but lacks a bit of precision and focus. A tad scrawny on the end. Was everything ripe enough? Dilute finish. The winemaker Matthieu Bordes has since contacted me to assure me that the VA level is low, only 0.31g/l and I will try to re-taste this. Drink 2024-2038
Powerful red with a rich and tannic center palate. Full body, lots of depth and a long and chewy finish. Indeed, this shows potential. Much better than the 2015.
The 2016 Lagrange (Saint-Julien) is soft, pliant and inviting. A gracious midweight Saint-Julien, the 2016 is impeccably balanced. It is also one of the more sensual, graceful wines readers will taste in this appellation. Soft contours, pliant fruit and silky tannins add to that impression. Sweet tobacco, herbs, crushed flowers and dried cherries are all laced into the expressive finish.
In a vintage like 2016 I would hope that the intensity of Cabernet would stand a chance of offsetting the raucous oak regime at Lagrange, and it just about does. Finally, here is a wine that will balance one day without staves sticking out of it like a hedgehog.
Petit Verdot is back in a big way at Lagrange in 2016, adding some backbone to wines that tend to be quite forward in style. This is very grassy and fresh, with well handle 60% new oak, bright acidity and a foundation of tannin. 2024-30
A warm rich style of wine, with hints of Christmas pudding fruits. Lots of intensity, balancing sweetness of fruit with succulence. The telling freshness of the vintage provides lift and personality at the end. DR
At least for this writer, the 2016 La Lagune is a return to form after their 2015 did not light my fire last en primeur. Lucid purple/black in color, it has a very intense bouquet with blackberries and sloes, whilst maintaining delineation and focus, almost pastille-like in style. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin, perhaps just a little brittle on the entry, though it is commensurate with others 2016s that I tasted in barrel. I appreciate the focus and the "correctness" of this La Lagune, notwithstanding the freshness and tension that defines the persistent finish. This is a long-term wine, so do not be afraid to give this four or five years in the cellar. This is an excellent La Lagune, one of the best in recent years. Drink Date 2023 - 2045
Dark crimson with a slightly pale rim. Strong balsam notes on the nose - distinctive! Very full and supple. I would guess there was some strict selection here to have such ripeness. Some freshness on the end. A satisfying whole. Quite long. Drink 2026-2042
Now certified organic, and converting to biodynamics from this year. It displays a confident weight to the damson fruits that are hugely elegant and well placed. A little closed when tasted on two occasions, and the high Petit Verdot content of this wine is no doubt contributing to its slight austerity at this stage, but it also brings that beautifully welcome whoosh of black fruit spicing. Very good quality, elegant and long-ageing, just a dash below the exceptional 2015.
Owner Caroline Frey and her team lost a few plots of vines because of the bad weather early in the season but the results for the rest of the property were incredible. This is a classically framed La Lagune with stunning balance. Nothing is too much or too little in any direction. With a bold nose, featuring some wonderful coffee bean notes followed by deep, evocative mid-palate and a superbly suave finish, this is a grand wine. The overall feel is moreish and gustatory and yet no elements are showy or imposing. This is a very composed and honed La Lagune and it provides us with a marvellous contrast to the rich, all-enveloping 2015.
La Lagune used to punch well below its classification as a third growth, but is making some lovely wines at the moment. This Cabernet-based blend is chalky, fresh and perfumed with plenty of grip and tannin, toasty oak and the potential to age. 2022-30
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. 30% new oak. A single estate in its own right, this Cru Bourgeois is owned and managed by the Ducru Beaucaillou team, and makes up a trio of quite brilliant wines. It has a sweet core of ripe plummy fruits, with a plush tannic structure, smooth balance, and succulent length. CP
The 2016 Lalande-Borie is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, delivering 13.66% alcohol and matured in 30% new oak and the remainder oneyear old. There is something almost clinical about the nose, very pure, no frills (at the moment), hints of crushed violet emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very harmonious and cohesive, citrus-like freshness from start to finish with a long and velvety blueberry and blackberry finish. This is very polished and it should give plenty of drinking pleasure for several years. Drink Date 2021 - 2035
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. 30% new oak. Rich and very lively on the nose. Real freshness and raciness. Beautiful wine! Really vibrant and rich. But with masses of energy. Just very slightly dry on the end. But such a charmer! GV 13.66% Drink 2021-2030
This is very linear and refined with tight-grained tannins and blackberry and blackcurrant character. Shows such finesse and beauty. One of best from here in a long time.
The 2016 Lalande-Borie is plump, juicy and forward. Sweet tobacco, grilled herbs, menthol, black cherry and earthy notes give the 2016 its distinct savory profile. This midweight, attractive Saint-Julien will drink well with minimal cellaring. The significant presence of Merlot gives the wine its fleshy, seductive personality. Tasted two times.
Marked by slightly sappy oak, this is a full wine with good density and a dark hue. There is some concentration and depth and also a wild side here which is very attractive, particularly at this price. There is some good Italian spice here which is fascinating and I can only put this down to the heat in mid-summer.
Sourced from the western part of the vineyard at Ducru-Beaucaillou, this is serious, concentrated stuff: “our most powerful yet”, says Bruno Borie. Plush, oaky and compact with lots of fine, but dense tannins and a refreshing finish that arrives late on the palate. 2022-30
This glorious wine typifies everything that makes La Mission Haut-Brion so appealing and why it is a habitual winner in blind tastings amongst the first growths. Beautifully polished loganberry and wild berry aromas, with hints of dark currants. This balances a lovely silky texture, with volume and richness, whilst maintaining a continuous flow of tannic structure throughout the palate. Vibrantly fresh, the finish of mocha and chocolate give added complexity and enormous appeal. This glass was hard to put down, I loved it! DR
The 2016 La Mission Haut Brion is a blend of 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 19 September and 14 October, one of the longest ever. "We had to be patient and wait for each plot," Jean-Philippe Delmas told me. "It took longer than usual." As is customary, I allowed my sample, and likewise all the wines poured at this tasting, around 40-45 minutes to open since they always transform in the glass. It has a clean and precise, quite understated bouquet with fine mineralité, cold stone aromas infusing the black fruit. This has incredible precision, perhaps even more pixelated than the "gaff over the road" Haut-Brion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple and lithe tannin. I appreciate the line of acidity here, the smoothness and harmony that takes your breath away. Every atom is infused with life-affirming freshness. It is a wine bridled with incredible focus and delineation. I thought that the 2015 La Mission Haut-Brion flirted with perfection. The 2016 has that extra edge, a "je ne sais quoi" that leaves you reaching for the thesaurus looking for superlatives. Drink Date 2026 - 2070
Glowing deep crimson. Very intense and ripe. Snazzy and spicy. Polished and racy. Very firm and lots of ripe tannins – very much à La Mission. Super-sophisticated. Inky and fresh and so ripe and confident. A dry style but great. Racy but tannic. Drink 2027-2050
The texture to this is very beautiful with chewy yet very polished tannins. Full-bodied, tight and mouth-filling. Starts very slowly and then takes off. Love the energy in this.
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion is a total knockout. Vertical and powerful, but not at all austere, it exudes class. Fine-grained tannins support the fruit, but they are barely felt, as the wine's balance is so extraordinary. Lifted floral notes and a host of red fruits give the 2016 energy and verve. I can't wait to see how it ages.
Wonderful La Mission this year, graceful but with an unmistakable sense of controlled power. The wine just expands outwards and upwards in your mouth - insistent but terribly polite about it. It is deep and silky, shot through with coffee grounds, damson and soft cassis on a creamy mid-palate, utterly beautiful. There is a real energy and vitality here, with a caressing texture to the tannins and huge persistency on the finish. Dense, and yet so finessed that you could almost drink it today. Wow. The blend is 57.5% Merlot and 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon with a pH of 3.66, harvested between 19th September and 14th October.
A lovely, wild nose of macerated berries and old library books greets the taster. This is a historic flavour and it shows amazing complexity and thrilling tannins. The fineness and richness of the skin elements are incredible. Long and smooth, this is a superb La Mission, built along a red fruit theme and even though it is very dry and savoury it is certain to blossom in a decade into a lithe, sensual creature.
Tight, focused and even a little backward, as it’s entitled to be at this young age, this is a very intellectual claret, rather than an exuberant fruit bomb. Fine oak, granular tannins, taut acidity and savoury red and dark berry fruit flavours. 2026-36
There can be no better wine to highlight the extraordinary success of the white wines in Pessac-Léognan than this brilliant cuvée. A blend of 63% Sauvignon and 37% Sémillon, it beautifully balances the freshness of Sauvignon Blanc with the breadth of Sémillon. Hints of crushed blackcurrant water ice on the nose flow through into the palate, with characters of grapefruit and lime, before the volume and deliciously rich texture develop in the palate. Dense, rich concentrated and very, very long. Quite lovely. DR
The La Mission Haut Brion 2016 Blanc is a blend of 62.7% Sauvignon Blanc and 37.3% Sémillon picked from 5-13 September. It has a crisp bouquet with kiwi, grapefruit and cold stone aromas, although it does not convey the vigor or complexity of the 2015, due to the lower proportion of Sémillon. The palate is well balanced with a pleasant texture; there is orange zest, lime, a touch of stem ginger and a very satisfying, quite persistent finish. It is a well-made La Mission Haut Brion Blanc that should give 10-20 years of drinking pleasure. Drink Date 2020 - 2040
The first vintage with a majority of Sauvignon Blanc. Thick and sweet and racy. Some wild notes. Very different from the old Laville Haut-Brion! Great tension. A halfway house with some ginger flavour. Drink 2020-2025
The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc is unusual in that it is the first vintage for this wine in which Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant variety. Ample and creamy on the palate, the 2016 offers plenty of depth and overall texture, but here those qualities are coming from the warm, dry weather that defined the final part of the growing season rather than the Sémillon that usually forms the majority of the blend. There is a level of immediacy in the citrus peel, white flower and sage flavors that is quite appealing. Above all else, the Blanc is more a wine of variety (specifically Sauvignon Blanc) than of place, as is the case with the Haut-Brion Blanc. Deputy managing director Jean-Philippe Delmas attributes that to the average age of the Sauvignon vines here, which is on average on the lower side.
Entirely picked before the rain, the trio of whites at this eminent property are all remarkable. Leading with Sauvignon Blanc, for the first time ever, this is a heavenly wine with immense aromatic gymnastics and also this means that Sauvignon fans all over the globe have to track this wine down. Semillon looked a little heavy on the yields and less aromatic they would have liked, too, so Sauvignon, because it looked so fresh and perfumed took the lead and it has done an outstanding and also rather shocking job. I like this wine immensely and it is unlike anything I have ever tasted before.
“It was a challenge to preserve freshness in the whites in 2016,” according to Jean-Philippe Delmas, but he certainly succeeded here. This is a focused, taut, pithy, Sauvignon-led white, with subtle oak, thrilling minerality and grapefruit and gooseberry notes. 2020-30
Neighbouring the great Crus Classés of St Julien, it has always irked this property that it never received the classification it feels it deserves. This excellent 2016 highlights the strength of its terroir. Bright black- and redcurrant aromas. This has a lovely feeling of drive, with tightly integrated tannins and a brightness of fruit on the finish. A very complete wine. DR
The 2016 Lanessan has a perfumed, quite floral bouquet with graphite tinged black fruit—fine delineation with impressive focus, even if it is not the most complex Haut-Medoc that I encountered in this vintage out of barrel. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth tannin, well-judged acidity, plenty of black fruit with a harmonous, engaging and slightly tarry finish. This is a great Lanessan that should give 20 years of pleasure. This comes highly recommended and I expect it will land at the top of my banded score once in bottle. Drink Date 2020 - 2040
Lifted aromatic nose. Polished tannins with some inner glow. Dry end. Very solid performance. GV Drink 2021-2030
A structured young red with currant and berry character. Medium body, velvety tannins and a savory finish.
The 2016 Lanessan is an attractive wine. A host of savory, earth-driven Cabernet Sauvignon overtones give the wine good aromatic nuance and complexity to play off the plump, generous, dark-fleshed fruit. Pliant and deep, the 2016 should drink well with minimal cellaring, especially if the tannins soften a bit.
This is an ambitious take on 2016, pushing the vintage but successfully so, going for a cerebral 2010 feel rather than the generosity of 2009. Classic liquorice and slate, tight cassis fruits and an extremely well paced delivery of fresh tight tannins lead into a gorgeous, lifted juicy fruit finish. From a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. I like this a lot.
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc. Complementing the success at Léoville Barton, this sister property also enjoys an excellent vintage in 2016. There is a delicious concentration of dark fruit and smoky length. It is a very natural, unforced expression of St Julien, with all elements in balance. CP
The 2016 Langoa Barton is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc picked between 29 September and 13 October. It is being matured in 60% new oak barrels. It has a very succinct bouquet, with a mixture of black and red fruit, a slight sea spray/estuarine tincture, hints of leather and brown spice in the background. The palate is very harmonious on the entry with a grainy texture. There is good backbone here, maybe just a little foursquare compared to other Saint Julien wines, but it gathers pace towards the finish that displays touches of spice and cedar. Understated and classic Langoa. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
Exceptionally dark purple. Very meaty, concentrated nose with real lift. Lots of graphite and grit. No spare flesh but truly terroir wine. Sinewy. Bone-dry finish. Very much in its own style. But long and precise. Drink 2027-2045
This is really structured with great depth and power. Full body, chewy tannins, lots of fruit and a tangy, fresh finish. Solid.
The 2016 Langoa Barton is soft, pliant and absolutely delicious. Succulent red cherry, rose petal, lavender, mocha and sweet spice fill out the wine's mid-weight frame effortlessly. Succulent and inviting, the 2016 is terrific today. The 2016 is marked by its energy and freshness, much of that the result of the Cabernet Franc, which is on the higher end of the range by historical standards. Tasted two times.
. Langoa continues its ascent with determination and élan. The freshness and brightness here is gripping and it is awash with juicy, layered, succulent fruit. There are some slightly more concentrated coulis fruit notes here which make it a particularly exciting. I feel that this vintage has the edge on the 2015 because of its length and taut finish. Overall this is a very balanced, classically-dimensioned wine with a little extra dimension of mystery while keeping its alcohol strictly under control.
Often more approachable in its youth than stable mate Léoville-Barton, Langoa has a lovely brightness and poise in 2016, with the Merlot and Cabernet Franc contributing texture and aroma. Sappy and floral, with graphite and green pepper notes, and an overlay of oak that will integrate over the next few years. 2026-34
A true stand-out at the Union des Grands Crus tasting, this really is a success. The high clay content of the estate’s parcels around the Martillac rise meant the vines could sit out the summer drought in relative ease. It has a gorgeous perfume, in the citrus spectrum rather than tropical. It has a wonderful intensity to the fruit core, and is elegant, fresh, and light-footed on the palate, with a fine finish. Terrific value. CP
The Latour-Martillac 2016 Blanc was missing some complexity on the nose, especially after such brilliant examples produced in the previous two vintages. The palate is well balanced with orange rind and mandarin notes, though to be honest it is missing some tension on the finish and it does not draw you back for another sip. Drink Date 2019 - 2027
Racy and lean. Really sinewy. Bone dry. Even a bit austere... Drink 2017-2023
The 2016 Latour-Martillac Blanc offers lovely persistence from start to finish. Lemon confit, white flowers and sweet mint notes, along with the texture of the Sémillon, give the wine its midpalate creaminess and depth. This classy white will drink well upon release.
With more structure and power this seems a little too weighty, but the fruit can handle it and so can the acid. Big and beautiful.
A wine that often shows gunflinty, thiol-derived characters in its youth, this is particularly well balanced in 2016, with understated, stylish oak, a leesy, textured mid palate and pithy, citrus-edged acidity. Chalky and refreshing. 2019-26
This is an absolute masterpiece. 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot. This ever-popular estate in the heart of St Julien is one of the stand-out successes of 2016. The inky depths of the wine are mirrored in its intense black fruit perfume, its tannic content, and its generous velvety volume. One of the best the estate has made. CP
The 2016 Leoville-Barton is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot picked from 29 September until 13 October, matured in 60% new oak and delivering 13% alcohol. It has a more intense bouquet compared to the Langoa-Barton, plenty of intense blackberry and raspberry fruit, minerals, cedar and a hint of licorice. The palate is a little chewy on the entry with good grip in the mouth. This demonstrates the backbone of the finish, just the right amount of spiciness with excellent salinity on the long finish. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime Leoville Barton, but (as usual) it just seems to do everything right. Maybe it's not quite up there with the stellar 2015 Léoville Barton, which I re-tasted at the time, but it is not far off. Drink Date 2026 - 2055
Dark blackish purple. Less obviously aromatic than Langoa. Tea-leaf notes. Round texture with gloriously ripe tannins. Really a standout Barton. So unusually supple! Yet with masses of tannins underneath. This will surely be one of the vintage's longer-living wines. Glorious texture and flavour. Utterly minerally dry, but not drying. Very good freshness – much fresher than many of its peers. Real energy. Drink 2027-2047
Tight and chewy with a solid tannin structure and depth of fruit. Full body and lots of depth and texture. A Barton with lots happening already. Develops beautifully on the palate. Should be better than the 2015.
The 2016 Léoville-Barton is superb. Precision, nuance and delineation are the signatures in a wine that speaks to class above all else. Eloquent and nuanced to the core, the 2016 is simply magnificent. There is a fair bit of tannin, but the grain is very, very fine. The 2016 is not a huge Léoville-Barton, but it is a wine of nobility and pedigree. Tasted two times.
(86 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Merlot) | 60% new oak | 13% alc. With exactly the same statistics and also the same blend as the 2015 vintage you could not have imagined two such different wines. The nose is more open and the palate is more focussed and closed than the 2015 (Lilian Sartorious always shows the last two vintages at her tastings). It was amazing how contrasting these wines are and, of course, the weather is the reason. In 2016, this wine is elongated and slightly less exuberant but it is also seemingly fruitier and more expressive. The oak is very sexy, with cinnamon touches overlaying the sleek cassis fruit. Which vintage do I prefer – I think that the 2016 has the edge.
Making no concessions to sensitive taste buds during en primeur week, this is an unashamedly firm, tannic, densely constructed St Julien that needs at least another decade in bottle. Oaky, firm and compact, with layers of damson, graphite and blackcurrant fruit and a grippy finish. 2027-40
As my children would say “OMG”! This vies as one of the most exciting wines I tasted all week and I simply can’t wait to try it again. Unquestionably first growth in all but name. This is a simply great wine and I am tempted to go as far as to say it is the greatest Las Cases I have ever tasted, and that is saying something… I’m not sure where to start! Dense opaque colour, with hints of eucalyptus, black cherries and black fruits on the nose. These follow through into the palate, with hints of blackcurrant. A hugely bold wine, with great breadth of fruit. It has the power of its famed neighbour Ch Latour, but with a degree of St Julien sensitivity, poise and grace. It finishes with chocolate, mocha and a delicious degree of richness. Almost perfection, and a definite addition to my cellar this year. DR
The 2016 Leoville-Las Cases comprises 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, during which the harvesters were out in the vines for 16 days. It is matured in 90% new oak and delivers 13.60% alcohol and an IPT of 82. It is initially tightly coiled on the nose and needed coaxing from the glass. There are scents of small black cherries, boysenberry, crushed violets and a slight flintiness that emerges with time. The definition is very impressive—you can almost pick the aromas out one by one. The palate is awe-inspiring. The tannins are so filigree, in fact not dissimilar to their neighbor across the border at Château Latour. That seam of graphite lends this Léoville Las-Cases a Pauillac-like personality, but ignoring stylistic similarities, it is the intensity, depth and arching structure that astounds, with detail on the finish that rivets your feet to the spot. Then the finish is ultra-precise, one of the most mineral-driven that I have encountered in almost 20 years visiting the estate, plus it is endowed with one the longest aftertastes you will find in 2016. Yeah, it's good. Drink Date 2030 - 2070
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc picked between 30 September and 19 October, the result aged in 90% new barrels. IPT 82. Amazing combination of the stoniness and backbone of traditional Las Cases with extraordinary vitality and energy, all overlaid with fully ripe fruit. Such richness! Round tannins but the most youthful wine I have yet encountered. Extremely minerally and thrilling. Jean-Hubert Delon bemoans the fact he will not be alive to see it at its peak, and is convinced it will shut down at some point. It is glorious to taste now. 13.6% Drink 2026-2050
A unique Las Cases that harkens back to some of the great classics such as 1985 or 1986 with its solid backbone of tannins and a walnut, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and powerful, characterized throughout by a steeliness that shows its strength and energy. Better than the 2015. Ultra-classic.
Léoville Las Cases is usually a brutish, powerful wine, especially when young. The 2016, on the other hand, is a wine of total finesse. There is almost no sensation of tannin, even though the wine has the highest degree of tannin ever measured here. Sometimes wines can go from the merely outstanding into the realm of the sublime. That is very much the case with the 2016 Léoville Las Cases. I could describe the aromas and flavors, but that seems superfluous for a wine that delivers so much pure pleasure. Silky (yes, silky) tannins wrap around a super-expressive finish laced with the essence of blue/purplish fruit, crème de cassis, lavender and blueberry jam.
Very profound, very focussed and also amazingly exotic, there is a mind-bending amount of class here and it is so dense and so classy that it completely baffles the palate. The weightlessness and also intensity of the flavours are nothing short of amazing. The tannins are complete and not at all drying but they are incredible and they will arm this wine for a fifty-year life. The colour and turbidity is insane, too. Sitting here tasting this wine is a seriously unnerving out of body experience and I will make it my mission to taste (and drink) this wine as many times as I can for the rest of my life! This is a truly amazing Las Cases and it is a ‘classic’, at the same time as defining a new era of classicism in this commune. Phenomenal.
Jean-Hubert Delon has made the most of the superb vintage in 2016 to produce a Las-Cases that’s typically concentrated, backward and even a little forbidding. But scale the walls of the tannins and savoury, compact berry fruit and the view is beautiful. 2030-45
Shining purple colour, this has extravagant aromas of dark chocolate and Moroccan spice. In the palate it is beautifully layered with the 33% Merlot in the blend creating a mouth-coating texture. A very layered wine, with lovely sweet intensity. Flamboyant but poised and polished, this will give great pleasure. DR
The 2016 Leoville-Poyferre is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Didier Cuvelier told me that color leeched out naturally and he conducted an 8 day pre-fermentation maceration. Matured in 80% new oak with some malolactic in barrel, it has a typical bouquet for this estate with opulent but neatly controlled, billowing scents of black cherries, black plum, crème de cassis and violets. The palate is beautifully balanced with fine tannin, a killer line of acidity and perhaps one of the most harmonious Poyferré that I have encountered at this juncture. It just glides across the mouth and slips down the throat with consummate ease. Superb. Drink Date 2024 - 2060
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Deep purple. Very deep. Really rich and winning. Much more mouth-filling than the other wines from this stable. Really fresh but broad and ripe. Great freshness. Long and beautifully balanced. 13.6% Drink 2027-2045
The buildup on the palate is impressive with blackberry and blueberry character. Plenty of currants, too. Full-bodied, linear and tight. Racy tannins and a long finish. Shows tension, depth, real raciness and pure finesse. A combination of the best from both 2009 and 2010.
A huge, soaring wine, the 2016 Léoville-Poyferré is powerful, vivid and captivating. Vertical tannins and massive concentration belie the wine's 13.6% alcohol. The more virile, brooding side of Saint-Julien comes through in this decidedly potent wine. In 2016, many Saint-Juliens possess incredible richness and voluptuousness. Léoville-Poyferré is arguably the most tannic and brooding of the wines of the appellation. I suspect the 2016 will take many years to be at its very best. A rush of dark fruit, leather, smoke, tobacco and chocolate add the final shades of nuance.
A stunning wine made from a ‘sunny vintage with cold nights’, Didier Cuvelier also explained that, ‘2016 is like 2005 and 2010, but different’. I love this description because it is spot on in so many ways. This is a suave Poyferré with epic tannins and masses of life. The counterbalance between freshness and intensity is thrilling and the fruit is briary and lively and not stewed or porty. Amazing throughout, this is a succulent refreshing, focussed and dynamic wine. Didier finished by matthewjukes.com 19 saying that 2016 was a ‘miracle vintage because the rains filled the water table, missed flowering and refreshed the vines before harvest’. A miracle indeed.
More than half of the production went into the Grand Vin in 2016, and the quality of the wine more than justifies it. Lively, perky and refreshing, it’s the best Léoville-Poyferré since 2010, with plenty of structure, granular tannins, smoky oak and a core of crunch, dark berry fruit. 2026-36
From the neighbouring estate to Ch Haut Bailly, and made by the same expert team, this 9 hectare property is dominated by 80% Merlot, supported by 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is fresh, crisp, and fruity, with crunchy little tannins. There is good balance on the medium weight palate, and it should make for an approachable early-drinking wine.
The 2016 Le Pape is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 3-4 September and on 14 October respectively. It is matured in 30% new oak, although my sample contained 50% (which was accounted for in my assessment). It offers plenty of raspberry coulis and crushed strawberry aromas on the nose, the new oak nicely integrated, quite generous and almost opulent in the context of the vintage. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, a splash of soy on the entry, a keen line of acidity. There is a touch of austerity towards the saline finish, but that will abate by the time it is bottled. This is a fine Château Le Pape from "l'equipe" Haut-Bailly. Drink Date 2020 - 2032
Dark crimson. Easy and sweet and yet some freshness. Luscious and very gorgeous and sweet. Very complete and winning. Blackberry compote. Drink 2022-2032
Lots of walnut and berry character. Medium-to full-bodied, round and silky with a lovely chocolate undertone. Very polished and juicy. So fine and racy.
The 2016 Le Pape is terrific. Bright, perfumed and nuanced in the glass, it captures all the qualities of the year in its precise aromatics, sculpted fruit and refreshing personality. Impeccably balanced, the 2016 should provide plenty of immediate pleasure pretty much upon release.
So elegant, right from the first nose. The fourth vintage under Haut-Bailly ownership (because they declassified the 2013), this has appealing rich caramel and coffee bean edges and is beautifully elegant. It has soft, elongated tannins, and concentrated violet and fern notes, that seem to float through the palate. This property is really starting to show exactly what it can achieve. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Very smooth and balanced and with rather moreish chocolate and plum notes this is an alluring wine with superb, grainy tannins and a nice plump, fruit-driven air.
Made by the same team as Haut-Bailly, this Merlot- dominated red is deliberately produced in quite a forward style, with understated oak, grassy plum and red berry fruit and filigree tannins. Very drinkable. 2020-26
A wine that seriously punches above its fifth growth classification. Deep opaque in colour. Beautifully perfumed aromas of violets and summer fruits. In the palate there is a sweetness and intensity of fruits, supported by a densely concentrated tannic structure. No one component dominates another. This is class, and there can be few better examples of Pauillac drive than this gem. DR
The 2016 Lynch Bages is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot with 13.7% alcohol and an IPT of 95, the highest ever for this property and probably one of the highest on the Left Bank this vintage. It was picked between from 27-30 September for the young vines, then the picking team stopped, restarting on 3 October with the Merlot and the Cabernets finished on 12 October. This vintage is matured in 75% new oak. It has a very concentrated, almost opaque bouquet that required some coaxing from the glass, developing floral and crushed limestone scents with time: disarmingly fresh and with stunning vivacity. The palate is concentrated and tannic, although they are not obtrusive and appear neatly embroidered into the multi-layered black fruit. This is a classic Lynch Bages with ambition and recalls vintages like 1990, a Lynch Bages built for long-term ageing. That arching backbone is counterbalanced by the keen line of acidity and a freshness that knows no bounds. There is ethereal delineation and tension on the finish, but I would give this at least ten years in bottle to enjoy this audacious Lynch Bages at its peak. Maybe the biggest surprise of the vintage, this has all the makings of a sensational wine. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Very annoyingly, my tasting note on Lynch Bages has evaporated into thin air. I remember the wine as being delightfully plump yet structured and very recognisably Lynch with its trademark spiciness - so there don't seem to be any ill effects to its being made in a completely different place from usual (see pictures above) but more than that I cannot say for the moment. (I am trying to track down another sample.) I think I have remembered the score correctly but am much less certain about the drinking dates I have suggested here. All to be taken with a pinch of salt, I'm afraid. Drink 2025-2042
This is really back-ended thanks to a powerful and almost endless finish. Full-bodied, dense and powerful with incredible concentration and length. Round and polished tannins. Layered. This unravels bit by bit. Energetic acidity gives it such superb freshness. This is at the 2010/2009 level.
The 2016 Lynch-Bages is deep, racy and sensual, with soft contours, silky tannins and striking juiciness in its fruit. All of the elements seem to fall into place effortlessly. Today, Lynch-Bages is unusually well put together for such a young wine. Expressive floral aromatics give the flavors lift, energy and brightness, while beams of present but well-integrated tannins extend the finish.
As we have increasingly seen in recent years, Lynch-Bages has shifted up a gear to go fuller, bigger and darker. The IPTs are around 95 here, which is unusual even in the northern Médoc, although they are unquestionably yielding, pliable and expertly worked tannins. The result is a hugely impressive wine with a creamy texture through the mid-palate and lashings of dark fruits, graphite and the essential addition of mint leaf freshness on the finish. From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, with a yield around 42hl/ha, a touch lower than some because the deep gravel produced small berries, all coming in at 3.66pH and accounting for 65% of the overall production. This is a great Lynch without doubt, one for Pauillac purists who are looking for powerful impact.
75% new oak | 13.3% alc. | 95 IPT With an unprecedented level of tannin and polyphenols you might expect this to be a shockingly memorable wine. If you then consider the slender alcohol level you might think that there is a typo in these notes, but no. These statistics might seem at odds with each other, but I am delighted to say that the flavour is utterly mesmerising. Dark, looming, with black olive sourness and espresso power this is a heroic Lynch-Bages with gymnastic power to weight ratio. The fruit is thrilling, too. It will live for forty years as if it were a day. This is one of the most arresting wines of the vintage.
Like Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Lynch has made a Fifth Growth wine of First Growth quality in 2016. This is a stunningly pure Pauillac, with incredible focus, balance and harmony. Mocha oak leads into a fresh, leafy, grassy palate of understated concentration. 2029-40
85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon. This has precise and citrusy fruit, combined with bright acidity and salty minerality on the noticeable length. Everything in perfect balance. CP
The Malartic-Lagraviere 2016 Blanc has a well-defined bouquet with citrus fruit, a touch of smoke, honeysuckle and melted wax aromas. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, saline in the mouth with good weight and yet it does not deliver the tension and mineralité of either the 2014 or 2015. It is a satisfying white Pessac-Léognan whose potential was rubbed out by the incessant warmth of the growing season. Drink Date 2019 - 2029
Edgy and savoury and with some oak in evidence but this is a serious wine and very much a Pessac-Léognan. Correct and upright and bone dry. Quite glamorous and sinewy. Long. Lots of energy here. Drink 2019-2024
Malartic Lagravière's 2016 Blanc is one of the most distinctive whites of the vintage. Creamy, vivid and layered, it exudes personality from start to finish. Slate, crushed rocks, white orchard fruit, smoke and citrus notes are all beautifully delineated in this classy, expressive wine. Michel Rolland is the consultant. Tasted three times.
Located at the lighter, easier drinking end of the scale in Pessac-Léognan, this has subtle reduction, understated oak and tangy lemon, fresh herb and grapefruit flavours. Very crisp and zesty. 2017-21
Quite simply exquisite. Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (94%) this is a masterclass in vinous perfection. A high incidence of small berries coupled with extremely strict selection have produced a wine that has both great substance and power, but also great elegance and charm. Thibault Pontallier described it as “a vintage that will smile from day one, like 1990”. The sumptuous tannins are tangled up with fresh acidity and a sweet oak caress. CP
The 2016 Chateau Margaux is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, plus 1% of Petit Verdot, representing 28% of the total production. This is the highest proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon apart from 2013, which was due to the poor Merlot. It was cropped around 50 hectoliters per hectare depending on the grape variety, for example it could be up to 65 hectoliters per hectare in some sectors. Lucid in color, it has a detailed and precise bouquet with mineral-rich blackberry, raspberry coulis and limestone scents. It feels very perfumed, though not powerful like many Grand Vins in 2016. The palate is a different creature to the aromatics. Here is the intensity of the vintage with shimmering black fruit laced with spice, a killer line of acidity and an irresistible crescendo on the finish. Then, graphite lingering on the aftertaste, a nod to Pauillac perhaps. The aftertaste is so long you could probably write a letter to your friend enthusing about this wine before the aftertaste fades. Doubtless it is destined to be compared to the magnificent 2015 Château Margaux and to be truthful, there's a hair's breadth between them. In a word: crystalline. Drink Date 2026 - 2070
94% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a little bit of Petit Verdot. pH 3.6 (cf pH 3.65 in 2015). Sweet rich start and then very fresh. Seems a little bit marked by oak at the moment. Sinewy. Hint of chocolate - just like Palmer! Slightly drying tannins. Sandpaper on the end. 13% Drink 2027-2045
A purity of fruit marks this Margaux with lots of currant and berry character. Full body, bright acidity and round tannins. It’s a larger and more expanded style of Margaux. A wine with a heart and body. Strong.
The 2016 Margaux is magnificent in the best tradition of the Château Margaux style, which always speaks more to finesse than power. Above all else, the 2016 is a wine of superb persistence, understated power and total refinement. There is wonderful depth and intensity to the ripe red and purplish-hued fruits, accompanied by mint, rose petal and sweet spice overtones that develop in the glass. The 2016 finishes with great aromatic lift and freshness. It has been absolutely compelling on the two occasions I have tasted it so far.
It's unusual to have this intensity, freshness and integration of tannins at such a young age, but that is the beauty of 2016 in the best cases. This has an elegant structure with a touch of austerity through the mid-palate, alongside cool crushed tobacco, black fruits, juicy minerality and some salinity on the finish, all held in by silky tannins. There is not the big body and intensity of the majestic 2015 Margaux, which was easily one of the wines of the vintage, but the aromatics are more expressive in 2016 and there is a subtle complexity that builds over the palate. The blend here is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon (one of the highest ever), 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, with yields fairly high at 52hl/ha for the grand vin. It represents 28% of the overall production, compared to 35% last year. The grand vin has this wonderful essence of Margaux feel, and will reward patience - no doubt it will take on some extra weight over time and deepen into a stunning wine, among the great classics of this property. A fresh 3.6ph alongside a tannin count of 73IPT. Philippe Bascaules returned from Napa just before the primeurs; his first full vintage will be the 2017. 96-97 points.
The richness of fruit found here is incredible and the nose is sensationally floral and aromatic. This is a much more intense offering than the second wine, Pavillon Rouge, with a lot more density of flavour and also focus. With serious balance and profound depth, this is a not a broad wine but a slim, long, robust and rigid creation. While the nose is open and evocative, the palate is firm and restrained. The tannins seem very ripe and savoury, but the fruit is ordered and calm and this unusual counterpoint of flavours and structure makes for a fascinating balance. I think it will start to drink relatively early and then hold very well.
Paul Pontallier may have passed away, but his legacy at Margaux lives on in wines such as this superb Grand Vin. Freshness, elegance, fine tannins and crunchy red fruit flavours are framed by new oak, velvety tannins and the vivacity that’s a feature of the vintage. Effortless class and precision. 2024-36
Shining purple colour, this superb 2016 highlights the investment and dedication that Lilian Barton has put into this recent purchase in the Moulis. Fresh red fruit aromas and flavours, this is a bright and lively wine, with a well-integrated tannic structure. Clean pure and harmonious for midterm drinking. DR
Lilian Barton told me that the Cabernet Sauvignon froze overnight in May, which means that there is just 28% in the 2016 Mauvesin Barton, alongside 47% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. Picked between 3 and 26 October, it has an attractive if comparatively simplistic cranberry, blackcurrant and cedar-scented bouquet. The palate is medium-bodied with light tannin, just a splash of soy on the entry, nicely balanced, although that absence of Cabernet means that it just lacks a little backbone and some complexity on the finish. As such, I feel it will be one of the earlier-drinking Moulis wines from the 2016 vintage. Drink Date 2020 - 2030
Very neat and polished without being at all forced. Classic stuff - Barton Lite-ish. Very nice top-quality oak influence and a bone-dry finish. Lots of energy here. Drink 2022-2032
The 2016 Mauvesin Barton is terrific. Silky, layered and gracious, as it usually is, the 2016 also offers a bit more depth and midpalate pliancy than is typically the case. Sweet red and purplish fruit, flowers and mint give the wine aromatic lift, and there is lovely purity to the fruit. In 2016, it is the wine's balance that is truly commendable. Tasted two times.
Very smooth and very creamy, this is a lovely Mauvesin and it is superbly balanced and looking good already. The Merlot carries the wine well, with some fleshiness and this works perfectly, balanced by a lovely crunch of acidity on the finish.
Today Côtes de Castillon can stand proudly alongside its more famous neighbour St Emilion, and this fine property is a wonderful example of its quality potential. Shining purple colour, lovely bright juicy loganberry, pristine fruit aromas. A beautifully balanced style, with great clarity and subtle tannic depth. Vibrant fresh and very pure. DR
The 2016 Montlandrie is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 3-17 October. It was picked at 40 hectoliters per hectare and raised in 60% new oak (although my sample was from a one-year-old barrel). It is the first vintage to include more than 80% of the vines that were planted by Denis Durantou after 2008. This has a more broody bouquet than the two Lalande-de-Pomerols, just a touch of leafiness originating from the Cabernet Sauvignon that enhances the complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure, more saline than the Les Cruzelles, backward at the moment, but the Cabernets impart some lovely graphite notes on the saline finish. Superb. Expect this to land towards the top of my banded score once in bottle. Drink Date 2021 - 2036
They bought the first bit of this property in 2008, then another bit in 2009. Same geological profile as Pavie and Tertre Roteboeuf. Now for the first time from the Église-Clinet vines that Durantou planted in 2009 and 2011. 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Picked 3-17 October. 60% new oak. 3,400 cases. 15 ha of vines and the rest will be truffle oaks. Very deep crimson. Intense nose. Sweet start and very dramatic. This should be worth looking out for over the next few vintages. Real improvement this year! Drink 2021-2029
The 2016 Montlandrie is powerful and bold to its core. Layers of dense, dark fruit, chocolate, lavender spice and sweet oak saturate the palate. Dense and voluptuous, this racy wine from Denis Durantou is packed and ready to deliver maximum pleasure upon release. Tasted two times.
The classic Durantou Castillon. The aromatics are jumping right out of the glass, and gentle cappuccino curls round out the tight blackberry fruits. I love it, it's so elegant yet full of flavour. 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon yielding 40hl/ha from 9ha, picked between 3rd and 17th October. Aged in 60% new oak.
Montlandrie parades some serious graphite notes and fine-grained tannins which make it rather hard for the fruit to be heard. With a dark hue and a closed palate, this is a wine which requires thought. The strong bass note of fruit gives it a more introspective demeanour, making this the sleeper of the Durantou family.
Generally the most tannic of Denis Duranotu’s impressive range, this is the one where he says “thanks” to Cabernet Sauvignon for providing extra backbone and tannin. Dark fruits, some orange zest and considerable underlying structure make this a wine that will reward patience. 2025-32
I love this wine as it offers such an extraordinary contrast to its neighbour, Cos. Brooding deep opaque colour, this is full of dark Black Forest fruits, with hints of mocha and spice. An absolute mouthful of a wine with huge volume, richness and texture. Deliciously sweet fruit, with driving structured tannins, finishing with tension and real attitude. DR
The 2016 Montrose is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc (no Petit Verdot this year) picked between 23 September to 14 October and matured in 60% new oak. It has a very sophisticated bouquet with blackberry, briary, a touch of blue fruit and violets. Sometimes this Saint Estèphe can be a little broody at en primeur, but this certainly is more expressive, maintaining very fine delineation and precision, unfolding with each swirl of the glass and revealing a hidden graphite/marine influence. The palate is very fresh on the entry. The first facet of this wine that strikes you is the freshness that lasts from start to finish. This is an animated, vivacious Montrose that starts in almost understated fashion yet builds in the mouth towards what is almost a sensual finish, not a descriptor often applied to Montrose. It is a disarmingly and hauntingly beautiful 2016, extremely long and the aftertaste lasting two or three minutes. NB This is one example where I felt my second visit, over a fortnight after the first, revealed a wine with much greater potential, and I therefore raised my banded score accordingly. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Gravel and then clay (rather than mixed as in Tronquoy). 9 ha organic and 6 ha biodynamic. They intend to be fully organic in five years. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc. Very dark blackish crimson. Great, fresh, minerally savour on the nose. Lots of intensity initially. Sweet start – quite a surprise in a way – and then lots of structure. Doesn't quite hang together yet but there is masses of potential. Sweet, fresh ink. Good raciness. Quite muscular but not at all heavy. An edge of acidity is evident without the strong stoniness of St-Estèphe. Just a little bit stringy on the end. Lots of life and freshness (clays help). Pretty glamorous. 13.2% Drink 2028-2048
A solid and tight Montrose with a linear structure of ripe tannins that gives wonderful length and energy. Full-bodied, yet reserved and toned. Stone and mineral character underneath is impressive. Beautiful center palate. The class and focus are marvelous. Better than 2015. This is what Montrose is all about.
The 2016 Montrose is a wine of remarkable depth, density and power. Large-scale and ample in all dimensions, the 2016 hits the palate with a serious richness. Today, the 2016 comes across as incredibly youthful and primary. There is not much in the way of bouquet at this stage. Instead, the 2016 impresses with its power, drive and exceptionally persistent finish. It is a remarkable wine in every way, but won't be ready to drink anytime soon. Tasted two times.
This is one of the most aromatically wonderful Montrose I can remember. It is harmonious, blushing, beautiful and multi-layered. The control and delivery of this stunning flavour is incremental. It does not whoosh in and swamp the palate, rather it is teased out and kept back for as long a performance as possible. The tannins are exquisite and mouthwatering and the flavours swirl, switching from red to black and back again. Simply stunning, this will be a very longlived Montrose and it is poised and sculpted to perfection given its deft lines and restraint.
One of the wines that should carry a sign saying “come back in a decade”, this is a dark, brooding, seriously backward Montrose with masses of sturdy tannins, super concentrated damson and dark berry fruit and a patina of aromatic oak. 2026-36
Ch Moulin Riche is owned by the Cuvelier family of Léoville Poyferr and highlights their commitment to producing the very finest St Juliens at all price categories. Dense black cherry aromas and flavours, it is quite a flamboyant wine, with hints of Valrhona chocolate and Indian spices. Rich and rewarding with a long sweet fruit finish. DR
The 2016 Moulin Riche is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and 11% Petit Verdot and matured in 30% new oak. It had a very opulent, ravishing bouquet with perhaps just a little more volatile acidity than some of its peers, although that will be contained by the time it is in bottle (it is not something that particularly bothers me in a wine's infancy). The palate is very smooth on the entry with succulent black cherries and black plums, a smear of vanilla and a gentle grip on the minerally finish. This will be a seductive Deuxième vin that should give a decade's worth of drinking pleasure. Drink Date 2021 - 2034
A quite distinct property from Léoville Poyferré. 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot. Quite rich start and then it's fresh and tight. Just a bit green on the end but winning beforehand with good 'minerality'. Drink 2023-2035
Linear and racy with a focus and tension to this young wine. Medium body, lovely berry and currant character and a medium finish.
The 2016 Moulin Riche is plush, rich and unctuously ripe. Plum, lavender, crème de cassis, licorice, spice and menthol infuse this creamy, surprisingly deep Saint-Julien. The tannins are present, but as with so many wines in the vintage, they are nearly buried by the opulence of the fruit. Moulin Riche is a terrific example of the level of richness and depth that some of the lesser-known properties achieved in 2016.
There is some tension here with slight bitterness on the finish and this cuts up some of the lush fruit flavours. Nice and long with some enticing purple fruit in its core this is a lovely wine with some class and breeding in evidence.
Grown on more clay-based soils, away from the Gironde, this often shows well in dryer years. Savoury, tannic and quite firm, with dense, layered fruit flavours, stylish oak and supporting acidity. Usually good value, too. 2024-30
Situated on the southerly entrance to the town of St Emilion, this is a beauty, consisting of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Vibrant purple in colour, this is all subtlety and elegance. Lovely perfumed aromas, with hints of violets and blossoming wild flowers. Very rounded with a silky texture. Long and hugely rewarding. Fabulous. DR
The 2016 Moulin St Georges is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc picked from 11-15 October and matured in 85% new oak. This has a slightly lighter and airy bouquet than the Haut Simard, perhaps a touch of more austere compared to the 2015 last year. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, juicy tannin that belie the structure underneath. There is just a touch of tightness here, expected at this nascent juncture, quite linear towards the finish, yet there is good persistence here. On par with the 2015 for sure, although we have to wait and see whether it will be better. Drink Date 2021 - 2038
Some richness of fruit - and lots of sweetness - with a tightness on the end. Drink 2025-2038
A deep and pretty wine with lovely texture and fruit. Medium body, fine tannins and a savory finish. Delicate.
The 2016 Moulin Saint-Georges is a soft, supple Saint Émilion that will drink well pretty much upon release. Understated and gracious, the 2016 offers lovely purity from start to finish. Sweet floral notes add striking aromatic lift to a wine that is built on length and persistence as opposed to size. Even at this early stage, Moulin Saint-Georges is absolutely delicious.
A very firm and focussed wine, Moulin has taken a step up in 2016 with much more length and power coupled with more detail on the palate and a more enchanting aroma, too. This is a superb wine.
The best of the “lesser” wines in the Ausone stable in 2016, partly because it is more sensitively oaked, this is fine, floral and comparatively forward in style, with red berry fruit, notes of tobacco and baking spices and a fresh, elegant finish. 2020-28
Arriving at Mouton Rothschild is one of the great excitements of the primeur week. Under Philippe Dhalluin and Hervé Gouin’s leadership, the 2016 is a fabulous example of everything that Mouton has to offer. A blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 1% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it exudes boldness, richness and volume. Whilst deliciously intense, it is not to excess, just beautifully poised between ripe sweet black fruits, structured but balanced tannins, and subtle freshness on the finish. It is in the running to be one of the wines of the vintage. DR
The 2016 Mouton-Rothschild is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the latter two co-fermented, picked from 26 September and finished on 14 October. As usual, it is being matured in 100% new oak. It has a very intense bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, cold limestone and crushed violet aromas that if anything, appear to gain vigor with aeration in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, juicy tannin. There is a lot of fruit packed into this Mouton-Rothschild and therefore one can feel the weight in the mouth, yet the acidity keeps everything on tip-toes. The finish has superb precision and opulence, completing a Mouton-Rothschild that will rivet you to the spot. Tasted on two occasions, the second confirming that this is simply a magnificent wine. Whichever artist eventually designs the label is going to be drinking well. Drink Date 2026 - 2065
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot picked from 26 September (Merlot) until 14 October (Cabernet Sauvignon). Exceptional crimson. Real lift and transparency. Quite a soaring dry style with great texture and refreshment. Very strong style statement. Infusion of Cabernet. A sort of amalgam of cassis and tar in that very Mouton way but with 21st-century lift and transparency. Quite brave in a way. Bone dry and utterly embryonic compared with most of the 2016s (with the notable exception of Las Cases). Drink 2030-2055
This is a phenomenal, muscular red that shows incredible power and depth. Full-bodied and with great concentration of tannins but this remains agile and polished. The form to this is stupendous. Such precision and clarity. The new 1986 but better.
On first impression, the 2016 Mouton Rothschild is incredibly reminiscent of the 1986, especially in its aromatics. On the palate, the 2016 naturally reflects the more finessed personality of the year as well as 30 years of continual refinements in vineyard and cellar work. Graphite, grilled herbs, smoke, crème de cassis, bittersweet chocolate and ripe plums are some of the many flavors that flesh out in the glass in an utterly captivating, exquisite Mouton that I had to taste twice and then directly from barrel because of its pure allure. Although it is early, the 2016 Mouton is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage.
For the 2016 vintage, Philippe Dhalluin and his team have wrought a big, rich Mouton full of seductive grilled coffee bean, slate, graphite, tight cassis and bilberry. This has depth and impact and closely approaches the 2010. Astonishing! Clearly powerful but with the beauty and flourish of Mouton. It is a long lasting wine, just stretching out endlessly in front of you. The tannins are ever present and precise with a sweetness to them and a satin edge. This is 100% new oak, but has that 2016 trick of seeming perfectly integrated already. A wine to age then sink into on some happy future date. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot (the last two were co-vinified, unusually).
A very intriguing, luxurious nose, studded with plum and damson fruit is underlined with a hugely focussed and powerful core of fruit which has masses of energy and depth. The oak is very evident but this is perfectly matched to the fruit and the whole package is immensely long. There are some dried fruit notes here and also some drier tannins, too, but this is a fantastic wine with serious gravitas.
Aged in 100% new oak, this is a bold, dense and very serious Mouton that will reward long cellaring. Toasty, rich and very concentrated with lashings of dark berry fruit and crème de cassis, some Asian spices and plenty of backbone and acidity. 2028-40
A very classical white, the light lemon and lime colour matches the citrus fruits on the nose. Deliciously mouthcoating with subtle white fruit flavours of peaches and nectarines. Bright, lively and very refreshing. DR
The 2016 Olivier Blanc has a rather sultry bouquet that just lacks the detail and mineralité that I found on the 2014 and 2015. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity on the entry, good weight with lime and cooking apple, but I would have liked more tension on the finish. Drink over the next 4-6 years. Drink Date 2018 - 2024
Light and fresh and easy. But without real savour. Just a nice Sauvignon/Sémillon blend with a touch of sweetness. Drink 2018-2022
The 2016 Olivier Blanc offers lovely freshness in a direct, straightforward style that is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. Lemon peel, white flowers and chalk confer energy. The 2016 is very pretty, if a touch slender.
The high percentage of Sauvignon Blanc is really apparent on the nose and palate here, giving it a grassy, tangy, saline bite and palate-tingling freshness. Pithy, focused and gently oaked, with understated reduction. 2018-24
52% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, with 45% new oak. Located in the hamlet of Pez, just to the west of St Estèphe, this property has two distinct soil types: warm gravel soils well suited to Cabernet, and cooler clay pockets ideal for Merlot. This estate is managed by Jean-Charles Cazes’s team at Lynch Bages. The 2016 has a smoky charred tone to the oak which wraps around the spicy fruit. The rich wine’s tannins are tenacious, with a certain grip in their youth. It is classically St Estèphe. CP
The 2016 Les Ormes de Pez is a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot picked from 28 September until 12 October. It has an impressive bouquet: blackcurrants, boysenberry and crème de cassis, all with very well integrated new oak. There is a lot of panache here, a word perhaps I have not associated with this Saint Estèphe in recent years. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a lovely grainy texture, quite pure with lovely blackberry, melted tar and slightly savory, almost meaty notes. Harmonious right to the end, this is an excellent Les Ormes de Pez that seems to revel in the 2016 vintage. This might be one of the best wines from the estate. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
Deep colour and unusually sweet nose for a St-Estèphe. Voluptuous ripe cassis and then masses of tannins on the end. Slightly drying end and even a bit of heat. Sandpaper tannins. But good, ripe fruit. Drink 2024-2038
Powerful and structured with lots of blueberry, blackberry and currant character. Full-bodied, tight and tannic yet polished and beautiful. Fantastic. Juicy.
The 2016 Ormes de Pez is soft, fleshy and open-knit, all qualities that will make it easy to enjoy pretty much upon release. Hints of smoke, tobacco, scorched earth and anise add aromatic complexity, but above all else, the 2016 is a wine built on lovely fruit intensity and radiance. A burst of sweet red cherry and plum punctuates a racy finish with exotic overtones. Cabernet Sauvignon yields were down because of small berries, which increases the presence of Merlot in the blend. This is very nicely done.
This is a very smart Ormes de Pez with a stunning purple hue and a lovely mid-palate roar of power. This is a juicy, detailed wine which belies its price and I also applaud its accuracy and balance. It’s the finest young Ormes de Pez I have ever tasted.
The yields were low on the Cabernet Sauvignon at Ormes de Pez in 2016, so this contains the lowest ever percentage of the grape. For all that, it doesn’t lack structure or focus: dense, black-fruited and winningly oaked with a twist of fennel. 2024-30
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. This was quite reserved at the time of tasting, so one of the harder wines to assess. There is definitely no shortage of fruit, and based on the extraordinary class of the Grand Vin, this has real potential to develop. I look forward to retasting. DR
The 2016 Les Pagodes de Cos is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46.5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and a splash of Cabernet Franc, delivering 13.02% alcohol and matured in 30% new oak. It has an intense bouquet with aromas of blackcurrant, bilberry, graphite and a touch of sea salt (just a nod to the Gironde Estuary perhaps?). The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, quite sleek in the mouth with plenty of black fruit tinged with graphite. It has a little more persistence compared to the 2015 Pagodes last year from barrel, very harmonious with a twist of bitter black cherry and tobacco on the finish. Very fine—drink from two or three years in bottle. Rob,
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46.5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc. Picked 26 September to 15 October. Fresh, muscular, racy nose. Sweet start – really rather flirtatious! Racy and elegant. But not for the long term. 13.02% Drink 2023-2032
The brightness and focus to this second wine of Cos are certainly impressive. You can see the quality. Full body, a tight and focused palate and beautiful fruit and density. Ultra-fine tannins. Gorgeous. Sophisticated.
An attractive second wine, the 2016 Les Pagodes de Cos is built on finesse and nuance rather than power. Silky and gracious from the outset, the Pagodes is quite expressive today. In 2016, it has a bit more Cabernet Sauvignon than Merlot, yet it remains quite understated in style. Grilled herbs, smoke, leather and tobacco infuse the delicate, lilting finish in this attractive, midweight Saint-Estèphe.
There is more tension here than expected and this wine appears more tart and not as exotic or as perfumed as it has been in years gone by. This is a Pagodes vintage that requires some ageing. There is a lift of fruit on the finish and some breeding which endeavours to carry it to the next level but it is too early to tell. This is a different shape and it has a slimmer line and it is more of a terroir-driven style of Pagodes. There are some nice highlights of red fruit found on the finish but you must be patient for it to perform.
Just over half of the crop at Cos went into the second wine in 2016, with most of it from the same plots as usual. Subtly oaked and graceful, it’s a St. Estèphe-meets-Margaux style that’s a world away from what the château produced in 2009. Scented, poised and refined. 2022-30
47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot. The extreme conditions of 2016 put a lot of pressure on growers, particularly biodynamic ones like Palmer. They held fire, and whilst their yields suffered (Palmer came in at 29 hl/ha where others were hovering around 40 hl/ha), the concentration and composure of the wine did not. Where the 2015 was exuberant, the 2016 is more nuanced, suggestive and delicate. Savoury tones swirl around the palate, which is spiced with some black pepper. A textured wine with a fresh balance. CP
The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot cropped at 29 hectoliters per hectare between 3 and 18 October. Matured in 65% new oak (my sample coming from a used barrel), the bouquet is perhaps not quite as intense as some of its peers and takes time to click into fifth gear. Eventually it offers tightly wound blackberry, briary and mineral scents; it is very focused, but maybe less extrovert and more classic in style compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, quite firm in the mouth with slightly tarry black fruit, hints of black truffle developing towards the finish that feels masculine and linear. It has very impressive length, completing what is an intellectual Palmer, one that I suspect will really blossom in bottle. Drink Date 2024 - 2055
47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot. No sulphur dioxide until after MLF. Very dark, velvety look - really bright. Complex and energetic. Not simple and sweet but quite a step change. Feels a little transitional because it's so different and more energetic than the old style. 65% new oak, as always, but the wine can absorb it better. Some bitter chocolate. Lots of sweetness. Energy and freshness. Drink 2025-2045
I wrote that the 2015 was incredible, and this 2016 is again. It’s equally structured and powerful as the 2015, yet there’s an underlying intellectual serenity to this wine. You taste it, and you want to know and experience it even more. Full and tannic yet ever so polished and beautiful. Mesmerizing. Made from biodynamically grown grapes.
Sophisticated and polished from the outset, the 2016 Palmer is utterly captivating. Dark shades of fruit, accented by hints of smoke, leather and discreet French oak open up in the glass, but it is the wine'e effortless, gracious personality that stands out most. The 2016 literally hovers on the palate with exquisite grace. I can't wait to see how it ages.
The grand vin represents 65% of production in 2016, the highest ever. It has many similarities in style with the 2001 and 1986, being a classically styled wine full of soft slate, fern, liquorice and cassis, but from the modern era where you can achieve so much more precision. This is a wine that makes you smile from the first sip, and keeps on getting better, caressing you gently across the palate. There is never any let up through the mid-palate, and the biodynamics that have been practised here for the past few years are clearly paying off. Elegant, utterly silky and precise, the structure is just effortless with reasonably fresh alcohols that are the result of late ripening. A perfect example of the appellation, it has the florality, density and slow tannic pace that means it takes you right along with it as the flavours build. The blend is 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Intellectual without being overbearing, and built to age. This is impressive stuff.
Winemaker Thomas Duroux explained that 2016 could have been disastrous. The pressure on a biodynamic vineyard, with the amount of rain that fell in the first half of the season was, near-catastrophic. The Palmer team worked their socks off and as we all now know, the rain stopped at just the right time and what followed was a remarkable growing season, refreshed by the famous rains on the 13th September, and remembered as the latest harvest on record - between the 3rd and 18th October. The Grand Vin is a terroir selection mostly and in 2016 is one of the most captivating and joyous wines of the vintage. Very shy and very complex and it is impossibly long and it unravels brilliantly and incrementally on the palate. This is a masterpiece because it is the epitome of restraint and composure. With superb tannins and serious finesse this is a wine which has risen from great terroir in the most trying of conditions to confound and delight the drinker.
Tighter and much more compact at this young age than the 2015 was at the same stage, this is a serious, focused, age worthy Palmer with dense cassis and damson fruit, stylish oak, refined tannins and pithy acidity. “Intellectual,” says Thomas Duroux. 2024-35
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot. This was one of the more complete wines at the Union des Grands Crus tasting and showed well at the château too. Although it leans towards the austere tendency often seen in the appellation, it nevertheless has very well judged fruit. The nose is perfumed with the spice of cracked black pepper and a touch of Cabernet leafiness. The fine tannins have both grip and flow. With a robust richness, this should cellar well. CP
The 2016 Pape Clement is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, picked from 30 September until 19 October at 48 hectoliters per hectare. The first bottle that I tasted with Bernard Magrez and his team felt a little overdone, but I had a strong suspicion that it was not a representative bottle. A second bottle was more restrained on the nose with blackberries, red plum, a touch of cloves and a light iodine influence. I love the delineation and detail here. The palate is medium-bodied with a graphite-infused entry, plenty of black fruit, saline in the mouth with great depth and cohesion on the long and tender finish. It continues Pape-Clement/Bernard Magrez' move towards a more classic style compared to the previous decade. Tasted four times, once as I mentioned, unnecessarily richer in style, but the other three consistent. Drink Date 2024 - 2050
Very luscious nose with enormous opulence. Then on the palate there is no great sweetness but drying tannins on the finish. Something not quite fully ripe phenolically on the palate. Hint of greenness. Falls away on the end. It’s definitely front-loaded! Drink 2026-2040
This is phenomenal with a density and finesse that are hard to remember for this wine. Full-bodied, tight and polished. Seamless texture and salty undertones. Goes on for minutes. Truly great. What a barrel sample.
The 2016 Pape Clément exudes class and is one of the raciest, silkiest wines I have ever tasted here. The purity and intensity of the flavors is striking. Dark cherry, chocolate, spice and leather open up first. The full range of aromatics has not developed yet - that will come with time. Today, it is the wine's balance that is most remarkable.
Pape Clément retains its customary oak and black fruit impact on the nose in 2016, but without doubt they have sculpted the body. This has thrillingly bright dark berry fruits and a sharp shot of vitality that takes you through from beginning to end. Beautiful touches of minerality on the powerful palate, wrought into an elegant style without losing its texture and sense of depth. This is a step-change in many ways from the vintages where Pape Clément went all-out for power.
Stunning and bold with delicious fruit and masses of sweet oak. The tannins are mouth-watering and the finish is stunning. This is a very flamboyant wine and it clearly loves the spotlight.
This is the best young Pape-Clément I’ve tasted for a long time, partly thanks to the vintage conditions, which made it hard to produce ultra-ripe wines. The oak is better integrated, too, complementing the rich, glossy, spicy fruit flavours and refreshing acidity. 2022-30
48.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 38.5% Sémillon, 7.5% Sauvignon Gris, 5.5% Muscadelle. Pale lemon yellow. The scent is so zesty, with grapefruit freshness. The palate has good tension, with some floral, mineral notes weaving through the crunchy fruit, and creamy backdrop of oak. CP
The 2016 Pape Clement Blanc is a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Sémillon that was cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare between 12-27 September. It has quite an understated bouquet, stony and a little distant at first but then opening up with lime flower, kiwi fruit and a touch of limestone. The palate is fresh on the entry, the Sauvignon Blanc driving this Pape Clement along, perhaps less flamboyant and viscous in style than previous vintages, but I appreciate the tautness and delineation here, the persistent and slightly saline finish. This is excellent. Drink Date 2019 - 2032
Big, broad, but without quite enough zest and energy. A bit dead - picked too late? Sweet and floral. Not a success this year (even though it often is). Dull. Drink 2018-2021
The 2016 Pape Clément Blanc is rich and inviting to the core. A wine of notable depth and viscosity, it nevertheless retains striking freshness and verve. In 2016, a challenging year for whites, most wines are missing something, most often freshness or body. Pape Clément Blanc, on the other hand, has it all. The 2016 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine.
Rather serious, amazingly layered and also surprisingly refreshing this is an impressive wine with a heavenly scent. Completely controlled, this is one of the most complete wines of the vintage.
This is always made in a rich, toasty, showy style that’s appealing right out of the blocks, and that’s certainly true here. Smoky, leesy, beeswax and lemon rind flavours are supported by vivid acidity. 2017-22
47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is one of the most successful second wines of the vintage. It has delicious fruit on the nose and bright freshness and balance on the palate. The tannins are both firm and silky. CP
The 2016 La Parde de Haut-Bailly is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, picked between 26 September and 18 October. It has a typical bouquet for the vintage with black fruit, smoke and a touch of bay leaf, a little reserved at first but opening with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin on the entry. The Merlot imparts a lot of vigor into this Deuxième Vin, which is a feisty little number with great tension on the finish, cedarwood and tobacco lingering on the aftertaste. This comes recommended. Drink Date 2020 - 2035
Dark crimson. Lots of acidity and a little greenness. A bit austere on the end. Drink 2021-2029
The mineral and tar character with hints of white pepper is at the forefront of the nose here. The palate’s defined by a medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh finish. More phenolic than the 2015.
The 2016 La Parde de Haut-Bailly is a gorgeous second wine. Plump, dark and juicy, it will be absolutely delicious right out of the gate. The significant presence of Merlot in the blend gives La Parde its midpalate voluptuousness and juiciness.
Moreish and rather indulgent, this is just the right side of expressive and intense. The Merlot helps to refresh the whole and the oak is wonderfully discreet. This is a standalone wine of immense charm and class and I will be following it closely.
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc cuvée, with a shining lime tinge, has aromas of citrus fruits and fresh grapefruit. In the palate it is vibrantly driven, whilst possessing a lovely harmonious touch. Pure, crisp and very flavoursome. Wonderful. DR
The 2016 Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux was picked between 8 and 13 September and represents just one-third of the production due to a strict selection, around 10,000 bottles. Matured in 20% new oak in more demi-muids than before, it has a glorious bouquet with lime flower, passion fruit and a touch of lychee all with wonderful definition. The palate is very well balanced with a smooth, slightly viscous texture. The acidity counterbalances the richness here and it is blessed with gorgeous tropical tones on the tensile finish. This is excellent. Drink Date 2019 - 2032
Picked 8-13 September. Almost oily and creamy. Lovely precision. Racy and lively. Very pure and luxurious. The closest to Petit Cheval Blanc. Very limey and energetic. Lanolin and really refreshing. Drink 2019-2030
The 2016 Pavillon Blanc is one of the most refined whites of the vintage. Orchard fruit, white flowers, mint and slate notes are beautifully vivid and delineated throughout. Creamy, pliant and polished to the core, the 2016 is simply exceptional. For readers who can find it and afford the price tag, the 2016 Pavillon Blanc is a total knockout and a wine of true aristocratic breeding.
They started harvesting the whites here on 8th September, three or four days earlier than last year and earlier than planned after checking the acidity levels - an excellent decision as this is easily one of the best white wines of Bordeaux this year. It has grip, tension and a wealth of aromatics that is surprising as it is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, and it was the Semillons than resisted the heat a little better down in Pessac. With steely citrus, slate, mineral and a sappy finish, it hugs throughout the palate. All the white grapes had come in by 13th September, and the pH is a vibrant 3.2. Valerie Lavigne, long-time associate of Denis Dubourdieu, works with the team on the white wine. Yield of 23hl/ha.
Very bold, tight and unusually sour and with a bite of skin and pith, this is a wine which needs age and it will retain fantastic freshness for a long time. The acidity is heightened because of the cool nights and as everything was harvested before the September rains it is more linear and sour than ever. Amazing length and amazing individuality, this is an awesome Sauvignon Blanc. It might even make two decades.
2016 wasn’t the easiest vintage for white wines in Bordeaux, but class always shines through. This creamy, zesty, beautifully oaked Sauvignon Blanc never disappoints, with notes of grapefruit, toast and lemon zest and a fine, balanced finish. 2018-23
Thibault Pontallier explained that they are heading towards the perfect blend of Pavillon Rouge in 2016, with almost the same proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon as in the Grand Vin. Shining purple colour, this is full of bright fresh redcurrant fruits. A wonderful directness shows the full impact of the Cabernet in its blend. Refined and pristinely pure, this is a gorgeous second wine. DR
The 2016 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux contains the highest proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon ever at 84%, with 13% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, representing 26% of the total harvest. Matured in 50-60% new oak, it has a very pure redcurrant and cranberry scented bouquet with a touch of graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin on the entry, thanks to the high percentage of Cabernet, and it is saline in the mouth with a pinch of white pepper towards the finish. It will need three or four years in bottle. Drink Date 2021 - 2038
Very strict selection (only 28% went into their grand vin cf 35% in 2015). 26% went into Pavillon, 20% into the third wine, and 20% sold off in bulk. 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. Quite bright cherry red rather than deep crimson. Great quality sandy tannins. Really zesty. But light and very aérien. Really lifted. Drink 2022-2032
Very concentrated and tannic Pavillon Rouge. Muscular. Full body and lots of intense fruit. Four-square.
The 2016 Pavillon Rouge is a gorgeous second wine, and one of the best recent vintages I have tasted. There is remarkable purity and precision to the flavors, while all the elements are in perfect balance for a wine at this level. Red-toned fruits, sweet floral notes and silky tannins infuse this expressive, flat-out delicious wine. The 84% Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest ever here. Quite simply, the 2016 is a superb Pavillon Rouge. Tasted two times.
This is beautifully fragrant, with the highest ever level of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Pavillon because the Merlots were not quite up to their usual high standard, and two plots that usually go into the grand vin were put into this instead. This has a taut structure, with black cherry and cassis from a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Clear, precise, complex black fruits and charcoal edging provide finesse to this very pretty and successful wine, although it will struggle to live up to the legendary 2015. The reds at Margaux finished up on 18th October after a full month of picking, one of the longest on record. The berries were smaller in size than last year, but there were more of them per vine, hence the higher yield that still achieves great concentration. Pavillon this year was 26% of the overall harvest, compared to 23% last year. 70IPT.
wine Very tight and controlled with amazing depth and freshness, there is a very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon for this wine and it shows in its amazing concentration and acidity. With remarkable purity and rather beautiful finesse, this is one of the most characterful Pavillon Rouge I have ever tasted. It is less powerful and more sensual than I remember it being before.
Containing one of the highest ever percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon - it normally has 15- 20% less - this is a very fine, elegant, floral second wine with subtle red fruits, some aromatic spice, silky tannins and refined oak integration. 2022-20
Under the management of Emmanuel Cruse of Ch d’Issan, this well positioned Pauillac property goes from strength to strength and offers a superb expression of the appellation’s dense structured fruit characteristics at a very affordable price. Deep opaque colour, it has perfumed aromas of dark cherries and deep black fruits. In the palate it is a class act, it has a harmonious richness, with sweet full concentrated fruit flavours, a depth of tannic structure and a long rewarding finish. DR
The 2016 Pedesclaux is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, picked between 29 September and 18 October, matured in 60% new oak. It has a tightly-wound bouquet with blackberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of iodine and graphite. I like the subtle nature of this Pedesclaux, the brooding intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, crisp and fresh, a gorgeous salinity and a long and persistent, lightly spiced finish. This leaves the 2015 Pedesclaux far behind. Drink Date 2022 - 2050
Bright deep crimson. Creamy texture. Obviously lots of work has gone into this. Very gentle extraction. Rewarding drink though just a suggestion of modern winemaking rather than overbearing vineyard influence. Drink 2024-2036
The 2016 Pédesclaux is ripe, voluptuous and downright delicious. Although not especially complex, Pédesclaux has an immediacy that is hugely appealing. Black cherry, chocolate, smoke, mocha and licorice add to its sumptuous, racy personality. This is a wine of pure, unadulterated pleasure. The 2016 spent a whopping two months on the skins (including a 10-15 day cold soak) and will see about 50% new oak during its planned 18 months in barrel. Eric Boissenot is the consulting winemaker. Tasted two times.
A property that has been benefitting from new investment in the form of additional, better quality plots and a new cellar that allows far greater precision - I know everyone says this, but in this case they moved from large, old wooden vats to an array of shapes and sizes. Once again in this vintage you see the results of investment, and we have an utterly delicious Pédesclaux on our hands. Well structured, it has walls but the juice runs down them like in a perfectly filtered underground cavern. Once again it is the stunningly juicy fruit that impresses on the finish, giving a mouthwatering freshness. The blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc - the first vintage in the history of the estate to have all four varieties now that the new plantings have come through. Lots of small berries mean the yield is around 10% up on 2015, to 55hl/ha, without sacrificing concentration. In fact it has more race and concentration than last year, and with a tannin count of 82IPT and 12.5% press wine the apparent delicacy is impressive. 50% new oak, 3.61pH. Get on board with this wine.
Only 700 cases are made of this lovely 100% Merlot wine. Striking bramble aromas. A really pleasing style of Pomerol focusing on depth of fruit, with deeply intense mocha and hints of liquorice. The tannins are present but not overpowering, and the layers of fruit on the finish provide for length and texture. DR
The 2016 La Petite Eglise is pure Merlot as usual that was picked on 5 October this year and matured in 50% new oak. It is a small production of just 700 cases. It has a pure and elegant bouquet with a hint of oyster shell infusing the red berry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, bright redcurrant and cranberry notes and fine acidity, tender and refined towards the finish. This is another beautiful La Petite Eglise from Denis Durantou. Drink Date 2020 - 2034
Special plots, always the same each year. 100% Merlot picked 5 October (after Église-Clinet was picked). 50% new oak. 700 cases. Super-juicy and so much flesh it almost covers the structure. Sweet ink. Lovely stuff. Just falls away a little bit on the end. Drink 2023-2031
Firm and linear wine with blackberry, violet and berry character. Medium-to full-bodied second wine of L'Église Clinet and it’s silky and refined while showing power and length. Beautiful tannins. Pure merlot.
The 2016 La Petite Eglise is a delicious second wine from Denis Durantou's L'Eglise-Clinet. Succulent dark cherry, lavender, cloves and menthol are all fused together. Sexy and racy in the glass, with tons of aromatic nuance and mid-palate unctuousness, the Petite Eglise is a terrific introduction to the house style. Readers who can find it should not hesitate.
Denis Durantou says that 2016 is the ‘revenge of the Merlot’ vintage. He says that no one can make great wine without great Merlot and in 2016 it is truly great. This is one of the most intellectually demanding of all of the second wines in this section. The tannins are heroic and the power and grace of this wine is Grand Vin-style. Made with low temperature fermentation and a short maceration, the colour and flavour is exceptional. As a colour description, ‘purple ink’ doesn’t come close. The scent of violets is all-encompassing. This is an extravagant second wine with a very long life ahead of it.
This vineyard-based selection from Denis Durantou is a notable success in 2016, showing plum and damson flavours, rich, compact, concentrated tannins, serious oak and, wafting above the whole thing like a fluttering angel, scents of violet and liquorice. 2024-32
In as esteemed a line-up as that at Mouton Rothschild, the Petit Mouton tends to get unfairly overlooked. A typical blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot. A wine with intense dark chocolate characteristics and sweet Moroccan spice, with masses of black fruits. This expresses the power and concentration of a classic Pauillac, with drive and length. DR
The 2016 Le Petit Mouton is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc; it will be matured in 45% new oak, a little lower than in previous year (it used to be 60%). It has around 13.3% alcohol. It has a clean and precise bouquet with black berry, pencil shavings, crushed violet and a touch of oyster shell. The palate is medium-bodied with supple and ripe tannin, very harmonious and blessed with a satin-like texture. It is a more understated Le Petit Mouton, but you almost miss the precision and detail, the mineralité on the linear finish. This has great potential thanks to the sheer quality of the tannins here. Drink Date 2021 - 2045
62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Solid, muscular nose. Almost a bitter streak on the end it's so firm! Lots of black fruits and real juiciness. Some lift and life. A very zesty wine with admirable length. But not heavy on the flesh! Drink 2026-2040
This is a very powerful Petit Mouton with so much rich fruit and power. Full-bodied, tannic yet polished and long. Muscular for the second wine of Mouton.
The 2016 Le Petit-Mouton is exceptional. In another era in Bordeaux's history, it could undoubtedly have been a Grand Vin -- it is every bit that outstanding. The volume, depth and density here are truly remarkable. Sweet spice and floral notes develop on the finish, but it is the wine's sense of balance and poise that is most remarkable. Le Petit-Mouton is also without question one of the two or three best second wines of the vintage. Don't miss it.
Just less than a third of the production at Mouton went into the second wine in 2016, and this is very much a chip off the same block as the Grand Vin. Structured, richly oaked and spicy, with firmish, but well-integrated tannins and a refreshing lift of acidity. 2022-30
This is a deeply perfumed, spicy wine. Its masculine tannins dominate the palate at this early stage, but their power should recede with time to meld into the rich black fruits underneath. CP
The 2016 Petit Village is the second vintage made by Diana Berrouet-Garcia. A blend of 77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon that matured in 60% new oak, it has a fragrant, quite citrus-scented bouquet with hints of orange blossom and blood orange tincturing the dark cherry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with quite a solid and structured entry. There is a little compactness to this Petit Village at the moment with that Cabernet Sauvignon imparting a slight graphite edge on the finish. This is a fine Pomerol, although I still maintain that this is not reaching its full potential given the terroir. Drink Date 2022 - 2038
Some real class on the nose here (fancy barrels?). 60% new oak. Then just slightly flat and not quite fresh enough on the palate. Not bad! Definitely not run-of-the-mill right bank. Slightly austere tannins on the end but lovely length. Definitely getting there... Drink 2025-2040
Layered and intense with a fantastic depth of fruit and finesse. Full body, very fine yet chewy tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Close to the excellent 2015.
The 2016 Petit-Village is dense, full-bodied and opulent. Here, too, the heat of the vintage is evident in the wine's slightly stressed feel. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco and licorice are some of the signatures. The 2016 is attractive, but it is also a bit monolithic.
With a very nice attack and really pure and smooth fruit, this is a superb Petit-Village and in this vintage the finish is where all of the work has paid off with length, freshness and vivacity in abundance. There is superb weight here balanced by freshness with floral tones and perfectly matched spice coming from the oak.
This is Diana Berrouet-Garcia’s second vintage at Petit Village and very impressive it is, too. It’s a Pomerol made with one eye on the future: glossy, rich and quite firm, with the Cabernet Sauvignon adding some extra backbone. Needs time. 2026-34
Thierry Gardinier, owner of Ch Phélan Ségur, has long been a close friend and it was a joy to taste this beautiful 2016 with him. Vibrant purple colour, with lovely floral aromas of violets and elderberries. A wine balancing its initial harmony with a degree of drive and black fruit intensity. The poise between sweetness and freshness is exemplary, showing a pedigree well beyond its non-classified status. DR
The 2016 Phelan-Segur has a really quite superb bouquet, quite Pauillac-like in style with graphite-infused black fruit, subtle tertiary notes and later, pressed flowers. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. There is plenty of tobacco-infused black fruit here, crisp and focused with a lovely salinity on the finish that lingers in the mouth. This is a strong follow-up to the excellent 2015 and may even surpass it. This is a Saint-Estephe that is getting better and better. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
Comfortable, well-balanced, bone-dry rendition. Very appetising. Very dry finish. Classical build. Far from heavy. Meaty and spicy and very agreeable to drink! Drink 2025-2040
A super fragrant red with blackberry and blueberry aromas plus hints of blackcurrants. Full-bodied, powerful and structured. Tannic. Very long finish. A muscular and intense wine.
The 2016 Phélan Ségur is one of the best recent versions of this wine I can remember tasting. Inky, powerful and explosive, it boasts striking inner sweetness and density. The high percentage of Merlot in 2016 gives the wine its striking texture and racy feel. Smoke, crushed rocks, savory herbs, licorice and crème de cassis notes develop with time in the glass, but it is the wine's voluptuous feel and palate intensity that are most remarkable today. I can't wait to see how the 2016 ages. Tasted three times.
I can’t recall tasting a better young Phélan-Ségur than this rich, concentrated, abundantly perfumed 2016 release. It’s a confident, self-assured wine displaying all the good things about St Estèphe and none of the gruffness the appellation sometimes suffers from. Smooth, nuanced and refined with plush blueberry and blackcurrant fruit and fine tannins. 2026-38
A very exuberant Pichon Baron, full of abundant dark cherry fruits. A sweetly intense wine, with a great degree of generosity and real succulence. Not the cool fruit character that some of the 2016s have, this is all about mocha and dark forest fruits. The tannins provide breadth, but without excess. This will give lovers of this famed estate huge pleasure. DR
The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Baron is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot picked between 3 and 18 October at 39 hectoliters per hectare for estate (therefore the Grand Vin will be less). It is matured in 80% new oak and 20% one year old for 18 months. It has a very intense, extremely pure bouquet with blackberry, bilberry, cedar and graphite notes; it is a straight-down-the-fairway Pauillac. The palate is medium-bodied with a very tensile opening, that seam of graphite penetrating the black fruit. There is a wonderful structure here, unapologetically classic in style with just the right amount of austerity on the aristocratic finish. The aftertaste is incredibly long, lingering after two or three minutes in the mouth. This is a majestic Pichon-Baron and it may well to surpass both the 2009 or 2010. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. 80% new oak. 45% of total production. Dense, dramatic, splashy wine with great balance and lift. Lots of energy and masses of old Cab in here. Really snazzy. Long. 13.3% Drink 2026-2050
I have been waiting for this for a long time. It’s a remake of the legendary 1990 Pichon Baron. Full body, ultra-polished yet powerful tannins and a glorious finish. The will evolve beautifully. The core of fruit and tannins are great. A truly great Pichon Baron.
The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Baron is fabulous. In fact, the 2016 is one of the best recent Pichon-Barons I can remember tasting. Smoke, gravel, chocolate, graphite, licorice, leather, black cherry and grilled herbs open up first as the wine shows off its extraordinary aromatic palette. Like so many wines in this vintage, the 2016 delivers serious flavor intensity, but with no excess weight. The richness of the Cabernet, at 85% of the blend, is palpable, as is the quality level. Vivid and deep to the core, the wine finishes with notable density, yet retains its midweight structure.
This has some rich liquorice and gingerbread flavours, drawing deeply on the cassis fruits of the 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. This is incredibly dense and yet feels almost light across the palate. It doesn't have the upfront sexiness of the 2009, this is a more cerebral vintage. Neither does it have the architecture of the 2010, although the technical numbers are quite similar with high tannins and a pH of 3.6. It floats and builds up power slowly, with slightly chalky tannins on the finish. Less of a 'wall' than some recent years, an excellent wine. 45% of the estate's production from 73ha. To be aged in 80% new oak for 18 months.
Very dense and firm, but not overly tannic, this is a super-cassis vintage for Pichon Baron with gentle extraction really benefiting this wine. Long, fresh and calm, this is a wine that is built on the slightly smaller Cabernet berries than normal thanks to the hot summer and this gives it a very dark, smooth, vortex of fruit at its core. The result is a wine which I feel will sit side by side with the 2015 in years to come showing two fascinating vintages with equal flair and integrity.
“The Cabernet was just so pure in 2016,” says Christian Seely, explaining his decision to use less Merlot. The result is a sturdy, structured Pauillac with plush berry and liquorice fruit, racy acidity and layers of tannin and concentration. 2025-40
Nicolas Glumineau took the decision not to include any Petit Verdot in the final blend of his superb 2016 because, he said, despite its superb quality it was too dominant a component and would distract from the extraordinary feminity and refinement of this fine wine. This is reminiscent of the Comtesse de Lalandes of old. Exquisite in its harmony and balance, with rounded mellow, summer berry fruits. The tannins are subtle yet poised and the flavours persist long after tasting. Stunning. DR
The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc (compare that to the 2010 that had 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, for example--that should give you some pointers). The alcohol level is 13.32% and a pH of 3.76. I tasted from a new oak barrel and the final blend will include around 60% new wood and 40% one year old, which is something I took into account. It has a very succinct bouquet, one that is almost understated at first, gradually unfolding with blackberry, cedar and graphite scents, in the vein of say the 1986 or 1996 Pichon Lalande of the past. The palate is very well balanced and what I appreciate here is that it is still as much identifiable as Pichon Lalande as it is a Pauillac and a 2016. There is that touch of roundness imparted by the Merlot, even though the Cabernet dominates the blend, surely the terroir sculpting the wine. It gently builds in intensity, maintaining freshness, a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish and a very long aftertaste. This is probably just a notch up on the outstanding 2015 Pichon-Lalande, a Rolls Royce with a purring engine. Drink Date 2025 - 2060
Blackish crimson. Sweet start and much less obvious density than some, very Merlot and just a little soft. Super-supple certainly… But where's the beef? Drink 2024-2040
Linear and racy with ultra-fine tannins and a gorgeous center palate. Full-bodied, tight and so polished. The classicism and beauty are exceptional. Love the texture. Better than 2015?
A deeply emotional, moving wine, the 2016 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is simply extraordinary. The tannins are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit, while the 100% new oak is remarkably well integrated at this stage. Dark, powerful and brooding, the 2016 possesses remarkable polish for such a big wine. The purity of the flavors is simply captivating. Scents of graphite, smoke, leather, tobacco and menthol soar from the glass, enhancing a core of deep, plush, dark fruit. All the elements fuse together in a wine of nearly unparalleled beauty. Although not inexpensive, Pichon-Lalande is arguably the single finest relative value in ageworthy wine in Bordeaux right now. Readers should do whatever they can to pick up the 2016. It is without question one of the wines of the vintage and potentially a legendary wine in the making. Tasted three wines.
Beautiful mix of power and restraint that you can almost reach out and touch. The extraction is so silky that the effect is a wine that seems endless, suspended above your palate, caressing it and teasing you to find the tannins that are very much hidden. There are some rich coffee seams that fill out on the mid-palate with cassis and ripe blackberry notes, whipped together with violets and peonies. The juicy, mouthwatering quality just keeps on coming. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc from yields around 40hl/ha and with an IPT of 82, 10% higher than in 2010 but you simply can't tell. This is clearly going to age and age. One of the wines of the vintage, and I am ready to be seduced.
This wine has a profound aroma with focussed flavours, once again, coming from very small berries. Honed, dusty tannins mark the finish and this underlines the fact that this is a wine which will age well. The Merlot makes itself heard in the blend with some red highlights which differentiate it from the other top Pauillacs and overall this is an impressive wine loaded with class and integrity. Nicolas Glumineau compares it to the 1996 and, by chance, I tasted that wine during the En Primeur week and I must concur!
Will this prove to be as great as the legendary 12, albeit in a very different style? It’s certainly in with a chance, because this is a superb wine: rich, dense, scented and refined, with caressing tannins, pithy dark berry fruit and a chalky, mineral-edged freshness. One of the Pauillacs of the vintage. 2024-35
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, this is a very typical Graves wine, with vibrant summer fruit flavours, fresh clean and rounded which will start to drink relatively early. DR
Blackish crimson. Not quite fully ripe notes on the nose. Correct but very tight and unexpansive. A bit of a low-key expression of the glory of the vintage. Drying finish. Drink 2025-2038
Firm and silky with polished tannins. Medium body and lots of mineral and dark-fruit character. Very well done.
Smooth and easy with nice forward fruit and lovely balance. Ready to go, this is a forward vintage for one of the most reliable Châteaux in the region.
Brilliant shining purple colour, this wine with its sweet flavours of blackcurrant fruits and extraordinarily driven intensity caught many tasters’ eye during the primeurs. A big and concentrated wine, with a full bulky tannic mid-palate, and great length with complexity and personality on the finish. DR
The 2016 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot and 39% Merlot, less Cabernet this year because of the size of the berries. I tasted the wine on two visits to the property around two weeks apart, plus additional tastings at négoçiants. It has an intense bouquet with layers of blackberry, sloes and fresh mint, just a hint of black truffle in the background. It is certainly a little more opulent compared to its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, a little spicier than I expected (in a positive sense) with gentle grip in the mouth. It fans out with confidence, a voluminous Pontet-Canet with an extremely persistent aftertaste, and a saline and balsamic finish. This is an extravagant Pauillac for the vintage that will age over many years. Drink Date 2026 - 2050
Picked 28 September to 12 October. Director Jean-Michel Comme says maybe a bit earlier than some. I'm not sure. They've been biodynamic for 12 years but 2007 was so bad that they had to abandon status. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. 34 hl/ha – reduced to that from spring pruning. Very dark crimson. More savoury and sumptuous than many of its neighbours. Blackberry compote and very round and rich and satiny. Very round. Almost too sweet but that is to complain needlessly. Already rich and enjoyable but masses of tannins too. Long and throbbing. Excellent with freshness and cleanliness and round. Pretty sweet though so it's a definite style. Drink 2024-2050
Vivid and full of energy with blackberry, currant and salt. Full body, intense and long. Harmony. Purpose. Classicism. The mineral and currant character is all year. A seamless tannin texture. Great wine. You want to drink it now!
The 2016 Pontet-Canet has been absolutely brilliant on the three occasions I’ve tasted it so far. Exotically ripe, powerful and voluptuous, it brings together the richness of the 2009 with the structure of the 2010. There aren't too many other 2016s where that is the case, but it is undoubtedly true here. The 2016 is a spectacular wine by any measure, while Pontet-Canet confirms its rarefied place as a true original in Bordeaux. Technical director Jean-Michel Comme added that Cabernet Sauvignon plays a slightly lesser role in the blend because the berries had less juice than normal at harvest. Comme also bumped up the new oak slightly, to 55 percent. The rest of the wine was aged in neutral oak (10 percent) and amphora (35 percent). In a word: Superb. Tasted three times.
This is richly layered with seductively ripe fruit. The quality and texture of the brambled blackberries, cassis and bilberries is striking. There is a sense of lightness and juiciness but also depth and flesh - you can feel the joy of that contrast at every step as the wine stretches out in front of you, hard to resist. 2016 is another vintage where they are up at 95%+ of grand vin, this year aged in 55% new casks, 10% in one year old casks and 35% in amphorae. Feel the effects of biodynamics make Pontet Canet stand out for its energy and lush tannins, even with the concentration of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
This is an exceedingly rich and decadent Pontet-Canet on the nose, and there is masses of power and amplitude on the palate, too. The fruit is dense, bold, layered and sophisticated and the class and breeding is very plain to see. This is a staggering tour de force for this Château. The balance between modern fruit intensity and fascinating antique flavours is unique.
You’d expect Pontet-Canet’s biodynamic vineyards to have suffered in the rainy first half of the year, but not a bit of it. This is a rich, polished, concentrated wine with plenty of spicy oak, structured tannins, balancing acidity and the power to age. Textured, plush and ambitious. 2026-36
An inky purple colour. Dark bramble flavours dominate the nose, and the tannins are quite blocky at this early stage. It needs a little while to integrate, but it should make for enjoyable drinking in the medium term. CP
The 2016 Poujeaux has an impressive bouquet with plenty of blackberry, briary and cigar box aromas that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin on the entry. This is a "smoky" Poujeaux with commendable depth and structure, a little more "solid" than recent vintages with good depth on the black pepper-tinged finish. The 2015 Poujeaux was very good, but this may well surpass that and achieve the level of some of the legendary wines from yesteryear. Drink Date 2022 - 2045
Dark purple. Great polish and ripeness on the nose. A broad, palate-filling wine that's not too sweet and finishes with very appetising dry tannins. Just slightly inky and demanding on the finish. Drink 2025-2035
The 2016 Poujeaux is fabulous. Rich, deep and beautifully layered, it has a level of pure intensity I don't recall seeing in the past. Succulent red/bluish fruit and silky tannins add to the wine's considerable finesse. Racy and succulent to the core, yet still very much medium in body, the 2016 delivers the goods. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. This is a terrific showing from the Cuvelier family and winemakers Stéphane Derenoncourt and Julien Lavenu. Don't miss it. Tasted two times.
A classic, powerful, masculine Poujeaux - this is always a reliable Château and in 2016 they have managed to make a rich, heady wine but one with perfectly controlled alcohol and tannin.
If you’re looking for a value for money wine that ages well in bottle, Poujeaux generally fits the bill. This is a serious, well-structured Médoc with subtle oak integration, firmish tannins and notes of tangerine and crème de cassis. 2022-30
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. This is a recent addition to Haut-Brion owners Clarence Dillon’s portfolio, and their only on the Right Bank. The deeply coloured ruby wine has an explosive aroma of sweet plummy fruit and warm spices. Plush tannins drench the palate, with good freshness on the finish. CP
The 2016 Chateau Quintus, of course under the umbrella of Domaine Clarence Dillon (Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion), is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc picked between 3 and 20 October. This is the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc since the debut in 2011. Matured in just under 30% new oak, it has a slightly broody bouquet at first with black fruit and hints of allspice and clove. The palate is nicely structured, with the Cabernet Franc lending this impressive backbone (more than the 2015) and a slightly masculine, grippy finish that suggests it will be a long-term proposition. Excellent. Drink Date 2022 - 2040
Dark purplish crimson. Silky and appetising and now it's getting really good! Fresh and zesty. Polished and very successful in this sixth vintage. Appetising and sophisticated. Croquant. Long. Spicy. Drink 2024-2040
One of the real surprises of the vintage, the 2016 Quintus is superb. Creamy and ample on the palate, with striking depth to its dark, fleshy fruit, it possesses exceptional balance. All of the previous vintages have been good, but each of them has lacked something. The 2016 is the first vintage in which I can say Quintus is not missing anything. Now, what remains to be seen is how high this wine can go. The 2016 is exceptionally vivid and nuanced, with seemingly endless layers of fruit that virtually cover the tannins, and a long, sublime finish.
With more amplitude, density and much more prominent alcohol and structure than I was expecting, this is a powerful wine and I wonder if it is a little too muscular. It will, of course, calm down in due course, but at the moment it seems like it is from a different vintage. The fruit flavour is extraordinary and the texture is hedonistic, but I am hoping that the dryness on the finish will even out in time. My score suggests that it will.
The star has been shining on this superb property in recent years, the rewards of the Chanel-owning Wertheimer family’s investment in both vineyard and winery. Dense opaque colour, generous aromas of damsons and loganberries. In the palate it exudes ripeness and richness, less abundantly powerful than some years, but with a greater degree of charm. A very balanced and complete wine. DR