Our first stop is Chateau Pontet Canet- a lovely wine, emphasising freshness, elegance and finesse. It is a pretty Pontet Canet with beautiful aromatics, violets, black cherries with silky and refined tannins. Enjoy it in 5 to 8 years.
We then drive up the Côtes to St Estephe to visit Chateau Cos and Les Pagodes de Cos. I absolutely loved the Pagodes, it was so fresh with pretty red fruits and a touch of the exotic. The Cos was more powerful as expected with cool, Cabernet fruit and lots of concentration but not voluptuous like it can be- It has a firmer style. Only 30% of production goes into the Grand Vin and this year has witnessed the earliest harvest since 1893.
Our next stop today is Chateau Montrose. The Dame de Montrose is not a heavy weight wine, but has lovely silkiness and freshness made from 72% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon- today I preferred the Pagodes. The Chateau Montrose was very compact, very dense and muscular on the palate. It was broader than Cos, yet had beautiful harmony, which was important to note. We have lots of time here team! A lovely Montrose.
The final stop before Lafite was Chateau Calon Segur- what fun and what total class. The essence here is the sweet core of red fruit. It has a velvety texture on the palate; it is pretty, it is fresh and the fruit is pure and vibrant. Made from 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, the terroir is doing the work here. I really like this.
Moving onto the Lafite stable… the Carruades has glossy dark fruits and a cool, beautiful balance. This is certainly a finesse and most definitely fruit driven Carruades. The Chateau Duhart-Milon is much earthier however. It has liqueur-like blackcurrant fruits and it seems more powerful and more interesting today.
Chateau Lafite Rothschild itself has a lovely nose of red and black fruits and is very pretty and almost floral. It showed some seriously fine aromatics. The palate is dense and creamy with lots of concentration. What is notable is the impeccable balance between acidity, tannin and fruit contributing to the wine’s super freshness. It is complex even at this stage, with hints of mocha and a very long finish.
For the Mouton stable we kicked off with the Petit Mouton, which has lovely, red fruit aromatics. There is more obvious Mouton flesh here as expected and the fruit is bright and pure. A delicious Petit Mouton. The Chateau d’Armailhac is my star value-buy so far. Cool red and dark fruits blend to create a fabulous nose and it has quite high acidity on the palate that only adds to the freshness. It hasn’t the Petit Mouton opulence but it is finer and completely delicious. Chateau Clerc Milon today was harder to taste. It is more reserved and tightly wound.
Chateau Mouton Rothschild is a clear star. It has liqueur-like fruit, but importantly is fresh and bright and very intense on the palate. It neither has dark fruit like Lafite, nor is it compact like Lafite, it is intense in a different way. It has such a sweet core of crunchy red frui- intoxicating even. The finish is long long long.
Almost lunch time! But before a glass of Sauv/Sem we hit Latour. We were told by the lovely Sonia in the tasting room that her wines had the elegance and freshness of 2000 and the cool fruit of 2004. You could really taste the minerality and terroir here. The Forts de Latour is muscular and dense yet still keeps with the vintage… brightness and freshness are clearly a large part of this. There is a touch of saltiness on the finish. A lovely wine. The Grand Vin is dense but not as obviously massive as it can be, but is wonderfully rounded.
After lunch we hit Xavier Borie at Chateau Haut Batailley and Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste. For me, these two wines epitomise what this vintage is about- coolness, freshness and a beautiful sweet core of vibrant fruit. Haut Batailley is up there with d’Armailhac for being so pure and so incredibly delicious. It has superb balance and I tasted an intense raspberry flavour on the palate that I haven’t tasted before. This will hopefully deliver some proper value. The Grand Puy Lacoste is darker, more powerful and less obviously pretty with such cool, deep, dark fruit flavours. These two wines are both simply delicious.
We then move on to Chateau Pichon Baron and this is one of the top wines I tasted today. It is made from 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot. With glossy black fruit, it is cool and fresh with a clear lusciousness on the palate. It is a sexy wine and when I taste a wine like this I remember why I love drinking wine!
Chateau Léoville Las Cases is up next and is an enormous wine with huge amounts of dark blueberry fruit all surrounded by a very tannic structure. It is hard to assess now as it is so massive. From Las Cases we entered the Poyferré stable. Moulin Riche every year is a well-made wine with sexy, redder fruit, it is compact and serious at this level. It needs a few years, but this is a wine I would buy for sheer dinner party pleasure. The Grand Vin draws you in with its lovely balance of fresh fruit wrapped in a velvety glove. The structure is more masculine and not quite as big as Las Cases, but for Poyferré it isn’t as finesse driven like it can be. A proper wine here!