This small 4 ha vineyard is next door to La Mission Haut Brion and made in their cellars. With over 50% Merlot in the blend, it is relatively rich and plump but shows good classic claret cedarwood and berry flavours. The Haut Brion/La Mission Haut Brion team is particularly proud of La Tour Haut Brion this year.
A gritty, austere example of La Tour Haut-Brion, this dark plum/ruby-hued, medium-bodied 2002 offers pleasant red and black currant flavors with hints of plums and cherries in the background. Although it possesses good fruit, the vintage's cool climate austere tannins dominate at present.Drink: Now-2015
A maroon edge to the crimson. Rather sumptuous nose obviously dominated by the Merlot that makes up more than half the blend (with both Cabernets). Silky start and really rather fine though lighter than usual. Sandy tannins on the finish. Fresh and appetising but there's quite a bit of acidity and probably always will be. Drink: 2010-2022
You have to like the currants and berries in the nose, with hints of minerals. Full-bodied, with racy tannins and a long and caressing finish. Very fine for La Tour.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.