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An early start to the last day of the campaign - less than a month since Pontet Canet took us by surprise on 28th May...
Les Carmes Haut Brion released this morning at £408 per 6 bottles IB - made in tiny quantities and always highly sought-after. Only Jane Anson of Decanter has scored so far, but her note suggests that the estate’s trajectory towards excellence continues. 96 points “Inky purple in colour colour, with peony and iris aromatics, then a whoosh of freshness that makes your mouth water before you are even halfway through. This is extremely impressive, well balanced, with fine tannins and real discretion but hidden power and depths. Clear floral character, with an austerity that makes you celebrate minerality. There are gourmet touches but the focus is rather on slate, rosemary, crushed stones with hints of chocolate shavings alongside the damson and blackberry fruit.”
This was quickly followed by Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont’s majestic Pomerol, Vieux Château Certan offered today at £1,062 per six pack IB, 20% below the 2018. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious estates in Pomerol and, compared to its illustrious neighbours Petrus and Le Pin that are still to release, is remarkably well priced.Every critic has scored the 2019 within points of perfection. Wine Advocate matches the 2018 giving 97-100 points saying,“Be prepared to fall head over heels for this one”. Jeff Leve 98-100 points. James Suckling 98-99 points, “You just want to drink it. Glorious”. Neal Martin 96-98 points, “Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont fashioned a brilliant follow-up to the glorious 2018.”
The final two releases are Chanel owned Ch Canon at £438/6, 23% below the current prices of the 2018 and 2016, and Rauzan Segla at £342 per six IB, 24% below the 2018 release price, and 34% below the current market price.
Very few critics have tasted, but Jane Anson scores Canon a huge 98 points (on par with First growths, Margaux and Lafite) and comments, "Aromatically it is deep and rich, and then it revs up and takes off. Dense, compact and intense, zingy limestone vibrancy and grip. Winemakers say they are looking for balance all the time, but here you feel it, with tiny pulses of electricity that appear from beginning to end of the palate, salinity on the finish with gunsmoke and extremely moreish blueberry and blackberry fruit, with a creamy texture as things open up.”
She awards Rauzan 95 points: “70ha estate so a good difference of terroirs to find the best parts to react. This has a burrowing down to the black fruit, the first minute really it is closed, holding its breath, and then it explodes out of the glass. There is the precision of Rauzan Ségla that is reminiscent of the 2016, less of the immediate voluptuous impact of 2018 but the density becomes extremely clear in the glass, the serious side, still with a rinse of iris flowers to give it the Margaux touch.”
We are definitely coming into the home straight…
One of the last great left bank wines has released today: Pauillac’s supermodel second growth Ch Pichon Lalande at £666/6 IB, 20% below the 2018. For leading critic Neal Martin of Vinous, it is one of the most captivating in memory, and one of his ‘wines of the vintage’, scoring it an outstanding, 98-100 points. His note is enthralling; “you are not looking at a modern-day 1982 or 2016, but something even better and more profound…The 2019 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has a showstopping nose: intense black fruit laced with graphite and mint. (Whisper it...it reminds me of their First Growth next door neighbour.) The palate is underpinned by very refined tannins that cradle what may well be the purest fruit you will find in this vintage. Unbelievably precise all the way through to the finish, I admit staring at my glass trying to find fault with it.” It has seduced all who’ve tasted it: Wine Advocate scoring 97-99 points; James Suckling, 97-98 points; and Decanter 98 points, “A serious, muscled Pichon Comtesse that grabs you from the first nose… Very Pauillac in style, more so than the 2018 with great length…this is easily one of the wines of the vintage.”
They have released their second wine, Reserve de la Comtesse for £336/12 IB – some of the Pichon Lalande brilliance for a fraction of the price. Neal Martin awards 92-94 and Antonio Galloni awards 91-93 commenting: "Réserve de la Comtesse is especially fine in 2019. Wonderfully dark, fleshy and inviting, the Réserve is just striking today. A rush of dark red/purplish fruit builds effortlessly in the glass. More than anything else, the Réserve impresses for its sensual, inviting personality."
And a very successful Ch de Pez from St Estephe at £125/6 IB makes up this trio – Wine Advocate 92-94+ points. Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 de Pez comes tumbling out of the glass with an astonishingly beautiful perfume of lilacs, black cherries and black raspberries over a core of stewed plums, clove oil, dark chocolate and Sichuan pepper. The medium-bodied palate is jam-packed with energetic black fruits, supported by a firm foundation of ripe, grainy tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and perfumed. I love where this once-malingering château is headed—bravo to winemaker Nicolas Glumineau from Pichon Lalande!”
Also releasing this morning at £381.00 per six pack IB is rising St Emilion star, Troplong Mondot - it is 19% down on the release price of 2018, and 37% below the 2016 (£590/6), its closest vintage for quality comparison. It offers any collector an extremely attractive price for a wine of this calibre. We highly recommend it. This 2019 has already caused waves of excitement from the critics, scoring it above the fantastic 2018 (£460/6). Its achievement in 2019 is on par with legendary vintages such as 2010 (£650/6) and 2005 (£975/6). But this is a different wine. A better wine. Leading critics love it, Antonio Galloni scoring 96-98 points, “The 2019 Troplong Mondot is sensational. Rich vibrant and explosive, the 2019 pulses with energy.” The Wine Advocate 96-98 points, “incredibly impressive…It is the kind of wine with so much energy it practically does pirouettes on your palate”.
We also have a wonderful pair from Ch Smith Haut Lafitte, both possibly the best ever from this Pessac-Leognan chateau – the Rouge at £408/6 IB, 17% down on the 2018 and the Blanc at £475/6 IB, 7% down on the 2018.
The red scores 96-98 from both Wine Advocate and Neal Martin: “It has an intense, very pure bouquet with blackberry, briary and cherry compote and a hint of black olive tapenade in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannins that frame the pure, mineral-infused black fruit. Undercurrents of graphite and black olive surface towards the complex finish that I feel is less opulent but maybe more sophisticated than recent vintages of this top performer. Very elegant and refined, this is an outstanding success for winemaker Fabien Teitgen and his team.”
The white also has 96-98+ from Wine Advocate: “The Smith Haut Lafitte 2019 Blanc has a nose that unfolds in stages—offering intense white grapefruit, green mango, yuzu and orange blossoms scents to begin, giving way to hints of coriander seed, turmeric, shaved almonds and cedar chest with wafts of baking bread and beeswax coming through after some coaxing. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully opulent with layers of citrus, stone fruit and savory flavors and a seductive oiliness to the texture, finishing very long and fantastically refreshing. Wow-o-WOW, that is good!”
Another early start with a gorgeous 2019 from Haut Bailly at £420/6 IB, 20% down on the 2018. The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown awards a huge and triumphant 97-99 points and called it, “just magic”, James Suckling, gave a near perfect 98-99 points, “This really is something special” and Neal Martin, 96-98 points, quite simply, “wonderful!”. Veronique Sanders has unleashed Haut Bailly’s astonishing potential in 2019 in this exquisite wine. Given the spectacular quantity of the wine this will be incredibly sought after and availability is limited.
Next up the brilliant Leoville Las Cases stable. A superb Clos du Marquis at £409/12 IB with lyrical comments and it’s highest ever score from Neal Martin - "It has a deep and quite penetrating bouquet: blackberry, hoisin intermingling with cedar and light pencil shaving scents. It becomes noticeably richer with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins that frame the vivid blackberry and wild strawberry fruit laced with orange sorbet. There is a citric freshness towards the end of this accomplished Clos du Marquis. Excellent." 93-95 points.
And the Grand Vin at £875 per six pack IB, 23% below the 2018 release price. Neal Martin states, “There is a clarity to this Grand Vin that places it amongst Jean-Hubert Delon's finest releases in recent years and it is blessed with astounding length. You come away with the feeling of a nascent wine boasting immense coiled-up energy that will guarantee its longevity. Stunning. 96-98 points” James Lawther of Jancis Robinson awards a whopping 19 points, calling it, “One of the greats from this estate”. Wine Advocate have scored 97-99+ points with the potential of upgrading on retasting; "I wouldn't be surprised if when I come back to taste this from bottle, it shows me all that and a lot more"
There is also huge excitement about Denis Durantou’s epic last vintage of Eglise Client, released at £1,295/6 IB- it will be incredibly sought after with very limited availability. Neal Martin 97-99 “Quintessential l'Eglise-Clinet, it will give half a century of drinking pleasure and the perfect way to remember and raise a toast to one of Pomerol's finest vignerons.” Wine Advocate 98-100 “the palate is an exercise in poise and precision, possessing remarkably well-defined, bright, energetic black fruit and minerally layers, supported by beautifully ripe, rounded tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with a long-lingering, mesmerizing array of earth, rock and glittery fruit nuances. This is a wine that will stop you in your tracks and demand you to think, contemplate and reflect. And if all that isn’t enough, it is also fantastically delicious.”
And finally, a high-scoring Pavie Macquin at £295/6 IB – Neal Martin 95-97 points: “The 2019 Pavie Macquin feels very tight on the nose at first and certainly from my sample bottle, I allowed it 15-20 minutes to open. Eventually it reveals very intense scents of black cherries, cassis and crushed violet, touches of blood orange in the background. The palate has a satin-like texture, almost Vosne-Romanée-like, with extraordinarily pure blue and black fruit. Seamless! There is fine tension on the finish with impressive persistence. This is a seriously good Pavie-Macquin from Nicolas Thienpont and his team.”
Time to regroup and prepare for the last few releases scheduled for a busy Monday and Tuesday next week. Have a wonderful weekend!
The earliest start of the campaign with with Clinet released at 6am at £325/6 IB, 16% down on the 2018. A big leap up in quality for this Pomerol estate in 2019, with high critics’ scores means this will be hard to get hold of. Neal Martin 97-99 points, “This is a stunning Clinet, the best that I have encountered in barrel over 20 years of tasting. That creamy texture takes your breath away. Up there with the very best - a Clinet that rivets you to the spot.”
Also Canon La Gaffeliere came out shortly after at £308/6 IB, 20% down on the 2018. A good quality St Emilion at sensible price, this continues a run of form in recent years. Neal Martin 93-95 points: “reveals glorious red berry scents mixed with cedar, loamy soil and a pinch of cracked black pepper. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity, taut and fresh with a return of that black pepper note right on the finish. Excellent.”
This morning sees the last of the First Growths release: the magnificent Ch Margaux at £2,100 per 6 IB, 16% below the 2018. Wine Advocate has awarded a potentially perfect score of 97-100 and James Suckling gives it 99-100, saying, “The fantastic quality of the cabernet sauvignon really comes through here”. Neal Martin scores 96-98 points describing it as, “a beautifully proportioned Château Margaux, somehow "effortless” - something all great wines strive for and few achieve.
We are also delighted to offer Ch Margaux’s second wine, Pavillon Rouge, and their white, Pavillon Blanc. Both are always extremely limited.
Pavillon Rouge at £750/6 IB - Succulent and gorgeous with such supple tannins, yet it’s full bodied and very rich. 96-97 points. James Suckling
Pavillon Blanc at £978/6 IB - Grip and balance with clear flesh to the white peach, pear and citrus fruit and a saline finish. The flavours spiral down through your mouth, anchoring themselves to your palate and holding on, totally moreish and very much in the style of the house, with a kick upwards on the finish. You would be hard pressed to say no to this. 96 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
Releasing today at £720/6 IB, 17% down on the 2018, Ducru-Beaucaillou comes tantalisingly close to perfection in 2019. This spectacular 2019, which Bruno Borie labels as the personification of “grace”, is very hard to fault.
Each of the critics who’ve released their scores have crowned it above the super impressive 2018:
For those wanting a slice of this exceptional estate, second wine La Croix Ducru Beaucaillou at £338/12 IB offers phenomenal value. Neal Martin awards a massive 94-96 points, commenting: “The 2019 La Croix Ducru Beaucaillou is endowed with a gorgeous, quite sumptuous bouquet loaded with black plum, tobacco, smoke and Earl Grey aromas that burst from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very pliant tannin, harmonious and velvety in texture, gradually building towards a detailed and mineral-driven finish."Jeff Leve also states, "This could be the finest vintage of La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou produced at the estate. Clearly, this is a wine of Classified Growth quality."
Brane-Cantenac 2ème Cru Margaux is also out this afternoon at £498/12 IB, down 21% on the 2018 release price. Proprietor Henri Lurton quotes 2019 as a year where the very best terroirs excelled and he only used his finest plots from the plateau de Brane, which sits in front of the Chateau, in the finished blend. Jane Anson awards 96 points, “Extremely high quality and one of the best Branes I've tasted at this stage.” Neal Martin is also full of praise calling it, “Excellent”, and awarding 94-96 points: “The palate is silky smooth on the entry with filigree tannins, very harmonious, not a deep or powerful Margaux, yet very delineated.”
First out this morning was Ausone at £2,550 per six IB. Ausone vies with Pétrus, Le Pin and Cheval Blanc as the Right Bank's top Chateau. With production levels even lower than those of Petrus, at less than 2000 cases, Ausone has become a treasure for collectors who are able to secure it. It is always offered on ‘allocation only’. Second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, has also released at £725/6 IB.
2019 is another huge success for Lilian Barton and her team with Leoville Barton at £325/6 IB and Langoa Barton at £177/6 IB releasing today, with discounts this year of 15% and 19% respectively against the 2018 release prices.
The 2019 Leoville Barton marks a trilogy of brilliant wines. It has the high density and intensity of flavours we have come to expect, but with a beautiful coolness and purity of fruit which is a signature of the best vineyards in 2019. Once again Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend, producing one of their best wines in decades. Neal Martin is a fan, awarding 94-96 points: "There is a sense of completeness to this Léoville-Barton, certainly on par with the best vintages in recent years. A formidable yet charming Saint-Julien in the making." Jane Anson is also a firm believer, awarding 96 points, “another hit from an estate that is making seriously great wine right now... Strays almost to Pauillac in terms of the weight of the tannins, but it's brilliant.”
Langoa may well have made their best wine yet. David Roberts MW scores it alongside Barton with an immense 96-98 points for a wine at this price level, commenting, "Full of charm, this is a beautiful and enticing wine that competes with the very best of the appellation in 2019."James Suckling does the same awarding 95-96 points,“Very finely textured with pure blue fruit and lavender and violet undertones. It’s full-bodied with pure, focused fruit. Extremely long and refined. Clearly better than the 2018.”
Ch Rouget has also released at £180/6 IB. With good scores from James Suckling and Decanter this looks like good value for Pomerol. James Suckling: “This is really finely crafted with sleek, polished tannins and beautiful, deep fruit. It’s full-bodied. Flavorful finish. Gorgeous texture. 95-96 points.”
We have now also had an utterly brilliant (maybe the best ever) Pichon Baron at £594/6 IB, 15% down on the 2018. Lisa Perotti-Brown at The Wine Advocate awards 97-100+ points and comments: "last year’s 2018 offering was a considerable step up from anything I have ever tasted before at this estate, and this year is, astonishingly, even better. Selection, selection, selection no doubt plays a part. According to Seely, only 49% of the crop made it into this grand vin—just slightly stricter than last year. Frankly, I’m in awe of what Seely and his team have been doing. Keep doing it!"
And finally a couple of great value offerings:
Ch Meyney at £225/12 IB - An over-performing chateau in the overachieving appellation of St Estephe. This first hit the headlines when its 2015 was mistaken for illustrious neighbour Montrose in one of the most prestigious annual comparative blind tastings of Bordeaux. Meyney enjoys one of the prime positions in St Estèphe, just next to Montrose, with their vineyards running down to the Gironde. Neal Martin considers their 2019, "Very fine" and awards 91-93 points.
La Lagune at £300/12 IB - Super-talented winemaker Caroline Frey took the helm of this Haut-Medoc Third Growth from her father in 2004. Due to aggressive hail there was no 2018, but La Lagune is back in 2019 with a bang. Neal Martin awards the wine 92-94 points, “a finely chiseled bouquet, a mélange of red and black fruit, touches of damp clay, undergrowth and cedar developing with time. These aromatics are very nuanced and deserve time, not impactful but intellectual.” Wine Lister comment: “As the cheapest, yet best-quality La Lagune available on the market, this is an absolute steal.
This could be Bordeaux’s equivalent of Super Tuesday with releases coming thick and fast. Neal Martin has also just released his scores on Vinous.com which sheds additional light on those wines we have not been able to taste ourselves.
Four from St Julien out early doors. Lagrange at £369/12 IB, 12% below 2018. It gets a great Decanter score of 95 points but a larger reduction would have been preferable “I love this wine, one of the most enjoyable of the vintage in St Julien, with a strikingly seductive texture.”
Ever popular Gruaud Larose at £325 /6 IB, 5% down on 2018 and no critics’ notes or scores are available.
Gloria at £300/12 IB, 13% down on 2018, another great wine which has always been one of our value picks. Neal Martin 93-95 points: “This is a nimble Saint-Julien, athletic in build with a sapid finish that urges you back for another sip. Excellent.”
Gloria’s stablemate St Pierre is also out at £423/12 IB, 17% down on the 2018. Neal Martin 94-96 points, “The bouquet is exquisite: pure blackberry, raspberry and briary scents infused with cedar and hints of mocha, very well defined a little more generous than Gloria. The palate is fresh and detailed with grippy tannins. Very good structure here, a sturdy yet paradoxically elegant wine with a lip-smacking salinity on the long finish. Superb, absolutely superb.”
On to one of our perennial favourite from Pauillac: 2019 Grand Puy Lacoste at £270/6 IB, 20% down on last year’s 2018 vintage release. GPL always tops the charts for value in Bordeaux given its consistently huge scores and great notes so a 20% reduction in price makes today’s offer easy to recommend. Neal Martin 95-97 points, commenting, "Classy and full of breeding - quintessential Pauillac." Jane Anson of Decanter sums up its exceptional class in 2019, “this is a brilliant wine, easily equal to the 2018 and approaching the 2016.” 96 points.
GPL's second wine, Lacoste Borie, is also available at £210/12 IB. It offers delicious early drinking and excellent value with 91-93 from Neal Martin, "The 2019 Lacoste-Borie has a really quite gorgeous bouquet with blackberry and freshly picked raspberry while subtle floral scents emerge with time… This is a well-crafted Lacoste-Borie that is approachable yet has the substance to age. Very fine."
The other big release of the day was the highly anticipated Montrose 2019 at £600 per six IB, 23% below the 2018. Few have had the chance to taste, James Lawther MW for jancisrobinson.com awards 18+, while Jane Anson of Decanter ranks it higher than the 2018 vintage at an impressive 98 points, saying: “Oh this is good, it steals up on you with real depth of flavour, stately and concentrated in a way that reminds me of a 1996 or a 2016. Extremely measured, very clear that this is going to age effortlessly, it is extremely discreet and yet packed with persistent flavours. A masterclass in the flavours and aromatics that you expect in a great Médoc wine…”
Another excellent second wine, La Dame de Montrose released at £158 per 6 IB. With a score of 94 points from Decanter this offers great value, "Elegant and balanced, with purity and juicy black fruits. It has that savoury Cabernet quality which is very Médocain, this is absolutely one to look out for, packed with estate signature."
Over to the Right Bank with Beauregard at £240/6 IB, 94 points from Decanter, and Petit Village at £287/6 IB, with 96-97 from James Suckling.
Ch Feytit Clinet £250/6 IB - Pomerol is so sought-after that the price quickly spirals, so it is a rare treat to find this sort of quality at under £42/bt IB. Neal Martin awards 94-96 points: "The palate is magnificent: precise tannins, a perfect line of acidity, impressive complexity and amazing focus... Unquestionably, this is the best Feytit-Clinet that Jeremy Chasseuil has overseen and I cannot wait to taste it in bottle."
A flurry of early releases got the week off to a flying start. From our great friend Basile Tesseron at Lafon Rochet looks like excellent value at £340/12 IB. David Roberts MW has tasted this and commented, “Rich, subtle and full of energy, this really is a beautiful wine. Great length. A joy.” 93-95 points. This estate is on flying form.
Next up was Pape Clement at £725/12 IB, another very strong offer from Pessac-Leognan, an appellation which seems to have done so well in 2019, with 96-97 points from James Suckling.
The two big players of the morning followed shortly after, La Conseillante and Figeac, both at £756/6 IB, 25% and 30% down on 2018 respectively. Both chateaux are on impressive upwards trajectories and have produced exemplary 2019s.
Jeff Leve of the Wine Cellar Insider awards La Conseillante 98-100 points and one of the best tasting notes of the year, “This wine is drenched in enough velvet to be classified as heart stopping! In fact, when tasting this with Marielle Cazaux, the director, over Zoom, I accidentally blurted out, "Holy F..K!" Yes, this is that good. This is pure bottled decadence that hits all your pleasure buttons. If you are seeking a deal closer, this Dionysian wine is the right choice! This is in serious contention for one of the wines of the vintage.”
The Wine Advocate awards Figeac 98-100 points: "This is a simply stunning, seemingly effortless, beautifully harmonious expression of the vineyard and the vintage - bravo!"
And finally, St Julien stalwart, Ch Talbot has released at £420 per 6/IB, 19% down on the 2018. This may well be Talbot’s best wine yet. David Roberts MW comments: “In our flight of St Julien wines this really held its own amongst the very best in the appellation, a hugely successful 2019 all round. Intensely scented with blueberry and blackberry, this is a very flattering Ch Talbot with a polished tannic core. The enticing and juicy dark fruit flavours are generous, full and rounded, and seductively long on the finish. Fabulous. 93-95 points.”
An early afternon addition, Ch d'Issan at £219/6 IB 22% down on the 2018. A very successful 2019 from Emmanuel Cruse scoring 96-97 from James Suckling and 96 from Decanter, "A concentrated but graceful feel to this Issan, showcasing why it is one of the powerhouses of Margaux without necessarily flexing its muscles the most obviously."
The most poignant release of the campaign this morning – the second wine and petits chateaux produced by the great Denis Durantou, of Eglise Clinet fame, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Denis was a magician in the vineyards and his stable of wines always have wonderful integrity and individuality. They are brilliant examples of the sought after yet modestly priced red wines produced in the Pomerol and St Emilion satellite appellations: Lalande de Pomerol and Cotes de Castillon and are among Bordeaux’s greatest bargains.
Ch Saintayme Grand Cru St Emilion 2019 at just £125/12 IB – “Black chocolate, baked earth, liquorice root and silky smooth tannins greet you on the first attack of this wine. I've never found this the easiest to love of the Durantou range but it is strikingly successful in 2019. Silky and yet slatey in texture, this both eases you through the palate and pulls you up short, slowing things down. Sparks of fresh minerality accompany the pulsing blueberry and raspberry fruits, and the juicy finish makes this one to look out for.” 94 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
La Chenade Lalande de Pomerol 2019 at £150/12 IB – “Sweet, carefully extracted and poised blackberry and brambled fruits with gentle smoked oak notes and fresh acidities that cut through the heat of the summer. Delicate overall, this is an unforced and highly enjoyable wine” 91 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
Ch Montlandrie Côtes de Castillon 2019 at £79/6IB – “Cinnamon and spice box tinged pulped raspberry fruits on the nose, this has the restrained exuberance of Montlandrie in spades, where the ripe fruits are balanced step by step with fresh acidities and lip smacking salinity that speaks to the limestone soils of this estate. Cabernet Sauvignon adds a savoury touch, and overall this is yet another example of why the loss of Durantou will be felt for years.“ 93 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
Ch Les Cruzelles Lalande de Pomerol 2019 at £97.50/6 IB - “For me this stands out above La Chenade, in the yin and yang of these two terroirs. Has more signature of the Pomerol side of Lalande, with rich coffee-tinged blackberry fruits, still with beautiful control and lift. Silky, elegant, concentrated. This is a wine that stands as a tribute to the brilliance of Denis Durantou in these smaller appellations, and is one that you will drink with emotion.“ 93 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
Also released, but with limited availability is Eglise Clinet’s highly sought-after second wine, La Petite Eglise at £180/6 IB. “Intense and concentrated Petite Eglise, raspberry and blackberry fruit rippling through the body of the wine, held in check by a deftly confident frame. You're in Pomerol here, with sweet heady floral aromatics, tons of bright plump fruits and an accessibility to the tannins that makes it extremely enticing. Easy to recommend this 2nd wine of L'Eglise Clinet.“ 93 points. Jane Anson, Decanter
The morning started as expected with the release of the Clarence Dillon stable. First Ch Haut Brion £1,770 per 6, 28% below the 2018 release. At this early stage Lisa Perrotti-Brown of Wine Advocate has awarded this 97 - 99+ points but it could still get that elusive perfect score in the future: "This is one of the most finely structured, tightly knit wines of the vintage. Given time, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it goes atomic and eventually takes top place for the vintage."
Next La Mission Haut Brion at £1,128 per 6, 27% below last year's release price. The Wine Advocate scores this a fraction higher than the Haut Brion with a potentially perfect 98 – 100 points and comments: "A wine of impeccable breeding, both decadently flamboyant and provocatively graceful, this is already a prodigious wine of indisputable beauty."
They are both joined by their respective second wines:
Le Clarence de Haut Brion £575/6 IB - 92-94 points Wine Advocate, “With a deep garnet-purple color, it springs from the glass with vivacious notes of crushed black and red plums, redcurrant jelly and wild blueberries plus suggestions of forest floor, lilacs, black olives and menthol. The medium to full-bodied palate practically quivers with energy, framed by firm, fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing on a lingering aniseed note. Simply delicious!”
La Chapelle de la Mission £270/6 IB - 92-94 points Wine Advocate, “Deep garnet-purple in color, it prances out of the glass with showy notes of crushed black cherries, warm blueberries and mulberries plus suggestions of cinnamon toast, aniseed, lilacs and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with poise and sophistication, offering a gentle earthy underpinning to all that black fruit, framed by fine-grained tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and spicy.”
Their world class white wines came out: Haut-Brion Blanc at £3,360/6 IB and La Mission Haut Brion Blanc at £2,700/6 IB. Finally their up and coming property in St Emilion, Ch Quintus, released at £400/6 IB, with a score of 94-96+ from the Wine Advocate: “Full-bodied, the decadently fruited palate is jam-packed with layers of blue and black fruit preserves, supported by beautifully plush, ripe tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with an epically long, exotic spice-laced finish. Impactful!”
Later in the morning Clos Fourtet was released at £413/6b IB - 95-96 points from James Suckling “beautiful core of ripe fruit in the center palate with deep, dark-chocolate undertones. It’s full-bodied with layers of fruit and ripe tannins.“ It is joined by Poujeaux looking good value at £210/12 IB – James Suckling 93-94, “Solid as a rock this year with blueberries and crushed stones. Dried lavender, too. It’s medium-bodied, yet structured and long. Excellent.”
Later in the day, and with no notice, we also saw the release of Calon Ségur at £390 per six pack IB. This comes in at 31% below the current market price of the outstanding 2018 vintage, which itself has already seen solid appreciation in the market since its release last year. 2019 is another terrific effort which the critics applaud. Jeff Leve of the Wine Cellar Insider awards 96-98 points – “The wine sports Asian spices, cedar, mint, charcoal, blackberry and espresso in the nose. On the palate, the wine is opulent, bordering on decadent, silky, velvety and rich. The fruit glides over your palate displaying its purity with back notes of chocolate, black cherry, tobacco and herbs. This is a very textural wine that is clearly one of the stars of the vintage.”
Calon Ségur was joined by its sister property, Ch Capbern, and the Second wine, Marquis de Calon.
Capbern at £180/12 IBis clearly one of the best wines you will find for the price in Bordeaux. This jewel of an estate sits on plateau between Phelan Segur and Meyney. Jeff Leve, of the Wine Cellar Insider, notes, ‘this is a new level for Capbern…Spicy black raspberries, cassis and blackberry fruits with just a touch of oak, wet earth and forest leaf aromas on the nose smell great. On the palate, the wine is lush, round and opulently textured, with length and purity in the fruits. 92-94 points. James Suckling loves this 2019 offering 93-94 points, calling it, ‘a gorgeous young sample with wonderful blue fruit and spices, as well as a nice overlay of pretty wood. Medium to full body and firm, silky tannins. Hints of minerals. Better than 2018.”
Marquis de Calon is also excellent value at £216/12 IB.James Suckling rates this above the 2018, with 92-93 points. Jeff Leve comments, “Deep in color, the wine already expresses blackberry, cassis, spice, cigar wrapper and cedar. Polished, lush and rich, with a beautiful elegance to the fruit, the wine tastes and feels just great, with all its layers of fruit and ripe, slightly dusty tannins. You drink this young, while waiting for the Grand Vin to come around.” 91-93 points
Jean-Charles Cazes has produced some outstanding wines in 2019. Today we are delighted to bring you four of his wines: from St Estèphe, Ch Les Ormes de Pez, and from Pauillac, Ch Haut Batailley, Lynch Bages’ second wine, Echo de Lynch 2019 at £275/12 IB. and Ch Lynch Bages.
Echo de Lynch (£275/12 IB) and Les Ormes de Pez (£210/12 IB) both offer excellent quality, good value and relatively early drinking. As well as bottles, it is definitely worth considering these in large format.
Haut Batailley (£210/6 IB) is flourishing under the Cazes ownership. David Roberts MW commented: “I was massively impressed with this wine. It does what HB does best, direct, intense and pure, but with a bit more polish and sophistication than previously.”
Lynch Bages is always one of the most anticipated and sought-after Pauillacs, released today at £400/6 IB, at around 25% below the 2018. The 2019 punches well above its classification level, competing with the Super Seconds in its appellation for quality and critics’ scores. Jane Anson of Decanter has awarded it 97 points, on a par with Pichon Baron and a point higher than fellow Flying Fifth (and 2019 sell out) Pontet Canet: ‘This takes hold from the first moment and powers along, delivering a ton of black brambly fruit, liquorice, grilled cedar and Pauillac confidence’. James Suckling awards 96-97 points and sums up brilliantly, ‘A tight and very focused young red with redcurrant, tile and blackberry undertones. Lead pencil, too. It’s full-bodied with very polished, creamy tannins and lots of intense dark fruit.’
The Ausone stable also released this morning. Few tasting notes are available but these are generally excellent quality and value.
Ch Fonbel Grand Cru St Emilion £160/12 IB “Fresh fruit aroma and flavour with a savoury edge. Palate lively, juicy, with light, chalky tannins. Simple but appetising.” (JL) Drink 2023 – 2030 16 points. jancisrobinson.com
Ch Moulin St Georges Grand Cru St Emilion £265/12 IB “Fresh, red-berry aroma with an almost burgundian edge. Palate round, juicy and lifted with finely etched tannins. Harmonious and almost approachable now.” (JL) Drink 2024 – 2034 16 points. jancisrobinson.com
Ch La Clotte Grand Cru St Emilion £580/12 IB “Restrained nose but good depth. Some dark-berry and spice complexity as it opens. Palate sinewy and firm, the limestone terroir apparent. Plenty of drive on the finish. Powerful and fresh but a bit austere. Needs time.” (JL) Drink 2026 – 2036 16.5 points. jancisrobinson.com
Finally, St Emilion heavyweight, Ch Pavie came out at £1,495/6 IB, around 15% down on the 2018. The Wine Advocate has awarded 97-100 points and a lyrical note: “Quaking with latent power and shimmering with a kaleidoscope of electric flavors, this could only be Pavie.”
Mouton Rothschild released their stable of wines this morning.
Ch d'Armailhac 5ème Cru Pauillac was first out of the blocks at £186/6 IB, 11% down on the 2018. At our tasting we noted seductive black fruits wrapped in a refined but powerful structure giving a delicious wine that will cellar well for several years. This will be beautiful. Jane Anson of Decanter agrees, awarding 93 points, “Thoroughly enjoyable Armailhac, with concentration immediately apparent on the nose… fresh core, silkily textured blackberry and cassis fruits with good balance.”
It was quickly followed by Clerc Milon at £312/6 IB, 15% down on the 2018. Positioned beautifully on some superb and historic terroir, nestled between its elite neighbours, Lafite and Mouton, its class shines in 2019. Across the board the critics are impressed, commenting that it’s a powerful Cabernet-Sauvignon driven wine. Jane Anson of Decanter gives it 95 points calling it, ‘Extremely good quality with fine tannins that build, build, build over the palate... Beautiful spice with menthol, slate, pencil lead, blackberry and blackcurrant. An exciting wine with real energy and forward motion.' James Suckling awarding 94-95 points. Our own David Roberts MW gave Clerc Milon 93-95 points commenting, "Firm and rich, this is a deep brooding wine with wonderful long-term potential."
Next was their excellent second wine, Le Petit Mouton, this year at £882/6 IB, almost 20% down on last year’s 2018 release. This got some excellent scores including 94-96 from the Goedhuis team, a whopping 96-97 from James Suckling and 94 from Decanter with the comment: “There are not many 2nd wines that can truly stand on their own but this is very much one of them”.
And finally the Grand Vin: Mouton Rothschild at £1,794/6 IB, 30% down on the 2018, which will guarantee it is massively sought after and will sell out swiftly. This is a real showstopper. David Roberts MW said, ‘In one word, wow! I can’t remember ever tasting such an instantly striking wine en primeur. The 2019 is the perfect balance between hedonistic pleasure and elegance’ awarding it a rare, potentially perfect 98-100 points.
This excitement is reflected in the critics’ scores. The Wine Advocate simply states, "This year's profound expression is without doubt a legend in the making." and scores 98-100 points. James Suckling who awarded 99-100 said, ‘The 90% of cabernet sauvignon really makes this special. Lead-pencil, tar and licorice notes. Powerful with finesse. Extremely persistent.’ Jane Anson of Decanter, ‘this is another brilliant Pauillac First Growth in 2019… The tannins are ripe and fleshed out, taking a confident hold around well-textured blackberry and cassis fruits that are fluid, supple and frankly delicious. This is pure Mouton, you couldn't mistake it, with its touch of mocha and chocolate, and its core of freshness. Has a feel of the 1996 about it.’ 98 points.
A hectic morning with a couple of scheduled releases and several more surprises.
First up Ch Beychevelle 4ème Cru St Julien at £329/6 IB. A strong brand in Asia which has kept their price reasonable in the past and has a solid track record of increasing in price post-release, so a 9% reduction on the 2018 release price looks relatively fair. Decanter gave 94 points, and James Suckling said it is, “Equal to the 2018 in quality.“ The Wine Cellar Insider awarded 95-97 points and commented: “Deep in color, with a floral, blackberry, cedar, cherry, cocoa and tobacco leaf nose. On the palate, the wine is soft, polished, elegant and with depth of flavor. There is freshness, a good mid-palate, length, purity and loads of sweet black and dark red fruits with silky tannins in the finish.”
Ch Gazin Pomerol followed quickly at £316/6 IB, 15% below the 2018, and well below 2009 and 2010, but above the high-scoring 2015. The James Suckling score is 95-96: “A tight, focused red with blackberry and blueberry character, as well as chocolate. It’s full and compact with soft, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Harmonious.”
Next up, and still before 8am UK time, was Ch Angélus 1er Grand Cru Classé St Emilion at £1,422/6 IB, with 98-99 points from James Suckling: “An extremely refined and sharpened Angelus with super fine tannins and sweet ripe fruit in the center palate. It’s full-bodied, yet tight and so very polished. Silky. Very subtle. Bright blue fruit, black fruit and stones. Supple and minerally.”
Another pre-breakfast release, this one expected, from Ch Branaire Ducru 4ème Cru St Julien at the very good price of £174/6 IB, 25% below 2018. In a normal year this would certainly be a Goedhuis Value Recommendation. David Roberts MW commented: “I love the breadth and brooding depth of this wine, all supported by a wonderfully refreshing line of acidity flowing through the palate. This is classy, certainly not understated, but massively rewarding.” and awarded 93-95 points. James Suckling scored 95-96 points and Wine Cellar Insider 94-96 points.
Still pre 9am and we have Ch Cheval Blanc 1er Grand Cru Classé St Emilion at £2,250/6 IB, a compelling price, 30% below the 2018, and second wine Le Petit Cheval de Cheval Blanc St Emilion at £750/6 IB. Only Decanter have released their score of 98 points so far. However, those lucky enough to have tasted at the estate have shared their thoughts via social media saying it is an exceptional Cheval: deeply perfumed, offering impressive volume of fruit and richness on the palate, while maintaining freshness, energy and finesse throughout. The Chateau have said that 2019 was the fourth driest year on record at the estate, behind 2005, 2015 and 2010 – all 100 point wines - so this should be an extremely good omen!
A relatively leisurely late morning release from Ch Léoville Poyferré at £308/6 IB 25% down on the 2018 release price. With a whopping 96-98 points from David Roberts MW, this looks like an excellent addition to the cellar for lovers of St Julien: “The wines of St Julien have been absolute joy to taste this vintage, and no wine emphasises their quality better than this glorious Poyferré. A must buy wine of the appellation this year.” It also has 96-97 from James Suckling and 96 points from Decanter, “A rich and highly charged Poyferré, with creamy damson and vanilla pod spice expanding through the mid palate. Hugely impressive, with velvety tannins and plenty of charcoal, grilled sarments and slate impact.”
A very busy morning with the Barons de Rothschild stable all releasing before 10am.
First up was Carruades de Lafite at £948/6 IB, 16% down on the 2018, and the least expensive Carruades on the market. 92-94 points from the Wine Advocate: "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, it comes skipping out of the glass with bright, fresh notions of wild blueberries, ripe plums and redcurrant jelly plus hints of cinnamon stick, cumin seed, oolong tea and violets with a waft of black olives. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers loads of rich, ripe, spicy flavors with a soft texture of nicely rounded tannins and with the freshness in the background, finishing on a lingering allspice note. In a word: Yum!"
Evangile at £876/6 IB (19% below the 2018 release price) is the first major release from Pomerol and impressed our team and the critics alike. With 96-98 from the Wine Advocate, James Suckling awarding 97-98 points and Jane Anson of Decanter gave it a whopping 99 points, ‘From the very first moment your nose approaches the glass you know something special is happening… luscious blackberry and brambled raspberry fruit but also vertical climb through the palate. Violet notes marry with baked earth, grilled liquorice, tension and seduction… Have I tasted a better l'Evangile? Certainly not at this stage, and one of the very few wines in 2019 that I can say without question approaches a perfect score.’
Duhart Milon was also released at £312.00 per 6 IB. In the last couple of years this estate has entered a new era and in 2019, under the dynamic DBR team of Jean-Guillaume Prats and Saskia de Rothschild, they may well have made their best wine to date.The critics have awarded some of its highest ever scores, Wine Advocate 92-94 points, James Suckling 95-96 points, ‘A very balanced, refined Duhart with ever so fine tannins and currant, tobacco and cedar aromas and flavors... extremely long and polished’. Jane Anson of Decanter sums up well, ‘Clear depth of fruit, and above all clear Pauillac character… overall this is an excellent Duhart’, and awards it 94 points.
And the Grand Vin brought up the rear at £2,556 per 6 IB - 15% below the 2018 release price and 21% below the current market price of the 2018. Our own team tasted yesterday at the Rothschild’s glorious English estate, the magnificent Waddesdon Manor. David Roberts MW said: "This is everything a Lafite should be: elegant and defined, subtle yet powerful." 98-99 points. Wine Advocate scores it 97-99 points. James Suckling notes, scoring it a perfect 99-100 points: ‘Complex aromas of blackcurrants and lead pencil. Incredible. Graphite and tar. Stunning. It’s full-bodied, yet shows such harmony and polish. Elegance and complexity with finesse. The tannins are so integrated and endless. It goes on for minutes’. Decanter awards 98 points saying, “A brilliant wine, one that could be upscored from this when in bottle.”
An early start with Domaine de Chevalier releasing their dazzling red at £247.50 per 6 (£495/12 IB) and their white at £360/6 IB. The 2019 release prices see the Rouge down by 24% and the Blanc by 16% on the price of the 2018 and 2016 vintages.
After tasting these wines our Buying Director, David Roberts MW, described the 2019 red as ‘sensational’, with, ‘lots of sumptuous dark bramble fruits, crushed rocks and amazing aromatics. Its silky texture, wonderful volume and striking freshness are breath-taking’. James Suckling has already scored this 96-97 points saying it has ‘lots of intensity and complexity’.
Trottevieille has also released at £300/6 IB. James Suckling has given it 96-97 points, commenting, "A really classy, beautiful red with seduction and force at the finish."
And Batailley has now joined the fray at £168/6 IB (£336/12), a score of 95-96 from James Suckling: "A very cabernet-driven red with currants, light cedar, vanilla and flowers. It’s full-bodied, tight and powerful. Impressive finish. Classic."
Released this morning, Ch Cos d’Estournel is one of the most renowned names in St Estèphe, an appellation that showed great consistency this year. The 2019 was released today at £684/6 IB, it is down 23% on the 2018 release and sits comfortably under the current market price of the 2016.
The Wine Advocate is rapturous, "2019 Cos d'Estournel soars out of the glass... the palate is taut, muscular and built like a skyscraper, with firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness supporting the concentrated black fruit flavors, finishing with incredible length and depth. This wine so beautifully, clearly captures the juxtaposition between the periods of dry heat and those hallelujah moments of refreshing rain - the hallmarks of this great vintage. It's a vinous masterpiece in the making." and awards a potentially perfect 97-99+ points. James Suckling has awarded it 98-99 points, flirting with perfection, he calls it a ‘powerful and structured Cos’, with ‘very fine tannins.. It’s a classic wine with historical grip and power. Real Bordeaux. Sophisticated and provocative’.
Pagodes was also released at a less compelling £186/6 IB - down just 13% on 2018. It was awarded 94-95 points by James Suckling and 92-94 by Wine Advocate, “Medium to full-bodied, the palate bursts with bright, expressive black and red fruit flavors, framed by firm, fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness, finishing on a lingering spicy note.”
Finally Cos d'Estournel Blanc is also available at £576 per 6 IB, with 92-94+ from Wine Advocate and a whopping 97-98 points from James Suckling: "This is incredibly long and refined with a compact structure and beautiful tension. It goes on and on.".
Another release later in the morning from Third Growth Malescot St Exupery in Margaux at £186 per 6 IB, 24% down on the 2018 release price. No critics have tasted as yet, but David Roberts MW has: The 2019 has refined and subtle summer pudding fruit aromas. On the palate, there is noticeable richness and ripeness of fruit while strong, controlling tannins give a sense of structure and power. A deep and fully flavoured wine with hints of dark toffee and liquorice. Strong and long on the finish. 91-93 points.
The campaign gathers pace with the release of Palmer at £999/6 IB and Alter Ego at £270/6 IB. The Palmer price is 31% below the 2018 and 2016 release prices. Initial volumes released to the market are small, based on the hugely reduced 2018 vintage. It is possible they may release a second tranche later.
Jane Anson of Decanter magazine is the only critic to have published notes on this new 2019 release at this stage. With a huge score of 98 points, she writes, "The Palmer signature of energy and precision is here in spades, and altogether the wine is both measured and elegant, with textbook floral Margaux character, while being extremely juicy, creamy and enjoyable, with a mouthwatering salinity on the finish - up there with the very best vintages of this estate." She awards Alter Ego 94 points and comments, "As ever with the Palmer stable of wines, you can pick out the individual flavours clearly, with careful and precise delineation of cassis, bilberry, slate and tobacco notes, but overall this is an outstanding Alter Ego that puts the emphasis on pleasure."
An unexpected release today from Pontet Canet at £366/6 IB. This is 31% down on the 2018 release price, which is obviously a major step in the right direction. The only tasting note and score currently available is 96 points from Jane Anson at Decanter magazine, who describes it as having, "clear Pauillac character in terms of its tannic structure, overlaid with the Pontet signature of recent vintages that translates into spirals of peony and iris alongside brambled hedgerow". For followers of Pontet Canet and Alfred Tesseron's unique style this certainly looks appealing. BUY WINE
Francois Mitjavile has released his trio of wines: Tertre Roteboeuf at £790/6 IB, Roc de Cambes at £260/6 IB and Domaine de Cambes at £185/6 IB. These are the same release prices as 2018 and no tasting notes are currently available for these wines.
The talk from Bordeaux was of a compact campaign from 15th June to 15th July, so this first salvo of the 2019 Bordeaux campaign was a little unexpected.
Ch d'Angludet have released their 2019 this morning at £138/6 IB. Our Buying Director, David Roberts MW, has tasted a sample and confirms it is very good.
"Deep opaque colour, with a glorious profusion of cassis and blackcurrant aromas. A rich bold style, with sweet juicy dark fruit flavours. A broad mouth filling wine, with a very smooth Margaux tannic core and a touch of freshness. An impressive introduction to the 2019 vintage. Drink 2024-2034." BUY WINE