2015 Bordeaux

 

EXCELLENT TO GREAT VINTAGE BUT NOT ON THE SAME LEVEL AS 2005, 2009 AND 2010. LOOKING AT ALL APPELATIONS, LEFT BANK MAY HAVE A SLIGHT EDGE OVER RIGHT BANK, BUT TIME WILL TELL WHO'S THE WINNER

  

2015 2

 Thibault Pontallier, son of Paul Pontallier, speaks about 2015 vintage during our visit at Chateau Margaux on the 11th April 2016. It was his first return to the property since his father's death. Very emotional visit.

For readers interested in how weather conditions evolved in 2015 and more background concerning this vintage - please check out this link - http://www.greatbordeauxwines.com/harvests/harvest-2015

I did have quite great expectations for 2015 vintage while tasting barrel samples in two first weeks in April 2016. Mainly because I witnessed during 10 days stay in Bordeaux (28.09 - 08.10), exceptional quality of grapes, their ripeness inside and outside, and very favourable weather in September and October, which promised so much. Expectations weren't fulfilled 100% unfortunately. Anyway, 2015 has nothing to be ashamed of!

Despite the fact, that 2015 will probably come short of having same niveau of intensity, concentration and depth like 2010, 2009 and 2005, some properties managed to make best wine in the last 25 years (Pichon Comtesse) and ever (Petit Village).

Some from wine press compare 2015 to 2001 and 1985. I don't agree - imho 2001 didn't have the same kind of phenolic ripeness, sweetness and quality of tannin, while 1985 was lighter and didn't have same kind of strong backbone. Having said that I believe that 2015 easily can keep for 30 years as 1985 has had (as witnessed in November 2015!).

Red wines seem best in Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Pessac-Leognan, Margaux and Saint-Julien. However, I will say that I'm pretty satisfied with wines from Pauillac and Saint-Estephe, and I just haven't noticed any dillution there, which some wine-journalists have announced. Maybe this rain didn't cause any significant damage due to end of growing cyclus for vine plants and well drained soils with small amount of clay in the subsoil.

Many wines from Left Bank have been vinified carefully and therefore have freshness, elegance and fruity character well combined with richness, depth and length, while several Right Bank wines (mostly from modern style properties) can taste of overextraction and dryness.

White dry wines in 2015 are generally slightly under 2014 vintage, they don't have same level of acidity and depth, but as it always happens, some properties managed to make better wines in 2015 than in 2014. The same verdict can be thrown on white sweet wines.

All in all, 2015 is excellent to great vintage, filled with perfect ripe sweet fruit (most places!) and silky tannin, with great richness and complexity, stunning balance and length for majority of wines. It's an useful vintage and we must hope that prices will be held at reasonable level.

Impressions

It was two busy weeks in Bordeaux, both related to wine and culinary experiences. It's the same pattern every year, that I arrive in Bordeaux 3-5 days before primeur tastings begin and I always start with Seguin and Haut Brion. Since 2015 harvest it has been expanded with Les Carmes Haut Brion as it is 2 minutes drive between Haut Brion and Les Carmes Haut Brion. I attend always Grand Cercle tasting on Saturday. Then UGCB tastings after weekend, own visits with tastings, Sauternes & Barsac in the end of the week, some visits during the weekend and then Haut Medoc.

This year I chose to visit 4 First Growths after the main primeur week in order to avoid being placed in large groups of people and not having time to ask questions and taste wines quietly. It turned out to be a very wise choice from me as there was time for everything and it was only us versus owners/staff. At Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Margaux we were greatly treated. In addition to tasting wines we were granted visiting cellars of Lafite + cellars and museum at Mouton Rothschild.

Young generation is coming. We met daughter of Alfred Tesseron, Justine, at Pontet Canet, and it was her who tasted 2015 with us. At L'Eglise Clinet, we did see Denis Durantou for approximately 10 minutes, then he left and his daughter who spoke very good English (London dialect?) served all wines for us. But old generation is holding well - just think of Leoville Las Cases cellar master, Monsieur Rolland (not in the family with Michel Rolland!), who has served Delon family for remarkable 34 years now!!

Concerning tasted barrel samples, I feel I've been unlucky with Canon and Lafleur, when I compare other wine journalists impressions to mine. Canon was tasted with other wines at Matmut Football stadium in Bordeaux Lac on Tuesday the 5th April, while Lafleur was tasted at the property one day later. Both were very unconvincing, light in colour and tasted light and dry. It must have been not well prepared samples, because I don't have any other explanation of the weak showing.

Culinary experiences

Speaking about culinary impressions in Bordeaux, I revisited restaurant Les Perdrix de Troplong Mondot (Troplong Mondot's restaurant), which greatly impressed me last year and which has been rewarded by one Michelin star in February 2016. Second visit in April this year was however not up to highlights from last year. Still, this restaurant deserves imo 1 Michelin star.

We also had eaten at restaurant Claude Darroze in Langon, which has an impressive wine-list. Sommelier was very nervous and seemed unprepared for customers who wanted to buy and drink expensive wines for dinner. Dishes were very good but for me they lacked precision and taste.

Another story is restaurant Le Pressoir d'Argent in Bordeaux center (on 1st floor of Grand Hotel). This restaurant opened in September 2015 and is owned by famous TV-chef Gordon Ramsay who rescues/try to rescue many restaurants all over the world. However Gordon Ramsay doesn't cook there, it's a very talented chef Gilad Peled who create wonder dishes. I did eat at this restaurant on the 12th April 2016 and it was an incredible experience with dishes showing great precision, multiple aromas and richness of tastes. Very interesting wine-list and you also can choose wine menu for your meal. The settings and staff - also perfect.

After Geranium in Copenhagen, it's my second best meal ever. Le Pressoir d'Argent has been rewarded with one MIchelin star in February this year, imho it should have gotten two and I think it will receive three next February. Expensive but worth the money and greatly recommended.

Now back to wine and impressions from visits (chronologically).

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Friday, the 1st April 2016

Seguin

This property (which isn't classified) in Canejan, a little village close to Pessac, is seriously under radar and makes wine of excellent quality and on the level of many Grand Cru Classés. We tasted 2015, 2014, 2012, 2008 and luxury cuvée of Seguin, Confidence(s) de Seguin in vintage 2005.

2015 tasted like great delicacy with black colour, sweet silky fruit and tannin, complex and seductive, very aromatic black- and blueberries. Candy. 94p.

2014 showed different style, more classic Bordeaux with impressive nose of violets and black cherries/blueberries, splendid acidity, excellent structure, fine complexity, splendid balance, long finish. Excellent effort fot the vintage. 93+p.

2012 was aromatic, very fruity, very well-balanced with velvety texture. Fruit not 100% ripe but this wine tastes well. 91p.

2008 (magnum) surprised a lot with very strong and complex wine, which has clearly improved while in bottle. A lot of minerality in this wine. 92p.

2005 Confidence(s) du Chateau Seguin displayed very cherry nose and cherry flavor on the palate, beautiful wrap-up, splendid complexity and depth, excellent balance and with long meaty finish. Impressive stuff. 94+p.

2015 5

 

Haut Brion/La Mission Haut Brion

2015 29

Basket full of perfectly ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from parcel in the front of Haut Brion - 29 September 2015

For me, 2015 here is very close to vintage 2005, when the latter was at same stage of development. it's worth to notice, that harvest at both properties took almost one month, 9th September to 1st October for La Mission Haut Brion and 8th September to 5th October for Haut Brion.

2015 La Mission Haut Brion - 58% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc, alcohol reached 15.1%. It had aromatic cherries all-over, very aromatic nose, excellent acidity, striking elegance, sophisticated touch and velvety texture. Great complexity and long finish.  More sweetness in fruit here than in 2014 and this wine can further improve. Beauty wine. 95+p.

2015 Haut Brion - 50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc, alcohol level landed at 14.9%. This wine was similar to 2015 LMHB but with fatter tannin and with slightly longer finish. Incredibly aromatic nose, voluptuous on the palate, well-defined and precise. Great, great vintage we have here. Reminds a lot of 2005 vintage. 97p.

Second wine of La Mission, 2015 La Chapelle de LMHB - very attractive on the nose in palate, cherry flavors, fine ripe tannin and fine acidity on palate, well-balanced and with smooth finish. 90p.

Second wine of Haut Brion, 2015 Le Clarence de HB – slightly more acidity than in La Chapelle de LMHB, otherwise the same style. 90p.

2015 Quintus – powerful, intense blueberries and blackberries which are perfectly ripe, splendid structure, complexity, well-balanced with fine length and finish. 91-92p.

Second wine of Quintus, 2015 Le Dragon de Quintus - fresh, aromatic, quite good tannin, tasty and well-balanced. 88-89p.

2015 Clarendelle – blend of wines from over 20 vineyards in Bordeaux. A kind of third wine. Bueberry/blackberry compote, fruity, round, charming and seductive. Simple but tasty. 87p.

2015 La Mission Haut Brion white - (72% Semillon + 28% Sauvignon Blanc) was vibrant with excellent acidity and depth, with fine aroma of apple, citrus and lemon grass, great complexity, balance, structure and length. Impressive effort. 95p.

2015 Haut Brion white showed as splendidly as LMHB and the only thing which put HB in the front of LMHB, was more intensity, more depth and longer finish. 96p.

2015 La Carte de Haut Brion white, joint second wine from blend of LMHB and HB "leftovers", had fine freshness, very good acidity, intense aroma of acacia flower, apple, pear and peach, and fine smooth aftertaste. 92p.

Les Carmes Haut Brion

My first visit at this property took place in September 2015 and it was great to revisit it in April 2016. This property looks like enlarged garden and it's even closer to the center of Bordeaux than Haut Brion/La Mission. Postal address says it all - 33000 Bordeaux! Works at the property are not finished yet although this state of art cellar is.

Since arrival of Guillaume Pouthier from Chapouthier in Rhone in 2012, the quallity of Les Carmes Haut Brion has significantly risen up. This property utilises the biggest amount of Cabernet Franc of all in Bordeaux! Les Carmes Haut Brion is 45% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, 46% full bunches were used in vinification (full bunches technique is wide-spread in Rhone), alcohol levels reached 14%. 2015 Cabernet Franc was vinified in wood, Cabernet Sauvignon in concrete vats and Merlot in stainless stell vats. Grand Vin spends time in 80% new oak and 20% amphoras (180 liters). 2015 Les Carmes Haut Brion had a beautifully scented (rose bush parfume) nose, refined and intense, you could feel/taste the precision, purity and length of this wine. More concentrated than in recent vintages. Impressive stuff, which will even be better for sure. I rated it 94+ but I expect it to score 96 when it's in bottle.

2015 3

In the cellar...., April 2016

2015 Le Clos de Carmes (first vintage was 2011), kind of second wine, comes from vineyard close to Carbonnieux and Smith Haut Lafitte between Martillac and Leognan (Le Thil), 75% Merlot+25% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was quite aromatic, round and tasty with very good acidity, depth and length, soft fruit and tannin. 89p.

At the end of our visit we were treated with 56 years old Les Carmes Haut Brion, 1960 vintage, which was pretty wine, still going fine, with unmistakable connection to flavours of the soil found in other vintages and also 2015. Delicacy.

2015 4

Thunevin

Murielle and Jean-Luc Thunevin did excellently in 2015. Some from wine-media have meant that their wines were slightly overripe and too alcoholic, but I did find absolutely nothing of this!

Bad Boy red - aromatic, very nicely structured, round and seductive, tasty and well-balanced. 89p.

Virginie Thunevin - fine concentration of blueberries and blackberries, nice acidity, silky tannin, fruity finish. 90p.

Domaine des Sabines - same style as VT with more spicy fruit. 90p.

Le Clos du Beau Pere - more concentration and more acidity, bigger structure and longer on palate than in DdS. Very good effort. 91p.

3 de-Valandraud - round and soft with aromatic fruit, tasty and charming. 88-89p.

Bel-Air-Ouý - seductive and aromatic wine with very good backbone and concentration, tasty black fruit and fruity finish. 90p.

Galaxies 2 Romanile - very pleasant on the nose with significant aroma of roses, sweet fruit on the palate, smooth aftertaste. 90-91p.

Clos Romanile - higher quality than in G2R, more intensity, concentration and length, which merits of course higher score. 92p.

Clos Badon - powerful and oaky wine with perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, quite complex and well-balanced. Precise winemaking. 92p.

Viirginie de Valandraud - same style as CB, fine winemaking too. 92p.

Valandraud - meaty and long, great structure and richness, very complex and refined, excellent depth and length, strong backbone. Impressive wine. 96+p.

2014 Valandraud - great nose and palate, excellent acidity and complexity, fabulous structure and depth. This is just so impressive wine! 95p.

Bad Boy Blanc Chardonnay - aromatic wine with freshness and apparent acidity. 91p.

Valandraud blanc - splendid effort with pineapple aroma, acacia honey, zest and fine structure. Cigar shaped barrels have been used for vinification of this wine. 92-93p.

2015 25

Corbin

Anabelle Cruse Bardinet continues to make great wines at the property, pretty ones with a lot of elegance, finesse and precision. She thinks 2015 vintage is her best achievement yet, even surpassing 2010 imho! She told me an interesting detail abouit 2015 vintage - weight of 200 berries in 2015 corresponded to weight of 100 berries in 2014. 

2015 (90% of whole production) was powerful and concentrated with silky fruit and tannin, aromatic and well-balanced, distinguished and very complex. Great effort for the vintage. 93-94p. 2015 Divine de Corbin, Corbin's second wine, offered roundness, charm, tasty fruit and good concentration. 89p. 2014 Corbin impressed with seductive sweetness and elegance, finesse and splendid acidity. Fresh and well-defined wine. Precise winemaking. 92p.

Clinet

I met Laborde couple, Ronan and Monique in the new building (storage, cellars, tasting room, etc) just opposite Bourgneuf.

2015 vintage here is a great success, for me much better than 2014. Huge and powerful wine (90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc)with lot of perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, very concentrated, great complexity and long finish. 96p. 2012 Clinet was seductive, round, very approachable and tasty. To enjoy now. 91p. 2010 Clinet acted as monster wine with mega concentration, extra length, perfect balance and fat fruit/tannin. Stunning complexity and depth. 97-98p.

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Saturday the 2nd April 2016

Grand Cercle

2015 13

Grand Cercle tasting at Chateau Bellefont Belcier. Behind the bottles (Graves/Pessac-Leognan), is my Norwegian journalist friend, Christer Byklum

I managed to taste app. 80 wines frrom 2015 vintage. Below, I list here my choice of wines from this tasting, which are fine quality for money:

In Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux - Haut Bertinerie 89p.

In Bordeaux - Tour de Mirambeau Cuvée Passion 89p, Thieuley Reserve Francis Courcelle 88+p, Mont Perat 88p and Thieuley 88p.

In Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux - Laussac and Laussac Cuvee Sascha, both 89p. Cote Montpezat 88+p.

In Francs Cotes de Bordeaux - De Francs 88-89p.

In Fronsac/Canon-Fronsac - Barrabaque, Fontenil and Les Troix Croix, both 88+p, Dalem 88p, Gaby 88p, Haut Carles 88p, de La Riviere 88p and La Vieille Cure 88p.

In Graves - Clos Floridene 88p.

In Lalande-de-Pomerol - de Chambrun, Grand Ormeau, L'Ambroisie du Chateau La Croix des Moines and La Sergue, all meritted score of 90p. Siaurac 89p and Jean de Gue 88p.

In Pauillac - Fonbadet 88p.

In Pessac-Leognan - Couhins Lurton, Cruzeau, Haut Bacalan and Le Sartre, all rated 88p.

In Pomerol - Rouget 90p, Vieux Maillet 89-90p, Fayat, Feytit Clinet, La Clemence and Mazeyres, all four rated 89p. La Commanderie 88-89p, Lecuyer 88+p and Beau Soleil 88p.

In St.Emilion - Fleur Cardinale 94p, Bellefont Belcier, Fombrauge, Grand Corbin Despagne, Sansonnet and Villemamaurine, all with score of 90p. Cap de Faugeres 89p and Destieux 89p.

Jonathan Maltus

2015 23

Intense tasting moment with Jonathan Maltus

I first met Jonathan Maltus during primeur tastings last year (2015), so it was second visit this time. After tasting his excellent 2015 wines, he took us to vineyards of Le Dôme and Vieux Chateau Mazerat, which both are close to Angelus vineyard and have same soil. All wines mentioned here except Le Nardian are St.Emilions.

Teyssier - aromatic, round, silky fruit and tannin, seductive, charming and easygoing. Well-made. 90-91p.

Laforge - very tasty with delicious fruit, fine aromas of black fruit, silky texture, well-structured and complex. fine fruity finish. 91p.

Le Carre - situated close to Canon. Powerful, tight yet fruity, silky fruit and tannin, fine complexity, depth and length. Impressive. 91-92p.

Le Pontet - tighter and more concentrated than Le Carre, rich, perfect maturity of of fruit and tannin, great length. 92p.

Les Asteries - similar to Le Pontet, very impressive wine indeed. 92p.

Vieux Chateau Mazerat - monster wine, very concentrated with discrete oak, nether overblown, nor overextracted and nor overdone, just perfect wine work, great complexity, structure and finish. 95+p.

Le Dôme - beautifully scented nose, incredibly constructed, voluptulous, precise and focused, amazing structure, complexity and length. Cabernet Franc (80%) rules here!. Great, great wine. 96+p.

Le Nardian (white) - acacia flower, freshness, nice acidity, pleasant, round and tasty. 90p.

Domaine de Chevalier

Usual procedure concerning dinner at Chevalier. First tasting of wines from new vintage and recent vintages, then dinner with wines, where the ending digit in the year for the vintage is 6. As some of the guests invited for dinner were Russian wine-people, Anne and Olivier Bernard prepared Russian vodka and Russian caviar as a welcome (see below).

2015 33

Olivier Bernard told me that he was happy with 2015 vintage and especially with Cabernet Sauvignon, which was allowed to hang on wines until perfect maturity inside and outside. Because of perfect weather in September/October there was no need to hurry harvest.

2015 Lespault Martillac - well-made with silky fruit and tannin, aromatic black fruit, fine structure and length. 90p.

2015 Domaine de Chevalier - splendid fruit and acidity, silky fruit and tannin, great complexity and long finish. 95+p.

2015 Clos des Lunes Lune Blanche - fresh, very good acidity, acacia flower and lemon grass, nicely composed, soft fruity finish. 89p.

2015 Clos des Lunes Lune d'Argent - more intensity and length here than in Lune Blanche. 90p.

2015 Clos des Lunes Lune d'Or - edges Lune d'Argent in terms of depth and structure. 91-92p.

2015 Lespault Martillac white - powerful, lot of acacia flower and green apple, splendid acidity and long finish. Same quality as in 2014 vintage. 91p.

2015 Domaine de Chevalier white - as always refined and sophisticated, excellent acidity, complexity and structure. Slightly under 2014 vintage in quality. 96p.

2014 Domaine de Chevalier white - great acidity, intense, rich, enormous potential. 97+p.

2013 Domaine de Chevalier white - fine acidity and concentration, everything is fine, but not up to level of 2014 vintage. 94p.

2015 Suau (Sauternes) - Olivier Bernard took this property in Sauternes on 18 years' rent in 2015. Pineapple, fine sweetness and acidity. Elegant and well-made. 92-93p.

During dinner I tasted 11 wines, see below. I didn't take notes on them all, but the interesting and good ones which caught my attention were three reds from 1966 vintage, Palmer (94p), Domaine de Chevalier (92p), Figeac (90p) and 1936 Yquem (90p).

2015 34

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Sunday the 3rd April

Magondeau

This property is situated close to Fontenil, just outside Saillans village. Three different red wines are made and offer good quality for money.

2015 Magondeau - normal cuvée aged in vats. Nice and fruity wine with very good acidity, well-banced. Good value. 88p.

2015 Magondeau Beau Site - partly aged in new  oak. More ripeness and sweetness of fruit, more precise, more depth and length. Very aromatic wine. 90p.

2015 Passion - from best parcels of the vineyard, 45 years old vines. more complexity and concentration than in Beau Site version. 91p.

2014 Magondeau - round, tasty, flowery, good structure, good acidity, nice finish. 87p. 

2014 Magondeau Beau Site - spicy, oak, strong and concentrated, well structured, firm finish. 88p. Same wine fined with potato protein tasted more pure.

Passion 2010 - concentrated, complex, strong backbone, plummy. Persistent finish. 90p.

Pavie Macquin

2015 21

Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire have really succeeded in making high quality wines in 2015, some of these are fabulous ones.

Puygueraud (Francs Cotes de Bordeaux) - ripe fruit and tannin, earthy flavors, good intensity and concentration. 88p.

La Prade (Francs Cores de Bordeaux) - fresher and fruitier than Puygueraud, more sweetness of fruit here, soft texture, fruity aftertaste. 89p.

Alcée (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux) - fine acidity, very nice intensity and complexity, well-defined and with good length. 89-90p.

Berliquet - aromatic with black cherries and blackberries, fine sweetnes in fruit and tannin, well-polished, tasty and fruity wine. 91p.

Larcis Ducasse - blueberries, well-packed with ripe fruit, precise, great complexity and structure, very long finish. 94-95p.

Pavie Macquin - similar in style to Larcis Ducasse, maybe more concentration here, better acidity, beautiful aromatic nose and velvety texture. Sublime effort. 96p.

Puygueraud white - freshness, pineapple aroma, acacia flower, lemon grass, fine acidity, splendid balance and finish. 91-92p.

Charmes Godard white - similar to Puygueraud, maybe less concentrated. 91-92p.

Pavie

2015 35

Dessert served during dinner at Chateau Pavie

I was very impressed by the 2015 range of wines from Perse and also impressed by the fact that winemaking staff decided to use much less oak in 2015 (also in 2014) compared to recent vintages.

L'Esprit de Pavie (Bordeaux) - aromatic, soft fruit and tannin, very accessible, tasty and smooth on palate. 88-89p.

Lusseau (St.Emilion) - potent, well-packed with ripe fruit, spicy flavors, nice structure and length. 88-89p.

Angelique de Monbousquet (St.Emilion) - earthy flavors, slight dryeness on palate, but well-balanced and tasty. 88p.

Aromes de Pavie (St.Emilion) - quite oaky but fruit is there, well-structured, potent and strong. Very good second wine. 89-90p.

Monbousquet (St.Emilion) - tight and dense, loads of fruit and tannin kept in fine balance, fine structure and comlexity, firm finish. 91-92p.

Clos Lunelles (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux) - gentle extraction, strong tannin, spicy fruit, well-structured, fine length. 90p

Bellevue Mondotte - dark fruit, tannin very well complimented by sweet ripe fruit and as ripe tannin, excellent complexity and structure. Rich with strong backbone. Impeccably made. 95-96p.

Pavie Decesse (St.Emilion) - similar to Bellevue Mondotte with more intensity and concentration. Stupendous effort. 96p.

Pavie (St.Emilion) - sheer power, excellent fruit on the nose and palate, succulent and vibrant fruit, excellent complexity and backbone. Rich and lush. Long fat finish. Who said overextracted wine - zero of this here! This is just stunning wine and highly impressive! 97-98p.

After tasting, there was a dinner prepared by the staff of Hostellerie de Plaisance. Cooking art at very high level.

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Monday the 4th April

Petrus

2015 Petrus is a very sublime wine which clearly benefitted from 4 dry months, April, May, June and July. Harvest was prolonged and finished in the end of September. Subtle, lot of finesse, sophisticated and incredibly complex. Not the most powerful and concentrated vintage of Petrus, but 2015 has stupendous elegance and richness instead. 97-98p.

Le Gay

Henri Parent is much more than satisfied with 2015 vintage here. In order to get maximum flavors out of grapes and freshness, prefermentation at 5 degrees Celcius is carried out for 7 days.

La Graviere (Lalande-de-Pomerol) - earthy tones, ripe fruit and tannin, fine acidity, structure and length. 90p.

Montviel (Pomerol) - similar style with more fruit sweetness and longer aftertaste. 90p.

Manoir de Gay - fine intensity of black fruit (blueberries), velvety texture, nice sweetness and soft silky tannin. 90-91p.

Le Gay (90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc, yield per ha 30 hl, vinified in 100% new oak) - aromatic nose of sweet blueberry/blackberry fruit, stylish, well-knitted, silky fruit and tannin, long finish. Quality here seems close to 2005 vintage. 94p.

La Violette - grapes from 50 years old vines vinified entirely in Saury barrels and age in same barrels for 15 months, 100% Merlot, 29.9 hl/ha. Strict selection results in powerful wine with great intensity, length and depth, excellent complexity and structure. This wine has fabulous future. 95+p.

2015 10

Corbin Michotte

Splendid 2015s!

2015 Calon (St.Georges de St.Emilion) - very fruity, nicely structured, fine balance and length. 90p.

2015 Calon (Montagne St.Emilion) - more intense fruit here, nore concentrated and longer finish. 90-91p.

2015 Corbin Michotte - velvety texture, perfectly ripe fruit and tannin with seductive sweetness, fine acidity, balance and length. Certainly a wine of Grand Cru Classe quality!! 93+p.

2015 Cantelauze - very aromatic nose of black cherries and blueberries, splendid acidity, sufficient of oak to balance the fruit, well-composed and long. Splendid effort for the vintage. 93-94p.

2011 Corbin Michotte - very aromatic with fine concentration, very focused, complex and persistent finish. 92p.

2011 Cantelauze - splendid fruit and acidity, well-structured and well-balance, fine complexity and length. 92p.

La Conseillante

2015 here is debut vintage for Marielle Cazaux, technical director, who switched over to La Conseillante from Petit Village in summer 2015. I'm honest and have to say that I expected much more from 2015. It's pretty wine with sweet, silky fruit and tannin, but lacks a bit more intensity and concentration. I sincerely hope it will gain on concentration, depth and intensity while ageing in barrel and then in bottle. 93p. Duo de Conseillante, second wine, was round, charming and easy going. 88p.

Climens

As usual tasting of several lots and blends of 2015, 12 in all, it's always great lesson for ones tasting abilities to taste these. In addition to 2015 samples, we were treated by several older vintages of Grand Vin.

2015 Climens - on basis of tasted samples it's easy to say, that this vintage can be as stunning as 2014. It doesn't have the acidity of 2014, but it seems that intensity and depth are slightly bigger in 2015. We will see in app. 5 years time. 96-97p.

2014 Climens - exceptional promises, fabulous acidity, richness and sweetness. 96-97p.

2013 Climens - great intensity of botrytised flavors, great acidity, rich sophisticated, very long finish. Lighter than 2013. 95p

2011 Climens - potent, with great acidity and minerality, very intense botrytised flavors of orange peel and almonds, sophisticated touch, richness and great length. Awesome effort. 96+p.

2010 Climens -  entertained with incredibly intense flavors of acacia honey, honey, melon, orange peel, sophisticated touch, perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, stunning complexity and mega long aftertaste. 99-100p.

2009 Climens was a twin sister of 2010, slightly more spicy on palate, as mind-boggling. 99-100p.

Sauternes & Barsac

Generally, the quality of tasted 2015s is below 2014 vintage and in many cases below 2013 vintage too. But don't complain as quality of sweet 2015 is just fine.

Doisy Daëne - big one, lot of everything like sweetness of fruit and acidity, complexity, structure and length. Finishes with acacia honey flavor. 94p. de Fargues - similar, more spicy. 94p. Lafaurie Peyraguey - flavors of red grapefruit, sweet mandarines and oranges, discrete but fine acidity, well-constructed, refined with long finish. Very pretty wine. 94p. Rieussec - more heavy and sugary than forementioned wines, strong structure and marked acidity. 94p.

Coutet, Rayne Vigneau  and Suduiraut - rich on botrytized aromas of grapefruit, splendid sweetnes and corresponding acidity, fine structure and balance. 93+p. Caillou - surprisingly well-made wine with intense nose of botrytized flavors (red grapefruit, mandarines and oranges), fine acidity to support sweetness. Long honeyed finish. Doisy Vedrines - similar to Caillou. 93p. De Malle, de Myrat, Sigalas Rabaud, Nairac and La Tour Blanche - lot of pineapple, elegant with finesse, fine acidity and sweetness, complex and long. 93p.

Guiraud and Suau - significant pineapple flavor, aromatic, fine intensity on palate, elegant and well-balanced. 92-93p. Clos Haut Peyraguey, Filhot, Lamothe Despujols and Rabaud Promis - similar quality as Guiraud and Suau, a bit lighter. 92p. Bastor Lamontagne and Romer du Hayot - also here pineapple flavor, very good intensity and concentration, acidity well supporting sweetness, acacia honey finish. 91-92p.

D'Arche, Broustet and Romer - very good effort, nice load of botrytized flavors as f.i. pineapple and red grapefruit. Very good acidity and sweet finish. 91p.

Lamothe Guignard - on the light side but very charming, round and tasty. Very pineapple. Some finesse. 90p.

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Tuesday the 5th April

UGCB at Matmut Stadium in Bordeaux Lac - 2015 Graves/Pessac-Leognan in red and white+ 2015 Saint Emilion and Pomerol

Graves/Pessac-Leognan red - one of the most successful appelations in 2015.

Smith Haut Lafitte - strong, powerful, tight, great quality of fruit and tannin, excellent structure and complexity, rich, great depth and awesome finish. Fabulous stuff. 96+p. Domaine de Chevalier – splendid fruit and acidity, silky fruit and tannin, great complexity and long finish. 95+p.

Pape Clement – potent, quite some oak, powerful, staffed with fruit, great structure and length. 94-95p. Carmes Haut Brion – as impressive as tasted 5 days before at the property, great fruitness, sweet, splendid complexity and structure, velvety. Long finish. 94+p

De Fieuzal, Larrivet Haut Brion and Malartic La Graviere – sweet fruit but also some oak. Fine structure and depth. Well made and focused wines. 93p. de France + La Louviere. – sappy, really well-made with fine complexity, structure and length, fine acidity and tasty. 92-93p. Latour Martillac + Olivier– like de France with more oak evident. 92p.

Haut Bergey – quite some oak and fruit, fine depth and length. 91+p. Picque Caillou - similar to Haut Bergey. 91-92p.

Bouscaut, Carbonnieux and Rahoul – more acidity here, nicely made, very nice balance and length. 91p. Chantegrive, Ferrande – nice fruit, round and supple, good structure and balance. 90p.

Graves/Pessac-Leognan white - slightly under 2014 vintage in quality.

Smith Haut Lafiite – monster, great stuff, impressive acidity and complexity, rich and sophisticated. Very impressive indeed. 96p. Domaine de Chevalier - not that expressive as Smith Haut Lafitte, but more elegance and finesse here. 96p. Pape Clement – oaky but with enough acacia fruit to compensate, pineapple and acacia. 94p. Larrivet Haut Brion – elegant and complex with fine acidity. Very mineral and refined. 94p.

Picque Caillou - aromatic, mineral, acacia flower and lemon, tasty and with fine fruity finish. 93+p. Olivier - similar style as PIcque Caillou. 93-94p. Carbonnieux, de France, Haut Bergey, La Louviere, Latour Martillac and Malartic Lagraviere – really splendid, aromatic, very acacia flower, honeyed aftertaste. 93p.

Chantegrive and Ferrande and Rahoul – really nice, fine acidity, pine apple, acacia, very fruity, aromatic and with smooth aftertaste. Delicious. 92p. De Fieuzal - similar style as wines mentioned before. 90-92p. Bouscat - significantly lighter than forementioned wines. 90p.

Pomerol - also very successful appelation in 2015.

Clinet – as impressive as during tasting at the property 4 days earlier. Huge and powerful wine (90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc) with lot of perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, very concentrated, great complexity and long finish. 96p.

La Cabanne – pretty wine with silky fruit and tannin, splendid acidity, structure and fine finish. 93p. Gazin – fruity, round, pretty, silky texture, fine aftertaste. 92-93p. La Croix de Gay and La Pointe– like Gazin concerning stle but less intense. 92p.

Beauregard - aromatic, fruity, silky, quite dense, strong backbone, fine concentration and length. 91p. Bon Pasteur - oak and oak and oak, but there is a light in the end of the tunnel. When oak has integrated with fruit, there will be fruit to taste. 91p.

Saint-Emilion - same here but several ups and downs.

Pavie Macquin - similar to Larcis Ducasse, more intensity, depth and concentration. 96p. Larcis Ducasse - blueberries, well-packed with ripe fruit, precise, great complexity and structure, very long finish. 94-95p.

Clos Fourtet – well-knitted, lot of sweet fruit and tannin, very complex, deep and long. Impressive. 94p. Franc Mayne – similar to CF, less intense and not that long. 92-93p.

Canon – light, doesn’t really sing, dry tannins, where are the characteristics of 2015 vintage?? 91+p??

Larmande. Soutard and Trottevieille - aromatic, fine structure and depth, fine length and balance, fruity finish. 92p. Balestard La Tonnelle, Beausejour Becot and Canon-La-Gaffeliere – splendid ripe fruit and acidity, fine structure and length. 91-92p.

Berliquet, Cap de Mourlin,  La Couspade, Dassault and Grand Mayne – splendid sweet fruit and tannin, good kick and structure + length. 91p. La Gaffeliere - similar, a little bit dry on the finish. 91p. La Dominique – oaky, not easy to find out what this wine has to offer. 90p. The same can be said about La Tour Figeac and Villemaurine. 90p.

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La Lagune

Always very interesting visit, not only because of the owner, Caroline Frey, also because the wines are well made, reasonably priced and the owner is generous with vintages to taste.

2015 9

2015 - normal blend, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. well-packed with fruit, very stylish, sappy and refined, silky texture, precise and well-composed. Excellent effort, close to 2010 and 2005 vintage in quality. 94p.

2015 - blend of Cabernet Sauvignons - lot of acidity, more power here than in normal blend, more depth here than in normal blend barrel sample. 94+p. It will be interesting to see, if and how much of this special blend will go into final blend.

2014 - really delicious with splendid acidity, freshness, very precise, enchanting sweetness, splendid balance, long fruity aftertaste. Lot of style here and this wine is great success for the vintage. 93p.

2012 - delightful wine with very aromatic nose, seductive, tasty on palate, fine acidity and complexity, long aftertaste. 92p.

2010 - tightly knitted, excellent intensity and concentration, long fruity finish which is quite firm. Fat fruit and tannin. Very expressive wine with beautiful future. 95p.

2009 - sweeter fruit on the nose and palate than in 2010,  elegant and tasty with meaty finish. 93-94p.

2005 - very aromatic wine and complete one with cacao powder, tasty chocolate and long finish. Excellent stuff. 94+p.

Palmer

This property succeeded excellently in 2015. Alter Ego had aromatic nose of black fruit, silky fruit and tannin, velvety texture, excellent acidity, great depth and length. 93p. Grand Vin was as always aristocratic with its refined and sophisticated touch, richness, intensity, structure and long finish. Fabulous future waits. 96+p.

Labegorce/Marquis d'Alesme

2015 39

Marquis d'Alesme's new cellar - stylish, isn't it?

Wines from both properties have been on very stable track in recent vintages and 2015 vintage confirms further improvement.

Labegorce displayed deliciously aromatic fruit well-integrated with velvety tannin, smooth and complex palate, fine backbone and splendid finish. 92p. Marquis d'Alesme was more refined and sophisticated than Labegorce, with significantly more depth and length. Impressive effort. 94p.

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Wednesday the 6th April

UGCB

UGCB at Matmut Stadium in Bordeaux Lac - 2015 Listrac, Moulis, Haut Medoc, Medoc, Margaux, St.Julien, Pauillac and St.Estephe. Left Bank is more or less as successful as Right Bank in my opinion. I haven't found any significant dilution in wines because of huge rains in north Medoc in September 2015.

Listrac

Fourcas Dupre – more fruity with better acidity, silky fruit and tannin, quite well-made. 89p. Clarke, Fonreaud and Forcas Hosten – good fruit and tannin, nice acidity and structure. 88p.  

Moulis

Chasse Spleen and Maucaillou - fruity with fine acidity, silky fruit and tannin, quite well-made. 90p. Poujeaux - weaker in intensity and acidity than Chasse Spleen and Maucaillou. 89p.

Haut Medoc

La Lagune – same appearance as a day before tasted at the property. Well-packed with fruit, very stylish, sappy and refined, silky texture, precise and well-composed. 94p. La Tour Carnet – as always big fruity wine with good portion of oak and fruit. Very good balance. 92p.

Cantemerle and Citran - sappy, fine acidity, intense flavors, fine structure, well-balanced, very good finish. 91p. Camensac and Coufran - similar but lighter. 90p. Beaumont – pleasant, fruity, round, charming, tasty. 89-90p. OK wines - Lamarque 88p and Belgrave 87p.

Medoc

La Tour de By – good concentration, fruity, round, charming, tasty. 90p.

Margaux

Brane Cantenac, Cantenac Brown and Giscours – all three potent with strong backbone, well-packed with perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, well-balanced, silky with great acidity and length. Excellent effort. 95p. Best vintage for Cantenac Brown yet imho.

Malescot St.Exupery – modern style, lots of fruit and oak. Black fruit, well-balanced. 93-94p. Lascombes - big, full, complex, more concentration and power than usual. Precise and focused wine with pretty fruit and tannin. 93p. Kirwan, Preurie Lichine and Rauzan Segla - made in more elegant way, well-balanced and with caressing finish. 93p.

Labegorce and Marquis de Terme - pretty load of fruit and tannin, strong structure, nice complexity and length. 92p. Monbrison, Rauzan Gassies and du Tertre – very nice acidity and fruit, fine balance, sappy and with long aftertaste. Well-made. 92p.

Ferriere and Siran - similar to du Tertre but with less intensity. 91p. Dauzac  and Desmiral – oaky, very good acidity and structure. 90-91p. Angludet – aromatic fruit, velvety texture, nicely balanced and with fruity finish. Not bad. 89-90p.

St.Julien

Leoville Barton and Leoville Poyferre - stylish, splendid fruit and tannin, well-packed with perfect ripe fruit and tannin, well-structured and complex, long finish. 95p. Beychevelle - pretty and as excellent as Leoville Barton/Poyferre, the only difference is intensity and length. 94+p.

Lagrange - very focused, fruity wine with velvety texture, fine complexity, fine balance too and persistent fruity finish. 93+p. Gruaud Larose and Saint Pierre – loads of fruit and oak, potent and strong, long aftertaste. 93-94p. Gloria and Langoa Barton – fruity, sappy, complex, silky texture, smooth finish. 93p.

Branaire Ducru - low-scaled Gloria. 92p. Talbot – oaky, a bit anonymous. Fruit is well-hidden. 91+p.

Pauillac

Pichon Comtesse – amazing in every aspect, delicious fruit, ripe tannin, complex and focused. Stunning balance and length. 97+p. This wine overshadowed by a mile or more other wines tasted.

Batailley – also well-equipped wine here with loads of fresh fruit and tannin. Meaty finish. 93p. Grand Puy Ducasse – much oak but also lot of fruit, concentrated and long. 93p. Lynch Bages – fresh, splendid acidity, modern style with lot of oak. 93p. Lynch Moussas – just fine, delicate fruit and tannin supported elegantly by tannin, aromatic and well-made. More precise than ever. 93p.

Clerc Milon – fine concentration and complexity, obvious acidity here, aromatic fruit well-supported by tannin. 92+p. D'Armailhac and Haut Bages Liberal - delicate and fruity nose, blackcurrants and blueberries, fresh and with splendid acidity, well-integrated on palate with complexity and long aftertaste. Splendid effort. 92-93p.

Croizet Bages - not up to standard of forementioned wines, however it's correctly made wine without any faults, lacks more concentration, focus and length, fruit is nice and tasty. Maybe it improves in bottle. 91p.

St.Estephe

Phelan Segur - very aromatic with significant aromas of blueberries and blackberries, well-knitted, splendidly balanced, sweet fruit, refined and complex with long fruity aftertaste. Impressive. 93+p. Lafon Rochet – well-packed with fruit and tannin, quite complex, tight, strong structure, luscious. 92-93p.

Cos Labory, de Pez and Les Ormes de Pez - oaky, sufficient with fruit. Delicious on palate with tight structure and meaty finish. Well-made. 92p.

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Lafleur

Before visiting this property, I heard from my collegaues from wine media, that 2015s from Guinaudeaus were stunning. Unfortunately, that wasn't my impression from visiting this property that particular day. Bad samples? It seems, I've to retaste all wines as soon as possible.

Grand Village red - rather light, good fruit and tannin. 90+p?

Acte 7 - fruity, good acidity, reasonable structure. Surprisingly lean. 89+p?

Pensées de Lafleur - very oaky, difficult to assess. 89+p?

Lafleur - surprisingly light in colour, lot of oak, fine potential is unquestionably there, but not proved at all during my tasting that day. 92+p?

Grand Village Blanc - pineapple, acacia flower, very good acidity and fruity finish. 90p.

Les Champs Libres - more substance, intensity, structure and lengty here than in Grand Village. 92p.

VCC

This property has made a knock-out wine in 2015 and Alexandre Thienpont together with his son Guillaume, can really be proud of their achievement. It's not a coincidence that Thienponts compare 2015 VCC to 2010 vintage. 2015 was harvested in 8 days, 17-18.09, 22-23.09 and 28.09-02.10, cepage is 80% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and degree of alcohol 14.6%. Incredibly intense on the nose with blackberries and blueberries, iron-dirt (truffy taste), tight and very concentrated on palate, with great richness, depth and structure. Perfectly ripe fruit and tannin covered in silk. Simply stunningly fabulous wine! 97-98p.

Mangot

Todeschini brothers are doing wonders here and made thrilling 2015s. But they have excellent soil (Mangot) to made wines from!

2015 La Brande - earthy and flowery flavors, good intensity of fruit and nice length. 88p.

2015 Mangot - fine focused fruit, fine tannin too, freshness, fine acidity and complexity, fine backbone and balance, persistent fruity finish. 92p.

2015 Mangot Todeschini - more of everything than in normal cuvée, substantial amount of oak, which however is kept quiet by loads of ripe fruit. Excellent effort. 92-93p.

2014 La Brande - earthy and spicy, good concentration and structure, nice length. 88p.

2014 Mangot - fine acidity, luscious fruit, fine complexity, balance and length. 91p.

2014 Mangot Todeschini - produced since 2008 vintage) - sweet fruit and tannin, powerful and intense, fine structure, meaty finish. 91+p.

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Thursday the 7th April

Ausone

2015 11

Line-up of 2015s at Ausone - everything is prepared....

Simard - sweet and ripe fruit, fine structure, good acidity, well-balanced with soft finish. Very good quality. 89p.

Fonbel - flowery flavors of violets with some scent of roses, nice complexity, fine structure and length, velvety texture. Well-made. 89-90p.

Haut Simard - a lot of silky and aromatic fruit here, fine backbone and structure, pretty good depth and length, well-composed. Splendid effort. 91p.

Moulin St.Georges - splendid nose of black berries, very intense on the palate, delicious with splendid balance and quite complex. Strong effort indeed. 91-92p.

La Clotte - purchased by Alain Vauthier in 2014. Delicious fruit, elegant anf finely constructed, round and tasty. Very seductive wine. 90p.

Chapelle d'Ausone - well-knitted and complex wine with big backbone and considerable depth and length. Excellent for second wine. 92p.

Ausone - immense wine, with healthy dosage of oak, stunningly refined and sophisticated, classy elegance, silky fruit and tannin. Fabulous balance and finish. Truly remarkable wine. 97-98.

Cheval Blanc

2015 6

For the first time in many years this property hasn't produced second wine Le Petit Cheval in 2015. While visiting Cheval Blanc during harvest in September 2015, I was allowed to taste many samples taken out from vats/barrels before fermentation and during fermentation, especially Cabernet Franc ones. Cheval Blanc's technical directeur, Pierre Olivier Clouet, said to me already then, that the potential of different cuvées (parcels) was amazing. So it didn't really surprised me that they skipped second wine in 2015.

2015 Quinault d'Enclos had earthy flavors, reasonable structure and length, silky fruit and tannin. Tasty and seductive wine. 89-90p. 2015 Cheval Blanc showed pure elegance and finesse, great richness and depth, sophisticated touch and velvety texture. Great concentration and length. Incredibly stylish and classy wine, which imho will improve from further ageing in barrels. 97+p. 2011 Cheval Blanc had excellent purity, finesse and great  complexity. Rich wine with long aftertaste. 96p.

La Confession

The owner, Jean-Philippe Janoueix can't complain about his 2015s - he did an excellent job and should get more accolade from wine-medias for his stable and clever work.

Croix Mouton - fresh, very nice acidity, round, aromatic fruit, good fruity finish. 89p.

20 Mille - more intensity and bigger structure here than in Croix Mouton, deeper and longer on the palate, fine balance, fruity aftertaste. 91p.

Cap St.Georges - loads of ripe sweet fruit, sappy, fine acidity, velvety texture, smooth finish. Splendid effort. 91+p.

Sacre Coueur - plenty of dark fruit and ripe tannin, well supported by oak, scent of truffles, concentrated, complex and long on the palate. Firm finish. 93p.

La Confession - tight, packed with perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, strong structure and great depth, really potent, finishes fruity and long. 94-95p.

La Croix St.Georges - big structure, powerful and strong, loads of dark berries, great complexity and length. Excellent stuff. 94-95p.

Bourgneuf

2015 - same splendid impression as at Grand Cercle tasting. Very pretty, aromatic wine, elegant and well-defined, velvety texture with silky fruit and tannin. Great complexity and smooth fruity finish. 94p.

2014 - succulent and stylish wine, intense black fruit and violets, fine acidity and fine structure, terroir taste (crasse de fer - iron dirt), long finish. 93-94p.

2013 - very little to be excited about. Light, charming, round and short on palate. This vintage is bonkers in Bordeaux. 86p.

2012 - gained a lot from ageing in barrel. Seductive and aromatic, fine ripeness, silky fruit and tannin, fruity finish. 91-92p.

2010 - fat and very concentrated, greath depth and structure, great complexity too. Lot of terroir on the palate here, lot of nuances and persistent finish. It seems that this wine is gradually putting on weight in bottle. This is undoubtely the best vintage ever at Bourgneuf, since present winemaker, Frederique Vayron, took over from his father in 2008. 95+p. 

L'Eglise Clinet

Denis Durantou can be proud of what he achieved in 2015 vintage. He hasn't put a foot wrong for ages.

Saintayme St.Emilion - nose of black cherries, plenty of tannin, fresh acidity, very good length. 89-90p.

La Chenade Lalande de Pomerol - more sweetness of fruit here, sappy and complex, impressive ripeness of fruit and tannin, long fruity finish. 91p.

Les Cruzelles Lalande de Pomerol - true copy of La Chenade with a little bit more concentration. Impressive stuff. 91+p.

Montlandrie Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux - earthy flavors, ripe cherry fruit, fine support by oak. 90p.

La Petite Eglise Pomerol - well-knitted, fine balance, impressive complexity, structure and length. 91-92p.

L'Eglise Clinet Pomerol - excellent ripeness and acidity, black cherries everywhere, powerful, deep and stunningly rich. Bull's eye effort. 98p.

Tertre Roteboeuf

It's maybe a long standing cliché, but yet again Francois Mitjavile produced one of the best wines of the 2015 vintage.

2015 L'Aurage - his son, Louis Mitjavile, owns this property in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux. Earthy and tannic, well-constructed and well-balanced, ripe fruit, firm aftertaste. 90p.

2015 Domaine de Cambes - fruity and tasty, round and seductive, soft and fruity aftertaste. 89p.

2015 Roc de Cambes - as usual filled with dark fruit on the nose and palate, potent and with strong backbone, earthy flavors on the palate, long aftertaste. 92+p.

2015 Tertre Roteboeuf - stunning appearance, so complete and refined, excellent structure, incredible personality. 97+p.

Belle Brise

This micro-vineyard situated close to Libourne centre and railway Bordeaux-Paris, produces silky wines which are immensely popular in Asia.

2015 here is very delicate, refined and with tasty black fruit and splendid length. 93+p. Harvest took one day in the middle of September and imho grapes would have benefitted from hanging one week more on vines before harvest. 2014 was very stylish and sophisticated, with silky fruit and tannin. Simply delicious wine. 93p. 2012 had seductive cherry nose, velvety texture with splendid complexity, finesse and fine length. Tasted a bit lighter than one year ago. 92-93p.

Troplong Mondot

I tasted 2015 barrel sample here just before dinner at Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot. It was a powerhouse of a wine with enorm concentration of fruit and tannin, fatness, chocolate flavor, added extraordinary complexity, depth and length. 96-97p. Degree of alcohol landed at whole 15.5% but I'm not worried. Vines at the property produce usually grapes with high alcohol, it's naturally made and with time it will merge with fruit and tannin, and disappear. We have seen this many times before (in vintages 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010). Grape varietes in 2015 - 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc.

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Friday the 8th April

d'Yquem

2015 37a

Anne, our guide at Yquem. full of knowledge.

2015 d'Yquem was tasted on three separate occasions, twice at the property and at event in Opera, Bordeaux. Unctuous, fabulous acidity and richness, intensity and concentration, fantastic complexity, depth and length. Heavenly stuff! 99p. Y de Yquem (dry white) had great acidity, freshness, fine depth, aroma of pineapple and acacia, honeyed finish. 92p.

Lafaurie Peyraguey

2015 28

Eric Larramona, Lafaurie Peyragueuy's manager welcomed us and we made a quick sightseeing inside chateau before tasting wines. Very pretty interieur.

2015 dry Lafaurie - 70% Semillon + 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Production is 5000 bottles. Fresh, pineapple, good acidity, tasty. 88p.

2015 - flavors of red grapefruit, sweet mandarines and oranges, discrete but fine acidity, well-constructed, refined with long finish. Very pretty wine. 94p.

2014 - striking acidity, impressive stuff, so long, fresh, intense and refined/sophisticated. Very long finish. 94-95p.

2013 - different aroma here than in 2014, brown sugar, lighter, elegant but also a bit four-squared, nice aftertaste. 92p.

2011 - candied orange peel, candied mandarines, candied figs, long, rich and refined. Honeyed aftertaste. Excellent stuff. 94p.

2009 - very intense and concentrated, amazing intensity and depth, sweetness and acidity, just sublime wine. Big improvement since I tasted this wine last time (March 2014). 95-96p.

Raymond Lafon

The jovial Jean-Pierre Meslier told me that Mesliers are pretty satisfied with their efforts in 2015, a vintage they consider to be among the best ones they have made at the property.

2015 - refined and sophisticated, orange pell and pineapple, excellent sweetness, complexity and length. Rich. On the level with 2014. 95p.

2014 - striking acidity, fresh oranges and peach, mango, grapefruit, citrus, great balance, complex and refined. Great effort for the vintage. 95p.

2013 - very elegant wine with much finesse, on the light side, very good acidity and balance, nice complexity and honeyed finish. Overshadowed by 2014 and 2011. 93p.

2011 - aromatic with acacia honey, sophisticated, long, great intensity of aromas (mango, honey melon) and great acidity. Very long honeyed aftertaste. Excellent effort for the vintage. 95p.

2010 - vast quantities of pineapple and grapefruit aromas, very sophisticated and rich, exquisite balance. Utterly impressive stuff. 97p.

2009 - quite spectacular on the nose and palate with great range of botrytised flavours like almonds, pineapple, pear, apricot and acacia flower, exquisite sweetness and acidity. Extremely long on the palate with exquisite honeyed aftertaste. Fabulous stuff. 96p.

Nairac

Here, 2015 is really splendid and close to 2013. I tasted 2013, 2010 and 2005 in addition to 2015.

2015 - lot of pineapple, elegant with finesse, fine acidity and sweetness, complex and long. 93p.

2013 - very strong flavor of grapefruit, apricot and honey melon, excellent match between sweetness and acidity, refinement, complexity, length and honeyed finish. Splendid effort. 93+p.

2010 - big range of botrytised flavors like grapefruit, almonds, lemon peel, pineapple and pear. Distinguished and long on the palate with great sweetness, acidity and graceful aftertaste. Stunning complexity. Very precise and thoughtful winemaking. Exquisite effort. 96p.

2005 - displayed deep and intense nose of apricots, lot of botrytised flavors on the palate like pineapple, guava and honey melon, sublime richness, sophisticated touch and long lingering aftertaste. Extraordinary stuff. 95+p.

In the evening we dined at restaurant Claude Darroze in Langon and had a dinner accompanied by 1962 Mouton Rothschild (not perfect bottle, quickly faded in the glass) 90p and half bottle of 1958 Haut Brion (better wine than MR, quite lively and tasty). 92p.

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Saturday the 9th April

Smith Haut Lafitte

2015 30

Fabian Teitgen tells us a story about 2015 vintage and how the wines fared in his opinion

I was invited with friends to an extented visit and tasting in Cathiard's private house, and we finished with lunch. 2015 vintage marks 25th harvest for Cathiards, they bought Smith Haut Lafitte in 1990 without too much thinking. At the same time this property celebrates 650 years jubileée. Both celebrations  are marked by new label (black with gold letters) for 2015 vintage for both red and white.

Before lunch, we had a very informative round-up of 2015 vintage by Smith Haut Lafitte's technical director, Fabien Teitgen. He is enthusiastic about 2015 vintage and so are Cathiards!

2015 Cantelys - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, deep gravel (very suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon). Fresh, violets on the nose, round, smooth and well-balanced. Seductive wine. 88-89p.

2015 Le Thil - soil consists of clay and limestones, 100% Merlot. Cathiards have been proprietors here since 2012. Deliciously fruity, fruit sweetness, silky fruit and tannin, really good structure and length, Carressing fruity aftertaste. 90p.

2015 Les Hauts de Smith - 55% Merlot + 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Kind of second wine. This wine is an excluvisity of negociant firm Duclot.Tight, fine structure and depth, enough oak to complement fruit, fine length and finish. 90-91p.

2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte - 60% Cabernet Sauvignon + 40% Merlot, first vintage was 2008. Deliciously fruity with considerably more power, stronger backbone, more complexity and more length than LHdS. 91p

2015 Smith Haut Lafitte - 63% Cabernet Sauvignon + 33% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 2% Petit Verdot. 65% new barrels. Strong and powerful, tight, great fruit and tannin, sublime focus and precision, impressive depth and length, very long finish. Imho, this wine seriously rivals 2009 and 2010 versions of Smith Haut Lafitte. 96+p.

2015 Beauregard - Cathiards have become part owners of this property and has recently modernized its cellar. 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Aromatic, fruity, silky, quite dense, strong backbone, fine concentration and length. 91p. Obvious improvement here.

2015 Cantelys white -  50% Semillon + 50% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh with nice acidity, acacia flower, tasty and crisp, fine fruity aftertaste. 90p.

2015 Les Hauts de Smith white - 80% Sauvignon Blanc + 20% Semillon. Bigger acidity here than in Cantelys, also more structure and lenth. Otherwise similar in style to Cantelys. 91p.

2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte white - 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and tasty, fresh, very acacia flower flavor, also some lemon grass, very good length and finish. 90-91p.

2015 Smith Haut Lafitte white - 95% Sauvignons + 5% Semillon. powerful, very intense, impressive acidity and complexity, rich and sophisticated. Very impressive indeed. 96p. In top three of whites in this vintage.

2015 Bastor Lamontagne - Cathiards are also co-owners here since July 2014. Pineapple flavor, very good intensity and concentration, acidity well supporting sweetness, acacia honey finish. 91-92p.

During lunch we were treated with Smith Haut Lafitte white 1986 and red in vintages 1998 and 1990. 1986 white was very drinkable and tasty. 87p. 1998 red had attractive nose of truffles and some roasted bacon, fine complexity, backbone and caressing finish. 92p. 1990 red from the year of purchase of this property by Cathiards, impressed a great deal. Mature wine, lively and kicking, strong and tigthly structured, concentrated and with splendid balance and long persistent finish. 93p.

Because of rainy weather most of the day, we sadly didn't have the opportunity to bicycle around the property.

2015 31

Wines for lunch

2015 32

A rainful Sauturday midday spent in excellent company - Daniel Cathiard is third from the left and his wife Florence is second from the right

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Sunday the 10th April

Phelan Segur

2015 8

During 2015 harvest wine staff at the property decided to wait as long as possible to harvest Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, until both grape varietes were perfectly ripe inside and outside (phenolic ripeness). it looks like this decision really paid off as 2015 Phelan Segur is probably the best vintage for the property in the last 30 years!

2015 - 53% Cabernet Sauvignon + 47% Merlot, 13.5% alcohol, was very aromatic with significant aromas of blueberries and blackberries, well-knitted, splendidly balanced, sweet fruit, refined and complex with long fruity aftertaste. Impressive. 93+p.

2014 - displayed great acidity and complexity, strong structure, splendid length and meaty finish. Very focused wine. 92p.

2012 - tasted delicious, round, very fruity, sappy with fine structure and lengty. A real crowd-pleaser! 89p.

2011 - had splendid acidity, fine structure and long finish. Reminiscent of 2014 but less complexity and concentration. 90p.

2010 - it offered fat fruit and tannin, both perfectly ripe, great complexity and depth. Excellent vintage here but imho 2015 is richer, more concentrated and has longer finish. 92-93p.

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Monday the 11th April 2016

Chateau Margaux

2015 24

Tasting 2015 Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux. From the left - Alex Rychlewski, Ivar Bjurner, Niko Dukan, Thibault Pontallier, Piyapa Bjurner and Sebastien Vergne (Ch. Margaux' technical director).

This property really hit bull's eye in 2015 with all its three wines. For the first time ever Cabernet Sauvignon has reached 13 % alcohol here and one has to remember that harvest wasn't late and also the fact that this grape variety biological growing doesn't allow it to be overripe.

Pavillon Rouge represents 23% of total crop and is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Probably one of the very best wines ever produced at the property. Big concentration, intensity, very strong backbone, a lot of of silky fruit and tannin, excellent acidity and stunning finish. 93-94p.

Grand Vin is 38% of total crop and composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Exceptional concentration, richness and complexity, super strong backbone, elegant and sophisticated, perfectly balanced, incredibly aromatic, extraordinary finish. For sure, this is wine of the 2015 vintage in red. 98-100p.

Pavillon Blanc has had small yield, only 20 hl/ha, 100% Sauvignon Blanc which reached 14% in alcohol (perfect ripeness). 2015 vintage is first one with organic treatment in the vineyard. Aromatic and fresh, significant scent of acacia and grapefruit, rich, refined and with great acidity. Awesomely long finish. Best Pavillon Blanc ever for me. 94p.

Pichon Baron

2015 12

2015 is excellent vintage here and I wasn't able to find any sign of dilution in wines!

Pibran - strong and tight, very good acidity, fine concentration, well-structured, fine balance and meaty aftertaste. 91p.

Les Tourelles de Longueville - somewhat rusty and tight, quite some oak, good structur and firm finish with slight dryness. 88-89p.

Les Griffons de Pichon Baron - powerful, strong backbone, very nice acidity, sappy, nice complexity and length. 90-91p.

Pichon Baron - thick and tight, loads of fruit and tannin, everything in balance. Impressive mid-palate. Excellent ripeness, excellent complexity and excellent finish. Fabulous effort. 96p.

I've to say a few words about Petit Village. Last year in sommer (2015) technical director Marielle Cazaux left for neighboring La Conseillante and sister-in-law of Olivier Berrouet from Petrus, Diana Berrouet-Garcia took over winemaking responsibilities. Petit Village has for long time been an underperforming property. But watch out - 2015 is a stunner and probably the best vintage ever for this property! What a debut vintage for the new winemaker!! 71% Merlot + 20% Cabernet Franc + 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. It showed much more intensity and concentration on nose and palate than usual, excellent structure, depth and complexity, silky fruit and tannin, velvety texture and long fruity finish. Utterly expressive and impressive wine. 94-95p. This wine shouldn't be filtrated prior to bottling!

Blanc de Suduiraut- nice, round and charming, acacia flower, nice acidity, soft finish. 90p.

Suduiraut - pineapple, acacia honey, many bortytized flavors, very complex with great sweetness and corresponding acidity. Excellent effort. 94p.

Pichon Comtesse

  2015 1

Nicolas Glumineau, manager of Pichon Comtesse since November 2012

It was one of the most interesting visits during primeur, mainly because Nicolas Glumineau has had time to explain his vision about getting Pichon Comtesse higher up in quality. He told me that one of his first things he did after becoming manager, was to ask cellarmaster to prepare a tasting of as many vintages as possible, in order to understand the character of the property. Almost 3.5 years later, it seems that he understands Pichon Comtesse 100%. He said also, that Cabernet Sauvignon was truly exceptional here in 2015.

2015 Pichon Comtesse - 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Final blend was alredy made in February. This wine was alreay stand-out barrel sample at UGCB tasting in Bordeaux Lac (Matmut stadium) 6 days before and at the property it showed the same. Packed with perfectly ripe fruit and tannin, excellent complexity and length. More concentration, richness, depth and length than usual, sophisticated and with mega aftertaste. I don't remember Pichon Comtesse being that complex, rich, classy and stylish in the last 25 years. It seems that in 2015, this stunning beauty got an extra dimension to it. 97+p.

2015 Reserve de La Comtesse - full of perfectly ripe fruit, deep and concentrated, dense texture, long aftertaste. Represents half of total production. With second wine that splendid, I'm not surprised by exceptional Grand Vin. 92p.

2014 Pichon Comtesse - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 22% Merlot + 7% Cabernet Franc + 6% Petit Verdot. Great acidity here, great complexity and length, powerful with strong backbone, remarkable depth and finish. Excellent for the vintage. 94+p.

2009 Pichon Comtesse - figs, voluptolous, splendidly aromatic nose, ripe fruit, spicy, Cabernet Sauvignon shining through, splendid length, excellent complexity. A little touch of heat in the aftertaste. 95p.

2005 Pichon Comtesse - cooler version of 2009, maybe fruit is slightly drier and less sweet this time. 94p.

Latour

2015 36

Famous tower in the vineyards of Chateau Latour, seen from PIchon Comtesse. Please notice Gironde river flowing very close to vineyards

Draconic selection resulted in only 30% of whole production going into Grand Vin, 40% into Les Forts de Latour and remaining 30% into Pauillac.

2015 Pauillac - good concentration, sweet fruit, round and charming, good acidity and length, smooth and fruity finish. 90p.

2015 Les Forts de Latour - strong, fine concentration of fruit and tannin, fine structure and complexity as well. Long aftertaste. 92p.

2015 Latour - 97% Cabernet Sauvignon + 3% Merlot. Closed on the nose, powerhouse on the palate, great depth and complexity. Needs time to develop into something extremely special. 96+p.

2010 Pauillac - big surprise! Never tasted so impressive third wine! Very intense fruity nose, truffles, concentrated, chewy and long. Persistent fruity finish. Simply delicious! 92p.

2009 Les Forts de Latour - chocolate, sweet fruit and tannin, well-knitted with great complexity, sparkling acidity, long fruity aftertaste. Impressive. 93p.

2000 Latour - monster wine with fascinating nose of truffles, so fat on the palate that it can be cut in slices, almost oily texture, incredible richness, complexity and sophisticated touch. 50+ years to live out the dream. A fantastic tribute to the vintage! 100p.

Leoville Las Cases

2015 26

Leoville Lascases' cellarmaster since 1982, Mr Rolland, pours 2015 vintage in our glasses

Utterly impressive range of 2015s here and I was also treated with very well made 2012s. Magnificent quality of Cabernets in 2015!

2015 La Chapelle de Potensac - fruity, rond and charming, tasty but somewhat four-squared. 85-86p.

2015 Potensac - fine concentration and acidity, well-structured, tasty fruit, well-balanced with fine length. 90p.

2015 La Petite Marquise - first vintage of second wine for Clos de Marquis. Splendid fruit and tannin, very seductive and tasty wine, soft and caressing finish. 88p.

2015 Clos de Marquis - blueberry compote, sappy with fine acidity which links perfectly all elements in this wine together, focused, prefectly ripe fruit and tannin. 93p.

2015 Le Petit Lion - very concentrated, tight and dense, velvety texture, long aftertaste. Fine second wine. 91-92p.

2015 Leoville Las Cases - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. Another monster wine here, fabulous nose of dark berries, extremely concentrated, deep and long on the palate, remarkable acidity, sophisticated and with mega, mega long finish. Bull's eye! 97-98p.

2012 Potensac - well-defined, fruity and tasty, very accessible, good length. 87p.

2012 Clos de Marquis - spicy fruit, meaty, complex and long, tastes well, quite forward, great to enjoy now. 90p.

2012 Leoville Las Cases - very impressive for the vintage, precise, great complexity and richness, sublime finish. 94p.

Lascombes

2015 27

Dramatic scene of sun going down in the evening over Lascombes vineyard

2015 Merlot - strong, delicious fruit and tannin, concentrated.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon - strong, tight, big concentration, long.

2015 Petit Verdot - very powerful, strong backbone, spicy.

2015 Final blend - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Big, full, complex, more concentration and power than usual. Precise and focused wine with pretty fruit and tannin. 93-94p.

2015 Chevalier Lascombes - 55% Merlot + 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Strong with big structure, oaky, compact, nice structure and length. 89-90p.

During dinner I tasted following wines:

2010 Lascombes - very tight, fat fruit and tannin, very complex and rich, great balance and structure. 94-95p.

2006 Lascombes - mineral, ristet bacon. tobacco leaves, fine backbone and depth, elegant and with finesse. 93p.

2005 Lascombes - similar in style to 2010, very seductive, delicious. 94p.

One of my friends brought 1947 Lascombes with him, a negociant bottling and we had it at the end of the dinner.  It was old stuff, oysters aroma/smell, still good acidity, taste of extracted coffee beans. 90p.

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Tuesday the 12th April

Lafite Rothschild

2015 17

Chateau Lafite's cellar

Fine visit with excellent vines, but no Charles Chevallier to answer questions. Tasting went quickly, so we had a lot of time and asked for visit in cellars, which was happily granted.

Duhart Milon - elegant, fine balance, well-knitted with very good structure, depth and length. Fine complexity. 92p.

Carruaders de Lafite - similar in style to Duhart Milon with bigger depth and longer on the palate. Fine second wine. 91-92p

Lafite - 91% Cabernet Sauvignon + 9% Merlot. Incredibly refined and sophisticated, rich and complex, fabulous structure and length. 96-97p. Awesome effort.

Mouton Rothschild

2015 19

 Cellar work at Mouton Rothschild

Me and my friends came too early for the visit, so there was enough time to visit museum at cellar. All wines tasted showed very high quality in their respective rank.

D'Armailhac - flowery and dark berry nose, polished, silky texture, well-balanced, fine smooth aftertaste. 92-93p.

Clerc Milon - more intensity and concentration, better structure and longer on palate, than in D'Armailhac. 92+p.

Le Petit Mouton - really well-made, tasty fruit, splendid backbone, structure and fruity finish. 92p.

Mouton Rothschild - refined, sophisticated, rich, excellent complexity and structure, great acidity and powerful finish. Immensly complete wine. 97+p.

Aile d'Argent - white Mouton Rothschild. Fresh with aroma of acacia flower and lemon grass, great depth and structure, long finish. Splendid effort. 92-93p.

Pontet Canet

2015 18

Future look of Pontet Canet

This time it was neither Alfred Tesseron nor his niece Melanie Tesseron, who tasted 2015 with us. Justine Tesseron, Alfred Tesseron daughter tasted with us. She started to work at Pontet Canet in November last year with administrative duties.

2015 here had evident oak on the nose, mellow construction, not that flamboyant as in 2009 and 2010, but very refined and sophisticated, long fruity finish. 95% of whole production went into Grand Vin and yield per ha was 33 hl. 95-96p.

Montrose

2015 16

I seriously doubt, that big September downpours in Saint-Estephe had any impact on 2015 quality at Montrose. This property has excellently drained gravelly soil, vineyard is hilly and just after downpours, north-eastern winds dried up the air and soil in very short time. There wasn't any reason to harvest soon after rains, so rather waiting for perfect opportunity to do it.

Tronquoy Lalande - dense and tight, lot of fruit and tannin, concentrated and long. Well-made. 90p.

La Dame de Montrose - voluptulous, lot of everything, big intensity, long and meaty finish. Excellent second wine which give you a hint about how masterly Grand Vin is. 92p.

Montrose - "iron fist in velvet glove" or "wolf in sheep's clothes", boom, big concentration of everything, enormous depth and length, fabulous complexity and richness. Magnifique! Surely in my top ten of 2015 wines. 1. Growth quality. 98-99p. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 13,8% alcohol.

Calon Segur

2015 14

On the right, new label for Grand Vin

This property maintains its fine and stable quality. After excellent 2014s, wines are imo even better in 2015.

Capbern - blackberries and blueberries, spisy, fine acidity, fine balance between silky fruit and silky tannin, well-structured and with soft fruity finish. 91p.

Le Marquis de Calon - soft, aromatic and round with tasty black berries, fine fruit intensity and soft finish. 91p.

Calon Segur -  82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 13.3% alcohol. Very fruity, stylish, with classy finesse and elegance, silky texture and great complexity, remarkable structure and complexity. 95-96p.

Beychevelle

2015 15

Beautiful view from terrace towards Gironde river

2015 vintage here is very successful, somewhat better than excellent 2014. I tasted both vintages plus 2015 Beaumont.

2015 - polished, silky fruit, great finesse and remarkable length, velvety texture and sweet aftertaste. Great future. 94+p. Tasted on two occasions with same result. 2014 had same characteristica as 2015 but acidity was more obvious here. 94p. 2015 Beaumont was smooth and silky, round and tasty. 89-90p.

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After Beychevelle visit I hastened back to Bordeaux to relax before dinner at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Grand Hotel (opposite Opera), Le Pressoir d'Argent. The dinner was like drinking 1.Growth wine in exceptional vintage - simply stunning!

2015 38 2

Fantastic dish - "Asperges vertes de Jérôme Galis, condimentées de trois façons, truffe du Périgord, parmesan et Noir de Bigorre"

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RATINGS

Please notice that +(plus) sign means that given barrel sample can receive up to 2 points higher score if it very much improve when retasted before and after bottling. Same sign followed by one or two question(s) mark (?) indicates the actual score but also that the sample wasn't in prime condition. The rating(s) in question can of course be a lot higher if the retasted barrel samples or bottled wine(s) show considerable improvement.

Sauternes & Barsac

Bastor-Lamontagne Sauternes 91-92 Broustet Barsac 91 Caillou Sauternes 93 Climens Barsac 96-97 Clos Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes 92 Coutet Barsac 93+ d'Arche Sauternes 91 de Fargues Sauternes 94 de Malle Sauternes 93 de Myrat Barsac 93 de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes 93+ Doisy-Daëne Barsac 94 Doisy-Védrines Barsac 93 Filhot Sauternes 92 Guiraud Sauternes 92-93 La Tour Blanche Sauternes 93 Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes 94 Lamothe Despujols Sauternes 92 Lamothe Guignard Sauternes 90 Nairac Barsac 93 Rabaud-Promis Sauternes 92 Raymond Lafon Sauternes 95 Rieussec Sauternes 94 Romer Sauternes 91 Romer du Hayot Sauternes 91-92 Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes 93 Suau Sauternes 92-93 Suduiraut Sauternes 94 Yquem Sauternes 99

Graves & Pessac-Leognan red

Bouscaut Pessac-Léognan 91 Cantelys Graves 88-89 Carbonnieux Pessac-Léognan 91 Carbonnieux blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 Chantegrive Graves 90 Clos Floridene Graves 88 Couhins Lurton Pessac-Léognan 88 Cruzeau Pessac-Léognan 88  de Fieuzal Pessac-Léognan 93 de France Pessac-Léognan 92-93  Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan 95 Ferrande Graves 90 Haut Bacalan Pessac-Léognan 88 Haut Bailly 96-97 Haut-Bergey Pessac-Léognan 91+ Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 97 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 90 La Clarence de Haut Brion Pessac-Léognan 90  La Louvière Pessac-Léognan 93 La Louvière blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 95+ Larrivet Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 93 Latour-Martillac Pessac-Léognan 92 Le Sartre Pessac-Léognan 88 Les Carmes Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 94+ Le Clos de Carmes Pessac-Léognan 89 Le Petit Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan 91 Pessac-Léognan 91 Le Thil Pessac-Léognan 90 Les Hauts de Smith Pessac-Léognan 90-91 Lespault Martillac Pessac-Léognan 90  Malartic Lagravière Pessac-Léognan 93 Olivier Pessac-Léognan 92 Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan 94-95 Picque-Caillou Pessac-Léognan 91-92 Rahoul Graves 91 Seguin Pessac-Léognan 94 Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac-Léognan 96+

Graves & Pessac-Leognan white

Bouscaut blanc Pessac-Léognan 90 Cantelys blanc Graves 90 Carbonnieux blanc Pessac-Léognan 93  Chantegrive blanc (Cuvée Caroline) Graves 92 de Fieuzal blanc Pessac-Léognan 90-92 de France blanc Pessac-Léognan 93  Domaine de Chevalier blanc Pessac-Léognan 96 Ferrande blanc Graves 92 Haut-Bergey blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 Haut-Brion blanc Pessac-Léognan 96  La Clarté de Haut-Brion (white) Pessac-Léognan 92 La Louvière blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 La Mission Haut-Brion blanc Pessac-Léognan 95 Larrivet Haut-Brion blanc Pessac-Léognan 94-95 Latour-Martillac blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 Le Petit Haut Lafitte blanc Pessac-Léognan 91 Le Thil Pessac-Léognan 90 Les Hauts de Smith blanc Pessac-Léognan 90-91 Lespault Martillac blanc Pessac-Léognan 91 Malartic Lagravière blanc Pessac-Léognan 93 Olivier blanc Pessac-Léognan 93-94 Pape Clément blanc Pessac-Léognan 94 Picque-Caillou blanc Pessac-Léognan 92+ Rahoul blanc Graves 92 Smith Haut Lafitte blanc Pessac-Léognan 96

Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superieur, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux, Cotes de Bourg and Francs Cotes de Bordeaux.

20 Mille Bordeaux Supérieur 91 Aile d'Argent blanc Bordeaux 92-93 Alcée Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 89-90 Ampelia Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 87 Bad Boy Bordeaux 89 Bad Boy Chardonnay 91 Bel-Air La Royere Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 87-88  Clarendelle Bordeaux 87-88 Clos des Lunes Lunes Blanche Bordeaux 89 Clos des Lunes Lunes d'Argent Bordeaux 90 Clos des Lunes Lunes d'Or Bordeaux 91-92 Clos Lunelles Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 90 Cote Montpezat Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 88+ Croix-Mouton Bordeaux Supérieur 89 de Francs Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 88-89 Domaine des Cambes Bordeaux 89 Domaine Virginie Thunevin Bordeaux 90 G de Guinaudeau Bordeaux Supérieur 89+? Girolate Bordeaux 87 Grand Village Bordeaux Supérieur 90+? Grand Village blanc Bordeaux 90 Haut Bertinerie Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 89 La Prade Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 89 Lafaurie-Peyraguey dry white Bordeaux 88 L'Aurage Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 90 La Brande Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux 88 Laussac Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 89 Laussac, Cuvée Sascha Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 89 Le Nardian (white) Bordeaux 90 L'Esprit de Pavie Bordeaux 88-89 Les Champs Libres (white) Bordeaux 92 Les Charmes Godard white Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 91 Montlandrie Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 90 Mont Perat Bordeaux 88 Pavillon Blanc de Margaux Bordeaux 94 Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 88 Puygueraud blanc Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 91-92 Reynon Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux 87 Roc de Cambes Côtes de Bourg 92+ Suduiraut blanc dry Bordeaux 90 Thieuley Bordeaux 88 Thieuley Reserve Francis Courcelle Bordeaux 88+ Tour de Mirambeau Cuvée Passion Bordeaux 88+ Valandraud blanc Bordeaux 92-93 Y de Yquem blanc 92

Médoc/Haut Médoc

Beaumont Haut Médoc 89-90 Belgrave Haut Médoc 87 Camensac Haut Médoc 90 Cantemerle Haut Médoc 91 Citran Haut Médoc 91 Coufran Haut Médoc 90-91 de Lamarque Haut Médoc 88 La Lagune Haut Médoc 94 La Lagune Les Cabernets Sauvignons 94+ La Tour Carnet Haut Médoc 92 La Tour de By Médoc 90 Potensac Haut Médoc 90

Listrac & Moulis

Chasse Spleen Moulis 90 Clarke Listrac 88 Fonréaud Listrac 88 Fourcas Dupré Listrac 89 Fourcas Hosten Listrac 88 Maucaillou Moulis 90 Poujeaux Moulis 89
 
Margaux
 
Brane-Cantenac 95 Cantenac Brown 95 Chevalier Lascombes 88-89 d'Angludet 89-90 Dauzac 90-91 Desmirail 90-91 du Tertre 92 Ferrière 91 Giscours 95 Kirwan 93 Labégorce 92 Lascombes 93-94 Malescot Saint-Exupéry 93-94 Ch. Margaux 98-100 Marquis d'Alesme 94 Marquis de Terme 92 Monbrison 92 Palmer 96+ Pavillon Rouge de Margaux 93-94 Prieuré-Lichine 93 Rauzan Gassies 92 Rauzan-Ségla 93 Siran 91
 
Saint-Julien
 
Beychevelle 94+ Branaire Ducru 92 Clos de Marquis 93 Gloria 93 Gruaud Larose 93-94 La Petite Marquise 88 Lagrange 93+ Langoa Barton 93 Le Petit Lion 91-92 Léoville Barton 94-95 Leoville Las Cases 97-98 Léoville Poyferré 94-95 Saint-Pierre 93-94 Talbot 91+
 
Pauillac
 
Batailley 93 Carruades de Lafite 91-92 Clerc Milon 92+ Croizet-Bages 91 d'Armailhac 92 Duhart-Milon 93 Fonbadet 88 Grand-Puy Ducasse 93 Haut-Bages Libéral 92-93 Lafite Rothschild 96-97 Latour 96+ Le Petit Mouton de Mouton-Rothschild 92 Les Forts de Latour 92 Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 90-91 Les Tourelles de Longueville 88-89 Lynch-Bages 93 Lynch-Moussas 93 Mouton-Rothschild 97+ Pauillac de Latour 90 Pibran 91 Pichon Baron 96 Pichon Comtesse 97+ Pontet-Canet 95-96 Reserve de La Comtesse 92
 
Saint-Estephe
 
Calon-Ségur 95-96 Capbern 91 Cos Labory 92 de Pez 92 La Dame de Montrose 92 Lafon-Rochet 92-93 Le Marquis de Calon 91 Les Ormes de Pez 92 Montrose 98-99 Phélan Ségur 93+ Tronquoy-Lalande 90
 
Canon-Fronsac/Fronsac
 
Barrabaque Canon-Fronsac 88+ Dalem Fronsac 88 de La Riviere Fronsac 88 Fontenil Fronsac 88+? Gaby Canon-Fronsac 88 Haut Carles Fronsac 88 Les Troix Croix Fronsac 88+ Magondeau Fronsac 88 Magondeau Beau Site Fronsac 90 Magondeau Passion Fronsac 91 Moulin Haut Laroque Fronsac 87 Villars Fronsac 87
 
Lalande de Pomerol
 
de Chambrun 90 Domaine des Sabines 90 Grand Ormeau 90 Jean de Gue 88 La Chenade 91 La Gravière 90 La Sergue 90 L'Ambroisie du Chateau La Croix des Moines 90 Les Cruzelles 91+ Siaurac 89
 
Pomerol
 
Beauregard 91 Beau Soleil 88 Bellegrave 87 Belle Brise 93+ Bourgneuf 94 Cantelauze 93-94 Clinet 96 Clos de la Vieille Eglise 87 Duo de Conseillante 88 Fayat 89 Feytit Clinet 89 Gazin 92-93 La Cabanne 93 La Clemence 89 La Commanderie 88-89 La Conseillante 93 La Croix de Gay 92 La Croix Saint-Georges 94-95 La Petite Eglise 91-92 La Pointe 92 La Violette 95+ Lafleur 96 Lafleur de Gay 91-92 Le Bon Pasteur 91? Le Clos du Beau-Père 91 Lecuyer 88+ Le Gay 94 L'Eglise-Clinet 98 Les Pensées de Lafleur 92-93 Manoir de Gay 90-91 Mazeyres 89 Montviel 90 Petit-Village 94-95 Petrus 97-98 Rouget 90 Sácre Coeur 93 Taillefer 87 Vieux Château Certan 97-98 Vieux Maillet 89-90
 
Montagne Saint-Emilion/St. Georges Saint-Emilion
 
Calon Montagne-Saint-Emilion 90 Calon St.Georges-Saint-Emilion 90-91 Cap St.Georges St.Georges-Saint-Emilion 91-92
 
Saint-Emilion
 
Amélisse/Saintayme 89-90 Angelique de Monbousquet 88 Aromes de Pavie 89-90 Ausone 97-98 Balestard La Tonnelle 91-92 Beau-Séjour Bécot 91-92 Beausejour Duffau 94-95 Bel-Air Ouy 90 Bellevue Mondotte 95-96 Bellefont Belcier 90 Berliquet 91 Boutisse 87 Canon 91+?? Canon La Gaffelière 91-92 Cap de Faugeres 89 Cap de Mourlin 91 Cheval Blanc 97+ Clos Badon Thunevin 92 Clos Dubreil 87 Clos Fourtet 94 Clos Romanile 92 Corbin 93-94 Corbin Michotte 93+ Croizille 88 Dassault 91 de Fonbel 89-90 de Lussac 87 Divine de Corbin 89 Fleur Cardinale 94 Fombrauge 90 Franc-Mayne 92-93 Galaxies 2 Romanile 90-91 Grand Corbin Despagne 90 Grand Mayne 91 Haut Simard 91 La Chapelle d'Ausone 92 La Clotte 90 La Confession 94-95 La Dominique 91 La Gaffelière 91 La Tour Figeac 90 Laforge 91 Larcis Ducasse 94-95 Larmande 92 Le Carre 91-92 Le Dôme 96+ Le Dragon de Quintus 88-89 Le Pontet 92 Les Asteries 92 Lusseau 88-89 Lynsolence 87 Mangot 92 Mangot Todeschini 92-93 Monbousquet 91-92 Moulin Saint-Georges 91-92 Pavie 97-98 Pavie Decesse 96 Pavie-Macquin 96 Quinault L'Enclos 89-90 Quintus 91-92 Sansonnet 90 Simard 89 Soutard 92 Tertre Roteboeuf 97+ Teyssier 90-91 Trimoulet 87 Troplong Mondot 96-97 Trottevieille 92 Valandraud 96+ 3 de Valandraud 88-89 Vieux Chateau Mazerat 95+ Villemaurine 90 Virginie de Valandraud 92
 

* On the 7th September I tasted several 2015s which I missed on while doing several tastings in Bordeaux in April 2016:

d'Aiguilhe - 89p

Clos de la Oratoire - 91p

Haut Bailly - 96-97p

Other 2015s retasted were for the majority slightly better than 4 moths ago. No one of the retasted wines was below the quality while tasted in April 2016.

Sample of Canon (St.Emilion PGCC) was much better than the one tasted in April 2016 but for me it's not 100p wine, merely 96p. Petit Village (Pomerol) hasn't lost anything since April  2016 and it's still a stunner wine for me.

I retasted following wines - Beausejour Becot, Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, Brane Cantenac, Canon-La-Gaffeliere, Cantemerle, Cantenac Brown, Les Carmes Haut Brion, Chasse Spleen and Camensac, Coutet, D.d. Chevalier, Clinet, Giscours/du Tertre, Lafon Rochet, Larrivet Haut Brion, Lascombes, Latour Martillac, Langoa/Leoville Barton, Leoville Poyferre, Pichon Baron/Petit Village, Rauzan Segla, Smith Haut Lafitte and Talbot.

  

Latest news

2016 VINTAGE IN BORDEAUX - INDEED THIS VINTAGE HAS ALL THE COMPONENTS TO BE A FANTASTIC VINTAGE. MANY PLACES 2016 HAS POTENTIAL TO BE BETTER THAN 2015 AND CLOSE TO 2010. DURING TWO WEEKS IN APRIL 2017, I'LL FIND OUT IF EARLY PROMISES TURN INTO GREAT DELIGHT, WHEN I*LL TASTE AROUND 350 BARREL SAMPLES OF 2016 VINTAGE. STAY TUNED!

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HOW DID LESSER REDS FARE IN 2014 VINTAGE? WHAT ABOUT LESSER DRY WHITES IN 2015 VINTAGE? PLEASE CHECK OUT "Grand Cercle tasting of 85 red vines in 2014 vintage and 20 white dry wines in 2015 vintage" IN THE CHAPTER "HORISONTAL AND VERTICAL TASTINGS"

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THAT'S THE WAY TO CELEBRATE 70TH BIRTHDAY - CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE WITH SAME TITLE IN THE CHAPTER "HORISONTAL AND VERTICAL TASTINGS"

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HERE ARE MY TOP TEN WINES OF 2016

1. Montrose 1990 100p 2. Latour 2000 100p 3. Lafleur 2000 100p 4. Le Pin 1990 99p 5. Cheval Blanc 1990 99p 6. Lafite 2000 99p 7. Montrose 2010 99p 8. Yquem 1986 98p 9. Tertre Roteboeuf 2000 98p 10. Certan de May 1982 98p