Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2006

89 points

Given that this wine is readily available in good restaurants and wine stores the cellar can’t be too private!

A rich flavoursome Pinotage, still young but enjoyable. A bit syrupy. Classic touch of banana aroma.

This is a variety almost unique to South Africa and they often do it very well. It can out-perform more prestigious varieties.

Chateau Troplong-Mondet 2001

85 points

Saint-Emilion. 13.5%

I mainly drink right-bank Bordeaux but I do love a good right-bank merlot and cab franc blend. I enjoy the ripe fruitcake characters though also the fresher fine styles. I’ve had this wine before when it was younger and enjoyed it, was impressed by the richness. This is all a roundabout way of saying I’m not prejudiced against this wine but I didn’t enjoy the style. It’s too big and dumb. I wouldn’t go near the more recent riper vintages which have seen the price rise for the chateau.

Bordeaux 2010 Early Vintage Report

Well I’ve been here for almost two months now, from late Jun to late August, and this has been a beautiful warm and mild Summer.  Certainly much better than 2007.  Could it be another vintage of the decade, or century? We seem to be having a lot of them lately.

An early report from Decanter reported that June was the hottest for 35 years, and the first two weeks of July were the hottest since 1921, raising fears of another 2003.  I think that is crazy talk, this Summer has had plenty of sunny days but none of the extreme heat of 2003, and there has been periodic rain.

Jancis Robinson gave a more upbeat assessment a month ago, and didn’t speak of any worries about heat.

From everything that I can see, (warning, I know little about viticulture) the weather bodes well for another very good vintage.

Chateau Rauzan-Segla 2002

90 points

Margaux. 13%

Dark. Somewhat muted nose, slightly lactic. Dense strong flavour, a bit green. Almost medicinal. Concentrated. The most extracted Rauzan-Segla I’ve tried – unusual. It’s difficult to know whether or not to be critical, or whether this wine has a long beautiful career ahead of it. This is a difficult time to be tasting the top 2002s. Given its reasonable price compared to other vintages I’d think this would be a good cellaring gamble.

Chateau Cantemerle 2006

91+ points

Tasted alongside the 2005 and this is better. It’s fresher, more modern but in a good sense. Plenty of acidity, clear oak and fruit. It’s always going to be a wine that is slightly on the green side but I suspect it will be a lean long distance runner.

Tasting from barrel is always a very hit and miss affair, but this time I think Robert Parker captured the wine very very well:
Quality at this property has been rising dramatically over the last several vintages. Cantemerle will never be a blockbuster claret, but rather one built on finesse and elegance. Hints of menthol, black cherries, cranberries, and blueberries emerge from the 2006’s perfumed bouquet. Medium body, impressive purity, good underlying texture, and sweet tannin suggest this elegantly-styled wine will drink well between 2009-2020+. It possesses intense flavors yet requires some introspection. Robert Parker 90-92

La Chapelle De La Mission Haut-Brion 2004

88+ points

Pessac-Leognan. 12.5%

2nd wine of La Mission Haut-Brion.

Pristine wine with lovely balance, rather stylish. Interesting deft use of oak. So it advertises the quality of winemaking at La Mission very well but does it tell me much about the grand vin? Not really. The fruit here is either closed or not super exciting. So I’m none the wiser to the La Mission style or to where this wine is going. I’m going to guess that this will be very nice stylish drinking from 2012.

M Chapoutier Le Pavillon Hermitage 1997

88 points

Northern Rhone. 13.5%

Opens quite fresh with obvious (for its age) nice new oak. After some time breathing it reminds me of an old Australian Shiraz – nice leathery, even perhaps a touch of greasepaint?

But not on the palate with is far more tart. It’s a nice complex wine but needs a bit more mid palate density and less tart acidity. Food friendly, as it should be. Drink now and over the next 5 years.

Chateau D’Angludet 2004

89++ points

Margaux. 13%

This chateau is producing some top notch wines now. This is very typical of classed growth Margaux in 2004. A nose of sawdust oak, like the floor of a carpentry, leads to a fresh concentrated palate. Dense fruit counter-balanced by acidity. The tannin is very fine, not big and ripe like 2005.

Best from 2015. Long life I would suspect. It should turn into a graceful claret.

Chateau Coufran 2000

84 points

Haut-Medoc. 13%

Solid simple old-fashioned claret. A bit muddy and minerally with a touch of shell-fish.

The structure is good, they just need to clean things up in the vineyard and/or winery and let the fruit sing more clearly. I’m sure this will happen, it may have already happened. Will I miss these old-fashioned minor wines when they disappear? No, so long as they aren’t replaced by souped up wines.

Chateau Rieussec 2002

91 points

Sauternes. 13.5%

A complex creamy tarte aux pommes sort of Sauternes. Delicious now. I had thought that 2002 was a fine tight acidic vintage but this has soft acidity.

I’m sure it will last 10+ years but it is surprisingly approachable now. Enjoy.

PS from a full bottle purchased in Bordeaux (no travel).