Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2006

88+ points

Saint-Julien, Bordeaux. 13%

I had this at a restaurant recently where I thought it a rather textbook left-bank classed growth. Quite dense and with currant flavours.

Now under less distracting conditions I notice the dry ultraripe tannic finish that reminds me of 2003. I’d expect more acid, more verve and more fruit in such a young Bordeaux.

Time will tell. But today this seems like a 2005 but with less fruit.

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Chateau Rauzan-Segla 1996

91 points

Margaux, Bordeaux. 12.5%

Quite a substantial wine for Rauzan-Segla with plenty of oak but dry neutral oak. Slight peanuty aromas plus savoury meaty almost character.

The palate is more closed, the tannin has subsided, the fruit has lost its freshness but this is still a young mature wine, if you get what I mean.

Reminds me somewhat of Ch Smith Haut-Lafite.

Will give considerable pleasure, through this is definitely not an hedonistic wine, from 2015-25.

Chateau d’Armailhac 2006

85 points

Pauillac, Bordeaux. 13%

Quite a surprise, not entirely pleasant. Yes this is good wine, but not what I expected. I have a high opinion of this chateau after their stellar effort in 2002.

Now 2002 was good in particular areas of Bordeaux like Pauillac but still tending to be lean, the anti-thesis of say 2003. And I hoped that their 2006 would be closer to this lean classic model. But this wine has dry super-ripe tannins of 2003. The lack of water (until the end of the vintage) shows. There are some ultra-ripe towards dead grapes in this wine. Disappointing.

Domaine de la Rouletiere Vouvray 2005 sec

89+ points

Vouvray, Loire, France.  12%

I’m not sure where I purchased this, I think it was for a modest price.  I had no great expectations and on opening it seemed to be a mildly sweet, only mildly acidic wine without great concentration.  Over the next two nights (under winesaver) it improved with the minerality becoming more pronounced.  Lovely Chenin Blanc, sufficient acidity and just a perfect slight touch of residual sweetness.  Good stuff, drink now and until 2014.