Chateau Brown 2009

90 points

Pessac-Leognan. 14.5%

Rich, attractive, though this is pushing ripeness to the limit for Pessac. Greater concentration than earlier vintages, but I think I miss the open-knit Chateau Browns of less opulent vintages.

I suspect this change is as much to do with the Chateau as the vintage. I hope they don’t continue further on this path. They have done well but know risk losing regional typicité.



Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal 1986

88 points

Nice wine but if I’d cellared it for 25 years or so I’d be disappointed. Fairly robust structure still underpinned by acidity. Little in the way of delicious aged characters – just slowly fading.

Is this the vintage, 1986 had high Parker ratings but 1985 was always the classier vintage, less powerful but it has aged with grace. Perhaps not so for 1986? Or is it Haut-Bages Liberal?


Chateau Branon 2008

87 points

Pessac-Leognan. 13.5%

After enjoying Ch. Haut-Bergy 2009 and Ch. Barde-Haut 2001 so much I had high hopes for this more expensive wine from the same stable.

Raw, brawny, quite tannic. Lacks the charm that some (Ch.D’Issan) have in 2008.

Will improve with time. On the 3rd day after opening (kept carefully in half bottle in fridge) it had improved a great deal, silky, though with jarring oak tannin on finish.


Chateau Rauzan-Segla 1995

88+ points

Margaux. 13%

Disappointingly lacks the usual elegance of Rauzan-Segla. Quite brawny with heavy expensive oak. Almost Californian.

Best from 2018.

One year later – similar but this time I noticed the brawny tannins more than the oak.  A touch of 2003 about this wine.  Lacks the usual Rauzan-Segla elegance.  It may come right, but I expect it will be for a brief period.  Risky.  Drink over next 5 years.


Chateau La Lagune 2004

91+ points

Haut-Medoc. 13%

This is serious deep claret, with the classic freshness of 2004. Should provide a good deal of pleasurable drinking over the next decade or so.  Best kept for another 5 years in a cool cellar if you can resist temptation.

2nd bottle – much more open knit, reminds me of a Graves style.  Rather fine drinking now, complexity of age showing.


Monnières Saint-Fiacre Muscadet Serve & Maine 2005

91 points

Serve & Maine, Loire. 12.5%

Muscadet is usually thought of as cheap supermarket wine, useful dry white to wash down Oysters. But here is another profound Loire Muscadet. And 8 years old too!

In perfect condition, I guess it’s been in a cold Loire cellar. Impossible to guess the age by the nose.

Perhaps the creaminess on the palate gives it away but this is still fresh. Quite intense, juicy. Exciting wine.