Chateau Palmer 2004

90++ points

Margaux. 13%

Weird wine. At first it seemed disappointly lacking concentration with tannin, acid and oak dominating fruit. Then with food it transformed with aged oaky flavours coming forward. Soon as the food was gone it went back to being ordinary.

The next night the difference with food was less extreme.

I suspect this will be best in 10 more years. But it’s a risky bet.

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Chateau Rauzan-Despagne Reserve 2010

88+ points

Bordeaux. 13.5%

Probably deserves even higher points given its low price. It’s normally impossible to find decent claret even in Bordeaux for under 10 euro. This was only 8 euro.

Note this is not the Grand Vin but their cheaper ‘Reserve’.

Modern, very clean, fresh, not souped up. Got better over a few nights. Cherry fruit, of the vintage or just its youth?

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Chateau Pédesclaux 2009

94+ points

Pauillac. 13% (on the label but very likely higher)

I thought I had reviewed this but in checking I see I haven’t. I have tried this many times, it never fails to impress. When I first tried it in 2012 I was amazed that such a concentrated young wine could be so approachable. I called it “Pomerol comes to Pauillac” which is sort of true.

It’s an oddity, but not that odd. What it clearly is is very good. A wine to challenge first growths for a fraction of the price.

This is the sort of wine I always imagined that California at its best could produce. Sadly I’ve not seen this, maybe they can?

So this has the flavour. Does it have the balance to turn into something ethereal and fine? Time will tell. I think it will turn out very well, but (strangely for Bordeaux) I’m not super interested it’s that good already!

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Chateau Pédesclaux 2010

89+ points

Pauillac. 13% (most likely higher)

Tasted alongside the 2009 over several evenings there is some similarity, the house style but they are very different vintages. 2010 is supposed to be more classic, but very tannic and concentrated. That’s not how this seemed. It’s certainly less forward, less flamboyant, but also lighter.

The 2009 you’d think wouldn’t be my style but the sheer quality bowls me over. It’s top classed growth quality. 2010 Pedesclaux doesn’t seem in the same league. It reminds me a bit of 2009 Ch.Chantermerle, which is very very good for its price but no giant slayer.

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Chateau Baron de Pichon- Longueville 2002

91+ points

Pauillac. 13.5%

Very interesting wine. Classy. Showing both house style and the distictiveness of the vintage. It’s quite bold, ripe, with a fair degree of oak. It’s not herbaceous yet there is a seam of vegetal tone. 2002 was a good cabernet year but nothing like the ripe vintages of 2005 or 2009. And it’s not so pretty and fresh as 2004. It’s quite serious but not austere. Long life still ahead.

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Mauro Guicheney I 2011

88 points

Duras, France. 13.5%. Organic.

This wine of the Sud-Ouest is a fresh, rich wine with plenty of ripe tannins. Claims to have had 9 months in oak but fortunately must have been old oak.

Surprisingly ripe for the wet cold Summer I experienced in Bordeaux. I guess the sun really did come out in September.

This Merlot dominant wine is sufficiently open to drink now. In fact I’d recommend drinking over the next 3 years.

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Chateau de La Preuille 2008

89 points

Muscadet, Loire. 12%

I’ve not heard of this producer before but apparently they have been around for 11 generations and there is a glowing endorsement from Robert Parker on the back no less.

Very much what I’d hope for in a Loire Muscadet. Savoury minerality. Not quite as striking as some mineral bombs, nor as racey as others. But good stuff. I continue to wonder why the world overlooks Muscadet.

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Chateau Siran 2009

90 points

Margaux. 14%

The family who own this chateau are celebrating 150 years of ownership and maybe the estate is older than that. Yet this is far from famous wine. I expect there has been some investment recently because this is good. The epitome of modern Bordeaux with that forward dense juicy character of 2009 making it rather approachable. Even the overt oak merely frames the wine in spite of the little time in bottle.

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Le Petit Clos Des Vents 2011

87 points

Cotes de Duras. 14%

This appellation is halfway between Bordeaux and Cahors.

It’s a low acid wine with hints of cumquat or orange. Lots of retained CO2. Certainly doesn’t taste like Semillon/Sauvignon, and its hit 14% in a cold vintage. They can also use Ugni Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Muscadelle and Mauzac – so who knows?

Interesting wine. Drink immediately.

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