Sauternes, Bordeaux. 13.5%
Not a tightly wound fruit style, more loose knit, with some formic acid, not dirty but not ultra modern. Not hugely sweet. Drinking well now (Sauternes drink so much earlier today now that minimal levels of sulpher are used).
Champagne, France. 12.5%
Surprisingly youthful, excellent acidity. Tight concentrated. Hints of almond essence. Long future ahead of it.
Moulis, Bordeaux. 12.5%
A good bottle. Not the most profound Bordeaux but this bottle has aged character with some freshness, even a hint of new oak lurking far in the background. Savoury, food friendly though not particularly concentrated.
Saint Julien. 13%
Quite a burly wine, ripe and dense rather than fragrant. I wouldn’t spot this as 1996. But I’m optimistic that it will gain in complexity and elegance with a little more time.
Light ruby colour. Spritzig.
Slightly syrawberry jam like but not annoyingly so. Quite vivacious. Fresh.
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.
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?
This is less opulent, fresher than the 2001. It’s leaner, more classic. But very concentrated fruit encased in oak and tannin. I expect this to be a lean long distance runner. For the cellar!
Fresh attractive Sauvignon blend. Not very rich or textured, but fortunately not high in alcohol either. Drink now til 2016.
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!
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.
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.
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.
St. Chinian-Roquebrun. 14%
Fresh, inky, fruity spicy Languedoc. Good stuff. Almost too unctuous for me, but a bit more time will calm it down and introduce more savoury tones. Great value. Exactly the sort of wine people hope to find in their supermarket or local cafe but seldom do.
Disappointing for what was a pretty decent vintage in Margaux. This lacks intensity and purity. It’s a bit weedy and dirty. Perhaps there are better bottles?
Cornas, North Rhone. 13.5%
Some nice fresh cool fruit without being peppery or stalky. Clean and clear, but not particularly exciting. Lacks flavour concentration. There are more exciting cool climate shiraz in Australia.
Not in the same league as their 2009. Shows that Jekel and Hyde character of 2006, a dry ripeness plus some green, and slightly jarring acidity that almost tastes as if it were added.
But don’t let me get too negative, this is still good claret, medium weight, savoury, refreshing it just needs food.
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.
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.
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.
St Emilion. 13.5%
Apparently between two top estates. Smokey approachable, surprisingly soft.
Surprisingly fresh and approachable for 2005. This seems to be the way with classed growths while some of the well reviewed minor wines still don’t seem to opened up – I’m beginning to think they never will.
I believe I have a case of this lost in my cellar so hopefully will get to try this over the next 20 years
Fine delicious claret. Still oaky. Yet should drink relatively earlier than similar weight vintages like 2004.
Hints of the richness of 2009 but disappointingly dilute.
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?
Perhaps a little two modern but this is very attractive. Supple, rich yet refreshing. Has considerable charm, in spite of youth, unintegrated oak.
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.
Great wine. Modern, but then so many of the 2009s appear to be modern, more New World. Yet this retains the style & flavour of Pessac-Leognan.
It’s very good now but should age gracefully.
Owned by the Garcin family who also own Chateau Barde-Haut in St Emilion. Also a great performer lately.
Médoc. Cru Bourgeois. 13.5%
Another well priced 2009 Bordeaux performing at its best. It really is a great buyer’s vintage for non classed growths.
Fairly open knit, rich yet fresh. Already drinking well.
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.