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Bordeaux 2009 in bottle: St Estèphe & Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

St Estèphe is seductive in 2009 – not a word you associate with the appellation

Now finally detailed notes on Bordeaux 2009 now that it’s in bottle following October’s Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting. First St Estèphe and Paulliac, two strong appellations this vintage. There was no doubt about the quality of these wines en primeur, and they moved on magnificently during elevage.

The depth of fruit shown in St Estèphe was astonishing, all the more so for the lack of the very top order chateaux here [Chateau Cos d’Estournel and Chateau Montrose aren’t members of the UGCB and Chateau Calon Ségur doesn’t show their wine at these events for some reason]. Chateau Lafon-Rochet 2009 [94/100] is just as stunning as it first was from barrel and is the most remarkable wine I’ve had from this property. Chateau Phélan Ségur, which was relatively subdued en primeur, has increased considerably in weight and sings with amazingly seductive fruit [92+/100]. Chateau Ormes-de-Pez has made wine of similar quality but with more extract and chew [92/100]. Chateau Cos Labory [91/100] has made a more traditionally styled St Estèphe but with looks of depth. Chateau de Pez [89/100], while less substantial than all the rest, looks excellent for this estate and provides good value.

Chateau Lafon-Rochet

2009 Deep and dense; amazingly saturated look, tight to rim; deep and profound nose; lots of ripe fruit; almost inky blackcurrants; very deep; satin and silk fruit caresses the palate; excellent structure and chew but such terrific fruit. As dazzling as at primeur tastings if not better and the best Lafon-Rochet I’ve tasted. 94/100

Chateau Phélan Ségur

2009 Deep mid red; lovely seductive nose; ripe and wonderful; satin tones, blackcurrant and cassis; similarly satin quality to the palate; extremely fine wine; almost too easy but there is so much fruit here you miss the considerable structure. Quite amazing. Has moved forward substantially since primeur. Lovely wine. 92+/100

Chateau Ormes de Pez

2009 Deep and dense; close to the rim; blackcurrants; lots of fruit on the nose; summer pudding tones; very open and opulent; great palate; lots of extract and material here; chewy mineral tones; wet rocks; this needs time as there is a lot of [ripe] tannin. Great stuff. 92/100

Chateau Cos Labory

2009 Deep and dense; chewy black fruits on the nose; some jam; little more lifted; some leaf; cassis on the palate and strong Cabernet notes; less amazingly ripe than Lafon-Rochet and more traditionally styled; tannic and chewy. Very good effort though in a traditional tannic and chewy style. 91/100

Chateau de Pez

Mid red; meaty nose; attractive wine; minerals and earthy blackcurrants; very good; surprising finesse on the palate; really glossy satin quality to the fruit; very open and full; lots of flavour with grip at the end. This wine has loads of fruit. Best de Pez I’ve had. 89/100

The quality of Pauillac in 2009 is extremely high, Lynch Bages 2009 knockout.

Similar superlatives match the wines that Pauillac has produced in 2009. In a line-up that lacked the actual first growths there are at least three here of comparable quality. Chateau Pichon Baron [98+/100) and Chateau Lynch Bages (97+/100) are simply dazzling efforts, wines with incredible opulence and power but with remarkable freshness given the near 14% degrees here. Chateau Pontet-Canet was sadly missing from the UGC line-up [it’s usually represented]. In place of these ‘super seconds’ the likes of Clerc Milon [95/100], Grand-Puy-Lacoste [93+/100] and d’Armailhac [93+/100] have moved up to occupy these slots, showing just how most Pauillac estates have traded upwards at notch or two in this vintage. I’d also put the hugely popular and now increasingly sophisticated Chateau Batailley [93+/100] in this category, a property that makes strong Pauillac but with added finesse and delicacy over past vintages. Prices have doubled here since 2005, but Batailley still remains good value. Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse [92/100], now revitalised by Credit Agricole, is not far behind. Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal [90+/100] has produced a spicy, vital effort. and even the under-achiever Chateau Croizet-Bages [88+/100] has turned in something worthwhile, the first time in the past five years I would hand-on-heart recommend it, alongside a supple and forward Chateau Lynch Moussas [89/100].

Chateau Pichon-Longueville [Baron]

2009 Dense and saturated; very big and thick; really bold blackcurrants; super lift here; really hedonistic and explosive nose; cassis and blackcurrants and wonderful depth; thick and strong on the palate; blackcurrants, earth and graphite; chewy and dense, truly great wine. 98+/100

Chateau Lynch-Bages

2009 Deep and dark; very ripe, big blackcurrant nose with cassis and oak; menthol too; almost New World; loads of black fruits on the palate; quite amazing Lynch Bages; not jammy in the slightest; fabulous concentration and really attractive; lots of grip and density on the finish. Great and remarkable stuff. 97+/100

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

2009 Mid red; not the deepest here; lovely seductive cassis and blackcurrants on the nose; really deep and alluring; almost Burgundy Grand Cru aromatics; opulent and ripe palate; blackcurrants; cassis; simply wonderful Pauillac but more silk and satin to Pichon Baron’s obvious power. Terrific stuff. Great length and delicacy. 97/100

Chateau Clerc Milon

2009 Mid depth; red at edge; purer and less meaty than d’Armailhac; lovely cassis and blackcurrant purity; this is quite excellent; nice oak well integrated; junior Mouton; lots of cassis and depth. Big palate, lots of power but cool and fresh blackcurrants; layered and excellent; great length too and certainly up a few notches from its primeur showing. 95/100

Chateau Batailley

2009 Mid red; depth; more opulent and polished than stable-mate Lynch-Moussas; blackcurrants, some graphite; cassis too; nice mid weight feel but this is really well done; not that far behind Pichon Lalande in its way; great palate, so much finesse here now; lots of fresh cabernet; grip and good structure; a joy. Very fine indeed. 93+/100

Chateau d’Armailhac

2009 Mid red/purple; depth and legs; very attractive and pretty; earthy blackcurrant, meat and tobacco; quite sexy and open; cassis too; earthy blackcurrant tones on the palate too; sweet attack, some floral notes; roses and freshness too; grip on the end of the palate and structure, oodles of lovely fruit here. 93+/100

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste

2009 Mid depth; purple edge’ kegs; leafy, fresher styled Cab nose; classic Pauillac; mid weight on the palate; lovely Cabernet here; ripe but cool and not at all overdone; very measured and polished with finesse. 93+/100

Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse

2009 Mid depth; legs; lovely satiny opulent style from this vastly improved Pauillac estate; a junior Lalande? Freshness again on the palate and satin fruit; dips a fraction but this will fill out for sure. Another excellent effort here. 92/100

Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal

2009 Deep and dark; really saturated looking; iron, ink and iodine one the nose; some earth; strong blackcurrant notes on palate; earth and some herbal tones; quite spicy; autumn leaves and undergrowth too; chewy and grippy on the finish. Interesting. Vital. 90+/100

Chateau Lynch-Moussas

2009 Mid red; leaft blackcurrants; lighter toned and less crammed with fruit; good effort though in more medium weight less dense style; supple; spicy/leafy blackcurrant tones; lacks depth compared with the leaders here but has freshness. 89/100

Chateau Croizet-Bages

2009 Red; mid depth; some leaf and lift and as good as Lynch Moussas in my book; ripe palate; some leafy Cabernet tones with iron, menthol and cassis. At last Croizet-Bages you can recommend. Well done. 88+/100

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