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Bordeaux 2009 primeurs: Pessac-Léognan & Graves

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

In 2009 the red wines of Pessac-Léognan and Graves are characterised by a lot of colour, fruit and tannin. Generally they are very good to excellent in quality with lots of fresh fruits and richness, some more layered on the palate than others, and the tannins, while pretty big, are not generally over extracted and are very ripe.  

That said some reds were marked by a certain dryness to the tannins which pointed to some pushing extraction too far. The whites were generally impressive; some lacked a bit of acid and zip but others such as Chateau Pape Clément, Chateau Domaine de Chevalier, and Chateau de Fieuzal are potentially great. Not as aromatic as some years and therefore less fresh tasting than in 2007 and 2008.  I hope to taste the wines of Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion on a future trip. The following wines were tasted at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte as part of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting on 31st March 2010.

Chateau de Chantegrive, Graves, 2009

Blanc: Pale straw, very attractive oak influenced nose; honey and toast; some waxy notes; palate sweet and ripe; some soap and wax on the palate; lacks a bit of zip and acid. 85-86/100 [50% Semillon/50% Sauvignon] Tasted 31st March 2010

Rouge: Nice healthy colour; purple; some pretty qualities to the nose, some fruit, more obviously fruity; Palate strong and with acid and tannin. Bit high toned and grippy. Needs to settle. 86?/100 Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Ferrande, Graves, 2009

Blanc: Very pale straw; appley nose; sturdy; some grassy notes; some roundness; palate has weight and lacks a bit of zip and feels a fraction flabby. 86/100 [60% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Deep, good palate; earthy and healthy; interesting smoky note; flint with earth; interesting; tobacco at the back; soft palate, very sweet; nicely done. Well balanced wine. Already agreeable and complex. Good 88+/100 [Second] Slightly herby edge to nose; smoke and tobacco; plate earthy and good. 88/100 Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Rahoul, Graves 2009

Blanc: Pale straw; grassy sauvignon style; some spike, some leesy notes, waxy notes and lees on the palate. Quite fat and will round out further. Potentially good. 88+/100 [80% Semillon, 20 Sauvignon Blanc, 80% fermented in barrel] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Purple at edge; deep; good density and fruit; some stalky qualities; nice concentration and quite good mid palate richness. Soft tannins and round. Very good. 88+/100 [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Bouscaut, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very pale straw; some wax here; some smoke; fresh and attractive; palate attractive and round with MLF and barrel notes. Very good 90+/100 [50% Semillon, 50% Sauvignon – 40% barrel fermented, one third new]. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Healthy red-purple; earthy; pretty nose; lovely violets here; attractive; some coffee bean at the back; compact but intense; good; palate similarly clean and fresh with precise flavours here, some blackcurrants and mocha on the finish. Grippy too. Very good. Tannins ripe and round. 88-90+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010

Chateau Carbonnieux, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very pale; apples; fresh; more weight on the palate; some waxy Semillon tones and again good freshness and some acid to balance. This could be good. 88+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Deeper than the Bouscaut, quite tight to the rim; nice ripe creamy nose; ripe fruit aromas; polished; palate intense, some wood tannin here, will soften up. Very complete and satisfying. Lots of fruit and well done in a structured style. 90/100 Tasted 31st March 2010.

Domaine de Chevalier, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Pale straw; attractive wine; some cashew and apple; grassy note from the Sauvignon Blanc and waxy tones from the Semillon. Palate very fresh and bold with good structure. Very good wine. Intense and with good acid. Good zip at the end. Potentially really excellent 92-94/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Mid red, black; healthy; strong nose; blackcurrants and wet stone; some spices; but stone and mineral elements; ripe; palate open and nicely done; blackcurrants and some stones and minerals on the palate; dense and quite structured. Tannins but in balance. Will be good 90-92+/100 [45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau de Fieuzal, Cru Classé de Graves,  Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very attractive white nose; cashew, ripe fruits; fresh too; palate fresh, some soap and very attractive. Excellent structure. Will fill out. Very Good. 90-92+/100 [70 Semillon, 30% Sauvignon]. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Dark, meaty colour; fresh and creamy; very ripe here; mulberrys; layered; palate modern and layered with oak and extraction; layers and well done; tannins a little dry. If it settles could be 90?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau de France, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very pale straw; fresh, grassy notes; elderflowers and an early summers day; nicely balanced acid; some ripeness and roundness; little flat at the end but good. 86-88/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge:  Deep red and black up to rim; very ripe, rather monolithic big nose; some stalk, blackcurrants but big; almost figgy Languedoc notes here; palate similarly styled; big and ripe but big tannins and lots of extraction. Chunky style. 86?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Haut-Bailly, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Deep and tight to rim; concentrated colour; quite deep fruit and intensity here; slightly dumb but sense of ripeness; opens up in the glass a little; quite polished palate but lots of extract here; tannins quite dry; chewy; lots of tannin. Long hall wine here. Tannic. Needs to settle, at present extracted and tannic. If settles 90-92?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Pale straw; lots of barrique influence here; toasty and smoky; some apple beneath, ; oak influenced palate; broad with nuttiness and has some zip and zing. May develop well. Good. 88+/100 [80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Dark and deep; ripe, some strawberry tones; more fruit driven style; fresh; palate sweet entry; lots of extract but pushed to hard here. Feels over extracted. Tannic and drying finish. ?/100

Chateau La Louvière, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very clean, very grassy style; hay and meadow in early summer, palate some barrique notes and wax. Not huge acid. Pretty good. 88+/100 [100% Sauvignon Blanc 30% barrel ferment]

Rouge: Deep; slight reductive note; some smoke at the back; slightly stalky; blackcurrants beneath; palate quite fresh with fruit tannins; extracted palate. Will knit together. Good grip. [Later] ripe red fruits, layers and fresh; sweet oak on palate and good grip. This will be 88-90/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Quite clear, nice toasty barrique note; some race; palate sweet and ripe; toasty and attractive will round out. Very good. 90+/100 [65% Sauvignon, 35% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010

Rouge: Black at centre, arterial; ripe fruit nose, some figs, molasses, quite ripe, but monolithic; palate quite fruity with violets and lots of extract and tannin. Big, briary, blackcurrant wine. Concentrated but tannins on the drying side. May prove better once settles down. [later] Very ripe nose, briary fruit, open; good palate, clean and perfumed, chewy.  88+/100  Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Latour-Martillac, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Very pale; grassy note with barrique note; quite round and attractive; apples, attractive palate will fill out; fresh, apples and citrus notes, grapefruit. Lots of zip here too. Well done 90-92+/100 [35% Sauvignon, 65% Semillon]. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Dark concentrated to edge; concentrated red fruits, plums and figs, very ripe flavours; some polish here; sweet entry on palate, then the tannin arrives; chewy and concentrated. Will need time to meld but lots of elements. [Later] Ripe and fruity, rich cake like palate with flesh and red fruits. Tannic but ripe tannins. Potentially 90+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Mid red, black; some pretty qualities at the edge of nose; red fruits; palate sweet and ripe; quite fresh; tannins hardish and dry. Chewy. Needs to settle. [Later] Mid red,black; some roses on the nose; quite pretty; palate sweet but then tannins, strawberry fruit here but overwhelmed by tannins at present. Very tannic and dry. Needs to settle, very awkward at present. 86?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Malartic-Lagravière, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan 2009

Blanc: Fresh apples and citrus flavours; clean and some roundness to palate and candy and fruit; attractive with some bite 88+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Very deep coloured to the rim; fresh and bright fruit; some red fruits and briary notes; very ripe; palate elegant but intense and concentrated with extract an d tannin. Very chewy. Earthy elements, good nose and fruit but tannic. [Later] fruit ripe here and cake like; ripe warm feel; good palate entry with roundness, tannic bite at end] 88-90+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Olivier,  Cru Classé, de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan 2009

Blanc: Very pale straw, grass, apples and some grapefruit and citrus notes; fresh and good; nice palate, refreshing with good zip. 88-90+/100 [Sauvignon Blanc 90%, Semillon 10%] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Concentrated, fresh, healthy colour; little high toned, nicely perfumed; some violets and raspberries alongside some stalky components; palate sweet entry, concentrated and layered palate; this should work and come together. Big and tannic. 90+/100 [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot]. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Chateau Pape Clément, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac–Lèognan 2009

Blanc: Pale straw; very attractive cashew with grass and wax tones; palate candy and cashew, very appealing; broad palate. Quite excellent with good depth and length. Amongst the strongest whites tasted. 92-94+/100 [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 48% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010.

Rouge: Dense and concentrated; attractive fragrance; floral and pretty with good underscore of oak; best nose here, the most flattering; palate sweet and ripe and pretty with lots of perfume; power behind; little hard at present but will round out. Excellent. Seductive. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. 94-95+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010

Chateau Pique Caillou, Pessac-Lèognan, 2009

Blanc: Pale straw, grass and attractive; well developed; not over done here or dominated by the oak; palate has zip; lacks a bit of depth but will probably fill out. 88/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon ]

Rouge: Good density of colour; fresh; fresh fruit nose with earthy undertow; ripe and sturdy with layers; some prettiness here; palate spicy and briary notes; red fruits; concentration with tannin and acid; good mouthful with grip at the end. Grippy and very good. Should be good value.  88-90/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Lèognan 2009

Blanc: Very pale; very sturdy nose, ripe, apples; good palate and fresh; more citrus and apple elements; some grapefruit; very fresh and zip. Will fill out. Ponetially very fine. 90+/100 [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon Gris, 5% Semillon]

Rouge: Healthy concentrated colour; pretty quality to the nose here; some violets etc; fresh and clean; precise and some sweetness; big palate with structure but also life here; very good palate. Some savoury notes. Excellent 90-92+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

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