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Bordeaux 2016: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

In 2016 Pauillac has had the most collectively exciting vintage vintage since 2010. The texture of the tannin is remarkable and the balance is incredibly appealing. I’d go as far to say that, on the basis of the wines I tasted, this is my favourite vintage here since 2009. It has some of the qualities of 2005 and 2000 but the tannin feels more supple than both of those vintages to me [and tannin management has come a long way in the last ten to fifteen vintages]. My only caveat is that, owing to a shortage of time I missed out on tasting some old favourites including Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Lynch Bages, Château Pichon Longueville and Château Pichon Lalande. I hope to taste these wines in the not too distant future and will update this post when I do. In the meantime, here are my notes on fifteen wines from Pauillac in 2016. It includes notes on  all the first growths and Château Pontet Canet.

Château Clerc Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and bold colour; dense; earthy purple at edge; lovely cassis notes; strong blackcurrant aromatics and black cherry notes; emphasis on the purity of the fruit; lovely expression; excellent aromas; has plenty of flesh on the palate but very supple tannins; nicely handled and extracted; there is oak influence but very well integrated sample; good depth and life; nicely vibrant notes; good acidity and extract on the finish. Very nicely done. Will be a beauty. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carménère.] Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2040. 94-96+

Château d’Armailhac, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and saturated look; vibrant at edge; very perfumed and seductive on the nose; blackcurrant cassis; has an elegance and density but also wonderful ripeness; nice entry; rich Pauillac but with digestibility and elegance; nicely balanced palate. Feels very fine and well proportioned. Deceptive in the mouth. Plenty of flesh on the bones. Attractive tension on the end. Will be very good indeed. Best d’Armailhac yet? [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2030. 92-94+

Château Duhart-Milon, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; beautifully delicate Cabernet perfume; spices; blackcurrants; very accomplished and polished aromatics; real fragrance; beautiful palate; poised and complete; lovely seam of pure Cabernet fruit here; blackcurrants; has genuine delicacy; succulence and texture to the palate; good acidity. Best here since the thrilling 2009 and 2010 combination. Expect this to gain further weight and texture during elévage. [67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2036. 94-95+

Château Grand Puy-Ducasse, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and dark at centre; tight to edge; blackcurrant cassis; violet lift; nicely pure; Cabernet looks good; very bright and polished; cool and layered; really nice texture; this could be the best Grand Puy-Ducasse yet; very exciting; has polish; extract on the palate with mocha on the finish; some chew; will work well. Certainly the best from here since the fabulous 2009. Tasted 2/4/17. Drink 2024-2036. 93-94+

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and attractive; tight to the edge; earthy purple at edge; lovely purity; beautiful blackcurrant notes; very mannered and correct; typically youthful GPL – perfumed and pretty; really lovely fruit on the palate; great entry; beautiful purity as ever; really nice texture here; well integrated acidity and very ripe, succulent tannins. This has lovely delicacy. Length impressive. Very long indeed. Potentially very interesting indeed. A beauty! [79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 75% new oak, 45hl/ha]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2030. 95-97+

Château Haut Bages Libéral, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and intense looking; lovely vibrant edge; vivid; deep centre; really polished wine; lovely pure blackcurrant profile; stunning aromatics; really impressive; little wood on the palate but plenty of extract; has the chew and the depth; length; bit of wood to accommodate; plenty of flesh though; good texture and acidity; really nicely done; like the spikey acid. Again best yet from Haut-Bages-Libéral? Another great Pauillac success in 2016. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 40% new oak, 13.5% alc]. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2022-2036. 93-94+

Château Lafite-Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Opaque at centre; colour tight to the meniscus; earthy purple; wonderful blackcurrant fragrance; real depth and delicacy; cool; quite taut to start with and needs to unfurl in the glass; graphite; blackcurrant; lovely texture again to the tannins; real depth to the fruit; wonderful length. Lots of delicacy here. Very long. Knocking on the door of 2009, 2010 and 2014. Time will tell. [92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2046. 97-100

Château Latour, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep; dark; tight to the meniscus; blackcurrants, minerals; precise; focused and deep; opens up in the glass; lovely blackcurrant fragrance and perfume; sweet fruit; very intense yet also has a supple quality; the intensity is there; but many layers; you fall through the layers of fruit; nice texture. Excellent. Fine. [92.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.1% Merlot, 13.5% alc, 83 IPT, 36% of harvest]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2026-2050. 97-100

Château Mouton-Rothschild, Premier Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and opaque as you’d expect; colour tight to the edge; pure blackcurrants; real delicacy; cassis; great ingredients; sweet entry; lots of fruit but precision and the new oak interwoven; great texture and extract; really profound; delicacy though too – not impenetrable in the least; wonderfully silky tannins. Great Mouton. Up there with the very best. [83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2026-2046. 98-100

Château Pontet-Canet, Grand Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and healthy looking; beautiful cassis aromatics; sings from the glass; real purity; lift from the Cabernet Franc; excellent; unadorned and attractive; soft entry but with blackcurrant cassis tones; real roundness and harmony; lovely texture; vibrant on the palate; deep. Wonderful stuff. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 55% new oak, 35% concrete and 10% one year old oak]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2040. 97-100

Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac, 2016

Mid depth; spicy plum notes; coquettish and pretty; some Cabernet cassis alongside the black fruit Merlot tones; cherry; vibrant; deep palate with very fine length; nicely textured tannin; tight to begin with but opens up during the tasting; lovely extract; beautiful Carruades. Succulent. Textured. Vibrant. [49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2036. 93-94+

Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, 2016

Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; bright polished fruit; blackcurrant notes; vivid; attractive; some graphite; nicely produced; blackcurrant notes on the palate; lovely bright acidity; enveloping wine; nicely composed. Fresh finish. Exciting for Lacoste Borie. Length. [61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 50hl/ha]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2030. 90-91+

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and saturated look; purple edge; cassis; some pain grillé and blackcurrant aromatics; very polished; lovely blackcurrant fruit; real delicacy here; nimble; better than ’15 here; some oak to integrate with the fruit but all looks good. Good levels of extract; ripe fruit and very supple tannins. Length on the end. Nice palate impression. Most exciting Petit Mouton since the knockout 2012. Great stuff! [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2036. 93-95.

Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac, 2016

Deep and saturated; earthy purple at the edge; fine and layered; bit tight at first but unfurls; cassis and blackcurrant tones; pencils – very focused [reminds me of Calon-Ségur]; lovely fruit on the mouth; really fine blackcurrant; cassis; some graphite; mineral tones; lovely texture and extract; long palate impressive; roundness and richness. [64.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35.3% Merlot, 0.4% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc, 77 IPT, 37.5% of harvest]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2036. 94-96

Pauillac [de Latour], Pauillac 2016

Deep and saturated; tight to the meniscus; black cherry fruit; some graphite schist; pretty quality; nice texture and grip; enveloping fruit tones; stylish; lovely; nice acidity and grip; very mannered. One plot of les Forts has gone into the blend. [54.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38.9% Merlot, 6.5% Petit Verdot, 13.2% alc, 71 IPT, 26.5% of harvest]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+

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