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Bordeaux 2016: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Top to bottom, St Emilion has had an excellent vintage in 2016. Qualitatively it is the equal of 2015, but differs stylistically. There is a lot of that bright, beautiful fruit that characterized ’15, but there is more grip, freshness and texture this year. It all makes for an appetising vintage for aficionados of St Emilion. Prices are up – quelle surprise! And if you are unfortunate enough to reside in the UK then the Brexit fiasco has made things pricier still. Still if you’ve the spare cash, this is a vintage to consider. There are a great many St Emilion Grand Cru which are really excellent and the quality of the Grand Cru Classé and the Premier Grand Cru Classé [though very pricey] are extremely impressive. Overall this is an exciting and homogenous vintage. There’s decent quantity available too.

I’ve reported separately in previous posts about the wines of the de Boüards, Thienponts, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Stephan von Neipperg. They have all produced some remarkable wines in 2016. Their wines are listed again in the notes below. There are some considerable omissions this year however. Pressure of time meant that I didn’t get to Ausone, Canon, Cheval Blanc, Belair-Monange and Figeac. Nor did I get to the event run by the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux. This meant I missed out on Clos Fourtet, La Dominique, La Gaffelière and Troplong-Mondot amongst others. I hope to catch up with all these wines eventually. Missing from the line up of over forty wines I tasted with at the Grand Cercle were Château Barde-Haut and Château Ripeau which chose not to show at the event. Still I hope that the notes on the following sixty-five wines are of value. They are an exciting set of wines.

Château Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé A, 2016

Deep and arterial looking; violet lift; seam of black fruit purity; seriously deep by the feel of it; black cherry; seam of fruit is laser like in precision; wonderfully polished Angélus; pure entry; very big; lots of saturation and scale; sublimated style; rather epic; needs some time to work its magic; wonderful Cab Franc here; real class; scale and class are terrific. Epic levels of extract but sweet and refined. Wow. Epic length too. Needs a decade but the voluptuousness of the fruit suggests it will be drinking well sooner perhaps. Potentially perfect in its own way. [39 ha 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2024-2040+ 97-100

Château Beauséjour [Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse], St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; beautiful fruit; wonderfully unadorned. Stunning. Can’t really describe this in simple fruit terms; enveloping fruit on the palate; violets, plums little spice but amazing purity and freshness; real length and race. Bright and zappy acidity on the finish. This will last and last. Winemaker David Suire is extremely happy. He’s right to be. Fabulous terroir at Beauséjour has delivered a wine equally fabulous. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5.4ha in production, 77% grand vin, 47hl/ha ]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2024-2040. 98-100

Château Bel Air Ouÿ, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; some lightness at the rim; some stalk; sour cherry; little spice; spicy fruit; elegance; fresh acidity; will be well balanced and sappy [in a good way]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2026. 88-90

Château Bellefont-Belcier, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and dark looking; attractive nose; lots of fruit; bright and pretty; plums and ripe cherry; sweet entry; attractive fruit; supple quality but nicely done; ripe cherry and some zap and stylish acid; some chew on the finish but this should settle well. [13ha, 72% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 92-94+

Château Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated; glossy; colour tight top the rim; lovely perfume and depth; black fruits; legs; layers and depth; terrific stuff; little mineral quality; complex and layered; really solid seam of fruit; textured and very nicely composed; great material; seemingly supple yet also intense; nice chew and chocolate notes. [6.8ha, 100% Merlot]. 22-2030. 93-95+

Château Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Lovely healthy looking colour; some cherry; velvety satin like quality; very round; attractive palate; soft entry but there is minerality here too; nice poise; textured but balanced; acidity is good; nice texture on the finish – gives a sense of punctuation. Length. Minerality. Excellent Berliquet. [75% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc, 7.5ha in production, 80% grand vin, 48hl/ha]. Drink 2022-2035. 93-94+

Château Boutisse, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; red at edge; sturdy plum & violet notes; some attractive fragrant lift with the violets; little marzipan too; not the greatest depth; full entry; quite satisfying; some savoury notes; extraction yet but plenty of fruit; nice chew and depth; some liquorice notes. Fruit – plenty off. Some ambition here. Like this. Very good wine. [25ha, 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 90-91+

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep colour; usual gloss; nice attractive colour; minerality; fresh but with pure fruit; plums; spices; minerality; quite zappy on the palate; plums, spices; nice acidity; nicely balanced; real tension here; elegance; almost feel it needs to fill out; quite zappy. Good length. Good length. Will be moreish and well balanced. [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 60% new oak. 32 days cuvaison. Certified organic.]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2035. 93-95+

Château Carteau Côtes Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep colour; sat to edge; ripe fruit; plums, some marzipan; bit easy; soft entry; simple but full of flavour; has some bite and depth at the end; warmth. Chew too…but should settle… [16ha, 73% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2025. 87-89

Château Croix Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated look; deep and plummy; enticing St Emilion; ripe plums; easy; palate has sweetness; some oak; nicely integrated; sappy; nice fruit qualities; nice chew; texture. Pretty good stuff! Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-91+

Château de Pressac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated; salty note; some seaweed; intense fruit beneath; tense; salty and higher toned; has texture and extract and also fresh acidity; good material; inky style; bit dumb on the nose but plenty of extract here. Should come good. [36ha, 65% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Pressac, 2% Carmenere]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 88-90+

Château Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Fraction looser and more earthy purple; more emphasis on the black cherry and the violets [indeed this is even more perfumed than Bellevue]; satin quality to the fruit; lifted; very attractive; really good stuff; [deep on the nose]; open and beautiful; enticing and sexy palate; this is lush and has wonderful fruit; open; some forest floor notes. Like this very much. Georgeous stuff! You can drink this already. [6.9ha, 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. 2020-2030. 93-94+

Château Destieux, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Mid depth; vibrant edge; ripe, pretty fruit; some kirsch and black cherry notes; attractive; full ripe entry to the fruit on the palate; plenty of guts and texture but quite nicely handled; some chewy oak but appetizing sap to the wine. Will be good. [8ha, 66% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+

Château du Parc, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; ripe plums; wet rock; attractive; good stuff; plenty of fruit; quite tight this am; plenty of extract and chew; structured with good narrative tension and acidity too. Pretty good. Some alcohol on the finish. [5ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 89-91

Château Ferrand Lartigue, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; not as concentrated in appearance as some; sweet and ripe; plums some spices; some red fruits too; strawberry jam notes; joyful fruit; attractive fruit tones; [cool sample]; consistent with the aromatics; medium weight and not over extracted; nicely balanced. Mid weight with a twist of freshness at the end. Good stuff. [5ha, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-91+

Château Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Bold earthy purple at edge; saturated; intense; focused; tight; quite sublimated but attractive; glossy; sweet entry to the fruit; very enveloping; works nicely; oak here obviously but nicely integrated; lots to it; matter and extract. Intense and focused – inky but will work well with a bit of age. Nicely done. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2030. 93-94+

Château Fombrauge, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Redder at edge; mid depth; sour cherry and kirsch; saline; lovely fruit in a slightly cooler style; nice entry; ripe fruit; attractive purity; works well; freshness but some texture; mid-weight; nice balance; not overdone. Texture on the end. [58ha, 89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93

Château Fonplégade, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated at centre; legs; opaque; rather mealy, Cabernet Franc influenced nose; intense; extract; quite pushed but lots of matter; could be Fonplégade; this will work well; chewy style but serious wine; structured, intense and tannic. Long term. [18ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

Château Fonroque, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep at centre; earthy purple at edge; tight to rim; lovely ripe Merlot; quite pure and unadorned; sweet fruit; nice entry; soft and ripe; plum/cherry/kirsch notes; has elegance; not super concentrated; soft-ish finish. Will work. [17ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91

Château Godeau, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep; opaque at centre; pent up; some spices; earth; textured and deep on the palate; tannins not so extracted; nicely handled in the cellar; this wine works well; nicely done. Will be good in 3-5 years. [7ha, 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 90-91+

Château Grand Corbin Despagne, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Earthy purple meniscus; deep at core; redder strawberry fruits; some wet rocks too; intense on the palate; quite sinewy and structured with considerable extract but not drying or laden with oppressive wood tannins; yes some mocha on the finish but works well. [28ha, 75% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91

Château Harmonie, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deepish; earthy red at edge; sappy cherry fruit; some earth; simple but enticing; attractive palate; simple but with some bite; sappy. Earthy, sappy finish. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2026. 89-91+

Château la Croizille, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; heathy; deep; sour cherry; kirsch; little dark chocolate; has depth; verging on the pruney; oak immediately evident; dries the palate currently; wood present; fruit is there but submerged; feels disjointed currently; plenty of fruit but tannin marked and the wine also marked by wood. Needs to settle. [5ha, 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 86-88. 

Château La Fleur d’Arthus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Very saturated look; opaque at centre; bold and concentrated on the nose; some dark chocolate; bold and extracted again; chewy; lots of matter but pretty inky and chewy at present. [2.5ha, 100% Merlot]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 87-89

Château La Grangère, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth: dark at centre; earth; some charcoal; [some Cab in the blend?]; little narrower; more introverted; earthy flavours continue on the palate; has good grip; perhaps a bit too much; depth and tannin here. Has promise nevertheless once settled. [6ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon].Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 87-89+

Château La Marzelle, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep; some dark chocolate; some kirsch and black cherry; deep; attractive Morgon like fruit; sweet ripe palate; full of fruit; quite sumptuous; like this; works well; nice texture and length. [17ha, 74% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon].Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93+ [Additional tasting] Saturated; black purple at edge; tight to the rim; more unctuously styled; ripe qualities; intense and with gloss; some ink; ripe red fruit elements; sweet fruit; quite red fruit tones; open fruit style; exotic Côtes de Nuits grand cru almost; sexy – red fruits and forest floor. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93+

Château Laplagnotte-Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deepish; vibrant meniscus; attractive briary fruit – plums, cherries – little summer compote; very nice nose; good tension; quite good fruit and style; this should fill in; reminds me of some of the best Fronsacs; nice sap. Will be good in elegant style. Bit of wood on the finish to resolve. [6ha, 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc].Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 90-91+

Château La Prieuré, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Mid depth; purple at edge; vibrant; ripe Merlot; some wet rock and fruitcake; satisfying; cherry; spices; plum; nicely done; sweet entry to the palate; satisfying fruit; some zap here too; has life and freshness; quite vivid; some stalks; on the lighter more vivid side; lacks depth on the finish. [6ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 87-89+

Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Again attractive deep colour; glossy looking; healthy; very pretty on the nose; violet lift; seductive and pure; really excellent fruit qualities; perfectly ripe, pure fruit tones; almost Burgundian in its expression; has very good acidity; nice freshness on the end. So well integrated. Drank that one. Brilliant purity. Exceptional effort. [87% Merlot, 13% Cab Franc, 9ha in production, 78% grand vin, 43hl/ha]. Drink 2022-2040. 97-98+

Château Laroze, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep; saturated looking; some mineral; wet rock and ripe plum & black cherry; some kirsch; full and ripe; plenty of fruit; not over extracted; nicely handled in the cellar; good wine this; has texture and matter but some freshness too. Nicely done. [27ha, 66% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93

Château L’Hermitage Lescours, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; some black cherry and dark chocolate; little nutty note; nice entry; fruit is there [kirsh, black cherry etc]; some polish and a little Cabernet note; should come together well; has all the elements. Nicely done. [4ha, 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91+

Château Mangan la Gaffelière, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; deepish at core; ripe and pure; plums; some wet rock; attractive; nicely polished and accomplished; good fruit; textured; nicely handled; calm; plenty of fruit; should come together nicely. Accomplished. Depth and some harmony. [11ha, 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 89-91+

Château Magrez-Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; opaque at centre; black cherry; cassis notes; some kirsch; blueberry; attractive and packed; extract; plenty of matter and stuffing but fruit has nice purity; extracted but not past the point; chew; needs to settle a bit; big and muscular. [1.7ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2035. 91-93

Château Monolithe, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Saturated look; hangs in the glass; plum & black cherry; dark chocolate; kirsch & little plum eau de vie; rather woody entry; lots of wood tannins; rather tough and bitter; chewy and tough with too much wood in the sample. Might settle but pretty tough and chew on this tasting. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 86-88

Château Montlabert, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep; red purple edge; legs; some resin; intensity; blackcurrants; cassis notes; attractive; elegance; little coconut; full; little monolithic; solid; not over extracted at least; works well – if a little unexciting. Fruit a little dry. [12ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2026. 87-89

Château Moulin du Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; little reductive but good fruit here; will work well; plum, sour cherry; fruit bright and bouncy; has sap and life; works well in a vigorous style; nicely fresh on the finish. [100% Merlot]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2030. 90-91+

Château Pas de l’Ane, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; earthy note; sample felt tired [tasted twice]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. NR

Château Patris, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; bold edge; attractive ripe fruit; sweet plum; simple but satisfying; some spicy complexity; ripe entry; quite complete; satisfying St Emilion Grand Cru; has texture and ripe fruit; also something that makes it moreish; nice dark chocolate finish with a nice twist of punctuating acidity that gives tension. Balanced. Will work well. Like this very much. [11ha, 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 91-92+

Château Pavie Macquin, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Lovely depth and colour; strong; layers of fruit; really nicely done [so polished and integrated]; lovely nose; tremendous depth; full on the palate; depth; sweet fruit but really balanced and nicely handled; has structure and scale but rather deceptive because of the harmony and gentleness of the extraction; nice chew on the end but again harmonious; length. Real length on the finish. Considerable scale hidden. Freshness on the end too. Great effort from the Thienponts on this fine terroir. [82% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5ha in production, 85% grand vin, 46hl/ha]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2040. 96-98

Château Pindelfleurs, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Saturated look; perhaps slightly lighter than others; bright fruit; vivid plum and spice notes; some ripe Merlot characters; whiff of marzipan; looks good; plenty of fruit in a fresh style; soft and easy going St Emilion: nicely pure and will be a rewarding drink early on. Composed and nicely made. [17ha 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 89-91+

Château Roc de Boisseaux, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; right up to the edge; purple at edge; violets and attractive lift; black fruits but really attractive; quite joyful wine; has lots of perfume and joy; very nicely done overall; with some freshness; extract and detail; perhaps lacks a bit at the very end but should fill in. [8ha, 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92+

Château Rol Valentin, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Mid depth; smoky; some seaweed notes; dark chocolate and black cherry; black fruits; quite dark fruit in profile; chewy fruit; will work out; some earthy notes which suggest terroir influence and Cab Franc; this will work and has the potential for complexity. [7ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2035. 89-91+

Château Roylland, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Saturated look; bright cherry and dark chocolate aromatics; the dark clouds have gathered; quite deep; little serious in style; had depth and structure; some grip here; plenty of extract. Needs to settle. Chew and depth. Chocolate and mocha notes on the finish. Chewy finish currently with some alcohol. Vibrant acidity too contributes to the slightly puckering sense on the finish. Has all the elements but needs to settle. [5ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 87-88?

Château Sansonnet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated looking; deep cab influenced nose; like this; reminds me of Figeac; deep; polished; Cabernet Franc influence; quite chewy style; deep and serious; good texture; nicely handled; will work well. Structured with concentration. [7ha, 85% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2035. 91-93+ [Earlier note] Similarly dark; perhaps the darkest of these three; intense; some chocolate; quite pent up; black cherry notes; little menthol; more depth here than on the Soutard Cadet; ripe entry; attractive; still with sappy freshness but also flesh; tannins supple; acidity is what gives the ‘grip’ for me [but not overly so]. Black cherry on the finish. Some zap. Good length. Like this. Has an appetizing quality. Lovely stuff actually. Tasted 1/4/17 at Jean-Luc Thunevin. Drink 2022-2032. 93-94+

Château Soutard Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated looking; arterial; soft and easy; ripe; full on the palate; bit extracted and dry; very drying finish currently? 85-89? [Earlier note] Deepish; opaque at core; salty mineral tone to the fruit; intense but has nice purity; attractive; glossy start; quite medium weight; not pushed in the middle; has drinkability. Finishes little short currently but will doubtless fill out. Pure St Emilion. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1/4/17 at Jean-Luc Thunevin. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+

Château Tauzinat-l’Hermitage, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deeply coloured; bright; ripe fruit; whiff of marzipan; plum and spice; good; full; ripe merlot on the palate; has depth; but a little straightforward. Has some bite and chew on the finish. [9.3ha, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2025. 87-89

Château Tour Baladoz, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep, fractionally less tight to the rim; deep; quite cool; blackcurrant and dark chocolate with some bitter cherry notes; [cooler fruit tones]; opens up with blackcurrant dark cherry notes; full on the palate; this works well; plenty of depth and fruit; textured but not puckering; …good stuff. Quite ambitious. [8ha, 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 89-91+

Château Trianon, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; legs; some sweet oak and ripe fruit; little lifted by comparison; attractively done; perfumed; delicacy; extracted palate; lots of matter which needs to settle; feels stewed to me; tough and chewy palate. Will settle but a bit of a mouthful at present. [10ha, 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignom, 5% Carmenere]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2026. 87-89

Château Valandraud, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Very saturated looking; colour tight to the rim; deep; integrated new oak; resin; black fruits; some liquorice; mocha and coffee notes; black cherry and dark chocolate with aromatic black fruit notes; little lift; very enticing; first growth equivalent; cool palate; layers of fruit and depth here; tannins considerable but ripe; there is a lot of ‘matter’ here; gravity; excellent length. Very long palate expression. Real length and impressive depth. Great quality to the tannins. [90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2035. 96-98+

Château Yon-Figeac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Mid depth; earthy purple; pretty bubblegum notes; very pretty; fresh and fruit driven on the nose; very jolie; attractive fruit; nice purity; really works well this sort of style; some spice and texture; pure; nicely done. Think this will be pretty cool. [24ha, 81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93+

Clos Badon-Thunevin, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated look; very dark; clearly lots of depth; lots of fruit; very bold; some tar; little menthol; layers quite tightly packed together; sappy palate; dips away a fraction at the end; second glass – some fruitcake and molasses; structured with lots of flesh; good acidity and freshness; certain sap to the wines; chewy but with a moreish element; finishes in an attractive way; balanced with freshness – emphasis on the sap and vigour in this vintage evident. Tasted 1/4/14. Drink 2020-2028. 91-93

Clos Debreuil, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and sat; opaque at centre; ripe and lifted; red fruits and some spices; will be a crowd pleaser; easy and soft entry; ripe and sexy; precocious and forward; could be drunk now. A beauty. [5ha, 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2028. 90-91

Clos de l’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Deep and saturated; tight to edge; lovely glossy aromatics; plums, some spices; seductive; some mineral tones too; very nice entry; lovely fruit; really sense of beauty here; chew and depth; good matter; extract matter; very polished; comes together nicely at end. Some bite and minerality here. Great stuff. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 45% new oak, 30 days cuvaison]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2030. 92-94+

Clos de Madeleine, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016

Mid depth; earthy red at edge; vibrant; dark chocolate; black cherry; saline note; little spice; serious and intense; depth; has plenty of extract and matter but also acidity; extraction reasonably well controlled; has nice acid this; good finish; has ambition. Nice finish. Length. Like the texture here. [2.5ha, 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93+

Clos Romanile, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated look; forward; fruitcake spices; deep; attractive; menthol; molasses; deep; almost southern France; some spicy notes; quite seductive; lots of fruit and spice; liquorice; slight rusticity to the tannins. [90% Merlot & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8 barrels made by Thunevin’s maitre de chais]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2026. 88-90

Carillon d’Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Saturated look; earthy red purple at edge; legs; focused and precise on the nose; some minerality; some violet lift alongside the black fruits [black cherry, kirsch]; very polished in terms of cellar treatment; fresh and pure; cool fruit; palate feels somewhat unadorned; there is alcohol here but nicely managed; some chew and coffee notes; works well. Some chew at the back. Layered wine. Length. [75% Merlot; 25% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2022-2035. 92-94 

Interdit de Valandraud, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and saturated; colour tight to the rim; full; layered; tight; chocolate and mocha notes; this 100% Merlot blend is from the parcels that aren’t included in the the Premier Grand Cru Classé classification but which previously made it into Valandraud. Palate quite muscular; solid; some chew and coffee on the finish. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 91-93+

La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016.

Deep and attractive looking; dark and arterial; lovely glossy purity; really silky; ripe plum, satin spices; very nicely layered; gorgeous purity; lovely entry; very focused; attractive fruit and extract; seemingly more tannic and firmer than ’15 but with that freshness and minerality on the finish; nice on the end. Moreish again. Lots of texture on this one. A beauty. Has the structure and scale. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc Certified organic]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2035. 96-98+

Lynsolence, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Deep and healthly looking; bright fruit; attractive qualities; pure; minerality; quite full of fruit; quite lush in fact; nicely done; needs to back fill in the palate; should be good. [2.5ha, 100% Merlot]. Tasted blind at Grand Cercle 1/4/17. Drink 2022-2028. 89-91+

Virginie de Valandraud, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2016

Very deep and saturated looking; colour tight to rim; legs; attractive fruit; very pure; layers again; plummy; freshness; not at all tired or fatigued; pretty vivid; lovely fruit tones in fact; very attractive fruit; has sap; nice texture; plenty of extract and ‘grit’ too, but sappy quality; freshness and definition on the finish. Nice texture. Good length. Like this very much. [65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon/Carménère/Malbec]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2020-2030. 93-95

Satellite St Emilion Appellations

Château Soleil, Puisseguin St Emilion, 2016

Deep colour; earthy purple at edge; sturdy St Emilion; some cream and cherry; nice entry; some chew; sinew and texture. Will fill out. Little chew on the finish. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89

Le Rival, Lussac St Emilion, 2016

Deep and saturated look; legs; ripe and some gloss; lots of glossy fruit on the nose; fat; lots of extract and fruit but nicely handled; wood needs to integrate but plenty of fruit. Extract and wood on the finish. Pretty good depth and length. [90% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2026. 88-90

Dame de Boüard, Montaigne St Emilion, 2016

Deep and saturated look; little red at the edge; pain grillé notes; black cherry; bit of kirsch; liquorice; some mocha; slightly looser on the nose than below; plenty of matter; depth; falls away a little; second wine of Clos de Boüard. Chewy finish. Tannins here. Little extracted. Drink 2020-2015. 86-88

Clos du Boüard, Montaigne St Emilion, 2016

Tighter to the rim; bold colour; more precise and focused; lifted violets notes with black fruits; very focused and precise; flattering; layered and intense; inky and deep; rather extracted feel currently; needs to settle; chewy and extracted on the finish. Needs to settle. Gutsy style. [30 ha, 66% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Franc] Drink 2021-2028. 89-91+

 

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