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Bordeaux 2012: St Emilion, Pomerol and Satellites

IMG_4401There can be no doubt that outside Pomerol, St Emilion has put in the strongest performance in 2012. There is great beauty to the best wines. The vintage was not without its own problems of course as detailed in earlier posts – various heavy bouts of rain in October; the difficult start to the growing season which lead to uneven and protracted flowering; the risks of mildew in early July and botrytis in October. The most attentive and diligent have triumphed and the quality of the best Merlot is stunning.

Given the challenges of the year there is more variation in St Emilion than in Pomerol as you’d expect. The region is bigger and more geologically varied, but also there are simply more properties. Some will have been prudent in the vineyard, others less so. Likewise lighter, sandy soils may have struggled in the dry August heatwave, others with more clay and gravel will have coped better. The better sites and terroirs on the St Emilion have as usual, generally made the best wines. Still there are a very great number of supposedly less distinguished properties that through great attention to detail and good consultancy have made some really enjoyable wines. St Emilion will provide a lot of good value wine for the consumer despite all the controversy surrounding the price hikes at Château Angélus and Château Pavie.

The wines that disappointed were those that had maybe picked a little early with their Cabernets [for fear of the weather] or a little late. There are also those that have pushed a bit too much, though there seemed a lot less over-extraction to me coming across in the wines than usual which seemed a good thing. Generally the standard of the wines at the Union de Grand Crus tastings at Château Soutard was very high – amongst those there Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, Clos Fourtet, La Dominique, La Gaffelière and Troplong-Mondot stood out, in addition to Pavie Macquin and Canon-la-Gaffelière covered in earlier posts.

At the Cercle de Rive Droite press tastings at Chateau Barde-Haut the quality of the St Emilion Grand Crus Classé was pretty homogeneous and there are some excellent values to be had here. I was especially impressed with Chateau Barde-Haut itself, along with Destieux, Fombrauge, Fonplégade, Fonroque, La Commanderie, Sansonnet and St George Côte Pavie amongst others. Things were more varied at the St Emilion Grand Cru level but overall the standard of the wines was a lot better than in 2011. Clos Dubreuil, Patris and Sanctus du Chateau La Bienfaisance looked pretty good but there are others too. Tasted separately I was also impressed with Clos Badon, Chateau Daugay, Chateau Puy-Blanquet, Chateau La Serre and Chateau Trimoulet.

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I’ve group the tasting notes in alphabetical order regardless of classification [though that is indicated on each note]. In some respects the highlights have already been reported, but there are exceptions. Premier Grand Cru Classé Chateau Bélair-Monange was tasted with JP Moueix and its notes appear below – very elegant and composed. It now incorporates the vineyard that formerly constituted Chateau Magdelaine. Also tasted on a visit to Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion was the Clarence Dillion property St Emilion Grand Cru Chateau Quintus [formerly Chateau Tertre-Daugay]. This has certainly shifted up a gear since the inaugural release last year and was very impressive. The notes too are also included below.

Overall it’s a very long post [there are notes on over 90 wines] but hopefully pretty comprehensive. The major omissions are Chateau Ausone, Chateau Pavie and Chateau Tertre Rôteboeuf. I hope to catch up with these soon but time escaped me here in St Emilion more than anywhere else, though I did manage to taste more wines than ever before. As usual the notes are more important than the numbers.

Chateau Angelus, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’

Very deep and saturated; violets, layers of lush black fruits; deep and saturated palate; layers of flavour again; violets, plums, spices and freshness too; chewy finish which shows just how much saturation and material there is on the palate. Pretty dense effort. Despite the pretty aromatics, the palate is deeply serious. 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc. 92-94+ Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; tight to edge; very ripe notes, pretty thick and deep; some coffee and mocha; toasty; creamy entry, quite thick and rich; not the freshness of some but big. Tannins ripe and reasonably fine. Goodish if thick style. 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Saiuvignon. 87-88+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Barde-Haut, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; ripe and rich with plenty of oak and spicy, plummy fruit; yes there is a coffee bean note and an attractive earthy undertow; very attractive overall [on the nose]; similar tones on the palate; plenty of spicy plum tones with blackcurrants; modern style but with nice Bordeaux freshness. Chocolate on the finish, along with a bit of tannin and a twist of acid. Like this. 90-91+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Bellfont Belcier, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; dark at centre; looser at rim; some fragrance and perfume; certainly delicacy; feels good [and appetizing more importantly]; ripe fruits qualities on the palate; rich but not puckering; works well in a mid-weight style. 87-88+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Beauséjour her. Duffau-Lagarrosse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; very deep and tight to the rim; legs; very full and plump on the nose; lush; layer upon layer of ripe fruit – black cherry, summer compote, plum; very lush entry; plush palate with lots of material and depth. Chewy on the finish with some minerality. Very good length. Terrific wine. Very brave late picking here. 87% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc 94-96+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin

Chateau Beau-Séjour-Bécot, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated colour; dark at core; lots of ripe plummy Merlot; pretty deep and fat; some spices; depth; pretty lush nose; density on the palate, some oak tannin but lots of plummy fruit; chewy and dense. Looks good. 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-92+ [second tasting] Deep and dense; ripe, layered but pretty dense; quite tight on the palate but with plenty of density; good length. 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Bélair-Monange, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth, healthy colour; vibrant edge; fresh nose, minerality; nice fruit, attractive entry, some perfumed fruit; fresh and refreshing. Elegant wine but has depth and intensity. Never that showy early on. Now incorporates Magdelaine – only 1300 cases produced. 100% Merlot. 91-93+

Chateau Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep colour; nice perfume and lift; attractive floral notes; nice depth; sweet attack, quite grippy but stony, wet rocks and lots of density and strength. Very chewy finish. Pretty good. 87-89 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; ripe and rich; glossy colour; lifted nose, plums, black fruits, spices and some menthol and tar with some jam; lots of ripe fruit on the palate; plums, spices and fruitcake; nice to drink already. Feels very forward and lush. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 89-91 Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin [Earlier note] Deep and dark; blackcurrant cassis, spices, plums, nicely lifted; black cherry some prunes too; creamy palate with lots of lush fruit; little jammy but nice grip and tension at the end 88-90+ UGC Weds 10th April 2013

Chateau Boutisse, St Emilion Grand Cru

Ripe and spicy fruit driven; some bouncy perfume; plums; palate has spicy notes; some oak and dryness [which I expect will fill out]; nevertheless pretty spicy and dry. 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013 [later] Mid depth; fresh; some vibrancy, some perfume; spicy palate which is quite elegant. Less concentration here than in the great years like ’10 but this is elegant, mid-weight St Emilion and good value. 86-88 Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013

Chateau Cap de Mourlin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dense; tight to edge; big and fat with some marzipan notes; pure if a little overdone; quite chunky fruit with chewy finish; little dry tannin and dry on the finish. Puckering. 82% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 85-87? UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Carillon d’Angelus, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; some perfume and violet lift; palate quite tight and grippy with real chew and density. Doubtless the Cabernet influence, Cabernet Sauvignon especially. 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Savignon, 25% Cabernet Franc 89-91 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Canon, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep, saturated colour; legs; very vibrant nose; lots of cherry, dark chocolate and plums, surprisingly voluptuous and seductive; some spice here too; wonderfully plump palate with lots of wonderfully attractive fruit; very lush and full; yes there is structure beneath but a very plush Canon. Lush and full. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. 14% 92-94+ Tasted at Chateau Canon Friday April 12, 2013

Chateau Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Vibrant purple at edge; saturated look; black fruits, deep aromas; black cherry; lots of layers here; some oak to integrate further on the palate but very attractive wine. Chewy finish. 92-94+ Tasted at Chateau Canon-la-Gaffelière Friday April, 12, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep and dark looking; freshness here; some red fruits, some lift; not OTT; lots of oak tannin on the palate but flesh; chew and density. Dense and deep. 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc. 90-92+ UGC Weds 10 April 2013

Chateau Carteau Côtes Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru

Ripe fruit, quite solid, but not seemingly drying; some marzipan hints but not figgy; palate has spice and tannin, quite fresh and firm in acid but the palate doesn’t seem lean. Fresh, spicy and with lively acidity. Maybe finishes a fraction short. 85-87+ Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Cheval Blanc, Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ St-Emilion

Deep and dense; vibrant at the edge; healthy looking; nice delicacy to the nose; not a blockbuster, feels intellectual and mannered; elegant and well balanced palate, very fine with good purity; pretty structured and still quite tight; fine tannin and very much in the manner of near-neighbour Figeac. Quite tight on the finish. Very precise, linear and polished. Expect this to fill out. 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+

Chateau Côte de Baleau, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Ripe fruit notes; some depth; well balanced and sappy with nice ripe fruit; not overly complex but satisfying; plenty of ripe fruity; nice solidity bit without being simply gutsy. 86-88 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Clos Badon, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated look; very dense; lush and deep on the nose; sexy and saturated with fruit aromas – black cherry, plums – very attractive; lots of extract and material on the palate; very ripe and big; very lush indeed; sweetness but very drinkable already. 75% Merlot remainder split between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-91+ Tasted Friday April 12, 2013 at Jean-Luc Thunevin

Clos Dubreuil, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and dense looking; pure Merlot on the nose; ripe and full; nothing wrong with this, if a little simple; some spice from oak barrels here too; dense; lots of material and acid here; grippy but with plenty of material; lots of density. Ambitious wine. Very good. 88-90+ Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Clos de L’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated colour; very attractive, plummy fruit on the nose with perfume and sweet cake and spices; very attractive and very open and opulent on the palate with a silky-satin finish 91-93+ Tasted at Chateau Canon-la-Gaffelière, Friday April 12, 2013

Clos Fourtet, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dense; lush and ripe nose; very pretty; really very pure and enticing; oak on the palate but largely soaked up by the lovely plump Merlot in evidence; very linear through aroma to palate; feels very good potentially. Little chewy on the finish. 92-94+ [second tasting] Deep and dense; lots of plums, jam and black fruits; palate has soaked up the oak; lashings of fruit, material and density. Here the vintage comparison is with 1998. 86% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc. 92-94+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Clos les Grandes Versannes, St Emilion Grand Cru

Dark and saturated look; right up to edge; thick and intense; resin and syrup; some nutty/almond-y oak influence; saturated palate with many similar elements; tannins at the end with a drying aspect. Chewy St Emilion at the very least. 84-86?  Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Clos de Jacobins, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dark looking; ripe and thick; not OTT; some marzipan but no jam; pretty deep on the nose; ripe fruit, some lift; bags of fruit here but the only drawback is the tannin/winemaking management – feels very dry on the finish. 86-88? Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later – better note] Deep and saturated; violet lift with plums; very attractive with clearly lots of material; nice vibrancy on the palate; lots of ripe Merlot in and easy, supple and very enjoyable style. Impressive effort. 75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 89-91+ Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Clos de Madeleine, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Dense and deep at centre; some satin and ripeness; little honey; fresher with acid and interest; but dips a fraction; I would expect this to come good and prove really enjoyable, un-pretentious St Emilion for drinking. 87-89 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later note – more disjointed] Deep and saturated; attractive nose, some nicely integrated oak; plums, black fruits and spices; palate very oak dominated at present; little clumsy and quite dry. Chewy and dense with loads of wood tannin. Hold off on the oak! Nice fruit here but way too much oak. 84-86? Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at la Fleur de Bouard.

Chateau Croix Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru

Ripe, some marzipan in the nose; feels ripe; some sweetness; palate seems oak influenced [perfumed] but quite elegant like it doesn’t quite have the legs. Some spicy fruit here but a little dryness on the finish. Think the fruit will outweigh the tannins but lets see. 84-86 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Croix de Labrie, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; rich and dense; some resin but largely ripe, concentrated fruit that is the key here; pretty bold; dense and weighty; spicy fruit but nice and fresh – a real mouthful; good stuff; lots of chew and density and extract but not drying qualities. 87-89 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Dassault, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; very ripe Merlot on the nose; quite fat; clean; round and ripe entry; not overdone; good and ripe; some oak but not disjointed. Pretty good. Goodish length. 87-88 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru

Mid depth; some vibrancy and bounce to the nose; some spice; nice entry, some perfume and depth; ripe and sweet fruit with next texture. Nice freshness at the end. Very good example of unpretentious St Emilion Grand Cru. 86-88+ Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau de Pressac, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; looser at core; ripe Merlot; not overworked but nice; modesty here; attractive and vivacious palate; good fruit; nicely extracted and not overdone – either in wine making or in oak handling; this works nicely. 87-89 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau de Ferrand, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; menthol and spicy notes on the nose; lifted; big and extracted palate; thick and rich; lots of fruit and density. Chewy finish. 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Fanc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 86-88 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Destieux, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; ripe, some spice, some resin; ripe red fruits on the nose with resin elements; saturated but not overly so with nice balance; clearly ripe and attractive fruit made this wine; some dryness at the end but I expect this to round out. Nicely done. Doesn’t shout out. 88-90 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau du Parc, St Emilion Grand Cru

Initially quite seductive nose with layers and oak [coffee/mocha]; quite serious; obviously a quite worked style; dense but lots of oak tannins on the palate; spicy tones nevertheless; should fill out as the fruit is quite attractive. 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Faugères, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; enticing ripe fruit notes; some lift; spicy some VA and oak; density; quite ripe and dense; lots of material and tannin. OK 86-88 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later – slightly better note] Deep and saturated colour; ripe, some red fruits and pretty unctuous; rich palate with lots of oomph; black fruits; rich; quite sweet and ripe style. Chewy finish. 87-89+ Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013

Chateau Ferrand Lartigue, St Emilion Grand Cru

Mid depth; loose at edge; some chalkiness; some ripe Merlot; little spice; quite open and uncomplicated; spicy palate; fresh; then comes some acid and tannin; nevertheless the fruit is attractive in this wine and this should come round 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Figeac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; healthy looking; polished nose; nice Cab on the nose; nothing feels green here; feels polished; palate initially fine; some stalky Cab; quite fine and will fill out. Elegant. Maybe a little angularity at the back. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc 89-91 [Second tasting – much better note] Mid depth; healthy looking; lots of blackcurrant fruit and cream on the nose; much more enticing than earlier sample; purity; palate quite lush [a little more Merlot than usual in the blend]; nice balance on the palate with grip at the end but harmonious. 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Saturated at centre; ripe fruit; some red fruits and some fig; almost unctuous; good palate; lots of ripe Merlot and really easy on the palate; ripe and fresh [ish]. Not that much tannin or length but pretty good, early drinking, fruity effort. 86-88+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep saturated colour; similarly enticing ripe fruit notes; some dark chocolate; gutsy with lots of extract and material; chewy with lots of fruit and extract; will come good. 87-89 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later] Deep and dark; lots of fruit; black cherry; pretty big and ripe; oak fully absorbed by the fruit; big and fat; attractive wine with lots of fruit. 89-91+ Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013

Chateau Fonplégade, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Very dense looking; big, thick and rich colour; deep and intense nose; resin plus fruit and extract; very deep but very modern; blackcurrants; some red fruits; spice and pine notes; lots of blackcurrant fruit on the palate; big, but not excessively so; nicely done in fact. Loads and loads of fruit her but none of that VA resin or overdone tannins so nicely handled. Excellent. 90-92 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Fonroque, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Some density of colour; cherry freshness here; lifted in an acidic sense; spicy cherry; wine has freshness and bounce but also a lot of sappy qualities. I think this will work nicely. 87-88+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Franc Mayne, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Pretty saturated; healthy looking; nice pretty fruit; plump and ripe Merlot here; not too jammy; enticing; some lift; supple on the palate with a little resin; pretty chewy finish but good effort 90% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc 87-89+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Godeau, St Emilion Grand Cru

Slightly sour, VA edge; not wonderfully attractive; dense palate, some pines and spicy tones but not great. 83-85 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac, St Emilion Grand Cru

Mid depth; dark at core; less saturated than some at the edge; deep-ish aroma; something mineral and steely here; spicy too; cool and modest but with lots of flavour, this looked quite fresh, spicy and chewy St Emilion. 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Grand Corbin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classe

Deep and saturated; some wet rock and minerality; plenty of ripeness and some black cherry on the nose; spices; more grip on the palate. Should meld. 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 86-88 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; loose at edge; some pretty lift; red fruits; material and extract but lacks succulence of the best; nevertheless chewy and gutsy. 85-87 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Grand Corbin Manuel, St Emilion Grand Cru

Blue fruit nose; some blueberry and cherry notes; some sour notes; palate tight with a green astringency; not unattractive more at the edge; there is some richness but remains lean; finishes with dry-ish tannins. May come round in elevage. 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Grand Mayne, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated look; ripe and lifted Merlot; some red fruits, oak and spices; attractive; real plummy tones to the nose; creamy palate; very ripe and plus; some oak tannin here but this should be good. Chewy finish. 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 88-90 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Haut-Sarpe, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth, deep at centre, purple edge; smoke and violets on the nose; palate quite thick but then quickly becomes dry and over-extracted in feel. Very dry on the end. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. 84-86 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau Haut-Segottes, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and arterial; little stewed on the nose; some earth; chunky and chewy palate. Dry and rustic finish. 83-85 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at La Fleur Bouard

Chateau Jean-Faure, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated look; bit green? Palate more promising than the nose suggests [ie less green] and richness here with some length]. Maybe it’s terroir? Better than I’d thought. 85-87 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later note – similarly inconsistent] Deep and black looking; tight to rim; thick and dense and feels a little tired and overworked? Sweet ripe palate with some spicy plummy fruit and toasty oak. Chewy finish. Palate better than nose suggested. 50% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, 3% Malbec. 85-87 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau La Commanderie, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; dark at core; looser red at edge; ripe fruit; not over-done; nice fruit; nice entry; ripe fruit good texture; mid-eight and some acid. Good St Emilion you have food with. Balanced and with texture and interest [and acid] 87-89+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later note] Deep and saturated; wet rocks, minerality; dense; ripe entry and quite lush and unctuous and then there is the tightness and drying aspect on the end. Chewy and a little disjointed on the palate. 50% new oak, MLF in oak and cold soak and pigeage. 13.5% alcohol 75% Merlot & 25% Cabernet Franc. Should settle 86-88 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard

Chateau La Couspaude, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated look; lifted nose; pretty fruits; some spice and layers; feels plush again and nice vibrancy here; attractive palate with depth and purity and chew; very toasty finish. La Couspaude delivers flavoursome St Emilion. 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc. 89-91 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau La Dominique, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and very saturated; Cabernet Franc here gives an earthy twist to the nose; deep; alongside the CF are wonderful plummy tones; this feels tighter than their 2011; red fruits and quite dense and pent up; then it opens up; fresh palate, good acidity and texture from the CF. Like this – usually do. Chewy finish. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau La Fleur, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated look; deeper; quite concentrated; some ripeness but also a streak of green [or freshness]; lots of blackcurrant flavours; not anti-this on the nose – it feels attractive; quite chewy palate with lots of density; rich and saturated with both fruit and tannin. 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau La Fleur d’Arthus, St Emilion Grand Cru

Dark and saturated look; deep and linear; some sour cherry; little vegetal note; rich palate and very dense but not [seemingly] unattractive; quite a lot of tannin to shed here but the wine feels quite right [apart from the faintest hint of green].  Spicy, oak dominated finish [in profile if not in aroma] means that this is overall less promising than I’d hoped. 85-86? Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau La Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dense but healthy looking; mineral and wet rock nose; some liquorice beneath; pretty solid palate but there is plumpness here too; nice chew and good length. La Gaffeliere is always pretty firm and masculine to me, not flamboyant. Dense. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc 90-92 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau La Grangère, St Emilion Grand Cru

Mid depth; some ripe lifted notes; red fruits and late picked feel; not that much depth though; some spice too; along with very dry palate; spicy finish but a little dry and oak very evident [not integrated]. 84-86 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau La Marzelle, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated looking; little old fashioned on the nose; some dust and tannin; later opened out a touch; palate seems more tannic; darker and tannic [and dry]. Chewy on the finish, plenty of material but chewy and tanninc on the finish. 86-87 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated look; real perfume lift with violets; very seductive; lots of black fruit tones; big palate but balanced and harmonious; extremely lush and loaded with flavour; lots of length on the finish. Big on flavour but manages not to feel overblown. 94-96+

Chateau La Prieuré, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Dense and saturated looking with colour up to the rim; oak influenced nose of some depth; some spice here and fruit compote notes; fresher, black fruit [cherry] spectrum; quite grippy and puckering; density and material; tannin will always be punctuation at the end of the wine. 86-88 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau La Serre, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; vibrant edge; sexy nose; open and lush with oak and violet tones; oak on the palate but the fruit is here; some grip; little angularity at the back; mid-depth overall. Perfumed and fresh. 87-88+

Chateau La Tour Figeac, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; more red fruits; strawberry and redcurrant jam; confiture; concentrated palate; spices and more plummy tones now; little short on the end compared to La Gaffelière [tasted immediately before!]. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc 87-88+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Laplagnotte-Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru

Mid red, deep core; purple at edge [loose]; spicy fruit; some depth; black fruits [plums/cherries]; some ripeness but quite modest on the palate; ripe yes but not over saturated or extracted; Small modest St Emilion Grand Cru. Also some dry spicy notes at the very end. 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dense; very saturated look; ripe and thick aromas, very lifted; some minerals, wet rocks as well as black fruits – plums – and spices; ripe and pure; very attractive. Better showing here than at UGC. Chewy palate with lots of lush fruit and ripe flavours with lots of layers. Very ripe. 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc. 91-93+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin [Earlier] Deep and saturated look; plummy, spicy nose; some jam; very lifted with oak influence; palate very ripe and sweet; jam notes; some warmth; little bounce at end. 83% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc. 89-91+ UGC Weds 10th April 2013

Chateau Larmande, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; spicy notes; some undergrowth and red fruit tones; mid weight palate with more delicacy and obviously spicy Cabernet tones; little astringency at the back. Well balanced if it feels a little modest. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 87-88 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Laroze, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and dense; tight to rim; bubble gum, black cherry and plum; almost Moulin-a-Vent style; quite ripe palate with chewy fruit and some depth. Lots of fruit here. Not bad. 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 86-87+

Chateau Le Castelot, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and healthy looking; sweet ripe fruit with marzipan hints; chewy palate, angular with dry tannins 83-85 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at La Fleur Bouard

Le Dragon de Quintus, [2nd wine of Chateau Quintus]

Vibrant purple colour; nice depth to the nose; some spice; quite polished; soft easy entry, nicely ripe and soft; good purity and precision; fresh finish. Soft and easy. 79% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc. 88-90 Tasted April 8, 2013 at Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Chateau Le Jurat, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; fresh and juicy nose with bounce and lift; creamy note; plenty of fruit on the palate, little drying on the end but this will work. Quite simple but plenty of fresh fruit. 86-88 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at La Fleur Bouard

Le Petit Cheval [2nd wine of Chateau Cheval Blanc]

Mid depth; healthy looking; nice delicacy on the nose; Cabernet Franc very evident; clean and elegant on the palate; good purity and nicely linear and no hard edges to the tannins; very fine; elegant and structured. Fresh finish. Not pushed at all, and will fill out. 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot. 90-92

Lynsolence, St Emilion Grand Cru

Very deep and saturated look, colour tight to the meniscus; deep and intense; some real sublimated notes; plums, black fruits along with some red; ripe and big in the palate; plenty of fruit to work with the structure and the spicy oak; yes there is some drying element but this works pretty well. Chewy and dense certainly. 87-89+ Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Magrez Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; round and nutty [oak]; some resin; quite clean palate; cut of acidity; fresh and sinewy but with sufficient body. Not a bad effort. If it fills out 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Patris, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated looking; earthy note, terroir? Immediately appealing nevertheless; very appetizing palate. Very good and appealing. 88-90 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Pas de l’Ane, St Emilion Grand Cru

Quite strong on the nose; some boiled sweet; some perfume and vibrancy; some Merlot perfume; then comes the dryness/astringency; this has a chalky palate with pretty drying tannins on the finish at present. 84-86 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Pavie Macquin, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated, tight to the rim; very pretty, lots of black fruits, chalk and spices; menthol and oak influence too; very rich and attractive; lushness here again; ripe and concentrated palate with some tension and minerality; lots of body and richness. Pretty chewy finish but lots and lots of fruit here [tannin too]. 92-94+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; more mineral tones, some wet rocks and also strawberry jam notes; very ripe and lifted aspect; quite worked and oaky palate; little dryness but the finish is sweet and I’d expect it to settle. 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. 89-91+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013

Chateau Péby Faugeres, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; oak resin, sublimation and intensity; real VA lift [not me this]. Very rich palate with lots of oak and extract; very BIG and new world. Dry finish despite the ripe and rich fruity. Too worked and too much oak. 86-88? Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later] Deep and saturated colour; inky, resin; unctuous fruit; red fruits and lots of oak; very ripe fruit, jammy; chewy finish with coffee and mocha tones. Pretty exaggerated style. 100% Merlot 89-91 Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013

Chateau Pindefleurs, St Emilion Grand Cru

Attractive; dense and saturated look; similar to Trianon, but also ripe and attractive; nice vibrancy and bounce; very nice on the nose, little stream of green – lets call it freshness; palate has some astringency; chewy; quite spicy; not the ripest but it may settle. Though it finishes a little pinched. May fill out. 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Puy-Blanquet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru

Deep but vibrant looking; vibrant fruit tones on the palate; bounce and life here; some perfume; nice entry, vibrant and bouncy style; creamy fruit; fresh and spicy. Grip at the end. Nice and fresh. 87-88+

Chateau Quinault L’Enclos, Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion

Deep core; healthy colour; spicy tones; cool and fresh palate; vibrant; some spice and perfume; elegant and balanced. Good length. 90-92

Chateau Quintus, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; purple edge; very poised and focused nose; pretty and perfumed; lots of layers and depth here; much more layered than 2011; sweet entry, ripe fruit with a satin quality; real finesse and a substantial improvement on 2011 all round. Very good length. Delicate and silky. 89% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc 92-94 Tasted April 8, 2013 at Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Chateau Ripeau, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; saturated; attractive, sweet fruit; not over aromatic but present; more compact some drying qualities [extraction] – feels like there is sufficient fruit. Chewy finish. 85-87 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Roc de Boisseaux, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and dense; pretty violets, some plum; bouncy and fresh; nice ripe fruit on the palate; supple effort with some minerality; chewy finish. Quite dense overall. 86-88 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at La Fleur Bouard

Chateau Rol Valentin, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and dense; some purple at the edge; some plums, red fruits, prunes and cherry notes; chewy palate, oak influenced; some spice and marzipan; enough flesh to cover the bones I reckon. 86-88 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Roylland, St Emilion Grand Cru

Dense-ish; little vegetal whiff and some perfume from the oak; spices; this is probably green; palate has some density and depth but there is lots of oak and spicey, vegetal notes here on the palate. May very well settle but a little green on the finish to me. Chewy end. 84-86? Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Saint-Georges Côte Pavie, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Fresh and ripe; vibrant and bouncy flavours; almost Morgon-style; cherry etc; palate has lots of sour cherry notes; quit lively with piquant acid but plenty of fruit. Lively and bouncy. 87-89+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Sanctus du Chateau La Bienfaisance, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and saturated; ripe Merlot; some marzipan hints [not overripe]; some mineral qualities too; mid depth; fresh; easy but with reasonable concentration [mid weight]. Nice and clean. Good St Emilion. 87-89 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Sansonnet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Saturated and thick in the glass with a little more purple in the edge than Deep in aroma; some oak here; lots of plum, black cherry and black fruit notes; but also freshness and some spice; attractive palate with plummy, spicy fruit which feel fresh and vibrant; very nice satisfying grip and texture on the palate. This could be very good indeed. 89-91+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013

Chateau Soutard, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Very deep and saturated; deep aromas; plums, spices; pretty unctuous; oak too; full and lush entry; lots of fruit; not over-extracted but pretty big. Some chew at the back. Should be very good. 89-91+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Trianon, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep colour; attractive; Ripe nose, perfume and bounce; some layers here too, warm; chewy, spicy if a little old fashioned – there are some red fruits on the palate – little pinched on the finish but may fill out. Good-ish length. 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013

Chateau Trimoulet, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deep and dense, lots of depth and density in the glass; pretty perfume and lift; plums and spices; soma oak beneath; some mincemeat; pretty lush; ripe entry on the palate, nice minerality; sap and freshness; very correct with nice purity; emphasis on the fruit. Very good. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 88-90 Tasted 12th April at Chateau Pavie-Macquin. [Earlier note] Pretty dense and saturated look, not that tight to the edge; ripe and some red fruits but also quite fresh; some perfumed and strawberry notes; spices; fresh palate; stalky and plummy fruit with some cool oak; some drying on the finish. I expect this will fill up during élevage. 86-88 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday 7th April 2013.

Chateau Troplong Mondot, Premier Grand Cru Classé

Very dense and deep looking; very lush and unctuous nose but quite pure; layered and extremely plush; palate very full with lots of extract and all the oak soaked up here. Very big and fat but there is some freshness too which means the wine can do up its belt. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Trottevielle, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep looking; Cabernet Franc influence on the nose [as ever]; spicy and nice delicacy and freshness; palate is quite tight but there is a focused seam of fruit; pretty focused maybe a little angular on the finish. 49% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon 89-91+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Chateau Valandraud, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated and very arterial in colour; lifted; ripe and very lush; very bold statement; extremely lush palate; quite sublimated style; chewy; very big indeed but extracted very nicely; tannins, many of them, seem extremely fine. Lots of wood on the finish presently with a fair bit of chew. Very good length. Very unctuous style but retains freshness. 15,000 bottles made. 100% Merlot 94-96+ Friday April 12 at Jean-Luc Thunevin

Chateau Villemaurine, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; dark; spices and cake like nose; sweetness from oak; some plum tones and lift; creamy palate; freshness too; pretty lush overall; nice tension and interest here. Chewy finish but will work well 89-91+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013

Virginie de Valandraud [2nd wine of Chateau Valandraud]

Deep and saturated; dark and arterial looking; colour extremely tight to the meniscus; lots of violet lift and very lush again; ripe and rich palate with plenty of matter here and also fair bit of oak; lashings of everything; lots of density. Big wine. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 35,000 bottles produced. 90-92 Tasted Friday April 12 at Jean-Luc Thunevin

POMEROL

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Pomerol has made a really serious fist of 2012. There is plenty of creamy, fat Merlot on offer and with diligent vineyard work and a steady nerve it was possible to harvest ripe and flavoursome Cabernet Franc. There is wonderful freshness and vibrancy to the best wines, and generally much more flesh on offer than in 2011. There is also impressive structure too. Some estates are comparing the vintage with 2001 in terms of balance. At Vieux Château Certan they talked about 1985 while Christian Moueix has even been comparing it with 1971. What’s in the glass is delicious in my opinion and there is considerable depth on offer too.

Certainly 2012 is a very different vintage from 2011 – that topsy-turvey growing season resulted many uneven wines – but 2012 was not without considerable challenges of its own. Bertrand Nicolas of Château La Conseillante described 2012 as another ‘difficult’ year in the vineyard but at least the seasons were, by and large, in the right order.

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Weather at the start of the growing season was very mixed and cool. This led to uneven bud break and later a stretched flowering period. There were two principal effects resulting from this. The first was that it made 2012 a relatively late harvest [certainly compared to the last three vintages]. Secondly, that there would considerable variations in ripening and, to a degree, some unevenness in fruit set. Edouard Moueix said the extended flowering period effectively created two crops. The later grape bunches they would end up removing as things progressed.

The wet weather in the early summer presented a considerable mildew risk and necessitated much vineyard work but then the weather cleared substantially. The period following late July to September was actually a very dry one. August was also very hot. This allowed for the build up of concentration and density in the grapes. Light rain in September helped the Merlot attain good phenolic ripeness.

At JP Moueix’s various Pomerol properties, the harvest ran from September 24 to October 11. The threat of heavy rain in October did make it a very tense waiting game for the Cabernet Franc and the very small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon in the appellation. At Vieux Chateau Certan, they picked their Cabernet Franc between 10-11 October, trying to steal as much extra ripeness as possible. Once the grapes were in the vat room, the heavens then opened.

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The 2012 vintage waiting game was further evidenced at Château Nénin. At 32 hectares it is one of the larger Pomerol properties. Here the vintage began on September 21 and ended on October 10. Yet within this three-week period they only picked on eight of the days.

The results? Across the board there is more consistency in 2012 than in 2011 at all levels in the wines tasted. There is wonderful vibrancy and bounce to the best. This freshness is epitomized particularly by the JP Moueix wines. I was especially impressed by Chateau Latour à Pomerol, Chateau Providence and Chateau Hosanna. Hosanna was sumptuous. Chateau La Fleur-Pétrus and Chateau Trotanoy looked extremely impressive with lots of layers and the depth you’d expect. There is also vitality to Chateau Plince, Chateau Lafleur-Gazin and Chateau La Grave. Generally these were a very refreshing set of wines.

At Vieux Chateau Certan there is lots of perfume, freshness and depth. The Thienponts seem very happy indeed. I was also taken with Chateau Nenin, tasted separately on a trip to Château Léoville-Las-Cases [as it is part of the Delon portfolio]. It had lots of creamy, plummy fruit and great purity. Their second wine Fugue de Nenin was pretty too.

The UGCB held their event at Chateau La Conseillante. The nine Pomerol wines shown there looked impressive. La Conseillante displayed delicious summer fruit compôte aromas and a creamy and attractive palate. Château Clinet was less flashy than usual and much tighter but showed impressive depth and structure. Château Gazin has produced another very good wine, and shows the continued march forward with quality here. Château Petit-Village was attractive, layered and pretty dense too.

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Château Beauregard, Château La Cabanne and Château La Pointe have also produced wines full of flavour and material, properties that usually offer reasonably good value. Chateau Le Bon Pasteur also looked promising, though there is a lot of emphasis there on new oak [both fermented and aged in new oak barriques]. Still there looked to be enough fruit to handle the winemaking.

I also tasted twenty one Pomerols blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite’s event. These were more homogeneous than in 2011 too, though here was more variation on display than at the other Pomerol tastings. Some were very impressive indeed and should prove good values. Amongst these I’d definitely seek out Chateau Fayat, Chateau Feytit-Clinet and Chateau Mazeyres. Chateau La Fleur de Gay also looked very good. Others felt a little disjointed, either over-oaked or extracted relative to the fruit, or a little mean.

The major omissions in the tasting notes are Chateau L’Eglise Clinet, Chateau L’Evangile, Chateau Le Pin and Chateau Pétrus. I’ve grouped the following 41 wines more or less alphabetically. Again, as ever, the notes are more important than the numbers.

Chateau Beau Soleil

Deep and saturated; dense and lots of cherry fruit with plums too; packed with fruit on the nose and lots of depth and freshness; spicy plum, slightly cooler fruit tones; purity on the palate with freshness; not too worked; nice acid and sap; this should evolve into beautifully balanced Pomerol. Vibrancy and bounce. 88-90+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Beauregard, Pomerol

Deep and dense looking; pretty thick nose; dark fruits; oak on the palate, perfume, spicy plum tones; spicy finish. Very good. 88-90 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013

Chateau Bellegrave

Mid depth; lots of raw blackcurrant, stalky fruit and plums; clean and unadorned; purity and drinkability evident on the palate; summer fruit compôte notes, very nicely handled ingredients; good balance. Should be very nicely composed Pomerol. Pure. Like this style. 87-89+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Bonalgue

Deep and saturated; depth to the nose and fruit feels ripe and supple; open; some coffee; sweet entry, ripe, some oak influence but enough creamy fruit to make this attractive on the palate; some chew on the finish. Will be good. 86-88+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7th April 2013

Chateau Bourgneuf

Deep and saturated; attractive fresh fruit driven nose; roundness and some coffee beans; palate has obvious oak influence but there is density and grip. Chew here with some sour cherry and earth. Should meld. More grip than some. Fresh. 86-88+ Tasted blind Cercle Rive Droite, Sunday April 7, 2013 [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; earthy note; blackcurrant and plum tones; spices and black cherry; vibrant with bounce on the palate; very good value Pomerol with lots of life and sap. Lively wine. Appetizing. 89-91+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Certan de May

Deep and dense; vibrant edge; earthy edge; some tobacco and spicy plum; good palate, earthy, chewy; lots of guts and some complexity; good acid and zap again; nice chew and density here. Not overdone either. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 91-93+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Clinet

Deep and dark; colour tight to the rim; tight but clearly very deep on the nose; serious, not its usual flattering self; layers here which show themselves on aeration but this is a pretty dense Clinet. Lots of depth on the palate and structure too. Pretty formidable effort. Excellent length. 90% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+ UGC 10 April, 2013.

Chateau Fayat

Deep and saturated looking; colour tight to the edge; tighter, denser and more serious on the nose; plums, spices some espresso notes; very good and attractive aromas with complexity; lots of sweet fruit on the palate and real depth. Lots and lots of sweet fruit here. Nicely balanced extraction; lots of plummy flavours and style. Attractive stuff! 90-92 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7th April 2013

Chateau Feytit-Clinet

Deep and saturated; red/purple edge; cleaner; little earthy note; smokey and lifted; quite attractive; layers on the palate with depth. Pretty serious and attractive. This should develop nicely. Espresso notes from the oak on the finish but plenty of fruit. Worked style but nicely done in this case. 88-90+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Gazin

Deep and saturated; pure blackcurrant cassis, with black cherry notes; deep but fresh; summer fruit compote notes; polished palate; very bouncy and seductive. Very attractive wine and continues the Gazin run of top form. Some pretty serious oak here but the fruit is quite sublime. Grip too. 100% Merlot 14.5% alc. 93-95+ Tasted at UGC 10th April 2013

Chateau Hosanna

Deep and dense; wet rocks and chalk alongside plummy tones with spices and black cherry notes; lovely mouthfeel, enticing and sumptuous palate; deceptively easy and supple; very nicely balanced fruit tones; real delicacy and freshness here. Lots of zap and life again. Very good length. Wonderfully vibrant and enticing Pomerol. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+ Tasted at JP Moueix in Libourne Weds 10 April 2013.

Chateau La Cabanne

Mid depth; some bounce and delicacy on the nose; pretty vibrant, not as ‘oh wow’ as Gazin, but good effort for Cabanne; some perfume, bounce and rounded palate which has been well handled in the cellar. This works. 100% Merlot. 87-89

Chateau La Clémence

Mid depth; quite saturated; ripe, more red fruits less plums and some lift; mocha notes from oak; guts and sap on the palate with a little mean streak [oak handling?] May come good. 84-86? Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau La Conseillante

Deep and saturated look; summer fruit pudding, black cherry, plums and spices, some lift and violet perfume; very attractive palate, creamy blackcurrants, black cherry but with real structure and acid beneath. Very nice length. Lots here. 89% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc. 94-96+ Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013

Chateau La Croix de Gay

Deep and dense; some cream, black fruits – a little hardness too [cold sample]; creamy palate, ripe with plums; lots of fruit and extract but not extracted if you get what I mean. Chewy finish. 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 89-91 Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013

Chateau La Fleur de Gay

Deep and saturated; ripe fruit, some lift; some jam; very ripe fruit infact; palate big and broad, sweet and ripe; nice twist at the end. 90-92 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau La Fleur-Pétrus

Deep and dark at the centre; vibrant edge; lots of black fruits on the nose; black cherry, plums even cassis tones; perfumed; creamy palate and lots of layers; plums, spices, black cherry; very nice tension and balance on the palate; some mineral tones too. Very long in the mouth. Good acid and impeccable balance. 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 94-96 [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau La Grave

Deep and saturated; more chalky minerality, vivid again with freshness; pureity of fruit and expressive; lots of zap on the palate; fresghness and nice length. Very refreshing. 97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. 89-91+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau La Pointe

Deep and dense; vibrant effort, ripe and full, pretty open; lots here, fatness but also tightness; dense palate with freshness and attractive Cab Franc influence. Lots of extract but nicely handled. Serious again and continues the run of good form for me at La Pointe. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 91-93 Tasted UGC Wednesday 10 April 2013.

Chateau Lafleur-Gazin

Deep and saturated look but vivid and vibrant purple at the edge; more mineral tones, some spice and perfume [again]; vibrant, spicy nose; attractive palate with lots of perfume; vivacious and lively; lots of fruit and bounce here; nice acid on the end. Sap here. Lively and pretty long finish. Nice zap. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 90-92+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Latour à Pomerol

Deep and saturated; vibrant edge; life; perfume; violets, black cherry and plum tones; layers to the nose; creamy palate; some mulberry, black cherry tones; very round but with real depth and life; refreshing zing; this feels particularly successful. Great length and vibrancy. 100% Merlot. 91-93+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur

Deep and saturated looking; nice blackcurrant and black cherry tones; fruit not masked; pretty plummy with some spice; creamy palate, lots of fruit but also oak and quite a lot of oak on the finish. All fermented in barrique. Nice purity, not sure about the use of wood. Lets see how it settles. 89-91+ Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013

Chateau Le Moulin

Deep and saturated look; layered and impressive nose; intense; nicely integrated oak; spices and ripe fruits; little coffee; big and bold on the palate, extracted style with lots of spicy red fruits and lashings of oaks. It works. Impressive. Plenty of stuff in here. 88-90+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Lécuyer

Mid depth; looser at edge; ripe and satiny Merlot; easy going if lacking a bit of concentration. Fresh and pure if on the light side. 85-87 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Nenin

Deep and saturated; vibrant colour; cream, plums and real depth; very full and promising; some Cabernet Franc tones; classy palate, creamy fruit entry with lots of material and ripe tannins; lots here. Very good wine, pure and fresh. Very good indeed. 92-94+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases

Chateau Mazeyres

Deep and saturated look; very tight to the rim; lots of vibrant fresh fruit, bubblegum; very big and fruit driven on the palate with some perfumed oak; easy and open; ripe cherry and plummy fruit; very enjoyable and pure. I like this. 87-89+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Montviel

Deep core, lighter at edge; bounce and freshness on the nose; spicy and attractive fruit; vivacious palate; elegant and easy; satin-y quality. Not over-extracted but delicious Pomerol. Quite delicious. 86-88+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7th April 2013

Chateau Petit-Village

Mid depth, very nice lift, blackcurrants, cream and attractive layers to the nose; very mannered palate and pretty serious effort [compared with the flamboyance here in ‘09/’10]. Pretty serious effort on the palate; density and lots of fruit and structure. Quite tight and tannic at the back. They are comparing things here to 2001 and 2004. 80% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Franc. 91-93+ Tasted at UGC 10 April 2013

Chateau Plince

Pretty dark look; ripe and sexy nose; pretty and voluptuous with lots of depth; lots of fruit here on the palate with nice tension; structured but plenty of material and flesh. Nice blue fruits. Appetizing finish. 90-92 [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Providence

Deep core; vibrant edge; very pure fruit; black cherry, ripe, plum; violet perfume; layers here; wonderfully fresh and ripe on the palate; vibrancy again; harmonious and nicely balanced. Very impressive. 100% Merlot. 92-94+ [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Chateau Rouget

Deep and saturated look; nicely judged nose; fruit, spice, some fat, juicy Merlot here; mid-weight palate; depth on the palate; quite compact and feels a little modest with good elegance. Not trying to be something it isn’t – so honesty here. Fresh too. 87-89+ Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Taillefer

Deep colour; perfumed lift with vibrant, plummy fruit beneath; spicy; fresh and appetizing palate with some grip and savour. Grippy finish. Should come good if a little lean maybe. 87-89 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Trotanoy

Deep and saturated look; healthy and fresh; lots of blackcurrant fruit, black cherry and summer compote notes; freshness again; creamy palate with lots of black cherry and plum tones; very layered and lots of stuff going on; lots of sap and bounce here too. Very vivacious and pure. 100% Merlot. 94-96 [JP Moueix, Libourne, Weds April, 10, 2013]

Vieux Chateau Certan

Deep colour; pure at edge, fresh and healthy looking; lots of red and blue fruits; great Merlot; lots of black cherry, sweet plums and perfume; very pretty; palate very balanced with real delicacy and verve. Structure and density there too. Fresh and ripe. 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon 94-96+ Tasted at the Chateau Friday 12 April 2013

Chateau Vieux Maillet

Deep and saturated; nutty oak; very sweet fruit on the palate; chewy and dense. Stewed notes. Disjointed sample. 84-86? Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Chateau Vray Croix de Gay

Saturated and deep looking; ripe fruit, almost super-ripe and coffee bean oak; easy palate that falls away half way through and leaves the wine feeling a bit stretched. May fill out. 84-86 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7th April 2013

Clos de Clocher

Deep and saturated; ripe, red fruits, some coffee; some fig too; thick initially, chewy tannin [oak and fruit tannins]. Bit plodding. Lacks vitality. Chewy finish. 84-86 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Clos de la Vieille Eglise

Mid depth; perfumed oak submerges the fruit, which feels a bit vegetal; fruit on the palate here but all a jumble. Overall impression is of a chewy, tannic wine with a green streak to me. 78-80 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7th April 2013

Clos l’Eglise

Mid depth; looser at the meniscus; little dumb at first, some dust and spice; chewy and gutsy palate which lacks finesse. Depth and guts but overall a bit rustic. 85-87 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

Clos Vieux Taillefer

Deep and concentrated look; more intense on the nose; lots of plummy, spicy fruit; good purity and depth; well handled oak; dense on the palate, yes extracted but good fruit purity here and nice bite and grip at the end. Good effort. Still remains fresh. 86-88 Tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite, 7 April 2013

LALANDE DE POMEROL

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More variation here in Lalande de Pomerol than in Fronsac in 2012. At the top end I was especially impressive with Domaine des Sabines, La Fleur de Boüard and their succulent ‘Le Plus’ and Chateau Grand Ormeau. In the fresh and vivid style Chateau de Viaud and Chateau Siaurac also looked good.

Quite a few others felt extracted relative to their fruit and one or two felt a little vegetal/green to me. This may have been a case of harvesting too early [fear of the threat of rain] or too late. Whatever the causes extractive winemaking often only served to emphasise these negative characters. I’d have liked to re-tasted those that misfired but sadly I had no further time during the week.

Domaine des Sabines, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated; deep and sumptuous on the nose; layers of fruit; very ripe and easy with plenty of fruit; full and attractive and already wonderfully drinkable. Spices and loaded with briary fruit. Very impressive. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. 90-92+ Tasted with Jean-Luc Thunevin in St Emilion Friday 12th April 2013

Le Plus, La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated, very dense looking; pretty pent up with lots of layers; creamy and lots of fruit; rich palate but not overdone; nice bite on the finish. 100% Merlot. 90-92. Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Boüard.

La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep looking, purple edge; earthy, some reductive notes; bit backward reductive on nose; palate cleaner; fresh and supple; not overdone; fresh and pure. I’d give this good marks for elegance and freshness: Very moreish. 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc & 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. 88-90+ Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Boüard.

Chateau Grand Ormeau, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated looking; ripe fruit, plummy, some spices, relatively unadorned but attractive for the purity; nice palate; density, spices, fruit and plums. Moreish. 88-90+ Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau de Viaud, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated; attractive ripe flavours, oak and spice; pretty deep; lots of density here. Extracted and pretty serious; Again good palate; nice guts and not overdone lots of fruit; new oak on the finish but lots of material here. 87-89+ Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep looking; vibrant, perfumed and lively; appetizing fresh cherry; nice entry, ripe fruit, acidity. Good fresh and clean. Appetizing. 87-89+ Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau de Chambrun, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep looking; purple edge; jammy and lifted red fruit nose; open but very worked; thick and ripe palate; modern and pretty universal style. Some tannin and chew on the finish. 86-88 Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau La Sergue, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated looking; solid and fresh on the nose; more briary fruits on aeration; some oak influence on the palate; a little dry; there is fruit here but feels disjointed. Will probably meld. 85-87 Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau Tournefeuille, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated look; looser meniscus; smoky and quite cool nose; chewy and old fashioned wine. Tannic and dusty. 84-86 Tasted at La Fleur de Boüard Weds 10th April 2013

Chateau Saint-Jean de Lavaud, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and saturated; dark and deep looking; earthy, slightly vegetal whiff; may clean up? Softish palate, but very earthy and vegetal. Not me at all. 82-84? Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau Perron La Fleur, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep and dense; dark core, purple at edge; full, quite ripe, thick, little lacking in dimensions; slightly nutty note at the edge. Oak dominated palate and feels disjointed; Dry tannins. Not well handled. Clumsy. 82-84? Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau La Gravière, Lalande de Pomerol

Deep but little tired looking at edge; quite evolved nose; round and forward; also light; some boiled sweets. Quite lightweight overall. 82-84 Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Chateau Jean de Gué, Lalande de Pomerol

Mid depth, bit lighter at edge; modest if attractive nose; some depth; little savoury note, some plum and spice notes too; little compact. Density from extractive winemaking methods. Vegetal hints. Will meld but don’t rush out to buy this one. 82-84 Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

Ambroisie du Chateau La Croix des Moines, Lalande de Pomerol

Very dense and saturated; feels alcoholic and dense; but also magnifying the elements; perfume from the oak; faintest whiff of green; rather astringent palate. Leaves it feeling chewy and a bit green. 82-84 Tasted blind at Le Cercle Rive Droite Sunday 7th April 2013

FRONSAC & CANON-FRONSAC

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These appellations have produced a serious set of wines in 2012. There is plenty of fruit, complexity in many cases and no shortage of style. I’d expect these to be well priced and should prove good buys, better bets frankly than many of their similarly priced counterparts on the Haut-Médoc in this vintage. As you’d expect of Fronsac/Canon-Fronsac the wines are more structured than many of those in the Côtes de Bordeaux, less lush, more intellectual. Having just said that Chateau de la Dauphine looks an absolute treat. It is really seductive.

I was also impressed with Aria du Chateau de la Rivière [as well as Chateau de la Rivière], Chateau Dalem, Chateau Gaby, Haut-Carles and Chateau de Carlmagnus, but many others should also provide positive drinking, Bordeaux with freshness, fruit, structure and style. The following wines were tasted blind at the Cercle de Rive Droite at Chateau Barde-Haut in St Emilion on Sunday 7th April 2013.

Chateau de la Dauphine, Fronsac

Thick and dark looking; very lush, layers of ripe fruit; some jam; unctuous but attractive; some mocha and coffee; palate sweet and ripe very forward and lush; pretty seductive effort. Very nicely done. Modern, forward and lush. 89-91+

Aria du Chateau de la Rivière, Fronsac

Deep and saturated; serious nose; wet stone, strong and deep; purity and some genuine minerality. Strong palate; minerality; sense of terroir. Good. Some sap. Serious effort with some complexity. 88-90

Chateau Dalem, Fronsac

Saturated but earthy purple edge; quite deep; fresh, slightly earthy and black cherry note; guts and grip; works quite well. Length and ambition here. Some tannin and fresh acid but works. 87-89+

Haut-Carles, Fronsac

Deep and arterial; very saturated look; fresher, less unctuous and more minerality here; more linear on the palate. Good effort. Chewy tannin but plenty of guts. Elegance and sap with good length. Fine effort. 87-89

Chateau Gaby, Canon-Fronsac

Mid depth, earthy purple; attractive mixed berry nose; some spice, little lift; quite rich on the palate; depth of fruit; spicy oak. Quite serious and should fill out. Should be good. 87-89+

Chateau de Carlmagnus, Fronsac

Mid depth; red/purple at edge; very earthy terroir note; very attractive; some lift; cherry and spice. Nice acid and freshness and very drinkable. 87-89+

Chateau de la Rivière, Fronsac

Earthy edge; dark looking; sour cherry, fresh and has depth; perfumed; oak influence too; quite structured palate; depth and chew; balanced and grippy; nice blackcurrants. Think this will come good. 86-88

Chateau Les Trois Croix, Fronsac

Deep and saturated; freshness, jam and sour cherry; spice too; oak influence on the palate, chewy but nice freshness and acid. Not bad. 86-88

Chateau Villars, Fronsac

Deep and very saturated look; tight to the rim; dusty, tannic nose; feels like it will be chewy; some jam; ripe entry, chewy, lots of extract and fruit; actually better than expected. Lots of material here. 86-88

Chateau Fontenil, Fronsac

Deep and saturated, purple at edge; ripe, not overblown, some mineral tones. Richness beneath, some spice; mid-weight palate; ripeness but nice tension if lacks a bit of complexity. 86-88

Chateau Moulin Haut Laroque, Fronsac

Deep and arterial in colour; ripe and pretty thick on the nose; some marzipan and fruitcake notes; some prunes; oak and tannin and extract that builds; lots of meat but oak tannin too. Should settle. Pretty big and serious effort. Little dry on the finish 85-87

Chateau Chadenne, Fronsac

Deep and dense; vibrant edge and lots of saturation; quite reductive at first, blackcurrants and cherry fruit comes out; quite dense palate, chewy and serious. Lots of sap and chew; maybe a bit lean but should fill out. 85-87+

Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie, Canon-Fronsac

Deep and saturated; legs; lots of super-ripe jam and lift; resin; very ripe, sweet entry, quite sublimated style; strawberries, red fruits. Very ripe. Dips at end. 85-87

Chateau Barrabaque, Canon-Fronsac

Pretty saturated look; plum and sour cherry tones with a little satin; full-ish palate, grippy on the finish. 85-87

Chateau La Vieille Cure, Fronsac

Mid depth; some earthy purple at edge; almost Morgon like; fresh fruit and cherry; spicy and fresh; very high toned and a bit acid. May settle. 84-86

Chateau Cassagne Haut-Canon, Canon-Fronsac

Earthy purple at edge; less dense colour than some; easy vibrant nose, fresh and some spice; almost Loire like; elegant palate, bit lean perhaps. May gain in weight but feels a bit hard at this stage. 84-86?

COTES DE BORDEAUX

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Good values to be had here in 2012 I expect. Most of the wines were tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite at Chateau Barde-Haut [an extremely well organized event] with a few others tasted elsewhere. The best Côtes de Bordeaux showed attractive fruit and good purity. They range in style from the forward and appetising, to really serious efforts with lots of style and verve. In this latter category Stephan von Niepperg’s Chateau d’Aiguilhe and Nicolas Thienpont’s Chateau Alcée in Castillon stand out as especially beautiful wines. I’ve also included notes on Domaine Virginie Thunevin, owned by Jean-Luc Thunevin’s daughter, but vinified by Thunevin himself. It’s delicious.

Overall 2012 looks much more promising than 2011 did at a similar stage and it feels more homogeneous. There’s still obviously variation here as we are talking a complex set of different terroirs under the Côtes de Bordeaux umbrella – Blaye, Francs, Castillon and Cadillac. Then there are differences in winemaking, vineyard practice and the vagaries of the weather in 2012. There were a number of wines that felt disjointed too but I expect them  to pull together. Ordinarily I would have re-tasted these but the pressure of time during the week meant that I only had one go. The week sped by in a flash, so I’m afraid it’s a bit sudden death. I’ve tried to be completely direct and honest in the notes in terms of what’s in the glass [not on the label].

A caveat on the scores. I’ve probably been pretty conservative overall [as usual]. These are primeurs notes and assessing such young wines is tricky and you are looking at a moving target. I’ve scored them in a two-point range, the upper score being what I’d hope they achieve obviously. As ever the notes are more important than the numbers. I stick ’em in as they are a necessary evil.

Chateau Alcée, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated look, vibrant edge; layered and plush on the nose, briary fruit with plums and a perfume lift; nice purity with minerality; sweet entry to the fruit, lots of layers and good density. Nice chew on the palate and good depth of material. Excellent effort. 89-91+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie-Macquin

Chateau d’Aiguilhe, Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated looking; very rich on the nose; mincemeat, sweet cake, density; plums and spices; very rich and ripe on the palate but somehow not overdone; plums, spices, real ripeness; chew and density on the finish. Very good length. Excellent 89-91+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Canon-La-Gaffelière

Chateau Reynon, Cadillac/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated, pretty young Bordeaux nose; vibrant and perfumed; quite moreish palate; well made wine; supple, ripe and easy; lots of joy here. 87-89+ Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau La Prade, Bordeaux Côtes de Francs

Deep and solid colour; vibrant rim; density here and a little more lifted; minerality with ripe red fruits, little jam and some plum & black cherry notes; plenty of fruit and density to the palate and a mineral finish. Nice bite. Good mouthful. 87-89+ Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie-Macquin

Chateau Puygueraud, Bordeaux Côtes de Francs

Deep and saturated; legs; healthly looking; some earth, nicely ripe fruit and lots of it; nice entry, fruity, lots of material and good density; nicely handled tannins. Sap and life here. Good effort. 87-89+ Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie-Macquin

Chateau Le Doyenne, Cadillac/Cotes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; tight to rim; vibrant edge; deep and thick nose; depth, extract; marzipan ripeness; some minerality [some complexity]. Attractive wine. Pure attack; ripe fruit, nice weight and mouthfeel. Good glass of Bordeaux. 87-89 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Carignan Prima, Cadillac/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; denser than last; more extracted aromas; denser with some oak and coffee bean notes; palate has some depth and bite. This works well. Earthy and spicy. 87-89 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Domaine Virginie, AOC Bordeaux

Vibrant colour; lots of lush and perfumed fruit, spices; very round, some spice and pepper tones; layered and very impressive polish and razzle-dazzle for AOC Bordeaux. Nice chew at the back 87-89 Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 with Jean-Luc Thunevin in St Emilion

Chateau Fourcas Maldoror, Côtes de Bourg

Mid depth; purple edge; ripe and soft; easy entry; ripe supple Merlot; simple and fresh. Appetizing. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Carignan, Cadillac/Côtes de Bordeaux

Mid depth, deep, purple edge; pepper and spice; almost good Loire-like Cab Franc? More sweetness and lift; some chew. Spicy and interesting. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Cap de Faugères, Castillon/Cotes de Bordeaux

Deep saturated look; very ripe Merlot, fatness; ripe some jam. Fat palate with lots of fruit not over extracted but a little one-dimensional. Nevertheless chewy and gutsy. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Haut Bertinerie, Blaye/Côtes de Bordeaux

Saturated colour; little looser at the edge; vibrant nose; emphasis on the briary fruit; real bounce and freshness on the nose; spice and earthy characters too. Positive finish. 86-88+ Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Clos Puy Arnaud, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; very ripe, unctuous and lots of jam; ripe fruit, jam; not over-extracted. Little on the jammy side but no shortage of fruit. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Veyry, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; slightly leaner, more coffee bean and Cab Franc influence or terroir? Not unattractive; earthy and enticing. Earthy palate, some tobacco. Earthy Bordeaux – chalk and cheese versus Clos Puy Arnaud. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Joanin Bécot, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and dense, saturated in glass; quite strong and big, if a little monolithic; supple palate but lacks a bit of life; chewy and gutsy. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Mont Pérat, Cadillac/Côtes de Bordeaux

Saturated but lighter edge; more vibrant; more coffee and sour cherry; fresher; vibrant; easy and open; emphasis on the fruit; mid weight not pushed; warm finish but not that bad; nice and modern. 86-88 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Marsau, Franc/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated look; sweet summer fruit compôte; some freshness and spice; leaner palate; some earthy notes; fresh. Okish but should come good. 85-87 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Côte Montpezat, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Saturated, slightly looser at the meniscus than some; soft, easy and open; perfumed; oak here; masks the fruit a little; dryness to the palate. Oaky. May settle. 84-86? Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Ampélia, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Looser at edge; some oak influence and a whiff of sourness; some spice; very much a lighter nose; more higher toned and acid. Feels leaner and lacks flavour. Bit hollow? 82-84 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Bel Air La Royère, Blaye/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep saturated colour to the edge; briary fruit; oak, spices; little sour note; feels a little pushed; quite chewy. Hard tannins and slightly green note. 82-84 Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau de France ‘Les Cerisiers’, Francs/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; legs; dense look; thick and rich lots of depth and fruit here. Pretty with depth. Palate feels a bit tannic and stretched with a little green streak at the back; vegetal note and too extracted. Promising nose, disappointing palate. 82-84? Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau de Laussac, Castillon/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; vibrant purple at edge; oak influence on the nose; quite fat fruit; little disjointed with make-up showing; lots of wood tannin dominating the palate; feels a bit mean and pinched overall with chewy tannin. 82-84? Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

Chateau Roland La Garde, Blaye/Côtes de Bordeaux

Deep and saturated; stones, minerality; feels a little hard; mean and dry. Not a good sample. 82-84? Tasted at the Cercle de Rive Droite, Sunday, 7th April 2013

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