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Pauillac tasting notes A-H

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Below are my raw tasting notes on the wines of Pauillac over the past twenty or so years listed alphabetically A-H. For Pauillac properties L-Z click here. The past half a dozen vintages are better represented following extensive tastings over the last four years, but other notes do go further back. Some notes are possibly a bit old but I hope they are helfpul. For detailed information on each chateau please click on the link of the individual chateau under this same heading. For similar ‘raw’ notes on other appellations click on the following for Haut-Médoc, St Estèphe, St Julien, Margaux, Pessac-Léognan, Pomerol and St Emilion. For notes on recent vintages click here for 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

Château Batailley, Fifth Growth, Pauillac,

  • 2015 Mid depth; dark core; bright blackcurrant fruit tones; graphite; good Cabernet tones on the palate; elegance; nice purity and harmony; nicely balanced; needs to infill in the middle a touch; supple tannins; attractive Batailley. Good length. [77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3& Petit Verdot, 48hl]. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. Drink 2024-2032. 90-92
  • 2014 Deep-ish; earthy purple at edge; cool, clean blackcurrant tones with some cassis; very attractive and composed; sweet ripe blackcurrant fruit on the palate which demonstrates excellent purity; textured with good mid-palate richness; this is very good Batailley; fine palate and shows the increasing class and sophistication at this property. Good length. Classy. [82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, yield 33hl/ha]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 91-93
  • 2013 Mid depth; purple edge; some cassis and blackcurrant aromas; cream; quite pure overall; nice attack with some polish and refinement; not pushed; little dry at end but the fruit appears to be there; acidity on the finish. Some length. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. 86-88 [Second note] Mid depth; blackcurrants aromas; sense of elegance; cool fruit tones; blackcurrant fruit tones on the palate with some structure evident but there is texture to this Cabernet – lean but not hard; fruit is there though some austerity on the finish. Should fill out a little during elevage. [94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 33hl/ha 13.%]. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2017-2025. 86-88+
  • 2012 Mid depth; perfumed and forward aromatics; attractive blackcurrant notes; lifted and forward; medium bodied with blackcurrant fruit tones on the palate; soft and harmonious tannins; lacks a bit of depth but round and enjoyable. Drink 2016-2025. 88 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep; healthy looking; some chalk, wet rock and depth; chewy with sturdy fruit but tannins a little angular. 86-88 Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note – better] Deep colour; healthy at edge; deep nose; attractive and feels full; palate reasonably caressing; full and nicely balanced wine; flesh and fine tannin. Good effort; feels ripe and nicely balanced with chew on the finish. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Tasted UGC Tuesday, April 9, 2013. 88-90+
  • 2011 Mid depth; attractive fruit on the nose – blackcurrants, undergrowth; clean blackcurrant fruit on the palate; cassis tones; fruit evidently gently handled, tannins ripe but wine not extracted; medium bodied and harmonious. Good effort. Drink 2016- 2028. 89+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking, vibrant edge; cream and blackcurrants, cassis, feels ripe; cool blackcurrant note, some summer fruit pudding; clean; blackcurrants and earth; density here; depth on the palate and chew but tannin good and nicely done again. Nice finish with good acid. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGC. 89-91+
  • 2010 Mid depth; deep core; very attractive and forward aromatically; spices, pain grillé notes, blackcurrants; lovely Pauillac aromatics – this is spot on! Blackcurrant and earthy notes on the palate; sturdy with lots of fruits and grip; nice balance and harmony; lots of depth and length with nice acidity too. Another terrific effort from Batailley to rival ‘09. Drink 2016-2035. 94+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; glossy; blackcurrant, some cool and fresh tones; quite polished; fresh blackcurrants on the palate; cassis; quite a structure beneath; acid and material; grip. Overall quite positive and correct. Grippy yes, but good length too. 91+ UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Deep centre, legs; some smoke, cream and blackcurrant; feels pretty seductive on the nose; Cabernet on the palate, strong; some higher toned notes; acid and grip here too; depth plus richness. Good mid-palate density. Warm at the end. Grip and tannin. [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot alc 13.5%] 90-92/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGCB [Second tasting] Deep colour; fresh blackcurrants, nice life, very attractive wine on the nose; some summer fruits; ripe and attractive; palate quite dense but some seductive perfume and then there is the solid core and the tannins. Ripeness here. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGCB
  • 2009 Mid depth; deep at core; attractive pure blackcurrant aromatics, very composed with a certain restraint; very appealing blackcurrant flavours on the palate; supple but with concentration and finesse. Very pure and open. Excellent. Lots of finesse. Drink 2016-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid red; depth; more opulent and polished than stable-mate Lynch-Moussas; blackcurrants, some graphite; cassis too; nice mid weight feel but this is really well done; not that far behind Pichon Lalande in its way; great palate, so much finesse here now; lots of fresh cabernet; grip and good structure; a joy. Very fine indeed. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Deep purple red; fresh nose, very bright cassis nose, very flattering and perfumed; substantial and round; some pencils and minerals with graphite too; this is really good. Palate very harmonious on the palate; cassis, fragrance and blackcurrant. Great stuff. This is a very fine wine and very harmonious. Excellent length. Should be terrific value. 13.4 degrees but you don’t notice it. 92+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Mid depth; nice development on the nose; Cabernet with some tobacco; some earth and lift; nice entry, some meat, savour and depth; some nice rose petal and blackcurrant tones on palate. Chew and grip at the end. Depth. Good effort. 90+ MW Institute Nov ’12
  • 2007 Mid depth; fraction short; weedy, leafy blackcurrant notes; feels quite light; light and lifted palate; not unattractive but an early maturing style; some oak; earthy blackcurrants on the palate; has come round in bottle. 87/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier note] 2007 Mid red; blackcurrants; some spice; chewy but clean fruit on palate and quite precise; tannic but pure; lacks mid palate richness but fresh. 86/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tastings.
  • 2006 Mid red, good colour; good strong nose of blackcurrants , some lead pencil/graphite, very clear and precise nose; fresh, also some layers here, bit of chocolate at the back; palate full and strong with blackcurrant fruit, structured with acid and tannin but all well integrated and not at all disjointed; very well balanced; some chew and extract here but everything in the right order. Good classical but also refined Pauillac. This would benefit from 5-10 years although pretty harmonious. 90/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 2005 Deep black red; tight to rim; still pent up; blackcurrants, cream but tight; palate concentrated with intensity. This needs another ten years to bloom. Potentially very fine but currently backward. Ripe tannin. Score reflects potential.  90+/100 June ‘09
  • 2004 Mid red; cassis and blackcurrant on the nose; palate quite grippy, blackcurrant fruit but tannins a little dry and chunky. Will probably round out and develop complexity. Fraction short. 87/100 Apr ‘10
  • 2003 Deep red; dark at core; legs; cassis and sweet blackcurrants; ripe quality; also figs and prunes, very full; palate sweet entry, lots of extract and tannins but very soft and ripe and round; good core of fruit; fruit coated in ripe tannin. This will age extremely well. Some graphite. Good finish. Intense blackcurrant; warm and ripe. One of the best Batailley’s I’ve tasted [though now eclipsed by 2009]. Needs five years to increase complexity but will live for 20 years at least. 90+/100 Aug ‘09
  • 2002 Mid red/black; mature Pauillac, strong blackcurrants and earth; palate full and quite strong; dips a bit at end; now feels mature. 87+/100 March ‘10
  • 2001 Mid red; lovely mature notes; blackcurrants, lead pencils; mid weight and satisfying; a reliable performer year in and year out. Quite chunky tannins but bags of flavour. This doesn’t disappoint. 88/100 March ‘10
  • 1997 Dark; quite feral and earthy nose; good grip and guts on the palate but coarser than expected. Difficult year to obtain much character. 84/100 Dec ‘03
  • 1996 Deep red black, up to rim, feral, earthy tobacco nose with blackcurrant cassis; nicely balanced palate. Feels more elegant than the 1995 – more acid and less body but still good. Later opened up [decanted] – more liquorice, leather and tobacco and some lead pencil at the edge; this is fine Batailley with 5 years of improvement and ten years of life ahead of it I reckon. 89+/100  March’ 07
  • 1995 Red/black; wonderfully mature Pauillac which feels quite fine; cedar, blackcurrants and roast meats; palate has medium concentration and flavour – a medium weight fine wine with nice balancing acidity. Will age further but fully mature now. Fuller than the ’96. Excellent 90/100 Nov’ 09 [Earlier note] Deep black, colour up to edge; initially a little feral and farty but blew off to reveal tobacco and lifted notes; charcoal and beef – palate mature, leafy with some tannic elements – but a wine with good grip and body. Mid-weight – not a blockbuster. Good. 87/100
  • 1983 light red/brown at edge; warm mature nose; light but with some cigar, leather, together with undergrowth and mushrooms on nose; palate soft and mellow; tannins agglomerated; lacks concentration and intensity and hollow in the middle. Lacks stuffing. Typical ’83 characters. 84/100 Dec ‘99
  • 1982 Deep red – lightening at edge; wonderfully sweet soft wine now; open; beefy palate with roasted notes. Excellent. Another bottle was more rustic and coarsely hewn. Same scores. 90/100 May ‘06
  • 1971 Tea coloured; dusty old dry tannins nose; faint hint of blackcurrant fruit; structure still there with some fruit and punctuation at end with tannin; mellow and delicate; probably never a great wine, faded now. 80/100 Mar ‘02
Château Bellegrave. Pauillac
  • 2014 Mid depth; dark core; slightly looser at edge; blackcurrant fruit; attractive and open; some layers; good stuff; fresh and cool Cabernet flavours; nice balance; good texture; elegance but also some layers; nice depth; good length. Balance. Drink 2027-2025. Tasted 30 March, 2015 Grand Cercle. 86-88+

Château Clerc Milon, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Glossy look; healthy; purple edge; ripe Cabernet aromatics; fuller and fatter than d’Armailhac on the day [and than at Mouton the previous day]; singular seam of blackcurrant fruit here; cassis and even some wine gum notes; fresh palate but also full with very good depth of fruit; plenty of flesh here this vintage; creamy fruit tones; again harmonious quality here. Excellent length. [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenère.] Drink 2024-2035. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. 92-94 [Earlier note] Mid depth; fresh looking; nice cassis and blackcurrant tones; spices; some wine gum notes; layered; classical Clerc Milon on the palate; a little stern at this stage but should be good. Tasted 4/4/16 at Mouton. Drink 2024-2032. 90-92
  • 2014 Deep and concentrated; vibrant edge; blackcurrant and cassis; some wet rock; nice purity; attractive cool blackcurrant tones; some pretty perfume at edge; Cabernets feel dominant in the blend; spices and blackcurrants on the palate; extract and matter; some chew and more material evident than on d’Armailhac; still more closed but fraction more fruit on display on the day. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 29% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdit, 1% Carmenere]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted at Mouton 30 March, 2015. 90-92+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; some cake spices; wet rocks and minerality; tight; palate also a little tight and sappy; fraction hardness; blackcurrant fruit emerges but the wine is tight and shows elevated acidity leaving it finish chewy at present. Tighter and more closed than at Mouton earlier in the week. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 87-89
  • 2013 Vibrant purple; glossy and healthy looking; nice blackcurrant fruit on the nose; cassis; feels fuller than d’Armailhac; oak and fruit on the palate; little compact but has structure; blackcurrants, some wood; lacks a bit of concentration at the back; should fill out. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere]. Drink 2018-2027. 87-89+ [Second note] Glossy look; purple at edge; fresh blackcurrants aromas; some plum too; sweet entry, some oak but pure; grippy but there is texture here; perhaps a fraction stretched at the end? Should fill out. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. 87-88 [Third note] Mid depth; cassis and menthol hints; blackcurrant tones also; softer entry and fruit here; glossier than sibling d’Armailhac; no dryness; elegant for sure and perhaps a little boney at the end. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2018-2028. 86-88
  • 2012 Mid depth; solid notes; chalky/wet rock; blackcurrants and cherry fruit tones on the palate with a salty/saline note; structure and acidity; a minerally Clerc Milon that needs a bit of time and that is currently lacking in expression. 2017-2025. 87+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; pretty, some perfume and blackcurrant cassis; blackcurrant fruit on the palate but a little hardness; fresh but a little angular on the finish. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 87-88+ [Earlier] Glossy and dark; ripe pure blackcurrant and cassis; some wet rock; elegant palate; blackcurrants; fruit here more plushness on this sample than at the UGC. Nice length. Good and pure. Tasted at Mouton, Tuesday April 9, 2013. 90-92 [Earlier at UGC] Mid depth; perfume, rose petal; blackcurrant; some lift; similar tones on the palate; bit chewy on the finish. Lean. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere. 87-88
  • 2011 Saturated but vibrant at edge; more stone fruit, some plum; some Cab freshness too; as always feels a bit leaner on the nose than d’Armailhac; purity though to the fruit – blackcurrant with a black cherry edge; blackcurrants and cassis on the palate; some spice but purity again; cooler and fresher even than d’Armailhac. Nimble and not over-extracted. Very refined and polished. Feels fresh. 91-92+ Tasted at Mouton 3/4/12 [Second note] Deep at core; vibrant edge; stone fruit, blackcurrant, some plum; fresh again, some stalkiness as before; blackcurrants; quite structured palate with acid; tannin very nicely handled. Will settle well. Cool. Some twist at the end. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGC. 91-92+
  • 2010 Mid depth; deep at the core; clear and slightly higher toned Cabernet style; clean, blackcurrant cassis; purity; density on the palate with some freshness; moreish palate; spices and blackcurrant tones dominate the palate; genuine length. Purity here. Linear and pure. Drink 2016-2035. 94+ Nov ’14 MW Institute [Earlier note] Deep and dense; glossy again; creamier, more pure blackcurrant; nice pure seam of fruit; classic palate; pure and textured with depth but also acid and grip and tannin. Lots of structure. Chewy and dense finish. Long term but very promising. 93+ UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Very deep and intense; fresh looking; little more evocative than the d’Armailhac – very pure, very fresh tasting; fresh blackcurrants again; summer fruit pudding; good structure, acid and tannin here; bit less evolved on the palate than on the nose; feels leaner and meaner but good chew and density and good length on the finish suggests more than enough fruit is here. Excellent length in fact 90-92+/100 Tasted 4 April at Mouton. [Second tasting] Deep core, legs, purple rim; ripe blackcurrant nose; cassis, some grip, leaf and density on the palate; feels that it’s quite infant; tannin and acid very present and lots of material; sample a trifle disjointed; Good length and grip on the finish. 90-92 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGCB [Third tasting] Deep and saturated; some summer fruit pudding; ripe and rich; deep and attractive; dense blackcurrant, quite grippy and fresh. Good length. Very good. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGCB
  • 2009 Deep and fresh looking; vibrant in the glass; blackcurrants, ripe fruit tones and wonderful freshness – real purity here; very clean blackcurrant fruit on the palate with great purity; needs time. Junior Mouton. Drink 2019-2030. 94+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; red at edge; purer and less meaty than d’Armailhac; lovely cassis and blackcurrant purity; this is quite excellent; nice oak well integrated; junior Mouton; lots of cassis and depth. Big palate, lots of power but cool and fresh blackcurrants; layered and excellent; great length too and certainly up a few notches from its primeur showing. 95/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Bright and clear, deep, purple at edge; very fresh and clean nose; cassis and blackcurrants; very pure and polished nose; blackcurrants on palate; slightly more drying tannins on palate; not quite the sweetness of the tannins of the Super Seconds but good concentration. More polished than the Grand Puy Ducasse but harder than d’Armailhac. 90+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGU Primeur tastings and at Mouton 1st April ’10.
  • 2008 Dense, more serious looking than d’Armailhac. Colour tight to edge. Quite high toned Cabernet; fresh; some earth; purity here; quite grippy palate with some chew. Pretty chewy finish. 88+ MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Mid depth, some red; blackcurrant and minerals; quite tight but feels polished; fresh blackcurrants on the palate; quite angular and boney but with density. Quite structured and rather angular tannins but otherwise pretty correct and feels fresh. 87/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier note] 2007 Mid red; little dumb; some spice and blackcurrant; palate a bit closed and mean; blackcurrants but quite dry and tannic. Tannins dry. Bit narrow. 84- 85?/100 Oct ’09  UGC London tastings.
  • 2006 Better depth, mid red; again some of that cider apple element but more stoney and mineral note; could this be ripe plumbs I’m confusing it with? Quite reserved and a bit dumb; palate quite hard and unyielding, yes blackcurrants and some spice; lots of structure and acid and firm on the palate. Good length but lacks flesh. Tannins ripe. Should show more eventually. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 1994 Dark; sweet oak and ripe fruit with concentration; structured and tannic palate. Tannins a little dry. 87/100 Barrel sample tasted at Mouton November ‘95

Chateau Croizet Bages, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Mid depth; healthy Cabernet tones; impressive purity here; ripe fruits on the palate with good middle; this is a harmonious effort from this property. Good Pauillac. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91+
  • 2014 Mid depth; lighter core; stalky and elegant palate with blackcurrant aromatics; reasonably clean; rather grippy and lacking in concentration on the palate. Lots of grip and sap. Austere and lacks depth of the best. Hopefully it will fill out. Drink 2020-2025. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 84-86
  • 2013 Mid depth; some stalky Cabernet aromatics if a little dumb overall; coolish blackcurrant on the palate; some graphite; chewy finish with quite a bit of acid sap. Chewy. Not that bad an effort. Tasted 1/4/14 85-87 [second note] Mid depth; light at centre; soft and light; some blackcurrant and red fruit tones; acidity on the palate and quite structured and grippy; lacks flesh on the bones. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot]. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2017-2023. 82-84
  • 2012 Lightish red; dusty red aromatics; easy palate; soft but lacking in concentration and a little hollow; easy-going nevertheless. Drink 2015-2022. 83 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; stalky Cabernet fruit; little awkward; lean on the mid-palate and tannic and grippy on the end. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013. 85-87 [Earlier note – better showinh] Deepish; healthy looking; lighter nose; some fruit. Blackcurrant notes and some depth and layers here; not unattractive; goodish palate, cassis little lean perhaps but should be good-ish. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak. 86-88
  • 2011 Mid depth; light blackcurrant tones with a little leaf; sturdy, spicy blackcurrant fruit tones but rather dry palate; unexciting and modest. Drink 2016-2021 85 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; creamy nose, blackcurrant, some leather; bitter chocolate note; lacks the shining purity of some; palate tannic, feels disjointed and very chewy. Over-extracted and rustic I’m afraid. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGCB. 83-85
  • 2010 Deepish; easy and open aromatics; blackcurrants, some spice; dust; open palate but of some saturation; good depth; nice chew to the fruit and sap; freshness too. Good effort from Croizet-Bages. Drink now-2025. 89+ MW Institute Nov 14 [Earlier note] Deep, saturated; earthy tinge; some leaf, blackcurrant and earthy tones; lacks a bit of precision; earthy, leafy blackcurrant flavours on the palate; some development too; little loose. Savoury tang at the end. Lacks the finesse and purity of the best Pauillacs. 86 UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; legs; some coffee, brooding; feels like there is depth here; some cassis. Tannic palate and feels extracted and dry. Grippy too. Overall a bit chunky and disjointed at present. 84-86?/100 5th April 2011 UGCB. [Second tasting UGC] Not bad colour or depth; ripe and lifted, not bad effort, dense; clean and attractive lacks the depth of the best, some blackcurrant, quite fresh. Better sample than previous 86-88+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGCB
  • 2009 Mid depth; some leafy blackcurrant tones with some spices; pretty good effort; some dryness to the tannin; maybe a bit chunky but one of the more memorable bottles of Croizet-Bages in recent years. Drink 2016-2025. 88+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Red; mid depth; some leaf and lift and as good as Lynch Moussas in my book; ripe palate; some leafy Cabernet tones with iron, menthol and cassis. A Croizet-Bages you can recommend. 88+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Quite dark and extracted looking; more earth and mineral note; less fresh; palate less sophisticated and tannins tough. A little more rustic. OK. May settle down. 86?/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April 2010.
  • 2008 Mid depth; little neutral at first, some sweetness, whiff of cider apple; grip on palate with some blackcurrant and plum tones and touch of black cherry; lacks richness on the palate; some chew at the end. Feels a little compact on this showing. 87 MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Mid red; lacks depth; some tobacco and leaf; palate lean and lacking in fruit with dry tannins. Pretty unappealing. 78/100 MW Institute Nov ’11
  • 2006 Mid red, lacks depth, weak at rim; leafy, old fashioned nose, stalky, some strawberry, palate lacks concentration, more cru bourgeois than cru classe; some spice but lacks concentration and flesh. Empty and washed out on the palate. Not a great effort. 82/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10.

Château d’Armailhac, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Deep core; purple edge; healthy looking; vibrant; attractive aromatics; ripe; some beauty; cream; blackcurrants; cassis; nice qualities; purity; caressing entry on the palate; fresh blackcurrants; black cherry; harmonious and round; little sap and freshness on the end which makes for a positive finish. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2023-2032. Tasted 5/4/16 at UGCB. 90-92+ [Earlier note] Deepish; nice fresh purple hues at the edge; bright, crunchy fruit; blackcurrants; little reductive but fresh; cool blackcurrant tones; harmonious extraction; mid weight to the palate; grip on the finish. Drink 2023-2030. Tasted 4/4/16 at Mouton. 89-91
  • 2014 Deep core; purple red at edge; attractive Cabernet purity; very pretty Cab; flattering at this stage; some wet rocks; blackcurrant and oak on the palate; chew and some density; balanced with decent sense of equilibrium; has flesh and good length. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. 13.8% alc]. Drink 2021-2028. Tasted Mouton 30 March, 2015. 89-91+ [additional note] Deep and saturated look; creamy notes; some fruitcake elements; spices and cassis; little lift; wet rock notes; cool entry to the palate – blackcurrants and cassis and tannin and extract on the finish. Little pushed in feel at the back but textured in the mid palate with some chew to resolve in the tannins. Drink 2020 – 2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 87-89+
  • 2013 Deep at centre; purple at edge; vibrant looking; attractive perfume; lift and blackcurrants; cool fruit tones; chewy fruit on the palate; some spice; quite polished; feels bit compact; wood showing a bit; lacks a bit of charm at present; solid; some grip though not puckering; still a bit clipped overall. [59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88 [Second note] Deepish; vibrant at edge; stalky and slightly reductive Cabernet nose; some boiled sweet tones; palate more open and slightly sweeter than at Mouton; more cream this time; blackcurrants on the palate; acidity gives freshness. Good showing. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. 87-88+ [Third note] Mid depth; stalky blackcurrant aromas; bit reductive but clean and fresh; some polish on the palate but also firm and slightly pinched feel; spicy and fresh blackcurrant flavours; fraction austere on the finish. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2018-2025. 85-87
  • 2012 Mid depth; lighter at core; wet rock, little apple notes; some blackcurrant aromatics; some blackcurrant and red fruit tones on the palate with some chew to the tannins; feels a little clipped at the back and not a huge amount of flesh currently evident. Drink 2017-2025. 86 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; deep core; stalky berry fruits; some red fruit tones; softer palate than previous UGC sample; more mid-palate richness to this. Chewy finish. Tasted UGC April 11, 2013. 87-89 [Earlier note] Mid depth; more perfume; blackcurrant tones; some cassis; more elegant and a fraction softer than the UGC samples. Nice length. Tasted at Mouton, Tuesday April 9, 2013. 88-90 [Earlier note] Mid-depth; deep core; some perfume, blackcurrants; some oak influence but a little disjointed; settled with some aeration; blackcurrant fruit on the palate with oak influence; little drying on the finish. Feels quite tannic and disjointed [cold samples?] though there appears to be good fruit. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. 86-88
  • 2011 Very deep, lovely colour, saturated but looks vibrant; lots of ripeness; some cream and loads of cassis and blackcurrant; refined; nice attack on the palate, lots of fruit; purity, coolness – fresh blackcurrant notes; harmony here; mid weight overall; easy tannins, nicely handled; some chew and bite on the finish. Good length. Good effort  indeed. 91-92+ Tasted at Mouton 3/4/12 [Second note] Deep and saturated; riper notes, red fruits; some blackcurrants; cassis; creamy. Nice cool blue fruit Cab; some higher toned notes; nice extraction on the palate but not overdone; cool and pure. Little more angular and structured sample than at Mouton [which had been decanted]. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGCB. 91-92+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; blackcurrant Cabernet and spicy Cabernet Franc tones; ink; saturated full style aromatically; blackcurrant tones and spices on the palate; full and chewy style with some vigour but also approachability; clean with good tannic twist at the end. Drink 2016-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; quite glossy looking; leafy, blackcurrant note; freshness and strength beneath; feels pretty classic; nice blackcurrant flavours again on the palate; quite dry tannin and more classic than say ’09. Nice acid grip here that provides freshness [and longevity]. Vintage comes through. 91+  UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; black at the centre; healthy sheen; some minerality, rocks, with blackcurrants; dense; little more subdued than usual; creamy; good concentration on the palate; quite fresh feel; blackcurrants; classical wine with race; density and concentration; great mid-palate; very good chew and length on the end; real bite. Lively. Good length. Should be very good. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, alcohol 14] 90-92/100 4th April 2011 at Mouton Rothschild [Second tasting] Deep and dark, legs, saturated looking; sweetness and ripeness here; cassis and layered nose; attractive; quite concentrated and dense on the palate but there is fruit here; but lots of tannin and grip; lots of extract here. Chewy finish. Intensity and grip. Long life ahead. 90-92/100 5 April 2011. [Third tasting UGCB] Deep and dense; full of colour, full of extract too; ripe and full nose, blackcurrants, some lift here; attractive; chewy on the palate but with freshness; clean; blackcurrants again; grip and acid. Nice and fresh. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGCB
  • 2009 Mid depth; deep at centre; round with leafy blackcurrant, cream and apple tones; more elegant and akin to Haut-Batailley; cassis and blackcurrants on the palate with some earth. Very appealing. Drink 2016-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid red/purple; depth and legs; very attractive and pretty; earthy blackcurrant, meat and tobacco; quite sexy and open; cassis too; earthy blackcurrant tones on the palate too; sweet attack, some floral notes; roses and freshness too; grip on the end of the palate and structure, oodles of lovely fruit here. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Deep, vibrant purple at edge, legs; fresh more perfumed than the Clerc Milon; some real strawberry and cassis here; red fruits; good mid palate richness; really well done here. Very ripe but nicely extracted. Round and supple tannins. Mid weight. Excellent. 90-92+ Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tastings and tasted at Mouton separately.
  • 2006 Mid red, less tight to rim than Duhart, attractive lift, some of that cider apple ripeness again; blackcurrants too but not as showy as usual; palate feels a bit angular and there is a little hardness here although also some freshness and life that suggests this will come round and age into something interesting. Vintage overall feels a bit like a less rich version of 2006. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 2008 Mid depth; little neutral at first, some sweetness, whiff of cider apple; grip on palate with some blackcurrant and plum tones and touch of black cherry; lacks richness on the palate; some chew at the end. Feels a little compact on this showing. 87 MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Mid depth; some red at rim; that meaty, rose hip d’Armailhac style present even in this vintage; blackcurrants too, some layers here in fact; attractive leafy, spicy blackcurrant palate, quite open and easy with round tannin and a reasonably generous palate; some grip on the finish. Pretty good and more come-hither than stablemate Clerc Milon. 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [earlier note] 2007 Mid red; some feral savory notes and blackcurrants; still quite hard though; fresh but angular and tannic; little more round on the palate than Clerc Milon but still feels pretty angular. May round out? 84?/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tasting.
  • 2005 Purple red; legs; meaty notes to the nose; some rose petal and perfume; attractive and quite pretty; palate quite chewy but polished, fine grained tannins and nicely balanced; length to the palate with concentration and extract but harmonious and balanced. There is still a sturdy Pauillac quality here too. Very good. 92+/100 Tasted June ‘10
  • 1994 Good colour; rich ripe coconut nose with blackcurrant seam; elegant closed palate. Promising. 88+/100 Barrel sample tasted at Mouton November ‘95

Château Duhart-Milon, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Mid depth; earthy purple rim; little graphite; pencils; some cassis; elegance; not big; some spicy plum notes; elegant palate with quite pronounced acidity; grippy and quite modest in shape for Duhart at this stage. Needs to flesh out and fill out. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot]. Drink 2023-2032. Tasted 4/4/16. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep core; full looking; purple at edge; fractionally tighter to the rim than Carruades; fine, lead pencil Cabernet nose; gloss too and some prettiness; creamy blackcurrant fruit tones here; cool blackcurrant fruit on the palate; quite exceptional fruit tones in fact; Cabernet par excellence; lots of extract and matter but held in wonderful proportion; softly handled tannins; terrific length. Exquisite Duhart. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot 13% alc, harvest 23-29 September for Merlot, 29 September to 10 October for Cabernet Sauvignon.]. Drink 2019-2035. Tasted 30 March, 2015 at Lafite. 93-95+
  • 2013 Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; little earthier on the nose; quite tight though; blackcurrants and graphite on aeration; some freshness on the nose; cool entry; quite tight; some chew to the tannins; lacks the gloss of the better vintages phenolically speaking; little dryness; some sap and acidity on the end; lacks a bit of generosity on the finish but will doubtless fill out more during elévage. [80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot]. Tasted at Lafite April 2014. Drink 2018-2030. 88-90
  • 2012 Deeper than Carruades; very blackcurrant nose; tobacco too and coffee bean hints; cassis and blackcurrant really come through on aeration; again earthy note like Lafite here; firm, quite dense palate; some leafy hints; mid-palate a fraction pinched and firmness to the tannins at the end. Good-ish length. 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot. Tasted at Lafite April 9, 2013. 90-91+
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; earthy purple at edge; vibrant; blackcurrants and black cherry; earth and graphite; tauter than last few vintages but fresh and clearly pent up; dense and tight on the palate; seam of blackcurrant fruit. Pure if tight at this stage. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25%% Merlot 12.7% alc. Tasted 6/4/12 at Lafite. 92-93+
  • 2010 Deep at centre; resinous blackcurrant aromatics; some ink; backward at first; cassis; wet rocks; compact at present on the palate there is intensity here and a tight fist of concentrated fruit – this wine has gone into its shell; reticent and closed [going the same way of the 2005?]. Very promising at primeurs but undoubtedly closed at present – leave for five year at least. Drink 2019-2035. 93+ MW Institute Nov 14 [Earlier note] Very dense; up to the rim; saturated; lovely depth to the nose; touch tighter and more pent up than the Carruades; cool and very deep; really intense cassis and blackcurrants; very pure and very focused; freshness on the palate with layers; very creamy and ripe blackcurrant flavours but with depth and length; lots of sublimation here; chewy blackcurrant finish. Lovely length. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot alc 13.5] 94-96+/100
  • 2009 Mid depth; dark core and healthy looking; attractive blackcurrant aromas; cedar tones, some spice and elegance – certainly focused on the nose; nicely layered palate with real clarity to the fruit; pure blackcurrant tones and nice concentration; tightness suggests this has much to offer down the line; overall harmonious and quite a lot of material on the finish with fresh acids too. Elegant and focused with excellent balance. Is to Lafite what Clerc Milon is to Mouton. Drink 2019-2035. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep saturated black; legs and tight to the rim; very fresh and ripe wine; wonderfully lush blackcurrants; very open – density too and deep; graphite and lead pencils; slightly lighter in weight than Carruades but only by degrees; very pure blackcurrant; wonderful purity of flavour; cassis, blackcurrants. Great wine, lovely length; very round. This is close to Super Second in quality and in its way nearly as good as Pichon Baron and Pichon Lalande in 2009.  94+/100 Tasted 1st April ‘10 at Duhart-Milon
  • 2008 Quite deep; cool blackcurrant aromas with cassis and pencil shavings, some leaf and undergrowth; excellent; lots of purity on the palate; blackcurrant, spice; nice chew too; very focused, pure and elegant. 92+ MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Mid red; some development at the edge; earthy blackcurrant nose; quite weedy and leafy, not unattractive [reminds me a little of the ‘97] some spice too; polished palate, blackcurrant, leaf and undergrowth. Fairly lightweight overall. Not a bad effort. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ‘11
  • 2006 Mid depth; good colour; bit closed at first, blackcurrants and lead pencil on aeration, quite attractive and forward when it opened up; the most attractive of the Pauillac wines on the nose; blackcurrants on the palate, again quite firm, some chocolate too; good structure and tannin here, has more than enough flesh to cope. Remains elegant but very good to excellent. 90-92/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 2005 Dark black red, earthy looking; legs in the glass; creamy, ripe fruits on the nose, blackcurrants and real depth here but very pent up and needs to open; blackcurrants on the palate, elegant and concentrated with real intensity; resinous and layered feel though extremely closed and compact at present. After a few hours in the decanter the nose opened up more with graphite, blackcurrants and smoky tones but the palate remained very backward and pent up, though obviously layered and intense. Great focus and good structure with balancing acid too. Needs five years plus to open out but will age well for decades I reckon. Potentially 92-93+/100 Dec ‘10
  • 2000 Mid depth, earthy red; still relatively youthful; cedar, lead pencil; some blackcurrant beneath but not obviously ‘Pauillac’ – feels more St Julien in style; palate medium weight and quite elegant; lacks a little oomph; though well balanced and moderately concentrated. Very good. 88-90/100 Dec ‘09
  • 1997 Red; close to edge; feral edge to nose, earthy cab, reasonable substance and structure for the vintage but a lightish wine. 84/100 Oct ‘06
  • 1990 Red with some mahogany; fully mature palate with cedar and tobacco; quite elegant and mature mid-weight wine with intensity. Fine and elegant in the context of the vintage which was hot and many wines big. 90/100 Oct ‘06
Château Fonbadet, Cru Bourgeois, Pauillac
  • 2015 Deeply coloured; ripe cassis and blackcurrant tones; some stone fruits and smoke; minerality; ripe fruit on the palate; intense and fresh; blackcurrant and cassis again; very good effort for Fonbadet. Drink 2023-2030. Tasted Cru Bourgeois, 7/4/16. 88-90
  • 2014 Deep and saturated looking; cassis; fruit cake and some jam; ripe fruit; creamy note; oak needs to settle; modern styled; ripe picked fruit. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted Cru Bourgeois 2 April, 2015. 86-88

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Deep and saturated; dark core; ripe blackcurrants; cassis; some coffee; bright and fresh fruit; grip and structure; this is impressive wine. Length. Drink 2024-2030. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. 91-93 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; nice at edge; deep and rather lush aromas; quite layered; lovely black fruits; cassis; black cherry; lovely purity here; top notch; lovely fruit on the palate – really pure and clean; is this the finest GPD since the 2009? Lovely elegance on the finish. Lots of matter and fruit. Drink 2024-2030. Tasted 4/4/16 at Ch. Meyney. 91-93.
  • 2014 Attractive depth; deep and vibrant at edge; bright fruit; clean; blackcurrants; cassis and cream; clarity and purity on the palate; blackcurrant tones; nice chew and density; good grip and structure; fresh acidity; fresh and pure Pauillac; good length and nicely ripe tannin. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Ch Meyney, 30 March, 2015. 88-90+ [Additional note] Deep and dark looking; purple edge; some oak influence; scented; then cool blackcurrant aromas beneath; palate has blackcurrant fruit and fresh vibrant acidity; bit grippy this sample but it will settle. Bright fruit. Fresh. Drink 2016-2030. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 88-90
  • 2013 Deep and dense; oaky but with sweet ripe fruit behind; glossy; blackcurrant cassis and some layers; good palate; nice fruit; little integration needed; gutsy but nicely judged extraction. Balanced. [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot]. Tasted Ch Meyney 31/3/13. Drink 2018-2028. 86-88+ [second note] Deepish; vibrant edge; little dumb initially; some cream and whiff of blackcurrants on aeration; palate reasonably full and inky; some chew; needs to settle a bit; acidity more marked than some. Tasted UGC 1/4/13. 86-88 [third note] Mid depth; spices, blackcurrants; very elegant aromatics; palate little dominated by new oak; feels a little dry; needs to fill out; chewy. Has more fruit than Haut-Bages Libéral. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2028. 86-88
  • 2012 Deep and dark looking; sturdy blackcurrant aromatics; full with an attractive smoky edge; blackcurrants and spices on the palate; full and attractive with supple, harmonious tannins. Easygoing but sturdy enough to take some age. Good effort. Drink 2016-2028. 89+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; perfume; blackcurrant tones and lift; precise and pure on the nose; with some fat Merlot here; wood on the palate but lots of fruit; feels a little disjointed but should meld as there is lots of extract, fruit and density tp soak this up. Fresh finish. Tasted at Chateau Meyney, Thursday April 11, 2013. 87-89 [Earlier UGC note] Mid depth; healthy looking; pure blackcurrant aromas; nice cassis tones; oak dominated the palate a bit but should settle as there is plenty of fruit. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013. 87-89 [Additional note] Mid depth; purple at edge; blackcurrants, cassis; some oak; needs to integrate further; pretty pure overall and extract and tannin on the finish. Feels chewy and tannic at this stage. Should settle. Tasted UGC April 9, 2013. 87-89
  • 2011 Mid depth; little dumb initially; sturdy, wet rocks; core of chunky blackcurrant fruit on the palate; good effort if less flattering and complete [at this stage] than Batailley. Firm-ish finish. Needs a bit of time to come together. Drink 2018-2028. 88+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; saturated but healthy looking; vibrant edge; nice fruit, blackcurrants, cassis and well integrated oak; pure; good entry, sweet fruit; elegance; wood on the palate but supple in its way; lots of cassis fruit. Little chunkiness to the tannins but nice length. Very good effort. 88-90 Tasted at Chateau Meyney 2/4/12  [second note from UGCB] Deep, dark; nice cool cassis and blackcurrants and some earth; lots of flavour; good wine here; purity; nice palate some beauty to the wine, very clean and pure; lovely seam of blackcurrant fruit. A good buy potentially depending on price. Chewy on the finish but harmonious overall. Good length. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGCB. 88-90+
  • 2010 Dense and deep at centre; quite dense at edge; blackcurrants, pure and fresh; chewy and dense palate; plenty of material and lots of grip but lots of blackcurrant flavour too. Nice length. Very good effort here. 91+ UGCB Nov ’10 [Earlier note] Very saturated, deep; very clean, blackcurrant, depth, not majorly expressive, ripe, some cassis; real depth and concentration on the palate; feels a bit woody and tannic on the palate; acid here too. Feels strong but bit currently disjointed. Will meld no doubt[60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot] 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGCB [Second tasting UGC] Deep and dark; up to rim; blackcurrants, quite seductive quite full; some blackcurrant even tobacco; ripe and full; chewy and ripe. Good grip and lift. Promising. 89-91+/100 Tasted 7 April UGCB [Third tasting] Deep and saturated; vibrant looking; blackcurrant, fresh, some smoke and cassis here; oak little obvious for now on the palate; will meld; density, grip and tannin here. Structured and correct. Would like a bit more flesh but guess that’s the vintage. 88-90/100 Tasted 8 April at Chateau Meyney
  • 2009 Mid depth; dark core; ripe blackcurrant aromas with spices; some earth and wet rock notes; wine gums on aeration; layers and depth obvious; good blackcurrant fruit on the palate; ripe but with grip; real freshness; lovely fruit but nice acid and round tannins. Finesse here too. Drink 2015-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; legs; lovely satiny opulent style from this vastly improved Pauillac estate; a junior Lalande? Freshness again on the palate and satin fruit; dips a fraction but this will fill out for sure. Another excellent effort here. 92/100 UCGB Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Very saturated colour; tight to the rim; very dense wine on the nose, blackcurrants, flesh, more depth, very ripe nose and rich, some tobacco notes also; great palate which has not surprisingly filled out considerably since the wine was shown at the primeur tastings. Lovely blackcurrant fruit, cassis, rich and opulent; almost velvety quality here; dense yet supple and lots of ripe tannin. This is now looking a terrific wine, full of flavour but also freshness here too. Pure. Surely the best Ducasse yet? 13.7% alcohol 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot 92-94+/100 Tasted at the chateau Nov ’10.  [Earlier note] 2009 Dark black, tight to rim; pretty ripe fruit; very blackcurrant style; very fresh and very ripe cassis; sweet ripe fruit; little chunkier tannin here but very good effort. Good intensity and fruit on the palate. Little more tannin chunkiness but very good. Should be very good value. Bold. Best Ducasse of recent years. 90+/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Deep concentrated colour; red purple at edge; blackcurrants, cassis, some tobacco leaf; quite forward nose; blackcurrants, good grip and structure, acid and tannin; lots of grip and acid, should come together as there is flesh. Needs 5 years. 88+/100 Tasted at the chateau Nov ‘10
  • 2007 Mid depth, red at edge; pure blackcurrant fruit nose, little additional development and feels fresh, though lacking complexity; palate full, rocks, wet stones and dusty tannin, a little angular overall. Maybe needs another year or two? 86+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier note] 2007 Mid red; some of the rose hip; blackcurrants, stones and minerals; some cream but palate tough and tannic. 84-86?/100 UGC London tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2000 Youthful purple at edge; solid at core; quite dense blackcurrant nose, with new oak and concentration – palate medium bodied, closing down a little but lots of nice chewy blackcurrant fruit here with cassis – quite ‘pure’ in style with a little earthiness. Good 88-90/100 Sept ‘06

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Deepish; healthy looking; lovely blackcurrant fruit – nice purity; roundness; pretty fruit – very ‘jolie’ again; nice cassis tones; blackcurrants; ripe fruit; more oak to integrate on the palate but that is fine [75% new oak]; nice grip and structure; lovely wine here as usual. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 45hl/ha]. Drink 2024-2035. Tasted 7/4/16 at Grand-Puy-Lacoste. 93-95+ [Earlier note]. Deep at core; earthy purple; graphite; blackcurrants; attractive and layered; palate full with plenty of fruit and round, harmonious tannins; full and harmonious; lovely blackcurrant fruit here as usual. Very good indeed. [74% Cabernet, 23% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 13.5%]. Drink 2023-2035. Tasted 5/4/16 at UGCB. 93-94+
  • 2014 Deep and attractive looking; opaque at centre; legs: blackcurrant cassis; quite supple; cassis; freshness; some cherry; cool entry; blackcurrant fruit; nice precision and harmony; attractive fruit; nicely handled on the palate; nice fresh; blackcurrants; very nice purity overall; very harmonious Pauillac. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 13.5 alc, 75% new oak]. Drink 2020-2035. 91-93+ [Earlier note] Deep-ish; minerals, chalk; cool blackcurrants at the back; tight on the palate; cold sample; acidity present. Has all the elements but subdued sample [cf one tasted at Grand-Puy Lacoste earlier in the day]. Drink 2017-2032. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 89-91
  • 2013 Deep and saturated at centre; healthy looking; very attractive blackcurrants, purity and sweetness here; substance here and really nice glossy blackcurrant tones; creamy blackcurrant fruit on the palate with nicely integrated oak; very composed and defined indeed for the vintage; very good balance and good acidity; real delicacy here and very complete; elegant wine; moreish; good length on the finish. Excellent effort in the context. Up there with Lafite and Mouton qualitatively. [80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 75% new oak, 31hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2030. 90-92+ [Second note] Mid depth; creamy and pure on the nose; pretty and attractive blackcurrants and cool blue fruit tones; attractive and pretty; very pleasurable palate; nicely balanced; creamy blackcurrants; real elegance. Very nicely done. Complete. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. Drink 2018-2030. 89-91+
  • 2012 Mid depth; charming aromatics; blackcurrants, some pencil shavings; nicely complex; fine and harmonious palate with lovely balance; real purity to the fruit and genuine harmony. Medium weight, so not a blockbuster, but everything in proportion here. Drink 2016-2030. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; cassis, blackcurrants; very dense and very attractive; layers of cool blackcurrants here; good on the palate with lots of chew and depth; lovely balance here; extract but tannins fine and really impressive length. Tasted Friday April, 12, 2013 at Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste. 91-93+ [Earlier notes from UGC] Deepish; pure Cabernet aromas and some perfume; blackcurrants beneath; earthy entry; very good density and pretty fine. Fresh finish. This is better than Pichon-Baron this year. Good effort. Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013. 90-92+ [Earlier note] Mid depth; vibrant edge; lots of attractive Cabernet fruit here; blackcurrants; some stalks; sense of freshness and vibrancy; again lively Cab on the palate; quite tight on the end but plenty of extract and material. Nice length if grippy at present. Promising. UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot. 89-91+
  • 2011 Mid depth; wet rocks, stalky blackcurrants; some cassis; elegant on the palate with some intensity; there is tannin and grip to resolve – needs four or five years to settle but has the required purity. Drink 2018-2030. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep saturated colour, vibrant at edge; nice minerality, cassis, blackcurrants; summer compote; nice purity and clarity here; cassis and pure blackcurrants on the palate, very cool but plenty of fruit. Purity is the key word here. Very classy this vintage. Nicely done. Tannin harmonious. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGCB.  92-94+
  • 2010 Deep and dark looking; wonderful blackcurrant purity on the nose; pencil shavings and graphite; very tight but focused seam of fruit here; genuine intensity and purity; lovely texture to the palate; blackcurrant fruit again; some earthy notes; and grip to the tannins but really this is very impressive stuff; very good length on the end. Very substantial but elegantly expressed. Drink 2017-2035. 95+ Tasted Nov ’14 MW Institute [Earlier note] Thick and dense looking in the glass; nice layered blackcurrant nose; some lift; attractive; some graphite; very nicely judged palate – blackcurrants, leafy undergrowth notes and well structured. Grippy and classical and very nicely done. Plenty of fruit here to fit this firm, classical structure I expect. 93+ UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; nice cassia and blackcurrants; fresh; almost some mint and menthol; palate concentrated and intense with depth; not over extracted here. Quite fine. Dips away a fraction at the end but overall very good 89-91/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGCB. [Second tasting] Thick and dark looking; ripe and thick nose, blackcurrants, ripe and creamy; dense, concentrated wine with some freshness; quite firm with acid, chewy and dense. Good freshness here. Intense. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2010
  • 2009 Mid depth; dark centre; healthy looking; fresh blackcurrants and lift; some resin and ink; complex; pencil shavings – classic classed growth Pauillac; nicely done; forward on the palate with delicious blackcurrant tones and round and harmonious tannins; elegance and very top draw Bordeaux. Oh what a lovely vintage this is here! This wine epitomizes these best qualities. Drink now-2035. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier] Mid depth; purple edge’ kegs; leafy, fresher styled Cab nose; classic Pauillac; mid weight on the palate; lovely Cabernet here; ripe but cool and not at all overdone; very measured and polished with finesse. 93+/100 UGCB Oct ’11
  • 2008 Mid depth; earth looking; some development and melding here; some spice and earth, minerality; earthy blackcurrant with leaf, quite Pauillac; nice tension on the palate between the chew and the sap of the wine. Moreish. Good length and good effort. 90+
  • 2007 Mid red, depth; earthy feral lift initially with leafy blackcurrant behind; layers here; palate feels fresh with some herbal blackcurrant notes and nicely handled tannin. Elegant, harmonious and nicely proportioned. 89+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘11
  • 2006 Not as deep as some; some leaf and lift along with blackcurrant; not unattractive; some pretty strawberry notes and blackcurrants – attractive in a high toned way – some lead pencil beneath; palate quite pure blackcurrants with some lead pencil and graphite notes – good; quite fine – not too forced or pushed here. Attractive wine on the elegant side but works. 90/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 1995 Dark; primary blackcurrant fruit on nose; little closed; well structured with good grip. Dumb phase, clearly good and concentrated though. 92/100 May ‘06
  • 1988 Youthful red; little dumb; quite dense and chewy; tannic with lots of guts; quite tannic. 88/100 Apr ‘08
  • 1982 Deep red; strapping nose of blackcurrants and graphite; chewy, dense pure palate of blackcurrants; strong. 90/100 May ‘06

Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Deepish; vibrant edge; fresh; some spice; blackcurrant cassis; minerality; palate a little compact and oak showing for now; will settle well; sappy finish; has vigour and freshness. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 13.5%]. Drink 2023-2030. Tasted 5/4/16 UGCB. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep and vibrant looking; mealy note; herbal tones; spices and some blackcurrants; sample a little dumb/subdued; elegant palate; high toned; lacks mid palate richness; freshness and acidity very present. Should settle. 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 40% new oak. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted UGC 2 April, 2015. 85-87
  • 2013 Mid depth; light at edge; cool and fresh aromatics; stalky Cabernet tones; attractive fruit on the palate but lacks density and depth but not too puckering. Softish finish. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 40% new oak]. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. 85-87 [second note] Mid depth; little dumb; palate angular and acidic; feels very tight and rather thin with pronounced acidity on the finish. Fresh certainly but overall rather meagre. Tasted UGC 3/4/14. Drink 2018-2025. 83-85
  • 2012 Mid depth; fresh and vigorous blackcurrants on the nose; some stalky notes; entry soft and vibrant with attractive blackcurrant tones and spices; some development here; perhaps a little compact [the vintage] but round and nicely handled in the cellar. Elegant and vibrant Pauillac. Drink 2016-2025. 88+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; vibrant edge; high toned; some perfume and violet lift; almost floral tones; blackcurrants on the palate; little dryness and tannins very present. Palate feels a little lean. Should fill out but will always be ‘fresh and grippy’. Tasted UGC April 11, 2013. 86-88 [Earlier note] Mid depth; not as saturated as Lynch-Bages; more floral tones; pretty and lifted; spice, perfume and blackcurrants. Attractive and pretty on the nose; more earthy notes on the palate; leaf and blackcurrant and a bit of undergrowth; tannins dry and lacks a bit of mid-palate richness. Will fill out but will always be a leaner, sappy style. Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot. 87-89
  • 2011 Mid depth; light spicy blackcurrant tones; more stalky blackcurrant fruit on the palate; quite tight and grippy at the end. Will settle but a lean style. Drink 2016-2026 86+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep, vibrant at edge; ripe cassis, blackcurrants, purity here; feels good; summer pudding notes; ripe fruit on the palate but quite structured; feels a little angular but will probably fill out. Structured but with probably enough flesh. Firm acid. Bite at the end. Tasted 3/4/12 and 5/4/12 at UGCB. 86-88
  • 2010 Deep; fresh blackcurrant aromatics; some wet rocks notes; attractive in a vibrant and vivacious way; vibrant, fresh palate; more grip and sap in evidence; attractive in a fresher style; shorter length than Grand-Puy-Lacoste immediately before. Good value, fresh vigorous Pauillac. Drink 2016-2030. 91+ Tasted Nov ’14 MW Institute [Earlier note] Mid depth; fresh looking; clean, some purity, blackcurrant and layers; grippy palate, blackcurrants but quite high acid makes things feel pretty grippy. This will have a long life I’m sure but the present acid makes it feel a little lean. May improve. 86+ UGCB Nov ’12 [Earlier note] Deep, saturated; maybe fraction less dense here; some higher toned notes as usual; some gdc; some fragrance too, blackcurrants; not bad palate; quite grippy. Feels fresh. 87-89/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGCB. [Second tasting UGC] Deep, not as dark and black as some; quite pretty and fragrant Cabernet nose; clean and quite fresh; feels higher tones but nice; blackcurrants and cream on the palate; quite intense; lots of blackcurrant fruit and some chew and grip too; Quite sappy. Good and fresh 88-90+/100 Tasted 7April UGCB
  • 2009 Mid depth; earthy blackcurrant tones; initially a little reductive; opens up; freshness and purity here; grippy palate compared with most; more ballsy and not the worse for it; clearly a lot of fruit in a slightly fresher [earlier picked?] style; lots of fresh blackcurrants and spices and more acidity here than some. Good value, fresh Pauillac. Drink 2015-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; really saturated looking; iron, ink and iodine one the nose; some earth; strong blackcurrant notes on palate; earth and some herbal tones; quite spicy; autumn leaves and undergrowth too; chewy and grippy on the finish. Interesting. Vital. 90+/100 UGCB Oct ’11 [Earlier note] 2009 Deep; intense at edge; slightly more leafy note here; more lifted nose; little coarser and less fine grained tannins than the others. Leaf here and slight green streak, palate more disjointed. Hope this settles?  Expected much more in this vintage. This is a good Chateau. 86-88?/100 Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Deep; bright and still a little purple at edge; slightly reductive; blackcurrants on the palate; sturdy; with lots of grip and acid. Grippy finish. 87 MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2006 Good colour, fresh looking red with density; blackcurrants on the nose [no leafiness] cassis and quite classic; palate quite fresh with blackcurrants, structured wine with acid but freshness too; good blackcurrant fruit and well made. Quite settled and fine. Good effort. 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 2000 Dense core, red at edge; lovely, textbook Pauillac nose – cedar, blackcurrants, freshness, this is now perfectly mature cru classe with a wonderful balance between freshness, fruit and complexity on the nose; mid weight on the palate with a certain acidity that works very well with food; tannins are fine but present and lots of blackcurrant fruit here; a slightly higher-toned style cf Lynch-Bages and say Pichon Baron, but this is an extremely appetizing glass of Pauillac 91+ Mar ’12 [Earlier note] Dark black red; blackcurrant and leaf on the nose; lifted; some pencil shavings – more intensity than Duhart and more fruit driven; full of blackcurrant fruit and ripe full tannins. Well made Pauillac. Enjoyable. 90/100 Jan ‘10
  • 1986 Dark red; stalky, slight dusty nose; big and gutsy but slightly dusty palate; lacks generosity. Hard. May come round? 85?/100 Mar ‘96

Château Haut-Batailley, Fifth Growth, Pauillac

  • 2015 Mid depth; attractive colour and freshness at the edge; healthy; lovely joyful Pauillac; pretty fruit but with some texture; really attractive; lovely blackcurrant tones; ripe and fresh; nice texture on the palate; fresh and medium bodied; nice and round and harmonious; nice spice and blackcurrant tones; nice elegant finish. Nice acidity. Good length. Refreshing. [72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot 49hl/ha]. Drink 2024-2032. Tasted 7/4/16 at Grand-Puy-Lacoste. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep; attractive; fresh looking; deep at centre; beautiful blackcurrant fruit; nice cool aromas; harmonious; beautiful aromatics; lovely purity; lovely glossy; blackcurrant flavours on the palate; fresh and acid; with length; acidity on the finish. Fresh. Attractive. Little oak to combine. Fresh. Nicely composed. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 13.5% 60% new oak]. Tasted at Grand-Puy-Lacoste, 2 April 2015. Drink 2020-2030. 89-91+
  • 2013 Mid depth; healthy look; earthy purple at edge; attractive and composed on the nose; some perfume and blackcurrant spice; very open aromatically; round and elegant on the palate but with some substance in the middle; little wood here to integrate; blackcurrant fruit and spice; some menthol tones and spicy Cab; good-ish length. Good effort. [76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 60% new oak, 31hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89+
  • 2012 Healthy red; black at centre; blackcurrants; leaf; some graphite; freshness; lovely creamy blackcurrant flavours on the palate; elegant and refined; nicely harmonious; crisp finish but very well balanced. Excellent 2012. Drink now-2028. 89+ Tasted April ’15 [Earlier note] Good looking; polished; very attractive, pretty nose; blackcurrants, smoke, earth; very nicely done; palate attractive too [little oak to integrate] but nice layers here with some cream and plenty of blackcurrant tones; nice balance and harmony. Good length and good effort. 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 60% new oak. Tasted Friday April, 12, 2013 at Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste. 88-90+
  • 2010 Mid depth; vibrant looking in the glass; creamy notes; ink; some blackcurrants; some lift; little closed; palate crisp with some chalky fruit; blackcurrant tones and wet rock; blackcurrant and tobacco notes on the finish. Good-ish depth and weight. Nicely balanced as usual. Little reticent on the day. Needs a couple of years? Drink 2018-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep looking; saturated core; creamy blackcurrant aromas, some smoke and wet rocks; graphite too; very polished nose; tighter at present than 2009; nice seam of blackcurrant fruit and very nice precision; good intensity with excellent length. Balanced again. A great buy in my book. ’09 and ’10 are two of the best vintages of Haut-Batailley I’ve had. 92+/100 April 2013
  • 2009 Mid depth; dark core; ripe Cabernet tones [Franc and Sauvignon] with sweet blackcurrant aromas; fine; elegance here; attractive earthy blackcurrants and cereal tones; spicy and very attractive indeed. Drink now-2030. 92+ MW Institute [Earlier note] Mid depth; saturated core; red at edge; wonderfully enticing blackcurrant and cassis aromas with a little pencil, leaf and earth; very enticing nose; a generous dose of blackcurrant cassis on the palate; already open and drinkable after an hour in a decanter. Very balanced and harmonious. Will last too – but already a treat. 92+ April 2013
  • 2008 Mid depth; some reddening; quite elegant; some blackcurrant and redcurrant; some spice and undergrowth; palate clean and fresh; elegant and quite fine. 88+ MW Institute Nov ‘12
  • 2007 Quite deep; not dissimilar to GPL; some mineral and leafy blackcurrant tones; earthy and attractive; elegant and harmonious on the palate with blackcurrant, tobacco and undergrowth tones. This works well in 2007. 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘11
  • 2006 Good colour with nice depth; some stalky blackcurrant fruit, some chocolate and minerals; softish palate compared to Lynch Bages and not worse for it; quite fine grained tannins, structured wine but more approachable and enjoyable now than most. Slightly lighter, softer style but good 88/100 MW Institute Nov ‘10
  • 2005 Earthy red at edge, dark at centre; legs; good depth, ripe, sweet and attractive nose; blackcurrants and cassis; fine; some darker savoury notes at the edge; palate well balanced; good entry to the palate with pure blackcurrant and cassis flavours; mid weight and pure Pauillac style; quite classic and pent up still; fine tannins. Polished wine with good definition and length. Nicely balanced, this is a very pure style of wine making here. 90+/100 Tasted June ‘10.
  • 1996 Youthful colour, vibrant – up to edge, some blackcurrant, pencil – fresh – felt youthful and less evolved that Batailley in this vintage. Very fine, pure blackcurrant palate with some graphite, oak but quite taut; will age well for another then years and gain in complexity 90+/100  Mar ‘08
  • 1995 Deep red; some blackcurrant cassis and tobacco but quite elegant and didn’t open up that much in the decanter. Not as full-throttle Pauillac as neighbour Batailley but with more finesse and intensity and cleaner, less feral. 88/100 June ‘08
  • 1983 Good depth, tight to rim; red black; dust on nose some blackcurrant; palate dry and lean, drying out. Feels lean and bit austere. 84/100 April ‘97

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