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Château d’Armailhac

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Address: BP 117 33250 Pauillac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 73 20 20

Website: www.bpdr.com

Château d’Armailhac was classified a fifth growth in the 1855 classification. The then Château Mouton d’Armailhacq had been in the d’Armailhacq family since the eighteenth century. It was then bought in 1933 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild and in 1956 it was renamed Chateau Mouton Baron Philippe, and later Mouton Baronne Philippe. In 1989 Baronness Philippine de Rothschild restored the original name, without the final ‘q’. There has been lots of investment here over the years. The wine is quite different to Mouton stablemate Clerc Milon. While it lacks maybe the class of Clerc Milon, it feels more generous and forward. The 2010 is strong, the 2009 very promising and the 2005 enjoyable.

Vineyard/Terroir: 51 hectares on deep, light gravel planted with 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

Winemaking/Elévage: Traditional and aged in 25% new oak and 75% one-year old oak.

Tasting notes:

  • 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 5April 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 [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

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