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Pessac-Léognan tasting notes I-Z

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Pessac-Léognan tasting notes below listed for those from I-Z – which in this case start with Château La Louvière below. For properties A-H click here. Click on the individual chateaux links on the drop down menus to access more detail on each property.

Château La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale Straw; fresh cut grass; some lees; appetizing; pear drops; palate has attractive texture with zip and life; nice mouthful which promises to be excellent. [100% Sauvignon Blanc]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 90-92+
  • 2014 Washed silver/gold; grapefruit and apple tones; saline touch; attractive; some race and acidity on the palate; lively elegant style with zip and acidity; finishes trifle short will fill out. [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 88-90+
  • 2013 Palest straw; full aromatics; some peach and white melon tones with waxy note; palate round but with fine acidity which leaves a salty tang on the fresh finish. Spot on. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2015-2022. 89-91+
  • 2012 Palest green/silver; sturdy apple notes with a little animal note; crisp palate; needs to fill out a bit; some race and zip with some grapefruit and lanolin tones. Drink 2015-2020. 88+ Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Full and quite deep on the nose; broad; some spice on the palate, ginger and candy tones; will fill out further. Modern. 87-89+ Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Léognan tasting
  • 2011 Palest straw; spicy aromatics with citrus tones and oyster shell hints; palate shows lots of citrusy, grassy fruit with oak; needs to meld a bit but lots of life and refreshment on offer here. Drink 2014-2021. 88+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Palest straw, hint of gold; some grapefruit and citrus notes on the nose; hint of lees, apples and feels taut; some oyster shell; apple and minerality; very attractive; taut palate with race and zing; apples and citrus/lemon zest; some spices; very attractive and will fill out further I imagine. Nice length. Good wine and real potential. 91-92+
  • 2010 Palest green/gold; sweet and sour notes on the nose; grapefruit, lees along with spicy oak notes; bold and spicy palate with plenty of fat and depth; lots to savour here – salty tang/wet rock tang. Impressive effort. 91+ [Earlier] Pale straw; candy, some lees, some soap and grapefruit; waxy nicely done palate, good density here and will develop very well. Nice acid and balance. 90-92+/100 [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon, barrel ferment in new oak, aged 10-12 months]. Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw; healthy; fresh some grass, some wax; full waxy palate; spicy and weighty; full and bold. Lees notes on the finish. Strong wine. 90+/100 [Earlier]Very clean, very grassy style; hay and meadow in early summer, palate some barrique notes and wax. Not huge acid. Pretty good. 88+/100 [100% Sauvignon Blanc 30% barrel ferment] UGC primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Gold, quite solid, feels a bit reductive on the nose, some wax on the palate. Not that expressive at present. 87/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Mid depth; lively colour at edge; composed black creamy fruits; smoke; very mannered and attractive; very Bordeaux; like this; good to drink and very nicely balance. Great effort. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 14% alc, 50% new oak]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2028. 90-92
  • 2014 Deep and dark; creamy blackcurrant aromatics; some sweet oak; spices; attractive and layered on the nose; toasty note and black fruits too; black cherry notes continue on the palate with dark chocolate and freshness on the end. Plenty of elements here – fruit, oak, acidity – needs to meld during elevage, which it undoubtedly will. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 87-89+
  • 2013 Deepish core in glass with vibrant purple at edge; lots of oak perfume on the nose; some black fruits; fruit is here but rather chewy and extracted at present; there is a lot of Cabernet texture. Should settle but pretty chewy currently. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2025. 85-87
  • 2012 Mid red; lifted blackcurrant aromatics with attractive undergrowth tones; easy palate at first but then some chew to the tannins. Should settle with a year or so in bottle. Drink 2015-2022. 86+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; some spices, stalky Cab notes; feels high-toned and elegant; some blackcurrant and cassis tones; palate cool and pure works in a du Tertre-ish way. Freshness and acid but not over extracted or drying which is the key. Little angular on the finish but will be ok. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot 86-88 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at UGC2011 Deep and dark; primary fruit nose; big stalky Cabernet; feels fresh and unworked [a relief in this vintage]; blackcurrant purity on the palate, nicely done. Clean and pure and works very well. Some chew at the end but overall very clean and not at all fatiguing. Good effort in this vintage. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot] 89-91+
  • 2011 Mid depth; lifted and reasonably attractive nose – leafy blackcurrants and earthy tones; blackcurrant tones initially and then the fruit closes down with tannin and acid leaving a [currently] mean finish. May come good but again expect the palate to always be angular and lacking generosity on the finish. Drink 2016-2021. 86 UGC Oct ’13
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; quite savoury, meaty note alongside the black fruits; very full and attractive; some rose petal too; quite lifted in an enticing way; blackcurrants and earthy tones on the palate too; some spicy notes; full and dense; grip and body. Lots of elements with plenty of grip and fruit. Needs a few years but another excellent effort here in 2010. 91+ [Earlier] Dense and saturated colour; fresh and ripe, strong Cabernet influence to the nose; blackcurrants; makes it cooler and fresher; lots of fruit on the palate, concentration and sumptuous fruit; blackcurrants again. Grip and tannin too. Very good prospect. 90-92+/100 [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot]. Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Mid depth; lifted red; ripe blackcurrants on the nose; cassis and blackcurrants on the palate; good chew and depth. Nicely done. 90/100[Earlier] Deep; slight reductive note; some smoke at the back; slightly stalky; blackcurrants beneath; palate quite fresh with fruit tannins; extracted palate. Will knit together. Good grip. [Later] ripe red fruits, layers and fresh; sweet oak on palate and good grip. This will be 88-90/100 range when it settles I imagine. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeur tastings
  • 2007 Mid red; quite lifted attractive nose; some plums; again quite polished and layered. Good intense wine showing well. Good effort for the vintage. 88/100 Oct 2009 UGC London tastings.

Château Larrivet-Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale straw; mineral; spearmint; pear drop notes; tight palate with depth; will fill out. Like the balance here in the white. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 100% new oak ferments – some in 225 litre, some 500 ltr]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 89-91+
  • 2014 Bright silver/gold; little guava and wet wool; some candy and pear drop notes; full palate with texture [little oily] and weight alongside some honey. Alcohol on the finish. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 14.6% alc]. Drink 2017-2024. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-92
  • 2013 Palest grey/silver; attractive nose – some peach, melon and pear drop notes; delicate entry with some oak influence; quite crisp and elegant on the palate. Good length. Attractive white as ever. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2015-2023. 90-91+
  • 2012 Pale straw; attractive aromatics; clean and pretty with nicely integrated oak and fruit tones; palate attractive with some weight and body; very attractive, modern whites here and this is a delicious 2012. Drink now – 2022. 91+ Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Pale straw; attractive wine; grapefruit; citrus tones; some ginger and spice; feels full; depth here; lots of spicy fruit characters on the palate with depth. Very attractive as usual. Very good in a fruity, elegant way but with power under the bonnet. 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon 91-93 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Leognan tasting
  • 2011 Pale straw; more colour than some; full nose with waxy notes and citrus tones; pretty big on the palate; quite open if a little lose on the finish and lacks some of the zap of the others. Early maturing I’d expect. Not as refreshing as the primeur samples eighteen months back but full of flavour nevertheless. Drink now-2019. 89 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale, grey gold; oak influence and some spicy, grapefruit characters; lees; full bodied spicy grapefruit and citrus characters, green apples and real zip; will develop well. Lots of race and bite. Nice length. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sémillon] 90-92+
  • 2010 Very pale straw; some floral tones; nice oak handling; pretty; racy palate with real elegance and intensity; feels very fine. Flinty finish. Elegant and intense. 91+ [Earlier] Pale gold; waxy, some oak here; some butter too; feels fresh with citrus and grapefruit notes; waxy palate, nicely done; some apricot notes; density here, very attractive and ripe. Good wine. Attractive and excellent. 91-93/100 [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon, 100% new oak fermented, batonage and will have 11 months on lees 14.2 alc but more acid than 2009] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw; nice lift; some oak; cashew; grapefruit, cashew and melon notes; tight palate but lots of depth here; oaky palate but fruit here too. Strong and full white wine. Excellent. Should develop well 91+/100 [Earlier] Quite clear, nice toasty barrique note; some race; palate sweet and ripe; toasty and attractive will round out. Very good. 90+/100 [65% Sauvignon, 35% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeurs tasting.
  • 2008 Pale straw, sturdy nose with some wax and freshness; leads to a lively palate with grass and gooseberry notes. Lots of refreshing zip on the palate. Impressive. 90+/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Deep colour; ripe cassis notes; unctuously styled aromatics; coffee and mocha notes too; quite chewy palate which needs to settle but there is plenty of style and promise here. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 13.8% alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2030. 90-92+
  • 2014 Mid depth; some purple at edge; ripe fruits; some sublimated cassis notes; ripe cherry and strawberry fruits and stalky blackcurrant; ripe; some extract and chew; should settle well; grip here; plenty of matter and chew. [53% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc 13.5% alc, TA 3.75]. Drink 2010-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 87-89+
  • 2013 Deep at core, earthy purple at edge; some oak toast and jam notes; quite lifted; very toasty and sweet with ripe red fruits and jam notes; lifted and spicy; quite chewy and extracted on the finish. Hopefully will settle, but a rather lifted, extracted style it seems. Grand vin represents just 43% of the crop. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2023. 86-88
  • 2012 Deepish; quite saturated look; ripe and juicy aromatics; quite forward ; spicy plum and black fruits; full palate which indicates the richness of the Merlot in this vintage; Cabernet cooler but this works well. Spicy finish. Drink now-2025. 89+ Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Deep central core; glossy look; feels fresh and quite deep and fat too; lots of fruit, lashings here; some tannins and astringency also [the mix of the lush Merlot fruit with the fresher Cab]. Very chewy finish. This should pull through to be a pretty good effort. 56% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon 14.6% alc 86-88. Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Mid depth; glossy; earthy blackcurrant tones that verge towards the faintly bretty – though this might be the vintage/terroir; soft-ish palate with that feral blackcurrant note again [tasted twice]. Like to see this down the track. Drink 2015-2022. 86? UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep at centre; redcurrants and red fruits and lift [almost a bit new world]; some leaf and tobacco too; almost New Zealand leafy red here; blackcurrants and a whiff of vegetal; lots of tannin – very dry and extracted palate. Definitely a vintage for the whites here. 85-87
  • 2010 Deep and dense looking; some red fruits, some liquorice and thickness to the nose; red fruits on the palate, ripeness and chew; thick again. Some swan wood notes; intense and long. Grippy and saturated in fruit at the same time. Needs to meld but promising. 90+ [Earlier] Very deep, saturated colour; real strength and intensity; blackcurrants and some smoke; feels pretty good; minerally; plush on the palate lots of flesh; some violets and perfume; very good. Really sweet but with grip and quite floral. Creamy and attractive. 90-92+/100 [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.6 alc] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Mid depth; ripe earthy, quite deep; ripe blackcurrants and sappy notes; fruit and some rose perfume here too; good length and density too. Very good effort. 91+/100 [Earlier] Black at centre, arterial; ripe fruit nose, some figs, molasses, quite ripe, but monolithic; palate quite fruity with violets and lots of extract and tannin. Big, briary, blackcurrant wine. Concentrated but tannins on the drying side. May prove better once settles down. [later] Very ripe nose, briary fruit, open; good palate, clean and perfumed, chewy. 88+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeurs tasting.

Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Deep saturated colour; depth on the nose; black fruits but not over-played; some sweetness to the fruit; mannered; cherry and ripe plums; wood a bit present in terms of a slight dryness; will obviously fill out; I always fine La Mission the drier and more obviously tannic of the two siblings at this stage; chew on the finish and some warmth. Density. Lots of extract and texture. Minerality. [58% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 15.1%]. Tasted Haut-Brion 7/4/16. Drink 2025-2045. 94-96+
  • 2014 Mid depth; vibrant purple at edge; nice depth; spices; layers; blackcurrants; some smoke; good entry; mineral; fresh; acidity present; structured with some flesh; little boney at present; elements need to infill; little puckering on the finish from the freshness and the tannin. [54% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted 31 March at La Mission. 92-94
  • 2013 Deep and glossy looking; earthy purple at edge; very clear looking and polished; black fruits, some cherry, earth; bold entry with material and extract [not pushed]; spicy characters and moderate density; nicely composed. Needs time. Reminds me of a junior ’08 with further freshness. [65% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 13.25% alc, pH 3.58, 28 hl/ha]. Tasted 31/3/13 at La Mission. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92
  • 2012 Deep and dense, purple edge; deep and quite sweet, wonderfully ripe notes; enticing and a fraction tighter than Haut-Brion; earthier; very attractive palate; very composed with lots of layers and lots of flesh here; coffee and espresso notes on the finish. Very good length indeed. Very long. 62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.95 alc 3.7pH 94-96+
  • 2011 Deep and healthy saturated colour; some purple at the meniscus; spicy, briary notes, earth and tobacco; very mannered too; creay; some black cherry and dark chocolate notes on the nose too; opens up with aeration – clearly lots of depth and layers; lots of oak too – but fruit also opens up; deep, concentrated palate; quite a bit of tannin, grip and lots of blackcurrant fruit, earth; quite measured. Very nice palate quite a bit of oak present. Toast and espresso notes on the finish. Good length. Oaky finish. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33.7% Merlot, 11.3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at La Mission 5/4/12. 94-95+
  • 2010 Deep colour; tight to the rim; chalky note and wet rock tones at first; spice and blackcurrants emerge [quite backward initially] but opened up; displays attractive purity and minerality; rounder [ultimately] than expected; wonderful palate; very full and complete; lots of fruit and nicely polished; lots of everything; tannins caressing; grip on the finish. Very complete. Great wine. Drink 2020-2045. 97+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Saturated, deep; tight to the meniscus; very smoky, savoury note but with real polish; cassis too; some oak here but really integrated; olives, tapenade and menthol notes [some minerals]; lots of ripeness here; good density on the palate; ripe attack, layered and dense but feels very round; tannin is considerable but very ripe. Real concentration and flavour. Little hotness creeping in at the back, otherwise feels very complete and refined. Excellent length. Quite fantastic. The only question would be the alcohol level, at 15 degrees, which does give a fraction of heat on the finish, though there is plenty of grip. Terrific in almost all other respects. Virtually perfect. [37% Merlot, 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, alcohol 15%, IPT 80, pH3] 97-98+/100 Tasted at Chateau Haut Brion 4 April 2011
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; round and spicy on the nose with fresh sawn wood and blackcurrant notes; ripe fruit; real blackcurrant cassis; weight good and lots of extract and material evident here. Extremely well done overall. Tannic but with lots of fruit and extract. Surprising freshness too. Real length and class. Drink 2019-2040 97+ MW Institute Nov ’13
  • 2008 Mid depth; very closed and dumb on the nose. some chalk, minerality, cream and oak resin. Chewy palate, lots of extract and material. Spicy notes. Tannin dry at this stage. Very closed, firm and grippy, though clearly substantial Difficult to read this now. Has tasted better. Ugly duckling stage here. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Medium depth; purple red at edge; earthy note; little high toned, more roasted note initially, some tobacco leaf and lift; some of the fresh sawdust or sawn wood notes as in the La Chappelle but less obvious; also notes of menthol and camphor; quite big palate, extracted, some tar and prunes with pums and spices; density here but quite nicely done. Elegance and life. Lacks the richness of the ’09 vintage I’d reckon. Good length and some chew. 72% new oak for 18 months. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45 Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. 13.8% Later notes: some tar, liquorice notes with real plums, spices and blackcurrants; good density, extract and tannin; more tannin, more bite and more density [although actually less tannin on the IPT]. 93-95+/100 Tasted at La Mission Nov ‘10
  • 2007 Mid depth, dark core; lovely nose; nicely balanced between the earth, the tobacco notes and the blackcurrants; deep and very polished; seemingly lots of layers; density on the palate with earthy blackcurrants and grip; some dry-ish tannin, some acid and a little sourness at the very edge but overall very good. 92/100 MW Institute Nov ’11
  • 2006 Deep at core, looser at edge; quite a classy nose, minerals, stones and chalky note alongside red fruits with chocolate and earth; some dustiness also; intense palate, with minerals, stones and red fruits along with that dust and wet rocks; dry tannin though. Feels extracted and very tannic on the finish although there is considerable depth and density here. Given it is La Mission it will probably meld but otherwise I’d be a little worried by the quite ferocious tannin here. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt – probably shouldn’t really of course. 90-92/100 MW Institute Nov ’10

La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion [Second wine]

  • 2015 Deep colour; vibrant purple at the meniscus; tight and stern to start with; opens up with some spicy and somewhat savoury blackcurrant characters; opens up in the glass; grip on the palate; lots of sinew; lacks a bit of flesh currently but will infill I’m sure; little stern at present. [45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc, 14.6%]. Tasted Haut-Brion 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2028. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deepish; vibrant at edge; more blackcurrant; some stalky fresh fruits; prettiness; perfume; elegant and glossy; taut palate; correct; quite grippy at this stage; fresh and lively. Sappy finish. Acidity fresh. [45% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2020-2025. 87-89
  • 2013 Deep; redder purple at edge; ripe, some attractive fruit and spice; some bubblegum notes; spicy; entry fresh and a little rasping – needs to settle; sappy and a little dry on the very end palate. [52% Merlot, 35.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Cabernet Franc, 13.05% alc, pH 3.58]. Tasted 31/3/14 at La Mission. Drink 2018-2024. 85-87
  • 2012 Deep but healthy looking; earthy notes, Cabernet Franc influence, spicy; lifted and attractive with some coffee notes; nice entry, very fresh and clean, little leaner in the middle than Le Clarence but returns for a long-ish finish. Tannins have some edges to them and less fine than in the grand vin. 90-92
  • 2011 Deep, dense; earthy purple at edge; nice earthy note; feels warm; dark fruits, slightly burnt notes; sweet ripe palate; blackcurrants; some freshly sawn wood but not green, more the style; some extraction on the end; lots of bite and acid grip. Tasted at La Mission 5/4/12. 90-91+
  • 2010 Saturated colour; up to the rim; legs; very concentrated, some spice and life; blackcurrants and earth; floral and quite pretty too; very sweet entry; ripe palate; real finesse here; blackcurrants, smoke, some blackfruits; density but also quite open and supple. [47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, Alc 14.8% IPT 72 pH 3.53] 91-93/100 Tasted at Chateau Haut Brion 4 April 2011.
  • 2008 Deep red, purple at edge; some leaf and tobacco and smoky notes; some green coffee bean, freshly sawn wood; mid weight, good depth on the palate; some of that dustiness I encountered in the 2006 La Mission; mineral edge too with wet stones and definite concentration but also a softness here; good acid and structure with grip. Lots of bite and chew. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. 88+/100

Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Pale silver/fleck of green; more wax and lanolin notes; vivid and appetizing; depth; some oyster shell; saline freshness too; more race than Clarté but this is fuller than Haut-Brion blanc; nice acidity; length on the palate; freshness on the end. [67% Sémillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 14.6% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 94-96
  • 2014 Pale green gold; full; little wax; limes and citrus elements but broader than simple fruit tones; fresh grapefruit hints; nice mouth feel has weight but very round and full; concentration; acidity; saline quality on the finish; profound length; amazing stuff. [72% Sémillon, 28% Sauvignon Blanc, 14.75% alc, 3.13pH]. Drink 2018-2025. 95-97+
  • 2013 Silver/gold; brilliant looking; limes, rock salt; quite tight on the nose; fuller palate with twist on the finish. Good length. Should age nicely. Slightly leaner style than past few vintages. [76% Sémillon, 24% Sauvignon Blanc, 13.7% alc, 23 hl/ha]. Tasted at La Mission 31/3/14. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93+
  • 2012 Steely silver/gold; tight and dense on the nose; very deep; some wax; later some floral qualities emerge at the edge; waxy palate; full with incredible density and weight but also remains appetizing, though less apparent acidity than 2011. Overall excellent, long-term and one of the white wines of the vintage. 84% Sémillion, 16% Sauvignon Blanc 14.6% alc 95-97+
  • 2011 Pale straw/gold; waxier, more neutral and less forward than Clarté; minerality and race; some oyster shell; more lees, wax and broad flavours but lots of density; weightier than the nose suggests; something very Grand Cru here. Some zip on the finish. 72.9% Sémillon, 27.1% Sauvignon Blanc. 94-95/100
  • 2010 Pale gold straw; very focused and fresh on the nose; some grass, gooseberry waxy; very top end; some oaky barrique influence; broad and masculine; full bodied and rich on the palate with amazing density; not oily but certainly rich and broad. Finishes well. Terrific length. Amazing wine. [81% Semillon, 19% Sauvignon Blanc, alcohol 14.3] 98-100/100 Tasted 4 April 2011 at Chateau Haut-Brion.

Château Latour-Martillac, Cru Classe de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Washed silver; saline; appetising; oyster shells; lacks a bit of definition; more elegant style on the palate. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89
  • 2014 Washed silver; hint of green; grapefruit and citrus elements; some candy notes; lychees tones; very attractive; palate quite strong; nice acidity; dips a fraction in the middle but will fill in I’d expect. Good effort. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-92+
  • 2013 Steely looking; zesty grapefruit and citrus nose; some apple too; quite crisp and elegant on the palate with a zippy finish. Refreshing. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Tssted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2015-2023. 88-90
  • 2012 Palest grey/green; apple tones alongside something sturdy; fresh apples on the palate; leaner more racy style with real citrus zing; very zippy and refreshing. Shrieks for a dozen huitres fins de claire! Drink now-2020. 90+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Palest straw; some apple and spice; density; grapefruit and citrus lifts; lacks a bit of length at the back end but will fill out. 87-89 UGC Apr ’13.
  • 2011 Pale straw; full nose; grapefruit, wax and spicy tones; upfront; zappy and zesty palate with nice fruit and real zip. Very attractive – full flavoured but with razzle-dazzle zip. Drink now – 2021. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Palest grey/gold; grapefruit, lees, nice and concentrated nose; some attractive barrique influence; big bold spicy palate; lees, full of grapefruit, citrus and waxy flavours. Very good. Real zip here. Vivacious. Nice length. [65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Sémillon] 91-93+
  • 2010 Palest green/gold; spicy, bolder more masculine style than Larrivet; grapefruit, spice; attractive; broader palate, some wet dog; full; little loose on the finish. 89+ [Earlier] Colourless/palest straw; fresh, some grass, grapefruit and passionfruit too; grass and candy on the palate, good zip and life; lees and wax alongside floral and spicy tones too. Will develop well. 90-92+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw; grapefruit, guava, candy and lees; attractive; full and waxy; big deep palate; lots of fruit and oak; big. Nice length; lots of fruit here on the palate; guava, spices etc; good length too. Excellent effort. 91+/100 [Earlier] Very pale; grassy note with barrique note; quite round and attractive; apples, attractive palate will fill out; fresh, apples and citrus notes, grapefruit. Lots of zip here too. Well done 90-92+/100 [35% Sauvignon, 65% Semillon]. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeur tastings
  • 2008 Pale gold; very fresh nose with grass and concentration, very appealing; lots of fruit on the palate, fresh candy and citrus. Very attractive. 90/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; pretty briary, brambly fruit; nice style; cherry and chocolate notes; ripe fruit on the mid-palate; quite grippy on the finish with some extracted elements; this has the fruit though. [54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot 13.9%alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2028. 89-91
  • 2014 Dark and saturated look; red purple at edge; fresh, stalky blackcurrant; layers here; like this; ripe palate; little chewy and tannic at present but had fresh acidiy and will sort nicely I reckon. Crisp and chewy but has potential. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 88-90
  • 2013 Very deep looking; colour tight to the rim; purple edge; quite pretty aromatically with some oak influence but lots of fruit here; earth note [not unattractive]; palate bit of a jumble with lots of fruit but the oak poking out. Chewy on the end. Needs to settle. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88
  • 2012 Mid depth; more complex than La Louvière – spicy plum and blackcurrant; attractive cool palate with blackcurrants and a hint of earth and pepper; tannin at end but interesting. Drink now-2025. 88+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; blackcurrants, some fresh, stalky Cabernet notes; some Morello cherry tones; fresh; initially sweet entry; lots of material and then the extracted tannins. This feels very chewy at present but there feels like there is sufficient fruit to handle this. Will always have bite at the end. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot 13.26% alc 86-88 Tasted Wednesday April 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Quite dense colour for the vintage; blackcurrant aromas; earthy tones but pure; stalky blackcurrant flavours on the palate; some chew and acid which makes the finish a bit puckering. Will come good but probably always a bit angular. Drink 2016-2025. 87 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; purple edge; creamy ripe , modern; some earthy, mealy tones; pure blackcurrant fruits, some leafy tones; dense and tannic finish but there is a lot of blackcurrant fruit too. See how we go. Jury still out. 85-87
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; deep at core; earthy, some mocha notes; olives; blackcurrants and sour cherry; spicy blackcurrant fruit with some purity; lots of blackcurrant fruit; earthy tones; grip and structure too. Lots here. Very promising. Again needs time. 92+ [Earlier] Deep and saturated; thick and rich, ripe and lush nose; really succulent; ripe palate but quite extracted feel, too much for me; tannins very puckering; may meld; nose is very promising but for me too extracted and tannic. Verdict out until it settles. 86-88?/100 Tasted 6April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Dark concentrated to edge; concentrated red fruits, plums and figs, very ripe flavours; some polish here; sweet entry on palate, then the tannin arrives; chewy and concentrated. Will need time to meld but lots of elements. [Later] Ripe and fruity, rich cake like palate with flesh and red fruits. Tannic but ripe tannins. Potentially 90+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeurs tastings.

Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; ripe and lifted aromatics; some cassis and blackcurrant jam notes; layered and forward; sweet fruit on the palate; ripe; plenty of material and texture here; some jam too [but in an attractive way]; little chewy on the finish but should settle well after ageing. [44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 80% new oak, 14% alc, pH 3.7]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2028. 90-91+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; earthy red at edge; deep at centre; fruitcake spices; plum pudding tones; ripe; intense and grippy on the palate; lively acids; vigorous and lively with sappy finish. Bit of chew currently. [53% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2020-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 87-89
  • 2013 Deep arterial colour, tight to the rim; meaty; quite a seam of smoky, cassis fruit; glossy quality and hint of earth and spice; quite a lot of extract in the middle but it seems in balance. Needs to settle a bit. [60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot]. Tasted April 2014. Drink 2017-2025. 86-88
  • 2012 Deeply coloured; quite rich and plush with spices and nice lift; complexity; vigorous palate with plummy tones from the Merlot and Cabernet giving tannin and acid and sap. Interesting combination. Drink now – 2025. 90+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; dense centre; feels deep; black fruits on the palate with oak; good material here; some dryness at the back; tannins a bit chewy. Tannic finish. 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon 86-88 UGC April 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated looking; some violet tones and strawberry/red fruit lift; palate quite high toned and a little boney but there is fruit; should fill out; grippy and chewy on the finish. Acid, in this case, refreshing rather than puckering. 2016-2021. 86+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and concentrated; purple edge; some briary and rose petal notes; some jam and earth; not un attractive; some polish and poise; lots of red fruits and blackcurrant cassis but lots of spices; lots of acid and tannin too. Little Madiran like. Chewy and dense but with enough fruit. Should age well and a good effort for the vintage down here but maybe there will always have chunkiness to the tannin. 88-90+
  • 2010 Mid depth; nice layers of fruit on the nose; plush; Cabernet Franc influenced [45% Cab Franc, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]; similar flavours on the palate; plush and attractive; some chew and acid but overall attractive stuff. Small 11 ha estate made with Burgundian techniques – whole berry ferments and pigeage. These techniques influence the wine. Plush and attractive. 91+ [Earlier] Deep and dense; some freshness, little dumb, sweetness later, brooding and deep; sweet ripe fruit and tannin, extracted but there is fruit; maybe a little pushed but finishes better than you’d imagine; will it come together? 90-92?/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Mid red; ripe red fruits; stalky blackcurrant fruit and cassis; some structure here but with depth. 88-90/100 [Earlier] Mid red, black; some pretty qualities at the edge of nose; red fruits; palate sweet and ripe; quite fresh; tannins hardish and dry. Chewy. Needs to settle. [Later] Mid red/black; some roses on the nose; quite pretty; palate sweet but then tannins, strawberry fruit here but overwhelmed by tannins at present. Very tannic and dry. Needs to settle, very awkward at present. 86?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Château Malartic-Lagravière, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale silver; some flint; apples; zesty; some roundness; tight and satisfying on the palate; mineral tones. [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2027. 90-92
  • 2014 Washed silver/grey; some white melon and white peach tones; little white flower; candy; quite solid palate; firm with plenty of tautness and freshness; white melon notes; modern but attractive. Excellent. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Palest straw; some peach; wax but a little dumb; broad palate with grapefruit and citrus hints. This sample lacks expression and needs to fill out. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2015-2023. 87-89
  • 2012 Slightly bolder green silver; lots of depth on the nose; quite tight but had roundness; full on the palate if lacks a little expression; good weight and a lovely finish. All in the finish here. Will be great stuff. Drink 2016-2022. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale green gold; full; some lees; quite deep with citrus notes; broad palate with depth and weight. Nice zest here too – lively zesty finish. Very good. 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon. 91-93+ Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Oliver
  • 2011 Striking in the glass – lovely pale green/gold; full on the nose with obvious depth and weight yet also tight and long term; waxy palate with impressive mouthfeel; this is serious stuff and needs three years to open up but should prove long-lived. Drink 2016-2025. 93+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale green/grey; some flint, candy and lees notes; depth; should be good; round palate; attractive with depth; barrel influence [imparting roundness as much as anything]. Leesy palate, some zip. This could be very good. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon] 91-93+
  • 2010 Pale straw; clean, some leesy notes; feels a bit dumb at present; palate full with breadth and depth; sizeable; spicy flavours; good length. A bit in it’s shell but shows promise. Less showy than I’d imagined. [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon] 90+ [Earlier] Pale straw; grass, fresh, little warm ferment note; wax and lees on the palate; should develop well. Nice balance and freshness. Very good and moreish on the palate. Potentially really excellent 92-94/100 [85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale silver/gold; appetizing nose; not overt but with wax, citrus notes and class; waxy palate; nice bold style; full again, spicy tones, this is very good and will age well over next 5 years. 91-92+/100 [Earlier] Fresh apples and citrus flavours; clean and some roundness to palate and candy and fruit; attractive with some bite 88+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeurs tasting.
  • 2008 Pale gold; some wax and resin; quite full bodied; palate nicely done with real race but also with body. Very good 90/100 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Saturated looking; purple at edge; very glossy and ripe aromatics; lift; some cassis and jam; soft entry to the palate; cassis notes again; plenty of rich and ripe fruit; nice grip and texture. This is a great effort. [53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc 13.8% alc, TA 3.5]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2030. 92-94+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; ripe and saturated aromatics; strawberry jam notes; lift; very black fruits and cassis notes; unctuously styled; full and extracted on the palate; ripe fruit but very dry on the finish currently. Needs to meld. [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 89-91?
  • 2013 Deep and saturated looking; colour tight to the rim; very saturated aromatically; lifted notes; plums; strawberries and red fruits; quite unctuously styled; chew on the palate and clearly plenty of material but not overdone; earthy note on the end. Chewy finish. Works overall in a reasonably full almost unctuous [if slightly international] style. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2028. 88-90+
  • 2012 Deep and saturated look; ripe and sublimated on the nose but impressive concentration; fruit cool with plummy tones and palate very caressing and attractive. Nicely done. Very appealing and forward. Very good wine and drinking nicely already. Drink now-2025. 92 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and glossy looking; ripe, full; some earth; sweetness and depth; palate is full of material, choca-block; lots of material but tannins not puckering or extracted in feel; remains a little chewy on the finish but potentially very strong. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot 90-92+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; ripe fruit rolls around the glass; black fruits, cereal tones; pretty saturated for the vintage; palate offers plenty of fresh blackcurrant flavours with a little leafy undertow; but round palate suggests nicely handled extraction. Very good effort. Chew on the finish but the fruit is there. Drink 2016-2025. 90 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; legs; purple at edge; lovely lively red fruits, modern style; upfront and ripe through; some liquorice; lots of fruit and extract on the palate but lots of tannin too; currently feels disjointed on the palate; more than enough fruit here but this is pretty dense and chewy. 88-90 UGC April ’12
  • 2010 Deep and saturated look; blackcurrant aromatics very nicely defined; some resin, liquorice and spices too; tight and pent-up though for this property; inky and intense palate; packed and concentrated; lacks the amazing body of Haut-Bailly and has some tannin on the end and a little warmth from alcohol. Good effort nevertheless. Drink 2017-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; very ripe nose; almost honeyed note; sublimated and reduced; lots of oak too; very extracted and sublimated style; sweetness; presumably very low yields which give a very inky and sublimated feel to the palate also. Grip here too and chewy, dense finish. Promising in a heavy-hitting way. [45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot] 92+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and dense colour; thick and sweet on the nose, some minerality but feels very rich; some smoke and blackcurrant notes; palate dense, lots of material and extract; tannic but ripe, though may be a little overdone. Certainly dense and chewy. Tannic at the end. Feels a bit over extracted. Hopefully will settle – if it does 90-92/100 [45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, alc 14%] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Deep and dark; black fruits, very ripe with toasty oak; some liqourice; ripe, rich and extracted on the palate but oodles of fruit and not at all dry in feel; lots of flesh; needs time to settle; lots of structure hidden by lashings of black fruit; chew to the tannin but plenty of ripeness to them. Big. 2016-2035 94 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; riper, redder more jammy fruits; [little on the jammy side?]; inky palate; some minerality here too but this is pretty thick and big. Grip and tannin too. On the hefty side but loads of fruit and extract. 91-93/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Rouge: Very deep coloured to the rim; fresh and bright fruit; some red fruits and briary notes; very ripe; palate elegant but intense and concentrated with extract and tannin. Very chewy. Earthy elements, good nose and fruit but tannic. [Later] fruit ripe here and cake like; ripe warm feel; good palate entry with roundness, tannic bite at end] 88-90+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tasting.
  • 2008 Deep and saturated look; inky with lots of red fruits; high octane in the mould of Magrez at Pape Clément; very polished palate with lots of extract and grip; textured and good; big and extracted with chewy tannins but plenty of fruit here and excellent length. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’12
  • 2007 Deep colour, red at edge; very lifted red fruits, some very ripe qualities; mineral tones beneath; not that complex, some oak resin and also a vegetal streak; red fruits and chew on the palate; quite dense but still that vintage tartness and sourness at the edge. 87/100 MW Institute Nov ’11.
  • 2006 Good depth, quite deep and with legs in the glass; smoky, blackcurrant nose, very attractive, also ripeness and sweetness from oak which gives the nose a bit of lift; nice espresso notes alongside savoury notes and leather; intense, inky palate, very good balance between the considerable extraction and the tannins as the fruit dominates. Palate pretty big and extracted and needs to settle as the wine feels like it had been pushed hard but I think on balance this will work. 90+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.

Château Olivier, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale silver; some oyster shell; little zip; fresh palate; zippy; appetizing; some minerals; has life and zip. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89+
  • 2014 Silver colour; grapefruit and candy; pear drop; fresh and attractive; grapefruit on the attack; very bright and fresh; pear drop elements on the palate; quite classic and saline on the finish. Very attractive white. [78% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, 2% Muscadelle]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Palest grey; very composed; finesse here; freshness and lively acidity on the palate; lighter styled perhaps a little short on the finish though perhaps will fill out further. Tasted April 2014. Drink 2015-2023. 87-89
  • 2012 Pale silver/grey; spicy grapefruit tones with some ginger; fresh and appealing; attractive palate; vibrant with lots of fruit; very refreshing; nice length. Very good dry white. Drink now-2020. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale straw; precise nose; pear drops, grapefruit; some candy; very attractive; floral characters too; bold palate, pent up; grapefruit tones and spicy notes; very good indeed. Salty finish. Refreshing. 90-92 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier.
  • 2011 Pale straw; fresh; some grass and gooseberry; feels fresh and spicy; similar tones on the palate with weight; full; lots of flavour here and nice weight. Will fill out further but excellent effort. Drink now – 2021 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale green/grey; grapefruit, spice and some candy; oyster shell; palate round and attractive, lots of grapefruit and citrus; lively and zesty. Good depth and has length. Very nicely done. 90-92+
  • 2010 Pale straw; quite neutral at first, some lees, little wet wool; some spice and citrus tones but not overly expressive; quite taut on the palate and lacks a bit of texture and weight versus the rest. May just be a little dumb. Needs to fill out. 86 [Earlier] Palest straw; fresh, some grass, like a summer meadow; fresh palate, attractive, some lees, ripe and round; very good and attractive wine. Very good with real freshness at the end. 90-92+/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon, all barrel fermented, 25% new] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw/some gold; lush grapefruit nose with some grass and nettle; like this; fresh and lively note; also spice and freshness; oak and some oyster shell n the palate; grapefruit; some race here; like this. 91+/100[Earlier] Very pale straw, grass, apples and some grapefruit and citrus notes; fresh and good; nice palate, refreshing with good zip. 88-90+/100 [Sauvignon Blanc 90%, Semillon 10%] Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Light gold, lovely fresh grassy note to the nose; grapefruit and citrus elements too; real zest and some laolin too; waxy palate, fresh and nicely balanced. Very good again 88-90/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Deep at core; saturated look; purple edge; earth, chocolate, black cherry; stalky blackcurrant notes too; palate clean and pure with freshness and sap; quite nicely done in a fresher style. Tannic twist at the end. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 14% alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2028. 88-90+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; fresh mineral tones; blackcurrants; nice fruit and attractive purity; traditionally styled [and no bad thing these days]; good flavour on the palate; very Bordeaux; freshness. Like this a lot. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 41% Merlot]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 90-92+
  • 2013 Deep colour; tight to edge; purple; fresh stalky blackcurrant aromas; clean; lighter and less worked than say Malartic; nice sweet entry to the fruit; easy; not overdone; good elegant style if straightforward. Feels like Bordeaux. Good effort. [58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89+
  • 2012 Mid depth; earthy nose with cool blackcurrant aromas and spices in the background; some intensity here; blackcurrant tones on the palate with some chew at the back. Drink now-2025. 88 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; spice, blackcurrant, some stalky notes; palate ripe entry, fat in the middle with some astringency at the back. Grippy on the finish. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot 86-88 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; creamy blackcurrant aromas; some depth; stalky blackcurrant notes; chewy palate; grip and acid at the back which gives are rather mean and compact finish. Will round out but will always be angular and short I reckon. Drink 2015-2025. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth, purple at edge; nice briary sappy black cherry notes; cool and fresh; palate has nice fruit and obvious structure; lacks a little balance [wood tannins dominating]. Dry tannins. Feels a bit extracted relative to the fruit. Should settle. 86-88
  • 2010 Deeply coloured; dark centre; some spices, less expressive initially; some liquorice and menthol notes; depth apparent; palate feels a little chunky [by comparison with La Mission immediately before]; but plenty of depth and material here; lots of clean blackcurrant fruit on the palate; ripe tannins but present and perhaps a certain chunkiness here. Drink 2018-2030. 90 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; some freshness, little chalk and wet rock; blackcurrant, some olive, lots of extract on the palate; little one dimensional though fresh and chewy. Both the red and the white at Olivier disappointing in this otherwise fab year for Pessac-Leognan. 87 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and arterial; smoky blackcurrants, very deep, plush and lush, creamy too; lush sweet entry, plump but with structure. Ripeness. Very well handled. Quite terrific effort. 92-94+/100 [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Deep; tea, some stalky blackcurrant notes; wet stones; little fruit a chunky; tannic finish. Plenty of decent fruit and chew here but little rustic compared to the rest. Not one the best ‘09s. Drink 2016-2025. 88 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; fresh, mineral, density; some cassis and blackcurrants but more minerals; dense and tannic [ripe] old fashioned but this works. Traditional and grippy. 90+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Concentrated, fresh, healthy colour; little high toned, nicely perfumed; some violets and raspberries alongside some stalky components; palate sweet entry, concentrated and layered palate; this should work and come together. Big and tannic. 90+/100 [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot]. Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Mid depth; bright; spicy red fruits alongside some bell pepper, capsicum notes; initially bright fruit on the palate with some leafy development but lacks a bit of flesh and finishes short. 86 MW Institute Nov ’12.

Château Pape Clément, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale straw; white melon; peach; attractive aromatics; fruit salad; weighty palate; nice texture; this will work very nicely; fractionally behind de Fieuzal but a great wine. [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2028. 92-94+
  • 2014 Pale silver and gold; little dumb; some honey; little grapefruit and guava tones; opens up a bit in the glass; some oyster shell; apples on the palate with nice apple acidity; wax and tight on the finish. Very good length. Should fill out further. [50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 92-94+
  • 2013 Very pale grey/gold; round; little dumb; some oyster shell but very restrained for Pape Clement; palate firm; mid weight; some zap and good length. Quite crisp on the end. Subtle and needs time to fill out. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 89-91+
  • 2012 Pale silver/grey; creamy nose, little liqueur note; apparent depth; broad and with lots of depth on the palate if the wine is otherwise aromatically a bit subdued at present. Substantial but feels a bit closed at present. Should return to form as was impressive during primeurs early on. Drink 2016-2022. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Palest silver/gold; some candy, pear drop; grapefruit and zest but in check; elegance here; powerful palate with lots of depth; great mouthfeel and very long. Spicy and zesty finish. Brilliant effort. 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon, 15% Sauvignon Gris. 94-96+ Tasted Monday April, 8, 2013 Pessac-Leognan tasting at Chateau Olivier [Later note] Pale straw/gold; quite full and fat, some lees and grapefruit citrus tones; very full and deep; palate has some pretty qualities and is also very round and full. Lots of weight ultimately here and length. 94-96 Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Pale straw; full and weighty if aromatically a little dumb on the day – reticent for Pape-Clement certainly; some wax and passion fruit hints; weighty palate with nice mouth feel; length very good if aromatically dumb at present. Drink 2015-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale silver/grey; some candy and citrus notes; quite restrained but lots of depth here; round palate with zest; concentrated; come candy notes, citrus and wax; appetizing and taut. Dense. Wonderful depth and density. 92-94
  • 2010 Stronger gold; spicey grapefruit and citrus notes with cashew; much thicker and packed with fruit; bold, big palate with oak quite evident but there is breadth and depth to the fruit which handles it well; some savour and bite too and not at all loose on the palate. Very different counterpoint to Domaine de Chevalier. [51% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Sémillon, 13% Sauvignon Gris 3% Muscadelle] 95 [Earlier] Pale straw; some peach, guava and grapefruit; butter too from the oak; very attractive nose; wow, very oak dominated palate, has structure and poise though but very oaky at present. Needs to settle. Lacks a bit of zip? Slightly disappointing showing. 90-92/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw/some gold; oak, grapefruit, gooseberry; big, bold style; fruit and spices; very, very classy nose; lots of oak here but lots of ripe fruit; toasty, strong styled palate; big and bold. Great length here. Big bold style. 94+/100 [Earlier] Pale straw; very attractive cashew with grass and wax tones; palate candy and cashew, very appealing; broad palate. Quite excellent with good depth and length. Amongst the strongest whites tasted in the appellation. 92-94+/100 [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 48% Semillon, 2% Muscadelle] Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Green gold; lots of barrique influence on the nose, along with grapefruit and citrus elements; palate full and attractive with real weight but also race and zip. Excellent 92-94+/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Red:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; ripe fruit; some earth; lifted and attractive; glossy but real substance; caressing palate; nicely done; black cherry; some oak but wonderful ripe fruit and tannin. Plenty of extract and density. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2032. 94-96+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; ripe blackcurrants; some espresso notes; perfumed and creamy; sweet palate but with attractive purity; ripe fruit but no trace of jam [unlike Malartic]; freshness [acidity] too here; plenty of guts and material. Chewy finish currently but should settle well. [57.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37.5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 91-93
  • 2013 Deep and saturated; deep core; very polished and attractive nose; excellent purity and clarity; excellent definition overall; spicy blackcurrant tones with plums; very cool; fresh creamy palate which is extremely well measured; not too pushed at all. Some grip and texture on the finish. Alongside Haut-Bailly and Smith Haut Lafitte this is one most impressive red wines in the appellation this year [yes better than Haut-Brion]. Will be precocious but has freshness to age. [54.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2014 at UGCB. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93
  • 2012 Deepish colour; sweetness and some fat; plums and spice quite forward aromatics; more oak present on the palate and chewier feel than, say, Smith Haut Lafitte currently. Lots of elements, needs to settle. Drink 2016-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; dense; very pure and seductive black fruit nose; lots of depth; black cherry, plums, very lush indeed; little oak at the edge; real depth to the nose; lots of fresh fruit flavours on the palate; opulent Merlot [65%], ripe and lots of material; some real chew and depth but you really end up marveling at the wonderful quality and depth of fruit here. In a much lusher, more forward style but not far behind Haut-Brion and La Mission for me. 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. 94-96+ Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Mid depth; deepish; ripe notes, cassis and blackcurrant with plum tones; chewy palate with lots of extract; feels pretty tannic at present – grippy and chewy. This wine should meld and the elements are there [if disjointed] but something of a disappointing showing from this estate in this vintage [usually wonderfully precocious] and its primeur performance. Drink 2016-2028 90? UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated, tight to edge; legs; creamy blackcurrants on the nose, sexy, but not too much Magrez make-up; black cherry; lots of fruit saturation – can’t beat a good terroir – but real polish and brightness here; grip and concentration to the palate; dense and structured but plenty of fruit. Lots of material. Very good effort. 91-93
  • 2010 Deep and arterial; wonderously plump, deep and sexy; very full and expressive; black cherry, plum and black fruits, spice; layer upon layer here; palate simply loaded with fruit; velvety and rich; plums, blackcurrants, spices, take your pick, and considerable structure beneath. Lots of material and guts. Wonderfully enjoyable wine. 96+ [Earlier] Deep and opaque, you won’t get darker; defines the term hedonistic; rich and very ripe, liquorice, black cherry, dense and then the oak, toasty; but can’t mask the voluptuousness here. Oak on the palate too but plenty of fruit to soak it up – blackcurrant, cassis and liquorice notes. Very big and chewy but it works for me. Great density and alcohol [exactly how much I forgot to ask] but lashings of fruit. 94-96+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Dense and deep looking; dense red fruits with meaty tones beneath; very big and thick; this has calmed down a bit since primeur tastings; fresh and rich palate; vibrant, bright and seductive; lots of depth. Remarkable stuff. 96+/100 [Earlier] Dense and concentrated; attractive fragrance; floral and pretty with good underscore of oak; best nose here, the most flattering; palate sweet and ripe and pretty with lots of perfume; power behind; little hard at present but will round out. Excellent. Seductive. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. 94-95+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010
  • 2008 Very dense and saturated in colour; as sexy on the nose as Mouton in it’s way; very layered and very showy; this wine is fabulous and irresistible; inky layers on the palate with sweet oak; ripe, earthy notes too; lots and lots of layers here. This is really well done. Lots of extract and length. One of the wines of the vintage surely? 94+ [Earlier] Deep opaque, tight to the rim, lovely nose, sweet violets, blackcurrants and sexy oak; some coffee and mocha notes too, wonderfully seductive; palate intense and concentrated with layer upon layer of fruit; blackcurrants by the bucket load and sweet oak, tannin but very ripe. Fabulous and very showy. I’m certainly seduced. 94-96+/100
  • 2007 Deep, saturated colour; earthy, deep but round – blackcurrants, undergrowth and cassis; leafy tones too; some coffee/espresso from the oak; layered palate with depth. Tasted November 2010. 90/100

Château Pique Caillou, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Pale straw; waxy; some grapefruit tones; some lees; wax on the palate; classy; pretty good effort. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89+
  • 2014 Pale straw with green hints; fresh and flinity styled; emphasis on the fresh Sauvignon Blanc; some citrus elements; fresh and zippy on the palate; lacks complexity but undeniably fresh and zippy; needs to round out on the finish. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Drink 2016-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 87-88
  • 2013 Very pale straw; some honey and candy tones; quite a light style; zesty grapefruit tones on the palate with quite a bit of zap and acidity. Fresh style. Drink 2015-2020. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 86-88
  • 2012 Pale straw; gunflint and apple notes; simple palate which maybe lacks a little acid? Drink now-2018. 85 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale straw; some wax and wet dog; quite full initially if lacks a bit of zip. OK 85-87 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier.
  • 2011 Pale straw – stronger colour than some; fullish – quite simple but ripe; lacks finesse and complexity but feels weighty enough. Drink now – 2018. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale grey; little cloudy sample; wax, lees and apple notes; wax too and grapefruit characters; zesty palate; real grapefruit tones and nice zip and zing. This will be good value. 88-90
  • 2010 Pale green/gold; some honey, a little passion fruit and wet wool; quite taut style on the palate and focused on the fruit. Nice palate, clean and fruit driven without being worked too much. I like this. Will fill out too. 88+ [Earlier] Pale straw; leesy, quite fresh, some wax; nice palate, candy and wax promising and a good value option I’d have thought; nice roundness and good zip. Excellent and very well made. Very good length. 90-92+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw/gold; wax, rather simple and quite fat; broad palate with some race; quite fat and satisfying though 88+/100 [Earlier] Pale straw, grass and attractive; well developed; not over done here or dominated by the oak; palate has zip; lacks a bit of depth but will probably fill out. 88/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon]

Red:

  • 2015 Deepish; nice attractive fruit; purity here; no jam; thoughtful and fresh; nice palate; elegant but with depth; balanced; good density on the finish. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 40% new oak]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2028. 89-91+
  • 2014 Mid depth; fresh; blackcurrant; slightly stalky and saline; black cherry and blackcurrant tones on the palate; Ribena note; slightly hard in the middle but will flesh out I expect. Fresh, stalky style. Works OK. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot]. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 86-88
  • 2013 Deepish; earthy red at edge; fresh and stalky; little herbal note; soft and easy on the palate; spicy and light. Has some bounce to it. [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2023. 84-86
  • 2012 Mid depth; some cherry, blackcurrant and wine gum notes; fresh; more grip and lighter styled. Earthy notes and fresh acids. Goodish if light effort. Drink now-2020. 85+ Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep colour; vibrant edge; some creamy notes; black fruits; some stalky Cabernet tones; ripe attack; grip on the palate; needs to fill out [I’m sure it will] Grippy and earthy at present. Chewy finish. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot 36% new oak 13% alc 85-87 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; strawberry notes along with spice and forest floor; faintest streak of green; lively palate; grippy with firm acid but not puckering finish. Overall has zap and life if lacks body. Drink 2015-2021. 86 UGC ’13 [Earlier note] Dense, dark; cherry and some oak and black cherry fruit; slightly overdone nose; lacks purity – too much oak currently; grippy, sappy palate; little too much extraction – dry palate. Will probably be OK but always will be chunky. Again whites far better than reds at this estate, as with so many in Pessac-Léognan in 2011. 85-87
  • 2010 Deep and concentrated looking; more leaf and lift; mid-weight, earthy with some blackcurrant; very good effort; lots of blackcurrants; plump with lots of fruit; very easy. Sufficient chew and grip to keep the interest – enjoyable. Great effort from this estate that makes well made wines of typicity at an affordable price. [50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon] 90 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; fresh mineral note; crushed rocks and pleasing purity here; refreshing Cabernet influence – quite unadorned but none the worse for it; real blackcurrant fruit; sweet and ripe palate, good attack and nicely balanced; has extract but also depth. Tannic finish. Should be good and good value 88-90+/100 [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot 13.5-14 alc] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Dense and deep; glossy; blackcurrants, minerals, strong nose; feels quite fresh with some cream at the edge; ripe palate, mineral tones; depth and chew; tannin a bit coarse but should settle. Not bad effort. 88+/100 [Earlier] Good density of colour; fresh; fresh fruit nose with earthy undertow; ripe and sturdy with layers; some prettiness here; palate spicy and briary notes; red fruits; concentration with tannin and acid; good mouthful with grip at the end. Grippy and very good. Should be good value. 88-90/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

White:

  • 2015 Silver; really sparkles in the glass; melon; white peach; seductive aromatics; lovely ripe palate; beautiful; lovely balance; harvest started 1st September; estate comparing this to the 2010; minerality on the finish. A delicious beauty. Has freshness too. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 5% Sémillon, 11ha for white, 50% new oak.].. Drink 2019-2027. 95-96+
  • 2014 Pale straw/silver; full and gorgeous aromatics – white flowers; some melon; white peach; very seductive; taut at the same time; palate has more grapefruit and zesty tones; some lanolin and wax; real breadth to the palate; great texture and acid on the finish. Balanced. Length and texture. They say here that the 2014 whites have the body of 2010 with the acidity of 2008. Fascinating combination. Smith Haut Lafitte white once again almost up with La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc and Haut-Brion Blanc for me. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 50% new oak]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 94-96+
  • 2013 Palest straw; very round and attractive; well integrated oak; some candy, fresh cut melon and white flowers; palate very fine; full and intense with great length. The best white at the Malartic tasting for me. Good acidity running through this. The estate feels that it has the saline quality of 2007 but the depth of 2010 with more acidity. Great stuff. [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2016-2023. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 91-93+
  • 2012 Palest silver; elegance here but with quite a bit of fruit evident; grapefruit and cashew notes with an attractive salty tang; good weight on the palate and evidently very well balanced. Textured. Very attractive. Drink now-2022. 93 Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Palest silver/green; full and broad; some wax and grapefruit; lots of density to the palate; very ripe material; weight and density here; with very good length. 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Gris. 92-94+ Tasted Monday April, 8, 2013 Pessac-Léognan tasting at Chateau Olivier [Later note] Steely silver/green; grapefruit, lees, quite serious; some ginger spice; deep; very full almost waxy palate. Very full, very good indeed. 93-95 Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Attractive golden straw with silver highlights; complex nose – oyster shell, citrus notes, limes; deep and full; palate has nice mouth feel and body but also zap – grapefruit, limes and citrus freshness. Great length. This is already wonderful but needs 5 years to show its best and will last the distance. Drink now-2025+ 93+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Palest grey/gold; grapefruit, zest and some polish; restrained; big palate; lively and zesty with some barrique notes along with citrus tones, spices and grapefruit; roundness; good fruit and length. Very good effort. 92-94+
  • 2010 Palest straw/gold with hints of grey; attractive spicy grapefruit, cashew and oyster shell notes; lots of spicy fruit here – the nose is loaded and lifted and really attractive; bold palate; full; dense and very good; lots of fruit and depth with a nice salty edge on the finish that suggests minerality alongside the citrus fruit tones. Very good length indeed. 95 [Earlier] Pale straw; some candy, fresh and strong nose; ripe and concentrated palate; waxy and will work well – has zip and life. Very promising. Grapefruit on the palate, lots of life and zing but also concentration and strength. One of the best white wines at the UGC. 94-96/100 [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw; gooseberry, cashew, citrus notes too, grapefruit tones; attractive palate; full and with real depth; wool and wax; lees notes; full, spicy has good length. Maybe lacks a bit of zip but big full style. 92/100 [Earlier]Very pale; very sturdy nose, ripe, apples; good palate and fresh; more citrus and apple elements; some grapefruit; very fresh and zip. Will fill out. Potentially very fine. 90+/100 [90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon Gris, 5% Semillon]

Red:

  • 2015 Lovely colour; deep at centre; healthy looking; seductive aromas – oodles of ripe fruit; cassis; some chocolate notes; supple entry; wonderful fruit tones – real beauty here this year; surprisingly supple wine. Between 09/10 the estate believe. Lovely stuff for me. Opulent. Gorgeous. [63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc 2% Petit Verdot, 65% new oak]. Tasted Smith Haut Lafitte. Drink 2019-2035. 7/4/16. 96-97+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; ripe cassis; some strawberry notes; blackcurrant cassis again; tight palate jam packed with fruit; clean and precise; very attractive fruit tones; nice freshness and acidity on the finish. Plenty of matter on the chewy finish. Will be very good. [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2020-2032. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 92-94+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; colour tight to the rim; very layered and perfumed with lots of fruit; some smoke; black fruits; very nice texture on the palate; rich; blackcurrant and plum tones; very attractive fruits; laden but not leaden; creamy fruit that hasn’t been pushed. Treated perfectly in the cellar. Terrific effort in the vintage context. One of the reds of the vintage and better in my book than Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in 2013. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93+
  • 2012 Mid depth; saturated core; creamy and voluptuous aromatics; morello cherries, plums and spice; very lush; some undergrowth and complexity; very round and fruity on the palate with blackcurrant and plum fruit; very precise. Freshness at the end and nice length. One of the most impressive reds at the entire UGCB event. Drink now – 2028. 94+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; creamy, deep and layered on the nose; attractive; very fiull; and textured on the palate with layers of fruit; quite firm tannins and nice bite at the end. Good freshness. Excellent effort. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. 92-93+ Tasted Monday April, 8, 2013 Pessac-Léognan tasting at Chateau Olivier. [Later note] Deep and saturated; some nutty oak, little reminiscent of Domaine de Chevalier; red fruits alongside some black cherry; chewy palate with just a little angularity to the tannin; lots of plushness from the Merlot disguises the slight astringency of the Cabernet. 90-91+ Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Mid depth; glossy; opulent nose – cassis, cherry, blackcurrant – very velvety; open and appealing; good blackcurrant fruit tones with an earthy note plenty of density on the palate with a grippy edge which gives bite to the finish. Pretty good effort overall with nice fruit tones and acidity that reflects the vintage. Drink 2015-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; some purple tones; creamy blackcurrant fruit with some earth, attractive; very polished with nice purity and earthy blackcurrant tones on the palate; nice entry, mid-weight and nicely done; not over handled or over-extracted. Elegant and satiny. Perfectly judged 2011. Harmonious. Head and shoulders best red at the UGC. 92-94+ UGC April ’12
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking in the glass; very voluptuous and expressive in the glass; plums; blackcurrant spices and resin; deep and layered aromatics; menthol and chocolate notes too; palate pretty thick but lots of fruit and structure; palate enveloped by ripe, round tannins; extracted but nicely done; chewy finish with lots of extract and matter. Warm finish. Impressive, flamboyant modern styled wine. Drink 2018-2040. 96+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Super dense and saturated looking; thick black fruits, dark cherry and chocolate tones on the nose; lots of density here; rich and cake-like notes; but there is structure and grip beneath and oh so much fruit above. Chewy finish. Lots of material and will work out extremely well with a few more years. 94+ [Earlier] Deep and dense, saturated; menthol, concentrated blackcurrants and cassis; some perfume too, less adorned with oak than Pape Clement and better for it; very ripe palate, big and plush; sweet and ripe but incredible purity. Lots and lots of flavour. This is truly great wine. Resonance and purity. Easily one of the best reds of the appellation. 96-98+/100 [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot 13.7 alc] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated colour; very ripe, lifted fruit tones; red fruits; rich and big with toasty oak and espresso notes; full and ripe with lots and lots of fruit and saturation. Plenty of blackcurrant fruit on the palate; layers here. Chew on the finish. Exceptional if slightly exaggerated effort that still needs a few years to come together. 2016-2035. 95 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep looking; minerally nose with primary fruits – blackcurrants, cassis – and obvious depth; palate similarly loaded with fruit and deep and saturated in flavour; tannic and dense. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Healthy concentrated colour; pretty quality to the nose here; some violets etc; fresh and clean; precise and some sweetness; big palate with structure but also life here; very good palate unfact. Some savoury notes here too. Excellent 90-92+/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Deep, saturated colour; very intense looking; lots of red fruits on the nose, chalk and chocolate; depth; palate saturated and chewy; red fruits, dark chocolate, espresso notes on the finish; acid is hidden but covered in rich fruit. Impressive. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’12
  • 2007 Deep and dense; red at edge; leaf, tobacco, blackcurrants and earth; some peat and reductive notes too; thickish; earthy palate, some polish, inky and lots of earthy, blackcurrant fruit; chewy finish and some bite. Again very good for the vintage. 92+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11.
  • 2006 Red at edge but depth; earthy, gravelly notes on the nose, with chocolate, very attractive, seam of blackcurrant beneath these smoky notes; sweet strawberries on the palate which feels fruit driven and open, ripe and soft tannins which don’t feel over done. Tannins really well managed in this vintage here. Excellent wine. 92+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.

GRAVES

Château de Chantegrive, Graves

White:

  • 2015 Pale silver; grass; lees; citrus notes; grapefruit; some oyster shell notes; lacks a bit of depth but fresh and attractive. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2018-2022. 86-88
  • 2014 Silver gold; fine; some limes and lychees; wax; limes and lychees again; tight finish with nice apple acid bite; little grapefruit zest; fresh and crisp style. [60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon]. Drink 2016-2020. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 87-88+
  • 2012 Pale gold; some fruit; fatness; apple and spice; palate quite firm with some ginger, spice and apple tones. Fruity and easy. Drink now – 2016. 86 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale straw/green tinge; some grapefruit and lees; similar notes on the palate with candy/pear drops. Good effort. 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Sémillon 87-88 Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Pale straw; apples, grapefruit and citrus highlights; flint; nice crisp palate with some weight. Enjoyable now – 2016. 87
  • 2010 Colourless; soft passion fruit style, forward and easy, attractive; lees on the palate, finishes well. Very good 87-88+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.

Red:

  • 2015 Mid depth; earthy edge; ripe aromas; black cherry; earth and chocolate; nice texture on the palate; some acidity and grip on the finish; good effort. [50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2024. 86-88+
  • 2012 Deep and saturated look; sturdy and earthy aromatics with quite a bit of fruit; attractive and full with genuine character. Supple yet quite full with good acid this is good value and enjoyable red Graves. Drink now-2020. 87+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; vibrant edge; some lift and ripe, black fruits; sweet attack but then come the astringent tannins. Very angular finish. May settle. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot 84-86 Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Deepish red, earthy purple edge; wet rock; little dumb initially but on aeration some earth and blackcurrant; spicy blackcurrant palate; some cream. Nicely together. Good-ish for vintage. Drink now – 2018. 85
  • 2010 Deep and arterial; ripe and rich; layers and lovely life, perfumed and layered; lots of ripe fruit, really like this, some tannin here but ripe and lots of richness on the palate. Round and complete. Exciting 90+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.

Château Ferrande, Graves

White:

  • 2015 Pale green/straw; apple; less expansive than Chantegrive; zesty palate with some zip but lacks concentration. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2021. 85-87
  • 2014 Bright green gold; fresh; less overt and complex than Rahoul; still nice grapefruit zest and oyster shell notes; vibrant palate with quite strong acid. [44% Sémillon, 37% Sauvignon Gris, 19% Sauvignon Blanc]. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 85-87
  • 2012 Very pale straw; little wet wool; crisper and leaner on the palate. Clean crisp style. Drink now-2016. 85 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale and delicate; flinty; some apple; candy tones on the palate with some lees; little loose on the finish. 43% Sémillon, 24% Sauvignon Gris, 23% Sauvignon Blanc 85-87 Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Pale straw; apples but more animally; apple tones on palate; quite simple and lacks weight and depth. Drink now – 2016. 85
  • 2010 Pale straw; less expressive than the Chantegrive; full some spices on the palate; lacks a bit of zip. 85-87/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.

Red:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated looking; chocolate and ripe fruit notes; spicy palate with fair degree of chew; has texture and grip; will settle fine. Earthy note. [51% Merlot, 49% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2024. 85-87
  • 2012 Deepish colour; earthy red at rim; soft entry, easy going spicy red for early consumption. Drink now – 2018. 84 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Nice colour; glossy; purple at edge; attractive and forward; palate lush entry; spicy quality; some chew but plenty of fruit and less drying than Chantegrive at this stage. Will be OK. 85-87 Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Mid depth; lifted, earthy blackcurrant and leaf aromas; modest palate but round and not over-extracted or puckering. Good and easy. Drink now – 2020 85+
  • 2010 Deep black; lovely earthy nose with depth; ripeness and layers, good depth; sweet entry, nice balance, soft but with real concentration and layers. Very very good for this estate. Nicely judged. 90-92+/100 Tasted 6April 2011 UGC.

Château Rahoul, Graves

White:

  • 2015 Silver; steely and racy aromatics; mineral; will open up with some age; fresh and correct; not big but will fill out during elevage. Likely good value. [74% Sémillon, 19% Sauvignon Blanc, 7% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 88-90+
  • 2014 Pale silver/straw; fresh citrus; grapefruit and candy/pear drop notes; spices some wax; aromatic and full; nice weight on the palate with good balance and zip and freshness. Excellent stuff. Lots of finesse and style. [78% Sémillon, 17% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2016-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-91+
  • 2012 Palest green/gold; some depth; quite fine style; tight and serious; tight palate which will fill out and feels nicely done; pent up; some grapefruit and spice but contained. Nicely done. Length. Drink now -2020. 90 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Colourless/green hints; fresh, flinty and grassy tones; waxy palate with lees notes; will age nicely. Lees and wax on the finish. 80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc 87-89+ Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Very pale straw, hints of grey; fine and pent up nose; taut but with real finesse and depth; limes and citrus notes; citrus tones and nicely integrated oak; waxy; will fill out. Good effort. Drink now – 2020 88+
  • 2010 Pale straw; fresh, some grass; attractive; full bodied; some wet wool and wax on the palate – Semillon dominant; full bodied, attractive wine. Soft finish, could do with a fraction more zip. 88/100 [70% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sauvignon Gris] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.

Red:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated purple; dark centre; ripe and attractive; creamy entry with good grip; nice Merlot; wet earth and mocha notes; good effort this. Should be a good buy. [62% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, 13% alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89+
  • 2012 Mid depth; easy spicy red characters on the palate; soft with red fruit tones. Simple and easy. Drink now-2018. 86 Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Mid depth; glossy and vibrant at the edge; some stalky Cabernet highlights; little earth; quite grippy palate [surprisingly] and seems to lack flesh. I’d have liked to looked at this again. 84-86. Tasted at UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Mid depth; little dumb; some wet rock and chalky notes; boney palate with lots of grip and acid. Lacks flesh. May meld with time but will always be austere. Drink 2016-2020. 84
  • 2010 Deep colour; ripe, earthy blackcurrants; lively freshness; some coffee; layers on the palate; quite plush and soft entry with layers; plump with some earthy notes. Very nice 88-90+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.

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