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St Emilion tasting notes A-F

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Here are the unadulterated tasting notes on the wines of St Emilion for properties A-F. For more detailed profiles on each of the chateaux, click on the individual links in this section. For overviews on the other regions of Bordeaux click on the following links: Haut-MédocSt EstèphePauillacSt JulienMargauxMoulis and Listrac and Pessac-Léognan. For raw tasting notes other communes going click on the following: Haut-MédocSt EstèphePauillacSt JulienMoulis & ListracMargauxPessac-Léognan and Pomerol.

Angélique de Monbousquet, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; colour tight to the rim; ripe and voluptuous nose; little jam; attractive; olives; black fruits; nicely textured; chew on the palate with some minerality; stones; some cherry fruit on the finish; good stuff. [60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38hl/ha, 14.3% alc, 3.76pH, 3.16TA, aged in 100% one year old oak]. Tasted Pavie April 2016. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep at centre; healthy purple at edge; wet rocks; mineral; some black chocolate and black cherry note; black cherry; some mineral tones; textured; some grit and will fill in; minerally finish. [60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cebernet Sauvignon, 3.08 acid, 3.79Ph, alc 13.2%, 60% new oak]. Tasted Ch Pavie 3 April 2015. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88

Château Angélus, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘A’

  • 2015 Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; wonderfully lush but precision here too; beautiful poise; wonderful aromatics; such juicy fruit; a very joyful vintage [not hot, sweet or overly ripe]; black fruits; sweet ripe plums; lovely seam of fruit on the nose; opens up to reveal layers of aroma; lovely palate; laden with fruit; considerable structure beneath the lush fruit; still nicely woven together with excellent depth – not the tannins of say 2010 evident; more lushness but also with some freshness too; nice length on the finish. Needs ten years but the fruit is beautiful here in 2015. [62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Angélus April 2016. Drink 2022-2035. 97-100
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; opaque at centre; substantial and deep if a little closed at first; some perfume; layers but this is pent up; glossy quality; tight entry; nice seam of fruit; very packed but also very precise; like the precision; slowly opens up on the mouth; lots of extract and matter but the thing here is precision; some warmth on the back end which suggests alcohol; but the precision of the fruit and the seamless narrative of the wine are the thing. Fine quality of the tannins is good. Very good length. Lots of matter here and gravity. [50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc, harvest 2-22 October]. Tasted Angélus 29 March, 2015. Drink 2022-2035. 95-97
  • 2013 Dark and deep looking; purple at edge; very seductive aromatics; black fruits, violet lift; very focused and composed; spice and plum tones; very focused and tight knit; palate quite full with plenty of material; some plum tones and fresh fruit characters; plenty of material; touch of wood on the palate at the end with chew at the back. Promising effort. [62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 26-27hl/ha yields]. Drink 2020-2034. 91-93+
  • 2012 Very deep and saturated; violets, layers of lush black fruits; deep and saturated palate; layers of flavour again; violets, plums, spices and freshness too; chewy finish which shows just how much saturation and material there is on the palate. Pretty dense effort. Despite the pretty aromatics, the palate is deeply serious. 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc. 92-94+ Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; legs and tight to the rim; very dense looking; sexy floral nose, perfume, vibrant and very appetizing; nice accent on the fruit; cherry and blackcurrant; very nice; elegance that suggests life; sweet fruit; nice entry; composed wine with real depth; lots of oak and tannin here too but will come together as it’s well handled. Chewy finish but lots and lots of material. Bit at end. Tannin firm and trace of alcohol but overall very impressive indeed. 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 94-96
  • 2010 Very deep and saturated looking; inky and intense; sublimated style; wet rocks too; palate little closed and subdued; wet rocks; obvious weight and scale; spicy finish; extract and matter but not that expressive on the day. Was all exotic richness during primeurs. Needs five years? Drink 2020-2035. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Rich and deep looking; lovely seductive nose; real quality, some smoke and savoury notes; layered and intense; terrific; palate wonderful; fabulous concentration; extract, sweetness and perfume here; really terrific. Very clean and well done. One of the real standouts. Brilliant. Very sublimated, intense. 98/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2009 Deep and very saturated; very intense and inky with lots of depth and material; resin and ink; this is a very dense wine with lots of material and extract, tightly wound; pretty tannic and chewy on the finish. Very dense and long-term. 2019-2040. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13
  • 2006 Very deep and extracted; very tight and dense to the edge; dense nose with minerals and tar, feels very strong but I’m not sure I’ve the stomach for this – palate actually more silky than I’d expected given the density and extract here. Still feels like it’s a wine on steroids though. Not a huge amount of joy at present. I’ll leave it to James Bond. 88-90?/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.

Carillon d’Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru

  • 2015 Deep; slightly looser at rim than Angélus; lots of fruit; spicy fruitcake and mincemeat; full some briary notes; nice creamy tone; nice texture; some minerality; spices and fruit cake notes; stones and some wet rocks; mid weight feel in fact; nice acidity and freshness here; plenty of material here. Nice tannic grip on the finish. [50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted April 2016. Drink 2023-2030. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated at the core; looser at the edge [than Angélus]; seductive; black fruits; some spice and savoury notes; very attractive and forward; sexy almost; smoke and meats; sweet entry; nice balance; savoury and sexy to a degree; lots of matter and structure but all very together; complete experience. Very good effort. Tannin and warmth on the finish. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernets]. Tasted Angélus 29 March, 2015. Drink 2018-2028. 90-92+
  • 2013 Deepish, earthy purple at edge; attractive spicy aromatics; pretty nose; perfumed; soft entry, very easy palate and not at all forced; emphasis on the prettiness here; spicy qualities. Lightness of touch. Drink 2018-2024. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Angelus 2/4/14. 85-87
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; some perfume and violet lift; palate quite tight and grippy with real chew and density. Doubtless the Cabernet influence, Cabernet Sauvignon especially. 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Savignon, 25% Cabernet Franc 89-91 Tasted Weds 10th April at La Fleur de Bouard
Arômes de Pavie, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; colour tight to the rim; quite seductive; violet lift; black fruits; nicely interwoven oak; provençale olives; spices; depth; lots of material; quite elegant mid palate; nice chew and sap on the finish. Olives and black fruits on the finish. Length. [66% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.3% alc, 36hl/ha, pH3.73, TA 3.18 50% new oak]. Drink 2021-2030. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep at centre; redder at edge [less purple]; black cherry; morello cherry; wet rocks and some minerality; attractive fruit beneath; purity; nice sweet texture; layered on the palate; some spice; balanced; nice freshness and tension; good length on the finish. Needs to fill out a little. Elegant. [70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.6% alc, 3.85pH, 3.25TA, yield 36hl/ha 80% new oak]. Tasted Ch Pavie 3 April 2015. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89

Château Ausone

  • 1964 Brown, little tired looking; slightly dank note to nose; some chocolate characters but very little fruit left. A frail old wine. A good vintage in St Emilion and also for Ausone but not a good bottle this one sadly… 75/100 Aug ‘05

Château Balestard La Tonnelle

  • 2015 Thick and dark looking; ripe and jammy nose; fruit but a little rasin-y; lifted; jam; never changes here; sweet ripe entry on the palate; ripe, extracted but not too dry on the finish; soft and easy fruit with little chew at the back. Drink 2020-2030. 87-89
  • 2014 Mid depth; deepish look; vibrant edge; ripe black fruits; purity this year; fruitcake like spices; some wet rocks; red fruits too; chewy and dense on the palate; extract; some oak tannins; chewy and a little extracted and dry on the finish. Nice fruit, but stewed on the end. [70% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2019-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 85-87
  • 2013 Deep-ish; black at centre; lifted and upfront aromatics; some fig and black fruit tones; full attack of fruit on the palate and then some rustic tannin; full but seemingly lacks flavour, despite the weight. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted 2/4/14 UGC. 85-87
  • 2012 Thick and quite dark looking in the glass; fruit here but dips in the middle; spicy fruit but lacks intensity. OK overall. Drink 2015-2022. 86 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; tight to edge; very ripe notes, pretty thick and deep; some coffee and mocha; toasty; creamy entry, quite thick and rich; not the freshness of some but big. Tannins ripe and reasonably fine. Goodish if thick style. 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 87-88+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; figgy, bit stewed and rather late harvested in feel; some VA lift; lots of extract and chew on the palate; big and thick certainly though less extracted than Cap de Mourlin. Drink 2015-2021. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Thick and dark looking in the glass, lacks vibrancy; liquorice and tar notes, very black fruits, toffee and Pontefract cakes; jammy note on entry; tobacco; quite thick and evolved; sweet palate, oak and alcohol but tannin soft. No dryness. Thick and sweet style. No bad, just not me. 86-87/100
  • 2010 Quite big looking in the glass; some red at edge; thick and VA lift on the nose; figgy; thick and ripe sweet palate with lots of extract. Not much life for me. Feels tired. 86 [Earlier] Deep and dark, some chocolate on the nose but feels tired and oxidised; good depth and chew but too much extraction and plodding heavy palate 84-86?/100 6th April at UGC.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; very figgy, and sweet; feels overdone and a bit tired; thick palate with plenty of weight but not much life. Tannin at the end. May appeal to some, not me. Drink now-2025. 86 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Dense; ripe fruit nose; some vanilla; intense and some chocolate; good fruit attack, chunky St Emilion; finishes a little short. 86-88/100
  • 2008 Deep and saturated look; strawberry fruit, very ripe unctuous notes; some prunes and darker fruits; quite solid and full; chewy, dense palate. Inky and dense if you like that sort of thing. 87 ‘12
  • 2007 Deep core; red at edge; some boiled sweet, earth and red fruits with lift; pretty simple; some raisin; red fruits on the palate with toffee notes. Chewy. This is OK but lacks sophistication. 85/100 ‘11

Château Barde-Haut, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; ripe and rich; evidently concentrated; very rich but not jammy; well handled; sexy and nicely done; sweet ripe fruit but still very Bordeaux; this works wonderfully; lush and lavish but not at all overdone; brilliant effort. Best wine of the Grand Cercle tasting. Terrific effort. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 17ha]. Drink 2018-2030. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 92-94+
  • 2013 Deepish but has life and vibrancy at the edge; unctuous but fruit driven – plums, spices/black fruits; this works – very attractive aromatically; has nice measured fruit tones too [and sweet oak too]; oak is integrated and woven-in [not overly dominant as some others others]; nicely measured palate; has layers and thickness with oak influence on the palate but not over done. This should settle nicely. Coffee and mocha notes on the finish. Drink 2016-2025. Tasted blind 30/3/14 Rive Droite. 88-90+
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; ripe and rich with plenty of oak and spicy, plummy fruit; yes there is a coffee bean note and an attractive earthy undertow; very attractive overall [on the nose]; similar tones on the palate; plenty of spicy plum tones with blackcurrants; modern style but with nice Bordeaux freshness. Chocolate on the finish, along with a bit of tannin and a twist of acid. Like this. 90-91+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; perfumed St Emilion; plums, fresh and serious; depth; real violet perfume lift here; minerality; nice palate; lots of fruit and attractive qualities. Nice tannin. Round and full. Well done. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 88-90+

Château Beauséjour, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘B’ [Héritiers Duffau-Lagrrosse]

  • 2015 Deep and glossy; opaque at centre; lovely briary fruit; pure and really joyful; caressing but with intensity; lovely purity; great length; unadorned with oak or other distractions. This has lovely length. Exciting wine. [5.4ha in production, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 34hl/ha]. Tasted Pavie Macquin 3/4/16. Drink 2023-2035. 95-97+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; vibrant purple at edge; perfume; layers of fruit; quite pent up; wonderful stuff; spices; black cherry; plums but really creamy; layers and attractive stuff; nice entry; sweet fruit; purity and clean; nice width and mouthfeel; creamy at the edge but minerality too. Chalky note on the end. Lots of material – spicy finish. Very concentrated but fruit is sweet and attractive. Lovely stuff. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2022-2035. 94-96+
  • 2013 Deep and dark at the core; purple hues at edge; cooler than Pavie Macquin; lovely blue fruit tones, plums, spices; very cool palate with good purity; more sinewy and masculine. Very good purity here again and good length on the finish. [88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6.5 acre vineyard 5.5 in production]. Tasted April 4, 2014 at Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2018-2030. 89-91+
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; very deep and tight to the rim; legs; very full and plump on the nose; lush; layer upon layer of ripe fruit – black cherry, summer compote, plum; very lush entry; plush palate with lots of material and depth. Chewy on the finish with some minerality. Very good length. Terrific wine. Very brave late picking here. 87% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc 94-96+ Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin
  • 2011 Black and saturated; tight to the edge; arterial; lots of inky fruit; slight streak of green but lots of black cherry; later opened up to reveal more black cherry fruit and dark chocolate notes, plus some redcurrants; extracted and chewy palate but all adds up. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. 60% new oak. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 90-92
  • 2010 Deep and thick in the glass; slightly stewed note here to begin with; not as polished and outwardly as fine as the rest; later opened up, smoke and blackfruits, some liquorice; menthol, like this very much also with oak from barrels; freshness initially on the palate; then intensity, grip, cool and well handled palate; real precision again, density and layers and layers; lots of chew and depth; good length. 93-95+/100. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.

Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’

  • 2013 Deep and saturated; opaque at centre; colour tight to rim; rich and thick nose, some sweet vanilla with plum tones; glossy; palate feels a little hard but there is some weight; overall OK, not too pushed. Perhaps a fraction short in the end but should fill out during elévage. Tasted UGCB 2/4/14. Drink 2018-2028. 88-90
  • 2012 Deepish and dark at centre; some wet rock and open fruit tones; little resin; sweet ripe fruit on the palate but with some chew to the tannins; little dry on the finish. Goodish if a little low key for this property. Needs to settle? Drink 2018-2025. 88 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; dark at core; lots of ripe plummy Merlot; pretty deep and fat; some spices; depth; pretty lush nose; density on the palate, some oak tannin but lots of plummy fruit; chewy and dense. Looks good. 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-92+ [second tasting] Deep and dense; ripe, layered but pretty dense; quite tight on the palate but with plenty of density; good length. 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; ripe, spicy black fruits; some figs; chewy palate with grip and bite; depth here and extract – kinda works in a chewy style – plenty of black fruits here but lots of tannin too. Be interested to see how this develops. Drink 2015-2025. 89+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Dark, saturated and thick looking; tight to the rim; layers of sweet, ripe fruits; red fruit especially; supple and layered; strawberry tones too; palate has intensity and grip, some wet rock; tannin here but lots of fruit to go with it. Big. Dry finish but good length. 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc & 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 70% new oak. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 90-92+ [Second note] Deep and saturated; arterial; legs; more cake, spice and mincemeat notes; attractive; very nice fruit and polish; oak present but focused and precise; lots of fruit and nicely composed; tannin and bite too; lots of density. Chewy wine but with focus and density. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 91-93+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; resin and molasses; liquorice and wet chalk; ripe and full on the palate with black fruits and spices; chalky note again; plenty of matter and grit with coffee and mocha notes on the finish. Drink 2016-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Very dense and saturated looking; chalky note; some lift; lacks freshness; not developing that well – had much better memories at primeurs; liquorice and fig; feels thick and overdone to me. 88? UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; ripe, rich nose; perfume and jam with nice lift; quite satiny with real density and extract; Very chewy and dense. Thick and rich and lots of black fruits here, some liquorice. Very strong wine. 94-96+/100 6th April 2011 [Second] Deep and saturated;  rich, ripe and very seductive; feels quite big; slightly jammy note; certainly very ripe style; thick and rich on the palate, concentrated and dense with tannin and grip and extract; wow, feels very dense, lots of extract and material; very big chewy wine. 94-96/100. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; some earth, prune notes; thick; thick and ripe again on the palate; lots of depth and extract; lots of fruit but feels a little chunky and extracted overall. Has shown better. Drink 2017-2030 88-90? MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep looking; sexy, meaty nose; quite lifted; real concentration and flavour; palate chewy and satisfying here; great wine, no trace of jam here, just ripe fruits and a meaty edge; oak too nicely interwoven. Lots of depth here.  This wine is developing really well. Very exciting stuff. 94+/100 UGC Oct 2011. [Earlier]  Deeper, more intense than the Balestard; seductive ripe nose; plums and spices; very sexy and appealing; plenty of tannin and oak; but there is a lot of fruit here; chewy and extracted. Palate a little raw and disjointed. Lots of extraction here. If it settles – this should be very good. [Later] nice and intense; some coffee and mocha; richness; good chewy palate; will; be very good 92-93+/100. UGC April 2010
  • 2008 Saturated colour; dense at core; nicer nose; sweet fruit, but meaty fruit with more complexity; lots of depth; ripe palate, lots of meat and fruit characters and supple tannins. Depth. Very good. 92 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Deep and dark, sweet aromas on the nose of oak with ripe fruit beneath, feels dense and substantial; palate has lots of extract and fruit; some tannin here too plus acid and crunch. Good finish. Typically extracted style and quite a mouthful, but it adds up. 90/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Deep centre; meaty notes alongside mineral tones; feels quite compact on the nose; some depth and thickness here; meat and weight to the palate; some sourness too; chewy wine with dryish tannin. 86/100 MW Institute Nov 11 [Earlier] Mid red; quite dark at centre; ripe, slightly figgy, toffee nose; quite old fashioned; bit tannic and chunky; palate quite chewy. Needs time to round out.  82/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Dense colour, some chocolate and chewy fruir here, little fresher and less tarry in character than some of the other ‘top’ St Emilions here; mid depth on the palate with freshness and clarity, but then come the tannins again. So much tannin on this table of St Emilions…. 88? MW Institute Nov ‘10.

Château Belair-Monange, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘B’

  • 2015 Mid depth; healthy colour; right to the rim; fragrant and fruity aromatics; plums; nice delicacy; like Canon aromatically [the terroir neighbours the property]; some spices; lovely palate; quite delicious St Emilion – light on its feet; but plenty of depth; excellent wine. I may be underrating this. Very good length indeed. [88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 24ha]. Drink 2020-2035. 95-97+
  • 2014 Mid depth; deep at core; fresh and delicate perfume; spice and plum; red fruits; satin; palate has chalky wet rock minerality; substantial; vibrant and nice acid again; lovely purity; wet rock and some chalk; [second sample] fresher bottle – substantial; little unyielding but very pure aromatics; palate has density and poise but also freshness; real purity too; some of that wet rock chalk notes; but lovely acid and freshness and juicy fruit too. Tasted JP Moueix 1 April, 2015. Drink 2020-2035. 92-94
  • 2013 Mid depth; delicate aromatics; charming easy wine on the palate with freshness. Elegant. May fill out further during elevage. Just 1000 cases made. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted JP Moueix 2/4/14. 88-90
  • 2012 Mid depth, healthy colour; vibrant edge; fresh nose, minerality; nice fruit, attractive entry, some perfumed fruit; fresh and refreshing. Elegant wine but has depth and intensity. Never that showy early on. Now incorporates Magdelaine – only 1300 cases produced. 100% Merlot. 91-93+
  • 2011 Mid depth; deep core, purple at edge; purity, some spice, wet rock, blackcurrants and spicy briary tones; violets here too – not dissimilar to the Magdelaine – summer fruits again. Sweet entry, bright fruit, soft and harmonious; elegant and pure; confidence here to let the vintage express itself. Chew and bite on the finish. Plenty of grip and structure here. Tasted at JP Moueix 4/4/12. 90-92 [Second note]. Deepish, earthy red at edge; not completely tight; some earth, blackcurrants, quite full; less wet rock more meat and cassis; sweet attack; more chew and desity; not a bad effort. Fruit here – black cherry, plum and spice. Grippy finish but good bite and chew. Length. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 40% new oak. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 90-92+
  • 2010 Deep; fresh and vibrant aromatics with black cherry and spicy plum notes; very attractive and vivid; spicy menthol tones too; plum and cherry tones continue on the palate in a seam of fruit; very mannered and fresh feeling; some dust, spice and minerality on the finish. Impressive length too. Drink 2016-2030. 95 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; ripe, liquorice, tar note; slightly burnt edge; layered; some menthol, very tight and layered; later some perfume, almost floral; fresh; density but fine extraction wonderfully handled. Great density and weight, very good length. Some heat on the finish but also grip here. 94-96/100. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated looking; purity here; some blackcurrant fruit, freshness here; stone fruit notes; blackcurrant fruits on the palate with real purity again; I really like this – has lots of freshness, elegance and length. Excellent effort. Attractive already but probably needs a few years first. Drink 2017-2035. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13
Château Le Bel Air Ouÿ, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and dark; more red at edge; little fresh and reductive; has bitter cherry notes; dark chocolate; fresh quite fresh and spicy; nice Bordeaux flavours; nice sap and freshness; has good acidity and feels like St Em. Good – if less lush – more spicy style. Drink 2020-2028. 90-92+
  • 2014 Mid depth; less depth than some; earthy purple red at edge; spicy, plum fruit; some fresh cherry; stone fruit too; ripe attack; sweet ripe fruit; plums and cherry; medium weight but nice sap and freshness. Pretty good. Nice sap and vigour. Tasted Jean-Luc Thunevin, 3 April, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated; earthy purple at edge; cool vibrant aromatics, quite full; spice and satin on the palate with some material and chew but well managed extraction. Perhaps a little lighter on the finish than expected. Drink 2016-2024. Tasted JL Thunevin 2/4/14. 86-87
Château Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2014 Deep and saturated glossy colour; meaty and sturdy on the nose; masculine; sweet entry to the fruit; oak but nicely integrated; plenty of depth; some perfume; chew and extract but the tannins are very nicely handled; savoury and meaty tones [but not in the bretty sense]; extract and bite on the finish together with some alcoholic warming. Full certainly. [100% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2025. 89-91
Château Bellefont Belcier, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Deep and opaque; ripe fruit in the ascendant [ie what you arrive at first]; quite lush and fully ripe – verging towards the red fruits – satiny Larcis Ducasse style almost; nice and full; little wood and dryness but the fruit does meet in the middle; rich; some fruitcake spice; very good indeed. Best yet from Bellefont-Belcier. [72% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13ha]. Drink 2020-2028. 92-94+
  • 2014 Good depth and colour; full; some spices and sturdy fruit; some sour cherry; palate has gloss and perfume; cooler and nicely balanced palate; nice balance and texture. [72% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13ha]. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 86-88+
  • 2013 Deeper still; colour tight to the rim; fresher, quite piercing and higher toned; little reductive aromatically; nutty note; some chew and lots of material on the palate; little jumbled presently and coarse; chew and bitter black chocolate on the finish. Needs to settle. La Grand Circle March 2014. Drink 2016-2023. 83-85
  • 2012 Mid depth; dark at centre; looser at rim; some fragrance and perfume; certainly delicacy; feels good [and appetizing more importantly]; ripe fruits qualities on the palate; rich but not puckering; works well in a mid-weight style. 87-88+ Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013
  • 2011 Thick in the glass; dense looking; legs; rich, dense flavours; very saturated and sublimated; ripe on the nose; ripe entry; sweet, thick; chewy and tannic [but not overly so]. This works in its dense saturated way. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-89+
Château Bellevue Mondotte, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; legs; rich looking; very ripe lifted black fruits; glossy and seductive; sweet attack; plenty of fruit – glossy and creamy; textured but with soft tannins; a certain elegance; new oak influence on the palate but plenty of length; little chew at the back; sweet matter that is concentrated. [90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.7% alc, 20hl/ha, TA 3.50, pH 3.60, 100% new oak]. Tasted at Pavie April 2016. Drink 2022-2032. 96-98+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; opaque at centre; dense; spicy; some menthol notes; black cherry and plum; packed with fruit on the nose; mineral quality; nice fruit on the opening; almost glossy but lots of oak and fruit tannins here; chewy and textured with warmth from alcohol on the finish. Density and extract. Spicy finish. Chewy finish – though less so than Pavie Decesse. Has length certainly and gravity. [90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.8% alc, 3.4TA, 3.52pH, 20hl/ha, 100% new oak]. Tasted Ch Pavie 3 April 2015. Drink 2022-2030. 92-94+

Château Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Deep; vibrant at edge; minerals, chalk with violet lift from the fruit; supple and attractive entry; these wines are nicely managed in the cellar; nicely balanced; nicely judged. [8.5ha in production, 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 35hl/ha. Tasted Pavie Macquin 3/4/16. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93+ [second tasting UGC 6/4/16] Mid depth; dark core; purple edge; little more minerally; black fruits beneath; harmonious entry on the palate; chalk and wet rocks; minerality again; little dry towards the back but the fruit returns on the end; grip on the finish. Appetizing, Will work very well. Tasted Pavie-Macquin April 2016. Drink 2022-2028. 90-91+
  • 2014 Deep in the middle; earthy purple at edge; black cherry; minerality; nice lift and spices; nice ripe fruit; supple; perfume a bit; cherry some plum tones; nice length at the back. Good length and elegant finish. [75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% alc]. Tasted 3 April at Château Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2019-2030. 89-91+ [Earlier tasting note] Deep and saturated colour; fresh at edge; some gloss and depth; sweet ripe entry to the fruit; some purity; needs to fill out a fraction; quite mineral and wet rock; plenty of extract and chew with nicely pure fruit; good length; impressive length. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 89-91+
  • 2013 Bigger colour, deeper and tighter to the rim; little thicker on the nose; riper in feel with ripe plum flavours and black fruits; sweet entry with attractive ripe fruit on the palate; material attractive and ripe; soft and fleshy in the middle. Really good effort for the vintage. Berliquet has nice terroir adjacent to Canon, facing Angelus in one plot. Mixture of plateau and slope exposures. 2008 was the first year of Thienpont advising. New vineyard improvements and trellising system for Cab Franc online this year. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 4, 2014 at Pavie-Macquin. Drink 2018-2028. 88-90
  • 2012 Deep and saturated looking; juicy fruit tones, ripeness with black fruits and spices; quite lush palate with black fruits; ripe palate with some liquorice notes. Nicely ripe with attractive sap. Drink now-2022. 90 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; ripe and rich; glossy colour; lifted nose, plums, black fruits, spices and some menthol and tar with some jam; lots of ripe fruit on the palate; plums, spices and fruitcake; nice to drink already. Feels very forward and lush. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 89-91 Tasted Friday 12th April 2013 at Chateau Pavie Macquin [Earlier note] Deep and dark; blackcurrant cassis, spices, plums, nicely lifted; black cherry some prunes too; creamy palate with lots of lush fruit; little jammy but nice grip and tension at the end 88-90+ UGC Weds 10th April 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated looking; ripe, lifted aromatics – black fruits, liqource, plums and spices; chewy palate, pretty rich and oak influenced but works. Drink 2015-2021. 88 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and intense looking; lots of jammy, strawberry fruit on the nose; lifted red fruits; sweet, ripe wine, late picked style but with fruit; maybe a little too jammy. Rather dry palate and finish. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 84-86
  • 2010 Thick and glossy looking in the glass; mocha, black fruits; quite lush; little liquorice note; broad palate with black fruits and liquorice again; some chalk too; fruitcake spices here; tighter at the end with good acid which pulls things together nicely. Good effort. Drink 2016-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; some chocolate, some red fruit; quite saturated; palate a little on the figgy, over-ripe side for me; thick middle palate and then dry tannin at the end. Late picked style and over-extracted for me. 86 Oct ’12 [Earlier] Saturated again; thick looking; very ripe nose, some figs but plush, nice ripeness here; layered too; quite plush palate, little more tannin and chew. Bit lacking in sophistication. Tannin little chunky 86-88/100 6th April 2011 at UGC
  • 2009 Mid depth; ripe and pretty on the nose; some jam and lift; fat palate with layers of fruit and density; lots of saturation here but grip and intensity too. Big. 90/100 UGC Oct 2011 [Earlier] Dense purple at edge; sweet fruit nose; good chunky palate. Quite big. 88+/100
  • 2008 Dense and saturated colour; lifted unctuous style; strawberry and red fruits; feels likely to be quite thick; figgy, prune-y palate; loads of fruit and oak tannins; bit plodding and over-extracted. 86 MW Institute Nov ‘12

Château Boutisse, St Emilion Grand Cru

  • 2015 Deep and saturated; ripe and liquorice with black fruits; some freshly cut wood; nice fruit here; attractive; some wood and depth to the fruit; spices.; nice freshness to the fruit; this will work nicely in the end. I like the tightness on the finish if a little dryness. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Carmenere]. Tasted La Grand Circle April 2016. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89
  • 2014 Mid depth; close to rim; glossy; nicely handled oak; some liqourice and rich fruits; attractive and very composed; full and attractive plum and blackcurrant fruit on the palate; like this this is attractive St Emilion. Nice flavour and texture on the palate. Good chew and extract. This will work well. Layers and nice fruit and well handled . [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Carménere, 25ha]. 2018-2025. Tasted Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 89-91+
  • 2013 Deep at the core; earthy purple at the edge; legs; some earth and lift and complexity; red fruits and some spicy Cabernet tones; [attractive]; purity to begin with; this has some promise [though the oak is a little present and starts to close the palate]; has chew and guts; little pinched but has an twist of espresso at the end. Will be earthy and spicy but not that bad in the vintage context. Drink 2016-2013. Tasted blind Rive Droite 30/3/14. 85-87+
  • 2012 Ripe and spicy fruit driven; some bouncy perfume; plums; palate has spicy notes; some oak and dryness [which I expect will fill out]; nevertheless pretty spicy and dry. 85-87 Cercle Rive Droite April 7, 2013 [later] Mid depth; fresh; some vibrancy, some perfume; spicy palate which is quite elegant. Less concentration here than in the great years like ’10 but this is elegant, mid-weight St Emilion and good value. 86-88 Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013
  • 2011 Deep; red at edge; some pepper and capsicum notes, blackcurrants and some gum; nice oak accent and adds to the fruit; overall feels ripe and voluptuous; nice balance on the palate; violet fruit not overwhelmed by sweet oak. Ripe and tasty and very attractive St Emilion. Great stuff. Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 88-90+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; nice concentration, life, some menthol and herbal notes; attractive; very ripe and thick; density here; pretty good wine. Chewy and dense but not overdone. 88-90/100 Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite

Château Canon, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘B’

  • 2015 Very healthy looking in the glass; deep and purple at edge; legs; mineral tones, some chalk and wet rocks; opens up in the glass aromatically; perfumed, ripe and full; lovely blackcurrant and black cherry tones; layered and enticing; real finesse; beautifully balanced on the palate with lots of matter and substance; length. Spellbinding Canon. [72% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 42hl/ha, 70% new oak; 14.5% alc]. Drink 2022-2040. 96-98+
  • 2014 Mid depth; healthy looking; earthy purple at edge; purity; ripe fruit; deeper; some spicy notes from the oak and the fruit; blackcurrant and plum tones come through on the palate; perfume/floral qualities; nice clean pure fruit on the entry; just how I like it; elegance and harmony; not gritty or chewy; complete; nice finish; spicy on the end; trace of alcohol on the finish. [72% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 70% new oak]. Tasted at Canon 3 April, 2015. Drink 2022-2030+ 92-94+
  • 2013 Mid depth; pure, clean; plummy tones; pretty; palate full and voluptuous; attractive and nicely done on the middle palate; some chew on the finish but there is plenty of extract and material here; good length. Excellent effort. One of the top St Emilions of 2013. [65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 35 hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93
  • 2012 Mid depth; deepish at centre; intense and pent-up [as usual]; some mineral and wet rock notes; layered and polished; palate is all silk and spice with layers of fruit tightly woven together; there is flesh but there is nice tension between this and the grip. Serious finish. Pretty complete and fine. Drink 2016-2025. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep, saturated colour; legs; very vibrant nose; lots of cherry, dark chocolate and plums, surprisingly voluptuous and seductive; some spice here too; wonderfully plump palate with lots of wonderfully attractive fruit; very lush and full; yes there is structure beneath but a very plush Canon. Lush and full. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. 14% 92-94+ Tasted at Chateau Canon Friday April 12, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated; intense and pent-up on the nose; tight; some wet rock and cassis fruit; quite grippy on the palate but layers of fruit; chewy and tannic and needs time. Fresh acids here. Will be long-lived and needs a bit of time to come round. Never particularly forward here – the wines are usually intense and pretty structured – but this feels particularly tight at present. See how it develops. Drink 2018-2028. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep but a little less concentrated than some [not a bad thing]; healthy looking; nice black cherry notes, more vibrant fruit than either Pavie or Troplong Mondot; fresher; leaner nose but seemingly more fine; nice layers on the palate; fine and elegant; very nicely judged. This still works really well in this vintage. Focused and precise. Tannin at the end but very good. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 92-93+
  • 2010 Dense and dark looking; little chalky note at first; then more lifted on aeration with red fruits and spices; some resin; layered; palate fine and tightly packed with fruit; mocha and red fruit tones; little dry and tannic on the finish. Needs some time. Weighty [15 degrees]. Drink 2018-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; some chalk, red fruits and some depth; ripe and with lots of extract; deep; big but pure; some grip and texture and extract; not overly tannic, but ripe tannin not too pushed.  Promising effort, pretty structured overall but plenty of fruit here and a pure style; not over-played. 92+  [Earlier] Deep and saturated, tight to rim; rich and ripe on nose, shows real concentration; unctuousness; relatively simple by comparison with previous [Trottevielle] but very pure; real purity in fact; quite a lot of puppy fat here; real ripeness; lacks some of the complexity of the last but lots of fruit and density; feels alcoholic; some length, bit hot. 91-93/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2009 Deep colour and tight to the rim; inky and intense; stones and wet-rocks; ripe and rich with lots of saturation but remains clean and pure. Very long and classical. Lots of material tightly coiled and needs time. Drink 2019-2035 93+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid red; quite thick looking; creamy, mineral nose; fine; chew and density on the palate; minerality again; dense; crushed rocks; ripeness too, figs, but still sinewy and dense; held in cheque; muscular certainly but no trace of jam here. Serious and [deliberately] not flamboyant, nevertheless this is a very fine effort. 93-94/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Dense to rim; very intense and layered nose; pent up but with real intensity; concentrated, serious and not showy. Palate similar; intense, serious with good concentration and intensity; tannic and structure here. Will fill out. Serious and quite long haul here. [Later] Attractive creamy note; palate fine; structured and very well done. 92-94+/100 UGC March ’10.
  • 2008 Mid depth; deepish core; steely, some spicy, blackcurrant notes; quite sturdy feel; feels fresh. Chewy palate with lots of grip and extract. Firm in acid and in tannin. Classical. 90 ’12 [Earlier] Mid red; some depth, strong nose of minerals, stones also mint and menthol; intense palate with minty menthol note which is attractive; ripeness here with typical intensity, taut yes but with layers. Extremely well made and tannins well managed. Intense and concentrated but also maintains some elegance. Extremely fine 92+/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Deep centre; red fruits, some meal and mineral tones; feels quite pent up; dense palate with some sweetness [red fruits] and chalkiness; tannin on the finish. A pretty good effort but less thrilling than I remember. 88/100 [Earlier] Mid red; depth and dark at core; little dumb at first; some stone and mineral quality here; spice and tobacco at the edge; palate quite tight and intense; fine wine with good depth; not that showy but good seam of fruit; good depth and length. Quite fine. 90/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Very deep and intense looking; intense and precise nose with real focus [at last!]; layers and density with stones and minerals beneath, tightly wound; palate has real purity and feels layered and focussed – not merely explosive. Some hardness to the tannins nevertheless but the chew and intensity of the fruit seems appropriate and proportional to the tannin. Potentially very fine.  90+/100 ‘10
  • 2005 Deep at centre; warm red at edge; tobacco; vanilla; spices; glossy; warm black fruits; sweet fruit on entry; Golden Virginia notes; chocolate; spices; black fruit tones again; blackcurrants; olive notes; nice chew and density; [this has just started its drinking window]; excellent length. Has a decade of further improvement ahead of it. Wonderful stuff already! [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 60% new oak]. Drink 2015-2025. Tasted at Canon April, 2015. 96+

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘B’

  • 2015 Deep colour; more solid and substantive than L’Oratoire; layers; ripe black fruits; very nicely judged; some Cab influence here on the palate with the spicy characters; very supple and approachable; nice depth; soft finish. [55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, Certified organic, 39hl/ha, 55% new oak, 30 day cuvasion, 13.7% alc]. Drink 2020-2030. 93-95+ [second tasting at UGC 6/4/16]: Deep colour; substantial aromas; quite a lot of fruit here; sweet ripe plums; spicy note from the Cab Franc; satin fruit to begin with but plenty of guts in the middle and a little chew on the finish; nicely textured; structure here under the satin fruit canopy. Depth. Drink 2020-2035. 93-95+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; lovely fat seam of fruit; bold, dense and concentrated; some chocolate; glossy ripe entry once again; this is polished and creamy St Emilion; wonderful texture to the palate; very harmonious; good concentration on the finish. Very good length. Palate very impressive. Very good wine indeed. [55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.5% alc, 24 hl/ha, 70% new oak, harvested 25/9-09/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2030. 92-94+ [second note at UGC] Deep and saturated look; very deep core; ripe; glossy and polished; voluptuous on the nose; black cherry; some spice; velvety palate; plenty of extract and chew but structured nicely; some grip; nice fruit and texture overall. Mineral and wet rock tones too. Substantial and long St Emilion. [55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5%, 24 hl/ha, picked 25/9-9/10]. Drink 2019-2035. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 92-94.
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; vibrant edge; legs; cake and spices, ripe and attractive in a lifted way; creamy entry; nice sap and flavour; plenty of material but not extracted or puckering; chew on the finish but has freshness. Length here. Very good effort. [70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 70% new oak]. Tasted Canon-La-Gaffelière. Drink 2018-2028. 89-91+ [earlier note] Deep and saturated look; vibrant purple at edge; some menthol, spice, pretty intense; sweet and round with black fruit tones; palate has some oak and glossy fruit but overall the palate has a little compact quality to it with a little hardness on the finish. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. 87-89+
  • 2012 Deep; earthy red at the rim; menthol, spice and attractive depth to the aromatics; ripe fruit with seductive qualities; plums, red fruits and spices; nice depth and good finish. Drink now-2025. 92 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Vibrant purple at edge; saturated look; black fruits, deep aromas; black cherry; lots of layers here; some oak to integrate further on the palate but very attractive wine. Chewy finish. 92-94+ Tasted at Chateau Canon-la-Gaffelière Friday April, 12, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep and dark looking; freshness here; some red fruits, some lift; not OTT; lots of oak tannin on the palate but flesh; chew and density. Dense and deep. 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc. 90-92+ UGC Weds 10 April 2013
  • 2011 Deep and dark looking; ripe and seductive nose; lovely plumy, spicy fruit; nicely handled palate – sweet and ripe fruit with a spicy accent [Cab Franc]. Very good length. Tannin ripe and extraction nicely handled. Open already. Great success. Drink now-2026. 93+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deepish colour; lifted red fruits and oak; coffee and mocha notes too; lots of sublimated fruit tones; open and full palate; not over extracted in actual fact and tannins held in check. Almost subdued for this estate but better for it. Nice grip on the finish. Almost elegant. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 90-92
  • 2010 Deep and dark at the core; ripe red fruits; full and glossy as ever; spicy lifted aromatics; full and similarly glossy palate; with texture and weight; nicely round and harmonious and some development. Attractive already. Defines ‘glossy.’ Drink now-2030. 94 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; lifted red fruit aromas, saturated style; spice and liquorice notes; thick and rich palate; red fruits; deep and dense. Earthy note. Usual full style here but it works. 91+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and dense; ripe and creamy nose, very plush, lots of extract it would seem; ripe but nicely handled palate, good density, sweet and sexy with layers of flavour; density yes but doesn’t feel pushed too far; chalky minerality here to; grip and density but nicely done. Rich and attractive wine. 92-94+/100 [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 14.5 alc] Tasted 6 April 2011 at UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated look – glossy; ripe and lifted with developing notes, liqourice, spice and menthol; very ripe fruit; full palate, spicy and full – very packed with ripe flavours with some leaf and spicy tones and lots of chew at the end. Drink now-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier Note] Dark and saturated look; ripe red fruits, lifted strawberry tones; lots of red fruits again on the palate; strawberry tones; opulent and flashy; very sexy, open palate; but this has depth and there is plenty of tannin too, albeit extremely ripe, which gives it chew and density at the back. Chalk and cheese versus the Canon but both styles do work extremely well. 94/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Black and inky; very ripe nose; some jam here and red fruits, strawberry and raspberry; open. Luscious palate, big and bold; lots of extract and tannin, quite a hardness to the tannins [could be the oak]. Lots of extract here. Very different to Canon. [Later] Super ripe jammy note; feels alcoholic; attractive and sweet entry; lots of tannin and material. Good grip. Classically extracted la-Gaffeliere style. 92+/100
  • 2008 Deep and saturated; black at centre; very ripe and late picked in feel; saturated with black fruits and molasses; unctuous and fat; palate very thick indeed; lots of extracted tannin feels a bit OTT. 89 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Black red; lots of figgy ripeness to the nose, dark chocolate and strawberry, some lift; sweet entry on the palate with lots of ripe flavours – molasses and figs – lots of chewy extract here. A very extracted style but still with freshness. Very good if you like this style. 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90+/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Mid red-black; ripe more upfront fruit; some meat and almost new world notes here; some resinous nose from the oak; almost in Napa Valley on the palate; big and ripe; this wine is seemingly from a different region [or country]. Bold 90+/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Deep and arterial; super ripe strawberry and red fruits and oak; very sublimated and concentrated feel; a silky quality to the palate and a lot of fruit. This is a more open style than the Pavie stable and the palate feels a lot better for it. Still not quite me but this is much better balanced than many here. 90-92+/100  MW INstitute Nov ‘10.
Château Cap de Mourlin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé.
  • 2015 Deep and extracted looking; purple at edge; heady liquorice and strawberry fruits; not unattractive; little wet rocks too; soft entry on the palate; some marzipan; black fruits; spice; chewy finish; feels a little over extracted but will probably settle fine. Chewy finish. Drink 2020-2028. 87-89+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated looking; dark core; vibrant edge; liquorice and black fruits; some tar; lift; very ripe and bold; palate a little hard at first; oak dominant; needs to settle more; nice ripe fruit promises much; little jam on the finish and rather chewy and extracted on the end. [65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2019-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 85-87
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; some fig and black fruit tones – a little monolithic; some chocolate; quite hard palate with extract and some dryness here on the mid-palate which carries through to a rather dry and extracted finish. May settle. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. Drink 2016-2023. 83-85
  • 2012 Mid depth; ripe and savoury elements on the nose; some jam but feels substantial; palate full with some structure and spicy fruit; chunky style with some chew to the tannins but plenty of depth to the fruit. Good effort. Drink now-2022. 88+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; tight to edge; big and fat with some marzipan notes; pure if a little overdone; quite chunky fruit with chewy finish; little dry tannin and dry on the finish. Puckering. 82% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 85-87? UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and saturated looking; creamy and ripe on the nose; some figgy tones and liquorice; ripe and initially easy but then the extract and tannin becomes overwhelming and finishes feeling very tannic and puckering. Not sure what’s going on here? Drink 2015-2021? 86? UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep, tight to rim; legs; purple; some satin and marzipan notes and orange ripeness; lots of ripe Merlot notes; some mineral and chalky tones; good sweet entry, purity and some dry wood tannin but plenty of flesh. Goodish effort if a little chunky, but lots of fruit. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 87-89
  • 2010 Deep and saturated look; some red fruits, fig, lift; strawberry toned fruit on the palate; attractive and easy with lots of guts and material. Some spice and fig but sufficient life to make this work. 90 [Earlier] Very dense and saturated; nose very fatigued and heavy; similar raisin notes on the palate; feels tired and way over done. Not a good sample. 84?/100 6th April 2011 at UGC
  • 2009 Deep looking; sweet and ripe, figs, molasses and hint of marzipan; thick and chewy with lots of tannin. Feels extracted and stewed and rather one-dimensional with a rather extracted finish. Drink now – 2025. 86 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Dense colour; soft ripeness here; dense; some marzipan and fig; very ripe; less impressive than the last two; also some stalkiness to the palate; quite chunky and extracted. Tannins very dry. Will this meld? Difficult to assess. 86?/100 UGC Oct ’11
  • 2008 Mid red; some ripe strawberry and fig, quite ripe nose and open; soft figgy palate with some strawberry freshness. Quite soft and agreeable. 87/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Dark black at centre; thick and resinous nose; blackcurrants and tar; thick palate with lots of density and chewy tannin. Feels a little tiring. 86/100 ‘11
Château Carteau Côtes Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Mid depth; some wet rocks; satin notes; ripe, plummy fruit; soft and easy; lacks structure but easy and supple. Little dryness on the very end. [73% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16ha]. Drink 2019-2025. 85-87
  • 2014 Mid depth; earthy red at edge; earthy note; some chalk; some wet rock; mid depth on the palate; chew at the finish; some chalky notes in the middle; chewy finish. [73% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16ha]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 84-86
Château Castelot, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2014 Mid red; saturated at centre; jammy and marzipan Merlot; ripe and full; ripe juucy red fruits with some oak [gives satny feel]; quite plush; jam here; bit of extract. Easy finish. Tasted Angélus 29 March 2015. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89

Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe, ‘A’

  • 2015 Deep at centre; healthy looking; beautiful aromatics; lovely Cab aromatics; very pretty; spices; some menthol tones; very nicely made; attractive modesty and elegance; has real ethereal quality, but there is also depth; lovely balance; nice delicacy; freshness; some grip and mineral tones on the finish. Mineral finish and very long. Expect this to fill out further during elévage. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 100% new oak]. Drink 2022-2040. 96-98+
  • 2014 Deep and healthy colour; dark at the core; fresh looking at edge; purple; deep aromatics; blackcurrants and black cherry; elegant and sophisticated; structured palate; complexity; lots of blackcurrant fruit; depth; cool fruit characters no jam; nicely proportional and very good length on the end; matter and extract here but polished and balanced. Will be excellent. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, 75% of harvest, 100% new oak]. Drink 2022-2032. 94-96+
  • 2013 Mid depth; elegant colour; vibrant at edge; perfumed aromatics with some delicacy; spices; nice entry on the palate; elegant with fine structure. Spices and attractive fruit flavours. Very measured and not at all forced. Delicate style that will doubtless fill out during elevage. [53% Cabernet Franc, 47% Merlot, 18hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2034. Tasted 2/4/14 at Cheval Blanc. 90-92
  • 2012 Deep and dense; vibrant at the edge; healthy looking; nice delicacy to the nose; not a blockbuster, feels intellectual and mannered; elegant and well balanced palate, very fine with good purity; pretty structured and still quite tight; fine tannin and very much in the manner of near-neighbour Figeac. Quite tight on the finish. Very precise, linear and polished. Expect this to fill out. 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Franc. 93-95+
  • 2011 Deep colour; tight to edge; substantial seam of fruit; layered and composed; pretty cool; spicy and blackcurrant tones; feels fresh here which is nice; lots of density on the palate; compact and layered; lots of chew on the finish but tannins very nicely done. This is very good indeed. 52% Cabernet Franc, 48% Merlot. Tasted 4/1/12 at Cheval Blanc. 94-96+
  • 2010 Mid depth; dusty; bit dumb; wet rocks; some spices; firmly shut this; elegant palate; has appetizing edge; apparent depth and fresh acidity but feels closed; firm and rather tight – a very shut down Cheval Blanc at present. Like to see this again down the track. Was compelling during primeurs. Drink 2020-2035. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; tight to the rim; legs; quite dense nose; some smoke; depth and intensity here; fine fruit, flowers; palate ripe and seductive; real velvety feel here; very well managed extraction; lots of flesh and fruit but wonderfully seductive palate; quite a lot of tannin at the back but very ripe; lots of material and fruit. This looks wonderfully concentrated and with real grip and density. This wine is approaching perfection and extremely exciting. The question for me was more how the tannins eventually settle. [56% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, Alc: 14.5] 98+/100 4 April 2011
  • 2009 Mid depth, dark at core; very attractive nose – real fine Bordeaux here – enticing aromatics – blackcurrants, undergrowth, leaf and floral tones; perfect Cab Franc with its delicate, leafy and harmonious tones along with roses, floral tones and plummy spice from the Merlot; spicy and layered on the palate with blackcurrants and really fine Cabernet tones; lots of depth and nice grip to this wine which has wonderful tension which makes it more-ish Bordeaux. Extremely harmonious. Perfect surely? Drink now – 2040. 100 MW Institute Nov ’13.
  • 2006 Mid depth, not quite as deep as the other first growths; some lift on the nose, stones, minerals and plums but not as impressive or seemingly quite in the same league; palate feels big and extracted and pretty chewy with tannins to match. Certainly dense and with body and structure but less polish, complexity and finesse than the right bank first growths for the money. May settle in time. Feel Canon, Figeac and Canon La Gaffeliere are competing well with this great estate in 2006. Again time will doubtless tell. 92+/100 ‘12
  • 1994 Mid red, good depth; wonderful nose – penetrating roses, spice, tobacco, cedar – really haunting. Palate a little less expressive but still good. Slightly lacking in concentration [rain affected the 94s] but still good. 90/100 Nov ‘07
  • 1988 Dark, red at edge; some toffee; a little closed; bad bottle? NR May ‘08
  • 1985 Deep black/red; wonderfully floral nose of roses, black fruits; later savoury and tobacco notes, very elegant but wonderfully intense. Great length and clarity. Drunk when far too young but a great joy. 94/100 Oct ‘91
  • 1978 Mid red/ brown at edge; intense tobacco and leaf on the nose [the Cab Franc]; well structured wine; quite elegant palate and a little short at end. 90+/100 April  ‘96

Le Petit Cheval

  • 2014 Mid depth; vibrant edge; little more meaty; some blackcurrant spices; elegance; more substantial palate; has flesh and will flesh out; structured and quite cool in feel; textured palate. Nice length and good grip. [52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc, 12.8% alc, 25% of harvest, 60% new oak]. Tasted 1 April 2015 at Cheval Blanc. Drink 2020-2025. 89-91
  • 2013 Mid depth; quite light at the centre; spicy and pretty aromatics; elegance; some perfume; elegant palate, some spicy plum characters. Nice balance. Appetizing if lacking density. [79% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted Cheval Blanc 2/4/14. Drink 2018-2024. 85-87
  • 2012 Mid depth; healthy looking; nice delicacy on the nose; Cabernet Franc very evident; clean and elegant on the palate; good purity and nicely linear and no hard edges to the tannins; very fine; elegant and structured. Fresh finish. Not pushed at all, and will fill out. 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot. 90-92
  • 2011 Mid depth; perfumed and pretty; red fruits but not jammy; some black cherry, spice; quite pretty; nice density on the palate; minerality and focus; precision; some spicy characters. Chew and density on the finish. Good effort. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc. Tasted 4/4/12 at Cheval Blanc. 90-91+
  • 2010 Very saturated black, to the rim; very pretty, plump and sweet; quite seductive and very attractive; good intensity; supple wine; full of flavour and extract; lots of concentration; very supple; tannin very well managed. Fills the mouth with flavour. Good length. Lots of extract and tannin. Freshness too. [75% Melot, 25% Cabernet Franc Alc: 14.5%] 93-95/100 4 April 2011
Château Chauvin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Deep and dark; lots of matter on the nose; quite sexy; some pain grille notes with plenty of plummy, spicy fruit tones; nicely layered aromatics; really ripe and overt; full and sweet palate; caressing and ample; really nicely done; will be a seductive beauty. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15ha]. Drink 2019-2028. 91-93+
Château Cheval Noir, “Cuvee le Fer,” St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; healthy look; little stewed; chalky with some freshness; Grip on the finish. Fresh styled. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4.5ha]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 83-85+
Clos Badon-Thunevin, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; lovely lush aromatics; layers here; nicely integrated oak; plums, dark chocolate; spices; full certainly; ripe; full and quite concentrated; though the tannins are quite soft there are a great many of them; chewy on the finish but there is plenty of matter so this should work well. Satisfying and pretty jam-packed with fruit. Big. Drink 2022-2030. 92-94+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated style; opaque at centre; colour tight to rim; earthy purple; lovely plummy fruit; very ripe but not jammy; cake spices; fruitcake notes; creamy; some liquorice notes from the oak; ripe entry; sweet; spicy; very full and ripe; spices and plums. Great effort. Nice finish. Creamy. Satisfying. Little chew perhaps. Tasted Jean-Luc Thunevin, 3 April, 2015. Drink 2019-2025. 90-92+
Clos Debreuil, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deepish; saturated aromatics with liquorice and ripe black fruits; layers; full and lush palate; ripe; quite seductive; modern; nicely made with good black fruits and saturated with flavour. Nice finish. Excellent wine in a modern style. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4.2ha]. Drink 2019-2028. 90-92+
  • 2014 Mid depth; dark at core; some creamy plum tones; little light aromatically; chew and extract; some plummy purity; this should ascend during elévage; has quite high tannin but also good purity and nice sheen to the fruit. Will work out nicely. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4.2ha]. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2018-2023. 86-88+

Clos Fourtet, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Mid depth; purple edge; ripe plums; impressive purity; opens up in the glass; seductive; velvet palate; nicely extracted. Lots of fruit evident but very satin in the middle. Very fine and excellent length. A beauty. [88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc]. Drink 2020-2035. 94-96+
  • 2014 Mid depth; fresh aromas; black fruits; plums; clean and pure; nice fruit on the palate; plums and black fruits; grip and structure and has all the elements; little closed but not disjointed. Length on the finish. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2022-2035. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 90-92+ [second note] Deep and glossy looking; fresh fruit; real purity; creamy blackcurrant tones; ripe plums; glossy and sweet fruit on the palate; attractive; blackcurrants; spices; acidity; freshness; very bright; nice fruit and balance; harmonious and good length. [89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1st April, 2015 Clos Fourtet. Drink 2022-2035. 92-94
  • 2013 Deep and sense; vibrant edge; purity here, plums and black fruits; meaty note; good palate, very nice texture in the middle; nice elegance too. Nice length. Comparisons here with 2008. [87% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, 3.48pH 18hl/ha]. Tasted at Clos Fourtet April 2, 2014. Drink 2018-2030. 90-92 [Later] Deep and saturated look; ripe and attractive aromatics; purity of fruit; unmasked and pure; very cool and attractive; some menthol and pretty intense for the vintage; palate has vibrancy and the fruit again feels pure; filled out in the middle with plenty of extract. Very good effort for the vintage and cleverly judged. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC 90-92
  • 2012 Mid depth; creamy purity to the aromatics; spicy menthol and fresh plum tones – fresh and clean as whistle; polished and creamy palate of considerable beauty; purity here. Attractive palate. Very enjoyable already but will take some age. Beautiful. Drink now-2025. 93 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; lush and ripe nose; very pretty; really very pure and enticing; oak on the palate but largely soaked up by the lovely plump Merlot in evidence; very linear through aroma to palate; feels very good potentially. Little chewy on the finish. 92-94+ [second tasting] Deep and dense; lots of plums, jam and black fruits; palate has soaked up the oak; lashings of fruit, material and density. Here the vintage comparison is with 1998. 86% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc. 92-94+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and full looking; creamy and attractive nose; purity here; deep; blackcurrant, plums and spice; ripe and full entry on the palate with cool fruit nicely handled. Very good effort indeed – very full but goes with the grain of the vintage. 93+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; very attractive pure red fruits, strawberry; quite lush; feels deep; lovely seam of red fruit; minerals; palate quite restrained, some dryness and fades away a tad. UGC 4/4/12 89-91+. [Second] Deep and dense; cassis, plums, black cherry notes and bitter black chocolate; later lots of black cherry; spicy, black cheery and plum; again lots of plum and black cherry fruit on the palate; freshness here; oak and oak tannin but not out of balance. This is very good. Tannic finish. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 91-93
  • 2010 Very deep and saturated; jam and red fruits; pretty saturated aromatics; some marzipan notes; pretty lush; full palate; ripe; attractive mouth-feel; good supporting structure; plenty of flesh here. Tannin considerable but supple. Very good indeed. 95 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier] Deep and saturated look; deep nose; some wet rock; saturated aroma and lift; certainly intense; ripe fruit on the palate; lots of chew and extract; dense and pretty chewy; lots of oomph here; grip and pure fruit. Pretty bold style. 92+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; ripe and fresh fruit; clean and concentrated; minerals and chalk; deep; sweet attack, nice density, concentration and bid; thick on palate but grip too. Concentrated but balanced [large proportions!]. Will be excellent. 92-94/100 [87% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc 14.5% alc] 6 April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Thick in the glass, dense and saturated; stones and minerals, more chalk and minerals than the rest; freshness and violets; open and supple palate; less density than the last but still with lots of extract and guts; quite tannic clout at the end, but grip and brightness too. 92-94. Tasted April 6 2011 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion
  • 2009 Vibrant mid red; ripe nose, some meaty notes too; supple palate but with density too if that makes sense; fruit in this vintage can be quite sublime; pretty saturated palate in fact. No trace of jam here. Excellent effort again. 93-94+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier]  Dense, more black red; nice attractive nose, strawberry fruit; quite pretty; nice oak already integrating; intensity and concentration here; palate full and sweet with chew; tannins and acid but there is a ripeness here and lots of alcohol. [Later] strawberry nose; good fruit qualities; fine fruity and attractive; chewy. Alcohol. 90+/100
  • 2008 Deep red; some stalky notes on the nose but also ripeness, later with aeration some fig and molasses alongside oak; good palate, with extract, lift and tannin. Length. This is very good. 90/100 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Mid red; nice attractive nose with some tobacco, leaf and creamy notes; also mocha and espresso; good. Palate has good structured wine. Good sturdy palate. Very good. 90/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Mid depth; red at edge; mature aromatics; some spices; tobacco; spices; ripe fruit tones; black fruits and sweet plums; palate has power and fruit but nicely mature; glossy; perfectly mature but with depth remaining. Drink n0w-2020. Tasted Apr ’15. 92+  [Earlier note] Deep central core, dense and tight to the rim; attractive nose, feels a bit of a relief; seductive infact with red fruits, minerals and nice oak; layers – feels good; palate quite dense with strawberry notes plus tannin but much more give here on the palate; lots of dense, chewy fruit alongside the tannin. Very good effort. 90-92+ MW Institute Nov ‘12

Clos des Jacobins, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2014 Saturated colour; red purple at edge; earthy plummy, sexy pain grille very attractive aromatics; full palate; attractive fruit and depth; plums and spices; nice chew and extract; good wine and solid effort. [80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5ha]. Tasted Angélus 29 March 2015. Drink 2017-2028. 89-91+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; smoky, fruity nose with plum tones intermingled with chocolate notes; pretty and full; good depth and extract well handled; not too chewy. Nice finish. Good effort. [80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted Angelus. 86-88+ [Earlier note] Deeper and darker; saturated to the edge; similar darker aromatics; dominated by chocolate and mocha notes; thick quality behind which suggests depth of fruit. Fruit here, not over worked but a little monolithic and ‘big’. Still has nice stone fruit tones. This should settle well. Drink 2016-2025. Tasted blind at the Cercle Rive Droite 30/3/14. 86-88+
  • 2011 Deep and arterial; flashy and deep nose; very attractive and appealing; sweet entry; lots of fruit but also structure and tannin beneath; nicely done and not overdone. Tannic at the end but this feels a positive and nicely judged wine that will be immediately appealing. Very good effort. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 89-91+
  • 2010 Deep and dense; thick looking; ripe yet fresh nose; lots of depth here; some coconut and spice too along with violets; sweet ripe entry; thick and rich; very plush and velvety palate. Impressive. 90-92/100 Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite
Clos Les Grandes Versannes, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Mid depth; saturated look; tighter to rim; burnt edge and slightly roasted note from the oak handling; oaky toasty note; quite inky; should settle into a plum and chocolate St Emilion. [80% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1ha]. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; fine pure aromas of blackcurrant and plums; nice; really well done here; very attractive and accomplished aromatics; nicely done again on the palate; clean; some spice; texture and some grip; needs to settle but all the elements there. Good length [if a little woody on the finish]. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1ha]. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2018-2025 87-89+
Clos de Madeleine, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Mid depth; earthy at edge; little more cherry and sweet plum; some spices too; lighter and less intense than above; little pinched and lacks generosity by comparison; will work out; bit austere at present. Chocolate and coffee on the finish. Some chew. Should fill out. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2.2ha]. Drink 2020-2025. 87-89
  • 2014 Mid depth; dark at centre; slightly looser meniscus; fragrant aromatics; violets, plums; very attractive; very nice purity to the aromatics; medium weight; fresh; elegant palate; nicely handled; will fill out and well-measured. Good length. Chew on the very end but that just suggest longevity. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2.2ha]. Drink 2017-2028. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 88-90+ [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; earthy red at edge; briary and brambly fruits with red fruit tones; some silk; stone and wet rock notes along with red fruit tones; certain elegance. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 2.3ha]. Tasted Angélus 29 March 2015. Drink 2017-2025. 86-88
Clos de L’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; creamy sweet plums; very seductive; lovely beautiful quality to the fruit once again; pure om the nose; little oak on the palate; but this has lovely fruit tones; cream and sweet, ripe plums again; very easy on the palate without a hard edge. Soft finish. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45hl/ha, 40% new oak, 30 day cuvaison, 13.5% alc]. Drink 2019-2027. 92-94+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; lovely violet lift; full and glossy aromatics; lashings of fruit here; saturated but attractive; sweet ripe entry; lots of fruit here and then oak; needs to meld a fraction but the glossy quality of the fruit should easily do that; lots of extract and matter on the end but no sense of dryness. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak. Yield 40hl/ha, harvested 3/10-10/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2028. 91-92+
Clos Saint-Martin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Mid depth; dark at centre; legs; ripe and lifted; ripe black fruits; seductive; very berry; ripe and fruity; real beauty; harmonious; supple and round tannins; sexy; ripe mid palates; nice length; beautiful vintage here; some length and concentration. [90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.3ha]. Drink 2019-2030. 92-94+
Château La Commanderie, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2014 Saturated colour; legs; earthy purple; sour cherry with briary tones; stone fruits; ripe fruit; strawberry and cherry flavours on the palate; some depth; chewy finish. Some style. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc 3.7ha]. Tasted Angélus 29 March 2015. Drink 2017-2025. 87-89

Château Corbin, St Emilion Grand Cru

  • 2010 Deep and dark; slightly stewed aromatics; stalky red fruits behind; ripe and clean fruit tones on the palate; not that bad if straightforward; stalky red fruit tones and some chew. Drink 2015-2025. 89+ MW Institute Nov ’14.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated looking; stony, some red fruits; not too unctuous and syrupy but still rich; ripe palate with some chew but fresher and more attractive to me than Cap de Mourlin. Drink now – 2025. 88 MW Institute Nov ’13

Château La Couspaude, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Mid depth; purple edge; some black chocolate; black fruits; soft entry on the palate; nice Merlot; some grip and chew to the fruit; structure evident; needs to settle. Goodish effort. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 14% alc] Drink 2020-2028. 87-89+
  • 2014 Mid depth; soft, satiny red fruits; toasty oak; ripe strawberries; plums; toast again; fruit and oak at present; little disjointed; lots of wood to integrate with the fruit; little submerged presently; extracted and bit dry on finish. Needs to settle and possibly a bit over-cooked. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 85-87?
  • 2013 Mid depth; lacks a bit of vibrancy in the glass; little leafy note, some sweetness, vanilla; again leafy note on entry with some spicy/menthol characters; little vegetal streak? Will probably clear up. Not pushed though. [80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. 85-87
  • 2012 Deepish colour; spicy red fruits on the nose; some menthol and fresh tones; little more grip and sap on the palate than some [not a bad thing]; good fruit; acttractive, sappy St Emilion if with slightly chunky tannins. Drink now-2022. 88+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; lifted nose; pretty fruits; some spice and layers; feels plush again and nice vibrancy here; attractive palate with depth and purity and chew; very toasty finish. La Couspaude delivers flavoursome St Emilion. 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc. 89-91 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and dark; lifted blackfruits, some leaf and liquorice; palate chewy and tannic at present – palate little saturated with oak tannin. Feels a bit over-oaked to me now its completed elevage. Drink 2016-2021 87? UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated in glass; some lift and leaf, little jam, faintest vegetal whiff; lifted red fruits; red fruit on palate ripe and lots of flavour; new oak influence but not dry – has all the elements. Toasty, oak finish but lots of fruit here. Like Couspaude. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 89-91
  • 2010 Deep and dense; pretty attractive nose; some floral notes with sweet oak at the back; seductive; palate nicely done, concentrated with extract but not too tannic. Wood showing. Chewy finish. Pretty good. 88-90/100 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated looking; very deep at the centre; attractive plumy fruit which is fresh [yippee!]; pretty layered, thick and ripe; lots of saturation and flavour; spicy tones, spicy plums with tannin at the end but nicely done. Drink now – 2025. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Big colour; deep; cherry, some stalk and undergrowth; easy style; some spice and warmth; attractive and not overdone; chew here but life and warmth too. Spicy St Emilion and with good balance. 91/100 Oct ’11 [Earlier] Deep black, arterial; attractive open fruit style; lots of sweet strawberry and red fruits; enticing; palate quite clean and fruit clean and delineated; lots of ripe fruit here and well judged; Little coffee and mocha at the back. Length. I prefer this style at present in 2009. Potentially very good. [Later] Lots of fruit here; ripe and full, good St Emilion. 90-92+/100
  • 2008 Mid depth, close to the edge; some freshness, some cherry and strawberry on the nose with some oomph but good; some espresso and coffee too along with stalks, blackcurrants and oak; good intense palate not overdone, plummy and dense. La Couspaude always produces attractive and enjoyable St Emilion. This is good 90+/100 UGC Oct‘10
  • 2007 Thick and deep looking; some satin and rasin; meaty edge; rocks; thickish; quite saturated in flavour; almost Chateauneuf. Chewy and tannic but there is enough fruit. 86+/100 [Earlier] Mid depth; some coffee and mocha; bit light; some oak notes; soft, slightly herbal palate; easy going with nice fruit. Not complex but very agreeable and soft. 86/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Dense and extracted; really saturated look; some figs and molasses on the nose; very ripe, saturated in aroma and in colour; palate in line too – extracted with strong tannins. Bit of a disappointment as La Couspaude usually works for me. 86-88/100 ‘10
Château Côte du Baleau, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2014 Mid depth; pretty fruit on the nose; violets; lift; satin fruit and spices; very pretty; nice palate; some oak; chew and extract; nice material; vibrant finish. 15 hectare vineyard with three soils – limestone, clay and sand. Good stuff. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% alc, 70% new oak]. Tasted Clos Fourtet. Drink 2019-2028. 88-90
Château La Croizelle, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep; ripe fruit; little one-dimensional; nice fruit nevertheless; satin and spice; easy and soft; not much to this; early drinking offering. Rather too much coffee and oak on the finish currently. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5ha]. Drink 2019-2023 84-86.
  • 2014 Mid depth; strikingly vibrant at edge; little vegetal note; some prunes and plums perhaps; prunes and cherry come through on the palate; little meager on the finish; chewy at the end too. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5ha]. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2018-2022. 82-84
Croix Canon, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Depth; legs; purple at edge; red fruits; nicely ripe and pretty; attractive mid palate with good depth of flavour; round and harmonious; lovely fruit; very beautiful. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2016. Drink 2019-2028. 90-92+
  • 2014 Mid depth; purple at rim; some fragrance; nice and pure; fresh; perfume; ripe plums; nice sweet entry; harmonious and layered; delicate; nice delicacy; stone fruits and nice balance; freshness; delicacy. [91% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 18 months of ageing in 30% new oak]. Tasted 3 April, 2015 at Chateau Canon. Drink 2019-2025. 89-91+
Château Croix Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep; ripe and figgy; some red strawberry fruit; some depth; intense; chewy fruit on the palate; some ambition; should settle nicely; has the elements; chewy and density; good palate; texture and depth. This will work well. Has all the elements. [62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 4.5ha]. Drink 2019-2028. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; some jam, violet and lift; quite appealing aromatics; full and fat on the palate with oak influence; bit heavy handed on the oak at present; has nice fruit but the oak is dominant. Spicy finish – little dry at present but should work out. 2018-2025. [62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 4.5ha]. Tasted Grand Cercle, 29th March, 2015. 85-87
Château Croix de Labrie, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2014 Mid depth; red at edge; yoghurt; some cherry notes; sweet entry; yoghurt notes; some blackcurrant fruit here; lacks complexity but will probably be OK when it clears up. [100% Merlot, 2.5ha]. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. Drink 2017-2022. 83-84

Château Dassault, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; ripe; masses of black fruits; plums; sweet fruit; nice entry on the palate; nicely handled; purity; not over-extracted; well done and not over worked. Much better extraction and balance than some vintages here for me. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2020-2030 90-91+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; ripe creamy black fruits; toasty oak; ripe and pretty fruit; extracted in the middle; disjointed; needs to meld; little dry on the finish; extract and chew dominate at present. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2020-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 85-87
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; fat and thick, with smoky notes and chocolate; quite chunky palate, rather chewy; will probably settle but will remain chunky and a bit foursquare I reckon. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. Drink 2016-2013. 83-85
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; very ripe Merlot on the nose; quite fat; clean; round and ripe entry; not overdone; good and ripe; some oak but not disjointed. Pretty good. Goodish length. 87-88 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Thick and black looking in glass; very figgy note, tar and liquorice; feels like it will tire; sweet palate, ripe and thick with more figgy notes. Lots of fruit and sweet oak and pretty extracted. Bit OTT for me. Tasted at UGC 4/4/12. 86-87
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; thick ripe fruit tones; sturdy aromatics; thick; black fruits; some spice; palate is thick, ripe and saturated; tannin a little chewy and finishes rather dry. Over extracted? Drink 2017-2025. 88? MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Thick and saturated; ripe, feels dull and a bit tired; some rasiny notes? Palate thick but pretty stewed feel here; thick and chunky. Not me. 84-86?/100 6th April 2011
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; figgy, saturated style; thick and saturated; not too tannic but has chew and sap [might be a little oak resin]. Actually quite tannic on the finish. Drink now – 2025. 87 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth, not the deepest by far; soft, fruit driven nose; some red fruits; fresher style; attractive; definite whiff of strawberry; soft entry, sweet and lots of fruit and nice extraction here; Tannic edge but should settle. [Later] Ripe and figgy; supple palate, tannins there, less fruit than earlier. 88-90?/100 Primeurs Apr 2010
  • 2007 Deep and dense; lifted and leafy and far more appetizing; earth and tobacco notes; not unattractive with a meaty edge; some herbaceousness here but not off putting, quite the opposite; red fruits on the palate along with the leaf; firm and rather dry tannins but not that bad an effort. 86+/100 MW Institute Nov ‘11
Château Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Mid depth; sweet and ripe; plums, liquorice and molasses; some olive hints and vanilla lift; red fruits; some strawberry notes; satin quality to the wine; quite seductive and sweet; very attractive glass of St Emilion! [60% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.8ha plot] Drink 2020-2028. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; slightly more earthy purple at edge; black cherry, plums with pretty violet perfume; nice saturation; big but needs a bit more tightness; very open and overt but lacks a bit in the middle; quite hefty on the alcohol and warming on the finish. [70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2018-2025. 88-90
Château Déstieux, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Deep; earthy at edge; ripe and some marzipan; liquorice and plums; seductive; full and flavoursome palate; nice black fruits and satin tones; good texture; very nice wine. [66% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8ha]. Drink 2019-2026. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated; sublimated; little on the jammy side; very ripe and rich; kind of junior Larcis Ducasse; sweet, ripe entry; full and toasty; red fruits and satin; lots of toast, pain grillé, red fruits and strawberry tones. Excellent effort in a more open, ravishing style. [66% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 89-91+

Château La Dominique, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Lovely dense yet glossy looking colour; saturated but vital; ripe seam of fruit on the nose; black cherry and cassis; nice velvety style on the palate; lovely; beautifully handled extraction and beautiful fruit; very pretty but also substantial; great length. Super wine. I love La Dominique. [85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% alc]. Drink 2020-2035. 94-96+
  • 2014 Deep saturated look; black centre; ripe red and black fruits; deep; little dumb at first; then plums and black cherry come across; creamy attack; plums and black cherries again; ball of extract; some chew but also freshness. Should settle well. [85% Merlot, Cabernet Franc 15%]. Drink 2020-2030. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 89-91+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; very deep; coffee and mocha tones with some sweet plum and blackcurrant fruit; nice fruit on the palate with some extract but not bad effort at all. Acidity here for freshness. Little chewy on the finish. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGCB. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89+
  • 2012 Deepish colour; quite deep; spicy blackcurrant notes with some undergrowth; very attractive; full palate; caressing with beautiful fruit tones which manage to be seductive and fresh; there is vigour and sap on the finish and plenty of fruit and texture. A beauty on the day. Drink now-2027. 93+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and very saturated; Cabernet Franc here gives an earthy twist to the nose; deep; alongside the CF are wonderful plummy tones; this feels tighter than their 2011; red fruits and quite dense and pent up; then it opens up; fresh palate, good acidity and texture from the CF. Like this – usually do. Chewy finish. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; ripe strawberry tones with cassis; stalky blackcurrants; attractive; plums and blackcurrants on the palate; cassis too; good structure and chew on the finish. Plenty of depth here. Nice wine, well handled in the cellar. Drink 2015-2026. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark again; lots of ripe red strawberry fruits; quite hedonistic to use a Parkerism; some toasty oak too; layers and jam packed [literally]. Sweet, ripe fruit on the palate; attractive but structure beneath; fruit, oak and tannin but nicely done. Chewy, dense finish. 85% Merlot , 15% Cabernet Franc. Tasted UGC 4/4/12. 90-92+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated; very black looking; little reductive note; prunes and black fruits beneath; saturated palate which is full of fruit; pretty dense overall and extracted but tannins not dry [as at Dassault] or bitter. Pretty hefty La Dominique. Drink 2017-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; wet rocks; fresh; stalky note; depth and layers here; some tension too [ie complexity, not a monolithic wave of cloying super-ripe fruit]. Nice fruit qualities; very saturated and layered but without the jammy qualities; red fruits and stalky freshness; Nice chew and depth overall. Saturated with fruit but retains freshness and bite. Great effort. 93+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Very deep, concentrated look; minerals, rocks and ripeness; also seductive qualities big and thick palate with lots of flesh and extract and warmth; some grip at the end. Pretty plush in the middle with real density. Chew and tannin but plenty of lush fruit here 90-92+/100 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Very deep and saturated look; spicy plum tones with some earthy development; attractive to me; very saturated and full on the palate but not leaden and plodding. Nice sap and not cloying. Freshness alongside the depth and extract. Very good handling of the vintage. Drink now -2030. 93 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Dense and arterial; earthy, initially some bottle stink that blew off; ripe notes but not jammy; lots of depth and chew with minerality; nice palate with earthy notes alongside the fruit; lots of tannin here but very ripe, but gives the wine density and chew on the finish. Very good effort. 93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Dense and tight to the rim; briary nose; little reductive note; lots of fruit though; strawberry and red fruits beneath. Some wet stone and minerals; palate big and bold; tannic at this stage; beetroot note, should settle; lots of extract and tannin again. Long haul wine. [later] Very sturdy; massively extracted though. So difficult to judge. 90-92?/100 but only if tannins settle?
  • 2008 Deep red; legs and tight to the rim; sweet and soft, some fruit pastel alongside ripe strawberry notes; some mocha and coffee; palate has extract and tannin but not too overpowering. Nevertheless there is something that feels a little overworked here and the palate feels a bit prematurely tired. 86-88?/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 This is it! Mid red; good colour; tight to the rim; very attractive nose with real ripeness and some intensity; well integrated oak; spicy; very attractive; good palate; intense and quite balanced; layers of fruit here; nice attractive palate with some extract but not extracted. Rather well done. Very good. 92+/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09

Château Faugères, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2014 Mid depth; purple and red at edge; red fruits and concentrated edge; sexy and open; sweetness here aromatically; chalky palate; some fruit and spice; mid weight; bit grippy and gutsy in the end. Oak on the finish. Needs to settle. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37ha]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87+
  • 2013 Deepish; some spice and fruitcake notes; material on the palate along with wood. Chewy and dry on the finish. Drink 2018-2024. 82-84 [Earlier note] Mid depth; vibrant purple/red at the meniscus; some sour black cherry and tar notes; along with some boiled sweets; palate is a bit hard and puckering; lacks either elegance or sheen; falls flat. Lacks vibrancy and joy. Tasted blind at Rive Droite. Drink 2016-2023. 82-84
  • 2012 Deep and saturated; enticing ripe fruit notes; some lift; spicy some VA and oak; density; quite ripe and dense; lots of material and tannin. OK 86-88 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later – slightly better note] Deep and saturated colour; ripe, some red fruits and pretty unctuous; rich palate with lots of oomph; black fruits; rich; quite sweet and ripe style. Chewy finish. 87-89+ Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013
  • 2011 Deep and dense; ripe and sweet; full and saturated; layers but on the jammy side; fruit, layers and cake’ very big sweet and ripe style; easy; some liquorice and black cherry notes. Good stuff if chewy on the finish. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-89+
  • 2010 Solid black; deep; sweet and open nose; coconut oak; very sweet and ripe palate; lashings of fruit and oak; lacks complexity but really seductive fruit. 88-90/100.Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite
Château de Ferrand, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; black at centre; melded nose; fat with full aspects; spices and menthol; ripe; thick and extracted palate but not too overdone; chewy finish. I think this has been overdone. Chewy and extracted finish. Tasted Angélus 29 March 2015. Drink 2018-2025. 84-86?
Château Ferrand Lartigue, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2014 Mid depth; chalky wet rock notes; some spices; wet rock notes; quite modest in scale and length. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 6ha]. Drink 2018-2022. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 83-85

Château Figeac, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, ‘B’

  • 2015 Lovely depth of colour; deep at centre but very healthy looking; colour tight to rim; lovely pure blackcurrant aromatics; really great; this has great clarity; minerality; depth on the nose; lovely stuff; great entry; pure fruit; focused layers; great acidity; lovely composure and elegance; really nicely balanced. Terrific effort for me [a lover of the left bank!]. Cool [in the fashionable sense but also in the modesty – but impeccable effort]. Best wine at Figeac since 2009? [43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, 41hl/ha, pH 3.75]. Drink 2023-2040. 96-98+
  • 2014 Lovely fresh looking colour; bold; very pure; lovely blackcurrant aromatics; beautiful perfume; layered; quite exceptional; cool entry; nicely proportional; plenty of extract and matter but nicely polished; will flesh out further; intriguing wine; excellent balance; supple tannins on the finish. Excellent Figeac. Impressive. [40% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% new oak pH 3.7, 13% alc, yield 33hl/ha]. Drink 2020-2035. 93-95
  • 2013 Deep and dark; earthy purple at rim; cool blackcurrant aromatics; attractive; no green qualities here; palate has elegance and finesse; needs to fill out – which it will. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. Drink 2018-2030. 89-91+
  • 2012 Mid depth; lovely Cabernet aromatics with Merlot plushness; this is a beauty on the nose; elegant palate with creamy tones; very polished and nicely done; intensity to the fruit and length on the palate shows genuine class. [40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.]. Drink 2016-2027. 93+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Mid depth; healthy looking; polished nose; nice Cab on the nose; nothing feels green here; feels polished; palate initially fine; some stalky Cab; quite fine and will fill out. Elegant. Maybe a little angularity at the back. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc 89-91 [Second tasting – much better note] Mid depth; healthy looking; lots of blackcurrant fruit and cream on the nose; much more enticing than earlier sample; purity; palate quite lush [a little more Merlot than usual in the blend]; nice balance on the palate with grip at the end but harmonious. 91-93 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep and dark; healthy looking; classy nose, Cabernet influenced [Franc and Sauvignon], blackcurrant, pencils; spice and some perfume; palate full with depth and chew; gritty but well done. Needs a bit of time but nicely polished. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pretty saturated looking; fresh purple at edge; nice freshness to the nose; polish and refinement; red fruits but nice layers – more red fruits than usual at this stage; feels ripe and appealing; nice blackcurrant note on the palate with grip and chew. This will settle. Fine. 33% Cabernet Sauvignon 33% Cabernet Franc and 33% Merlot. Tasted UGC 4/5/12 90-92 [Second] Saturated; some graphite, blackcurrant, cassis and cooler tones, Cabernet Franc? Measured palate but powerful; minerals; some perfume – feels very fine; nice entry, depth, reasonable harmony; some cherry and dark chocolate notes; some chew at the back. Spicy. Lacks a little focus at the back. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 90-92
  • 2010 Deeply coloured; fine nose with blackcurrants and an attractive core of vibrant fruit; creamy blackcurrants on the palate; good depth; attractive with very good [refreshing] grip. Very positive overall in a room full of wines sometimes lacking in freshness. Drink 2016-2035. 94+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; fresher, blackcurrants, really pure seam of fruit here, earthy edge; dark cherry; excellent purity here. Pure palate again, fresh Cabernet [Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon] notes; minerality; some dryness here but plenty of fruit. Grip and sap on the finish. Chewy. Shutting down a bit but still extremely promising. No use in hiding it, I’m a great fan of Figeac. 94+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and dense; legs; very attractive nose; seductive, rich and intense, very tight but intense black fruits and very deep; rich palate and real intensity and precision here; needs time but nicely done. Tannic and long haul but nice acid and grip at the end. This really is a lovely wine. Hands down the best St Emillion shown at the UGC 94-96+/100 [33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon 13.9 alc] 6 April 2011 UGC  [Second] Deep and dark; saturated colour; ripe and pure; seductive with a whiff of violets; very classy nose; lovely freshness suggests Cabernet [Figeac?]; extremely classy and wonderful. Very glossy and classy palate; rich and ripe; really layered with perfume. Terrific wine. Complexity and fragrance. Great length and extremely fine. One of the wines of the vintage to my mind. 96-98+/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2009 Deep and saturated, very deep at the centre; inky blackcurrant tones, little reductive initially; some mealy Cabernet Franc tones; intense and more pent up them a few years ago, has shut down somewhat; lots and lots of extract and fruit but really polished and harmonious; lovely palate. Very focused and tightnening up. Tannin at the end but ripe. Tighter and more shut down than previously. A great wine, but closed currently. Drink 2019-2035. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Nice depth; ripe and dense looking, glossy too; wonderful Cabernet nose [Franc and Sauvignon]; some lift; blackcurrants, ripe and to me extremely attractive; very fine and classy palate and wonderfully polished; palate extremely long with grip and density. This is great wine that will appeal much to those with a penchant for the left bank as opposed to the right. Perfectly ripe wine but with that freshness which is essential. Easily one of the wines of the tasting. 97+/100 UGC Oct 2011 [Earlier]Mid depth; ripe, little reductive quality to nose; needs to settle; palate quite fine and structured and intense. Tannins softer here, less extracted style which is something of a relief. A strongly Cabernet based wine this hence the quality in 2009. It needs time to meld but potentially very fine. 92+/100
  • 2008 Dense wine, close to rim; fresh and quite complete nose with some mint and blackcurrant alongside oak; feels quite serious and considerable on the nose; some density and some chocolate. Good palate which is quite intense and quite dense! Lots of tannin here too but has depth. Certainly needs time and reflects the high proportion of Cabernet in the blend.  Good but tannic and long haul. 90+/100 UGC Oct ‘11
  • 2007 Deepish; freshness on the nose; leaf and tobacco; attractive and quite forward style on the nose; grip on the palate; lots of peat and earth; some harmony here and not at all forced – in keeping with the vintage. Lightish but has harmony and digestibility. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; nice attractive nose with some tobacco, leaf and creamy notes; also mocha and espresso; good; palate has good structure; and maybe a fraction short but rather good. Sturdy. 88/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Very dense and dark up to the edge; lots of layers and extract here, quite dense; attractive leafy, tobacco note [the Cab Franc?]; attractive nose; palate of roses and strawberry fruit with some Cabernet elements; actually pretty dense and long term, excellent length too. This is potentially excellent but needs more time. 90-92+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.
Château La Fleur d’Arthus, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deepish; tight to the rim; dense at centre; ripe and full; mineral edge; sweet attack; ripe fruit; good texture; supple fruit. Good St Emilion. Nice texture. Sturdy. [100% Merlot, 2.5ha]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90
Château Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Saturated looking; toasty nose; black fruit beneath; rich; good texture and concentration; creamy notes; full and sweet; plenty of extract and body; very good wine in a modern St Emilion style. Coffee and chocolate on the finish. Tannic weight too. [75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24ha]. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93+
Château Fombrauge, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Deepish; some black chocolate; bitter cherry; density and chew; solid but with character; purity; minerality; depth and potential; warmth on the finish but nice chew; not stewed. Like this. Classical. [89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 58 ha]. Drink 2019-2026. 90-92
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; inky and sublimated but not jammy; plummy and black cherry purity; some liquorice and menthol tones too; ripe and attractive fruit; glossy bit also substantial; chew and tannin here on the finish that suggests complexity and longevity. Excellent. [89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 58ha]. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 90-92+
  • 2013 Deep saturated look – tight to the edge; attractive spicy plum; good freshness and simplicity; attractive; nicely handled and integrated oak; palate solid with good fruit; dips a fraction; but a good solid effort with some class and polish. Bit woody on the finish having said that but that should settle. Tasted blind Cercle Rive Droite 30/3/13.Drink 2016-2025. 86-88+
  • 2012 Deep saturated colour; similarly enticing ripe fruit notes; some dark chocolate; gutsy with lots of extract and material; chewy with lots of fruit and extract; will come good. 87-89 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013 [Later] Deep and dark; lots of fruit; black cherry; pretty big and ripe; oak fully absorbed by the fruit; big and fat; attractive wine with lots of fruit. 89-91+ Cercle de Rive Droite 10th April 2013
  • 2011 Deep and dark; some cream, purity and concentration; unctuous red fruits; thick and dense on the palate; re fruits, jam and liquorice; round honey notes too; chewy and thick style overall. Pretty good. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-89+
  • 2010 Thick and dense; extracted look; sweet and very ripe nose; feels thick; sweet attack on palate; very ripe fruit here; some chew and depth; alcohol present but creamy palate. Not that bad. 88-90/100 Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite
Château Fonplégade, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Bold and dark; sweet and satin; strawberry jam notes; liquorice too; freshness though; some spices; fruit and grip; quite vivid palate; chewy finish but not over extracted; need to fill out in the middle. Good texture; bit of warmth on the finish. Will be impressive. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 18.5ha] Drink 2019-2028. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim and black at centre; full and saturated aromatics; rich plummy tones; fat; palate loaded with sweet fruit and extract; little oak spice to integrate; very fat and full of extract; chewy twist to the finish and a degree of alcohol. Impressive. [95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 18.5ha]. Drink 2020- 2028. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 90-92+
  • 2013 Deep looking; legs; intense; inky but quite impressive; spicy plums and quite pent up – nicely done on the nose; feels layered and attractive; good attractive – spicy plum and black fruit tones nicely handled and expressed; menthol tones; nice purity. One of the best wines shown blind at the Rive Droite. Full and attractive. No hint of under-ripe fruit. Drink 2016-2025. Tasted blind 30/3/14 Rive Droite. 88-90+
  • 2012 Very dense looking; big, thick and rich colour; deep and intense nose; resin plus fruit and extract; very deep but very modern; blackcurrants; some red fruits; spice and pine notes; lots of blackcurrant fruit on the palate; big, but not excessively so; nicely done in fact. Loads and loads of fruit her but none of that VA resin or overdone tannins so nicely handled. Excellent. 90-92 Tasted blind at Cercle de Rive Droite Sunday April 7, 2013
  • 2011 Saturated look; oak saturation and intensity; quite similar to Destieux but less fruit so oak feels more pronounced; palate has a sublimated feel, ultra low cropped feel. Tannic towards the end. Very tannic indeed. Some will love this – too extreme for me. May settle, needs time. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 86-88
  • 2010 Deep and arterial black; super ripe nose; some jam, unctuous; some fruit cake; ripe and sweet palate; dense and yet very easy, supple almost; chewy finish. Lots of extract lurking beneath the sweet depths, but actually pretty good. 88-90+/100 Tasted 6 April  Le Cercle Rive Droite
Château Fonroque, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • 2015 Mid depth; satin and tea; quite unctuous; ripe fruit initially if little stretched in the middle but works; relatively simple compared with some – though should fill in. Wet rocks and stones. Some chew on the finish. Actually could be pretty good. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 17.6ha]. Drink 2019-2026. 87-89+
  • 2014 Mid depth; some cherry tones; light but fragrant; little candy sweetness too; some dryness on the palate; chalky note; little stretched [though may fill out]; chewy and full of fruit on the finish. Gutsy. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7ha]. Drink 2018-2023. Tasted blind Grand Cercle 29 March, 2015. 85-87

Château Franc-Mayne, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

  • 2015 Deep and arterial; glossy edge; ripe black fruits; liquorice and strawberry jam; soft entry on the palate; very ripe and late picked style; lacks a little definition; little dry and extracted on the finish currently but will doubtless meld in barrel. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc]. Drink 2021-2028. 87-89
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; fruitcake tones; spicy plum and prune; very ripe; liquorice; glossy entry; oak on the palate; very hard in the middle currently; lots of chewy extract and guts but feeling very raw and extracted at present. See how it settles. Extracted and oaked style certainly. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alc, 50% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 84-87?
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; figs; lifted and worked in feel; some liqourice; palate has sweetness and extract but there is dryness here and it ends up feeling rather chewy, chunky and over-extracted on the finish. May settle but I feel this has been pushed way too far. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. 83-85
  • 2012 Dark in the glass; liquorice and spice on the nose; some menthol tones on the palate; depth here and density with chewy fruit tones; rich and saturated style. Drink now-2022. 89+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pretty saturated; healthy looking; nice pretty fruit; plump and ripe Merlot here; not too jammy; enticing; some lift; supple on the palate with a little resin; pretty chewy finish but good effort 90% Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc 87-89+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep looking; lifted and spicy; ripe fruit, lots of extract and chewy tannin. Some bite on the finish. A mouthful certainly but lacks finesse. Drink 2015-2021. 87 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Thick and dark looking in the glass; ripe and satiny nose, lots of red fruits; touch of Ribena; pretty super ripe; some marzipan fatness; quite spicy palate, herbs; some wet rocks; dry finish. Little jammy for me and some dryness but overall it works. Tasted UGC 4//4/12 87-89/100
  • 2010 Deep and arterial; some spice; fruit cake; some velvet; thick and ripe palate and lots of saturation of flavour; Cabernet Franc [10%] adds freshness to the Merlot [90%]; very good effort. Usually find this estate’s wines a bit plodding, yes there’s plenty of chew and extract but there is life too. 91+ [Earlier] Deep and saturated black red; thick, ripe and spicy, lots of obvious concentration on the nose; supple attack initially and then the tannins – dense – but very chewy and tannic at the back. Bit overdone? May settle 85-87?/100 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Dense, dark and arterial looking; some leaf and lift, red fruits and strawberry tones; ripe and very thick on the palate; dense, menthol; thick and dense; very Napa style; some marzipan tones and tar, almost verging on Chateauneuf. Bit too thick for me to be amongst the very best but will definitely appeal to some. 88-90/100 Oct ‘11 [Earlier] Dense, very ripe, plummy nose; some toast. Attractive and full. Feels enticing. Palate quite sturdy. Extraction. Falls away a bit. Early days. Lots of guts but lots of extraction. [Later] Very jammy nose; quite attractive if super ripe; but palate feels over extracted and alcoholic. Will it settle or remain disjointed? 88-90?/100
  • 2008 Deep colour; again ripeness on the nose, some chocolate, not fresh and flowery but more secondary and feels a bit ‘worked’; some sturdy notes on the palate with lots of extract and seemingly lots of alcohol; lots of flavour and quite intense, chunky palate. Lots of effort have gone into this 88-90/100 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc UGC Oct ‘11
  • 2007 Mid red; some depth and intensity to the nose; attractive palate; quite seductive and intense with good structure with some attractive red fruits on palate and nicely integrated oak. Very good. 90-92+/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09

Château de Fonbel, St Emilion Grand Cru

  • 2005 Deep; some purple at edge; slightly pruney note; some cherry and some oak influence; sweet entry but still quite a structured wine with extract and oak tannins; concentrated and intense; good concentration and length [acid and tannin]. Not a sexy St Emilion but well structured. 88/100 Sept ‘09

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