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Bordeaux 2008 at four years: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Though the vintage felt pretty closed generally, there are some good to very good wines in Pauillac in 2008. Outside of Lafite and Mouton, who have both produced strong, classical efforts, I thought that Chateau Pichon-Longueville was almost their equal. This estate has had a tremendous run in recent vintages and never seems to put a foot wrong. It was pick of the bunch in Pauillac in 2007, a really tricky vintage, and has made thrilling wines in 2009 and in 2010 [more on this latter vintage shortly]. Of course it has risen considerably in price in recent vinatges but, given what’s in the glass, it’s certainly worth it. Chateau Lynch-Bages also looks very good in 2008 and Chateau Duhart Milon, once the darling of the speculators, has produced impressive wine. Chateau Pontet-Canet was much more closed than I expected and Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande felt a bit sullen. Amongst the values I though Chateau Batailley looked a good, strong Pauillac, Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste is very nicely done as is stable mate Chateau Haut-Batailley. Chateau Clerc-Milon and Chateau d’Armailhac have produced fresh, grippy wines, but I wasn’t over excited by them on the day.

Chateau Batailley 2008

Mid depth; nice development on the nose; Cabernet with some tobacco; some earth and lift; nice entry, some meat, savour and depth; some nice rose petal and blackcurrant tones on palate. Chew and grip at the end. Depth. Good effort. 90+

Chateau Clerc Milon 2008

Dense, more serious looking than d’Armailhac. Colour tight to edge. Quite high toned Cabernet; fresh; some earth; purity here; quite grippy palate with some chew. Pretty chewy finish. 88+

Chateau Croizet-Bages 2008

Lacks bit of depth; red at edge; quite narrow and hollow. Little corked feel. NR

Chateau d’Armailhac 2008

Mid depth; little neutral at first, some sweetness, whiff of cider apple; grip on palate with some blackcurrant and plum tones and touch of black cherry; lacks richness on the palate; some chew at the end. Feels a little compact on this showing. 87

Chateau Duhart-Milon 2008

Quite deep; cool blackcurrant aromas with cassis and pencil shavings, some leaf and undergrowth; excellent; lots of purity on the palate; blackcurrant, spice; nice chew too; very focused, pure and elegant. 92+

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2008

Mid depth; earth looking; some development and melding here; some spice and earth, minerality; earthy blackcurrant with leaf, quite Pauillac; nice tension on the palate between the chew and the sap of the wine. Moreish. Good length and good effort. 90+

Chateau Haut-Bages Libéral 2008

Deep; bright and still a little purple at edge; slightly reductive; blackcurrants on the palate; sturdy; with lots of grip and acid. Grippy finish. 87

Chateau Haut-Batailley 2008

Mid depth; some reddening; quite elegant; some blackcurrant and redcurrant; some spice and undergrowth; palate clean and fresh; elegant and quite fine. 88+

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 2008

Deep looking; blackcurrant aromas with lead pencil; leaf and undergrowth note  palate nicely taut with elegance; nice texture here like Duhart; very focused and rather classic; blackcurrants, some leaf and graphite tones again; structured palate with quite chewy though ripe tannin on the end. 96/100

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2008

Mid depth; pretty saturated look; strong, ripe nose; spice, blackcurrant and menthol; pretty layered effort; cassis and blackcurrant on the palate; still pretty fresh but also pretty saturated in flavour with layers of fruit. Chewy finish with grip. Very good effort. Maximizes the vintage whilst remaining true to it. 93+

Chateau Lynch-Moussas 2008

Mid depth; looser at edge than some; leafy, open blackcurrant style; pretty forward; some spice; attractive; quite forward palate nice acid in a lighter style. 87+

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2008

Mid depth; seductive and forward nose; sexy, smoky and spicy; blackcurrant fruit on the palate with spicy notes, chewy and dense with great length. Attention grabbing effort. [Later: Earthy blackcurrant but very sexy nose; quite opulent; some resin and ink; more supple and easier than earlier but still pretty structured wine with grip] 96+/100

Chateau Pédesclaux 2008

Mid depth; chalky note; some mineral; little resin and ink; blackcurrants and earth on palate; palate lacks richness and feels a little meagre. 84

Chateau Pichon-Longueville 2008

Deep saturated look with legs and depth; savoury edge, starting to get complex; seductive; oak intermingled with blackcurrant fruit; satiny palate, very nicely done; blackcurrants here and spices; very complete palate; tannins there and plenty of extract but great balance. Lots of depth, chew and length here. Up with the first growths. 94+

Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2008

Classically lighter and more Burgundian in feel than Pichon-Longueville; lacks apparent depth; feels a bit loose actually; and palate lacks definition. Acidity here gives freshness but without matching extract makes palate feel touch hard. Subdued and shut down if I’m being generous, a disappointing showing nevertheless. 88?/100

Chateau Pontet-Canet 2008

Mid depth; mealy note; some lift; chocolate tones; palate has some polish; little subdued; grip and acid so has brightness on palate; little disappointing showing though. Second tasting: inky note, some blackcurrant, meal and intensity; chewy and dense palate. Tannic and chewy – definitely long term. 91+

Chateau Pichon-Longueville looks really good in 2008

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