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Bordeaux 2011 Primeurs: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The vagaries of the 2011 season effected St Emilion in pretty much the same way as it did the rest of Bordeaux. A precocious start in spring got the vineyards off to a flying start. Extremely high temperatures at the end of June, recorded at 44C in the shade at Chateau Figeac, caused problems and would have stalled vine growth. Cooler and wetter weather in July and August helped spur things along but clearly the fluctuating climatic conditions necessitated a huge investment of labour in the vineyards in terms of canopy management and the like to maintain a healthy crop. There was also some localised rain at harvest which would have proved problematic although here, as elsewhere, September was generally sunny and warm.

Given all this, there was always likely to be a degree of irregularity in the grapes at harvest and sorting in the vineyard and at the winery proved essential. As the overall character of the vintage was one of drought, berries were generally small and light, indicating a high degree of material and low juice level. Cabernet Franc faired especially well in 2011, its later ripening cycle enabling it to make the most of the very fine weather in September. At Chateau Cheval Blanc the Cabernet Franc in fact ended up achieving higher sugars than their Merlot. The vintage, then would most likely favour those estates with significant percentages of Cabernet Franc [or Cabernet Sauvignon] in the blend and also favour those properties on gravel or clay soils better protected from the drought than those on lighter, sandier soils.

Tasting at the Cercle de La Rive Droite

Overall after tasting eighty or so wines from the appellation the quality seems pretty high and arguably more uniform at the very top estates here compared with the left-bank. For my palate those that aimed for elegance and harmony once again succeeded. Less is more in St Emilion as I’ve said before and 2011, with all its density and material, wasn’t a vintage to over extract in the cellar either. Those that haven’t have profited. At the lower level, where fewer resources available for the extra vineyard work and strict selection that 2011 necessitated, or where techniques in the cellar have been over extractives, things are much more inconsistent.

Specifically I was very impressed by the quality of the wines at Chateau Cheval Blanc, not just the grand vin itself but also by Chateau La Tour du Pin and Chateau Quanault l’Enclos. Le Petit Cheval was also very attractive. Also impressive was the line up from the Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion, generally a very consistent and fine bunch. The UGC tastings were a little more fluctuating – the fresher more vibrant wines get my vote over the plodding, heavy-footed brigade. The Cercle de La Rive Droite held an extremely well organised press event at Chateau Barde Haut. The wines were a little up and down, but many were notable and the more vibrant and enjoyable of which are listed in addition below.

Prices? 2009 and 2010 were really good vintages here in St Emilion. 2011 is not in the same league but the best wines are very good. Production is much lower too here than in the Haut Medoc where the properties are much larger. All these factors will come into play but let’s hope proprietors pay heed to the demand for price cuts to make these wines at least feel attractive options en primeur.

The following wines were tasted at the UGCB event at Chateau Soutard, the Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon, the Cercle Rive Driote event at Chateau Barde-Haut and at JP Mouiex in Libourne. Others are as indicated.

Chateau Angélus

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 at end and trace of alcohol. Very impressive. 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 94-96

Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle

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

Chateau Barde-Haut

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+

Chateau Beauséjour [Héritiers Duffau-Lagrrosse]

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 black cherry fruit and dark chocolate notes, plus some redcurrant notes; extracted and chewy 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

Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot

Dark, saturated and thick looking; tight to the rim; layers of sweet, ripe fruit; red fruit notes; supple and layered; strawberry tones; 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+

Chateau Belair-Monange

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 eat, 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+

Chateau Bellefont Belcier

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+

Chateau Berliquet

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

Chateau Boutisse

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+

Chateau Canon

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+

Chateau Canon La Gaffelière

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

Chateau Cap de Mourlin

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

Chateau Carteau Cotes Daugay

Deep but fresh looking; fresh and sappy, violet perfume; attractive; full palate, nice fruit with acid and grip but this style also works. More fruit driven and structured but plenty of fruit. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 86-87+

Chateau Cheval Blanc

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+

Le Petit Cheval

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+

Chateau Cheval Noir, Cuvee le Fer

Deep and arterial; saturated nose; lots of depth, rich and unctuous but purity here and life; sweet entry, lots of flavour and fruit; deep and very nice wine. Thick and rich St Emilion but with enough life to make it positive on the palate. Well done. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-89+

Chateau Croix de Labrie

Deep and saturated; some spice and interest; satiny quality to the nose; perfume, whiff of Turkish delight; almost pretty Malbec notes; fruit spicy red on the palate; some chew and density. Maybe atypically perfumed but very enjoyable. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-88+

Chateau Dassault

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

Chateau Destieux

Saturated colour; earthy red at edge; oak, fruit saturation, intensity; jam and lift, with oak resin; strawberry and red fruit notes; quite supple on the palate but noticeable oak tannin. Feels warm. Not that bad in a Franc-Mayne kinda way. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 86-88+

Chateau du Parc

Deep; nose saturated in fruit with nice oak lift; spicy plummy fruit here with violets too; very good; seductive; palate good; nice fruit with saturation but also life and freshness; not OTT but balanced. Dry tannin at the end though but lots of fruit here. Benefit of the doubt? Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite.  86-87

Chateau Figeac

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

Chateau Fonroque

Deep in colour; iodine minerality; whiff of dust; some fruit; austere and a little dry on the palate. Not the best. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 84-86

Chateau Franc Mayne

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

Chateau Franc Grace Dieu

Deep and dark; thick, spicy attractive fruit. Lively. Feels fresh. Bright violet notes on the palate with spicy, briary tones; goodish. Soft and easy St Emilion. Not trying to be a blockbuster. Better for it. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 85-87+

Chateau Fombrauge

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+

Chateau Fonplégade

Saturated look; oak saturation and intensity; quite similar to Destieux but less fruit so oak feels more pronounced; palate has a sublimated feel, low cropped and tannic towards the end. Very tannic. Some will love this – too extreme for me. May settle. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 86-88

Chateau Ferrand Lartigue

Deep, fresh looking; violets, plums feels deep; blackcurrant notes; some summer fruit pudding; some grip. This works. Nice fruit driven style with vibrancy and bounce. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-88+

Chateau Grand Corbin Manuel

Deep and saturated; little less blue fruit than Barde-Haut, more red fruit; saturated; very good too potentially; lots of ripe plum; ripe full palate; lots of structure and grip; quite like this; some elements need to settle but muscular and promising. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 89-91+

Chateau Grand Mayne

Thick and black looking in glass; legs; saturated to the rim; lifted red fruits and oak too; lots of jam; not unattractive; lots of ripeness; sweet and sexy full palate. Lots of fruit and jam but good efforts. This really works for me. Tasted UGC 4/4/12.90-92+

Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle

Black at centre, tight to edge; little more honey and feral tone; almost developed; later blew off to reveal nice violet fruit; plums and seemingly clean; good palate; full some spice and lots of acid. Goodish effort as long as the feral notes don’t creep back…. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 86- 87+

Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne

Deep looking, but not completely saturated in colour; sexy quality to the nose; spicy, briary tones too; fruit here and some lift; like this nose. Hoorah! Palate not overdone though tannic on the finish. Should come good. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-88+

Chateau Faugères

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+

Chateau Jean Faure

Deep and saturated; some density; some fig and almond; fruit and sour cherry; nice entry on the palate; pleasant and nicely handled; sweet and ripe enjoyable fruit driven style. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-88+

Chateau La Commanderie

Deep, saturated look; nicer more obvious lifted violet fruit nose; feels plummier and fresher; quite deep and layered too; accent of oak; lot fof fruit here; sappy but not disjointed. Some dryness to the tannins but not bad. Fresh, sappy St Emilion. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite 1/4/12. 87-88+

Chateau La Couspaude

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

Chateau La Dominique

Deep and dark again; lots of ripe red strawberry fruits; quite hedonistic to use a Parkerism; some toast 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

Chateau La Fleur Cardinale

Deep and dark, very big and open; almost opulent; lots  of jam here; thick and rich; sweet ripe palate; lots of fruit; ripe and sweet; almost junior Troplong style here. Chewy on the finish with lots of extract and tannin. Very promising in its own style. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 88-90

Chateau La Gaffelière

Deep and saturated; lots of primary fruit; ripe and warm notes; some mealy hints; feels relatively simple; palate more gentle, fruit driven and nicely balanced; some spices and red fruits but overall straightforward. Good grip at the end. Good effort. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 50% new oak. 89-91+ [Second] Deep and saturated colour; little redder than purple at rim; more olives and slightly heavier nose; thicker, more chocolate and mocha notes; more earth; palate quite chunky, monolithic; some wet rock and a little dryness; not that bad but not the best. Chew and bite and a dry finish. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 87-89+

Chateau La Grangère

Deep and saturated look; fruity cherry nose; quite pronounced; wine gums, very vibrant; ripe, nice palate with briary and blackcurrant notes; nicely fruit driven and clean. Lacks complexity but nicely judged and very drinkable. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-88+

Chateau La Serre

Deep looking; fresh; sour cherry notes; some wet rocks; nice sweet attack, good fruit; balance here between zip and acid and fruit; purity – a relief from the overworked St Emilion styles; plumy tones on the palate; ripeness and vibrant; acid and freshness. Tasted JP Moueix 4/4/12. 87-88+

Chateau La Tour du Pin

Deep and dark; purple at edge; briary spicy nose; some perfume; some minerality; summer compote notes too; sweet/sour fruit on the palate – sour cherry – quite elegant; not overly extracted. Nicely done. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc Tasted 4/4/12 at Cheval Blanc. 90-92+

Chateau La Tour Figeac

Deep and saturated colour; lots of red fruits; some cream; summer fruit compote; nice pure red fruits on the palate; depth. Little dryness at the back but should come good. Tasted UGC. 87-88+

Chateau Larcis Ducasse

Deep and saturated; red fruits, some new car interior notes and eau de vie; lots of strawberry fruit, nice; little dryness on the palate; oak tannin too. Palate feels unsettled and puckering. Needs to settle. Tasted UGC. 84-87?

Chateau Larmande

Mid depth; looser at the rim than some; fresher style, some stalky blackcurrant and plum tones; spices too;  briary, spicy palate and plummy some grip; leafy note too; chew and quite attractive. Tasted UGC. 87-89

Chateau Le Prieuré

Deep and dark; earthy tones at edge; more fruit; blueberry; summer pudding; nice and pure; some perfume too; concentrated palate, tannin but really so much fruit here. This should be good. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-89+

Chateau Magdelaine

Deep, fresh looking at the edge; legs; pure, some spice, plums, minerality some violent perfume; fresh fruit palate; summer compote – concentrated but not sublimated or overdone; freshness here; good acidity; appetizing and zesty; nicely balanced. Has vigour but also composure. Goodish length but overall vibrant and zesty. 90-92 [Second blind at Premiers] Deepish; some fatness, Merlot, density; stones and minerals; some eau de vie; feels firm; earthy notes; sweet buy quite extracted on the palate; feels a little stretched but grippy and probably enough fruit there. Spices. Grippy finish. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 88-90 

Chateau Magrez-Fombrauge

Deep and dense; purity but witha  seam of oak; saturated nose; jam again, ripe and thick; layers of fruit; red fruits; similar tones on the palate; chewy finish. Pretty dense. Lots of fruit in a modern, uplifted red fruit style. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 88-89+

Chateau Pavie

Deep, saturated colour; ripe marzipan notes; thick and big Merlot; quite unctuous; lots of extract and tannin on the palate – wow! Lots of fruit admittedly but very chewy tannic finish. Must be Pavie? Amazing fruit but extreme tannin too. How will this settle? 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 70% new oak. 90-92

Chateau Pavie Macquin

Deep and saturated; strawberry red fruits; ripe, jam; lifted; sweet fruit on the palate, some red notes; liquorice – then come the tannins. Very dry and over-extracted on the palate. Spicy, herbal notes from the oak. This feels overdone to me. Fruit may soak up the wood? 80% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 80% new oak. 86-88? [Second] Deep and saturated; sour cherry notes; some minerality; iodone; quite broad and deep but quite brooding; oak and sour cherry; later opened out a bit to reveal some riper notes; sweet entry, ripe palate – redcurrants – tannin and oak but not accented. Should develop well. Feels a Merlot dominant blend. Nice bite and depth. Tannins a little furry. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 90-91

Chateau Péby Faugères

Deep and thick colour; lots of nice fruit, lively – maybe a little jammy but ripe; some liquorice but also that intense resinous note you get with late picked, low yield wine; palate jammy and superripe in feel; dense; dips a bit. Chewy but reasonable tannins. Style rather than terroir driven but works surprisingly well. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 88-90+  

Chateau Puy-Blanquet

Depth, good colour; legs; pure fruit, some cherry; freshness, blackcurrant; black cherry; summer fruit notes; precise; soft entry; good solid fruit; some cream, spice and plum; nice wine; elegant finish. Nice zip and acid. Appetizing, fresh. Tasted at JP Moueix 87-88

Chateau Quinault l’Enclos

Vibrant purple at edge; deep core; nice fruit, perfumed nose, briary and black fruit notes; some plum and spice; lots of flesh on the palate and chew, pretty dense but remains mid-weight and not overdone. Tannins very nicely handled. 90-92+

Chateau Quintus [formerly Tertre-Daugay]

Deep, saturated look but vibrant; legs; minerality, plum, some spice very composed; depth and actually pretty big ripeness; cool palate, lovely Cabernet Franc freshness; good density, concentration here; quite fine and sappy fruit; oak on the finish. Good length. Quite fine. Newly acquired by Domaines Clarence Dillon. 91-93+

Chateau Ripeau

Deep but looser at the edge than some; nice nose; depth; mineral qualities; tight almost mini Canon like; nice palate; some depth and earth with a hint of leaf. Tannin nicely judged. Nice mid weight wine. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 86-87+

Chateau Rol Valentin

Arterial looking; big legs; ripe, thick and dense but not unattractive; sweetness here; some perfume; palate dense rich and supple but with concentration and tannin on the end. Good. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-89+

Chateau Soutard

Mid depth; some plums, spices and cooler, fresher and better for it; plummy palate, attractive and some spice; not at all overdone. Others here could learn from this freshness and purity [Soutard St Emilion’s news recruit to the UGC]. This could be excellent value. Nice purity and not overdone. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. Tasted at UGC. 90-91

Chateau Trianon

Deep and dark, fruity seductive aromas; fresh and deep in feel; slight streak of green at the back; some depth. Full-ish. Some undergrowth notes but nice spicy, plummy tones . Pretty good overall. Grippy and vibrant finish. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 86-87+

Chateau Troplong Mondot

Deep and dark; red fruits, some rocks and spices; some lift; oak too along with marzipan notes; thick palate, chewy and dense. Lots of tannin on the finish. Liked this estate, albeit on the extremely rich scale but just how will this 2011 settle? 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. Tasted UGC. 88-90 [Second] Deep and saturated; arterial; more oak influenced than some here; thicker, initially feels a little plodding; less vibrant than some; later more jam and summer compote notes; palate actually pretty good; blackcurrants, some spice – quite chewy – but lots of fruit here. Overall good effort. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 90-92

Chateau Trottevielle

Deep, purple at the edge; fine elegance, freshness from the Cabernet Franc, attractive and cooler. Floral tones. Compact palate, more left bank feel; acid and life. Medium bodied. Should be good but less knockout than 2009/2010 here and the palate needs to settle. 50% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.100% new oak. 89-91 [Second] Little wet rock; minerals; some sawn wood; little less impressive than first; stalky blackcurrant note; blackcurrants again on the palate, spices, quite tannic profile; a little dry; needs to come together. Reasonably dry finish. Coffee and mocha tones. New oak on the end. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 88-90

Chateau Villemaure

Dense and deep; nice red fruits; some marzipan notes; modern styled with lots of ripe strawberry and redcurrant notes; easy full palate. Fruit driven. Good.Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite.  87-89

Clos Debreuil

Deep and saturated colour; oh nice! Sweet, unctuous but tempered; blackcurrants, plums plus oak; nice combination; ripe thick palate; very dense and unctuous lots of flavour and tannin at the end. Good wine. Tasted blind at Cercle Rive Droite. 87-88+

Clos des Jacobins

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+

Clos Fourtet

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

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