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Pessac-Léognan tasting notes – A to H


The following are my tasting notes [A-H] on the wines of Pessac-Léognan over the past twenty years. For properties I-Z click here. Most of the notes refer to recent tastings undertaken with the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and the MW Institute. Do click on the individual chateaux profiles under this heading for more details. I hope you find them interesting and useful. I’ve also tucked some notes on three Graves properties at the very end.

Château Bouscaut, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan


  • 2015 Pale silver/gold; fuller; waxy style with full aromatics; classic Bouscaut; great body on the palate; worked and almost fat but I love the depth here and the texture; will be excellent. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2027. 91-93+
  • 2014 Pale silver; lots of oak and oyster shell notes; some grapefruit tones; substantial and weighty; bold palate; slightly worked style but with attractive body & mouthfeel; length on the finish. Good effort in a bold Bouscaut style. [57% Sauvignon Blanc, 43% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Pale green/gold; steely; some oyster shell; quite elegant and crisp on the palate; good length at end. More vital and crisper than usual. Elegant. [60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon]. UGCB April 2014. Drink 2016-2022. 88-90
  • 2012 Pale grey/gold; attractive complex aromatics with nicely integrated oak; cashew, spices and grapefruit tones in a bold but nicely knit together style; big-ish palate; weighty with some style; crispness with good acid; suave on the finish with saline touch. I really like Bouscaut whites, year in, year out and this 2012 is very attractive indeed. Drink now – 2020. 93+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale straw; very oaky, oyster shell with lots of grapefruit tones and citrus notes; very rich and big; waxy and full palate; lots of weight and some style in an upfront way. Good length and impressive effort. 53% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Sémillon, 90-92 UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Very pale straw; fine and taut; wonderfully composed nose; citrus notes, limes and oak but nicely restrained and interwoven; attractive weight on the palate, though it remains quite taut. Obvious depth and potential. Real length too. Bouscaut’s whites is one of Pessac-Leognan’s best value, serious whites. Drink now – 2021 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale gold/straw; some barrique influence, oyster shell, wax and citrus tones; lees; big grapefruity palate; lees and barrique notes; nicely worked. Real zip and life on the finish. Great wine, lively zip. 90-92
  • 2010 Deepish gold; full oak and oyster shell on the nose; limes and grapefruit too; very attractive; almost sweet/sour notes; full palate but still with zest; moreish; oak nicely integrated. Mid-weight overall. Good length. Excellent effort 91+ [Earlier] Pale straw; toasty oaky nose, very warm; grapefruit and ripe with some zing; grapefruit on the palate less oak here, some lees notes; pretty good. Lowish acid. 88-90/100 [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon – fermented in oak, half new] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Pale straw/some green; deep; barrique influence, some oyster shell, developing well and attractive; palate taut but will open up . Good full style but not at all flabby. Needs a couple of years more to round out. 90/100 [Earlier] Very pale straw; some wax here; some smoke; fresh and attractive; palate attractive and round with MLF and barrel notes. Very good 90+/100 [50% Semillon, 50% Sauvignon – 40% barrel fermented, one third new]. Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Pale gold; quite forward with waxy Semillon notes; nice waxy palate with grapefruit and citrus tones; real race and lift here. Good 88+/100 UGC Oct‘10


  • 2015 Deep colour; little reductive initially; stalky; blackcurrants; cherry and sweet fruits; ripe cassis note too; blackcurrants on the palate; soft style. Will be ab attractive red. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 6% Malbec]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2032. 90-92+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; ripe and creamy blackcurrants; chocolate and black cherry; quite taut palate; tight ball of fruit and acidity; sappy finish with some chew. [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Malbec]. Drink 2019-2029. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 88-90
  • 2013 Deep and saturated looking; dark purple edge; quite full; enticing blackcurrant notes; full, fleshy and creamy palate nicely done. Attractive and full overall. [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 88-90
  • 2012 Mid depth; ripe, creamy attractive fruit on the nose [almost reminiscent to SHL]; lovely and open; rich palate with soft, plush Merlot tones and attractive Cabernet. Very nicely done red. Really showing well. [48% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec]. Drink now – 2025. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; vibrant at edge; attractive ripe nose; lush and layered; some smoke and plumy notes; attractive palate with fruit as well as oak influence showing in mocha tones but there is plenty of blackcurrant, spices. Very good effort. 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 5% Malbec. 89-91+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Deep and saturated look; lifted, creamy blackcurrant nose with some oak resin and mocha tones; creamy blackcurrants and plum tones on the palate; grip and chew at the end. Works well for the vintage. Good effort. Drink 2015-2021. 88+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; some bitter chocolate, blackcurrants and black cherry notes; some stalky Cab influences on the palate with some riper notes but lots of dry tannin on the finish. This needs to settle and tannin will always be there. 86-87+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated look; deep at core; chocolate; firm and full; oak resin; very intense; black fruits emerge in aeration; spices too; structured palate with lots of depth and density; nice chew; chunky and satisfying; quite chewy and lots going on; tannins polished at the end. Lot to this Bouscaut. Excellent if longer term than usual. 2017-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier notes] Glossy black red; creamy blackcurrant tons; some earth; enticing; soft entry, creamy with some wood influence, spices and earthy blackcurrants. Structure and grip come a moment later but plenty of material here. Chewy finish. Good effort. Needs a couple of years. 90+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and arterial; little dumb but depth; some earth and coffee, strawberry notes later revealed; ripe palate; lush and forward; plush with lots of ripeness; bite towards the end but tannins nicely handled. Very good. 90-92/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; toast, plums, spices, pretty deep and saturated; some earth; big and saturated palate; thick and deep; very ripe and fleshy with toasty finish and some chew to the tannins. Saturated style but plenty of joy. Needs a few years to settle. Drink 2016-2030. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Healthy red-purple; earthy; pretty nose; lovely violets here; attractive; some coffee bean at the back; compact but intense; good; palate similarly clean and fresh with precise flavours here, some blackcurrants and mocha on the finish. Grippy too. Very good. Tannins ripe and round. 88-90+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010
  • 2008 Mid depth; polished look; mineral tones, some resin and cassis, later with chocolate; red fruits on the palate; quite dense and inky; ripe flavours and purity here but good structure beneath. Good wine. 90 MW Institute Nov ’12
  • 2007 Mid red; some earthy tones; some cream, mineral and solidity; not fantastic and alluring; sofish; easy palate, not huge character; some spice and earth but pretty light 84/100 MW Institute Nov ’11

Château Carbonnieux, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan 


  • 2015 Silver/green; lovely fresh Carbonnieux; a beauty; some lanolin and smart confectionary tones; pear drops; depth to the palate and intensity; love the dryness too; nice body and will fill out a touch. Another excellent white. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 91-93
  • 2014 Silver/hints of green; very washed and fresh looking; fresh, taut and some green apple notes; sense of finesse and style on the nose; some wax and tautness; peardrop and white flower notes; focused palate; bone dry but with depth and length; refreshing – nicely taut and saline. Salty tang on finish. Genuine length. Classy and elegant. [70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Palest green/silver; full nose with wax, white melon and guava tones; attractive; elegance to the palate and acidity present; makes it very crisp and salty. Needs to round out but pretty classic and much more expressive than usual. UGCB April 2014. Drink 2016-2024. 90-92+
  • 2012 Silver gold; attractive sheen; tight at first; lime zest; wet wool; flint and oyster shell; mid-eight palate with fresh acidity; lime and citrus notes; moreish and good effort; twist of grapefruit on the finish; overall pretty clean and pure; good length. Bring out a dozen oysters! Drink now – 2020. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Very pale straw/green; round nose, candy notes and some honey; quite elegant palate; fine and lean; pretty classic Carbonnieux. 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Sémillon. 88-90 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier.
  • 2011 Palest straw, washed almost; wax and wet wool nose; taut and tight on the palate with weight and lees notes; apples and wet wool again. Classic Carbonnieux that cries out for a plate of rock oysters. Bone dry. Nice length too. Drink now – 2021. 90 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Colourless, palest green/mineral grey; elegant; some grass and meadow hints; palate typically neutral at this stage; breadth here though but currently bit lean. Lacks a bit of zip? Will round out I expect. 87-89+
  • 2010 Pale green gold; wax, some honey, wet wool; quite tight; palate similarly so; taut style as ever; wax, wet wool, lean but not without depth. Less obviously weighty than Bouscaut but with intensity. Will put on weight in bottle. 88+ [Earlier] Colourless; some grassy, leesy notes; fresh; clean and wet wool palate, wax; good length and depth. Good grip and finish 88-90+/100 [65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon] Tasted  6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Pale straw/green; some wax and wet wool; bit closed; waxy palate; quite broad but currently a little dumb. Carbonnieux white often a bit backward and sullen but tends to age well. Should be good 88-90?/100 [Earlier] Very pale; apples; fresh; more weight on the palate; some waxy Semillon tones and again good freshness and some acid to balance. This could be good. 88+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tasting.
  • 2008 Gold; fresh nose, some grass and wax; but with real zip and freshness on the palate. This is is really rather racy. Should develop well but very appetizing now. 90+/100 UGC ‘10


  • 2015 Deep and attractive colour; tight to rim; ripe, creamy aromas of black cherry with dark chocolate notes; palated textured and pretty dense; plenty of matter here; fresh acids at the end and some tannin; should settle well. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2028. 87-89+
  • 2014 Deep and earthy looking; clean; cool blackcurrant fruit; nicely done; pure black fruits; spicy and fresh; cool entry to the palate with nice fresh blackcurrant flavours; nice seam of acidity keeps things interesting; fresh and lively style. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 88-90
  • 2013 Deepish core; some depth aromatically; blackcurrant tones; nice purity; slightly more angular on the palate and marked by oak which pokes through a bit at present; still there is good fruit here and needs to meld a little; less oomph and succulence than Bouscaut [tasted immediately before]. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2023. 86-88
  • 2012 Mid depth; earthy purple; blueberry aromatics with some soft plum; some earth; mid-weight palate with pronounced freshness [acidity]; blackcurrants, blueberries and plum notes; some texture on the mid-palate; nicely managed in the cellar. Elegant and a certain modesty. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc 13.5% alc]. Drink 2016-2022. 88 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; ripe and lush nose; pretty fruits; real sense of lushness; palate good entry; ripe; black fruits again, plums, spices; little chewy tannin at the back but good depth. Goodish effort. 40% Merlot, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon 87-89+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Mid depth; healthy colour; ripe blackcurrant tones; good purity; clean and pure on the palate with nice elegance; not at all forced; elegant finish. Some acid and sap at the end. Drink 2015-2021. 87 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deepish red; purple at edge; some fruit, blackcurrants and polish; very chewy palate; dry tannin and very extracted feel. Feels a bit thin, dry and tannic. 84-86
  • 2010 Deep core; earthy red at edge; dark; roasted earthy nose; textured and deep with purity; classy; lots of extract and matter on the palate; real intensity here; some dust and rock; dense with a concentrated ball of inky fruit at its core; needs time – 5 years or so. Some chew to the tannin and tannin also needs to resolve but this is a very promising effort that will last the course. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc 14%]. Drink 2018-2030. 92+ Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Glossy deep red; earthy blackcurrants, some layers, pure and nicely done; not trying to be more than it is and all the better for it; blackcurrants, earth and ink on the palate; dry tannins but not puckering; right combination here. Earthy, blackcurrants with some style. Chewy finish – the vintage. Good effort. 90 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and black; arterial; plush and velvety on the nose; full and fresh; layers here and very good; quite soft and plush palate, nicely done; lovely and seductive. Nicely judged extraction 90-92+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and dark at centre; ripe red fruits, some leaf and blackcurrants; attractive; easy palate; ripe, stone fruits and blackcurrants; lots of material and some chew. Very good effort. Drink now – 2025 90+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deeper than the Bouscaut, quite tight to the rim; nice ripe creamy nose; ripe fruit aromas; polished; palate intense, some wood tannin here, will soften up. Very complete and satisfying. Lots of fruit and well done in a structured style. 90/100 Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tasting.
  • 2007 Mid red; some depth; some red fruits and tannin on the nose; mid weight palate; OK some acid and depth. Lacks some mid-palate richness here. Fresh and good acids however. 85/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tasting.

Domaine de Chevalier, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan


  • 2015 Silver/green; racy with minerality; depth; saline edge; apple note; tightly coiled on the palate; racy style – more Puligny than de Fieuzal’s Corton; candy and peardrop notes here on the palate too; will blossom during elévage. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2025. 92-94
  • 2014 Silver; apple and peardrop notes; vinous; mineral and some spice; piercing; taut and elegant on the palate; apple freshness with mineral, zippy finish. Should fill out further. [75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sémillon]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 91-93+
  • 2013 Palest grey; round and fine; some lees and waxy notes; some oyster shell; racy palate with salty minerality; fresh; pretty good length and acidity. Moreish and good life ahead. UGCB April 2014. Drink 2017-2025. 90-92+
  • 2012 Very washed colour – palest silver/grey; tight and very mineral; crisp and very cool on the palate; some spearmint notes; nice; balanced and appetizing on the palate; quite lean and tight still. Needs a few years to come out. Classical Domaine de Chevalier. Drink 2018-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Palest/washed gold; freshness and minerality; feels crisp; palate quite elemental; racy; almost Chablis Grand Cru like. Great minerality. Obvious class, usual restraint. 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon. 92-94+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Very pale grey/almost washed; fine nose; polished; some cream and citrus; flint on the palate with race and elegance. Good length. Pure. Feels long term with the usual restraint of youth here. Not flashy. 2016-2025 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Lightest grey/gold; quite leesy, weighty nose; still fairly neutral; very spicy palate and broad; palate more expressive; citrus and grapefruit hints and some floral tones; palate has nice bite and acid and really good length. Palate wonderful if aromatically little dumb at this stage. 93-95+ UGC April ’12
  • 2010 Palest green/gold; quite neutral at first; pure mineral style; dense palate, lots of concentration; depth and intensity; power here; salty, wet beach pebbles tang. Excellent length and depth. Not a showy wine [cf Pape Clément’s white] but works because of its minerality, depth and length. Stunning. 95 [Earlier] Colourless, fresh, ripe, some wax, feels very substantial; broad palate with depth; not especially complex but lovely depth. Terrific length and intensity with real zip on the finish. 93-95/100 Tasted 6 April UGC ’11
  • 2009 Pale straw; full nose, some wax but dumb and pretty taut feel; depth; some spice, wax and wet wool on palate; weighty; lots of depth here. Excellent weight , should be brill in 5+ years. 92-94/100 [Earlier] Pale straw; attractive wine; some cashew and apple; grassy note from the Sauvignon Blanc and waxy tones from the Semillon. Palate very fresh and bold with good structure. Very good wine. Intense and with good acid. Good zip at the end. Potentially really excellent 92-94/100 [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon] Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tasting.
  • 2008 Grey gold; fresh, ripe notes; quite firm palate with some grassy notes but quite full bodied and solid too; wax on the palate and acid keeps the palate refreshed. Looks good and long term 90+/100 UGC ‘10
  • 2007 Pale straw; some apples and cashew; length and good acid. This is very fine and should fill out. 88-90+/100 Oct ‘09 UGC London tastings.


  • 2015 Mid depth; some wet rocks; ripe fruit; spices; solid effort; nice creamy tones to the fruit; pretty gutsy on the palate; lots of matter here; grip on the finish. Will impress more after elévage. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2032. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; dark at centre; nice ripe fruit; nicely judged; blackcurrant, some cassis and black cherry; quite voluptuous; little oak; dark chocolate and black cherry notes on the palate; lots of matter; currently some oak to be soaked up on the back palate; grip too; lots of matter; quite big; this will work very well. The comparison here is with 2010 but with more flesh. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 92-94+
  • 2013 Deep and dark looking at the centre; colour tight to rim; ripe fruit aromatically, some wet earth and wet rocks; tightish but there is a good seam of fruit on the nose; sweet attack with good saturation; pretty sappy and chewy on the finish but the wine is well constructed. Inky. Good effort. [80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2028. 89-91
  • 2012 Mid depth; ripe spicy aromatics with plushness and polish; quite solid palate; full if lacking a little complexity at this stage; reliable red this and good effort. Should develop well. Drink 2017-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; very pretty nose [immediately reminds me of the 2005]; perfume and lushness; lots on the nose; powerful entry; plenty of matter but a little angularity to the tannins on the end which gives a sappy finish. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. 89-91+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Saturated looking; healthy; deep plummy nose; ripe and clean; blackcurrants too, alongside cassis; aromatic and deep; soft palate – caressing; mid weight and extremely well handled for the vintage here. Very polished but not at all pushed. Real success here [reminds me a bit of 2008 though softer at the same stage]. 2015-2025. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; close to the edge; some clean fruit; blackberry and blue fruits; attractive and better handled than some; cherry and red fruit tones too; blackcurrants dominate the palate, fresh and lots of fruit here. Impressive effort. Structure too but lots of fruit to match. This will be very good. 90-92 UGC April ’12
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; very dark at core; rounder and generous with a little more development apparent; chocolate tones, wet earth and elegance; open fruit on the palate; very full; structure there but hidden a little by the flesh; cool fruit and nice balance between the bite and chew of the fruit and the fleshy character – the product of the vintage’s ‘cool’ maturity? Genuine length. Very fine. Drink 2018-2040. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; full earthy blackcurrant aromas with some oak; layers of blackcurrant fruit; density and chew here; lots of material and extract and not inconsiderable acid giving a degree of grip. Will need a bit of time but all the elements are here. 93+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Very deep and dense; real colour and intensity; brooding and deep, blackcurrants, some earth and chocolate; ripe entry, sweet and good attack. Lots of grip here and acid. Density but also sweetness. Very ripe but with grip. Very good 92-94+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated but still vibrant and healthy looking; very attractive lifted leafy blackcurrant nose with genuine complexity; blackcurrants, mocha and spices; full palate with plenty of spicy blackcurrant fruit; nice sap and freshness too; depth here. Very enjoyable already. This is deceptive – and seductive – stuff! Drink now – 2030+ 95+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; nice lifted nose; good and deep; briary notes, blackcurrants; oak influenced palate; lifted; some leaf. Polished wine. 91+/100 [Earlier] Mid red, black; healthy; strong nose; blackcurrants and wet stone; some spices; stone and mineral elements; ripe; palate open and nicely done; blackcurrants and some stones and minerals on the palate; dense and quite structured. Tannins but in balance. Will be good 90-92+/100 [45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot]. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tastings.
  • 2008 Deep and arterial looking; saturated; layers and depth to the nose; nice seam of blackcurrant fruit and toasty oak; very full and enticing; ripe full palate too; this is really looking good; lots of flavour and bite. Structured and with grip but plenty of flesh on the bones. This looks very good indeed. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] 2008 Very dark, opaque at centre, tight to rim; quite strong, firm nose; some stalky blackcurrant fruit, quite pure; some oak too; flesh and extract here alongside the tannin. Quite dense and concentrated. A little drying on the finish. Long haul but promising. 90+/100 UGC Oct ’10.
  • 2007 Deepish colour; tight to edge; earthy, mineral tones; some meaty, malty tones; quite full, seemingly; some red fruits on the palate; some chew and depth; not that bad, though feels a tad extracted on the finish with rather angular tannin and some tartness 87/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; some depth; substantial wine here; polished; red fruits with nice concentration; some earth, gravel and tar; palate ripe and sweet and nicely lifted quality; very good. Tannins quite round. Intense wine with density. Some chocolate and espresso on the finish. Showing very well given the difficulties of this vintage. 90+/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tastings.
  • 2006 Deep at core, quite pent up nose, inky and fresh, some higher tone notes with aeration; some fruit cake and some mineral and wet stone; quite unyielding though it feels deep; red fruits on the palate, quite chalky and minerally, lacks richness and real flesh but full and dense instead; tannins here and some dryness but fruit is there. Chewy finish. Should be good in time. Length but tannins a fraction dry on the end. 88-90/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.

Château de Fieuzal, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan


  • 2015 Washed grey/green; lovely aromatics; tight but deep; opens up to reveal passionfruit and lime notes; white melon; very attractive indeed; bold and racy palate with texture; will broaden with age; excellent length. Wonderful. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2020-2028. 93-95+
  • 2014 Silver/green; washed; candied peel, white melon and pear drop notes; little oak dominates the palate currently; some cashew; needs to meld but has weight and texture. Some length. Little disjointed for now – but de Fieuzal makes classy whites so expect this to meld. [60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-93+
  • 2013 Pale straw; peachy fruit tones; full on the nose and attractive; some candy peel too; full palate with a waxy feel but also freshness; good depth; candy peel again on the finish. Good length. Long-term. UGCB April 2012. 2018-2025. 90-92+
  • 2012 Palest grey/green; more overtly aromatic than de Chevalier at this stage; but not quite as flattering currently as Bouscaut; citrus zest, ginger and mineral tones; elegance on the palate and will take some age; excellent finish with very good length. Drink now – 2022. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Very steely looking; some candy, lees; feels full; some spice and ginger tones; waxy palate and pretty deep and works well. 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Sémillon 91-93 UGC Weds April 10, 2013. [Earlier note] Green/gold; candy, some cashew, depth and finesse; broad palate which has weight and depth; linear with good length. Classic de Fieuzal. 91-93+ Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Leognan tasting
  • 2011 Pale straw [more colour than Domaine de Chevalier tasted beside]; oak more dominant at this stage; citrus tones and wax; oak too on the palate but there is fruit here; nice creamy mouthfeel; round; needs to settle. Drink 2015-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Palest gold/grey, almost colourless; more definition than Carbonnieux and Domaine de Chevalier on the nose; grass, lemon citrus, more lift, candy too; really refreshing palate with zip and zing; lively with lots of race. Lees tones and length. Potentially very fine. [30% new oak, 100% barrel ferment, 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon] 92-94+
  • 2010 Pale gold/green; more worked wine than Domaine de Chevalier but like this style also; wax, butterscotch alongside grapefruit and citrus tones; very expressive and loaded with fruit; strong palate with depth, maybe lacks the overall scale of Chevalier but this is altogether a different beast. Good finish. 93+ [Earlier] Pale straw; ripe, some cashew, wax, very rich; good palate with richness and will age well on the long term. 92-94/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Pale straw; cashew, oyster shell and citrus fruit; pretty forward and big with minerals tones too; good tight palate; lots of grapefruit and spice here; oyster shell; deep and substantial palate. Very good length here. Showing extremely well. 92-94+/100 [Earlier]Very attractive white nose; cashew, ripe fruits; fresh too; palate fresh, some soap and very attractive. Excellent structure. Will fill out. Very Good. 90-92+/100 [70 Semillon, 30% Sauvignon]. Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Straw coloured; firm nose; some limes and citrus notes with weight and substance; attractive and modern palate well balanced and polished. Very good wine and quite showy, much more so than Domaine de Chevalier. 92+/100
  • 2007 Pale straw; quite appley; mid weight with some cream; will fill out. Mellowness of Semillon evident. Very good. 90/100 Oct ‘09 


  • 2015 Mid depth; earthy purple at edge; ripe red fruits; softness; emphasis on the pretty fruit; pure palate; very nicely done; delicacy and well managed extraction; very fine de Fieuzal red. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2030. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep and dark; ripe fruits; plum pudding; menthol and spices; ink; little mocha tones; dark chocolate; sweet entry with black fruit; dark chocolate notes; extract and some oak tannin to integrate. Perhaps a little forced on the finish but should settle. [65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 89-91
  • 2013 Deep and dark looking; colour tight to the rim; fraction less dense than Domaine de Chevalier though; attractive blackcurrant purity on the nose; nice seam of fruit here; glossy black fruits; sweet and ripe in feel; not overdone on the palate and quite soft in the middle. Almost a feeling of richness. Not a bad effort at all. [75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 88-90
  • 2012 Deepish; spices and menthol alongside blackcurrant tones; palate complete with polish and panache; grip on the finish but plenty of flesh here, freshness and earthy blackcurrant style. Drink 2016-2025. 91+ Tasted Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; black at centre; some earth black fruits, feeling of depth to the nose; some coffee and smokey tones from the oak at the back; sweet entry, black fruits, some oak influence that needs to meld; some chew and grip but ripeness to the tannins; 89-91+ UGC Weds April 10, 2013.
  • 2011 Deep and saturated looking: ripe aromas; some wet rock and black fruits; lift; ripe entry with nice blackcurrant flavours; density here; good extract yet not extracted; polished and complete. Good length. Very good effort. Drink 2015-2025. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; tobacco, malty note even a trace of honey; similar tones on the palate; earthy pretty chewy. Not impressive at all. Bad sample? Disjointed certainly. 85-87?
  • 2010 Deepish; fractionally less saturated than Bouscaut; little more immediate fruit lift; some red fruits; little olive; earthy blackcurrants; little more forward than Bouscaut; mint and menthol note; mid weight wine on the palate with nice balance with some chew to the tannins. Perhaps a little narrower in focus than the broader [when it opens up] Bouscaut. Drink 2015-2025. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; blackcurrants, fruit pastels; feels deep but also fresh; similar flavours on the palate – blackcurrants come through strongly; lots of fruit and material on the palate; dense with a pretty big frame; structure; less acid and feels plusher than some. Chewy but ripe tannins on the finish. Cracking effort. 92+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and black; concentrated and deep nose; sweetness here; really nice; some smoke, lots of ripeness, some cream; lots of blackcurrants on the palate; ripe and rich fruit; very good; concentrated. Coffee and chew. Very good and concentrated. 92-94/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated look; lifted blackcurrants and leaf; attractive and open; lots of flesh on the palate; very good effort this; ripe blackcurrants and earth tones; lots and lots of material but lovely ripeness to the fruit and roundness to the considerable tannins. Great effort! Drink 2016-2030+ 93+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Dark, meaty colour; fresh and creamy; very ripe here; mulberrys; layered; palate modern and layered with oak and extraction; layers and well done; tannins a little dry. If it settles could be 90?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeurs tasting
  • 2008 Quite saturated in colour; plump, earthy style on the nose; lots of fruit; pretty deep with mocha notes; pretty ripe palate with lots of red fruits lots of depth, grip and structure. Very good effort. 90 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red, some density, some chocolate, rust and earth on the nose with sweetness at the edge, soft palate, easy entry; lots of extract and ripe tannins, not without grip. Good effort 88+/100 UGC Oct ‘10
  • 2007 Mid depth; reasonable colour; some stalky, leafy blackcurrant; not unattractive though a bit green; sweet entry on the palate, some herbs, spices with some grip here and extraction though overall feels pretty harmonious. Good, earthy wine with some harmony. 88/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; some lifted herbaceous tones but also intensity; quite precise and clean flavours on the palate; also chocolate and mocha notes; attractive wine with a real earthy note. Again pretty good considering the vintage. 86/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tasting.

Château de France, Pessac-Léognan


  • 2015 Washed colour; some apple and lees notes; fresh and zippy on the palate; fresh finish too. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2023. 86-88
  • 2014 Palest silver; some honey and candy tones; wax; little tight; grapefruit tones on the palate with wax and flint and apple highlights; tight in the middle but easy finish currently. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Drink 2017-2022. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 86-88
  • 2013 Pale straw; very neutral on the nose; nutty notes and some wax; not that impressive in the line up. Drink 2015-2018. 83-85
  • 2012 Pale silver/gold; apple tones on the nose; quite soft palate with more apple notes with a crisp finish. Drink now – 2017. 86 Tasted Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Pale straw/gold; some apple; sturdy and fresh; some grass and apple tones on the palate; lacks depth versus the rest but refreshing with some zip. 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon 86-88 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Leognan tasting
  • 2011 Pale straw; very washed; attractive citrus and oyster shell nose; zesty grapefruit too; palate open and round; spicy ginger tones with attractive fruit tones. Attractive, fruit driven effort. Drink now-2018. 88 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale straw, gold; oaky note, very barrique influenced; grapefruit notes and oyster shell; real zingy palate and lots of fruit in an upfront [if oaky] style. Attractive. Dips a fraction at the end 88-90
  • 2010 Pale straw; fatter, broader and less complex than the previous few Pessac whites but still pretty full; apple and spice tones on the palate with some wet wool and the oak a little more obvious. Should meld with a year or two of bottle age. Feels a good effort overall. 88+ [Earlier] Palest straw; some zesty, yeasty notes; quite strong and firm; round and quite leesy and waxy note; quite attractive with some zip 88-90+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Pale straw/shade more golden; wax; warmer style; seems Sémillon dominant; simpler and vastly overshadowed by de Fieuzal [and in price to be fair]. Lacks complexity. 87/100 UGC Oct ‘11
  • 2008 Quite golden, quite open nose with ripe notes and soapy laolin tones; good 87/100 UGC ‘10


  • 2015 Mid depth; earthy purple; solid; spices and some dust; black fruits beneath; soft palate; fresh finish. Compact. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2019-2025. 86-88
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; ripe blackcurrant aromatics; nice ripeness; lift and freshness; grip and blackcurrants on the palate; more higher toned, acid freshness style; rather dry and puckering at the end. Combined effect of marked acidity [by comparison with the rest] and dry tannin not great at this stage. Needs to settle. Not as ripe tannin as some. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 84-87?
  • 2013 Deep and dark at the core; purple edge; stalky Cabernet fruit; some earth and leafy notes; flesh in the middle with a leafy/earthy note; like the texture though. Earthy style. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2023. 85-87
  • 2012 Deep and surprisingly saturated look; slight whiff of green [perhaps the terroir] and black earth; soft palate with some grip and an easy finish but feels a little hollow in the middle. OK. Drink now to 2020. 85 Oct ’14 UGC [Earlier note] Deep and vibrant; smoke, some earth; black fruits and quite lush; some astringency on the palate; wine has a dry and rather angular finish. Short and dry on the very end. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 40% new oak 84-86 [Earlier note] Mid depth; some jam on the nose; red fruits; layered and reasonably plush; all up front as palate seems a little hollow in the middle. Finishes tannic and dry. 84-86 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Leognan tasting
  • 2011 Mid depth; some tar and blackcurrant tones; similar flavours to the aromas – blackcurrants. Chew and grip here but not overdone. Mid-weight and reasonably positive. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep, mid depth; some vegetal notes; mealy qualities, iodine and inky; very tannic palate, dominated by fruit and wood tannin currently and incredibly dry. 83-85
  • 2010 Deep and saturated look; earthy, gravelly blackcurrant aromas; soft-ish; developing and quite attractive; forward palate with earthy blackcurrant tones and nice texture. Some grip and sap at the back which gives it a bit of life too. Works well. Almost ready now. This should be good value. 88+ [Earlier] Deep and arterial; lush and plush; lots of fruit here; some smoke, chocolate; thick and ripe – little stewed note though and slightly stalky edge penetrates the palate. Over-extracted and tannic palate. 84-86?/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep red and black up to rim; very ripe, rather monolithic big nose; some stalk, blackcurrants but big; almost figgy Languedoc notes here; palate similarly styled; big and ripe but big tannins and lots of extraction. Chunky style. 86?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Very dense, dark and colour tight to the rim; some strawberry and red fuits with lift on the nose; dense palate with lots of extract but also firm, quite dry tannins. Smoke here too. Feels disjointed now. 86?/100 UGC Oct ‘10

Château Haut Bailly, Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Deep and glossy; colour tight to the rim; purple at edge; very pure Cabernet nose; clean; precise; some minerals; spices at the edge; very deep indeed; lovely wine; purity; texture but plenty of flesh here too; really excellent; open for HB at this stage; lots of elements; beautiful Cabernet and structured Merlot; outstanding quality; flesh here but considerable structure beneath; finishes correct with nice acid twist. Grip and structure at the end. Long. All adds up to a tremendous effort from Haut-Bailly. [Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 36%, Petit Verdot 4%, 50% new oak, 13.6% alc]. Tasted Haut-Bailly 7/4/16. Drink 2023-2040. 96-98+
  • 2014 Lovely deep colour; dark at centre; earthy purple at edge; very nice Cab; blackcurrant; purity; attractive and fresh; delicacy here; mineral tones; floral touch from the oak; nice entry; substance and matter but proportional; elegance; trace of oak and some wood to soak up a little; nice Cab though; chew and extract on the finish but there is nice acidity. Fresh. Vigorous. Energetic. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, yields 43hl/ha, picked September 24 to October 15, 50% new oak, 13% alc]. Drink 2023-2035. 92-94+
  • 2013 Deep colour; very attractive aromatics; almost seductive; full and genuine depth here; glossy; very pure palate – very nice Cabernet tones; clean and pure; very good purity infact; good concentration for the vintage. One of the red wines of the UGCB tasting April 2014. Excellent effort to my mind. [64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc]. 91-93
  • 2012 Mid depth; blackcurrant aromatics; nice and pure and clean; some wet rock notes; quite masculine style [compared with say Smith Haut Lafitte and Malartic Lagravière]; blackcurrant fruit tones on the palate with richness beneath; good structure here as usual and extract; some tannin [ripe] and bite which indicates freshness. Good wine. Drink 2018-2028. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep colour; vibrant edge; lots of briary and blackcurrant fruit on the nose; sweet ripe fruit attack and then come the tannins; little chewy on the palate [it always seems to be in its youth]; very dense and clearly lots of matter here but slightly drying quality to the tannins. Usually sorts itself out later. Serious, chewy and tannic. Probably underrating this and look forward to seeing it again down the track. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. 90-93+ Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Deep looking; clean, correct blackcurrant aromas; attractive and ripe; some earthy notes; feels polished; ripe blackcurrant tones on the palate; acid here beneath the flesh which gives some chew [along with the tannin] but overall very clean and correct. Mid-weight and reflects the vintage nicely. Needs a bit of time [as usual here] to blossom. The ferocious tannins noted during primeurs have softened in elevage. 2016-2026. 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Mid depth; purple edge; stalky Cabernet notes, purity and some stone fruit; little plum; creamy entry but then comes the tannin; dry and oak influenced palate though there is plenty of fruit here; quite grippy and chewy finish. Feels a bit puckering at present. Haut-Bailly always feels tannic en primeur to me so this will settle but doesn’t have the shout out loud fruit qualities of 2009 or 2010. 90-91+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated but still fresh looking; wonderful blackcurrant aromatics; terrific purity and great definition; layers and magnificent depth; some earthy undergrowth tones at the edge add further interest; incredibly bold palate; layers of fruit; big but polished and tannin [considerable] is ripe. This is long-term wine. Very nicely composed on the end. Magnificent Haut-Bailly. Drink 2018-2035. 98 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated core; nice freshness to the nose; some wet rock, chalk; earthy blackcurrant tones too; lots of density on the palate; oodles of blackcurrant fruit in a typically firm style; dryness here but also plenty o depth, structure and acid. This is a long-term prospect and extremely promising. Don’t touch it for ten years. 94+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and arterial, saturated colour; very ripe, strawberry and red fruit notes; lots of ripeness here, some stalks too; needs to settle a bit; plumy and earthy; ripe and sweet attack, and then the Haut-Bailly tannins – pretty dense but ripe tannins alongside waves of fruit. Freshness too – a strong and powerful wine even if feels a bit raw at present. Everything in spades here. 94-96+/100 [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc 13.9% alc] Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and saturated looking; cream and blackcurrant, ripe and lifted; deep and concentrated palate; mocha and chocolate tones too; this is dense and deep winemaking; much more settled and complete than when stated en primeur [as you’d expect]. Very deep, ripe but not overdone. Powerful stuff. 96+/100 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier] Deep and tight to rim; concentrated colour; quite deep fruit and intensity here; slightly dumb but sense of ripeness; opens up in the glass a little; quite polished palate but lots of extract here; tannins quite dry; chewy; lots of tannin. Long hall wine here. Tannic. Needs to settle, at present extracted and tannic. If settles 90-92?/100. Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC Primeur tastings.
  • 2008 Deep at centre; earthy blackcurrants; some leaf, spices and chocolate; attractive with some complexity; spicy blackcurrant tones on the palate – captures the vintage nicely; good acid, in fact grippier and more obviously structured than Malartic-Lagraviere and Pape Clément. More traditional styled and longer term. 92+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red, dark at core; deep nose, some chocolate but a bit brooding; palate soft and full, lush with lots and lots of extract, layers. Tannins too in abundance. Quite dry finish. Should come round but long haul here. Pretty bold and extracted style.  90+/100 UGC Oct ’10
  • 2007 Deepish colour; very animally and lifted; almost sweet and peaty with a mineral fatness beneath; some sour notes at the edge of the palate and feels a bit mean. Hmm – disappointing effort on this tasting even in the context of the vintage. 86/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; good density; creamy on the nose; attractive; palate mid-weight; layered and good depth with chocolate and earthy notes; attractive layered wine. Good. 86-88/100 Oct ’09 UGC London tastings.
  • 2006 Tight to the rim; concentrated looking; quite open, plummy nose, deep, with real fruit here, some oak resin too, nutty edge; quite big and a little monolithic; palate big and fresh but also dry and extracted at the end; lots of fruit admittedly but lots of tannin too [true of the 2009 and 2008 also here]. So tannic. This is big and bold and there is a ton of fruit but a ton of tannin too. Dry tannins dominate the finish. Again time will tell here. 90-92?/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.
  • 1982 Initially sweet raspberries and some fruits – later chunkier and rather chalky. Lacks complexity, bit dried out with chunky, old dusty tannin palate. 84/100 Oct ’06

Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan


  • 2015 Silver/light gold; Cox’s apples on the aromatics; little apricot; some oak; breadth on the palate; ripe and sweet fruit; easy and forward style. [80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90+
  • 2014 Pale straw/silver [bit cloudy currently]; candy and pear drop notes; fresh; waxy and full palate with some wet wool notes. Nicely done. [80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc]. Drink 2017-2024. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 90-91+
  • 2013 Very pale straw; grassy tones; quite full; some lees influence with melon and peach tones; similar notes on the palate and fresh, lively acidity. Good wine. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2015-2020. 87-89+
  • 2012 Palest colour; quite mineral; steely; little flint; quit broad palate; full flavoured with depth here maybe lacks a little zap on the finish but good effort. 87-89+ Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Léognan tasting
  • 2011 Colourless with hint of grey; lees and candy, cut grass and really delicate; more weight to the palate; some concentration and bite; lees and lanolin notes; dips a fraction on the finish but potentially very good. [100% barrique ferment, 50% new oak, 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon] 88-90+
  • 2010 Pale straw, ripe and toasty oak with grapefruit and citrus elements; some lees; poised; attractive; palate a bit oaky, some oil, maybe a bit heavy but should meld. Not that bad overall. 86-88+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Pale straw/some gold; fresh, some apple; quite fine in feel; some wax and oyster shell; little straightforward at present; full palate but with some bite on the finish. Should develop well. 88+/100 [Earlier] Pale straw; lots of barrique influence here; toasty and smoky; some apple beneath; oak influenced palate; broad with nuttiness and has some zip and zing. Should develop well. Good. 88+/100 [80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc] Tasted 31st March 2010 UGC primeurs tasting.


  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; ripe and rich aromatics; some savour; briary fruit beneath; quite extracted palate; needs to settle; plenty of guts and matter; tannic finish. Chewy. Promising elements but jumbled at primeurs. [45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2030. 89-91
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; purple edge; smoky; dark chocolate; bitter black cherry; quite taut palate; blackcurrants and black chocolate with bitter tones; very chewy and dry on the finish. Needs to settle. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted 1 April, 2015. 84-86?
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; legs; lifted aromatics and glossy black fruit tones; sweetness; nice black fruits on the palate; creamy in the middle; little extracted on the finish but this should settle well. Good effort. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot]. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88+
  • 2012 Mid depth; lifted oak influenced nose; black fruits and spices; little Magrez like [don’t necessarily mean this as a criticism]; layers and polish to the nose; some pretty fruit but lots of oak currently disjointed the palate; makes it finish chewy and angular. Plenty of fruit if the palate settles but will always have a twist of tannin at the end. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot 85-87 Tasted Monday April 8, 2013 at Chateau Olivier’s Pessac-Léognan tasting
  • 2011  Mid red, depth; red fruits, some polish and ripeness; wet stone notes; feels very dry on the palate and extracted, this may come good but this is very chewy and tannic presently. 85-87?
  • 2010 Deep and dark; black red; some smoke and blackcurrant; deep and succulent; sweet attack on the palate; good density, bit monolithic and needs some work during elevage but pretty good. Chocolate and tannin at the end. Tannins ripe and doesn’t feel over extracted. 90-92+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Dark and deep; ripe, some strawberry tones; more fruit driven style; fresh; palate sweet entry; lots of extract but pushed too hard here. Feels over extracted. Tannic and drying finish. If this settles maybe 88?/100 but not sure currently UGC primeurs tasting.

Château Haut-Brion, Premier Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Bold colour; dark at centre; lovely cassis beauty on the nose; real depth and succulence; nice balance between the plummy purity and the influence of the Cabernets; seductive on the nose – quite gorgeous actually; great texture to the palate; greater mid palate richness here than displaying on La Mission; some restraint but lots of power and weight; quite masculine overall; sinew and flesh too but this is quite bold; length here very good. Definition. Needs 10 years – no flashy 2015 this – but stunning texture. [50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 14.9% alc]. Tasted Haut-Brion 7/4/16. Drink 2025-2045. 97-100
  • 2014 Deeper than La Mission; glossy in the glass; vivid purple meniscus; lots of attractive fruit on the nose; earthy blackcurrants; some mineral tones; very mineral Haut-Brion; some smoke; menthol; elegant entry to the palate; blackcurrant and black cherry fruit; chew and density; acidity and freshness. [50% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95
  • 2013 Deeper and darker central core; nose a bit closed; plums and minerality; bold and masculine on the palate; little austere and chewy on the finish. Elements there but fraction closed. [50% Merlot, 45.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% alc, pH3.7, 28hl/ha]. Tasted 31/3/14 at La Mission. Drink 2020-2030. 90-92
  • 2012 Deep and dense looking; ripe and extremely enticing nose; very lush but also very composed; attractive and fractionally lusher even than La Mission; seamlessly integrated oak; very flattering nose; tighter palate than the nose suggests, lots of pent up fruit, tightly coiled; clearly a lot of matter and material; much dense and more obviously structured than La Mission. Turns out to be pretty serious despite the flattering, come-hither aromatics. Clearly one of the wines of the vintage, if not the wine of the vintage for me. 65.5% Merlot, 32.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc 14.9% alc, 3.46 pH. 96-98+
  • 2011 Deep and dense; ripe creamy note initially; seemingly very deep; cassis, blackcurrants and a certain minerality; opens up well in the glass; real precise seam of fruit here; very clear and very clean; concentrated without being unctuous; later lots of blackcurrant cassis; black cherry and wet earth; deep palate lots of fruit, quite big and full; lots of fruit and tannins in fact; dense and structured wine; lots of extract and bite. Big wine overall, lots of structure and bite too but has plenty of fruit to go the distance. Tannic. 46.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34.8% Merlot, 18.9% Cabernet Franc. 95-97+
  • 2010 Deep looking; creamy aromatics; very attractive purity; blackcurrants, earth and spicy notes; creamy; full palate with a nice seam of fruit; layered and intense; very mannered palate and feels completely proportional; long [and warm] finish. A fraction reticent on the day amongst the first growths, so feel I may be underrating this. Drink 2018-2035. 96+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Saturated and tight to the edge; very dense; some blue-ish tinge; very deep and layered nose; wonderful layers; some smoke too; very intense and sublimated feel on the nose; richer and seemingly even plusher than La Mission; velvet palate; real ripeness and some liquorice and tar; but very polished indeed. Lots of tannin here, very ripe, but bathed in ripe fruit. Great length overall. Didn’t notice the high alcohol in infact unlike La Mission. Balanced by the acidity. Terrific. [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, alcohol 14.6% IPT 80 pH 3] 98-100/100. Tasted 4 April at the chateau.
  • 2009 Deep and dark looking; stones; minerals; blackcurrants and spices; menthol tones too; lots of weight and extract on the palate with meaty fruit tones and ripe but considerable tannin. Lots of tannin here in fact and thick extract. Quite closed down. Needs a considerable period of time I reckon. Close to perfection. Drink 2020-2040. 98+ MW Institute Nov ’13
  • 2008 Mid depth; some gravel, earth, oak and leaf; nice rose petal component; layered and very attractive nose; very complete and attractive palate; some earth, blackcurrant and tobacco, spices and herbs too with espresso tones on finish. Quite elegant. Complete and very well mannered overall. 95+ MW Institute Nov ’12 
  • 2007 Mid red; depth; attractive nose; some gravel and herbal notes; menthol, earth and tapenade notes on the nose; clean and full on the palate; density and pretty big with a lot of grip to the tannin. Good length, just that dryness to the tannins. 92/100 MW Institute Nov ’11
  • 2006 Dense and dark at core; molasses, tar and real ripeness here, roasted notes alongside methol and tobacco; attractive; wonderfully silky note on the palate, dances across the palate; layers here too, some gravel, tar and lots of ripe extracted notes; this is great stuff and much more harmonious than La Mission in this vintage. Chew and extract and some warmth with excellent length. Good chew and intensity on the finish. Brilliant effort and this bottle is showing wonderfully well. 97+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10
  • 1990 Deep colour, black red; elegant toffee and tobacco nose with roasted meats and savoury notes; impressive wine with good tension between fruit and acid. Very well balanced. Served blind and I thought this Gruaud Larose ’86 which I rate just as highly. Excellent. 96+/100 Aug ‘98
  • 1988 Dark black red; roasted at first on the nose but closed up; big and tannic palate. Tannins feel a little present but lots of fruit there. 90+/100 Apr ’08
  • 1978 Ripe toasty nose; tar, roasted meats; intensity here with superb length; not at all hard; fine palate. A really excellent ’78 which has probably since faded. 93/100 Apr ‘96
  • 1964 Mahogany brown but with dark core; very old flavours alongside roasted notes and earth, palate still had structure, texture and depth – quite an intense wine but getting very old in feel. 86?/100 Aug ’05

Clarence de Haut-Brion [formerly Le Bahans de Haut Brion]

  • 2015 Deep looking; earthy purple at edge; blackcurrant and black cherry; little reticent [it was tasted at 8am]; freshness somehow; little stern on the entry again; texture and depth; not as fleshy as I’d have expected; correct if rather so. Good length here and some freshness. The wines are sleepy this morning. [57% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, 14.6%]. Tasted Haut-Brion 7/4/16. Drink 2022-2028. 90-91+
  • 2014 Deep; earthy black at centre; colour tight to the rim; earthy blackcurrant fruit; fraction deeper than La Chapelle; some cassis; spices; ripe entry; full fruit; spices again; freshness again; fresh bite at the end. [80% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2019-2028. 88-90
  • 2013 Deeper and slightly tighter to the rim than La Chapelle; deeper and more meaty aromatically; salty tang; chewy palate quite austere with acidity present. Quite sappy overall but not drying on the end. [57% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc 12.95% alc, pH 3.62]. Tasted 31/3/14 at La Mission. Drink 2018-2026. 86-88
  • 2012 Deep and intense; some purple at edge; quite lush nose; full of layers. Pretty lush, ripe and full; very sweet entry but fresh and perfumed palate; nicely composed and very supple; precise with a certain freshness. Easy finish. Precocious. Will be drinkable almost immediately. Is enjoyable already. 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  91-93+
  • 2011 Little looser at the rim than La Chapelle; little bluer fruits; spicier some stalky blackcurrant notes; earth; good sweet entry, blackcurrants; measured and proportioned palate; spice and blackcurrants again and acid and grip; well made and balanced. Good length. Tasted at La Mission 5/4/12. 90-91+
  • 2010 Dark, deep; more purple in the meniscus; cream; floral tones; layers, quite fat feel; creamy yet muscular; violets here; good entry, very supple palate; very rich indeed; focused; good density and very attractive. Really good grip at the end with length. Very good. Hardly a ‘second wine’. [52% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot,, alcohol 14.4 IPT 73 pH 3.5]  93-95+/100 Tasted 4 April at the chateau.

Le Bahans de Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2005 Deep black red; some rose petal on the nose; attractive and some gravely notes; nice palate with intensity and grip. Quite tannic at present. 88+/100 Sept ‘09

Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Again silver/green; legs; deep; some wax; little lime and citrus notes; beautiful palate; very fine; has depth and race; some spearmint on the end; nice length. Wonderful minerality. [69% Sauvignon, 31% Sémillon, 14.3%]. Drink 2020-2035. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 95-97+
  • 2014 Pale gold/green; full; some sweet cashew; green apples; cream; limes and lychee; very beautiful on the nose; full and open on the palate but also wonderful tension too; impressive texture and mouth feel; some sweetness and fatness from the alcohol but the natural acidity also gives a freshness and life to the end; white wine doesn’t get much better. Highest percentage of Sémillon in ten years. [68% Sémillon, 32% Sauvignon Blanc 14.75% alc, pH 3.2]. Drink 2019-2028. 96-98+
  • 2013 Palest silver/gold; spicy grapefruit, wax and laolin notes; fuller and deeper on the nose than La Mission currently [the aromatic lift from the Sauvignon]; very polished; full entry, bold and full; a wine of breadth and depth; fresh acidity keeps the wine nice and lively; spicy grapefruit tones; excellent purity; good length. [66% Sauvignon Blanc, 34% Sémillon, 13.7% alc, 23hl/ha]. Drink 2016-2030. 93-95+
  • 2012 Steely silver/gold; grapefruit, some spices, peachy note and ginger lift; lots of apparent depth; firmer and denser even than La Mission; lots of layers to the palate and real depth. Excellent length. Profound. Fractionally less acid than 2011. 55% Sémillion, 45% Sauvignon Blanc 14.15% alc 96-98+
  • 2011 Pale green/gold; legs; this is immediately fabulous; bold, weighty and masculine; such weight; lees and toasty notes on the nose, some oyster shell and spicy grapefruit characters; very mannered; broad and full wine on the palate; lots and lots of density for a white but without obvious manipulation; feels big because of place; very big finish. Amazing presence. Dry white of the vintage? Simply fabulous. 57.9% Sémillon 42.1% Sauvignon Blanc 42.1% 97-98+
  • 2010 Pale straw; peaches, passion fruit and guava; very attractive nose with real power behind; some lees on the palate alongside this very fresh fruit; real concentration and depth; full bodied and powerful. Bewildering length and depth. Much more obvious fruit here [much more Sauvignon] and less oak dominated than the La Mission’s Blanc. Flawless to me. White wine can surely get no better? [54% Sauvignon Blanc, 46% Semillon, alcohol 14.4%] 100/100. Tasted 4 April at the chateau.

La Clarté de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

  • 2015 Pale straw; flecks of silver/green; lovely saline note; minerality; some citrus tones; lime; nice weight and freshness; a good mouthful; has weight but not plodding. Refreshing on the end. Saline touch on the finish. [27% Sauvignon, 73% Sémillon, 14.3% alc]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Haut-Brion 7/4/16. 91-93
  • 2014 Washed green gold; lovely lychee, lime and citrus notes with hints of oyster shell; saline quality too; nice weight on entry; very balanced; lots of concentration, life and acidity; very zippy but has weight too; big white this in fact; great stuff with impressive length. [34% Sémillon, 66% Sauvignon Blanc. 14.7% alc, Clarté represents the second wine of both La Mission and Haut-Brion Blancs.] Drink 2018-2025. 92-94+
  • 2013 Pale grey/gold; grapefruit, peardrops and candy; open and attractive; weighty palate; some oil but fresh; attractive. Little loose on the finish. [61% Sémillon, 39% Sauvignon Blanc, 13.2% alc]. Tasted 31/3/14 at La Mission. Drink 2016-2022. 88-90
  • 2012 Pale green/silver-gold; grapefruit, oyster shell; ginger spice; very open and very good; mid-weight but full of flavour on the palate; packed with fruit; maybe lacks a bit of zip. Good length. 58% Sémillon, 42% Sauvignon Blanc 13.95 alc 91-93+
  • 2011 Pale gold; hints of green; some oyster shell, citrus notes, lees and wax; very attractive; spicy grapefruit characters too; wax on the palate, lees notes too; nice weight, attractive, full bodied white but there is some zip too. Very round and harmonious on the finish. Good concentration. Excellent wine. 78% Sémillon, 22% Sauvignon Blanc 92-94+

Château Haut Gardère, Pessac Léognan

  • 2001 [white] Lemon yellow, quite deep, hangs in the glass; aroma or toasted oak, cashews and butterscotch with some smoky elements – broad palate a little austere and finishes with twist of acid. Somewhat between the stools – has lost the fresh flush of fruit but secondary flavours need a little more time to fill out the palate. Potentially excellent in 5+ years and acid will enable it to last a while. 88-90/100

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