A little bit of this and that. Lots of 100 pointers!!
2007 Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT - 325.00
97 Wine Advocate - The 2007 Solaia saturates the palate with a heady array of super-ripe black cherries, plums, cassis, mocha and sweet French oak. There is an exotic quality to the Solaia I find totally irresistible. Despite its considerable ripeness and opulence, the 2007 Solaia is never heavy, rather it impresses for its extraordinary finesse and balance. Minerals, graphite and crushed rocks frame a long, seductive finish. This is a wonderful Solaia loaded with vintage and vineyard character. The 2007 Solaia is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.
2016 Duffau Lagarrosse Chateau Beausejour Saint Emilion Grand Cru - 143.98
97 Wine Advocate - Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) slips seductively out of the glass with perfumed scents of candied violets, chocolate-covered cherries, lavender and baked plums with nuances of redcurrants, forest floor, mossy bark and new leather. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has bags of grace and finesse with a super fine-grained frame and lovely freshness lifting the intense, perfumed fruits to a very long, mineral-tinged finished. Gorgeous.
2016 Blason D'Issan Margaux – 34.98
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Blason d'Issan features cassis, plums and earth on the nose with an undercurrent of bay leaves and tobacco. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with good concentration and length. - Wine Advocate
2016 Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint Julien – 74.98
(92-94) Wine Advocate - The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years.
2016 Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere Saint-Emilion – 115.98
96 Vinous - The 2016 Canon La Gaffelière is just as striking from bottle as it was from barrel. Bright, intensely aromatic and precise, the 2016 has it all. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, blood orange and rose petal all race through this silky, super-expressive Saint-Émilion. In 2016, Canon La Gaffelière is especially polished, refined and nuanced, which means also less overly powerful than in the past. It was compelling both times I tasted it from bottle.
2010 Chateau Clinet Pomerol – 189.98
96 Wine Advocate - The blend is largely dominated by 85% Merlot, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Cabernet Franc also included. Inky/purple-colored, the wine has an exceptionally full-bodied, layered, moderately tannic mouthfeel and impressive power. Loads of melted chocolate/fudge and black fruits galore along with some coffee bean, mocha, as well as some background oak are all present in this big, formidably endowed, masculine style of Pomerol that will take longer to shed its tannin than the 2009. I would give this wine 5-6 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 30+ years. The 2010 is another fabulous effort from this estate of just over 20 acres located in the sector named the same as the chateau, Clinet.
2016 Clos Fourtet Saint Emilion – 133.98
(95-97) Wine Advocate - The 2016 Clos Fourtet is a blend of 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc aged in 60% new oak. It has a generous, well defined licorice-tinged fruit that is very focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, blackberry and boysenberry fruit with that salted licorice theme continuing. This Clos Fourtet has impressive concentration, yet there is real elegance and persistence, fanning out wonderfully towards the finish. Mathieu Cuvelier has overseen another outstanding Clos Fourtet. Tasted twice, with a second bottle demonstrating a tad more backbone but equally admirable.
2016 Chateau Cos D'Estournel St.-Estephe – 219.98
100 Wine Advocate - The 2016 Cos d'Estournel is blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 65% new and 35% two-year-old French oak for 15 months. Bottled in July 2018, it is deep garnet-purple colored and starts off a little closed and reticent, opening out slowly and seductively to reveal beautiful lilacs, rose hip tea, crushed stones and camphor nuances over a core of crème de cassis, kirsch, wild blueberries and mocha plus wafts of incense and wood smoke. The palate is simply electric, charged with an energy and depth of flavors that seem to defy the elegance and ethereal nature of its medium-bodied weight, featuring super ripe, densely pixelated tannins that firmly frame the myriad of fruit and floral sparks, finishing with epic length. Just. Magic.
2016 Chateau D'Issan Margaux – 74.98
94+ Wine Advocate - The 2016 D'Issan is blended of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot, aged in 50% new and 50% one-year-old French oak for 18 months. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it has vibrant black cherries and blackcurrants notes with chocolate mint, beef drippings, black olives and cigar box. Medium-bodied with a well-sustained, intensely flavored mid-palate, it has a rock-solid, grainy frame and long savory finish.
2016 Chateau Figeac Saint Emilion – 269.98
100 Vinous - The 2016 Figeac was bottled at the end of July 2018, since Frédéric Faye wanted to give the wine more time in barrel to develop more harmony. The stunning 24-carat bouquet rivets you to the spot with brilliant delineation and mineral-rich red fruit that articulates its terroir as well as any Right Bank you will find. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannin, perfect acidity, wonderfully integrated new oak and enormous depth toward the fresh, pencil-box- and cedar-infused finish. This is a classic Figeac, up there with the 1947 and 1949, both recently re-tasted and testifying to a wine that genuinely belongs among the elite Saint-Émilions. Faye believes it is the best Figeac he has ever made. He is correct.
2016 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac Leognan – 675.00
100 Wine Advocate - The 2016 Haut-Brion is blended of 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is at once profound and arresting, offering drop-dead gorgeous Morello cherries, lilacs and red rose scents with a core of Black Forest cake, warm blackcurrants and blueberry preserves plus wafts of sandalwood and underbrush. Medium-bodied, the elegantly crafted palate is completely packed with intense floral, mineral and cassis-laced flavors with a firm frame of very finely pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and achingly stunning.
2006 Chateau La Fleur-Petrus Pomerol – 300.00
93 Wine Advocate - Tasted at Bordeaux Index's annual 10-Year On tasting in London. The 2006 Château La Fleur-Petrus has a fragrant, crushed rose petal bouquet mixed with raspberry coulis and wild strawberry scents, the oak beautifully assimilated and demonstrating fine precision. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well-judged acidity, bright blueberry and black plum notes mixed with cedar and minerals towards the finish. This is turning into a très bon vin! Tasted January 2016.
1996 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Pessac Leognan – 325.00
18 Jancis Robinson - 61% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon. Looks very much more evolved than the Bahans 1996. Great edge and evolution. Some oyster shells certainly something edgy and marine on the nose. Fully evolved on the palate. Lovely mellifluous texture. Just gorgeous now with the fruit fully open and the tannins in retreat. A mineral edge. Not especially long or powerful but at its peak. So clean and health giving.
1999 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Pessac Leognan – 300.00
91 Wine Advocate - Made in a lighter style, the fully mature 1999 reveals notes of beef blood, roasted herbs, black truffles, damp earth and black currants intermixed with hints of espresso and spice box. This medium-bodied, velvety textured, lush La Mission should hold nicely for a decade in a cold cellar.
2016 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Pessac Leognan – 500.00
99 Vinous - The 2016 La Mission Haut-Brion was stunning from barrel, and now in bottle. It has a sublime bouquet of blackberries, briar and hints of dark chocolate and rose petals that gain intensity with aeration while maintaining ethereal delineation. It never steps on the accelerator too hard. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. There is still a veneer of new oak that will need to be assimilated over the coming years. This is a deep La Mission that caresses the mouth. Touches of graphite lingering on a finish that fans out gloriously. Is the 2016 up there with the 1955 or 1989? Nearly.
2016 Domaine de L'Aurage Cotes de Castillon – 33.98
(89-91) Wine Advocate - The 2016 Domaine de l'Aurage, a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, offers plenty of red cherry and strawberry fruit on the nose, with the oak nicely integrated. It is actually quite Burgundy-like in style. The palate is well balanced with fine tannins, plenty of confit-like fruit with a gentle grip on the finish. Enjoy this lovely Côtes de Castillon from the Mitjavile family over the next 5-7 years.
2016 Chateau Labegorce Margaux – 39.98
93+ Wine Advocate - The 2016 Labégorce is composed of 52% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, aged in 45% new and 55% one-year-old French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it leaps out of the glass with gregarious cassis, kirsch and black raspberries, candied violets, dark chocolate and spearmint. Medium-bodied, elegant, fresh and with exciting intensity, it delivers a fantastically long, fragrant finish.
2016 Chateau Le Gay Pomerol – 134.98
95+ Wine Advocate - Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Le Gay has a rock star nose of flamboyant Black Forest cake, crushed redcurrants and lilacs scents with underlying nuances of yeast extract, wood smoke, iron ore and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate truly struts its stuff with generous black and red fruits and a fantastic line of super ripe tannins, building to a very long, seductively perfumed finish.
2016 Chateau Leoville Las Cases Grand Vin de Leoville Saint Julien – 325.00
100 Wine Advocate - Very deep purple-black colored, the 2016 Léoville Las Cases (composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc) is quite closed to begin, yet with patient coaxing it unfurls beautifully to reveal suggestions of ripe blackcurrants, black raspberries, warm redcurrants and wild blueberries, followed by touches of unsmoked cigars, tilled red soil, cast iron pan, fallen leaves and lavender plus wonderfully fragrant wafts of lilacs and baking spices. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with tightly knit, very subtle layers of minerals, floral notions and black and red berries, all framed by exquisitely ripe, silt-like tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. Simply captivating even in its youth, give it at least a decade in the cellar and then enjoy it over the next 50+ years.
2016 Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac – 179.98
97+ Wine Advcoate - Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Lynch Bages comes charging out of the gate with pronounced cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and menthol notions, backed up by scents of garrigue, tilled soil and a waft of tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, rich and fantastically concentrated, the generous fruit is superbly framed by firm, ripe, grainy tannins with tons of pepper, cinnamon and cloves layers coming through on the finish. Truly, a legendary Lynch Bages!
2016 Chateau Margaux – 700.00
99 Wine Advocate - Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Château Margaux (blended of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot) sashays out of the glass with glamorous red currants, candied violets, kirsch and crushed blackcurrants scents followed by notions of tilled black soil, forest floor, cast iron pan and cigar box with subtle wafts of lavender and oolong tea. Medium-bodied, mineral laced accents hover over the palate with an ethereal sensation of weightlessness, yet it is super intense with layers of red and black flavors supported by a firm texture of silt-fine tannins, finishing wonderfully fragrant and incredibly long.
2016 Chateau Monbousquet Saint Emilion – 64.98
(90-92) Wine Advocate - The 2016 Monbousquet is a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped at 38 hectoliters per hectare at 14.46% alcohol. It was picked between 6-11 October and matured in 70% new oak, the remainder one-year-old barrels. It offers an opulent but well defined bouquet of black cherries, violets and fresh fig, a little tight initially but soon unfolding in the glass. The palate is quite rich and generous on the opening with layers of blackberry and raspberry laced with graphite and a pinch of cracked black pepper. It tapers in a little towards the finish, completing a bold and assertive Monbousquet that is likely to require four or five years in bottle in order to soften those tannins. Interestingly, the sample tasted at Pavie was a little more flamboyant than the more classically styled one that I tasted elsewhere and preferred.
2016 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac – 700.00
100 Wine Advocate - The 2016 Mouton Rothschild is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, with the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vinified together. It has a very deep purple-black color and slowly slides out of the glass with spicy notes of Sichuan pepper, cloves and cinnamon stick giving way to a core of perfumed black fruits and florals—blackcurrant cordial, candied violets, blackberry compote, rose hips and black plums—plus suggestions of espresso, damp soil, tar and beef drippings. Medium-bodied, the palate is very firmly structured and jam-packed with latent energy about to burst, offering superbly ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness to support the intense floral and black fruit layers and finishing very long and very minerally. Powerful, profound wine.
2010 Chateau Pape Clement Pessac-Leognan Grand Cru Classe de Graves – 300.00
100 Wine Advocate - I certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a plus there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle. Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years.
2016 Chateau Roc de Cambes Cotes de Bourg – 62.98
94 Vinous - The 2016 Roc de Cambes is powerful, tightly wound and closed in on itself. That should not be an issue, but readers should be prepared to be patient. Iron, smoke, tobacco, cedar, menthol and licorice all add aromatic nuance to a core of dark fruit. I also tasted a bottle that had been opened two days prior. There I found a wine of amplitude and breadth. This is another superb 2016 from the Mitjavile family.
2016 Chateau Le Tertre Roteboeuf Saint Emilion Grand Cru – 209.98
96-98 Wine Advocate - The 2016 Le Tertre Roteboeuf is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc cropped at 35 hectoliters per hectare between 14-18 October. This year I was hosted by François' daughter Nina Mitjavile, who has been working alongside her father for several years. It has a wonderful bouquet, very pure and fresh. I anticipated that François Mitjavile might have been tempted to pick a little later like others, but it was an assiduous decision to have the fruit in the vat by the 18 October and lock in that freshness. The palate is very well balanced with fine tannin, extremely well judged acidity, the new oak present at the moment but in proportion with the fruit. This is a stylish Le Tertre-Rôteboeuf, very sensual and luxuriant with layers of crushed strawberry, blood oranges and raspberry fruit. In a word...irresistible.