Bordeaux: The September sun saved Bordeaux 2007
- Friday 6 June 2008
We will look back on 2007 as the comeback kid, though I prefer the title ‘turnaround vintage’, which I borrow from Bill Blatch’s annual report he writes for clients of Vintex, the Bordeaux négociant. The sentiment was echoed by Jean-Philippe Delmas of Haut-Brion, who, by the 29 August, ‘had given up on 2007’. The following day, the high-pressure system returned and the sun shone – and would shine constantly, apart from a few showers at
the end of September and early October – until early November. As Blatch remarked, ‘this sudden and lasting Indian summer was an amazing, unexpected, welcome phenomenon and it saved the fortunes of the 2007 vintage’.
Rare for Bordeaux, everyone had the same story. April was the warmest month in the past 58 years, high rainfall in May got the vines off to an early and vigorous start, the flowering was one of the earliest on record. Then June, July and August ushered in a period of wet weather that only constant work in the vineyards with state-of-the-art technology was able to combat. Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux was clear: ‘Mildew started early and stayed on; 20 years ago we would have lost half the crop; 50 years ago probably all of it.’
The autumn ripening was so necessary that most châteaux resisted picking, grabbing every day of sun they could get. Until the weather broke, the comparative sunshine, temperature and rainfall figures made depressing reading (see box, p33). With the French saying ‘août fait le moût’ (August makes the must) more vital due to global warming, even this turnaround couldn’t make a great vintage. But it did save it. Harvest time On the Right Bank, the Merlot ripened quickly but in most cases repaid waiting, while the Cabernet Franc came into its own in early October; on the Left Bank, the thicker-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon kept on gaining complexity. Most people agree that ‘charming’ sums up the style of the vintage. ‘A refreshing style of wine with fine tannins,’ said Mark Walford of Richards Walford; his partner Roy Richards adding: ‘If you tried to extract too much, all you got was a rough vegetal wine with a common finish.’
2007 was not a year to impress with weight. Pontallier said, ‘Vinification was as usual – this is the easy part. The hard part is getting the grapes ripe and healthy, then the blending.’ It was evident that in such an unsatisfactory summer there would be a big difference between great and lesser terroirs, but it was vital for winemakers not to look for what wasn’t there. In St-Emilion and Pomerol, opinions were divided on whether to pick early or late. Christian Moueix admitted he had the first disagreement with his winemaker, Jean-Claude Berrouet, in 38 years, he preferring to pick from mid-September, Berrouet preferring to wait. Moueix’s aim was to produce an easy, pleasant style, as ‘there was nothing we could do to replace the lost summer sun’. Yet Dominique Decoster at Fleur Cardinale harvested between 10–30 October with impressive results. In Pomerol, Alexandre Thienpont declared that ‘Cabernet Franc had made the vintage’ to the extent that Cabernet Sauvignon was excluded, apart from one barrel of press wine, from his final blend of Vieux Château Certan.
Fronsac, Canon-Fronsac and Lalande-de- Pomerol, appellations that have been on a roll this decade, were attractively fruity, without losing character but, with few exceptions, Right Bank wines will be drunk before their 10th birthday. In the northern Graves, where wines
often have a hint of greenness about them en primeur (that they lose in bottle), there was sufficient fragrance and depth to show vineyard character. They seem to have caught what Moueix described as ‘an artificial ripeness’, one produced in weeks rather than months, and I even found a Burgundian seductiveness to Domaine de Chevalier. The Médoc, if such a large stretch of vineyards can be considered as a whole, benefited from the long hang-time of the Cabernets. Frédéric Bonnaffous of Dourthe said there had been ‘50% less cellar work at our châteaux than in 2006, and 30% less new oak, as we didn’t want to mess up the already delicate fruit’. The better wines had an attractive, crunchy expression, keeping, as Frédéric Engerer of Latour described it, ‘the smiling side of the fruit Mother Nature had given us’.
Here again, even for the greatest wines, it is a vintage that will show well just a year or two after bottling and not ‘shut down’ as the 2005s have and the 2006s will. Actually, 2007 was a white wine vintage. A cool summer is always good for the Sémillon and particularly for Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The drying north-easterly wines from the end of August managed to prevent rot spreading, while the sun provided the requisite sugars, the previous months having conserved the acidity. But according to Blatch, ‘Sauternes had the best of the vintage. Comeback vintages are not unusual in Sauternes, where the autumn is by far the most important part of the year. Remember 1997? Anyone still around who remembers 1983?’ My tasting of 26 classed growth Sauternes on the openingafternoon was an absolute delight. So successful was Yquem, Pierre Lurton modestly suggested to Robert Parker that he create a 200-point scale to rank it. So what about prices? Producers agree this is a vintage for drinking, not for speculating in – one that will give pleasure while the 2005s, 2006s and even the 2000s come to maturity. Quality is deemed slightly less good than 2004, yet better than 2002. The UK merchants I spoke to said prices would have to come down considerably to make it worthwhile. John Kolasa at Rauzan-Ségla (and also wearing
his négociant hat at Ulysse Cazabonne) was forthright: ‘We have to drop 30% to respect our customers. If we come out too high, we will not sell’. Such an idea would not gel with Palmer, nor Ducru- Beaucaillou and certainly not Léoville- Las-Cases, all of whose wines stand out.
Palmer’s Thomas Duroux said ‘Because our coffers were full from previous vintages, we were determined to make an exceptional wine this year.’ They have. Simon Farr claimed Kolasa was ‘morally right but economically wrong’ for he had been told that Palmer does not intend to sell for less than it thinks its wine is worth. So perhaps not much will be taken up en primeur, with châteaux relying on the fact that buyers will recognise the value later. This means the châteaux will shoulder the risk, as they have shouldered the expense, and that
although the négociants will be used for sales, the châteaux will be in control of the speculation. More and more top echelon estates can afford to act this way. 2007 is not an investment vintage. The old folks in Bordeaux say a year with 13 moons in it can never be good, and you have to go back to 1947 to find a year ending in 7 that showed any return on
capital. For drinkers, while there are some charming wines for early drinking, anyone with earlier vintages from the 2000s in their cellar can sit out the en primeur market this year.
by Steven Spurrier
The most northern of the Left Bank
wines and therefore later ripening than
the others. These were often lean and
green in the past, but today’s châteaux
have the determination (and often
money) to rise above climatic adversity.
Generally nice, straightforward wines,
most with good character.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Goulée (16+/20) Deep colour, full and
spicy with really good flesh and depth. Not
green but not too flashy, either. 2011–17.
Ch Rollan de By (CBS) (16+) Fine deep
colour, good supple fruit. Quite polished
and classy – none of the greenness of the
vintage. Elegant. 2011–17.
Ch Fontis (CB) (16) Fine, deep colour.
Elegantly smooth with expressive fruit,
good balance and length. 2012–18.
Ch Greysac (CB) (16) Fine purple red. Ripe
crushed berries nose. Good crunchy fruit,
nice length and balance. 2011–17.
Ch La Cardonne (CBS) (16) Deep colour.
Lovely blackcurrant nose. Fruit in Pauillac
style. Classy and evocative. 2012–17
Ch La Tour de By (CBS) (16) Deep purple red.
Concentrated blackcurrant nose. Deep
earthy fruit, a touch green, tannins
evident, but should soften. 2012–17.
Ch Les Grandes Chênes (CBS) (16) Fine
purple red. Good, chunky, well-extracted
ripe fruit, new oak, concentrated fruit but
will show well. 2012–17
Ch Lousteauneuf (CB) (16) Fine deep colour.
Nice concentration of blackcurrant fruit,
polished vinification and elegant
extraction. Modern. 2011–17.
Patache d’Aux (CB) (16) Deep purple red.
Fine extraction of blackcurrant fruit, good
depth and firm finish, classic and quite
Ch Potensac (CBE) (16) Dark colour. Big
meaty wine with good earthy grip. Still a
bit severe, but good depth. 2012–17.
Ch Ramafort (CB) (16) Good colour and
fruit. Finesse, elegance and a good
medium-term future. 2011–16.
Clos Manou (16) Dark red. Full of
blackcurrant fruit and none of the
greenness. Oak present. Fine pure
expression and good length. 2011–16.
Ch Lacombe-Noaillac (15.5) Nice but not
deep colour. Quite classy red berry fruit.
Oak present. Straightforward wine with
elegance and character. 2010–16.
Ch La Tour St Bonnet (CB) (15.5) Good broad
fruit and savoury flavours. A bit green but
Ch Vieux Robin Bois de Lunier (CBS) (15.5)
Light style – pleasant and fruity, good
origins, with more elegance than
Ch Grivière (CB) (15) Good colour. Pleasant,
supple flavours and nice balance for the
short term. 2010–14.
Ch Haut-Condissas (15) Slightly tobacco
fruit with blackcurrant overtones, Merlot
dominates. Pleasant, supple. 2011–16.
Ch Les Ormes Sorbet (CBS) (15) Good colour,
lively fruit, charming but light. 2010–15.
With vineyards running from north of
St-Estèphe to well south of Margaux, this
is always a mixed bag. Many châteaux have
fine reputations and have held up well in
this vintage. Those who waited for the
Cabernet to ripen have done better than
those who relied on Merlot. Prices vary,
but some of the Médoc’s best values are
found in this appellation.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Bellevue (17) Huge colour, yet elegant
floral elements are there above the
concentrated blackcurrant fruit, which is
beautifully extracted with both charm
and complexity. Fine terroir (near La
Lagune) lots of savoury flavours and good
Ch La Lagune (3G) (17) Deep plummy colour.
Richly extracted, yet shows lifted florality
on the nose. Fragrant and elegant fruit on
the palate and a touch of new wood. A
supple, seductive and sophisticated wine,
very good for the medium term. 2011–17
Ch La Tour Carnet (4G) (17) Intense, deep
red. Slightly smoky nose – Cabernet
intensity shows through. Good ripeness
and lift despite the concentration.
Well-made and serious. 2013–20
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Belgrave (5G) (16+) Intense black-red.
Smoky, quite fleshy nose. Well-extracted,
quite robust fruit, still with a green edge,
but fleshiness and robustness dominate.
More power than elegance. 2012–17.
Ch Cantemerle (5G) (16+) Good deep colour.
Attractive, fragrant fruit. Full and nicely
ripe on attack. Just a touch green in the
middle, but very well-made for 2007, with
more weight than usual. 2011–17
Ch Gironville (16+) Huge black-red colour.
Elegantly lifted blackcurrant fruit with a
finely expressed richness on the palate and
good oak to add complexity. Modern style,
yet still classic. 2011–17.
Ch Lamarque (CBS) (16+) Good solid colour.
Fragrant fruit – shows an elegance and
purity that is rare this year in the crus
bourgeois. An attractive wine with good
middle fruit and unexpected breed. 2011–17.
Ch Bernardotte (CB) (16) Deep colour. Full
and really good spicy, plummy fruit.
Tannins still quite firm, but good Pauillacstyle
Médoc with more ripeness than
Ch Cambon La Pelouse (CBS) (16) Purple
black. Closed but dense blackcurrant
nose, clean and tightly packed fruit, good
length and good future. 2012–18.
Ch Camensac (5G) (16) Good solid colour.
Leafy, open blackcurrant fruit. A touch of
severity from the Cabernets, but nice
intensity and quite good length. 2012–17.
Ch Comtesse du Parc (16) Dark red. Good
solid, plummy fruit with balance and
Ch Coufran (CBS) (16) Solid colour. Plummy,
soft and spicy Merlot fruit. Broad flavours,
greenness in the middle, but enough
ripeness to see it through. 2011–17.
Ch d’Agassac (CBS) (16) Deep colour. Nicely
made wine with attractive lift and length
in the southern Margaux style. 2011–16.
Ch D’Aurilhac (CB) (16) Purple black. Rich
and supple blackcurrant fruit, nice touch
of oak. Good plummy wine. 2011–17.
Ch de Villegorge (CBS) (16) Deep colour.
Good, solid ripe fruit. Even, spicy and
succulent. Fine and classy. 2012–17.
Ch Liversan (CB) (16) Dense purple-red. Fine
blackcurrant fruit with earthy depth.
Serious, old-fashioned claret. 2012–18
Ch Sénéjac (CBS) (16) Floral, elegant fruit.
Restrained now but shows charm and
elegance. Forward, classy wine. 2011–16.
Ch Sociando-Mallet (16) Deep colour.
Discreet nose. Fleshy fruit and good
structure on the palate. Classy if rather
severe and foursquare at the moment.
Good in time. 2013–20.
Ch Citran (CBS) (15.5) Deep purple-red.
Pronounced blackcurrant fruit. Tannins a
little green but there’s good vibrancy of
fruit for the wine to show well in the
medium term. 2011–16.
Ch Charmail (CBS) (15.5) Deep colour. Good
crunchy fruit. Charming and supple with
good tannins. Straightforward but
Ch Malescasse (CBS) (15.5) Good colour. Less
intense than most but showing fragrant
blackcurrant fruit. Quite smooth and
even charming. Good grip behind but a
forward style. 2011–16.
Ch Maurac Vignes Cabeleyran (CB) (15.5)
Dense colour. Spicy and floral Cabernet
nose. Good density of fruit and fine
natural tannins, showing the slight
greenness of the vintage. 2011–17.
Ch Pontoise-Cabarrus (CB) (15.5) Deep
colour. Firm fruit with good length for the
medium term. 2011–16.
Ch Beaumont (CBS) (15) Light purple colour.
Pleasant fruit in an easy style. Not fully
ripe but nice enough. 2010–15.
Ch Lieujan (CB) (15) Fine violet red. Ripe,
crunchy fruit, nice weight and a good
Ch Mille-Roses (15) Deep colour. Good
smooth fruit in a nice style. Lightish but
Ch Real (15) Deep colour. Good fruit with
quite a firm character, though a little
hollow in the middle. 2010–15.
Ch Reysson (CBS) (15) Good deep colour. Nice
fruit showing some elegance but a bit
Despite its geographical variety,
St-Estèphe is usually more of a piece but
this year I found great variation and less
quality overall. The heatwave vintage of
2003 suited the more clayey soils of the
northern Médoc, but in 2007 many
châteaux didn’t get enough ripeness.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Cos d’Estournel (2G) (18) Dense purple
red. Plummy, fleshy, spicy, exotic fruit,
with unusual firmness. About as ripe as
you could get this vintage, with fine
length and potential complexity. 2012–25.
Ch Montrose (2G) (18) Black red. Smoky
Cabernet nose. Fine concentration of ripe
berry fruit, with good terroir expression
and masses of fruit in reserve to open up,
backed by fine tannins. 2015–25.
Ch de Pez (CBE) (17) Superb deep colour.
Real depth, character and structure with
the fruit lifted by Cabernet Franc. One of
the best wines of the AC. 2013–20.
Ch Cos Labory (5G) (16.5) Fine intense red.
Smoky/meaty nose. Ripe, plummy fruit
with firm yet elegant finish. Expressive
and good for the medium term. 2012–17.
Ch Tronquoy-Lalande (CBS) (16.5) Dark red.
Deep, spicy fruit, but lifted, elegant and
expressive. Good bright style with depth.
Polished and elegant. Potential. 2011–17.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Haut-Marbuzet (CBE) (16+) Deep colour.
Ripe blackcurrant fruit lifted by new oak.
Attractive, supple and seductive. 2011–17.
Ch Ormes de Pez (CBE) (16+) Intense red.
Tightly knit red berry fruits with no
greenness. Depth and class. 2012–17.
Ch Tour des Termes (CB) (16+) Deep black
red. Smoky, oaky nose. Seductive spiced
plum fruit with good length and fine
Ch Lafon-Rochet (4G) (16) Rich colour. Good
concentrated blackcurrant fruit showing
intensity and elegance. Ripe with firm
finish. Will flesh out with age. 2013–20.
Ch Le Boscq (CB) (16) Dark colour. Rich wine,
with good expression and smoothness of
flavour. Fine and modern. 2011–17.
Ch Le Crock (CBS) (16) Good colour. Elegant
Cabernet fruit. Supple with elegant
tannins. Nicely balanced. 2012–17.
Ch Lilian-Ladouys (CBS) (16) Deep black
red hue. Red berry fruit, concentrated
palate – quite rich but balanced.
Positive character. 2012–17.
Ch Phélan-Ségur (CBE) (16) Fine intense red.
Smoky, faint bacon nose. Good broad fruit
and attractive open style. Not robust but
sophisticated and stylish. 2011–16.
Ch Serilhan (16) Good colour. Blackcurrant
and floral wine of elegance and precision.
Plump; nice weight and length. 2012–17.
La Dame de Montrose (2L) (16) Dense
velvety colour. Floral Cabernet nose.
Poised and still tight; not as lush as in the
past. Precise if firm finish. 2012–18.
Les Pagodes de Cos (2L) (16) Purple red.
Plummy nose. Classy, broad fruit but just
a touch of leanness on the finish. 2011–16
Ch Clauzet (CBS) (15.5) Good deep colour.
Blackcurrant nose, then solid meaty fruit.
Just a bit lean. 2012–17.
Ch Haut-Beauséjour (CB) (15.5) Good deep
colour. Crunchy plum fruit on the palate.
Elegant, Merlot-based wine in a forward
Tronquoy de Ste-Anne (2L) (15.5) Deep
colour, attractive Cabernet nose. Firm but
not lean, polished winemaking. 2011–15.
Ch Beau-Site (CBS) (15) Good colour. Less
full-bodied than many. Spicy red berry
fruit. Nice early drinking. 2011–15.
Ch de Côme (2L) (15) Supple fruit, quite
elegant, but on the light side. 2011–15.
Ch Tour de Pez (CBS) (15) Deep colour. Good,
firm fruit but a bit lean. 2012–16.
Often Pauillac, led as it is by three first
growths, stands out as the benchmark
commune in the Médoc, something that
is easier to achieve in riper vintages.
While the quality of the wines in 2007 is
still high, the variations in style – what
the châteaux were trying to or could
achieve – was marked, and the typical
density of Pauillac, boasting the longestlived
wines in the Médoc, was a little less
to the fore.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Lafite-Rothschild (1G) (18.5) Black red
colour. Big, almost velvety. Violet nose –
expressive yet restrained. Firm, even a bit
old-fashioned compared to the fruit
bombs of recent years. A wine of great
purity, length and breed. 2015–30.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Mouton-Rothschild (1G) (18) Black red.
Exotic blackcurrant fruit, but more
restrained than usual. Great clarity and
class with more precision of fruit than in
the 1990s. A very fine wine that will give
enormous pleasure. 2013–25
Ch Latour (1G) (17.5) Black red. Full of
crunchy, spicy fruit with great purity and
length. Not yet showing the power of its
91% Cabernet Sauvignon – still almost a
baby but will gain weight and depth in
barrel and bottle. 2014–25.
Ch Pontet-Canet (5G) (17.5) Intense deep
red. Nose closed, but palate shows fine
intensity of concentrated plums on the
middle palate. Smoky, complex and long.
Good for this vintage. 2013–20.
Ch Clerc-Milon (5G) (17) Black red. Smoky
blackcurrant fruit that shows fine, if
restrained, ripeness. Broad palate of
seduction and charm. 2012–18.
Ch Duhart-Milon (4G) (17) Dense colour.
Pronounced Cabernet nose. Smoky, even
leathery density of fruit. Elegance over
power, but power is there. 2013–22.
Ch Lynch-Bages (5G) (17) Deep purple red.
Depth of blackcurrant Cabernet on nose.
Finely expressed fruit on palate; discreet
(for Lynch-Bages) yet all there. Good
length, balance and ripe tannins. 2012–20.
Ch Pichon-Longueville (2G) (17) Black red.
Pronounced smoky blackcurrant nose.
Freshness of fruit with good length and
grip, classy for medium term. 2012–20.
Ch Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de
Lalande (2G) (17) Purple red. Smoky
seductive nose. Slightly gamey fruit,
should gain complexity in barrel. 2012–20.
Carruades de Ch Lafite (2L) (16.5) Deep
colour. Elegant fragrance. Fine expression
of fruit on the palate. Firmness balanced
by great purity and charm. 2012–17.
Ch d’Armailhac (5G) (16.5) Purple red.
Smoky blackcurrant fruit. Velvety and lush
compared to some. Cabernet Franc lift;
pure, expressive and elegant. 2012–17.
Ch Haut-Bages Libéral (5G) (16.5) Intense
red. Blackcurrant fruit with a touch of
floral. Firm and a bit lean, but good
length and precision of flavour. 2012–17.
Ch Haut-Batailley (5G) (16.5) Deep colour.
Nicely expressive fruit, well-poised with
elegance, style and length. 2012–17.
Le Petit Mouton (2L) (16.5) Dark red. Spicy
and seductive. Exotic, supple fruit but just
a bit hollow in the back. 2011–17.
Les Forts de Latour (2L) (16.5) Deep colour.
Supple, rounded fruit. More gentle style
than in previous years Attractive and
should fill out in barrel. 2012–17
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Pibran (CBS) (16+) Black red. Blackcurrant
fruit. Fleshy and supple with good grip on
the finish. Stylish. 2012–17.
Ch Batailley (5G) (16) Good deep colour.
Elegant blackcurrant fruit. Good purity
and nice expression, but lighter than in
past years. 2011–17.
Ch Croizet-Bages (5G) (16) Good, solid
colour. Ripe blackcurrant fruit. Attractive
and quite open in style. Has charm and a
certain elegance. 2011–17.
Ch Lynch-Moussas (5G) (16) Good colour.
Floral, vanilla nose. Attractive fruit, floral
style. Light and elegant. 2011–16.
Les Tourelles de Longueville (2L) (16) Dark
colour. Full smoky blackcurrant fruit.
Precise and balanced. 2011–15.
Pauillac de Ch Latour (3L) (16) Dark
colour. Fresh blackcurrant fruit. Clean
and classy with soft acidity. Ready
Réserve de la Comtesse (2L) (16) Dark red.
Full, plummy and seductive, but lacks the
usual élan. 2011–15.
Ch Bellegrave (15.5) Dark red. Red fruit
nose. Robust and upfront, good length.
Nice and solid. 2011–16.
Ch Fonbadet (CBS) (15.5) Deep colour. Floral,
lifted blackcurrant nose. Earthy yet has
potential elegance. 2011–16.
Ch Grand-Puy-Ducasse (5G) (15.5) Bright
purple red. Upfront fruit – persistent and
lively – but does show some greenness.
Finishes a little lean. 2012–16.
Ch Haut-Bages Montpelou (CBS) (15.5) Solid
colour. Plummy spicy fruit and good
expression of the AC. 2011–16.
Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste (5G) (15) Dense black
red. Floral, lifted blackcurrant fruit. Pure
and expressive with fine precision and
I usually take it as given that St-Julien,
with 90% of its appellation made up of
classed growths, will be without
disappointment, but this year some wines
lacked density and follow-through.
Overall, though, the quality was good.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Ducru-Beaucaillou (2G) (18.5) Intense
black red. Really good depth and lots of
warm fruit. Big, fleshy and spicy, with
richness and powerful elegance. 2013–22.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Léoville-Las Cases (2G) (18) Purple black.
Intense, fragrant, pure fruit aroma. Great
length, precision and depth on the palate.
Fine-grained tannins. Big future. 2017–30
Ch Léoville-Barton (2G) (17.5) Intense black
red. Restrained but well-expressed spicy
concentration. Lovely personality, depth
and precision of fruit. A keeper. 2014–25.
Ch Léoville-Poyferré (2G) (17.5) Deep purple
red. Nose of fresh berry fruit. Great purity
of expression. Full of charm yet fine
length and balance. 2013–22.
Ch Branaire-Ducru (4G) (17) Fine purple red.
Vibrant fruit, fine elegance and lively
style. Good vineyard expression. A precise
wine, balanced with length. 2012–20.
Ch Gloria (17) Full, spicy, floral, with classy
expression. Nice depth of fruit. Very good
for the medium term. 2012–18.
Ch Langoa-Barton (3G) (17) Fine black red.
Precise, ripe blackcurrant fruit with cedar
notes. Elegant, long flavours; not green.
Very good in a lean year. 2013–22.
Ch St-Pierre (4G) (17) Full colour. Deep,
smoky, leathery nose. Full-bodied with
good weight and grip, and fine depth of
fruit that will carry through. 2013–20.
Clos du Marquis (2L) (17) Dense colour.
Really ripe blackcurrant fruit. Lots of
expression with good grip and length.
A classy wine. 2013–20.
Ch Gruaud-Larose (2G) (16.5) Good solid
colour. Fleshy, spicy fruit. Good length and
expression, but lacks some complexity
and depth. 2012–17.
Ch Talbot (4G) (16.5) Intense deep red. Good
intensity of fruit; slightly floral and lifted.
Meaty middle palate and lovely ripeness
For the medium term. 2012–18.
La Croix de Beaucaillou (2L) (16.5) Very
good colour. Attractive spice and lift. Real
vineyard character. A sophisticated and
classy wine. 2012–18.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Beychevelle (4G) (16+) Deep colour.
Fragrant peonies and black fruit on the
nose. Nice extraction and elegance. Not
great length or fruit, but good. 2012–17.
Ch du Glana (CBS) (16) Deep black red. Good
solid fruit, meaty expression and firm
Ch Lagrange (3G) (16) Crushed berry fruit.
Smooth and ripe with attractive balance
and weight. Lighter, forward style. 2012–17.
Ch Lalande-Borie (15.5) Deep colour. Good
spice and fruit. Nicely made – even
Less favoured in geographic terms than
Moulis, Listrac has to try harder to rise
above its rustic reputation. Its efforts are
becoming more and more evident.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Clarke (CBS) (16+) Deep purple red. Fresh,
concentrated blackcurrant fruit. Deep but
not over-extracted; ripe yet a touch green.
But enough depth to carry it. 2012–18.
Ch Fonréaud (CBS) (16+) Fine purple red.
Smoky, elegant Cabernet fruit. Lean but
enough flesh and elegance. True vineyard
character. Good future. 2012–18.
Ch Fourcas Dupré (CBS) (16) Fine purple red.
Elegant, lifted, smoky blackcurrant fruit.
Smooth extraction. Elegant. 2011–17.
Ch Mayne Lalande (CBS) (16) Vibrant colour.
Floral red berry fruit. Clear expression,
good balance and silky finish. 2012– 17.
Ch Saransot-Dupré (CBS) (16) Bright colour.
Shows life and lovely florality. Elegantly
Ch Ducluzeau (CB) (15.5) Good plummy
colour, nice and ripe for Listrac, nice easy
wine for the medium term. 2011-16.
Ch Fourcas Hosten (CBS) (15) Light but lively
blackcurrant fruit and some greenness
that needs to soften. 2010–15.
Usually one of my favourite communes
in the Médoc. Quality has been less regular
this year, but a few wines shine out.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Chasse-Spleen (CBE) (17) Fine, deep
purple-red. Very well extracted
blackcurrant Cabernet fruit – rich, almost
velvety. Vibrant yet smooth with tannins
that will blend in. A classy wine with
crunchy fruit and elegant finish. 2012–20.
Ch Branas Grand Poujeaux (16.5)
Deep purple-red. Spicy blackcurrant nose,
good depth and nice touch of new oak.
Smoky flavour, good length, very
attractive, supple wine. 2012–17.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Dutruch Grand Poujeaux (CBS) (16) Dark
red. Lovely fleshy fruit and length. Classy.
Good oak and origin. 2012–17.
Ch Poujeaux (CBE) (16) Deep purple red.
Ripe blackcurrant fruit – broad and chewy.
Tannins need to soften to blend with the
big, fleshy flavours. Potential. 2012–18.
Ch Brillette (CBS) (15.5) Deep colour. Quite
ripe, earthy fruit. Good solid wine for the
medium term. 2011–16.
Ch Moulin-à-Vent (CBS) (15.5) Dark red.
Bright fruit with a supple style. An honest
terroir wine. 2011–16.
Ch Maucaillou (CBS) (15.5) Fine purple red.
Rustic, meaty fruit. Broad straightforward
flavours but slightly hollow. 2011–16.
Ch Duplessis (CB) (15.5) Very dark. Fleshy
fruit but a bit foursquare. 2011–16.
Generally less regular than the other top
communes in the Médoc, possibly due to
being more spread out. I found the 2007s
more homogenous and the quality higher.
Some say that as the southernmost
commune Margaux gets better weather,
but perhaps many châteaux are now
achieving a price for their wines that allows
constant investment and attention to detail.
Also, perhaps the early-drinking charm of
the year suits the style of the appellation.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Margaux (1G) (18.5) Superb colour, nose
of crushed red berry fruit, with all the
depth but none of the hardness of
Cabernet Sauvignon; very long, very pure
fruit, a wine of great class that will open
up young yet last well. 2012–30.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Palmer (3G) (18) Black red. Lovely, very
rich concentration of velvety, spicy fruit
with great depth but not over-extraction.
Impressive persistence with good density
of tannins to back it up. 2015–25.
Ch Rauzan-Ségla (2G) (17.5) Intense purple
red. Fine fragrance of lifted Cabernet fruit.
Lovely florality and elegance. Very good
depth of fruit, combining ripeness, purity
and precision. Already shows extremely
well and can only improve. 2013–25.
Ch Giscours (3G) (17+) Dense purple red.
Well-extracted, assertive Cabernet fruit.
Powerful yet restrained, almost leathery
fruit, fleshy and intense. Very good
weight without losing elegance.
Impressive with a good future. 2012–20.
Alter Ego de Palmer (2L) (17) Deep velvety
colour. Lovely Merlot nose showing spicy
blackberry fruit, already smooth with
blended, suave tannins and lovely length.
Strikingly attractive. 2011–17.
Ch Brane-Cantenac (2G) (17) Deep purple
red. Restrained blackcurrant nose but
shows depth and breed. Classy extraction.
Elegant and poised and will blossom out
to gain fruit and complexity. 2012–20.
Ch Boyd-Cantenac (3G) (17) Black red. Floral
blackcurrant fruit, fleshy yet complex, a
finely concentrated expression that will
gain elegance in bottle. 2013–20.
Ch Cantenac-Brown (3G) (17) Intense black
red. Concentrated Cabernet fruit on
palate. A big, chewy wine of a weight rare
in this vintage. Pure, impressive fruit with
more power than elegance. 2012–20.
Ch Dauzac (5G) (17) Black red. Smoky, quite
concentrated blackcurrant fruit, richly
extracted but balanced. Shows good
vineyard depth in a rather foursquare
style. Good future. 2012–20.
Ch d’Issan (3G) (17) Black red. Good crunchy
fruit; elegant and expressive. Shows
charm, purity and length. 2012–18.
Ch Durfort-Vivens (2G) (17) Deep purple
red. Lifted blackcurrant fruit, already
elegant. Good length; tannins will blend
in. Balanced, expressive wine with depth
and potential complexity. 2012–20.
Ch du Tertre (5G) (17) Black red. Smoky,
concentrated blackcurrant. Smooth, even
chocolatey. Good natural ripeness and
none of the greenness of the vintage.
Attractive, plummy, classy wine. 2012–20.
Ch Lascombes (2G) (17) Intense black red.
Solid concentration of Cabernet fruit,
extracted but not heavy. Ripe, impressive
palate of good depth. Potentially complex
and very good medium term. 2012–17.
Ch Malescot-St-Exupéry (3G) (17) Fine
purple red. Lifted blackcurrant fruit of
natural and pure expression. Good depth
of fruit on palate, not showing much yet,
but has potential. 2013–20.
Pavillon Rouge de Ch Margaux (2L) (17)
Good colour. Fragrant fresh red berry fruit
nose that starts discreetly and grows. A
wine of breed and balance. 2011–18.
Ch d’Angludet (CBS) (16.5) Deep black red.
Well-extracted, well-expressed nose of
crushed black berry fruits. Big, plummy,
fleshy flavours, restrained by the firmness
of the Cabernet. Touch green, but the
broad fruit will show through. 2012–20.
Ch Marquis-de-Terme (4G) (16.5) Black red.
Concentrated blackcurrant fruit. Broad,
fleshy wine with good ripeness and a
good future. A touch hollow. 2012–18.
Ch Monbrison (CBS) (16.5) Deep purple red.
Full, vibrant Cabernet fruit, vigorous and
lively on the palate. Elegance and grip – a
good future. 2013–20.
Ch Pouget (4G) (16.5) Black red. Dense
blackcurrant fruit, masses of extraction
and a good future. More brawn, less
Ch Prieuré-Lichine (4G) (16.5) Deep purple
red. Plummy, soft blackcurrant fruit, good
elegance and nicely balanced. Will be an
attractive, supple wine. 2012–17.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Desmirail (3G) (16+) Fine purple red.
Discreet but plummy, fragrant Cabernet
fruit. Fine extraction and elegance. Classy,
but could have more complexity. 2012–17.
Ch Kirwan (3G) (16+) Deep purple red. Floral
and blackcurrant nose. Shows elegance
and grip. A little green on the finish but
should turn out well. 2012–18.
Ch Rauzan-Gassies (2G) (16+) Black red.
Ripe and extracted, straightforward depth
of Cabernet fruit. Could be more complex,
but long and well-made. 2012–18.
Ch Deyrem Valentin (CB) (16) Purple red.
Pure and fragrant nose, but charming,
fleshy and elegant. 2012–17.
Ch Ferrière (3G) (16) Deep purple red. Ripe
blackcurrant fruit. Straightforward; smoky
oak. A bit green on the finish. 2012–17.
Ch Labégorce (CBS) (16) Deep purple red.
Ripe, smoky blackcurrant nose. Smooth
concentration of fruit. Broad flavours,
good but a bit foursquare. 2012–18.
Ch La Gurgue (CBS) (16) Deep ruby. Ripe
supple fruit with charm and depth. Lovely
for the medium term. 2011–17
Ch La Tour de Bessan (CB) (16) Good fruit
and elegant spicy flavour, a bit dominated
by new wood. 2012–16
Ch Siran (CBE) (16) Black purple red. Even,
foursquare, solid Cabernet fruit, a little
over-exaggerated and big. Tannins are
not yet blended in but the ripe fruit gives
it potential. 2013–18.
Blason d’Issan (2L) (15.5) Good colour and
good fruit on nose and palate. Elegant
Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine in quite
a forward style. 2010–15.
by James Lawther MW
Most of the Right Bank wines lacked the
depth and intensity of a top year, seeming
light in weight and substance. What they
did have, however, was deep colour,
lower alcohol levels and acidity, and the
potential for fruit-driven charm. ‘This was
not a year to over-indulge in extraction
but to go for the fruit, producing wines
that will probably be ready for bottling in
March 2009 and for drinking four to five
years later,’ said Cheval Blanc’s consultant
oenologist Gilles Pauquet.
This was an average and variable vintage.
A constant battle was waged against
mildew but the big problem was bringing
the grapes to full maturity. Those that
achieved ripeness have an attractive red
fruit expression; those that didn’t a vegetal
streak. Where the producer has gone for
over-ripeness the Merlot often has a dull,
flat edge. The Cabernet Franc was
generally successful, giving a lift to wines.
Estates on the top terroirs (limestone
plateau and slopes) were better placed to
avoid the inconveniences of the vintage.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Le Dôme (GC) (18.5) Intense colour. Still
brooding, but wonderful, fragrant
expression of Cabernet Franc. Lush palate,
combining ripeness with the liveliness of
the vintage. Great purity and perfect
balance. 2012–20. (Tasted by Steven Spurrier)
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Ausone (1GCCA) (18) Impressive wine but
less tannic power than 2005 or 2006.
Cabernet Franc gives perfumed aroma
and freshness. Tannins are long, linear
and silky and there’s a solid depth of fruit.
Ch Pavie (1GCCB) (18) Deep purple-black hue.
Lovely, rich, spicy, dark fruit aroma.
Concentrated, layered fruit on the palate
with firm but fine tannins. Fresh,
balanced finish. Harmonious wine with
both power and finesse. 2015–30.
Chapelle d’Ausone (2L) (17.5) Polished
wine with 50% Cabernet Franc in the
blend. Close to Ausone in style and
stature. Has the depth and intensity
many wines lack in 2007. Full and fresh
with a fine tannic line. 2013–25.
Ch Angélus (1GCCB) (17.5) Deep, dark hue.
Layered fruit on the palate with
surprising freshness and vivacity. Lovely
cassis perfume and flavour. Oak present
but integrated. Superior to both 2004
and 2006. 2014–22.
Ch Pavie-Macquin (1GCCB) (17.5) Deep
colour. Slightly austere but intense, dark
berry fruit aroma. Firm, fresh, layered fruit
on palate with liquorice and blackcurrant
notes. Chalky, minerally finish. Solid and
Ch Tertre Roteboeuf (GC) (17.5) Wonderfully
luxurious, sensuous texture and flavour.
Unique. Burgundian floral, red fruit and
spice aromas. Soft, rich, velvety fruit and
rounded tannins. 2011–22.
Le Carré (GC) (17.5) Massive, dense colour.
Terrific extraction of fragrant fruit. Pure,
with perfect vineyard expression. Delicacy
and power; a great success in this
vintage. 2011–20. (Steven Spurrier)
Les Astéries (GC) (17.5) Dense purple red.
Robust, velvety, smoky nose. Rich flavours
with a touch of minerality from the
limestone soil. Very good length and
purity. 2012–20. (Steven Spurrier)
Ch Beau-Séjour Bécot (1GCCB) (17) Deep,
crimson. Harmonious wine with fragrant
red berry aroma. Integrated chocolatey
oak, supple fruit on the mid-palate and
length on the finish. Smoother than 2006
and possibly finer in style. 2012–22.
Ch Cheval Blanc (1GCCA) (17) Trademark
elegant bouquet which shows a poise
and freshness from the 55% Cabernet
Franc. Smooth, suave, textured palate
with a crisp tannic edge. The finish is a
little less polished than the rest.
Ch Destieux (GCC) (17) Quite a wine for the
vintage. Modern, sweet-fruited with quite
big extraction but it works. Loads of fruit
and more depth, intensity and structure
than most this year. 2014–22.
Ch Grand Mayne (GCC) (17) Dark, full and
intense. ‘Fat’ fruit extract and present but
integrated oak. Firm but fine tannins and
a freshness that gives balance. Consistent
and good for the vintage. 2014–22.
Ch Laforge (GC) (17) Black red. Smoky,
earthy, plummy nose. Lovely rich slightly
caramelly fruit with black cherries. Good
acidity to keep it fresh. Fleshy, briary
finish. 2011–18. (Steven Spurrier)
Ch Larcis-Ducasse (GCC) (17) Fine with a mix
of elegance and power. Long and linear
with pretty red berry fruit and a minerally
stamp of terroir. Fresh, firm finish.
Definite ageing potential. 2013–25.
Ch Pavie-Decesse (GCC) (17) Dark purpleblack.
Red fruit and chocolate notes. Not
the concentration of Pavie but ripe fruit
and fine, firm, building tannins balanced
by a minerally freshness. Powerful and
long for the vintage. 2015–25.
Ch Troplong Mondot (1GCCB) (17) Rich, dark
and powerful with layered fruit and firm
tannic frame. Impressive. Builds on the
palate. Has staying power. 2014–22.
La Mondotte (GC) (17) Powerful and
brooding. Monolithic structure but more
open fruited than 2006 and 2005. Tannins
ripe but firm on the finish. 2013–22.
Ch Bellevue (GC) (16.5) The last vintage made
by the Thienpont-Derenoncourt team.
Good fruit but there’s backbone behind.
Lovely balance and freshness. 2012–22.
Ch Cadet-Bon (GC) (16.5) Elegant wine, racy
with a clear expression of its limestone
terroir. Fragrant red berry aroma. Ripe,
layered fruit, minerally freshness, good
length and persistence. 2012–22.
Ch Canon-la-Gaffelière (GCC) (16.5) Lively,
fresh and fruit-packed. Pure expression.
Round and supple with medium length
and fine tannins. Elegant but without the
intensity of big years. 2012–20.
Ch de Pressac (GC) (16.5) Serious
pretensions. Rich, dark fruit. Attractive
expression. Good length and depth with
firm, ripe tannins. 2012–20.
Ch Fleur Cardinale (GCC) (16.5) Dark, rich
and spicy. Sweet maturity. Lush texture
and weight but harmonious. Sensuous,
modern St-Emilion. 2012–20.
Ch l’Arrosée (GCC) (16.5) Dark berry and
cassis nose. Sweet, ripe, layered berry fruit
followed by balancing freshness and
length. Harmonious. 2012–20.
Ch Valandraud (GC) (16.5) Deep colour. Fine,
expression. Lovely texture with round
tannins and attractive mid-palate fruit.
Long, fresh finish. Less concentration than
in the past but more elegance. 2013–22.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Beauséjour (1GCCB) (16) Robust tannic
frame gives this wine solidity. There’s a
freshness and persistence on the finish
with aromatic dark fruit and cassis notes.
Ch Canon (1GCCB) (16) Berry fruit aromas.
Medium weight. Supple attack and
texture with mid-palate sweetness. Fresh
finish. Lacks some intensity but a fine,
harmonious wine. 2012–20.
Ch Fonplégade (GCC) (16) Not up to the
2006 but the ambition of the new
owners is clear. Gentle and supple with a
generosity of fruit and chalky minerality
adding freshness on the finish. 2011–18.
Ch Grand Corbin-Despagne (GCC) (16)
Plump, ripe, supple fruit. Almost Pomerol
in texture and weight. Well integrated
oak. Full, clean finish. Delicious. 2011–18.
Ch Grand-Destieux (GC) (16) Deep colour.
Lovely fragrant Cabernet Franc nose. Fine
direct fruit – sappy and succulent – with
a fine dry finish. 2011–17. (Steven Spurrier)
Ch La Dominique (GCC) (16) Deep colour.
Attractive ripeness with good fruit
intensity. Tannins fine but firm. Fresh
finish. Polished. 2012–20.
Ch Laroque (GCC) (16) Firm, minerally and
fresh. Misses the fruit expression of 2006
but there’s ageing potential. 2013–22.
Ch La Tour Figeac (GCC) (16) Seductive fruit
– quite Pomerol in style – with freshness,
harmony and length. Better than 2006
and good for earlyish drinking. 2011–18.
Ch Le Prieuré (GCC) (16) Limestone terroir
backed by attractive red berry fruit. Clean,
fresh, minerally and long. Consistent with
the advance in 2006. 2013–22.
Ch Soutard (GCC) (16) Harmonious, medium
body with attractive red berry fruit and
minerally freshness. Firm signature of the
limestone plateau. 2012–20.
Ch Trottevieille (1GCCB) (16) Less austere
than 2006; Cabernet component shows.
Crisp, fresh and balanced with soft fruit.
Gentle winemaking but misses the depth
and length of top years. 2012–20.
Clos des Jacobins (GCC) (16) Deep, dark hue.
Fragrant red berry notes. Good depth of
layered fruit, energy and length. In tune
with the vintage. 2011–18.
Ch Bellefont Belcier (GCC) (15.5) Competent
and assured for the vintage. Spicy, dark
fruit notes. Fresh, long finish. 2012–20.
Ch Dassault (GCC) (15.5) Well-handled fruit
extraction – just the right amount for this
vintage. Supple and fragrant nose and
palate with depth and length. 2011–17.
Ch Jean Faure (GC) (15.5) Round, supple and
fruit-driven. Harmonious and balanced.
Delicious for earlyish drinking. 2011–18.
Ch Monbousquet (GCC) (15.5) Dark purpleblack.
Rich, compote of ripe to overripe
fruit. Has weight and texture but lacks a
little zest and vigour this year. 2011–18.
Ch Rol Valentin (GC) (15.5) Sweet compote
of red fruits on nose. Supple, mid-weight
wine. Balanced and fresh. 2012–18.
Ch Teyssier (GC) (15.5) Dark red. Clean and
fresh fruit; fragrant and well-contained.
Good length and savoury balance. Nice
sense of place. 2010–15. (Steven Spurrier)
Clos de l’Oratoire (GCC) (15.5) Fragrant and
fruit driven with violet, red berry and
chocolate notes. Round, suave texture
and long finish. As good as 2006. 2012–18.
Ch Figeac (1GCCB) (15) Gentle raspberry, red
fruit expression on the nose and palate
with the oak a little imposing. There’s
freshness and length in what appears a
fairly soft, mid-weight wine. 2012–20.
Clos Fourtet (1GCCB) (15) Red fruit and plum
notes. There’s an obvious sweetness and
ripeness (even overripe) with a pinch of
alcohol on the finish, but the fruit seems
a little tired and flat. 2011–18.
Ch Franc Mayne (GCC) (15) Fine, delicate
style. Soft red fruits with a freshness on
the finish. Well balanced and pleasurable.
One for early drinking. 2011–18.
Ch Haut-Sarpe (GCC) (15) Big, black colour.
Tight and firm. Cassis, liquorice notes.
Solid, extracted but within reason. Length
and freshness on the finish. 2012–20.
Ch La Gaffelière (1GCCB) (15) Minerally and
discreet. Good body and length on the
finish but the wine misses a little depth
and panache. 2012–20.
Ch Larmande (GCC) (15) Well balanced with
supple red berry fruit. Fragrant and fresh
finish. Harmonious for 2007. 2011–18.
Ch Laroze (GCC) (15) Fine, fresh and elegant
in style. Lightweight but fruity and
balanced for early drinking. 2011–18.
Ch La Serre (GCC) (15) Dark hue. Sweet
fruited. Tight, firm extraction but supple
with a fresh mineral finish. 2012–20.
Ch Belair (1GCCB) (14.5) Soft red fruit
expression. Supple palate, a touch of
sweetness on attack but light and fluid.
Misses mid-palate depth. 2011–20.
Ch Berliquet (GCC) (14.5) Supple and fruit
driven but really misses that inner core
and intensity. 2011–18.
Ch Cadet-Piola (GCC) (14.5) Pretty nose and
palate. Mineral-cassis aroma and flavour.
Seems light and airy and in need of extra
Ch Cap de Mourlin (GCC) (14.5) Dark fruit
and liquorice notes. Has decent weight of
fruit but a touch too extracted for the
Ch Grand Corbin (GCC) (14.5) Spicy, red fruit
nose and palate. Light to medium body.
Tannins a bit dry on the finish. 2011–17.
Ch La Couspaude (GCC) (14.5) Fragrant red
berry fruits on the nose. Palate supple,
warm and fruity but it’s a bit one
dimensional and flat. 2011–18.
Ch Magdelaine (1GCCB) (14.5) Mediumbodied,
round and supple but there’s an
absence of fruit depth and length. The
minerality gives a fresh finish. 2011–20.
Ch Moulin du Cadet (GCC) (14.5) Supple red
berry and plum fruit. Tidy tannic frame
but a little one dimensional. 2011–18.
Ch St-Georges Côte-Pavie (GCC) (14.5)
Simple, supple, fruity expression.
Limestone terroir gives it lift. 2011–18.
Couvent des Jacobins (GCC) (14.5) Mediumbodied.
Soft berry fruit. Clean. A lack of
depth but redeemed by the fruit and
Pomerol has had a reasonable degree of
success in this hard year The earlierripening
terroir clearly helped, but this
does not belie the work needed in the
vineyard. The bulk of Merlot for the
grands vins was harvested the week before
the downpour of 22 September and the
Cabernet Franc (a successful and important
component) in the last days of the month.
Top estates on the warmer gravelly soils of
the plateau have impressed in the context
of the vintage, which is one of good
colour, fruit, charm and early drinking.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Lafleur (18.5) Elegant, harmonious
with a firm but fine tannic frame. The
owners feel the 43% old-vine Cabernet
Franc made the difference. Doesn’t have
the power of 2005 or persistence of 2006
but shows great purity and charm which
will doubtless age well. 2014–30.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch l’Eglise-Clinet (18) Serious, although
the easy charm of the vintage shows. Has
the inner depth and tannic core many
lack in 2007. The fruit and minerality
provide a harmonious whole, while
aromatically there’s a complex mix of
dark fruit, liquorice and smoke. 2014–28.
Ch La Conseillante (17.5) Back to the
traditional style, with fruit and finesse to
the fore (less power than 2006 and 2005).
Lovely purity of fruit and just the right
balance for the year. 2012–20.
Ch Pétrus (17.5) Sweet fruited and
balanced with red berry and spice
aromas. A depth of fruit but not the
power and intensity of the previous two
vintages. More elegant in style with a
long, clean finish. 2015–30.
Clos l’Eglise (17.5) Rich and elegant with a
lilac, Burgundian nuance often associated
with Le Pin. Lovely depth of fruit on the
palate, tannins fine but firm. Definition
and persistence on the finish. 2013–22.
Vieux Château Certan (17.5) Grapes from
the 30-year-old, not 60-year-old, vines
made the final selection (only 50% made
the grand vin). Cabernet Franc gives the
wine a crystalline edge. Fresh, pure and
tender with a delicate tannic structure, so
not for the long haul. 2012–20.
Ch l’Evangile (17) Big wine in the context
of the vintage. Palate full, sweet and
warm with firm but finely edged tannins.
Maturity at the optimum. The 16%
Cabernet Franc adds an extra note of
elegance and length. 2014–22.
Ch Trotanoy (17) Impressive colour. The
notes of prune and dark fruits suggest a
good level of maturity. Smooth and rich
on the palate with balancing acidity and
length, the tannins fine rather than
forceful. Quite supple in style. 2014–22.
Ch Hosanna (16.5) Attractive pitch of red
berry fruit. Pure and fine with an almost
minty freshness. Palate shows good
depth for the vintage. Long finish. True to
the house style. 2013–22.
Ch Le Pin (16.5) Deep colour. Abundant
fruit on the nose while the palate is rich,
suave and full. Misses an extra dimension,
though, and that trademark floral,
Burgundian stamp. Could improve with
further maturity. 2013–20.
Ch Petit-Village (16.5) A hard vintage and
good winemaking means more finesse
than in past vintages. Smooth, textured
palate, tannins rounded, attractive fruit.
Elegance rather than power. 2012–18.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Clinet (16) Dark, spicy fruit character.
Ripeness pushed to the limit. Soft, layered
fruit. Good extract but misses a touch of
vivacity on the finish. 2011–18.
Ch Feytit-Clinet (16) Deep colour. Lovely
fruit extract; supple in style. Oak present
but well integrated. Continues the newfound
consistency of this estate. The
weight of 2004 but purer fruit. 2012–18.
Ch Gazin (16) Appealing wine, earlyish
drinking. Medium-bodied, supple fruit
with a touch more zest than many this
year. Cassis notes. 2011–18.
Ch Guillot (16) 30% Cabernet Franc gives
freshness and extra dimension. Medium
bodied with cassis aromas. Long finish.
Only 25,000 bottles made. 2011–18.
Ch La Fleur Pétrus (16) True to style;
harmony and finesse. Lovely purity of
fruit and a defined minerality. Just misses
a little mid-palate intensity. 2012–20.
Ch Nénin (16) Good colour. Round and
supple on the palate. Attractive fruit.
Juicy, fresh and balanced. A well-gauged
expression of the vintage. 2011–18.
Ch Providence (16) Open and charming.
Attractive plum, red berry fruit but
doesn’t hit the heights of 2005 or 2006.
Supple but balanced. 2012–18.
Ch Rouget (16) Attractive fruit expression.
Harmonious. Just the right amount of
extraction. Good length and finely honed
Ch Vray Croix de Gay (16) Supple and
forward with a purity of fruit and energy.
Restrained nose but structured palate
with fruit and fine, long tannins. 2012–18.
Clos du Clocher (16) Deep colour. Intense
with good depth of fruit. More rigour
than many in 2007. Firm, fresh, persistent
finish. Good effort. 2012–18.
Ch Le Bon Pasteur (15.5) Fruit-driven nose
and palate. Sweet, supple and forward.
Well-handled extraction. Light but ripe
tannic structure. 2011–2018.
Ch Moulinet (15.5) A likely bargain for
Pomerol. Not the intensity of the major
estates but attractive, fleshy fruit and
fresh, grippy tannins. Oak a little invasive
but there’s enough fruit to carry it. 2011–17.
Ch Bonalgue (15) Good depth of fruit.
Clean and fresh on the finish. Fine tannic frame. 2011-2017
Ch Certan de May (15) Deep colour.
Chocolatey, red berry notes and assertive
oak. Sweet fruited and supple but a touch
drying on the finish. 2012–18.
Ch La Cabanne (15) Doesn’t hit the heights
of 2006 but has attractive fruit, a certain
persistence and tidy tannins. Better
winemaking than in the past. 2011–18.
Ch Vieux Maillet (15) Pretty wine with
gentle red berry fruit. Delicate in form but
has freshness, fruit and poise. 2011–17.
Domaine de l’Eglise (15) Attractive, ripe
red fruit. Medium-bodied with finesse.
Drink before the 2006 or 2005. 2011–17.
Duo de Conseillante (2L) (15) The first vintage
of La Conseillante’s second wine. Just 500
cases so watch out for the price. Fruitdriven
and fresh. Enjoy young. 2010–15.
La Petite Eglise (15) Expressive and
forward. Sweet fruited with red berry
aromas and smooth tannins. 2011–17.
Pensées de Lafleur (2L) (15) Pretty wine but
nowhere near the grand vin this year. Soft,
succulent and pure but misses some
mid-palate weight. 2011–17.
Blason de l’Evangile (2L) (14.5)
Supple, round and fruity. A little bit
one dimensional but will give pleasure
early on. 2010–16.
Ch Beauregard (14.5) Dark hue. Soft,
supple and fleshy. Appealing in an easy
drinking way but lacks punch. 2010-15
Ch La Grave à Pomerol (14.5)
Aromatic with notes of blackberry and
hedgerow fruit. Supple and easy in style.
A touch fluid. For early drinking. 2011–17.
Ch La Pointe (14.5) Soft, supple fruit. Short
on the finish but will make pleasant early
Ch Latour à Pomerol (14.5) Representative
of the vintage. Attractive fruit, light
structure and a supple style for early
Ch Mazeyres (14.5) Light, easy and
fragrant in style. Good fruit for
pleasurable early drinking. 2010–2016.
Lalande de Pomerol
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Laborderie Mondésir (16) Only 2.15ha,
so a tiny production. More depth than
others. Attractive, Pinot-like cherry-red
berry fruit with a touch of spice. Fresh
and vigorous on the finish. 2010–16.
Ch Les Cruzelles (15.5) Supple, aromatic
with good intensity. Smooth tannic line,
balanced and fresh. Enjoyable. 2010–16.
Ch Perron, La Fleur (15) Attractive red
berry fruit and freshness. Has a little
more energy than many this vintage
Ch La Sergue (15) Dominant oak but a
generous quantity of fruit behind. Warm,
supple and ripe to overripe. 2011–17.
Ch Siaurac (15) Clean, crisp and fresh.
Unpretentious but well made. Longlasting
La Fleur de Boüard (15) Deep hue. Supple
with sweet fruit. Competent but less
exciting than previous years. 2011–17.
Ch Pavillon Bel-Air, Le Chapelain (14.5)
Same team as Beauregard in Pomerol.
Soft, supple, clean and fresh. Perhaps
a touch of dryness on the finish.
Fronsac, Côtes and
The indifferent summer weather and
permanent pressure from mildew meant
an ongoing battle for ripeness in 2007.
The satellites generally have later ripening
terroirs, so the harvest date was primordial
(some were picking right up until the
end of October). Quality in the resulting
wines is uneven, some showing a vegetal
streak, others fruity and round (if a little
light), and others dry and astringent
where the extraction has been severe. It
was a vintage to aim for fruit, with the
overall style being early-drinking wines
of good colour, supple fruit and lower
acidity and lower alcohol.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch du Gaby (16.5) The most serious
Fronsac of 2007. Layered fruit with length,
depth, structure and mineral complexity.
Builds on the palate. 2012–18.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Moulin Haut-Laroque (16) Equal to or
better than 2006. Seductive fruit with a
spicy, exotic note. Good length and depth.
Smooth tannins. Expressive. 2010–16.
Ch Dalem (15.5) Supple with smooth
tannins and attractive fruit, but less
purity and intensity than 2006. 2010–16.
Haut Carles (15.5) Deep colour. Firm
extraction. Supple fruited, warm and
round. Big wine but less balance, length
and poise than usual. 2010–16.
Ch Moulin Pey-Labrie (15.5)
Attractive red berry fruit. Has a certain
energy and minerality. Doesn’t have the
power and substance of 2006. 2011–17.
Ch Fontenil (15) Dominant oak grip but
there plenty of fruit behind. Sweet, supple
but a little short on the finish. 2010–16.
Ch Haut Ballet (15) Fresh, fruity with a
minerally note. Supple mid-palate fruit.
Grainy tannins on the finish. 2010–16.
Ch Les Trois Croix (15) Crisp red fruit. Fine,
linear style. Lacks volume but has energy
and length. 2010–16.
Ch Cassagne Haut-Canon, La Truffière
(14.5) Lighter weight as always and higher
Cabernet component this year. Fragrant
fruity cassis notes. Forward. 2010–15.
Ch de La Dauphine (14.5) Fruity with a
minerally edge but much lighter and
more fluid this year. 2009–14.
Ch de La Rivière (14.5) Supple, round and
fruity in style. Little complexity but
pleasurable early drinking. 2009–14.
Ch La Vieille Cure (14.5) Awkward now but
a good track record so should improve.
Medium body, supple with a certain
Côtes de Castillon
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch d’Aiguilhe (17) Fruit and finesse rather
than power. Deep colour, fragrant spice
and red berry aromas, layered fruit on the
palate with a fresh minerality on the
finish. Delicious. 2011–18.
Clos Les Lunelles (16.5) Dark purple.
Impressive depth of fruit. Smooth texture.
Ripe, firm and round tannins. 2012–18.
3 STARS ★★★
Clos Puy Arnaud (16) Depth and energy
with attractive fruit. Good weight and
length. Polished, smooth tannins. 2011–18.
Domaine de l’A (16) With 8ha this is no
longer the micro-cuvée of early years.
Lovely layered fruit. Textured, with firm,
fine tannins. On a par with 2006. 2011–17.
Ch Joanin Bécot (15.5) A good effort from
this leading Castillon estate. Vibrancy and
length and attractive red fruit character.
Grippy finish. 2011–16.
Ch Veyry (15.5) Dark fruit with chocolate
oak. Palate smooth, round and supple.
Fine tannins, fresh finish. 2011–16.
Ch Cap de Faugères (15) Edgy but generous
dark fruit and good length. 2010–2015.
Ch Clos l’Eglise (15) Clean, fresh and fruit
driven. Good length and definition.
Attractive fruit character. 2010–14.
Côtes de Francs
3 STARS ★★★
Ch de Francs, Les Cerisiers (14.5) Round,
supple and aromatic for early drinking.
Violet nose. Plump, sweet palate but falls
away on the finish. 2010–14.
Ch Marsau (14.5) Round, fruity and clean
but perhaps a little one-dimensional.
Zesty finish. 2010–14.
by Beverley Blanning MW
There are some very good wines from
these regions and they will be ready to
drink soon, but prices will need to
be competitive to justify buying them –
particularly en primeur – when there are so
many other delicious early-drinking wines
from elsewhere in the world. The reds
show soft, primary fruit and noticeably low
acidities. In the best, sensitive tannin
management allows this fruit to shine; in
others, winemakers have tried to
compensate for low acidity by extracting
excess tannins, making for tough,
unyielding wines. Some commentators are
hailing 2007 as a great white wine vintage.
The wines certainly have lovely pure and
delicate Sauvignon-dominant fruit – perfect
for early drinking – but it’s not clear if they
have the acidity or fruit concentration to
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Haut-Brion (1G) (18.5) Dense, purple-red.
Spicy cherry and coffee nose. Voluptuous,
silky fruit, good ripeness and firm tannins
with a touch of greenness. Lovely weight
and excellent balance. Easier, shorter
term wine than recent vintages. 2015–28.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch de Fieuzal (CC) (18) Dense, inky. Lightly
perfumed – not intense. Sweet, ripe fruit,
with complexity. Savoury, bitter (but not
green) tannins add savoury edge. Elegant,
understated style. Very good. 2014–23.
Ch Haut Bergey (18) Inky dark. Mineral,
smoky, sooty nose. Sweet fruit and firm
tannins. Good concentration. Very good
fruit sweetness and ripeness allied with
fresh acidity. Very stylish wine. Long,
fruity, mineral finish. 2016–23.
Ch La Mission Haut-Brion (CC) (18) Medium
ruby-purple. Smoky, oaky nose. Silky fruit,
good depth, spice and freshness. Deep
cherry fruit and cedar spice flavours. Very
long and fresh mineral finish. 2013–23.
La Clarence de Haut-Brion (2L) (17.5) Fresh,
velvety nose. Juicy, crisp palte. Balanced
and elegant. Savoury finish. 2013–18.
Ch Haut-Bailly (CC) (17) Deep ruby. Coconut
oak nose. Savoury, mineral fruit, with
good intensity. Good persistence, ripe
fruit and well handled oak. One for
mid-term drinking. 2012–20.
Ch Les Carmes Haut-Brion (17) Smoky
nose with bright, cherry fruit. Sweet
cassis fruit and crisp structure. Sour apple
character at the back, but mostly pure
fruit. Elegant, mid-weight style. 2013–20.
Ch Smith Haut Lafitte (CC) (17) Deep
purple-red. Sweet cassis and oak nose.
Well-structured palate with refreshing
acidity. Brisk, fine-grained tannins. Lovely
cassis fruit palate. Mineral, stony finish.
For the longer term. 2015–23.
La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion (2L) (17)
Bright, purple-red. Chalky, mineral nose.
Fresh palate with crunchy red fruits.
Excellent freshness. Midweight and
elegant. Stylish and balanced. 2013–18.
Ch Latour Martillac (CC) (16.5) Mid-purple.
Light, floral nose; coconut oak. Palate has
noticeable vanilla and coconut oak, but
not overdone. Decent weight of ripe fruit
and good acidity. Alcohol quite high. Juicy
and appealing, with nice length. 2014–23.
Domaine de Chevalier (CC) (16.5) Deep ruby.
Lightly nose. Mid-weight, structured but
not overly. Nice acidity and sweet fruit.
Everything in place. Not outstanding, but
very pleasant, classical style. 2014–20.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Branon (16) Oaky, black fruit nose. Dry
palate but shows depth of flavour. Tarry
tannins. Nice length and interest. 2011–16.
Ch Haut-Gardère (16) Fresh, blackcurrant
nose. Juicy and attractive. Nice structure
and balance for the short term. 2011–16.
Ch Pape Clément (CC) (16) Bright purple.
Toasty, oaky nose. Sweet-fruited palate,
with supple structure and refreshing
acidity. Elegant style, but slight greenness
at the finish. Good. 2016–23.
Ch Baret (15.5) Juicy, plummy fruit. Soft,
ripe, easy, highly drinkable. 2011–13.
Ch Brown (15.5) Spicy nose and juicy, fresh
palate. Soft fruit, supple tannins and a
mineral finish. Pleasant, easy drinking for
the short term. 2010–14.
Ch Lespault (15.5) Good depth of flavour.
Savoury fruit. Nice character. 2011–16.
Ch Malleprat (15.5) Sweet,ripe fruit,
attractive style. Not very complex, but
good. Balanced and elegant. 2012–17.
Ch Pontac Monplaisir (15.5) Rich, fleshy
fruit, nice ripeness. Has depth and
interest. Good. 2012–16.
Domaine de la Solitude (15.5) Floral, fresh
aromas. Chalky structure; quite crisp. Fine
fruit, with attractive, stony flavour and
floral freshness. Good. 2011–16.
Ch Baulos-Charmes (15) Fresh and spicy,
palate with some grip and interest. Nice
fruit ripeness. 2011–14.
Ch Cantelys (15) Plummy, juicy fruit. Soft
and quite short, but very pleasant. Low
acid. For the short term. 2010–13.
Ch Carbonnieux (CC) (15) Cherry and oak
nose. Sweet fruit palate with firm tannin
and good acidity. Mineral finish. 2014–20.
Ch Le Bruilleau (15) Meaty and mineral
wine, with rich, savoury character. Good,
with supple structure. 2010–14.
Ch Malartic-Lagravière (CC) (15) Dense
aroma of ripe blueberry and cassis. Palate
has good concentration (though feels
forced) and firm tannin, with quite low
acidity. Finishes flat. 2012–16.
Clémentin du Pape Clément (2L) (15) Deep,
purple-black. Meaty, black fruit nose. Easy,
soft fruit. Quite oaky. Low acidity and a
short finish. Good but short term. 2011–16.
Ch La Louvière (14.5) Deep colour. Oaky
nose. Attractive, bright blackcurrant and
oak. Raw finish but solid quality. 2015–20.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch Poumey (15.5) Rich, plum aroma with
tobacco. Mid-weight cherry and plum
fruit. Easy, for the short-term. 2011–16.
Ch Ferrande (15) Dense, bright hue. Lifted,
spicy, oaky nose. Fresh with good weight
of ripe blackcurrant fruit. Savoury, mineral
finish. Succulent, stylish, good. 2012–18.
Ch Rahoul (15) Smoky, toasty, sooty nose.
Silky, fresh palate with warm, ripe fruit.
Good acid balance but still soft. Mineral
finish, round tannins and decent length.
Appealing; for the mid-term. 2012–18.
5 STARS ★★★★★
Ch Haut-Brion (18.5) Gentle, oaky, waxy
white flower nose. Palate has spiky fruit
with crisp acidity. Silky palate with lovely
honeyed flavour. Long, delicious. 2016–23.
Ch Laville Haut-Brion (CC) (18.5) Peach,
honeysuckle and waxy, lanolin aromas.
Lemon-fresh palate with mid-weight
peach fruit and limey acidity. Delicious,
honeyed finish. Austere; for the long term.
4 STARS ★★★★
Ch Larrivet Haut-Brion (17.5) Sweet nose:
honeyed, floral, complex. Crisp palate
with sweet, ripe, honeyed fruit and lovely
texture. Big and rich, but not at all heavy.
Long and intensely flavoured. Very good;
for the long term. 2013–23.
Ch Pique Caillou (17.5) Sherberty nose.
Palate crisp and fresh, with lovely lemony
acidity. Pure fruit. Some oak, but not
overdone. Excellent length of flavour.
Very good. 2012–20
Domaine de Chevalier (CC) (16.5) Light
aroma. Crisp and fresh, with nice, sweet
fruit and a fine seam of acidity. Appealing,
with good fruit and balance. Long, crisp
finish. Medium to long term 2012–20.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch de Fieuzal (16) Nettle, leaf aromas, lanolin
and honey. Soft, round texture; complex,
good balance. Interesting, fresh. Not intense
but well judged, if a bit short. 2011–16.
Ch de France (16) Delicate, floral aromas.
Palate has creamy, sweet, rich fruit. Nicely
balanced. Understated style. Acidity quite
soft but good length. Mid-term. 2012–18.
Ch Malartic-Lagravière (CC) (16) Intense,
honeyed aromas, with some gooseberry
fruit. Sweet palate with a green prickle at
the back. Acidity quite low and fruit
rather sweet. Good intensity of flavour,
Ch Smith Haut Lafitte (16) Honeyed
aromas. Palate shows sweet fruit,
moderate acidity and noticeable oak. Easy,
and fresh, with some complexity.
Honeyed and appealing. 2012–18.
Ch Baret (15.5) Tropical, fresh and rich.
Short term but attractive. 2010–13.
Ch Brown (15.5) Honeyed nose. Tropical
fruit and nettle character. Attractive and
Ch Malleprat (15.5) Honey and lemon
aromas. Fresh, characterful palate.
interesting and sweetly fruity. 2010–14.
Ch Pape-Clément (15.5) Bright gold.
Creamy, oaky nose. The broad, oaky palate
is a little tiring. Some nice fruit, but not
enough for the oak. 2013–18.
Domaine de la Solitude (15.5) Crisp and
fresh. Attractive but fairly simple. One for
the short term. 2010–13.
Ch Bouscaut (CC) (15) Open, expressive,
oaky nose. Oaky palate with moderate
weight of ripe, leesy fruit. Honey and
lemon flavours with herbal Sauvignon.
Interesting. Finish is a bit dilute but good
nonetheless. Short to midterm. 2011–16.
Ch Carbonnieux (CC) (15) Grassy aromas.
Nice sweet fruit with nettly flavours.
Drops away on the finish but pleasant.
For the short term. 2011–14.
Ch Haut-Bergey (15) Oaky nose. Palate
also oaky but nice weight of fruit. Creamy
and rich with good freshness. Tannins on
the finish are a little dominant. 2012–18.
Clémentin du Château Pape Clément (2L)
(15) Milky, creamy aromas. Palate oaky
with noticeable tannins. Nice Sauvignon
freshness. Good – if a little oaky. 2011–14.
Ch Latour Martillac (CC) (14.5) Bright
Sauvignon fruit on the nose. Attractive
palate but fairly soft. Drink early. 2011–13.
3 STARS ★★★
Ch La Garde (15.5) Crisp, Sauvignondominant
palate with nettly fruit. Green
flavours but attractive. 2011–14.
Clos Floridene (15.5) Round, oaky nose.
Brisk palate. Not complex but nice
freshness. Good. 2011–14.
Ch de Chantegrive (15) Intense
grapefruit aromas and some
elderflower. Palate has sweet fruit – less
zingy than the nose but still good
grapefruit flavour. Light acidity. Simple
and fresh. Short term. 2010–12.
Ch Rahoul (15) Nose shows fresh, green
Sauvignon character. Palate has sweet,
ripe fruit, moderate acidity and decent
length. Pleasant. 2011–16.