Though soils and microclimates play a vital role in Pauillac, Ian D'Agata finds it is the human touch that provides the key to this region's sheer magnetism and longevity...
D’Agata’s pick: a mixed case illustrating Pauillac’s appeal
Château Mouton Rothschild 1CC 2010
A legendary wine, probably one of the best ever. Balance, power, silk. If you and your friends were to splurge on just one wine in your life, this would be a fine choice.
Price £425(ib)-£863 Bordeaux Index, Justerinis, Millésima, Roberson
Château Lafite Rothschild 1CC 2001
Amazing finesse: lead pencil, cassis, cedar, and unforgettable. A very underrated vintage.
Price £460(ib)-£800 Bordeaux Index, Bancroft Wines, Cadman’s Fine Wines, Hedonism, Millésima, MWH Wines
Château Pichon-Longueville- Lalande 2CC 1986
Marvellous old Bordeaux with delicate cassis, graphite, and faded violet nuances. A legendary wine for this estate, equal to the 1982 but ageing better.
Price £126-£170 Fine & Rare, Peter Wylie
Château Pontet Canet 5CC 2008
Beautifully poised and balanced, with memorable fruit density. Smart buyers know this is one of the year’s top wines, and almost as good as the much more expensive ’09 or ’10.
Price £33.03(ib)-£85.84 Bancroft, Cadman’s Fine Wines, En Primeur, Fine & Rare, Millésima, R&B
Château d’Armailhac 5CC 2009
Amazingly perfumed and sleek, with vibrant Cabernet Francinfluenced red fruit aromas and flavours. I’d guzzle away without shame.
Price £32-£45 En Primeur, Frazier’s Wine, Justerini & Brooks, Millésima, MWH Wines, Nicholls & Perks, R&B, Z&B
Château Haut Bages-Libéral 5CC 2010
Classic lead pencil and blackcurrant, attractively fresh and balanced; sneaky concentration and length.
Price £34-£42 Christopher Piper, Fine & Rare, Laithwaite’s, James Nicholson, Millésima
Château Lynch-Bages 5CC 2005
Almost forward but still young; spicy cassis lifts and lengthens its rich dark berry flavours. One of the best Lynch-Bages ever.
Price £90(ib)-£150 Bordeaux Index, Berry Bros & Rudd, Fine & Rare, Hedonism, Lay & Wheeler, Millésima, Nickolls & Perks
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2CC 1995
Ripe but fresh, with cedary and flinty blackberry and plum fruit still lingering on.
Price £70-£92 Ancient & Modern, Frazier’s Wine, Lay & Wheeler, Peter Wylie, Robert Rolls & Co
Château Batailley 5CC 1975
Catch a glimpse of wonderful red Bordeaux as it used to be: glorious leafy elements, delicate blackcurrant and cedar mingle with ’75’s telltale chewy tannins. From an estate that has an exceptional stock of old bottles.
Price £79 Fine & Rare
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 5CC 2004
Charming blackberry and blackcurrant fruit aromas and flavours with the ’04 telltale leafiness. Glorious drinking now but will last another half decade.
Price £24-£42.06 Berry Bros & Rudd, Fine & Rare, KWM Wine & Spirits
Château Fonbadet CB 2009
Supple rounded and juicy. Medium-bodied and still reasonably fresh.
Price £10.50 Fine & Rare
Château Lynch-Moussas 5CC 2009
Lovely precision to the raspberry and blackcurrant aromas; graphite and cedar adds complexity. Politely styled, easy-drinking, almost light claret in keeping with the terroir and winemaking style.
Price £20-£33 Farr Vintners, Fine & Rare, Millésima, R&B, Roberson