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Côtes de Bordeaux – A selection of 2020 whites and reds

Promotional feature

Celebrating success in 2020 and an increased dedication to environmentally-friendly winemaking.

The hillside appellations of Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, Francs and Sainte Foy bring together a collection of dynamic winemakers at the forefront of Bordeaux’s spirited and environmentally-conscious wine scene.

Their success on a certification level is to be celebrated, as are their efforts with the brilliant 2020 vintage in which there are plenty of wines to recommend in both red and white styles.

This tasting covered almost 160 wines from the five appellations with the final selection detailing 100, though we could have included many more if space would have allowed. This is a vintage that has delivered a generous crop of wines demonstrating fruit purity, freshness and aromatic appeal for both the reds and whites.

A run of great vintages saw 2018 producing full bodied and opulent wines with excellent cellaring potential while 2019 delivered freshness and elegance. The 2020s sit somewhere in the middle, with finesse, concentrated fruit and good acidity levels, with both approachability and capacity to age. Blaye, Cadillac and Francs produced an array of exceptional wines but there are brilliant examples to be found everywhere.

A small selection of white wines were also included, reflecting the 5% of overall production dedicated to this style. While many are mouthwatering and lively on the palate, perfect to be enjoyed young, there are a number that are rich and full with unctuous textures perfect to age or to pair with hearty meals. Fragrance and aromatic intensity is also at the fore, with the vintage providing excellent conditions for slow ripening and perfect grape maturity.

Vineyard locations on hills (or côtes) provide ideal soils for quality winemaking with a range of terroirs across the five appellations. Limestone dominates in Castillon and Francs where Cabernet Franc accents Merlot -the main grape used across all appellations – while clay and gravel feature in Blaye, Cadillac and Sainte-Foy where Cabernet Sauvignon is also used in the blend. Petit Verdot and Malbec appear in small percentages throughout, adding rich fruit and spiced nuances. Proximity to the ocean (Blaye) as well as the two rivers; Garonne (Cadillac) and the Dordogne (Castillon/Francs/ Sainte-Foy) also affects the resulting style.

The majority of estates in Bordeaux’s second largest appellation – with close to 1,000 producers – are small and medium- sized and often family owned, run by multi-generational vignerons or by a collection of new, young and energetic individuals, each keen to demonstrate the best of their know-how and reflect their unique vineyard terroirs as well as work as consciously and harmoniously with nature as possible.

With a direct-to-market approach, having labels that demonstrate these practices is increasingly important for winemakers as is finding new innovative initiatives to showcase the best of the Côtes, including single-varietal wines, sulphur-free bottlings as well as the use of amphora. This is a region that is constantly evolving and pushing the limits of respect for the land and quality winemaking.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable tasting with such an array of fantastic wines representing great value for wine lovers across the Côtes de Bordeaux.

Credit: Claude Clin


Wines to try

Whites

Château Eugénie 2020
91
A blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44% Sauvignon Gris which gives the best of both grapes. Softly floral and graceful on the palate with such a lovely density and texture. The focus is more on the richness and weight of the fruit rather than the acidity but the latter is there and does give freshness. A serious wine with nuance and character but also purity of citrus and stone fruit flavours. Easy to recommend.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 13.5%

Château du Grand Barrail, Le Blanc du Grand Barrail 2020
90
A first vintage for this 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Semillon white from organically- certified Grand Barrail. Welcome notes of acacia, citrus fruits and sweet melon on the nose. Round, unctuous and full in the mouth. Some spiced edges from the wood ageing but firm structure and crisp fruit give body and length. Powerful but poised also, this is a great food match with white meats and fish dishes.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château Haut Canteloup, Cuvée Tradition 2021
90
Grapefruit, green apple and ripe apricot on the nose. Lovely weight on the palate, round and structured with zesty lemon touches giving freshness alongside hints of creamy peach and elderflower from the 10% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Muscadelle in the blend. Enough density to have a full mouthfeel with balanced acidity and a clean, crisp finish. Enjoy this straight away!
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château La Bretonnière 2020
90
Rich and full in the mouth, this has a lovely honeyed caramel and vanilla aroma with toast nuances at the fore, alongside grapefruit, apricot and peach. A blend of 50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Gris and 10% Sauvignon Blanc with each grape imparting the freshness, body and aromatic intensity. Feels well made and bold. Pair with a creamy pasta dish or fresh goats cheese.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 13%

Château La Rivalerie, R de la Rivalerie 2020
90
Round and weighty on the palate with peach, apricot and clementine touches as well as violets. Floral and fruity from the three grapes in the blend – 47% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon and 13% Sauvignon Gris. This feels classy and well made with poised purity. Vinification in stainless steel has given it a clean and crisp profile but ageing on lees has imparted body as well. Perfect for a hot spring or summer’s day with a lifted, cooling mint touch on the finish.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château La Raz Caman 2021
90
A 100% Sauvignon Blanc that is immediately inviting, with a gentle pineapple sweetness as well as a vein of mineral-tinged lemon and green apple fruits giving both texture and flavour nuance. Its complexity and interest comes from ageing on the lees with a delicious clarity that lingers on the tongue. Quietly confident, and one that has the structure and spicy lining to age elegantly.
Drink 2023-2025 Alc 12.5%

Montfollet, Le Valentin 2021
90
Freshly picked summer flower notes on the nose with clementine and peach notes. This has a nice energy to it, lively and plump on the palate with acidity and freshness retaining fresh drinkability. Excellent body and overall weight in the mouth with delicious minerality on the finish. A blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Gris. Excellent value too. The Icône wine in the range is also lovely.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château les Vieux Moulins, Les Lochettes 2021
89
The first vintage of this 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine. Expressive nose with white chocolate, elderflower, lemon and sweet yellow plum notes. Softly succulent and juicy, with a combination of creamy brioche and bitter fruit touches on the palate giving nuance and interest. Gently persistent and memorable.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 13.5%

Château des Tourtes, Cuvée Classique Blanc 2021
89
Mouthwatering and lively on the palate, this has a real lift and energy to it coupled with grassy, elderflower and green apple notes from the 80% Sauvignon Blanc. Bitter orange pith adds structure, frame and creaminess, for an overall smooth texture.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château Haut-Grelot, La Belle de Blaye 2021
89
Crisp fruit and excellent grip on the palate with floral elements punctuating the zesty citrus of this single-varietal Sauvignon Blanc. A touch of Indian tonic bitterness comes into play on the mid palate giving depth and structure with a wet stone mineral element on the finish. Enjoy with pork and a creamy sauce.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12%

Château Les Bertrands, Cuvée Prestige 2021
89
Soft round fruit on the palate – green apple, bruised pear, apricot and yellow plum. This is a bold, characterful wine where, at this point, the structure is a little more present than the fruit. Broad shoulders and expansive in the mouth as a result of six months ageing in barrels but the yellow citrus fruit is there underneath waiting for its moment to shine. Lovely presentation and potential here.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 13%

Château Cru Godard 2020
91
Juicy and crunchy, this is lively and fresh with zesty and bright lemon, lime, orange as well as some honeyed touches giving weight on the tongue. Crunchy green apple, apricot and peach flavours, making it fruit forward and fun. Nice persistence and drive from start to finish with some mineral, wet stone palate-cleansing elements. Lovely.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14%

Château Ad Francos 2020
90
Bold and characterful on the nose, so expressive and welcoming. This 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon has both purity and weight, texture and freshness. Clear spicing from oak ageing as well as crystalline citrus fruit. The two aren’t quite in balance at the moment with the cedar and clove sticking out slightly on the finish, but there’s excellent definition and you can tell this has been well honed and has the structure to age. Lovely potential.
Drink 2023-2026 Alc 14.5%

Château Terrasson, L’oxymore Blanc de Terrasson 2021
90
A 100% Semillon wine with a clear distinct expression. Round and weighty on the tongue, with an oily viscosity, honeyed caramel and bitter grapefruit touches giving texture and depth at the same time. It fills the mouth, with persistence of flavour. Everything is in balance with a floral, wild honey element that adds nuance. An unusual style to seek out.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 12%

Château Tifayne 2020
89
Another noticeably different wine with the 50% Muscadelle, 30% Sauvignon Gris, 10% Semillon and 10% Colombard in the blend – all aromatic grapes giving a super expressive nose and palate. Creamy and honeyed with wool, honeysuckle, acacia and lavender notes. Fruits intermingling with the softly bitter and stronger aromatic characters. Lots going on here, with complexity and nuance at every turn. Interesting.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château Carbonneau, Margot 2020
90
Crisp and sharp at first, this settles to be smooth and soft with gentle acidity and a rich mouthfeel. Honeyed elements combine with lemon patisserie, wild flowers and yellow plums to give a dense flavour and round mouthfeel. Good persistency with mineral, slightly saline aspects coming in on the finish. An interesting 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine. Drink 2023-2026 Alc 13%

Château Trois Fonds 2021
89
This blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Muscadelle and 10% Semillon is fresh, lively and characterful. Pure and vibrant on the tongue, with good weight and intensity supported by the zesty backbone and fleshy orchard fruit. Round with driving acidity. Some underlying sherbet sweetness on the tongue giving pep. An unfussy, easy-drinking wine.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 12.5%


Reds

Château Bourdieu 2020
92
Deep nose, full of bramble, ripe blackcurrants and soft exotic spices from the 3% Cabernet Franc in the blend. Juicy and succulent with a lovely rich texture. Deep flavour on the mid palate with a spicy liquorice backbone. All feels well integrated and balanced with black chocolate, coffee and liquorice spice giving complex nuances and providing structure. A great food wine. Smooth and harmonious – feels approachable now although will surely age. In organic conversion.
Drink 2022-2028 Alc 14%

Château Haut Cabut 2020
92
Gentle floral tones on the nose. Lively and charming, this is fruit forward with bright, softly creamy strawberries, cherries and blackcurrants. Tannins are smooth but plump, giving a nice cushion to the palate. Fresh mint tones keep it refreshing. A blend of 75% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, easy to approach and with much appeal. A great example from this estate, family-run for more than 150 years and today managed by Alain Dop.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14.5%

Château Les Charmilles 2020
92
Scented blackcurrant and black cherries on the nose. Sweetly juicy on the palate, mouthwatering with a jammy aspect to the fruit though remaining lifted and aerial. The tannins are fine and well integrated and overall the wine is balanced and harmonious. Such easy-drinking enjoyment here. A blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with clarity, precision, energy and character.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14%

Château Montfollet, Vieilles Vignes 2020
92
Cassis, plum and black cherries on the nose. Concentrated and intense on the palate, with ripe and dense fruit. A big and bold wine, broad shouldered but with such a seductive aspect to it. The perfume, the concentration and intensity: everything is on full show at the moment but it feels well presented and with purpose. Made with 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec from the family-owned estate run by Dominique Raimond. One to hold on to for a few years.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 15%

Château Anglade Bellevue, Tradition 2020
91
Black cherry and blackcurrants on the nose, with soft floral elements making it more appealing. Succulent on the palate, this has bright summer berry fruits – strawberries and raspberries – and lots of energy. A well honed blend of 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, providing much immediate enjoyment. Approachable with a soft chalky texture and mint-licked fresh finish. Cellar master Claudine Mege has retired and her brother Christophe Poupard has taken over.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14.5%

Château Cailleteau Bergeron, Prestige 2020
91
Bramble fruits and blackcurrant leaf notes on the nose. Succulent and juicy, this is vibrant and lively but really well controlled and presented. Smooth texture, good weight and well-integrated ripe tannins. This has real appeal, a jammy sweetness alongside bright fruit, refreshing acidity and soft nuances of cedar and clove that give edges to the frame. Confident and charming with a cooling finish. A blend of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec and 3% Carménère after reintroducing it in the vineyard.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14%

Château Haut-Grelot, Première Cuvée 2020
91
Strawberry leaf and blackcurrants on the nose. Juicy and alive in the mouth, lightly framed but well worked and presented. Nice detail on show with real clarity of fruit, precise tannins and a fresh mint lift on the finish. A restrained and poised blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. One for easy enjoyment.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14%

Château Haut Lalande Grand Vin 2020
91
Rich and inviting scents on the nose. Supple and alive, with well presented fruit. Vibrant and fresh on the palate, with fine tannins edged with soft liquorice spice and mint leaf that provide support. Smooth texture and long finish. Not particularly layered but delivers a nice glass of wine that’s approachable young. A blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 15%

Château Montfollet, Icône 2020
91
Raspberries and blackcurrants on the nose. A serious, characterful blend of five grapes – 60% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 10% Petit
Verdot – all giving complexity and nuance. Tannins completely coat the mouth, with a ripe, chewy texture underpinning a core of juicy, seductive fruit. It has cherry kirsch elements to it but there is also good acidity and freshness stopping it short of being too much. Wood elements are on show, but the spice is well integrated. One to age.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 15%

Château Terre Blanque 2020
91
Bramble fruits and dark chocolate on the nose, a lovely sensual perfume to this too which is appealing from the 80% Merlot, alongside 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Round and bouncy on the palate, vibrant fruit flavours are offset by fine and softly chalky tannins with hints of wood spice marking the finish alongside, liquorice and black chocolate. Easy to drink and enjoy with freshness and lots of life. HVE3 and in organic conversion.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14%

Château Anglade Bellevue, Passion 2020
90
Black fruit on the nose, with some herbal aspects. Mouthwatering and lively on the palate, filled with bright strawberry and red cherry flavours. Lightly framed with well expressed – a pleasure to drink. Effortlessly delivers a firm and charming glass of wine that is great to drink now. A blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14.5%

Château Bel-Air La Royère 2020
90
Floral reflections alongside black fruits on the nose. Mouthwatering and lively, this is lightly framed but has a core of defined, ripe black and red fruits. A fun and playful style. Charming with definite minerality on the finish – a lingering aftertaste of iron, wet stone and graphite. Lots of nice elements and definite freshness coming from the partial vinification in amphoras. A blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Malbec.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château Berthenon, Cuvée Chloe 2020
90
Such a gorgeously aromatic nose, with scented flowers, perfumed blackcurrants and black cherries. Succulent and juicy, showing vibrant fruit and a lovely chalky, mineral edge. Cherry-dominant but with graphite notes also coming through strongly. A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with good balance, and a fresh finish.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14%

Château Dubraud 2020
90
Ripe bramble, blackcurrant, plum and black cherry on the nose, which continue on the palate. Round and supple. Tannins are fine and integrated and frame a juicy core. So much energy from start to finish. An enjoyable blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Malbec, lightly-framed but brimming with life.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 13%

Château Haut-Canteloup, Cuvée Prestige 2020
90
Juicy, bright and energetic, with blackcurrant sweets and pink flowers on the nose. Not particularly layered but such a pure and detailed presentation of fruit flavours; concentrated dark cherries and blackcurrants with perfumed nuances throughout. A blend of 87% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Malbec.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château la Gamaye, Cuvée Distinction 2020
90
Heady and intense nose with cassis and kirsch notes. A concentrated 100% Merlot, bold with power and drive. Full throttle in terms of fruit depth but also fine tannins and spicy wood-imparted aspects. Confident and well handled but needs more time to expand and soften. Excellent acidity and freshness, leading onto a cooling finish. Certified organic since December 2021.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 13.5%

Château Labrousse 2020
90
Round and playful, this is bright and energetic from the start with a real mineral undertone comprising wet stone and graphite notes beneath the blackcurrant and strawberry fruit. Marked minerality with fine chalky tannins and a touch of iron that lingers throughout. An unusual, but very enjoyable, style. Persistent and driven with clarity. One to have with beef. HVE3 and in organic conversion.
Drink 2022-2028 Alc 14.5%

Château Lacaussade Saint-Martin, Clémence 2020
90
Rich, ripe and heady nose. Dense and mouthfilling with the grippy tannins. Good combination of chewy fruit as well as freshness; the dense texture is met by an aerial quality to the blackcurrants and black cherries. Everything feels quite cushioned and playful while still having a deep core of flavour. Organic wine and HVE3 certified estate.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14.5%

Château Mayne Guyon 2020
90
Intense aromas, full of ripe black berry fruit and a touch of kirsch. Ripe and dense, with chewy tannins and an intense core of dark fruit hints of cherry liqueur. Bold and concentrated but balanced. Well worked fruit and tannins, and hints of blackcurrant leaf giving a dryness to the finish and suggesting this needs a bit more time for the wood to integrate. HVE3 and in organic conversion.
Drink 2023-2026 Alc 13.5%

Château Noel Les Charmes 2020
90
Seductive nose with ripe and concentrated blackcurrants. Good succulence on the palate. Tannins are softly chewy and abundant just slightly overshadowing the fruit brightness at this point. Nuances of cedar, clove and liquorice also come into play giving the palate a spicy undertone throughout. A food-friendly blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that needs some time to come into its own. HVE3
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14%

Château Pont les Moines 2020
90
Perfumed blackcurrants on the nose, scented and welcoming. Succulent from the start with bright strawberry and raspberry underpinned by fresh acidity
and supported by fine-grained tannins. Lovely supple fruit which is forward and fills the mouth. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon with great energy.
Drink 2023-2027 Alc 13%

Château Puy de Lignac 2020
90
Fragrant bramble fruits on the nose. This stops just short of bring spritzy on the palate with blackcurrant and strawberry cherry flavours that softly fizz on the tongue on immediate impact. Charming and characterful, this has a nice frame, good intensity of fruit and poised acidity. A light style, with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from southern slopes in Blaye on limestone subsoils. Not rich and ripe but enjoyable for its approachability and freshness throughout.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14%

Château Tour Saint-Germain 2020
90
Welcoming dark berry fruits on the nose. Lovely mouthwatering acidity gives this an instant brightness in the mouth with a creamy, chalky aspect on the mid palate. Very mineral, with a wet stone nuance marking the finish. Clean and clear, this blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Malbec is a delicate style with clear terroir influence. Very enjoyable. HVE3.
Drink 2023-2029 Alc 14%

Coureau & Coureau Petrus Lambertini Major Burdegalensis 1208 2020
90
Blackcurrant sweets on the nose with blueberry touches. Mouthwatering and lively, with high toned blackcurrant fruit and fine tannins. This is upfront and fruit forward while still being nicely balanced and controlled. Lovely clarity and precision on the palate. Enjoyable, with blackcurrant and mint leaves touches on the finish.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château Cap Saint Martin 2020
89
Some herbal aspects to the blackcurrant on the nose. Bright and alive, this is playful with red summer fruits at the fore and good acidity. Tannins are fine and well integrated and this has touches of wet stone which -give a mineral aspect to the finish. An easy drinking, approachable wine made from 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château des Tourtes, Cuvée Prestige 2020
89
Rich and nuanced, with violet touches to the blackcurrants on the nose. Quite a serious style at the moment, concentrated with a good intensity of chewy black fruits and liquorice spice, but the palate is closed overall with less vibrancy on show. Tannins are smooth and the fruit has been well worked with good wood integration. This has potential. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon that simply needs time to fully show its best.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château Haut-Bourcier, Iohio – 10h10 2020
89
Intense nose, rich and perfumed that follows on the palate with scented fruits coming through alongside freshly picked mint leaves and soft liquorice spicing that lingers on the tongue. Nice smooth texture – the fruit is juicy and agile with minerality coming through towards the end giving precision and clarity. Well worked and presented. Property now managed by Caroline and Yannick Bourcier.
Drink 2023-2027 Alc 15%

Château Jussas 2020
89
Expressive nose, rich and concentrated. Smooth and succulent on the palate with excellent juiciness. Softly gripping tannins take hold in the mouth providing support for the black chocolate and liquorice-laced blackcurrants and black cherries. Good balance and weight, with brightness and energy. Will age well so give it a bit more time for the full potential to come through.
Drink 2023-2027 Alc 14%

Château La Gamaye, Cuvée Prestige 2020
89
Dark bramble on the nose. Ripe and rich in the mouth, for a concentrated style with lashings of blackcurrant, plum and black cherry. Fine, almost imperceptible tannins giving it a light touch. Charming and nicely refined. Certified organic since December 2021.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 13.5%

Château La Roche Bazin 2020
89
Concentrated dark fruits on the nose. Supple and juicy on the palate, with ripe blackcurrant and cherry. There’s a soft chew to the mouthfilling texture which is balanced by a real mineral undertone giving. A detailed and layered blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. HVE3 and in organic conversion.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14%

Château Les Pierrères 2020
89
Tar, liquorice, tobacco, blackcurrants and dark chocolate aromas. Gentle succulence, not overpowering, with good acidity and tone of black fruits. Tannins are very fine giving this a silky smooth texture with the bright fruit shining above a layer of gentle spiced liquorice nuances. Nicely balanced blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Malbec.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 15%

Château Penaud, Cuvée Serge 2020
89
Intense nose, full of black fruits and dark chocolate with soft floral touches. Ripe, chewy and succulent, this 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is mouthfilling with a real element of sweet and sticky black liquorice and wet stone minerality that dominates the palate, giving frame to the mouth and adding layers of texture and flavour. Lovely freshness and lift at the end. Long finish.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 14%

Château Biac 2019
92
An older vintage than the rest tasted as this estate, whose consultant oenologist for the red wines is Bertrand Léon, ages the wines longer. Bramble fruits, sweet blackcurrants and black cherries, with a seductive and inviting touch of jam and soft exotic spices. Fine grained tannins and balanced acidity fill the mouth with great presence. Really nice weight and overall impression. Dark fruits, black cherries and blackcurrant leaf adding nuance and texture. Really approachable and great for drinking today but will age well
too. A blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 14.5%

Alt 120 Mètres 2020
91
Scented blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards at 120m altitude is unctuous and succulent, with a juicy core which is a little overshadowed by dry, ample tannins. But these are not astringent or rustic, just abundant and chalky. Nice sweet and savoury edges with a pleasant lingering feeling of cooling cola and blueberries.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 13.5%

Château de Laville 2020
91
Perfumed black cherries on the nose. Succulent, bright and playful in the glass with a gentle sweetness which is appealing and offset by a cooling menthol tone. Gentle tannins and a soft chalkiness throughout which nicely counters the vibrant fruit. No sulfites added for a fresh, fruit-forward, youthful blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 13.5%

Château La Rame 2020
91
Succulent and juicy but also so seriously savoury, with sweet dark liquorice dominating and making this really appealing and darkly seductive. Some clove, tobacco and coffee also come in on the mid palate. Feels well handled and purposeful, from a family estate with three generations of Armands, from 24-74 years old, all working together. A stand out, maybe atypical style but very characterful. A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2023-2034 Alc 14%

Château Réaut, Carat 2020
91
Inviting nose, with wild bramble and ripe blackcurrant jam. Lovely quality on the tongue; the fruit is sharp and the tannins linear and spiced. Feels well worked, with density, power but also restraint and precision. Lovely milk chocolate, cherry and strawberry notes throughout. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot.
Drink 2023-2034 Alc 14.5%

Château Sissan, Grande Réserve 2020
91
Intense nose, softly herbal and floral. Great weight in the mouth, with lovely texture, body and feel. Nicely worked blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, and velvety tannins. Overall really nicely balanced, with perseverance and drive. Fresh and cooling minty finish. A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Part of the vineyard is in organic conversion.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 15%

Villa Réaut, Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
91
Concentrated dark fruits and lovely perfumed tone on the nose. Playful and charming on the palate, with nice crunchy fruit, cushioned by firm tannins. Nice overall texture and weight. Tannic and characterful with a lovely grip and black cherry, menthol and soft liquorice flicks. Bold and powerful.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 14.5%

Château Courrèges 2020
90
Intense, perfumed nose. Rich and concentrated on the palate, with juiciness, succulence and energy. Great fruit impression, with a gentle sweetness. Chalky tannins come in but don’t overwhelm, rather just plumping up the texture. Cooling aspects on the finish. A blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Malbec with great clarity and detail.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 14.5%

Château de Marsan 2020
90
Stalky bramble fruits with milk chocolate, exotic Christmas spices and an orange tang. Round and full in the mouth with fine tannins making a graceful impact and supporting the fruit which is a little sombre although balanced by good acidity. Feels just a little closed towards the end with a hint of spice giving texture and frame. A nicely sculpted blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 14.5%

Château Grimont, Prestige 2020
90
Scented bramble on the nose. Smooth, supple and energetic blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright strawberries, red cherries and raspberries supported by chalky tannins. Soft flecks of spicy liquorice linger in the mouth giving the wine frame and body. Bold, full style, with great drive and persistence, that needs time but feels well worked. Classy and characterful. In organic conversion.
Drink 2023-2034 Alc 15%

Château Haut Peyrat, Prélude d’Haut Peyrat 2020
90
Striking nose with vanilla, blackcurrants and cola notes. Juicy and fresh, with the tannins building a gentle layer of chalky fruits while the hints of liquorice, clove and cedar spice settle gently on the tongue. A blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon og great clarity and precision. One to buy and hold on to – tannins yet a bit prominent but will surely integrate. Estate owned since 2014 by Isabelle and Didier Gil.
Drink 2022-2035 Alc 14%

Château Langoiran 2020
90
A brooding, dark, savoury style with liquorice jumping out of the glass obscuring the blackcurrant fruit. The palate is sweet and sticky, with tannins providing grip and texture. A little bit of chalkiness remains towards the finish but there’s no rusticity here – feels well balanced with the right amount of extraction. Mineral edged finished marked by iron and wet stones. A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2023-2031 Alc 14.5%

Château Tanesse 2020
90
Quite a sombre nose, darkly fruited with some milk chocolate notes. Great tannins, a little chalky but plump and plush. Iron and graphite minerality touches on the tongue. Approachable, balanced, juicy and chewy. A blend of 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Drink 2023-2034 Alc 14%

Château Bourdon La Tour 2020
89
Stalk-edged black fruits with cocoa powder dusting. Tannins are ample and supple giving support to the juicy, high toned fruits. Not a massive length or impact on the mid palate but one for easy drinking with great balance overall. Good juicy finish with a cooling minty lift. A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. HVE.
Drink 2022-2030 Alc 14%

Château Haut-Rian 2020
89
Ripe and expressive nose. Juicy, bright and playful with a good dose of strawberry, red cherry and raspberry fruit. Still an edge of green stalkiness from the Cabernet but very charming and well presented. A core of flavour density and good persistence. A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc with great personality. The estate’s Sélection Parcellaire is also worth seeking out.
Drink 2022-2028 Alc 13.5%

Château La Caussade 2020
89
Perfumed blackberries and milk chocolate notes on the nose. Round and bright, with these sweet hints among the dark, savoury aspects of liquorice, clove, vanilla and cinnamon. Everything feels well handled, resting on nicely-sculpted layers of texture and flavour. An accomplished ripe, heady and savoury blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14%

Château Les Hauts de Palette 2020
89
Excellent quality juice, lively and vibrant, on both initial impact and the mid palate. Not very persistent but there is balance and harmony, with appealing minerality. Nicely detailed with lovely texture, a mixture between chalky and creamy with a hint of eucalyptus and menthol freshness coming in at the end. A blend of 60% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. HVE.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14%

Château Réaut, Sans Sulfites 2020
89
Scented nose with milk chocolate and blackcurrant aromas. Nicely framed rush of bright fruits, lively acidity and integrated tannins. Balanced, with a pleasing weight on the palate for easy-drinking appeal. Good lift at the end. Bright and playful with a real sense of energy. 100% Merlot.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14.5%

Château Sablerot 2020
89
Ripe fruit on the nose with a lovely sweet smell followed by clarity and precision on the palate. The iron, mineral tang sits alongside blackcurrant and sour cherry flavours. A round and nuanced blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. HVE3 since 2019.
Drink 2023-2027 Alc 13.5%

Les Terres Mêlées 2020
89
Perfumed blackberries and black cherries. Nice texture on the palate, with velvet-like tannins underpinning liquorice-laced black fruits. A rich palate with body and weight but also fresh minerality on the finish. Will need time for the fruit to soften and expand but if you want something big and bold this is yours to enjoy. A blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Malbec. Certified organic.
Drink 2022 2029 Alc 13%

Villa Réaut, Merlot 2020
89
Bold and intense black fruit aromas. This is juicy with a lovely weight in the mouth. Blackcurrant, bramble at the fore followed by gentle spices and herbal nuances which give some grip and piquance to the palate. Lovely cooling, minty flavour throughout. Very approachable with precision and detail. Made in amphora so the freshness is retained.
Drink 2023-2030 Alc 14.5%

Credit: Claude Clin

Château Beynat, Cuvée Léonard 2020
91
Intense, dark-fruited nose. Good crisp and plentiful fruit on the palate, with creamy, appealing edges. Density and intensity here but well handled and controlled. Feels refined despite the power and concentration. Texture and weight are balanced by good drive from start to finish, if still on the bold spectrum. A serious wine with wood spicing and liquorice tinges towards the finish. A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2024-2030 Alc 14%

Château la Grande Maye 2020
90
Fragrant and high toned nose, with blackcurrant and red cherry aromas. Grippy tannins with a nice texture and mineral undertone, supporting the fruit. Wet stone and iron nuances marked alongside the blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. Concentrated and powerful but harmonious. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from fifth generation winemakers. HVE.
Drink 2023-2028 Alc 14.5%

Château La Mondette 2020
90
Red and black cherries on the nose. Precise and defined, this 50/50 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is charming with bright flavours of summer berries and blackcurrant leaf. A bit rustic around the edges, but there’s also a nice creamy chalky aspect which is appealing. Succulent, with a balanced weight on the tongue and in the mouth. Great potential here. Certified organic in 2021.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 12.5%

Château Terrasson 2020
90
Nicely scented on the nose. Juicy and mouthfilling with bright red fruit flavours and supple tannins. This is on the lighter scale of the wines, less concentrated and overripe, – more delicate yet with nice energy and drive. A succulent, clear and appealing blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc from Gérald and Alix Standley who took over the estate in 2020. Certified organic.
Drink 2022-2025 Alc 12.5%

Château Beynat 2020
89
High toned, vibrant and lively on the palate. Nice quality and feel to the fruit, with some appealing sweet elements. Tannins are well integrated and the overall feel is smooth and supple. An easy-drinking blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.
Drink 2022-2026 Alc 14%

Château d’Anvichar 2020
89
Perfumed nose with blackcurrants and plums. A 100% Merlot with nice weight and texture. Tannins are smooth, plumping up the soft red cherry and strawberry fruit. Charming in a quiet way, delivering an approachable and enjoyable glass of wine. The tannins are present, and there is a touch of austerity and wood spice to the finish which will harmonise with time.
Drink 2023-2029 Alc 14.5%

Chateau La Fleur Fompeyre 2020
89
Fragrant cherry notes on the nose. Supple and lively with ample yet fine tannins, supporting the fruit which is quite high- toned at present. It is, however, fresh and well worked – just needs time for the wood to integrate and soften. A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon with nice potential.
Drink 2023-2028 Alc 14%

Château Le Peyrat 2020
89
Blackcurrant sweets on the intense nose. Liquorice is dominant, lacing and bracing the black fruits, and making this quite a savoury and serious wine. There is a juicy quality to it and the texture is smooth with fine-grained tannins. The spicy elements are yet quite prominent so give this time. A pleasant blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc from fifth generation winemakers. HVE.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14.5%

Château Le Rey, Les Argileuses 2020
89
Bramble, blackcurrant leaf on the nose with certain stalky and savoury aspects. Fully ripe and chewy fruit on the palate. Pronounced flavours with good depth, plenty of wet stone minerality and some touches of clove spice giving nuance. Long finish, with lift and freshness. Best decanted if drinking soon. A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14.5%

Château Moulin de Clotte, L’Authentique 2020
89
High toned, powerful, with high tannins and intense flavours. The blackcurrant and cherry flavours are bold and at the fore as is the tannic frame. Confident, chewy and mouthfilling this needs time to soften but there’s nice detail on show. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. HVE3.
Drink 2023-2029 Alc 14%

Château Picoron, Mon Nom 2020
89
Nice summer red berry feel to this 100% Merlot with good persistence and an appealing undertone of minerality. Smooth and supple with integrated tannins and freshness throughout. So appealing and enjoyable with a blood iron, mineral terroir-infused nuance that comes through strongly on the finish. In organic conversion since 2021.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14%

Château Roque Le Mayne 2020
89
Ripe blackcurrants on the nose. Softly succulent and persistent, this has a nice quality to the fruit against prominent savoury tones of sweet black liquorice and cedar. Ample and charming blend of 80% Merlot,15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. In organic conversion.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14.5%

Clos Louie 2020
89
Such an expressive and aromatic nose. Juicy and fully flavoured with a bright fruit and good acidity. Very approachable with just hints of wood spice which give overall frame. Tannins are still abundant and mouth- coating but as soon as these settle this wine will be extremely pretty and appealing. A blend of 25% Malbec, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14.5%

Domaine d’Argilius, Les Truffards 2020
89
High toned and perfumed. Juicy and bright strawberry and red cherry fruit with a nice sense of joy and good persistence. Touches of vanilla, and caramel as well as blackcurrant leaf and some stalky nuances. Nice minty lift on the finish. Lots of potential and will benefit from further ageing. A blend of 95% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Certified organic since 2021.
Drink 2023-2027 Alc 13.5%

Faret Desgranges, Cuvée Prestige 2020
89
Fragrant yet heady, with blackcurrant liqueur touches. Lovely texture on the palate, with softly gripping tannins. Flavours range from freshly picked strawberries to super ripe cherries and blackcurrants, giving a combination of sweetness and savouriness. A bold, confident 100% Merlot. Open this in a few years for full enjoyment. A new technical and commercial team arrived in 2019, and new general manager Christophe Mangeart arrived in 2021.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14.5%

Château Laulan 2020
92
Dark cherries and chocolate on the nose with faint floral reflections. Lovely texture; the tannins, although grippy, have a really lovely chewy aspect to them, supporting the fruit and cushioning it along the palate. There is a chalkiness here which is a little drying but the fruit quality is excellent and this has real personality and poise. A blend of 60% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14%

Château Pleyssac-Tayac 2020
90
Red cherry and strawberry notes on the nose – such purity from the 100% Merlot grapes. The Juiciness from the fresh acidity comes through straight away. Lots of cherry nuances, some ripe and sweet, others slightly sour, but all neatly wrapped up with gently gripping tannins and delivered in harmony. An enjoyable glass of wine. HVE1.
Drink 2022-2027 Alc 13%

Domaine Haut Ventenac 2020
90
Ripe red cherry aromas. Gorgeous clarity on the palate, defined and refined with a lovely juicy quality to the fruit. Everything seems in balance with mineral, wet stone revealed on the mid palate and towards the finish. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Nice potential to this new project started in 2019 by two friends aged 25 and 30, part of the ‘new wave’ of young Bordeaux winemakers. In organic conversion since 2021.
Drink 2023-2028 Alc 14%

Château Cru Godard 2020
89
Freshly picked strawberries and raspberries on the nose. Coating yet fine tannins – not chewy, not dry, just very present, supporting the fruit and giving the palate frame. A well presented and succulent blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec.. Salinity from the limestone terroir on show. In organic conversion.
Drink 2024-2028 Alc 14%

Château Godard Bellevue 2020
89
Perfumed and rich on the nose, heady and ripe. Quite intense on the palate, namely on the attack. Blackcurrant and plum fruit coming through before an iron/mineral wave comes in, dominating the mid palate and finish. Tannins are chewy and abundant and there is a large aspect of sweet liquorice adding to the dark, savoury nature of this wine. Well worked blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, that needs time to settle and soften.
Drink 2023-2029 Alc 14%

Château Pré la Lande , Cuvée Diane 2020
90
Blackcurrant and brambles with liquorice on the nose, all of which continue on the palate. Ripe and juicy but also supremely tannic and quite savoury, the texture taking the fore with the flavours also quite concentrated. A bold wine with plenty going on. It will need some time to come around but feels quite polished. A blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec.
Drink 2023-2035 Alc 14.5%

Château Trois Fonds 2020
90
Bright and expressive nose, perfumed and ripely fruited. Sweet red cherries, laced with vanilla, clove and cinnamon are supported by fine but abundant tannins. The wood is on show at the moment but there’s a nice core of fruit. Powerful and hefty, bold and serious but extremely well presented. A great wine to age further. A blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. HVE3.
Drink 2023-2032 Alc 14%

Château L’Enclos, Cuvée Réserve 2020
89
Ripe and intense on the palate, with a concentrated core of black cherries and bramble. Tannins are grippy, plumping up the fruit and carrying the liquorice spice along to a long finish. A dark, ripe, savoury style – bold, confident and very likeable. A blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Drink 2022-2029 Alc 14%


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