(2020) A blend of 5% Cabernet Franc and 65% Merlot, some of the Merlot vines planted in 1957, in a tiny 0.35ha plot. The vinification is the same as Block One, with ageing in second- and third-year 225l barriques for 11 months. Deep aromas of plum and cocoa, but there are highlights of more floral and cherry scents, a warming touch of fudge or vanilla in the background. In the mouth this is substantial and chewy, with ripe but grippy tannins and a nice line of acidity to cut through the supple, weighty black and red fruits. Finishes with a nice sour cherry tang.
(2020) From a 0.45ha vineyard of 25-year-old Cabernet Franc on clay-based soils, certified organic in 2016. Aged in 225-litre barrels, typically second and third year use, for just under a year. Quite a vibrant purple/crimson colour, and lots of brightness to the aromas: soaring cherry and spices, a touch of cedary briar and a cool, ashy quality, there's a lighter feel to this than Block Two. In the mouth the fruit is cool and smooth, with very good ripeness and fruit sweetness, quite slick black cherry and compote spices touching on cinammon and clove. Creamy, silky tannins and good juicy acidity balances into a long and impressive finish.
(2020) Tasted once before in 2019, the 18 months extra time in bottle for this Bordeaux Merlot hasn't changed the crimson colour too much, and the nose is similar too: cocoa-dusted dark fruits, warm and plummy with a little fudge-like richness. In the mouth the fruit is really quite fresh - a crispness to the acid helps, the brisk tannins too, but the fruit is supple and savoury, edged with pepper and spice in a wine that does defy its 14.5% alcohol. Yes you feel it in the finish, but it is a bold and juicy style.
(2020) Youthful, inky and vibrant purple in colour, this Merlot made without added sulphur has a certain meatiness on the nose, dark savoury fruit and a lightly balsamic quality. In the mouth it is easy-drinking and smooth, quite concentrated too, the creamy tannins, spicy character and fruit intensity giving it texture and richness.
(2020) Fronsac is an unheralded but usually reliably good Bordeaux appellation on the Right Bank, where Merlot is the principal grape planted from Bordeaux's famous five. This is 60% Merlot with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It's proper old-fashione claret in a way, with a streak of bloodiness and game on the nose, solid and sweet black fruit, but also a little ash and earthy sense of austerity. In the mouth it has lovely balance, walking the same line between solid fruitiness and that backbone of tannin, spice, cedar and savoury acidity, with really quite a long, gastronomic finish. Mixed six price is £18.99. Watch the video for more information and food-matching.
(2020) From the Bordeaux Right Bank appellation Côtes de Castillon, this is 95% Merlot with the balance Cabernet Franc. From an obviously ripe and rich year, it's a big bear-hug of a wine, 14.5% alcohol a testament to the ripeness and glorious sweetness of fruit here, yet it is not a wine that feels over-extracted or clumsy. Aromas are the essence of cassis and plum, some pencil-shaving finess in the background. Mouthfilling, creamy and voluptuous black fruit floods the palate, with creamy-soft tannins and a nice stripe of sour plum acidity to give freshness. It's plushness might not suit lovers of more austere, traditional 'claret', but I loved this personality-packed wine.
(2019) From an interesting collaboration between the top Pessac-Léognan estate of Domaine de Chevalier and Stephane Derenencourt, this is mostly Merlot with 30% of Cabernet Franc, so presumably from 'right bank' vineyards given that blend. It's a deeply spiced and plummy wine, offering instantly appealing depth of aroma, touched with cedary olive character, but mostly about the plummy Merlot fruit. In the mouth the silky texture, soft creamy tannins and weight of mid-palate fruit flow across the tongue, before a bright finish where pert acidity and a bit of structure pull the wine through to a long finish. Approachable Bordeaux, but more substance than many at a similar price.
(2018) Blaye is an appellation of Bordeaux's 'right bank', and typically this is predominantly Merlot, with 5% each of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon too. Reduced to £13.49 at time of review. It's a plummy and silky expression of Bordeaux, a little coffee and cream, dense fleshy plum and a light pencil-shaving note too. In the mouth the creaminess of the fruit, plush tannin and texture add up to a fairly straightforward, but nevertheless delicious and balanced glass of quality claret drinking well now.
(2017) Made for C&B by the illustrious J-P Moueix of Pomerol, intriguingly the suggestion is that this is the perfect match for Murgh Tikka Makhani - a choice that surprised me, though I can see the logic in a wine with power and a bit of real grip that might well take on curry. Mostly Merlot, pencil-shaving notes over plum fruit, before a firm palate, the dark-toned fruit has a bit of bittersweetness, and the acidity gives the cut rather than the tannins which are sandy but not dominant.
(2017) I last tasted this wine 'en primeur' in 2011 when I rated it 89 points, so nice to come across it again with six years more in bottle. The estate is managed by Alain Vauthier of the famous Château Ausone, and the wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. There's a gentle floral aspect to the nose, but that's part of a fairly complex picture with savoury, dark fruit and hints of earthiness, green pepper and some cocoa. On the palate it is juicy and lean, the tannins and very plum-skin grip of acidity give it definition, but there's a hint of cocoa and coffee again, and sufficient berry fruit to make it very appealing along with some roast beef perhaps.
Displaying results 0 - 10 of 43