(2022) A mature Bordeaux that is 58% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 5% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc given 12 months in oak barrels, 33% new. Proper claret nose, with a little blood and game, black fruit and a hint of cedar. In the mouth there's an obvious ripeness and sweetness to the mid-palate fruit that is reasonably fleshy and creamy. Spicy, tight tannins and acidity do assert in the finish, but this drinks well.
(2022) Esprit de Pavie is a Bordeaux AOC wine that blends 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from both the famous Château Pavie in Saint-Emilion, and nearby Château Clos L'Église in the Côtes de Castillon, which was purchased by Pavie's owner, Gerard Perse. There's an herbal twang to the fragrance, cedary and tobacco-like too, then a firm cherry and Asian plum fruit comes through. That firmness continues on the palate, a stripe if liquorice underpinning the black fruit, the wine finishing on food-friendly acidity.
(2022) From a very good vintage in Bordeaux and with a handy 12 years already under its belt, this is a Merlot-dominated red. I was initially surprised to find it closed with a modern DIAM technical cork, but that is explained. The colour shows a little development but is still solid at the core. There's a hint of tinned plum tomato on the nose that gives a savoury character, a little spice too. In the mouth that spiciness of red and black fruit continues, not a lot of barrel component showing, but firm tannins are resolving nicely and the overall balance is good.
(2021) A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc aged in barrel for a year, this has a lovely nose: very appealing and alluring with cedar and tobacco, and quite a ripe, creamy black and blue fruit character. In the mouth there is lovely fruit here, this 2015 just softening slightly though tannins still firm and black cherry acid still keen, but the flesh of the fruit and the lightly charry and creamy barrel component adds layered complexity. Drinking well with some cellaring potential - 8 to 10 years.
(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.
(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.