(2022) From the Cadillac region of Entre-Deux-Mers, this 2016 is majority Merlot. It is worthy of note that Patrick Leon (ex-technical director of Mouton-Rothschild 1984-2004) was consultant here from the family’s first vintage in 2007 and, apparently, he twice tried to buy the property. It is a plush and svelte Bordeaux, with a graphite edge to plum and blackcurrant on the nose. There's a cool sense of elegance and controlled power on the palate: the fruit remains plush and deep, but it is so savoury, the tight, fine-grained tannins and keen edge of juicy acidity giving precision. The edges are barely blurred by softening coffee-ish oak, as crisp acids and bittersweet fruit lingers on the finish. £250 per dozen, in-bond. Approximate per-bottle price quoted.
(2021) A Cru Bourgeois I have not come across before, a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon from their Médoc vineyards. Apparently, the château once belonged to Château Lafite, and it is sited on the highest plateau in the Médoc. It's remarkable to find a 2010 Cru Bordeaux on the shelves at under £20, so how does it taste? The colour is still quite deep (this wine comes directly from the Château's cellars) and there is graphite and cedar to open, the fruit dark, touched with espresso, but mostly about blackcurrant and damson plum. It's really very youthful at 11 years old, suggesting there's no hurry to drink, the palate balanced with good fruit and a gently supportive framework of tannins and acidity.
(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) 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.
(2017) I've previously reviewed and recommended the St Julien 2010 bottled for FromVineyardsDirect from the vineyards of a famous second growth Chāteau, and I have to say this 2014 Pauillac is equally good. Once again the producer is not revealed, but it is a declassifed Cru Classé, possibly made from the estate's younger vines, or simply a surplus that was not needed in the blend - this wine is dominated by Merlot. It is svelte and plush on the nose, deep black fruit and a hint of graphite and cedar. In the mouth it has tension and structure, a grip of youthful tannin, but the savoury, lightly gamy and meaty presence speaks of the wine's class and heritage, the finish long, chewy, but agile. Though drinking well already, this will cellar for several years.
(2016) Oak showing quite obviously in this barrel sample, but a lovely rounded balsamic and sweet black fruit quality comes through, really good concentration and ripeness, pepper and spice and lovely tannin structure giving a firm, liquorice twist. Really promising, but score is provisional. Corney & Barrow are importers, but they list the 2012 at time of review.
(2016) The first vintage from this 2.5 hectare estate that neighbours Lascombes, vines on average 41 years old, but some plots 80 years old. This Grand Vin sees 100% new oak, and this was a barrel sample. Real perfume here, a lovely floral character that has real lift and buoyancy, with great purity to the black fruit, very fine, very scented and aromatic, and the tannins are very silky and fine. Lovely balance. Should be available in autumn 2016. Score is provisional.
(2016) Lovely fragrance of quality oak here, a touch of coffee, but mostly about exotic spices and Sandalwood, the fruit full and rich beneath, highly inviting and promising. A real big mouthful of cassis and glossy black plum, the tannin are fruity and dry, but the flesh of the fruit and the spice of the barrel are delicious. Long and layered, this is impressive Cru Bourgeois, with great length and the sweetness inherent in the fruit persisting.
(2016) Lovely harmony here, fine oak character melting seamlessly into the fruit, with a little plum and balsamic note, but fresh and inviting. Great fruit sweetness on the mid-palate, a really pure cassis, delightful balance, the gentle spice of the barrel, dry, fine tannins and good cherry skin and plum skin grip and acid. Surely a good 10 years cellaring potential?
(2016) The first vintage fully vinified by Grand Chais after acquiring the property. Immediately refined, plenty of plushness, but a degree of elegance too. The fruit is lighter in the red and black fruit spectrum than the 2012, with a lovely agility on the palate, tight tannins - quite grippy at the moment - but good acidity and a penetrating freshness. This should also cellar another five years quite easily.