(2015) We're over on the Right Bank now, just west of St Emilion, for this Merlot-dominated blend from vineyards that are more than 25 years old. It's another estate that I have followed over the years and the aromas of this saturated, youthful 2004 leap out of the glass: kirsch and graphite, a keenness to this, with some game and floral perfumes adding to the complexity. In the mouth so alert and juicy: some may prefer the solid plummy character of a wine like the Taillan, but for me this has all the elegance, fruit, balance and power that sometimes only Bordeaux can deliver in such an arresting package.
(2015) Co-founder of FVD, Esme Johnstone, owned Château de Sours for many years so no doubt it's his connection that let the company source remarkable 'de-classified' wines from top classed growth properties in Bordeaux. In this case it doesn't take a mastermind to work out that Ducru-Beaucaillou made the wine, and it is from a top vintage (Ducru is selling at £290 per bottle at time of writing). It is much the same and just as good as when I last tasted it several months ago: plush with cassis and ripe black plum, plenty of perfume and cedar. The framework of tannin and acidity really does show breeding, and the depth of fruit is both elegant and creamily ripe. And it has a few more years cellaring potential.
(2015) Terrific to have a fine red Bordeaux from a brilliant vintage that is beginning to drink beautifully. This 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot has a deep, saturated colour and the intrinsic fruit and balance of this great vintage is immediately captured: a touch of cedar and of gamy depth, but swirling smoke and black fruit too. On the palate it has a really fine, mouth-coating texture with icing sugar-soft tannins and a silkiness from its ripe acidity. Plush, with plum and blackcurrant, it really is hugely classy and a real treat to find a 2005 of this quality at an affordable price.
(2015) For its own-label Margaux BBR hasn't stinted by having 2nd Growth Brane-Cantenac make thier wine. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, the vines are 35 years old on average, and the wine opens aromatically with classic cassis fruit, delicate earthiness and some cedar, and genuine Margaux perfume with subtle floral and tobacco hints. In the mouth it is perfectly balanced. The 13% alcohol is moderate, and the wine walks a lovely line between a touch of Bordeaux austerity and dustiness, and a more exuberant fruit concentration, sweetness and density. Tannins are polished, acidity it precise, and this has good savoury length as an archetypal Claret for Christmas drinking, or cellaring for five years or more.
(2014) Since launch FromVineyardsDirect have used their extensive Bordeaux connections (co-founder Esme Johnson owned Château de Sours) to source these generic appellation wines from seriously top classed growth vineyards. They are coy about the sources, but part of the fun has always been trying to figure out who made the wines. In this case, a 'Super-Second' is credited, and those guessing Ducru-Beaucaillou stand as good a chance as any - if not better. From a top vintage it is dark and plush, the aromas of cassis and ripe black plum layered with cherry and kirsch perfume, cedar and earthiness. On the palate it is remarkably structured, a fine framework of tannin, ripe acids and that plush fruit depth all nicely balanced along with a touch of vanilla and toast. Long, serious and delicious claret, and will cellar for another decade surely?
(2014) The Pauillac comes from the 2012 vintage and "from the most famous 1st Growth in the appellation," which I will others to figure out. A blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot the nose is deep and lustrous, a sheen of quality oak and subtle fragrance of violet, ripe cassis and a touch of smoke and game. Complex and compelling, the palate has terrific sweetness of fruit; of course it is not as concentrated as a Lafite for example, but it has real intensity and a fine, long finish with refined tannins and a juicy black cherry acidity. This should cellar well for a decade also.
(2014) The Creaminess and fat of the fruit here is obvious, really sweet, ripe black fruits, edged with tobacco and spice, and that little lift of bloody, Margaux perfume. The palate has gorgeous fruit freshness, a real stripe of tight tannins and cherry and plum acidity, hints of chocolate richness, but it is the fruit concentration that drives this along. Delicious and long.
(2014) Declassified St-Julien (whisper it, it's from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou), this has an elegant fruit profile on the nose, with cassis and fresh cherry notes, a touch of cedar and smokiness adding authentic St Julien finesse. On the palate this is driven by the sweet ripeness of the fruit: small black berried juiciness and agility, with a warming underpinning of creamy oak and tobacco, and really nice, fine tannin and acid structure maintaining its juicy, medium-weight and refined character through to a long, poised finish.