Bordeaux 2007 – 180 detailed tasting notes

Vintage overview

2007 was a very, very difficult vintage. The summer was cool and wet all through July and August, and although sunny weather finally arrived in September, it was too late for those estates who did not manage their vineyards well through the bad spell. The difference between the most and least successful châteaux this year is how much money and resources they could commit in the vineyards. A huge amount of effort was needed to go through the vineyard repeatedly, opening up the canopy to aerate the vines and avoid mildew, and remove every grape showing signs of rot. Cheval Blanc brought in less than 50% of its normal Merlot harvest for example, with a huge volume of sub-standard grapes removed during the wet summer months. Yields are down overall on 2006 – by 20% at Château Lafite for example.

The cool summer meant ripening was slow, but very early bud break in spring meant a long hang time was possible – of up to 130 days instead of a more normal 100 in some cases – so many wines are showing good ripeness and sweet fruit. There are a few that are slightly dilute and others showing a touch of greenness, and when this is allied with a lot of extraction, the result is wines that have an inkiness and insufficient fruit sweetness to be really well balanced. Many of the more successful wines in my opinion are ‘pretty’ rather than being big, long-lived wines.

How ‘recommendable’ these are, will depend largely on their price. It is a forward, sometimes charming vintage, with a lot of wines that are already quite delicious. This is not a vintage for the really long haul, but to write it off as a disaster would be totally wrong. Is there any need to rush out to place your en primeur order? Almost certainly not, as this vintage is one that will not be sending ‘must buy’ messages around the world. Almost everyone I meet (both press and wine trade) said the same thing “much better than I expected, but I won’t be buying any,” which I think sums it up. There are some genuinely lovely wines: no dilution, no over-extraction, sweet fruit, fine tannins and pretty good acidity, but with a handful of exceptions these are wines that should not command high prices.

My tasting notes follow. Scores come with the caveat that these are unfinished wines that still have a year or more in barrel ahead of them and I would like you to mentally bracket all scores by four point – so my score of 87 may well turn out to be 85 or 89, whilst a score of 92 may well be 90 or 94.

THE WINES

Pessac-Léognan Blanc

Château Haut-Brion Blanc 2007
(RB) More pungent, note of sweatiness, very fine. Full, mouth-filling, good grip and length, fine, warming finish. 91/100

Château Brown Blanc 2007
Very attractive, bright, quite tropical fruit with an Ogen melon fruitiness and some cool orchard fruit character. Just a touch of creaminess in the background. On the palate really juicy acidity, with refined, cool fruit that is quite intense, and lovely freshening acidity. 89/100

Château Carbonnieux Blanc 2007
Juicy, passionfruit nose with a lovely orange and gooseberry punch. The palate has very full, ripe fruit, but the picture is taut, with a nectarine sweetness offset by plenty of juicy citrus acidity. 90/100

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2007
Quite a full, waxy note here and intense, ripe nectarine skin fruitiness. Just a touch of orange too. On the palate very intense and quite mineral, with a vivid, pithy acidity too. Seems really quite structured and complex. 91/100

Château de Fieuzal Blanc 2007
Tight, quite reserved nose at this stage with quite an intense waxy white fruit. Palate has real juiciness, with a lovely combination of ripe, sweet peach and fleshy plum and a searing core of tangy tangerine fruit and acidity. Very tangy and juicy. 91/100

Château de France Blanc 2007
Passionfruit and gooseberry dominate here. Very fruit-driven, with the palate showing plenty of ripe, very juicy fruit. Acidity buts in rather suddenly, but the finish is quite tangy and reasonably long. 87/100

Château La Louvière Blanc 2007
Flooded with toasty oak at present, with ripe apple fruit beneath. The palate has very pure, intense fruit, with plenty of racy lemon acidity and a hint of minerality. Very oaky, but has balancing fruit and acid. 88/100

Château Latour-Martillac Blanc 2007
Nicely oaked, with plenty of sweet fruit playing against a creamy density, and a lemony note too. On the palate this has a huge core of acidity, with a lemon pith dryness sweeping through. That fruity tang is there in the finish, so very promising. 89/100

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion Blanc 2007
There’s a minty, humbug quality of oak showing at present, with a cool white fruit quality submerged. The palate has a powerful weight and concentration. The fruit is more waxy and intense, and a huge grapefruity core of acidity suggests a structured wine that needs time. 91/100

Château Laville Haut-Brion 2007
(RB) Rich, warming aromas of sweet oak, very pure. Dry, flavoursome, tight, lovely and crisp for Semillon-based wine (83%). Appetising. 90/100

Château Malartic-Lagravière Blanc 2007
Racy, zesty nose with some pungent, grassy qualities and passionfruit beneath. On the palate this is very juicy and concentrated, with a powerful core of skinny, waxy fruit and intense lemon pith acidity. 89/100

Château Olivier Blanc 2007
Intense, quite mineral nose, with a touch of pear and apple skin grip. On the palate a big grapefruity core to this wine, with a fleshier, peachier ripeness of fruit emerging on the mid palate. Finishes with lovely concentration and balance. 91/100

Château Pape Clément Blanc 2007
Hugely toasty nose, with a Jack Daniels whisky barrel note before intense white fruit emerges. On the palate there is plenty of acidity here, with a pithy lemon character and an apple crunch. This has plenty of concentration and power and real length. 91/100

Château Pontac Monplaisir Blanc 2007
Quite subdued, but a sense of concentration. On the palate an orangy tang of citrus, and lemony acidity. Nice balance here, and quite a pure, linear style. 87/100

Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2007
Lots of toasty, nutty oak. Melon and juicy ripe pear beneath. A refined little floral note develops. This is powerful, with a grippy, waxy intensity on the palate, with a composed, serious quality and an intensity in its long, tangy, mineral finish. 91/100

Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2006
Pretty powerful smoky, honeyed oak nose, before powerful, grippy fruit. The palate has power and intensity, with a lot of grip and intensity. 89/100

Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2005
Plenty of powerful, rich, buttery fruit and creamy oak, with ripe, full orchard fruit. There’s a minty quality, and very powerful character on the palate, with lower acidity, though there’s a nice orangy quality. Ripe and generous, this is much more approachable than the 2006 at this stage, but lacks some of the crispness and raciness of the 2007. 90/100

Pessac-Léognan Rouge

La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion 2007
(RB) Plush, blackberry, savoury, note of creaminess. Black olives. Touch lean on palate, but very clean fruit. Some greenness and hardness to tannins. Firm, refreshing. Tight. 87/100

Château La Mission Haut Brion 2007
(RB) Bright fruit, really lush and expressive, very confident. Good mouthfeel, bright, vivid fruit, more substance than most, whilst retaining structure. Fine finish. Excellent, without being overexciting. 89/100

La Clarence de Haut-Brion 2007
(RB)This is the new name for the second wine of Haut-Brion, replacing Bahans from the 2007 vintage – as Prince Robert of Luxembourg said, not even the French, could pronounce ‘Bahans’. Intriguing, already a leafy note, otherwise quite closed. Good sweetness of fruit and flavour, but note of bitterness to the tannins. 88/100

Château Haut-Brion 2007
(RB) Fine, scented, almost floral, some raspberry notes, faintly reminiscent of Burgundy. Lots of fruit and substance, serious tannins, definitely the structure to keep and improve. Very bright fruit, long. 93/100

Château Brown 2007
Quite earthy and leathery, perhaps very slightly rustic, but this has real character. There’s a robust fruitiness, and on the palate a combination of cedary, quite robust tannins with powerful, quite sinewy fruit and acidity is mouthfilling and rich. Good balance here. 88/100

Château Carbonnieux 2007
Quite an intense red fruit character here, with an almost kirsch-like cherry brightness. The palate has dry, quite rustic tannins, with a leathery grip. Fruit is good, and length moderate. 88/100

Domaine de Chevalier 2007
Quite forward, gamy nose, with solid, sweet black fruit. The palate has a silky weight, with quite a refined tannin structure. Quite dark, juicy plum and cherry skin fruit. Good quality. 89/100

Château de Fieuzal 2007
50/50 blend cabernet and merlot, with a big, opulent nose, showing plenty of minty, charry new oak and bright blackcurrant fruit. The palate has intensity and a certain suave richness quite perfumed and refined. 89/100

Château de France 2007
Very pretty fruit here, with blackcurrant and cherry clarity. The palate is fairly lean and sinewy, but I like the racy freshness and the balance of this. 89/100

Château Haut-Bailly 2007
Lovely meaty fruit, with very nice bramble and black berry fruit. There’s an earthiness and richness here, with the mid palate maintaining that rich fruit quality. There’s real backbone here, but supple, with spice and grip, and some length. 91/100

Château Haut-Bailly 2006
This has a lovely plummy and gamy character with some reduction from recent bottling, but a purity and silkiness of fruit comes through. There is beautiful, pure fruit here. Very firm and dense on the finish, with a certain silkiness. 91/100

Château Haut-Bailly 2003
Massively ripe and sweet nose, with masses of black fruit like plump damson plums and blackcurrant. This is so plump and alluring, yet there is a real structure too, with a touch of liquorice and lovely tannin structure with no lack of acidity. Forward and easy, but has structure. 92/100

Château Haut-Bailly 2002
Lovely nose, with plenty of game and truffle, and a perfumed richness. There is really nice black fruit, and the palate has a delicious intensity and richness. 91/100

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion 2007
A touch of charcoally minerality here, and refined, ripe black fruit beneath. The palate is a little on the dry side. 87/100

Château Latour-Martillac 2007
Nice fruit here, quite fresh and with a certain dusty blackness. The palate has a racy character, with tight, linear tannin structure and some real elegance. 89/100

Château Malartic-Lagravière 2007
Bright, lipsticky dry fruitiness. Nicely bright cherry character. On the palate very pure too, with a tight, focused quality and very tight tannic structure. Lovely stuff with good length. 90/100

Château Olivier 2007
Slightly gamy character and a touch reduced, with rounded plummy fruit coming through. The palate has taut, creamy tannins that are ripe but grippy, and the finish has a nice energy about it. 90/100

Château Pape Clément 2007
Like the white, hugely charry and dominant oak at this stage, with toast and coffee to the fore. On the palate real fruit sweetness, with the supple, fine tannins pushing through and very nice balance and harmony. Big and showy, but very good. 91/100

Château Smith Haut-Lafitte 2007
Big, meaty nose with plenty of toast and creamy depth, and a nice gamy perfume complementing black fruit. On the palate there’s a grippy edge to this, with roasted meats and plum, though a fine cherry acidity and good tannin structure adds elegance and tension. 90/100

Château Smith Haut-Lafitte 2006
Very gamy, animal perfume, perhaps a touch of Brettanomyces, but sweet, ripe black fruit beneath. There is very good fruit on the palate with a tangy juiciness and racy black cherry finish. Tangy and crisp, with a lithe tannin structure. 91/100

Pauillac

Carruades de Lafite 2007
Sensuous, glossy, ripe berry fruit. Lovely fruit quality on the palate with very silky tannins. Beautiful purity and cherry skin acidity as well as fine, powerful but ripe tannins. 91/100

Château Lafite 2007
Deep, very dark and blue/black fruit quality. A veneer of oak and just a hint of olive and resin. On the palate this has a swinging, tightly-wound core of very serious and structural tannin, though the tannins are ripe and smooth. There is dramatic intensity here, with hints of mocha and liquorice. Quite profound. 94/100

Pauillac (de Château Latour) 2007
Gentle, nice fruit, blackberry. Gentle, softish tannins too, classy but lacking some flesh. 85/100

Les Forts de Latour
More concentration, spice, vinous. Good depth, graininess to tannins, plenty of acidity. Tight and rather lean. 87/100

Château Latour
Sweet, smells assured and fruit forward. Less sweetness of fruit on palate than expected, but plenty of structure, fine grainy tannins. Dense and brooding at this stage, but this sample is not showing a great deal of middle. 91/100

Château Batailley 2007
Vinous, gently earthy nose, with berry fruits and sweet oak in the background. Silky palate, with that red plum fruit quality, and very harmonious. Dries slightly in the finish. 88/100

Château d’Armailhac 2007
Quite solid, plum and blackcurrant fruit, with very nice fruit sweetness. Tannins are ripe and silky, but there is a spicy, powerful edge to them. Fruit is good, and finishes long and spicy. 89/100

Château Duhart-Milon 2007
Quite high-toned, almost minty black fruit. Refined oak quality. Some coffee in the background. The palate has a really juicy quality, with some orangy acidity and a cherry skin bite. I feel this lacks a little charm, but has structure and grip. 88/100

Château Clerc-Milon 2007
Nicely harmonious, creamy black fruit with a suggestion of coffee and the sweetness of the fruit coming through very nicely on the palate. Lovely stylish stuff. 90/100

Château Croizet-Bages 2007
There’s a nice perfume here, and a little floral lift to elegant black cherry fruit. Juicy on the palate, the fruit here is really very nice – more towards cherry and raspberry, but really lively and energetic, with svelte, quite chocolaty tannins adding weight and spicy structure. 90/100.

Château Grand Puy Ducasse 2007
Slightly reduced, but a nice ref fruit plummyness comes through. The fruit is bright and sweet on the palate, and the tannins, though liquoricy and grippy, have a suppleness. Good acidity, and broadening into spice in the finish. 90/100

Château Haut-Bages-Liberal 2007
Intense, fragrant, with a hint of minerality. Cedary too. On the palate there is lovely sweetness that comes through, with racy, fine tannins and good balance. Not as big as some, but charming. 89/100

Château Lynch-Bages 2007
Deep, quite coffeed and charry nose of svelte black fruit and just a hint of something herbal and cedary. On the palate this has a lovely balance of juicy freshness with crisp tannins, and a hint of weight and chocolate. 92/100

Château Lynch-Moussas 2007
Slightly subdued, earthy nose. Fruit less intense and vivid than some. On the palate the fruit does have a keen blackcurrant freshness, and the juicy tannins add to a crisp, lively appeal, but perhaps not showing the harmony of some. 87/100

Château Pichon-Baron 2007
There’s a very classy layer of cedary oak here, with pure, ripe black fruit and just a hint of grilled meat. On the palate lovely concentration, with a polished, pure core of black fruit and very supple, suave tannins. Acidity is bright and adds length and definition. 92/100

Château Pontet-Canet 2007
Plenty of creamy, slightly resinous new oak is a touch raw at present, with tightly-wound black fruit behind. Is it just a touch green too? On the palate the fruit is ripe and expansive, and just the merest olive touch is in there. Racy and refined tannins, and good length. 88/100

St-Julien

Clos du Marquis 2007
Very refined, intense and pure black fruit, with a cassis quality and a softly creamy, warming earthiness. The palate has a lovely crisp freshness, with juicy plum and blackcurrant skin grip, and a racy finish which is dry but has good, savoury balance. 88/100

Château Léoville-Las-Cases 2007
This has immediate concentration and a sense of finesse, with a blue-black density to the fruit and a layering of sweet oak. The ripeness and sweetness of fruit comes through powerfully on the palate, with a really silky texture and intensity. Lovely tannins and very and juicy in the finish. 92/100

Château Léoville-Las-Cases 2006
Lovely sweet cedar and cassis quality, with lots of intense blue/black fruit and great concentration. Lots of spice and liquoricy depth on the palate, but svelte too, with fine tannins and a kirsch-like, tight character. A more powerful and tightly-wound wine, with the 2007 more open and flattering. 93/100

Château Beychevelle 2007
Nice black fruit purity. A touch of coffee and a little violet fragrance. Very juicy, tight, blackcurranty fruit on the palate with a certain lithe, juicy svelteness. The tannins are refined and ripe, with some spice in the finish. 90/100

Château Branaire-Ducru 2007
Little exotic incense and spice notes over tight black fruit. On the palate that juiciness again, with a squirt of tart cherry acidity and a pure seam of blackcurrant. Tannins here are silky, though maybe doesn’t quite have the charm of Beychevelle at this stage. 89/100

Château Gruaud-Larose 2007
More oak here, with toast and char, and trademark gamy, slightly sauvage quality as well as copious black fruit. Oak is quite powerful and resinous on the palate, but that juicy fruit core powers through. Good energy here, and through it lacks a little polish quite complex and expressive. 90/100

Château Lagrange 2007
Quite earthy, quite rounded character with smoky notes over black berry fruits. There’s a little hint of something meaty. On the palate quite silky and mouth-filling, with ripe tannins and good acidity, and a nicely rounded, harmonious wine. 90/100

Château Langoa-Barton 2007
Quite a lot of creamy new oak and a touch of resinous quality. Deep-set, rich black fruit, with Fine, ripe, supple tannin structure. Becomes quite creamy and opulent into a long, pure finish. 92/100

Château Léoville-Barton 2007
There’s a suggestion of minerality and earthy terroir here, and lots of pencil-shaving and blackcurrant finesse. On the palate copious, sweet, rich chocolate-tinged fruit with silky but grippy tannins and fine balance. 94/100

Château Léoville-Poyferré 2007
Quite gamy and animal, with a meaty fruit character intense black fruit and nice perfume. On the palate there is a lovely fruit-powered density here, with tannins perhaps a touch more dry than some, but sweet fruit and powerful concentration. 90/100

Château Talbot 2007
Lovely, sweet, pure cassis fruit. Delightful little cedary notes, but very focused on pretty black fruit. Rich, liquorice and black cherry tannin and acidity, with that seam of dusty, pure black fruit persisting. 89/100

Margaux

by Richard Bampfield MW Some good, but not outstanding wines. If Margaux stands for lightness, freshness, perfume and harmony, then this is a pretty decent Margaux vintage.

Alter Ego de Château Palmer 2007
Fine cassis aromas. Good flesh, soft tannins, but quite short and not as clean as normal. Light, refreshing, soft acidity, needs to develop, will make good drinking. 86/100

Château Palmer 2007
Perfumed, but gently so, black cherry, ripe, quite tight. Fine fruit and sweetness on front of palate, good grip, fine and harmonious in a lighter style. 89/100

Pavillon Rouge de Château Margaux 2007
Really aromatic, perfumed. Primary aromas, reminiscent of chais at vintage time, note of green pepper, fine. Sweet, supple, very charming and pleasing. Tannins and acidity appear soft. Most attractive. 89/100

Château Margaux 2007
Intense, ripe, cassis, somehow rather impenetrable at first, but opens out well. Plenty of fruit sweetness, moderate tannins. Not a blockbuster, perfectly in tune with the vintage and the Margaux terroir, very fine. 93/100

Château Brane Cantenac 2007
Some good fruit, but some pretty chunky tannins too. 86/100

Château du Tertre 2007
Lovely texture, soft acidity, delightful, early drinking. 89/100

Château Durfort-Vivens 2007
Crisp, crunchy, refreshing, rounded, very good. 89/100

Château Giscours 2007
Bold, serious, firm tannins. 87/100

Château Lascombes 2007
Plenty there, but this sample was a bit too heavy on the oak. 87/100

Château Malescot St Exupery 2007
Lovely balance, harmony. 89/100

Château Rauzan-Gassies 2007
Lacks the purity of the best, but lovely flavour and balance. 88/100 Château Rauzan-Ségla 2007
Assured, fine, lovely fruit texture, sympathetic oak, excellent. 90/100

St-Estèphe

La Dame de Montrose 2007
Cabernet Sauvignon 68%, Merlot 32%. 15% new barrels. Dark, meaty and earthy character with sinewy black fruit. On the palate quite juicy, but tending towards a dry, slightly inky extraction. Has sweet fruit there though, though maybe slightly harsh on the finish. 87/100

Château Montrose 2007
Cabernet Sauvignon 64%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 5%, Petit Verdot 1%. 60% new barrels. Deep, powerful, plum and spice nose with notes of dark soy and a background of charry toast. Lovely sweetness to the fruit on the palate, with those big tannins coating the mouth, but they are quite silky and the ripeness and richness is there. 93/100

Château Cos Labory 2007
Ripe, rich, red plum and cherry fruit, with a layer of sweet, creamy oak. On the palate very racy and tight, with that plumskin, grippy tannin and more of that lively red fruit quality. Lovely. 89/100

Château Lafon – Rochet 2007
Lovely suggestion of depth and layered complexity here with blackcurrant, coffee and a hint of soy. On the palate lovely fruit sweetness, with attractive, racy tannins, that are grippy but fine. Good balance here, and a juicy energy. 90/100

Château Ormes De Pez 2007
Composed, tight, harmonious character with good berry fruit and a certain elegant restraint. I like the juicy, cherry skin tang of fruit and acidity on the palate too, in a lighter, but savoury and delicious style. 89/100

Château Phélan Ségur 2007
Nice sense of fatness to the rich black fruit. Subtle, smoky cedar behind. Quite grippy, with tight, grainy tannins and a very juicy fruit quality. Not big wine, and fairly straightforward, but lovely. 89/100

Tronquoy de Sainte-Anne 2007
33% of production, 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot. Vinous, pure black fruit nose. A tiny note of game. The fruit on the palate is sweet, though the tannins are dry and quite chewy. Bright, with good acidity and a very solid, supple structure. 88/100

Tronquoy-Lalande 2007
Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, merlot 58%, Petit Verdot 12%. More spice and more earthy, cedary quality. Deep, dark, with soy and beef-stock notes and plenty of muscular black fruit. Palate is robust and mouth-filling, but very nice structure and plumpness of black fruit. Ripe and sweet tannins and very harmonious. 90/100

Saint-Emilion

Chapelle d’Ausone 2007
Very reduced, but with vigorous shaking begins to reveal deep-set, quite muscular black fruit. The palate is firm but a really chocolaty depth begins to assert, with sumptuous tannins that are rich and creamy, and very nice, bright fruit and acidity. 90/100

Chateau Ausone 2007
Very kirsch-like, floral lift here, with racy, refined blue-black fruit. An intense mulberry ripeness, all supported by a creamy oak quality. The palate has a lovely red fruit brightness married to a deeper, plummier character that comes through in the plush, silky tannins. 95/100

Le Petit Cheval 2007
70% cabernet franc and 30% merlot much more merlot than usual with only 45% surviving. Nice cab Franc dustiness and black fruit freshness. The fruit is lovely, with real blue/black refinement and a chocolaty ripeness to the tannins. Delicious stuff, perhaps slightly leaner than usual, but finishing with enough pure black fruit, coffee and spice. 91/100

Château Cheval Blanc 2007
55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot, which is typical. Real blue-black fruit intensity with some dustiness again, and stylish mineral and gravel notes. On the palate this has lovely flesh and silkiness, but it is a fairly tight, juicy wine with real energy and finesse. A beautiful wine. 95/100

Château l’Arrosee 2007
Lovely sense of richness and roundness here, with an undertow of coffee and plum, and a nice sense of depth. The palate has a similar concentration without over extraction – lovely silky weight and structure into a long, spicy finish. 91/100

Château Angélus 2007
Big, powerful, meaty but complex nose. On the palate there is lots of coffeeish oak and obvious extraction, but there’s a lovely energy too, with some fine red fruit and hints of juicy, plummy acidity keep 92/100

Château Balestard La Tonnelle 2007
Warming, tobacco and slightly leafy quality, refined with red fruits, but stays quite herbal and leafy on the palate, with a certain austerity and dustiness. 88/100

Château Beau-Séjour Becot 2007
Refined, quite plump black fruit nose. Quite silky on the palate, with smooth tannins and a red plum bite. Quite a spicy finish, in a wine that perhaps lacks a touch of breadth and plumpness, but has style. 89/100

Chateau Belair 2007
Really sweet, bright, focused and charming fruit here with a certain lift. Cherry and kirsch fruit to the fore and an exotic spice. On the palate a rounding vanillin note, with chewy, dense tannins, but some flesh. 89/100

Château Belfont-Belcier 2007
Very nice, quite voluptuous and attractive nose, with plenty of creamy, ripe fruit and a sheen of silky oak. The palate has a fine, glossy ripeness, with chewy, thick tannins, but there is depth and meaty structure here. 90/100

Château Berliquet 2007
Vinous nose, with some taut, firm, slightly lipsticky character. On the palate this seems quite pure and racy. There is a tight, refined, very pure fruit quality. It is a touch dry in the finish, but attractive. 88/100

Château Cadet-Piola 2007
Nicely fragrant, racy red fruit. Lots of exotic incense notes are appealing. On the palate the fruit drives this one, with a soft, voluptuous silky character and fine sweetness to the fruit. A decent structure too. 90/100

Château Canon-La-Gaffelière 2007
Beautifully ripe, plush, flattering nose with quite fat Dense and smoky fruit. There’s a huge whack of toasty, charry oak on the palate, that rather dominates and dries this sample. There is acidity and a depth of sweet fruit there, but difficult to assess ultimate balance here. 90/100

Château Cap de Mourlin 2007
Quite ripe, black fruit dominated nose wit a touch of soy and savoury character. The palate has a racy, tight tannin and acid structure, but seems a fairly big wine, with some sinewy, powerful structure. 89/100

Château Chauvin 2007
Slightly lipsticky quality, with leafy cherry fruit. The palate has a slightly inky dryness and plenty of extract, but the sweet fruit comes through and balance is good overall. 88/100

Chateau Fonbel 2007
Slightly schisty, mineral nose with tight, racy black fruit. Very nice red fruit, with a juicy plum freshness, and a mouth-watering juicy acidity. 89/100

Clos Fourtet 2007
Vinous, with black fruits and some charry oak, and a certain silkiness. On the palate has quite a firm edge of grippy tannin, but its juicy too, with black plum and blackcurranty skin tang and juiciness. Some espresso starts to fill in, and becomes quite tangy and mouth-watering. 90/100

Clos des Jacobins 2007
Plenty of oak here, with a big vanillin nose, and quite deep, dusty fruit. The palate is a touch blunt, with rich black cherry fruit and a meaty presence, but rather short. 87/100

Clos St Martin 2007
There’s a leafy cherry and slightly inky quality here, with the palate also a touch austere, with fairly bright! High-toned fruit, but lacking a touch of flesh and warmth. 86/100

Château Dassault 2007
There’s more warmth and a plummy red fruit quality here, with a touch of spice and toast. On the palate bright, fairly high-toned fruit, and has a little more depth and racy structure to carry it. 87/100

Château Figeac 2007
Slightly odd cheesiness here which must be a dominating oak quality I think, with the fruit beginning to emerge. The palate has a lovely structure though, with firm, but ripe tannins and the intense black fruit coming through powerfully quite elegant in the end, though that odd aroma detracts from this sample. 89/100

Château Fleur Cardinale 2007
Immediately harmonious, with a certain cedar and incense exotic quality, but integrated, ripe berry fruit and a touch of plum. The palate has a dry, savoury, slightly meaty character, but nice balance and some length here. 89/100

Château Fonplelgade 2007
Big, fruity nose but with plenty of vanillin oak too and touches of coffee and cream. The palate has a slightly dry inkiness. 87/100

Château Fonroque 2007
Biodynamic estate. Gorgeous perfume here, with an animal, gamy note but also great purity. Voluptuous and soft on the palate, the concentration is there, but all wrapped in cedary, tobacco velvet character. Not huge length, but fruit sweetness. 89/100

Château Franc Mayne 2007
Quite deep and sinuous, with a certain perfume too. On the palate this has lovely decisiveness, with a striking, high-toned but concentrated and deep fruit. Decent tannin structure too, with harmony and length. 90/100

Château Grand Corbin 2007
Quite bright, with a slightly lipsticky note. Cherry fruit comes through. On the palate neat and tidy, with a slightly dry, short finish, with tannins taking hold over fruit. 86/100

Château Grand Corbin-Despagne 2007
Nice, crisp, lively cherry and blackcurrant fruit is the initial impression here, with a refined, cedary oak quality and touch of plump, plummy quality coming through. Nice on the palate too, as it fills in with plenty of ripe fruit, and a spicy tannic structure that gives it breadth and depth. Very good. 89/100

Château Grandes-Murailles 2007
Lightly leafy, perhaps a touch lean, and follows onto the palate with a similar lean structure that really doesn’t have enough flesh or sweetness of fruit. 86/100

Château La Couspaude 2007
Quite a sulphury, gunflint note, with some real minerality. The palate has ripe, full, slightly bloody fruit, but with rich, chocolaty tannins. Still, there’s something not quite convincing here. 86/100

Château La Dominique 2007
Lots of perfume and gamy animal quality here, but clean and fresh. The palate is lacking a bit of fruit sweetness at this stage, with snappy, decisive tannins and really quite a nice savoury structure, in a less fruity but still elegant and structured style. 89/100

Château La Gaffelière 2007
Very creamy, silky, with rich, chocolaty fruit and oak quality. The palate has a lovely edge of liquorice to it and plenty of charm, with deliciously plump fruit and a juicy, sour cherry acidity. Harmonious. 90/100

La Serre 2007
Very pure fruit here, with a cherry and red plum juiciness and a firm backbone of racy tannin. Not huge length here, but packed with fruit, spice and richness. 87/100

La Tour du Pin 2007
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. Refined, exotic incense oak. Quite tight, quite racy, with firm, supple tannins, perhaps missing a touch of mid palate flesh, but balanced and lovely. 89/100

Château La Tour Figeac 2007
Compact, pretty, very composed and elegant nose, with red fruits and nicely handled oak. The palate has plenty of savoury, meaty character with a chewy. Structure and supple, savoury fruit. Spicy and long, this is very good. 90/100

Chateau Lafleur-Gazin 2007
Very smooth, chocolaty, ripe plum and coffee nose with well integrated oak and lots of fruit sweetness. On the palate fleshy and ripe, but plenty of structure here with firm, supple tannins and a core of sour orange and cherry acidity. Lovely freshness and depth. 92/100

Château Larcis-Ducasse 2007
Quite a bright, creamy fruit nose with plenty of slick, black cherry. The palate has a drying tannin quality, that is just a touch inky. That liquoricy, plumskin grip is emphasised by the extraction and relatively high spice of the oak, in a wine that is packed with character and flavour, but lacks the harmony of some. 89/100

Château Laroze 2007
Nicely creamy red berry fruit. Warm, ripe character with nice tobacco layers. Good palate weight and nice acid and tannin balance. Long and tangy. 89/100

Chateau Lucia 2007
Bright cherry fruit, quite aromatic with a little floral note. Some deeper, smoky oak notes are layered beneath. The palate has more charm than some here, with a juicy sweet-fruited character and warming depth beneath. 90/100

Chateau Magdeleine 2007
An extra layer of cedary, smoky oak here over dense, layered red fruit. The palate is quite firm, with really grippy, dry tannins. There is a juiciness to the fruit, and the rich spice of the oak and a certain plummy depth emerges. A fairly hard and uncompromising structure here, but one to watch. 89/100

Château Moulin du Cadet 2007
Vinous nose, with red fruits and a deal of vanilla and cream. Slightly flat on the palate, with the fruit rather weak, slightly dilute on the mid palate. Quite a nice structure behind, but seems to be based more on spicy oak and tannin. 86/100

Moulin St Georges 2007
Much more sinewy, deep black fruit character. A touch of silky. Fleshy black plum, with delicious hint of coffee. Quite rich and deep, lovely weight. Broad, sweet and impressive. 90/100

Château Pavie-Macquin 2007
Creamy, opulent nose, with a rich, ripe glossy black fruit seductiveness. On the palate this has wonderful fruit: really ripe, velvety and mouth-filling, with coffee and vanilla adding plump weight, and a firm edge to very chocolaty tannins. Good acidity to balance makes this a very appealing and one of the most delicious drinking wines of the vintage. 91/100

Chateau Plince 2007
Tiny hint of resinous, maybe very slightly green note with plenty of new oak and firm, juicy black fruit. On the palate a roughening, plum skin depth of tannin, but hints of coffee and chocolate add spicy depth. Mouth-filling and ripe, this has flesh and approachable, spicy style. 89/100

Château Rol Valentin 2007
Pretty, ripe, juicy black cherry. A touch of blueberry gloss and some smoky oak beneath. On the palate this has a certain inkiness again, with quite lithe, fine tannins, but the fruit is perhaps just slightly submerged and the finish a touch drying at this early stage. 89/100

Château Simard 2007
Intense, quite earthy nose with a touch of charcoal and rich black fruit. Black fruit sweetness comes through on the palate nicely, with quite a silky, seductive finish. 89/100

Château Troplong Mondot 2007
Quite a refined, elegant black fruit nose, hinting at a tight, muscular density. On the palate deeply set, with firm, liquoricy tannins and plenty of coffeeish oak and dark, plummy fruit. This is another very big, powerful wine, but I find some charm here too. 92/100

Château Trottevieille 2007
A little more light and shade about this aromatically compared to some. There is a touch of espresso and game, as well as solid black fruit. On the palate really quite juicy, with a firm, liquorice edge to black plum, but some little mineral and cherry juiciness too. Quite serious and a touch severe perhaps, but classy. 91/100

Pomerol

Château Pétrus 2007
Pétrus adds a fascinating gravel and very gently meaty edge to powerful black fruit. There is terrific concentration and intensity here. On the palate this has a very composed, harmonious but grippy character, with extremely taut tannins and acidity, and the fruit tightly-packed and layered. Not so giving as the Trotanoy, but has obvious gravitas. 95/100

Chateau Trotanoy 2007
Similar concentration to the Certan, with that kirsch-like, tightly-wound fruit suppleness and taut quality. On the palate there’s a sudden flood of fruit sweetness, with the rich cassis and juicy plum depth flooding across the palate, backed by a coffee and chocolate depth. Great length and suave, suede-like presence here. 95/100

Chateau Le Pin 2007
Big, rich coffeeish nose, with quite exotic, layered scents, and a deep seam of slightly gamy, but ripe, dense black fruit. There’s a touch of something floral too. The black fruit is very pure and very precise, with a beautifully delineated tannin and acidity. Not quite the imposing presence that is Pétrus, but simply beautiful wine. 95/100

Chateau Le Pin 2006
Absolutely beautiful fragrance, with extraordinary, haunting floral lift and very pure kirsch-touched pure black fruit. There’s a fantastic silkiness to the tannins and the refined blackcurrant fruit, with terrific energy and life about it. Lovely weight and balance of concentration and pure, silky finesse. 96/100

Chateau Bourgneuf-Vayron 2007
Quite a bright, dry, lipsticky red fruit character, with ripe fruit and a creamy oak underpinning. The palate has real juiciness, with firm, tight tannins and good cherry acidity. Crisp and elegant, but hinting at depth. 89/100

Chateau Certan 2007
Great concentration and intensity here, with bright fruit and integrated, firm, cedary character. On the palate very juicy and smooth, with plum and blackcurrant fruit giving lots of keen, powerful, tight flavours, matched by silky but firm tannic structure. Spicy, but always focused and tight. 91/100

Chateau Certan Marzelle 2007
Warming, vinous nose with vanilla and coffee. Quite plummy and deep. On the palate a lovely balance, with ripe, rounded fruit and a certain precision to the tannins and acidity. Lovely drinking already. 89/100

Château Beauregard 2007
Attractively coffeeish and chocolate oak notes, with plush, ripe bramble and blackberry fruit beneath. He palate suffers from a slightly drying oak tannin and extraction, though once again there does seem to be good fruit and balancing acidity. Juiciness does emerge. 90/100

Château Clinet 2007
Very elegant, rose petal note fleetingly, with rich black fruit and lovely suggestion of supple richness. The palate is juicy, with a liquoricy grip and plumskin fruit, and with fine oak integration and a bit of crispness, this is very appealing. 91/100

Château Gazin 2007
Lots of warming, toasty coffee aromas with rounded, creamy cassis fruit. The palate displays a lot of slightly raw oak at this stage, but there’s a really juicy cherry and red plum sweetness and tart acidity that freshens up the whole picture beautifully. 92/100

Chateau Hosanna 2007
Quite bright, ripe, glossy and high-toned red cherry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate has that dry, smooth, restrained quality, with very fine tannins and a juicy acidity that gives a crisp edge to the fruit. Layered character here, with an orangy quality and tightness to the structure. 91/100

Château La Cabanne 2007
Nicely fragrant, with exotic Sandalwood notes and some bright fruit aromatics. The palate has toasty and a rich, quite dusty quality, and as the drying tannins and toasty oak come through it is quite broad and warming, though perhaps lacks a touch of energy. 89/100 Château La Conseillante 2007
A little bit reductive, but some quite charming, bright red fruit comes through. Slightly lipsticky quality. On the palate much more pleasing. Quite bright, polished, perhaps lacks a touch of fleshy sweetness, but fine. 90/100

Château La Croix de Gay 2007
Very attractive, creamy red fruit. Quite a plush, silky chocolate character. On the palate a very juicy character, a touch of dry, lipsticky extraction, and perhaps not quite the fruit I’d want to see, but the taut, spicy finish starts to show a little fruit sweetness through the sheen of tough tannins. 88/100

Chateau La Grave a Pomerol 2007
Quite a lot of vanillin new oak, with very nice black fruit and a firm, kirsch-like brightness. On the palate this is very drinkable, with pepper and spice, and a rich core of black fruit. Good bit of structure too. 88/100

Château La Pointe 2007
The custardy oak is quite dominant in this early sample, with quite glossy fruit beneath. The palate has lovely refinement, with tight, quite dry and grippy tannins, but a nice orange and cherry skin juiciness and tartness. Quite charming, if in need of some time to shake off a tough tannic edge. 89/100

Chateau Lafleur Pétrus 2007
Firm, crisp, kirsch-like cherry fruit. There’s a very bright edge here, with a sense of refinement. The palate too is very tight, reserved and confident, with the structure and elegance all there, but tightly presented at this stage. 91/100

Chateau Latour a Pomerol 2007
Very nice red plum and ripe cherry fruit, and a seamless, refined oak background. The palate has a dry, but fine tannic grip, but again the rich, sweet concentration of plummy fruit is beautifully balanced. Lovely drinking again. 90/100

Fugue de Nenin 2007
Nice juicy red fruit on the nose, with a cherry and redcurrant character. Smooth, chocolaty tannins, nice depth and svelteness. Just a touch of spice roughening up the finish. 88/100

Château Nenin 2007
Really intense, fragrant red cherry and almost strawberry soft fruitiness. A more obvious layer of creamy oak. The palate has intense, smooth concentrated red fruits, with a lovely silkiness and long finish, with some freshness and bite keeping it sharp. 90/100

Château Petit-Village 2007
Quite a voluptuous nose, with a rich, thick black fruit quality. The palate has a lovely silkiness, with cassis and chocolaty black plum. Lovely sweet fruit and suppleness here and very attractive already. 91/100

Chateau Providence 2007
Much glossier, more vanilla and sweet, opulent fruit-laden than Lafleur Pétrus, with smooth, extremely silky tannins and a tight, but ripe and mouthfilling fruit quality. Very nice spice and chocolate depth, and very easy to drink. 91/100

Château Taillefer 2007
Nice liquoricy concentration with refined, crisp black fruit and very racy tannin structure. A nice coffeeish oak comes in, with nice life and energy here and has quite a pure fruity, blackcurrant at its core. 89/100

Sauternes

The Sauternes and Barsac tasting was one of the ones I unfortunately missed, though at Château Pichon-Baron I did taste on example:

Château Suduiraut 2007
92% Semillon, 8% Sauvignon Blanc, five passes through the vineyard, first two brought in dried berries, last three had Botrytis. 50% new barriques. Quite nutty and resinous at first, with some juicy nectarine. Honey starts to come through. Just an absolutely beautiful palate, with gorgeous weight and elegance, the Botrytis perfectly clean and opulent, the glace lemon and orange fruit bright and harmonious, and the acidity poised and fine. 94/100

Other Appellations

Demoiselles de Sociando-Mallet (Haut Médoc) 2007
Quite earthy and a touch leathery, with robust red fruit. The palate has a nice fruit ripeness with a touch of lipsticky dryness, but nice overall balance and there is a juiciness to the finish. 87/100

Château Sociando-Mallet (Haut Médoc) 2007
Very nice, bright fruit. A certain soy and gently gamy character. The palate has plenty of dry cherry fruit, and a certain tannic dryness, but the balance is good, with firm, grainy tannins and a fresh structure. Quite serious stuff in this forward vintage, but juicy and . 89/100

Château Preuillac (Médoc) 2007
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Plenty of resinous, powerful oak, chunky robust fruit. This has plenty of beef and big, dry tannins. Powerful and meaty on the palate too with a robust fruitiness and mouthfilling richness. 88/100

Chapelle de Potensac (Médoc) 2007
Quite ripe and rich, with vinous black fruits, and a hint of chocolate. The palate has plenty of punchy, quite earthy flavour, with a dry, roughening tannic grip. 86/100

Château Potensac (Médoc) 2007
Little hints of Sandalwood and aromatic spice, with quite a creamy black fruit quality. The palate has a real juiciness, with crisp tannins and juicy acidity with savoury, quite orangy fruit. 88/100

Château Haut-Canteloupe (Premières Côtes de Blaye) Blanc 2007
Beautifully aromatic, with lovely grassy and herbal sauvignon character, plenty of tropicality too, with lychee and mango. Fine, racy character in the mouth in a New World style, but beautifully done. 85/100

Château des Tourtes (Premières Côtes de Blaye) Blanc 2007
More subdues, but still with a nice tropical ripeness and juicy stone fruit character. On the palate plenty of raciness, but fruit doesn’t carry through with a slightly weak mid-palate. 83/100

Château Camail (Cadillac) 2007
Quite intense, slightly minty character, not much botrytis. Palate has lovely racy fruit, with a fine orangy tang cutting through a light layer of honey. Good acidity, and a pleasant, late harvest style. 86/100

Château Jonqueyres (Premières Côtes de Blaye) 2007
Very nice blackcurrant ripeness. Dense, firm black fruit with racy tannins. Big and mouth-coating, but has good fruit. 86/100

Château Reynon (Premières Côtes de Bordeaux) 2007
Nice dusty, quite full fruit. Some smokiness. Palate has decent fruit too, with plenty of savoury juiciness. 85/100

Château La Rame (Premières Côtes de Bordeaux) “la Charmile” 2007
Lots of oak here, with a slightly. Firm and perhaps over extracted palate, though fruit sweetness begins to come through. Inky, but has power and density for this vintage. 86/100

Château de Puyfromage (Côtes de Francs) 2007
Quite sulphury nose, a touch stalky. Has some good cab franc character (15%). Dry and savoury, with plenty of acidity, but perhaps just lacking a little flesh. 84/100

Château d’Aiguillhe (Côtes de Castillon) 2007
Owned by Stefan von Neippberg, very rich, dense black fruit, blackcurrant and plummy, smoky depth the palate has good concentration and extraction, but retains some life and vivacity. Perhaps verging on too much extraction here, but has good fruit too. 87/100

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