(2022) Part of a range called 'Gentle Riot' in Laithwaites, wines that are "not constrained by traditional winemaking techniques in order to provide a holistic approach to sustainable winemaking," and low SO2 to boot. It is in fact 100% merlot from the Right Bank of Bordeaux. Lots of plum, ripe cherry and plum fruit on the nose, just a hint of something leafy in the background, but very much fruit-driven. In the mouth it has undertones of tobacco and spices, but a surge of thick, sweet fruit powers through the mid-palate. With 14.5% alcohol it is a big-scaled wine this and not for the Bordeaux traditionalist, equally chunky tannins and juicy cherry acidity matching up to the fruit density and alcohol.
(2022) An inexpensive Bordeaux, not aged in barrel but spending 11 months in contact with wooden staves in tank, it is a blend of 60% merlot, 24% cabernet sauvignon and 16% petit verdot. With six years under its belt it has a touch of ruby warmth to the colour and a nose of red and black berry fruits. The palate is medium-bodied and the fruit quite savoury, acid a little prominent for me, though the oak treatment has softened the edges.
(2022) A Right Bank Bordeaux, two-thirds merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, aged 12 months in oak barrels, 20% new. Dark fruits and quite a meaty character, plum and leather dominate. The palate is firm with some chewy tannin, chalky and dry, but the fruit does have sweetness on the mid-palate. A little tobacco and dustiness in the well-balanced finish. Good value.
(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) From vineyards belonging to second growth Ducru-Beaucaillou, this 12-year-old St-Julien is just a touch dank on the nose, though a blackcurrant fruitiness does come through and builds surprising sweetness on the palate. It's a concentrated wine, the blue-black firmness of fruit running into polished oak and fine tannins, nice dry acidity too, in a wine that finishes well and after that lacklustre beginning, comes good in some style.
(2022) A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris and Semillon, aged in the lees. The wine is a blend of the three years, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Quite subtle aromatics, a touch creamy, but quite reserved. On the palate an interesting layering of ripe fruit, mint and butter, peachy and quite broad. Tropical and ripe palate, substantial weight and a very interesting take on white Bordeaux.
(2022) From limestone soils, the aromas are pert, firm and juicy, fresh and forward black fruits and some lifted florals and spices. The palate has lots of cherry and blackcurrant skin tang and cut, plenty of acidity and freshness here, a little bittersweet cocoa note, but very crunchy and fresh.
(2022) From an un-named 'extremely famous estate - the very top estate', this is a Cabernet-dominant blend, the product of a close relationship between Jean Marc Sauboua and the Château. "Wines that did not make the cut for the Grand Vin which they sell off after 10 months."  Very gentle and attractive, silky black fruits and fragrance, some floral nuances, real Margaux perfume here. Similarly elegant on the palate, a little underpinning of espresso to the silky fruits, and a composed, long finish of super-fine tannins and ripe and juicy black cherry acidity. A class act.
(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.
(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.