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Bordeaux 2001 - Part I

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This series of tasting reports starts with the Crus Bourgeois, presented at a huge tasting in Margaux, with over 200 members present. I concentrated on Châteaux I knew to be consistently good, and a few about which I was tipped-off as worth trying. Please note: I scored this group within its classification, not relative to the Grands Crus Classés which will follow in parts two to four. These are wines of a lower price and a lower classification and were treated as such. A 17-point wine here would not be expected to be as profound as a 17-point wine from the Grands Crus, which might well be four or five times the price.


Château Greysac
This has some quality on the nose, with a mineraly edge to decent fruit. It rather fades on the mid-palate, though a light, smoky quality of black fruit is attractive, this is in a rather lightweight style. 15/20.

Château La Cardonne
A little more flesh on this, and a little more refined, perfumed complexity. The tannins and acids are crisp, and this has some style and elegance. 16/20.

Château La Gorce
Very tight, crisp blackcurrant fruit. This is ripe and attractive. It doesn't quite follow though on the palate, but is well-balanced and quite good. 15/20.

Château Patache d'Aux
Nice round, vegetal and earthy quality, with plenty of fruit; autumnal berries and blackcurrant. It is soft and sweet, perhaps lacking a little structure, but delicious. 16-17/20.

Château Preuillac
Bright, pure, attractive fruit quality. Good fruit - very rich and substantial, with a red plum weight and crisp blackcurrant tartness and tannic edge. Good acidity and balance. 17/20.

Château Rollan de By
This has plenty of solid, sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate too is solid and pure, with good black fruit quality. Quite classy, with good length. 17/20.


Château Caronne Sainte Gemme
Pleasantly floral nose. Cherry and soft strawberry fruit. Silky mouthfeel, though quite rich, with powerful tannins that are powdery and dry. Dark, extracted, but good fruit quality. Might come together nicely, but for now 16/20.

Château Cissac
Inky, dark cherry and black fruit nose. Powerful. Big tannins on the palate and a dark, liquorice fruit. Deep and tightly-wound, this seems to have plenty of structure, but it is difficult to say how good the fruit is at this stage. 16-17/20.

Château Citran
Slightly lighter style, but still really rather closed on the nose. Tight tannins, quite smoky and attractive with a touch of oak showing. Fruit is moderate and maybe slightly lacking in the overall balance. 15-16/20.

Château Coufran
Adds a nice perfume of animal, bloody complexity. Good fruit. Quite plummy. Dense and structured palate, but again that yielding fruit quality and good ripeness. Delicious and potential to be very good indeed. 18/20.

Château d'Agassac
More lovely perfume here, with plenty of ripe fruit and some sweet earthiness. Quite a bright fruit quality on the palate with cassis and cherry. This is very pure and is very well balanced. 18/20.

Château de Lamarque
Good red fruit. Quite fresh, with a nice tobacco note. Very savoury red fruit suppleness. Dry, but good quality of fruit, medium body and some elegance. 17-18/20.

Château de Villegeorge
Sweet black fruit and even a little violet note on the nose; tight and blackcurranty. Pure and solidly packed with fruit on the palate, quite juicy and supple. Maybe not quite the refinement of some, but good. 17/20.

Château Hanteillan
I visited the delightfully dynamic Catherine Blasco at Hanteillan and will be posting notes on a mini-vertical tasting soon.

Château Lamothe Bergeron
Lovely nose on this; fine fruit quality that is very dense, dark and pure. Svelte and supple, there is plenty of juiciness about the fruit on the palate, tannins pushing through assertively. Very good indeed. 18/20.

Château Lamothe-Cissac
Rather more vegetal quality here; quite earthy and leafy, with red fruit. Plate is extracted and a bit dry, but there is some nice savoury depth and it has a lurking fruit. A touch too dry at present, but good. 16/20.

Château Larose-Trintaudon
Good black fruit; a little creamy depth. This is earthy and warm on the palate, but has decent fruit and a sense of harmony. 16/20.

Château Liversan
Bright, focused, blackcurranty fruit with a hint of minerality. Lovely fruit on the palate; terrific ripeness and solid, meaty structure. Already a little weight of toasty oak on the finish. 18/20.

Château Puy Castera
Nice bright quality of fruit; cassis and again a suggestion of minerality. Good quality of quite fat fruit, that is spicy and powerful, though clamped by big, dry tannins. 17/20.

Château Tour du Haut-Moulin
Bittersweet black cherry nose with a lovely freshness about the fruit. A little suggestion of bitter dark chocolate. Real concentration here, svelte black plum and good, sweet, ripe tannin underpinning. Lovely purity and focus. 18/20.


Château Fourcas Dupré
Immediate mineral and earthy quality, with a good back-up depth of black fruits. Quite liquoricy and powerful. Palate is a solid, with sweet black fruits packed into an extracted black plum and olive savouriness. Good length. Very good indeed. 18/20.

Château Fourcas Hosten
Much more earthy, vegetal, slightly animal nose; classic claret with a bloody edge to the fruit, which is more raspberry than blackcurrant. Nice fruit on the palate, with a raspberry tart cut against dry, gripping tannins. Quite elegant, but some tough structure beneath. 17-18/20.

Château Lestage
Dense, dark, glossy black fruit; cherry, blackcurrant and vanilla. Lots of sweetness here and a very silky, ripe black fruit quality on the palate. Massive tannins and obvious concentration, but balanced. Very good. 17/18.


Château Chasse-Spleen
Immediate quality of fruit evident; dense and tight, but a background of warmth and a hint of toastiness. Good ripeness. Classy, full, structured mouthful of fat, dark, black cherry and damson fruit. A very nicely made wine. 17-18/20.

Château Duplessis
Quite classy on the nose. There's a creamy, slightly cedary quality of blackcurrant fruit. The palate is medium-bodied and balanced, with a dusty quality of black fruits and quite elegant tannins. Long. Very good. 18/20.

Château Dutruch Grand Poujeaux
Tight, rather reserved nose. Refined, but a bit difficult at present. Nice quality of fruit on the palate, with a dark, savoury note of black olive and black cherry. Good length, and really quite nice. 16-17/20.

Château Poujeaux
Very appealing nose, with a mineral quality and juicy highlights of raspberry over solid, dense black fruit. Very tangy and savoury on the palate, with plum, cherry and sweet cassis. Long and well-balanced. 18/20.


Château d'Arsac
A cedary perfume here, over sweetish cassis fruit. Lovely silky sweetness of cherry and blackcurrant fruit on the palate - really ripe and fat, with an undercurrent of chocolaty tannins and good acidity. Very good. 17-18/20.

Château Labégorce
Light, floral hints here are attractive. Nice nose this, with lots of red fruits. Elegant onto the palate, with a ripe tannic framework to sweet, concentrated fruit. Very good 17-18/20.

Château Monbrison
Dark, glossy, good black fruit quality with lots of blackcurrant and sweet, ripe cherry. Fine sweetness carries through to the palate, with cassis and raspberry and a nice glimpse of espresso on the finish. Very fine. 18/20.

Château Siran
Another round, ripe, red berry and blackcurrant fruit-filled nose. Good quality of fruit in Margaux it seems. The palate is pure and sweet, with plenty of black fruit that are elegant with crisp tannins and nice acidity. Very good. 17-18/20.

Château Labégorce-Zédé
Classy this, with already a classic cedarwood element to creamy, sweet, not too extracted black fruit with hints of old roses and great elegance. Chewy, densely-packed fruit on the palate, with dry plum fruit, cherry skins and tight tannins. This has a lot of generosity and composure. Lovely. 19/20.

Château Tayac
Bright fruits. Pleasant, herbal, slightly vegetal nuances. That herbal quality continues on the palate, with plenty of cherryish fruit and a leafy element running through to the finish. Good tannins. 16/20.

Saint-Julien & Pauillac

Château du Glana, Saint-Julien
Little notes of coffee and crisp, smooth, blackcurrant fruit. Nice ripeness and elegant, pure cassis on the palate. A pleasant plumskin roughness through grippy tannins into a long, balanced finish. Very good 17-18/20.

Château Bellegrave, Pauillac
Raspberry and lighter, peppery red fruits. Silky palate with an earthy quality and really quite classy medium-bodied, structured appeal. Earthy but fresh. 17/20.


Château Coutelin-Merville
Red cherry and a touch of mineral, with cool, clean fruit on the nose and palate. Sweet and ripe, but freshened by crisp tannins and good acid levels. This is balanced with a bit of spicy depth and bite on the finish. Very good. 17-18/20.

Château de Pez
Moderate fruit on the nose, that is rather non-descript. On the palate it is more forward, but still rather one-dimensional with decent fruit quality and big, dry tannins. 15-16/20.

Château Haut-Marbuzet
Minerality, with bright red cherry and raspberry edge to the fruit. A definite ozone-like, mineral edge. This is medium-bodied, with good elegance and supple class. Sweet fruit has some richness, but it is medium weight and restrained. Very correct and classy. 18/20.

Château Lilian Ladouys
Earthy quality; lots of gravelly overtones and expensive coffee-bean oak. Quite plump fruit beneath. Ripe and medium/full, this has plumpness and charm, as well as good structure with fine tannins. 17-18/20.

Château Marbuzet
Clean, classy nose. Lots of pure black fruits and a little salty tang. Underpinned by a nice leathery, meaty quality. Lovely richness of fruit on the palate; blackcurrant, damson and a rounded texture. Good weight. very good. 18/20.

Château Meyney
Crunchy raspberry and mineral-edged fruit with unfolding depth of more animal, sauvage quality. really quite dense on the palate, this is rich and full though very tannic and dry. The fruit base is broad and powerful, with spice and grip. Very good 18/20.

Château Tour de Pez
A deep seam of tight, glossy, blue/black fruit. Very focused and pure. Solid, grippy, dense and thick fruit on the palate with a liquorice edge of extraction and a muscular character. Sinewy and powerful, but good ripe, spicy, powerful fruit too. Big and impressive of its style. 18/20.

Château Tronquoy-Lalande
Coffee and ripe, sweet, almost jammy raspberry and creamy red berry fruit. Very sweet, ripe and forward on the palate too, with again that big coffee-bean toastiness, good fruit and quite a flamboyant style - though perhaps just a touch down on complexity? Very nice though. 17/20.

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