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Bordeaux 2001 - Part II


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This is the second in a series of tasting reports, these 40 wines tasted on March 27th at Châteaux Lynch-Moussas in Pauillac, and du Tetre in Margaux. I thought the St-Juliens were pretty outstanding as a group, with some fine wines in Pauillac, and a very solid performance from St-Estèphe and Margaux. Once again, please mentally bracket any scores given by + or - 1, to make allowances for tasting these wines so young.

St-Estèphe

Château Cos-Labory, 5th growth
Quite elegant, with vanillin-wrapped black fruits, and although quite subdued there's a fine sense of purity. On the palate plenty of richness and silky texture, with a svelte chocolaty character. A lovely drink, though perhaps lacking a little complexity for now. 17/20.

Château Lafon-Rochet, 4th growth
Quite a savoury nose, with an autumnal berry fruit quality and some toasty notes. Plenty of jammy, fresh, sweet blackcurrant comes through. Very dry tannins on the palate, with plum-skin and blackcurrant fruit of good quality. Lovely balance really, with nice weight and a sense of freshness. 17-18/20.

Château Ormes de Pez, Cru Bourgeois
Good sense of quality, juicy, fresh fruitiness about this wine - quite floral with a touch of minerality. The palate has some almondy character and quite modest red fruit with a hint of spice. Juicy, fresh and elegant in a lighter style. 16/20.

Château Phélan-Ségur, Cru Bourgeois
Moderate nose. Nice quality and purity of fruit that is black and tightly-wrapped, with a touch of damson and blueberry depth. Tight, juicy quality on the palate too. Pure blackcurrant, with crisp tannins and good concentration. This is focused and positive, though maybe not quite the intrigue to merit a higher score at this stage, it is very good. 17/20.

St-Julien

Château Beychevelle, 4th growth
Lovely finesse here. The blackcurrant is fine and there's a little glimpse of lighter raspberry, then a note of darker plum and chocolate. Quite complex. Nice mouthfeel, though the tannins are clamping down, the fruit has nice quality. 17/20.

Château Branaire-Ducru, 4th growth
Quite deeply-seated blackcurrant; juicy and dark. Quite closed though, and the palate has a firm, liquoricy edge to the fruit and plenty of tannin. Bittersweetness here, with tart plum-skin. Concentrated and deep, but rather tough. 16-17/20.

Château Gruaud-Larose, 2nd growth
A light more light, perfume and complexity on the nose of this wine. Classic Gruaud-Larose hints of game and earthy, animal aromas. Ripe berry fruit. The palate has lovely quality and a tingling spiciness. Black fruits, developing a touch of cedar, and lovely balance and finesse. 18-19/20.

Château Lagrange, 3rd growth
Already fat with toasty, coffee-bean oak influence. Beneath is a lovely perfume of bright cassis and raspberry, with hints of violet and dark chocolate. Concentrated, rich palate, clamped by serious tannins, but big, sweet, svelte and spicy fruit pushes through. A bit of a blockbuster style, and very good. 18/20.

Château Langoa-Barton, 2nd growth
The nose has a little almondy note, with marzipan and sweet toffee - presumably oak influence. The fruit is a touch subdued, but the palate is quite broad and generous with a savoury quality. Juicy black fruit emerges with a plum and cherry-skin depth and a raft of broad tannins, but good balance and length. 18/20.

Château Léoville-Barton, 2nd growth
Very ripe, sweet and concentrated. Almond and a touch of mint. Lovely black cherry and cassis background. Cool and concentrated, classy black fruit palate. Gripping tannins; touches of spicy and earthy power. Very fine and long. 18/20.

Château Léoville-Poyferré, 2nd growth
Light, elegant, with violet and creamy, sweet cassis. Lovely purity here. The palate too is juicy and fresh with delightful, rich cassis and deeper plum juiciness. Fine concentration, but elegance with silky tannins and excellent structure. 18-19/20.

Château Talbot, 4th growth
This has a fine nose too, with a background of vanillin oak to quite earthy, toasty aromas. Bramble and juicy blackcurrant fruit. This is deep and concentrated, with broad fruit and fine quality. Lovely. 18/20.

Pauillac

Château Croizet-Bages, 5th growth
Soft and quite elegant. There is sweet raspberry fruit, and this is clearly lighter than many. Hints of sweet, floral nuances and a jammy ripeness. Plate is fresh and juicy, with lower extract and lighter tannins, but delicious for earlier drinking I'd have thought. Good purity of fruit. 16/20.

Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, 5th growth
Also more lightness here, and some finesse. A little vanillin note enriching cassis and berry fruit; rounded and creamy. Good weight on the palate, maybe lacks a touch of elegance with lip-smacking bittersweet fruit and concentation. Good though. 17/20.

Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, 5th growth
Classy, cool, quite subdued nose at present.Not giving much, but dig deep and the fruit is good. Palate has plenty of dusty, savoury, damson and blackcurrant wrapped in fine tannins. Good concentration, if a touch more monolithic than some. 17/20.

Château Lynch-Bages, 5th growth
Much more pure, focused, concentrated blackcurrant on the nose that is blackcurranty, creamy and svelte. Velvety and full on the nose. Lovely quality follows onto palate, where liquorice and minerals join cassis fruit. Very concentrated, but not as dryly extracted as some, with structure, spice and balance. Long too. 18-19/20.

Château Lynch-Moussas, 5th growth
Big, crunchy, bold blackcurrant nose of sweet cassis and bitter dark chocolate. Very attractive. Liquorice edge on the palate, and just a background of toasty oak, but loads of ripe, sweet balck fruit and fine quality. Lynch-Moussas continues a fine run of recent form. 17-18/20.

Château Pichon-Longueville (Baron), 2nd growth
Lovely nose of toast and espresso coffee-beans layered over warm, earthy fruit. There's a deep seam of chocolaty, rich black fruit as well as hints of minerals and a warming tobacco note. Gorgeous fruit on the palate; really sweet-edged and velvety. This has lovely finesse and balance, though it also has plenty of power and weight. 19/20.

Château Pontet-Canet, 5th growth
Lovely fruit. Terrific purity, sweetness, and expressive, harmonious cassis and ripe summer berries. Fine sense of fruit quality here, and elegant on the palate too. Maybe not the depth of the Pichon-Baron, but a terrific effort, with balance and no lack of substance. 18/20.

Margaux

Château d'Angludet, Cru Bourgeois
Warming, soft, gently attractive berry fruit. Quite clean and polished, with a good purity of fruit. The palate is very dry, with a mass of tannins weighing down on plummy, black chery and damson fruit. Nice fruit, but a little dry. 15-16/20.

Château Brane-Cantenac, 2nd growth
Quite reserved at first, but classy and appealing with black fruit and raspberry on the nose; quite bright aromatics, though it is rather closed. Fine, mouth-coating fruit quality with dark plum richness and really lovely quality. Good tannins, and this has structure as well as openness and warmth. 17-18/20.

Château Cantenac Brown, 3rd growth
Nice sweet perfume here, with fine, pure black fruits and a sense of minerality. Again, quite subdued and needs work to get at the fruit. The palate has good concentration. It is dark with plum and blueberry fruit. Quite tannic, and perhaps just a little too dry-extracted, but there is a good quality and otherwise it is balanced. 16-17/20.

Château Dauzac, 5th growth
A little more openness about this, with some gravelly quality on the nose and glimpses of sweet, lighter fruit; raspberry and cherry. Nice sweet purity. This has some elegance on the palate with good grip and a bit of finesse, as well as structure. 17/20.

Château du Tetre, 5th growth
Hints of coffee bean and toast. This is a more up-front style, with a pleasant animal quality that is atractive and quite alluring. Nice fruit on the palate. There's a lovely sense of sweetness about this, with ripe, silky texture and a rich mouthfeel. Though the oak is flattering, and this is definitely a rather more "international" style than some, this is also very good. 17/20.

Château Durfort Vivens, 2nd growth
Ceamy nose here. Quite elegant, with a little vanillin new oak and a touch of tobacco, but mostly creamy black fruit. The palate is cool and minty, with a little marzipan note, but mostly sweet, svelte black fruit. It is a little lacking in flesh and structure on the mid-palate. 16/20.

Château Ferrière, 3rd growth
Fairly modest nose. Quite compact berry and dark cherryish fruit, but rather subdued. There's a much more solid, deep seam of morello cherry that is tight and bittersweet. This is a little harsh perhaps; lacking a alittle breadth on the mid-palate, but it has structure and good fruit. 16/20.

Château Giscours, 3rd growth
Sweet, light, ozoney quality on the nose, over punchy sweet cherry fruit and a little creamy cassis. Rich palate that is silky-textured with quite plush fruit; lots of weight and ripeness, with a glossy quality. Moderate tannins, thought there's a sour cherry and plummy acidity. Tasty and very good. 17/20.

Château Kirwan, 3rd growth
Attractive sauvage perfume, with bloody, gamy notes before vanillin and very sweet cassis fruit. The palate is really very dry, with an almost inky extraction - all bitter plum and cherry skins at present. There is rather a tannic grip on the finish, and I'd need to be convinced the fruit is sufficient to cope. 15-16/20.

Château Labégorce, Cru Bourgeois
A wine I tasted twice: here and a tasting of Crus Bourgeois one day before. For completeness, I'll include both notes:

27/03: Lovely, elegant, sweet fruit on the nose; distinct creaminess, though partly this is a vanillin slick of oak, but the fruit quality is silky and deep. This has quite a big, chewy, extracted palate with grippy, dry tannins, but here the fruit is more dense and sweetly ripe, with good concentration and structure. 17-18/20.

26/03: 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 Lascombes, 2nd growth
Pure blackcurranty, cassis ripeness here. Terrifically creamy and pure, as well as being elegantly rounded-out by background creamy oak. There's a nice note of bitter dark cherry on the palate, with a more dense, thick tannic layer supporting deep fruit. Lovely depth and structure but beautifully balanced. 17-18/20.

Château Malescot-Saint-Exupéry, 3rd growth
Quite a rounded, ripe mulberry character here. Not singing as pure and sweetly as the Lascombes, but a fine fruit quality. The palate has thick, jammy black fruit and a dense plumminess. Good balance of tannins and acids. 17/20.

Château Marquis d'Alesme Becker, 3rd growth
There is a slightly soapy quality on the nose of this. It has good fruit beneath, and is quite rich, but the odd note on the nose is off-putting. Pretty good fruit and balance on the palate, but didn't grab me. 15/20.

Château Marquis-de-Terme, 4th growth
Bright minerally, cherry fruit. Ripe and juicy with cherry ans savoury, spicy blackcurrant. Fine, dry tannins but retains elegance and good balance. A little structure too. Good 16-17/20.

Château Monbrison, Cru Bourgeois
Another wine I also tasted at the Crus Bourgeois tasting on the 26th:

27/03: Some delicate charcoally and floral notes but solid fruit quality that is sweet and glossy. The palate shows lovely fruit too; very harmonious with cherry-skin grip, a nice little toasty oak note and a long finish. 17/20.

26/03: 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 Prieuré-Lichine, 4th growth
There's a sweet cherry ripeness on the nose here, and again a little hint of super-ripe mint and violet. Very concentrated palate - maybe a touch too extracted - with mouth-puckering tannins, yet the fruit is persistant and good. 16-17/20.

Château Rausan-Gassies, 2nd growth
Quite a deep, glossy, pure quality of blackcurrant and tight, creamy, quite mineral nuances. Big chewy mouthfull of inky black, but supple fruit. Very attractive. Savoury plum and black olive notes, this is dense but balanced and fine. 18/20.

Château Rausan-Ségla, 2nd growth
Tight, pure, very expressive black fruit that is focused and sharp with sweet floral nuances, cassis and a crisp minerality. Very sweet, creamy, dense and ripe. Lots of purity here. Crisp, chewy tannins, this is long and harmonious. 18-19/20.

Château Siran, Cru Bourgeois
Another wine I also tasted at the Crus Bourgeois tasting on the 26th:

27/03: Quite a nice earthy nose here at first; warm and quite soft with some oak influence and a little plummy depth. Tight and focused palate, with big tannins and good concentration. Long and lovely quality. 17/20.

26/03: Another round, ripe, red berry and blackcurrant fruit-filled nose. 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.

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