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Bordeaux 2006 - Part III

by Tom Cannavan

Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe



Margaux - Saint-Julien - Pauillac - Saint-Estèphe

Margaux


Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux Blanc 2006
100% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% alcohol. Big hit of very nice quality toasty oak, with a figgy character and all sorts of oily, sesame seed character. A streak of verdant fruit is lurking in there, in a complex profile. On the palate this is bursting with vibrant, green-tinged fruit, with a ripe tropicality held in check by a streak of pithy acidity and the warming toasty notes. Delicious wine, with great power and good balance. 90-94.

Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux 2006
Very composed, attractive berry fruit. A nice hint of Margaux perfume with some floral and earthy notes. Lovely delicate fruit on the palate, with a silky texture and very composed, rounded fruit. Tannins are rounded and fine, and there is a freshness about this. 88-92

Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux 2006
90% cabernet sauvignon and only 4% merlot. Only 36% of crop into the first wine this year. Quite a firm, mineral-edged quality with plenty of black fruit. Tight and glossy, with a dark plumskin and black chocolate nuance. The palate is very tight and structured, with big, rich, chocolaty tannins with plenty of grip and a chalky dryness plenty of concentration here. Very cabernet sauvignon. 91-95

Chateau Brane-Cantenac (France) Margaux 2006
Fragrant, gentle nose of rich berry fruit. Solid, firm tannic background to really quite rounded silky fruit with spice and a coffeeish warmth. 88-92

Chateau Cantenac-Brown (France) Margaux 2006
Lots of silky, ripe, forward and glossy fruit. Creamy and plush. The palate is very bright and vibrant, with lovely fruit and suede-like tannins. Long and pure, this is very good. 89-93

Chateau d'Angludet (France) Margaux 2006
Slightly closed, with an earthy, quite gravelly character. On the palate plenty of grip and sinew and a lovely dark cherry and chocolate gloss to the fruit. Slightly rustic tannins compared to the Cantenac-Brown for example, but very nice. 88-92

Chateau Dauzac (France) Margaux 2006
Nicely svelte, vinous nose with black fruits and a little floral edge. The palate is a little dry and quite chewy, with more rustic, dry tannins. The fruit is good, and nice bright acidity is too. 86-90

Chateau Desmirail (France) 2006
There is a warming, rich oakiness and earthiness to this, with deep Autumnal fruit that is flattering and forward. The palate too has that earthy warmth and depth, with toast and chocolate suggesting a lot of oak influence on this sample, and a charry, spicy smokiness. Difficult to judge, but fruit is sweet and seems like a decent wine. 86-90

Chateau du Tertre (France) Margaux 2006
Quite bright, attractive, deeply fruity and blackcurranty nose. There's a creamy, quite flashy oak character on the palate, but it has lovely roundness amend fat to the fruit, with a fantastic fruit purity - masses of cassis and pert tannins and acid that are nicely controlled. 89-93

Chateau Durfort-Vivens (France) Margaux 2006
A nice perfume that is slightly gamy and animal, with a solid, vivid underpinning of black fruits. Ripe and rich, this has a sheen of quite vanillin oak and tannins showing through, but nicely composed fruit and a savoury dryness. Good quality, if a little less harmonious than some at this stage. 87-91

Chateau Ferrière (France) Margaux 2006
Quite reticent, with a gentle blue/black fruit and touch of violet. On the palate decent fruit without the richness and sweetness of some, but quite harmonious with crisp tannins and svelte finish. 86-90

Chateau Giscours (France) Margaux 2006
Bright, bold cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Almost minty in its brightness. Palate has that mint and chocolate plushness of fruit, with a juicy acidity and an elegant tannic structure. Lovely quality and a charming, plump style. 88-92

Chateau Kirwan (France) Margaux 2006
Really quite fragrant, silky and floral, with plenty of cherry and violetty aromas. The palate has lovely creamy sweetness. There's really plush fruit here, with a creamy, quite plummy fullness, and though tannins are dry and quite prominent, this has a chocolaty depth and good acidity and looks very promising. 88-92

Chateau Labégorce (France) Margaux 2006
Slightly reduced, but beneath the bright red fruit and earthy character comes through. The palate has a slightly green, aggressive edge to the tannins. There is decent fruit here and a bright acid quality, but the overall effect is a little tough at the moment. 86-90

Chateau Lascombes (France) Margaux 2006
Nice and cedary, slightly charcoally quality, with flattering oak over plush red fruits. He palate has excellent fruit sweetness, with hints of chocolate and very ripe black plums, and firm but silky tannins giving plenty of grip. Good length and balance here, and a nice level of concentration. 89-93

Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery (France) Margaux 2006
Quite schisty and gravelly, with an earthiness showing over the fruit. The palate is really quite elegant, with the silky, ripe fruit coming through nicely and the svelte, supple tannins showing plenty of refinement. Nicely made without being too flashy. 87-91

Chateau Marquis de Terme (France) Margaux 2006
This is fragrant and attractive, with some floral edges to bold, ripe cherry fruit. The nose and palate have a sheen of quite flashy vanillin oak, with nicely rounded, sweet and juicy fruit. Tannins are supple and the overall effect is quite rounded and harmonious. 87-91

Chateau Monbrison (France) Margaux 2006
Quite a nice, clean and silky nose, with plenty of glossy black fruit that seems tight and creamy. The palate is cool and composed, with a fairly light character, and a raciness. Seems bright and natural, and a nicely pitched wine. 87-91

Chateau Prieuré-Lichine (France) Margaux 2006
Good fruit here and seems very clean and pure. Cassis and cherry. The palate too has a brightness and directness to it, with very supple, fine-grained tannins and a lovely sense of harmony and 'natural' fruit and sweetness. Lovely. 89-93

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies (France) Margaux 2006
Rauzan Gassies 2006 Quite pure, with a mineral earthiness and a racy impression on the nose. Lacks a little flesh this one, although the fruit is very sweet and attractive. Tannins are quite refined and fine, and with nice acidity and a hint of coffee emerging in the finish, an attractive wine in a lighter style.

Chateau Rauzan Ségla (France) Margaux 2006
Quite closed, with a dark, composed character with some silky, dark fruit coming through. On the palate there is a very silky and harmonious quality here. The tannins are very refined and suede-like, and the fruit is juicy and mouthfilling. Long and harmonious, this is not at all flashy, but has lovely precision and class 89-93

Chateau Siran (France) Margaux 2006
Fairly closed, with not a lot of fruit character, though there is a creamy density. The palate has a plum and plumskin darkness. Tannins are very nice here, with masses dry grip (perhaps a little too much for the fruit) but then they are ripe and quite fine. A sense of chocolate and coffee builds in the finish, but really quite a nice Siran. 87-91


St-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle (France) St Julien 2006
Big, generous coffee and chocolate oakiness, with cassis and plum coming through. Bold and rich on the palate, with the plushness of oak and quite dark, ripe fruit just about holding its own against the slightly austere tannins and quite high acidity. There is good length here and a touch of juiciness about the mid palate, and perhaps it will come good. 87-91

Chateau Branaire-Ducru (France) St Julien 2006
Quite light and fresh on the nose, fruit forward but subtle. Nice spice and aromatic notes creeping through. The palate has a lovely fruit purity, the fruit allowed a little more expression than Beychevelle perhaps. Still very dry, but there's a hint of blue/black glossiness of fruit and nice balance here. 88-92

Chateau Gruaud Larose (France) St Julien 2006
Not giving a lot, with a touch of earthy minerality and some cedar, and a subtle berry fruit. The palate has a nicely tempered character, with the tannin managed well. It is still dry and savoury, but tannins re fine and the fruit pushes on through the mid-palate. Quite long this one. 88-92

Chateau Lagrange (France) St Julien 2006
A touch of leather and spice, a little hint of resinous quality. Fruit rather shy. The palate has better fruit coming through, with a deal of bold, quite crunchy blackcurrant richness. Tannins are chalkily dry again, with a slightly austere finish. 87-91

Chateau Langoa-Barton (France) St Julien 2006
Very bright, bold, plush and forward fruit with plenty of new, slightly marzipanny oak, but bright and vivid. On the palate I do like the fruit here, with a ripeness and concentration that is good, and the tannins, whilst dry and assertive, are well managed. Quite long and good fruit sweetness comes through. Good balance. 88-92

Chateau Léoville-Barton (France) St Julien 2006
Good fruit, quite a bold oaky character overlaid at present. Floral and violet nuances give this quite a lifted character, but it might also be a touch volatile? The fruit has a charming, sweet fruitiness on the attack. Big, chalky dry tannins sweep in. The acidity is good, and the initial fruit sweetness suggests some lovely raw material here, so promising. 89-93

Chateau Léoville-Poyferré (France) St Julien 2006
A little coffee and a little gamy character, with some complexity here. Solid black fruit too. On the palate real class here, with the fruit very sweet and naturally concentrated, with life about it and an edge of bittersweetness. Beautifully managed tannins, with a lovely balance and elegance. Long. 90-94

Chateau Talbot (France) St Julien 2006
Quite subdued, but a subtle, sweet fruited charm develops. The palate has a sense of plushness and richness that is very good. A touch of coffee and chocolate suggests both fruit depth and very nice oak integration. Balanced and long, and very stylish. 89-93


Pauillac


Carraudes de Lafite (France) Pauillac 2006
Composed, compact nose. Very tight and dark, with cherry and cassis aromas quite bold and fresh on the nose. On the palate there's a very finely tuned, elegant juiciness to the fruit, with very firm but fine and tight-grained tannins and plenty of acidity. A dry, slightly inky quality and touch of earthiness. A touch austere perhaps, but very fine. 87-91

Chateau Lafite (France) Pauillac 2006
A big, inkily deep well of svelte black plum and blackcurrant fruit here, with a brooding character through the depth of fruit and the earthy richness of the aromatics. A little kirsch-like glimpse of sweetness and brightness builds. The palate is loaded with quite marzipanny oak at this stage, but the wine has depth and silkiness of texture and tannins, and exquisite length. A very new oak-dominant sample, and others thought the fruit was slightly deficient, but seems to have real depth to me. 91-95

Pauillac de Chateau Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
A little dusty, vegetal note at first. Quite gamy, with a touch of bloodiness. The fruit is really quite ripe and sweet, with a nice full texture and quite a spicy character. On the palate it is vinous and quite chewy, with nicely integrated but assertive tannins and plenty of black fruits. Grippy and robust, yet with some generosity. 86-90

Chateau Les Forts de Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
A more subtle coffee and dark, plummy fruit character here. Quite pure, with a certain plushness and a hint of tobacco. On the palate the tannins are very grippy indeed. It has a decisive acidity too, giving it a touch of austerity. Spice and a hint of chocolate joins robust, chewy but sweet fruit in the finish of a very masculine style of wine. 88-92

Chateau Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
Very subtle, reserved nose showing some coffee and some dark plum and stewed prune fruit notes. Very compact and muscular. The palate has a great density of fruit and tannins. There's a really decisive acid and tannin attack again that is fairly massive in the mouth, but a subdued, composed supple quality of black fruit, spice and earthy richness suggests it will come together. Certainly a no holds barred, fully concentrated Latour and is there a question mark over its ability to open and soften sufficiently? -Impressive vin de garde material potentially. 91-95

Petite-Mouton (France) Pauillac 2006
Family resemblance of that warming, earthy, coffeeish quality and rich black fruit. Nice hint of minerality here. On the palate there is some new oak custardy quality, but the fruit is very good and sweet, and there is masses of grip. This perhaps lacks a touch of mid-palate flesh, but the final balance and length are very good. 88-92

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (France) Pauillac 2006
87/13 cabernet sauvignon/merlot with 44% of the harvest making it into the Grand Vin. A flash of creamy new oak then a very deep-set quality of berry fruit comes through. Some cedar and coffee and again that earthiness. On the palate the oak is noticeable, with lovely fruit filling in, and although there is plenty of tannin, that is quite decisive, the balance is very good. 91-95

Chateau d'Armaillhac (France) Pauillac 2006
Big, meaty, dense and fleshy nose. The palate has a vivid, vibrant red cherry and blackcurrant fruitiness. Rather dry tannins start to kick in, which along with a firm spiciness and more of that earthy character, makes for a chewy, dense mouthful. Acidity is very good, and this is powerful and quite impressive. 88-92

Chateau Batailley (France) Pauillac 2006
Beautiful fragrance here. Lovely fruit purity and sweetness, with a really vivid cassis character. Chocolate and smoky, coffeeish oak fills in. The palate has the same bold quality of fruit, and though the oak is a touch raw on the mid-palate, the fruit persists, and just about copes with very big, dry tannins that are nevertheless quiet tight and fine. Good length here, and a savoury, spicy and fresh finish. Very good. 90-94

Chateau Clerc-Milon (France) Pauillac 2006
Brand new chais being built. 44% Merlot. Very fine, meaty, quite cedary style with a warming presence and plenty of dark, sinewy fruit. The palate has a really juicy fruit brightness, with cassis and black plum and a big sweep of ripe, full, rich tannins. Very complete d warming, with fine persistence and balance. 89-93

Chateau Croizet-Bages (France) Pauillac 2006
Subtle but quite a nice nose, with a harmonious quality of subdued black fruit, a touch of cedar and a plummy richness. On the palate there is no shortage of chalky, dry tannin. The fruit is good, but is swamped rather quickly by that combination of tannin and a coffeeish oak presence. The acidity is well controlled and seems relatively low, but the finish is fresh with the spice and tannic grip. 88-92

Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild (France) Pauillac 2006
Less bright, but deeper and more chocolaty than the Carraudes. Has a fine spiciness and touch of earthy, even bloody perfume. Lovely palate. Very harmonious, with plenty of flattering new oak adding a creamy, custardy background, but the tight, chewy and muscular tannins and depth of plummy fruit are long and powerful, with a nice core of acidity. 87-91

Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse (France) Pauillac 2006
Quite bold new oak, with a touch of custard, but quite good fruit too, as a blackcurrant ripeness comes through. The palate has a very nice fruit. There is sweetness and a supple roundness, with the chalky tannins held in check, and the warmth of a blackcurrant and plummy fruit and a hint of chocolaty depth persisting. Quite warming and spicy, this is harmonious though perhaps lacks a touch of verve. 88-92

Chateau Haut-Bages Libéral (France) Pauillac 2006
Slightly paint-boxy, dry quality of cherry fruit here. It is fruity though, with just a background of a cedary character. Very dry on the palate, with rather furry, drying tannins dominating that slightly lifted cherry and blueberry fruit. Quite long, and has a nice balance in the finish, as spices and supporting plummy fruit emerges. A slightly tough one to call, but components suggest benefit of the doubt needed. 89-93

Chateau Lynch-Bages (France) Pauillac 2006
Harmonious, very nicely mannered nose, with creamy black fruit and a supple, cedary background. Quite earthy, but refined. The palate is silky and glossy. Lovely mouthfeel here, with the plush sweetness of fruit reaching a chocolaty depth. Tannins are fairly weighty and very dry again, but acidity is very nice and the overall balance excellent. 90-94

Chateau Lynch-Moussas (France) Pauillac 2006
Rather subdued and reticent nose, with a rounded plummy character, but not as fresh or fruity as some. The palate broadens out into quite a nice fruit sweetness, with a lot of big, dry tannins rather swamping the fruit. This becomes quite plummy, spicy and deep, and there's a svelte roundness in the finish that I like. Another that will need to come through the tannins, but might well be excellent. 90-94

Chateau Pontet Canet (France) Pauillac 2006
Very faint whiff of volatility that might be an oak character? Quite earthy and coffeeish, with a touch of earthy appeal. This seems to be in a slightly awkward stage, looking a little muddy, but there does seem to be a fruit depth. Quite glossy and ripe, and though rather hard to call, I think it is a good wine. 88-92?


St-Estèphe

Chateau Cos Labory (France) St Estèphe 2006
Slightly lifted, perhaps slightly volatile cherry fruit. Palate has a slightly furry, dry tannic character, with the modest fruit struggling a bit to get through. Racy enough, savoury and not unappealing, but needs better fruit/tannin ratio. 85-89

Chateau Lafon Rochet (France) St Estèphe 2006
Quite a big, plush, flattering nose with charry oak and plenty of cedar. On the palate the sweetness and richness of oak adds a rounded appeal, but then the tannins sweep in with such a chalky dryness that the flesh and fruit is rather squeezed out of the picture. Spicy and chocolaty in the finish, there is a definite hint of fruit sweetness, and this is a wine with lots of character and oomph, but the oak and tannin might outlast the fruit? 87-91

Chateau Les Ormes de Pez (France) St Estèphe 2006
Quite an elegant if slightly closed character, with some good black fruits showing through and a slightly raw oak edge. There is such a dry tannin character here again, swamping the front palate before fruit has a chance to show through. That's slightly worrying. There's a plum and cherry black fruit character in there, and the balance in the finish is pretty good as the fruit builds a little, so this may well open and develop into a nice wine. I think the fruit is there. 88-92

Chateau Phélan Ségur (France) St Estèphe 2006
A touch of meat and a rounded black fruit character, but all quite subdued. Nice cassis quality. Quite juicy on the palate. Chocolate covered cherries, though dying off slightly. The tannins are less ferocious than in some wines, but the fruit slightly fades and the dryness overtakes this. That juiciness was promising on the mid-palate, and again it is one that gets the benefit of the doubt perhaps. 87-91

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