Possibly the “wine of the vintage,” the 2008 boasts an inky/blue/purple color as well as a glorious perfume of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur, camphor, truffles and crushed rocks. With great fruit on the attack and mid-palate, a medium to full-bodied, multidimensional mouthfeel and a skyscraper-like finish, this prodigious effort over-delivers, even for this phenomenal terroir. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 40-50 years.
Sampled 22 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “Team Gemtree have nailed the description for the bouquet - Nashi pear, apple and fresh citrus aromas unfurl with such grace and poise. I also detect delicate floral notes that linger. Composed from Savagnin and Chardonnay and plucked at the perfect instant of ripeness (I stole this from Mike’s description!). The wine shows outstanding clarity – I enjoy the mineral-tinged character. The palate follows a similar vein with gentle citrus and orchard fruit characters (the faintest appearance of honeysuckle) unfolding at a gentle pace. The fruit is underpinned by chalky minerals, which give the wine an impression of smoothness / chalky creaminess if that makes sense. Spritz and vitality is evident, but I am left with a sense of calmness rather than verve. I especially like the way the wine evolves in the glass. Lovely clarity and balance - I can see myself enjoying the entire bottle in the garden along with a dozen Scottish langoustines. Drink now to 2023. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
Stuart McCloskey “By far one of my favourite annual releases, as I am fascinated by the wacky blend (Old Vine Chenin Blanc and Crouchen, Angaston; Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills; Chardonnay, Krondorf; Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills) and the textural feel too, the wine provides glass after glass of uncompromised satisfaction. The grapes are lovingly hand harvested, foot treaded and left on stalks and skins for 24 hours. JC ages the wine on the lees for 11 months and bottles unfined and unfiltered, hence a little cloudiness. Bring everything together and you are presented with a textural beauty which will gain complexity over the coming 3-5 years, but there is no harm in drinking this wine now as it’s so irresistible. I adore texture and I love wines that do not conform – The caveat being that I am not a fan of daft / wacky wines which are created to disrupt. More often than not, they are produced for social media and rarely succeed. For me, JC is a brilliant winemaker with his natural skill for white wines being his ultimate gift. This man can produce bloody amazing wines which are thrilling, sensuous and just outright delicious. The nose is a riot – I actually find myself unable to put the glass down. There’s a touch of oxidation (perfectly acceptable) along with a savoury mélange of hay, wild grass, a milky chalkiness, perhaps a little bruised apple and sweet spice. The palate feel gets my juices flowing – waxy and grippy - my cheeks puckering a little. Savoury, with that fresh grassy character. This is stunningly explosive on the palate. A riot of… Actually, I am struggling to be succinct as there is so much going on. In short, and following a very long tasting note, this is simply a must have. It’s a joy and will be the only wine to serve in the garden this year. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
Dave Phinney – “Dark violet with a ruby crown, the wine exhibits classic Napa Cabernet aromatics with our style: black fruits—plum and cherry—dark chocolate, leather and Rutherford Dust coalesce from the glass. The entry is elegant and begins to flood the palate with notes of cassis, blackberry, blueberry, caramel and a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon: rich and bold. Seamless and focused, the wine closes with lingering dusty tannins and a touch of baking chocolate.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Palermo gives up gregarious scents of kirsch, Black Forest cake and warm cassis with hints of dried mint, dark chocolate and rose hip tea plus a waft of unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with ripe black berry layers, framed by velvety tannins and a lively line, finishing long and fragrant."
Erin Larkin, Wine Companion "Cabernet sauvignon, with 27/8/8/2% merlot/cabernet franc/malbec/petit verdot. 12 months in older oak (small component new). This is creamy, fine-boned cabernet with a cavalcade of spicy forest berries and herbs. The cabernet franc has a crunchy edge to its mulberry expression, the other varieties come together to leave a slightly warm impression in the mouth of spicy red creaming soda and salted licorice."
Erin Larkin, Wine Companion "Hand picked and destemmed. Up to 40 days on skins and matured in French oak for 18 months (60% new). For all the work in the winery, the fruit was clearly very gently handled, with judicious tannin extraction. Medium-bodied, supple, and texturally constructed of fine silk. Densely packed with berry flavour, and corseted by exotic spice, this is a supremely elegant wine."
94 Points - Neal Martin
Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. The Chapelle d'Ausone 2010 has a tightly coiled bouquet that is very linear and controlled, not as expressive as its peers but with fine mineralite. The palate is tight on the entry with crisp tannins, bright tart cherry fruit and plenty of energy. It builds in the mouth to quite a structured, linear finish that does not forsake breeding and class. If only all second wines were as good as this. Tasted January 2014.
The Chapelle d’Ausone has an intense bouquet with vibrant, slightly dusty black fruit that are very well defined and develop intriguing earthy, almost graphite aromas with aeration. Leaving it in my glass over five minute it offers some gorgeous, yet subtle floral notes. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and a degree of composure and refinement. One feels that they could have easily tried to extract more from this wine but resisted temptation and consequently produced a better wine. Everything in its right place.
17.5 Points - Jancis Robinson "Tasted blind. Sweet and easy. Not dramatic but well mannered and all in balance. Inky and very Margaux. Henri Lurton and his sustainable viticulture will presumably be very pleased that his wine was the group's second-favourite Margaux after Ch Margaux in this Southwold tasting."
96 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Brane-Cantenac has been on a roll of late, under the watchful eye of Henri Lurton. This latest bottled vintage is superb. The divine, pure blackberry and bilberry bouquet develops touches of graphite in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, silky-smooth texture and a superb bead of acidity. This is not a powerful Brane-Cantenac, and it is perhaps less austere than I suspected en primeur, but it should drink beautifully over the next three decades. If you have a penchant for traditional claret, it really doesn’t come better than this."
96 Points - James Suckling "So much ripe and sweet tobacco on the nose with currant and blackberry character. Full body, intense tannins with density and beauty. It’s a wine with great structure and panache for this estate. Try after 2024."