Jancis Robinson - Pauillac
Jancis sampled in excess of 600 wines and her detailed vintage assessment (per appellation) can be found on her excellent website, which we highly recommend (and not only for Bordeaux).
Ch d’Armailhac 2016
Very dark, blackish purple. Perfumed and rather seductive. Pretty chunky and solid. Tannins more in evidence than in some (though admittedly this is my first Pauillac in a long run of wines). A long-distance runner. Very juicy.
Ch Batailley 2016
Lifted, sweet and very Pauillac on the nose. Thick and sweet on the palate though – rather different from the nose. Pretty sharp on the palate with some overtones of the right bank even though the nose is pure Pauillac. Quite a dramatic play, this wine! Drama in spades.
Ch Clerc Milon 2016
Real aromatic lift. Calm, collected, lovely ‘minerality’. Completely pure. Fully ripe but not a trace of sweetness. So cool!
Ch Croizet-Bages 2016
Very ripe cassis. Cool finish. Not too much heart and soul and a bit austere on the end but very correct and very bordelais.
Ch Duhart-Milon 2016
67% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 3 to 12 October, 33% Merlot picked 26 to 29 September.
Dark glowing crimson. Black pepper and intensity on the nose. Bone dry and enormous energy and savour. Real elegance and some majesty. Neat and well balanced. Bravo! Very much speaks of the vintage with its freshness and intensity.
Ch La Fleur Peyrabon 2016
Blackish crimson. Sweet, floral nose. Very soft. Where are the tannins?! Salty end. Easy to like but not very serious.
Ch Grand-Puy Ducasse 2016
Sappy, lively nose. Straightforward Pauillac character. No transports of delight but a very solid performance. Strongly Cabernet.
Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2016
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot. Harvested 28 September to 13 October. 45 hl/ha.
Very dark crimson. Very ripe and fresh. Pretty glorious expression of the vintage on the nose. Slightly dry finish but really very energetic and may be a fairly good buy. Slightly dry on the end – very British claret!
Ch Haut de la Bécade 2016
Bright crimson. Light, fragrant nose with some flesh in the middle and a very dry, stony finish. Far from a charmer but it does taste like (minor) Pauillac. Lots to chew on and slightly sour on the end. Absolutely demands food.
Ch Haut-Bages Libéral 2016
Bright, deep crimson. A little simple in the context of other Pauillac classed growths. And some greenness on the end. Not fully formed.
Ch Lafite, Carruades de Lafite 2016
49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.
There’s a putty note on the nose. Neat, restrained, rather tight nose and a tad mean on the end. Just as there’s a big gap between Petit Mouton and the grand vin, so there seems to be between Carruades and Lafite. Drying tannins on the end. Seems to be a lack of phenolic ripeness towards the end of the palate experience even though it starts out pretty ripe and round.
Ch Lafite 2016
92% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 29 September to 12 October, 8% Merlot picked 23 to 28 September. High IPT of 75.
Very rich, dense dark crimson. Not much nose, just a vague impression of quality lurking beneath the super-subtle aroma. Round texture, tannins are in a very low register indeed. Then I’d love to see just a little bit more energy. Round and it may all get together. A really rather delicate Lafite. Nothing in excess; it’s true and very classic claret - very Lafite - but arguably just a little muted.
Ch Latour, Pauillac de Château Latour 2016
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot. 26.5% of production. 10% press wine and an IPT of 77. Will be released in 2023.
Deep crimson and very ripe and fresh. Real flesh and savoury and lovely texture. Sinewy. Rich and polished. Long. Dangerously good. Very pure. Great stuff!
Ch Latour, Les Forts de Latour 2016
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, tiny bit of Cabernet Franc. Les Forts is 37.5% of production and has an IPT of 77.
Very supple tannins and absolutely pure drive. Sleek and pure. Rather floral and great evolution of tannins. Super-expressive. (He used very little sulphur on the fruit, which may have had an influence…) Great purity. Dances. Much more refreshing than this wine used to be.
Ch Latour 2016
93% Cabernet Sauvignon picked 7 to 19 October, 7% Merlot picked 22 to 30 September and includes 6% press wine. IPT 83. This represented 36% of total production.
Very deep, dark colour. Strong minerals and balsam – also extremely ripe – and hugely Latour on the nose. Salty and rich but with amazingly round tannins . Spice and red pimento pepper. Sinews and muscles. Lovely whole. Massive tannin level but fine tuned. Much more finesse than traditional Latour.
Ch Lynch-Bages, Écho de Lynch-Bages 2016
73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot. Second-year barrels.
Very deep crimson. Rather pure and alluring on the nose. Then a little tart on the end. As though all the wines with less ripe phenolics went into this. Sandpaper tannins.
Ch Lynch-Bages 2016
Very annoyingly, my tasting note on Lynch Bages has evaporated into thin air. I remember the wine as being delightfully plump yet structured and very recognisably Lynch with its trademark spiciness - so there don’t seem to be any ill effects to its being made in a completely different place from usual (see pictures above) but more than that I cannot say for the moment. (I am trying to track down another sample.) I think I have remembered the score correctly but am much less certain about the drinking dates I have suggested here. All to be taken with a pinch of salt, I’m afraid.
Ch Lynch-Moussas 2016
Sweet ink on the nose. Tasted just after Lynch-Bages, it’s obviously less dense and a little frailer but it is a good Lynch-Moussas and takes advantage of what the vintage has to offer. Long.
Ch Mouton Rothschild, Le Petit Mouton 2016
62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc.
Solid, muscular nose. Almost a bitter streak on the end it’s so firm! Lots of black fruits and real juiciness. Some lift and life. A very zesty wine with admirable length. But not heavy on the flesh!
Ch Mouton Rothschild 2016
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot picked from 26 September (Merlot) until 14 October (Cabernet Sauvignon).
Exceptional crimson. Real lift and transparency. Quite a soaring dry style with great texture and refreshment. Very strong style statement. Infusion of Cabernet. A sort of amalgam of cassis and tar in that very Mouton way but with 21st-century lift and transparency. Quite brave in a way. Bone dry and utterly embryonic compared with most of the 2016s (with the notable exception of Las Cases).
Ch Pedesclaux 2016
Bright deep crimson. Creamy texture. Obviously lots of work has gone into this. Very gentle extraction. Rewarding drink though just a suggestion of modern winemaking rather than overbearing vineyard influence.
Ch Pibran 2016
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon – more Merlot than usual because of lower yields of Cabernet Sauvignon. 50% new oak.
Snazzy dark crimson. Insistent nose bursting with the scents of vegetation (but not green and underripe) with lots of energy and life. Not rich and with lighter tannin content and more sweetness than the St-Estèphes I have just been tasting but a pretty nice glass of wine. Very slightly sweet on the end. Meant for early drinking.
Ch Pichon Baron, Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2016
52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot. 60% new oak. Production is 30% of Pichon Baron production. Meant for ageing.
Glossy, dark crimson – very dense. Rich and racy and much more subtlety than the Tourelles. Inky finish. Good energy.
Ch Pichon Baron, Les Tourelles de Longueville 2016
58% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. 30% new oak.
Dark crimson. Spicy peppery nose. Lively and just the right side of skinny. Edgy. Just a tiny bit scrawny on the end.
Ch Pichon Baron 2016
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. 80% new oak. 45% of total production.
Dense, dramatic, splashy wine with great balance and lift. Lots of energy and masses of old Cab in here. Really snazzy. Long.
Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Réserve de la Comtesse 2016
Polished and pleasurable. Not a single angle in evidence. What a wonderful wine this would be for an airline first class! But note relatively short drinking period.
Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2016
Blackish crimson. Sweet start and much less obvious density than some, very Merlot and just a little soft. Super-supple certainly… But where’s the beef?
Ch Plantey 2016
Lustrous purplish crimson. Really interesting plummy-but-Pauillac nose. Sweet and round with flesh and a backbone! Edgy fresh finish and sacks of stones really adds to the experience. Really appetising and well balanced with fine tannins. Recognisably Pauillac. Chapeau! Surely VVGV. (The 2015 currently sells for $15 in US.)
Ch Pontet-Canet 2016
Picked 28 September to 12 October. Director Jean-Michel Comme says maybe a bit earlier than some. I’m not sure. They’ve been biodynamic for 12 years but 2007 was so bad that they had to abandon status. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. 34 hl/ha – reduced to that from spring pruning.
Very dark crimson. More savoury and sumptuous than many of its neighbours. Blackberry compote and very round and rich and satiny. Very round. Almost too sweet but that is to complain needlessly. Already rich and enjoyable but masses of tannins too. Long and throbbing. Excellent with freshness and cleanliness and round. Pretty sweet though so it’s a definite style.
La Rose Pauillac 2016
From the Pauillac co-op. Mid healthy crimson. Notably light nose. Slightly sour start. Nothing terribly ripe or alluring here but it does the job. Far from fleshy! Correct but just a little austere.