Jancis Robinson - Pessac-Léognan
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).
Very lively and fresh on the nose. Thick and sweet. Lacks a little bit of life but it's superficially flattering. Very drying finish. Lots of mass but not that much finesse.
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion
Dark crimson. Sumptuous texture if not that much flavour at present. Very round and gorgeous with lovely Graves freshness on the finish. Very glossy and winning. Nicely managed tannins.
Dom de Chevalier
Concentrated and luscious. Real life and savour on the (at the moment slightly inky) end. One of the most youthful samples I encountered. Dry sandpaper end but perhaps it's a more honest sample than most?
Mid to dark crimson. Rich, sweet start (very ripe grapes?). Almost right bank-like. Lots of work has gone into this but there seems to be a bit of alcohol on the end. Then some lightly drying tannins but you can't fault the ambition.
Thick and sweet and a bit over the top and unsophisticated. Scrawny tannins on the end.
Château de Fieuzal
Rich blackberry-compote nose. Fresh finish and some real energy here. But it's pretty sinewy on the end. Not a standout. Too angular.
Château La Garde
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.
Very dark crimson. Light and fresh and concentrated. Really exciting, nervy, silky wine. Cool and beautiful balanced.
Château Haut-Bailly, La Parde Haut-Bailly
Dark crimson. Lots of acidity and a little greenness. A bit austere on the end.
Picked 26 September to 18 October.
Rather floral nose. Ripe and broad. Quite chewy and structured. Cool and pretty dry. Pretty chewy! Lots of dynamism.
Blackish crimson. Something burnt and overripe about this nose. Then leathery and sinewy. Not a comfortable whole. Very inky tannins on the finish.
Château Haut-Brion, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion
Dark crimson. Intense nose that's very Haut-Brion. Fine, restrained and just a bit low key. But very classy fruit and oak. Would give a lot of pleasure quite young.
Even deeper colour than La Mission. Broad and spicy and very rich and a compote of warm bricks. (La Mission is more muscular and obviously tannic.) Firm and not over the top. Prances. Transparent and very much Haut-Brion.
Château Larrivet Haut-Brion
Very rich and toasty on the nose. Lots of aromatic interest, fine tannins and freshness on the palate. Sinewy and very Graves. Not a superstar but beautifully balanced in a slightly minor key. Finishes just a slightly drying.
Purplish crimson. Mild nose. Sweet start. Just a tad formulaic with a rasping dry finish. Seems to taste more of winemaking than vineyard. Quite a bit of alcohol on the end. Lacks real vivacity and freshness, however ripe the initial impression is.
Château Malartic Lagravière
Lively crimson. Meaty, vegy and with lots of energy on the nose. Then very thick and sweet. Almost too much so for my palate though the richness ratio is certainly impressive. Super-flattering. Sandpaper finish. More depth than the Latour-Martillac.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion, La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion
Sumptuous first-growth suavity on the nose. Sinews and dry finish but a little austere. Just slightly muscular. Dry but not drying finish.
Château La Mission Haut-Brion
Glowing deep crimson. Very intense and ripe. Snazzy and spicy. Polished and racy. Very firm and lots of ripe tannins – very much à La Mission. Super-sophisticated. Inky and fresh and so ripe and confident. A dry style but great. Racy but tannic.
Château Le Pape
Dark crimson. Easy and sweet and yet some freshness. Luscious and very gorgeous and sweet. Very complete and winning. Blackberry compote.
Château Pape Clément
Very luscious nose with enormous opulence. Then on the palate there is no great sweetness but drying tannins on the finish. Something not quite fully ripe phenolically on the palate. Hint of greenness. Falls away on the end. It’s definitely front-loaded!
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Blackish crimson. Nose that manages to combine flesh and ripeness with freshness. Some restraint here and some very natural flavours. A quiet king. Great appetising wine with the ripeness of the vintage. Very classy.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Le Petit Haut Lafitte
Very dark and lustrous purple. What a lovely texture! Maybe not the densest fruit but reasonably fresh fruit. Delicate hand on the hand brake. Not too much. Just lovely juice. I wonder whether the move to organic is responsible for this delightful wine? Pure pleasure almost already.