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Decanter - Haut-Médoc / Médoc

Decanter - Haut-Médoc / Médoc

Jane Anson is Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent and has lived in the region since 2003, here are her en primeur tasting notes and scores for Haut-Medoc / Médoc 2016 wines..

More scores by Decanter


Haut-Médoc


Château Cantemerle

For me this is easily one of their best ever wines, totally living up to its fifth growth billing. Lovely and juicy with excellent tension, really walking that line. Menthol, cassis and cedar are framed by well-wrought tannins that bring the whole thing together and lead onto a juicy finish. The blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot is aged in 40% new oak for 12 months, followed by a further four months in vats before bottling.

Drinking Window 2027 - 2040

93 Points


Château La Lagune

Now certified organic, and converting to biodynamics from this year. It displays a confident weight to the damson fruits that are hugely elegant and well placed. A little closed when tasted on two occasions, and the high Petit Verdot content of this wine is no doubt contributing to its slight austerity at this stage, but it also brings that beautifully welcome whoosh of black fruit spicing. Very good quality, elegant and long-ageing, just a dash below the exceptional 2015.

Drinking Window 2027 - 2045

93 Points


Château La Tour Carnet

Straight from the first nose we feel the extraction, the drama, the confidence. This is clean and crisp through the mid-palate, with crushed blackberry, liquorice, dark chocolate and tobacco notes. A strong showing from La Tour Carnet, there is no doubt you are in Magrez territory, but he is delivering on his signature with a flourish. It’s a good wine, and tasted even better second time around at the UGCs.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2045

92 Points


Château Sociando-Mallet

Inky black in colour, with a beautiful graphite and black fruit nose. This is undoubtedly a great Sociando this year, with precise yet juicy graphite and black fruits on the palate, from a fairly even blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Cabernet Franc too.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2040

92 Points


Château Belgrave

Investments at this property have increasingly paid off over recent vintages. This is brooding and a little subdued at the moment, but is packed with Médoc signature delivered in a subtle but enjoyable manner. It has a cedar sweetness and ripe blackberry fruits with a pulse of acidity, and is well held together. 50% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2024 - 2040

91 Points


Château Sénéjac

From the Bignon-Cordier family, this is a sleek, sexy Médoc with good chewy tannins and a lovely rich texture to the blackberry fruit. It has a serious edge, showing some menthol notes on the finish and a feeling of freshness that accompanies the entire experience beginning to end. Good persistency. A successful vintage here.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2040

91 Points


Château Cambon la Pelouse

This is a good Cambon, benefitting from vineyard replanting and other investments. The vines have been relocated close to du Tertre, and you can feel the start of a Margaux-tinged florality and classicism. The fruits are dark, tight and vibrant, and the tannins close in on the finish. The best for years. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. Hubert de Bouard consults.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

91 Points


Château Malescasse

An excellent Malescasse, easily one of the best tasted from this estate en primeur. Vibrant, lively black cherry and deep blackcurrant coulis flavours with very well integrated oak. The blend is 48% Merlot, 43% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2038

91 Points


Château Caronne-Ste-Gemme

This is a beautiful, well-regarded wine offering great consistency, replete with smoky bacon, tar, and coffee bean flavours. It is marked by oak, but sexily and cleverly so, and balanced by intense, deep fruit with impact. A gentleman’s claret and one of the great value sleepers of the vintage. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot from deep gravel over clay.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2038

91 Points


Château Camensac

A lovely Camensac full of plush, sculpted tannins and a ripple of cassis fruit. This closes down a little on the finish; maybe the fruit isn’t quite pushing through the entire length of the wine and could do with being a little denser, but the tarry edge to the oak gives a sense of ambition and there is plenty to enjoy here.

Drinking Window 2024 - 2040

91 Points


Château Larrivaux

Rich black cherries and cedar on the nose, followed by some touches of blackberry leaf that suggest the fruit is ripe but in no way over-ripe. Spicy, charred tobacco on the palate, which closes in on the finish in that perfect Médoc way where you know the tannins can handle a little ageing. A great value wine this year. For full disclosure, I tried this twice and am selecting the highest score of the two - the first one was perhaps a bad sample, as can happen at En Primeur of course.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2040

90 Points


Château Larose Perganson

A rich style which impresses right from the off, with clear fruit definition and good body. It’s a separate bottling from 30ha of vines in St-Laurent owned by Larose Trintadon, seeing its first (revived) vintage in 1996. It has great intensity, even with a good 48hl/ha yield, although they say this is actually 10% less than last year, probably due to the old vines and green harvest. Christophe Coupex has consulted here, along with Hubert de Bouard, since 2016. The blend is 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, hand harvested and aged in 40% new oak for 14 months. 3.52pH.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

90 Points


Château Peyrabon

Very well judged, this has juicy red cherry fruits, with those ripped Médoc tannins on full display without being at all drying. I really like this, as it has charm, restraint and lift to its signature cassis, cigar and cold ash character. Hard to dislike.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

90 Points


Château Citran

A super-reliable, good quality name in the Haut-Médoc category. Ground coffee flavours run right through the extremely elegant black fruits, liquorice and charcoal, with a lovely seam of freshness. The tannins are just a touch too solid, but it yet again shows the brilliant quality in this vintage at different levels. The blend is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

90 Points


Château Belle-Vue

Astonishingly rich colours on this wine, clearly easy extractions of anthocyanins. Deep spice on the nose, exotic without being too much. Quite an unusual profile for the vintage, slightly more serious and upright, but still very attractive, expanding on the mid-palate and then retracting on the finish. Good quality, a little subdued but my guess is that is the high Petit Verdot content (20%) just needs time to loosen up, because the fruit is extremely ripe and appealing. They also made a 100% Petit Verdot cuvée for first time in 2016.

Drinking Window 2024 - 2038

90 Points


Château Liversan

Antoine Moueix has delivered a highly enjoyable wine with bright, sappy fruit, from vines up in the commune of Begadan. I really like the rich, deep, vibrant fruit and chalky, slightly chewy, tannins with a real sense of energy. Well framed and enjoyable, for medium term drinking. 50% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

90 Points


Médoc


Château Les Grands Chênes

Heavily extracted yet well made and carefully thought out. Black fruits are joined by liquorice and smoky bacon tinged oak which dominates the palate but is undeniably appealing. It could let the light in a little more but it has succulence and kerb appeal, and I tasted it several times over primeurs week and always found it enjoyable.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

90 Points


Château Potensac

Potensac benefits from its location close to St-Estèphe in this vintage, and the tannins are absolutely beautiful, far more bouncy and fresh than in some vintages. Deep, rich blueberry and raspberry fruits are framed by the same floral prettiness as the second wine. What an excellent vintage for Potensac, owned by the Delon Group. A definite buy this year, give it maybe five years then crack right into it. 56% grand vin, 34% to Chapelle de Potensac and 10% sent to bulk. A blend of 44% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 30% new oak. 3.49pH.

Drinking Window 2022 - 2038

90 Points


Château Greysac

Jean de Guyon of Rollan de By has been owner of Greysac since 2012, and you can feel the family resemblance in terms of a luxurious, oak-edged wine with an appealing sense of drama. It has well controlled coffee and liquorice notes, taking its time to unfurl and reveal the richness. This is 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

89 Points


Chateau La Tour de By

Strong coffee beans on the nose, with an immediately apparent oak influence showing attractive wisps of wood smoke. It’s a good wine, with full impact and an impressive architectural feel with flesh and depth. The winemaking is a little over-emphasised, but it’s a good quality wine.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

89 Points


Château Poitevin

Right up in the commune of Jau Dignac et Loirac, near the mouth of the Garonne Estuary, this is an estate to watch, making excellent white and red wines. Here they are delivering plenty of fresh, well judged autumnal fruits, with touches of bramble and hedgerow on display. The tannins are a touch rustic but well extracted and thoroughly enjoyable. Early to medium term drinking, maintaining a Médoc signature but with black fruit emphasis and the requisite juicy finish that the best wines of 2016 have produced. This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

88 Points


Château Patache d’Aux

Firm, dark fruits and solid tannins - the structure of this wine feels well controlled if maybe a little too careful. I’m not sure we are getting the full juicy expression of the vintage. Owned by Antoine Moueix, this 69ha property is planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. A medium term drinker.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2038

87 Points


Château Tour Seran

Another Jean Guyon estate and another success in this vintage. The fruits are fairly brooding, the cassis tightly closed up, and there is less sweet new oak coming through which allows the Médoc menthol notes to shine. This doesn’t quite have the vintage lift and persistency on the finish, but it’s a charming wine that combines Guyon’s extremely high standards with a slightly more classic take on the appellation. 10ha up in Begadan. 65% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot.

Drinking Window 2022 - 2038

87 Points


Château Cos d’Estournel, Goulée

This is an excellent Goulée with the cooling edge of a beautiful fresh Médoc coupled with generosity. Easily one of the best Goulées that I have tasted. Flint and smoke aromatics on the nose are followed by welcoming red fruits through the body of the wine. 77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, picked over a long harvest period from 28th September to 15th October. This is the first year the new plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon have been included in the blend. 3.65pH.

Drinking Window 2023 - 2035

90 Points


Château Rollan de By

This is a rich, powerful Jean de Guyon signature, with old school punch. It’s an excellent wine, enjoyable, fleshy and sexy. You can feel the high amount of clay-based, powerful Merlot and the oak finessing. Part of me totally admires Guyon for sticking to his guns and his signature style, as his wines have that kerb appeal in spades. My only reservation is distinguishing terroir personality. Blend is 70% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot, aged in new oak barrels.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

90 Points


Château La Cardonne

Rich and tight, this wine has presence with a structure that tells you who’s in charge. It may not set hearts racing, but it does its job as a ‘proper’ Médoc with firm tannins and flavours of cassis, tobacco and a touch of blackcurrant leaf. A blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Drinking Window 2025 - 2038

88 Points


Château Haut Condissas

Strong oak influence, rich and ripe from Jean Guyon, but kudos to him for sticking to his guns. His winemaking remains dramatic and rich but not drying despite the extraction. 60% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

89 Points