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.
This terroir is superbly situated between Beausejour Duffau and Beau-Sejour-Becot, with Angelus within shouting distance. Predominantly Merlot (96%) with Cabernet Franc making up the remaining 4%. Modern, full-bodied, dense and brooding. Black fruits dominate the palate, incredibly pure and high but ripe, well-integrated tannins.
17 Points - Jancis Robinson "Tasted blind. Purple fruits and lots of come-hither opulence followed by some green leafiness. One of the more immediately charming St-Julien 2018s."
96 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Beychevelle has a stunning bouquet of vibrant, shimmering blackberry and wild strawberry fruit laced with crushed stone and rose petals. The well-balanced palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and a slightly savory/dried blood finish that lingers in the mouth. Tasting both in London and in Bordeaux, I found the latter bottle to have a little more precision and race on the finish. This will surely be a benchmark for this Saint Julien estate."
94 Points - James Suckling "Stacks of cassis, graphite and smoke on the nose of this rather full-bodied St.-Julien with a ton of velvety tannins that drive the long finish that’s simultaneously sweet, fresh and powdery. Try in 2022."
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."
Jane Anson, Decanter - 97 Points
The colour on this is deep and inky and a blast of cassis and black cherry fruit greets you on the nose. It has undeniable oak impact, but also a lovely lift that carries right through the palate, and that incredible Clinet precision. A fantastic 2016, not as exuberant as 2015 but showing the quality of the vintage where even the big-shouldered wines have a stunning lift, and a feeling of an invisible gossamer curtain holding them in place. Not a hedonist’s vintage like 2009 or 2015, but cerebral in the style of 2001 and 2010. Strong coffee and grilled caramel on the finish.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
93 Points - Neal Martin
The Clos l’Eglise 2006 is showing so well with exuberant dark berry fruit, orange blossom, a touch of star anis and hints of liquorice. The palate is beautifully balanced with ripe, succulent dark cherry, Dorset plum and summer fruit. Like the previous vintage it is silky smooth in texture and very harmonious. This is an outstanding, vivacious Clos l’Eglise that dares run the 2005 close!
100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown "The 2016 Cos d'Estournel is blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 65% new and 35% two-year-old French oak for 15 months. Bottled in July 2018, it is deep garnet-purple colored and starts off a little closed and reticent, opening out slowly and seductively to reveal beautiful lilacs, rose hip tea, crushed stones and camphor nuances over a core of crème de cassis, kirsch, wild blueberries and mocha plus wafts of incense and wood smoke. The palate is simply electric, charged with an energy and depth of flavors that seem to defy the elegance and ethereal nature of its medium-bodied weight, featuring super ripe, densely pixelated tannins that firmly frame the myriad of fruit and floral sparks, finishing with epic length. Just. Magic."
100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
The 2016 Cos d'Estournel is blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged in 65% new and 35% two-year-old French oak for 15 months. Bottled in July 2018, it is deep garnet-purple colored and starts off a little closed and reticent, opening out slowly and seductively to reveal beautiful lilacs, rose hip tea, crushed stones and camphor nuances over a core of crème de cassis, kirsch, wild blueberries and mocha plus wafts of incense and wood smoke. The palate is simply electric, charged with an energy and depth of flavors that seem to defy the elegance and ethereal nature of its medium-bodied weight, featuring super ripe, densely pixelated tannins that firmly frame the myriad of fruit and floral sparks, finishing with epic length. Just. Magic.
17.5 Points - Jancis Robinson "Tasted blind. Minerally nose with all in place. Good vitality and a certain meatiness. Hint of rose petals on the end. Pretty interesting!"
The 2009 Doisy-Vedrines exceeded my expectations under blind conditions. It is usually seen as a less refined Barsac predisposed to richness and viscosity, but the 2009 exudes far more tension and elegance than I anticipated. It has a perfumed, floral bouquet with scents of dried honey, melted wax, lemon curd and a touch of lemon thyme. It is beautifully defined and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with beautiful balance and precision. There is real grace and tension in this Sauternes: very focused and precise though with patently a lot of botrytis towards the mellifluous finish. This is a wonderful Doisy-Vedrines. Drink now-2035+.
Tasted blind at the Sauternes 2011 horizontal tasting. The Château Doisy-Védrines 2011 has a very fragrant, almost floral bouquet with pure honey, quince and yellow flower scents that soar from the glass and embrace you like your favourite aunt. The palate is medium-bodied with a viscous texture and superb acidity that really set this Sauternes alight: real tension and a sense of energy here. It just “flows” toward a vibrant, honeyed finish that has only just begun to “motor." This surpasses its showing from barrel and constitutes a magnificent effort from Olivier Castèja and his team.