97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Gosh, this is a serious, evolved Cabernet which comes across older than its physical years. The colour has a dark core running out to brick orange. Contrary to my Shiraz statement concerning ‘old school’ – Well, this is old school but that is far from a negative observation. The oak bounds across the surface with some punch however, the sheer intensity of the fruit and liquorice provides balance. I have been sampling over two days and find day two more satisfying – the bouquet has evolved beautifully with chocolate, camphor, tea leaves, graphite, cigar box, cold steel, liquorice and blood orange dominating. Like the Shiraz, there is obvious freshness which I believe is necessary. The palate mirrors the nose – perhaps a touch more cedar. There’s admirable density and structure – rather muscular and not dissimilar to a Pauillac from Bordeaux. There’s freshness and energy all the way through to the pencil lead finish… Stylistically, fans of the 2005 Robertson of Clare Max V (and there are lots of you), will absolutely adore this wine. The similarities are striking. Drink now to 2030. Decant for 3-6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”
** Available for delivery from end of July 2021 **
Sampled 21 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “I am not persuaded by my opening sentence, “And now to the most structured of the trio” - this is particularly evident when you dive straight in. The bouquet is intense with a Smörgåsbord of ripe, black fruits – blackberry, blueberry, violet and potpourri come rushing from the glass whilst minerals, Indian ink, liquorice and traces of brine and kelp provide unfathomable layers of complexity. I like how the wine builds in intensity – every swirl of the glass provides a new facet to consider. The fruit radiates but with a degree of restraint – the wine feels tighter and perhaps more classical compared to the single varietals. I detect more mineralité and tension – lovely freshness too. Perhaps less flamboyant than the other two. Regal and beautiful - a wine which provides precision and has no need to show off. For many, this will be irresistible in its youth, but a decade in bottle will provide exquisite drinking. I certainly prefer this to my original sample. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Shiraz. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
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.
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."
93 Points - Neal Martin
The 2015 Clerc Milon seems to have tempered the flamboyant aromatics that it displayed out of barrel to manifest a more refined and yet still outgoing bouquet laden with black cherries, raspberry, cedar and freshly picked mint. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, slightly lactic on the entry and with a smooth, almost velvety texture. There is a seam of graphite that becomes more prominent toward the finish, black olive and allspice lingering on the long aftertaste. This is simply an excellent Clerc Milon replete with grace and finesse.
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!
98 Points - James Suckling
Quite the bottle here! Spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as dried meat and plums with cedar and sandalwood. Full body. Deep and dense in the center palate and a long, long finish. Shows finesse and tightness. Very polished tannins. Long and ethereal. Try after 2023.
98+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
Composed of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, yields for the grand vin in 2017 were 43 hectoliters per hectare, and it was aged in 60% new oak. It came in at an alcohol of 13% and an IPT of 68. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cos d'Estournel needs a little coaxing to unfurl, revealing beautiful expressions of preserved plums, boysenberries, blackcurrant pastilles and wild blueberries with hints of Indian spices, menthol, lilacs and mossy tree bark plus a compelling suggestion of iron ore. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins and well-knit freshness supporting the tightly wound blue and black fruits layers, finishing long and fragrant. This wine will need a good 5-7 years in bottle before it begins to blossom and should go on for at least another 40 years. I expect this wine to be a blockbuster of a head-turner when I come back and taste it at 10 years of age!
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.
95 Points - Neal Martin
The 2014 Doisy-Vedrines has a tightly knit, backward bouquet that demands much more encouragement than its peers. The palate is well balanced with a viscous texture, extremely well judged acidity, poised with a beautiful quince and marmalade-tinged finish that lingers in the mouth. Superb. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.