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 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."
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.
100 Points - Neal Martin "In my last sighted review of the 2016 Cos d’Estournel, I wrote: "I suspect it will close down for a period in its youth." Perhaps it is already beginning to shut down, because though this wine was deeply impressive, it fell just a notch short of ethereal previous bottles, despite its "pixelated black fruit" on the nose and "sublime balance" on the palate. I tasted the wine twice thereafter, though this time with a 4-6 hour decant, and this revealed the Cos d'Estournel that has amazed since I first tasted it out of barrel."
100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown "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."
The 2015 Grand-Puy-Lacoste was an impressive Pauillac from barrel and likewise, it continues to impress in bottle. It has an intense bouquet with blackberry and strawberry fruit laced with cedar and graphite and as I mentioned in my original note, the Merlot component is a little more expressive compared to other vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and well-judged acidity. This feels so harmonious and caressing, very tensile and poised, fanning out wonderfully with a graphite-infused finish that is perhaps more approachable than recent vintages, just a wonderful wine for long-term aging.
100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown "The 2016 Haut-Brion is blended of 56% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is at once profound and arresting, offering drop-dead gorgeous Morello cherries, lilacs and red rose scents with a core of Black Forest cake, warm blackcurrants and blueberry preserves plus wafts of sandalwood and underbrush. Medium-bodied, the elegantly crafted palate is completely packed with intense floral, mineral and cassis-laced flavors with a firm frame of very finely pixelated tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and achingly stunning."
99 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Haut-Brion has a beguiling sense of purity on the nose, which features scents of blackberry, crushed violet petals, hints of dark chocolate and even a suggestion of fresh fig. Underneath all this is a seam of mineralité that becomes more conspicuous with aeration, tightening everything up. The palate is medium-bodied with filigreed tannin, a satiny texture, perfect acidity and incredible harmony. Everything here is in the right place. Quite sensual in style, conveying an enthralling sense of delineation on the long finish. About as good as you will find in this vintage."
96-98 Points - Neal Martin
The Grand Vin was picked between 21 September and 4th October for the Merlot, with the Cabernet Franc picked on 6th October. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc (aged in 80% new oak) it has Burgundy-like minerality and purity on the nose that is taciturn at first, but blossoms nicely in the glass whilst maintaining a sense of restraint and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with very pure fruit and a silky texture. The acidity is extremely well judged, the Cabernet Franc lending this wine just a touch of edginess. There is sublime focus on the mineral-laden finish. One day, Denis Durantou will make a wine that does not merit a stream of superlatives. But that day seems a long way away. Tasted April 2013.
92-94 Points - Robert Parker
95 Points - Neal Martin
The 2014 L’Eglise-Clinet has a gentle, understated bouquet at first that takes time to open, eventually offering black fruit, melted tar, truffle and bay leaf aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, rather masculine and thickset at the moment, lightly spiced towards the finish. Much like the Vieux-Château-Certan, this is a little awkward in a blind setting however, it clearly meliorates in the glass and I keep on having to up my score. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.