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."
96+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Canon bursts from the glass with expressive notions of baked black cherries, kirsch, plum preserves and black raspberries plus hints of red roses, Ceylon tea, black olives and fertile loam. Medium-bodied, the palate is wonderfully elegant and refined, with a soft, finely grained texture and seamless freshness, finishing long and mineral laced. The blend is 77% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Franc and it was aged for 18 months in French oak, 50% new.
95 Points - James Suckling
Extremely perfumed with blackcurrants, flowers, gunmetal, gunpowder and blackberries. Full-bodied, tight and reserved. The tannins are so tightly knit and just run through the center. Needs at least three or four years to open. A blend of 77% merlot and 23% cabernet franc. Better after 2023.
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.
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
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!
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."
16.5 Points - Jancis Robinson "Tasted blind. Quite savoury and saline on the nose. Sweet and round. Not that much tannin. Only just enough acidity. Velvety. Evolved.."
96/97 Points - James Suckling "This is extremely long and linear with a powerful and refined texture of superfine tannins. Full-bodied, yet so tight and polished. The finish is very, very impressive. Snaps at the end. Better than the 2015?"
94 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Giscours comes off the back of the superlative 2015, not an easy wine to follow. It clearly boasts more horsepower on the nose compared the de Tertre, presenting layers of blackberry, cedar and crushed violet aromas that leap from the glass. The medium-bodied palate is crisp and focused, with grainy tannin and a pencil-box-infused finish. Winemaker Alexandre van Beek has retained the density this Margaux showed out of barrel, to offer a classy wine that will benefit from several years in bottle. Drink 2023-2050"
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.