Pauillac, Saint Estephe, Saint Julien 2013 En Primeur

 

 

Pontet Canet AOC Pauillac 2013
Beautiful nose, very spring like, beautifully nuanced, very effortless. The yield was 15 hl/h, less than half the usual, but still 90% first wine as usual. As ever with Pontet, it feels vibrant and elegant, although there is not the depth and power of the past few years here. This would be a gorgeous wine to own and drink in the medium term. Nettle hints on the palate, certainly there is a strong hedgerow, brambles. Could drink it now, so soft are the tannins, but clearly this will age well, if less robustly than many Pontet vintages. Jean-Michel Comme was, as ever, quietly proud of the achievement, 'It was a year that was different in every way. We have focused on merlot over last few years, because the cabernet was pulling away so far, biodynamics has brought back quality to the merlot. Zero green harvesting, zero adding of cultivated yeasts; everything is different here'. 92-93. Highly recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Aymeric de la Gironde at Cos d'Estournel

Year of paradoxes, particularly difficult during flowering, 26hl/h in total, only 11hl/h for the merlot. Harvest 27 september to 10 october. 

 

Goulee AOC Médoc 2013

Lowest acohol ever at 12.6%, this is clear, fresh, good vibrancy, this is surprisinly pleasant. Blend is 33% cabernet sauvignon, 60% merlot. They might not want to hear this, but this wine does very well with low alcohol, making it far more approachable than in many other years. A good drinking claret. 84. Recommended. Drink 2014-2020.

 

Pagodes de Cos AOC Saint Estephe 2013

12.7%abv. Soft, but with a sense of energy. A little tight and short on the finish. But has poise and precision and tingling fruit. Savoury again, enjoyable and delicate, crushed blackberries with a cigar smoke edge. 64% cab, 28% merlot, 4% franc, 4% petit verdot. 86-87. Recommended. Drink 2017-2027.

 

Chateau Cos d'Estournel AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Lowest alcohol since the 1960s, at 12.7%abv. Harvest 27 September to 10 October without stopping. Just under 50% first wine which was an achievement this year, and the rest was Pagodes (so no third wine, no declassified juice - they managed to make wine of sufficient quality with their entire crop). Lovely rich ripe tannins and well-defined autumnal fruits, again blackberry but here also bilberry, blackcurrant, more depth of flavour, and with the fruit speaking more clearly because the alcohol is not hiding it. These are lovely soft wines, 3,55ph. 78% cab sauvignon, 20-% merlot, 2% csb franc. 91-92. Highly recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Cos d'estournel Blanc AOC Bordeaux Blanc 2013

Flinty, gorgeous, pure, precise wine, 76% sauvignon, 24% semillon, 7% cabernet franc, 3.52ph, 3.3 TA. 13.34%abv, 4.9 acidity, 2.99ph, 7% new barrels, loved it. 94. Highly recommended. Drink 2015-2025.

 

Bruno Borie wines

Bruno Borie calls 2013 'classicism reinvented.'T his year, with the rain, could not follow the 125 days after flowering rule for picking. Instead, picked from sept 26, knew botrytis spores were present, were one of the earliest in Saint Julien to pick - that was needed this year, have to adapt each time. They use cameras now measure anthocyanins.

 

Fourcas Borie AOC Listrac Medoc 2013

This is fresh, elegant, gentle pepper. Will this vintage start a new style? We have to accompany mother nature, so cant force it. This is delicate, refreshing, does also have some power, pretty, enjoyable, an early drinker but good value at €15 maximum consumer price. 83-84. Recommended. Drink 2017-2016.

 

Lalande-Borie AOC St Julien 2013

The vines for this wine are just behind Talbot and Lagrange, created back in 1972, so today a little over 40 years. Easy approach wine. 33% new oak used. There is good sweetness to the fruit. Some real elegance. €20 to consumer, maybe €25 maximum. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 26% merlot, 4% cabernet franc. 85-86. Recommended. Drink 2017-2027.

 

Croix de Beaucaillou AOC Saint Julien 2013

Can feel a plusher more pumped up fruit here, some lovely freshness, 100% new oak, 3% petit verdot in the blend, gives a lovely spice. Can feel the impact of the oak, fleshes things up, gves a sense of heightened mouthfeel, works right now, would worry about it ageing well, but this should have a good ten years of pleasure to offer. 85-86. Recommended. Drink 2018-2026.

 

Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou AOC Saint Julien 2013

Did not change anything in terms of extraction and ageing for the Ducru, even though picked grapes earlier than usual. The attack is dominated by violet, red cherry not black, redcurrants not blackcurrants, should ease into leather and tobacco leaf over ageing. This is delicious, there is not enormous persistancy on the palate, but there is juicy fruits, redcurrant, gooseberry leaf, some real lift of acidity. This has grip, soft tannins again, 90% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot. 13%abv. Floral touch, elegant. 91-92. Highly recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Ulysses cazabonne tasting

Chateau Serilhan AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Tight nose, fruits are cleanly extracted and fresh, firm blackcurrents, but overall this feels a little forced, needs time to settle into itself. Blend here is 57% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 8% cabernet franc. 85-86. Recommended. Drink 2017-2027.

 

Dame de Montrose AOC Saint Estephe 2013

A recent vertical reminded me how amazing this wine can be in some vintages (step forward the 2010 particularly), so this is a little disappointing, although good firm and fairly plush fruit. But short. 87. Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau Montrose AOC Saint Estephe 2013

No chaptilisation at Montrose this year except for two small lots of merlot, the first ones picked. The rest reached 13.13.5% naturally, with picking finishing up Tuesday 15 October. Around 35 hl/h yield globally, very successful in terms of quantity compared to many in the Médoc. I tasted some lots of this wine in the vats just after the picking, so was vyer interested to retaste the en primeur sample. Overall this has chewy tannins that have real form and depth to them. Understated power and a good sense of elegance. The grapes had fragile skins at harvest, so no severe extraction here, seven day vinification with gentle maceration (18-20 days, compared to 26 days in 2012), 3.4ph. This has a slightly overblown attack, but settles down from the mid-palate onwards and is a hugely pretty wine. Great winemaking and construction skills on view. 89-91. Recommended to Highly recommended. Drink 2020-2032.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Plusher richer fruit, straight from nose this feels and smells like a well wrought wine. Clear oak influence but gently toasted, not overdone. A little short compared to the best years, yes. Great spiciness, some real grip, like this a lot. One of the more successful in this vitage, it manges to feel juicy and personality-driven, really enjoyable. Medium term drinking, but with great pleasure. 90-91. Highly recommended. Drink 2020-2032.

 

Marquis de Calon AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Firm rich ripe fruit on the nose, but this has less of the deft touch of the first wine, tannins more stalky and rustic, big leap down from calon. 85-86. Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau Meyney AOC Saint Estephe 2013

The one to watch this year, late picked fruit, managed to avoid some of the main difficultes in Saint Estephe, with the oldest plot of merlot particularly avoiding the rot, and being picked far later than many of its neighbours. Lovely vanilla bean suggesting a well-placed dusting of oak, and feel here this is more effortleslsy ripe than many. Like this a lot. Some juiciness on display, with a swirl of dark pepper spice, and should be excellent value. Blend 55% cabernet sauvignon, 33% merlot, 12% petit verdot. 89-90. Recommended to Highly recommended. Drink 2018-2032.

 

Chateau Mauvesin-Barton AOC Moulis 2013

Good, sweet but oak dominated nose. Can see where they are going with this. But short, underpowered. 82-84. Fair to Recommended. Drink 2018-2026. 

 

Chateau Bellevue AOC Haut Medoc 2013

Another vintage where this estate punches above its weight. Yes the fruit could be a touch less tight, perhaps they turned the extraction up a touch high, but texture is good, coffee and bitter chocolate gives added interest. A little short, but good value for money. 86-87. Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau d'Escurac 2013

This tastes over extracted, green, lacks the ripeness to carry the fruit through to the close of play. 82. Fair. Drink 2017-2015.

 

Chateau d'Arsac Winemaker's Collection Ntsiki Biyela 2013

Not a lot of room for debate on this, a whole lot of green, not acheived its potential. 82. Fair. Drink 2017-2024.

 

Chateau Rollan de By AOC medoc 2013

Rich, chewy tannins, some power here, some good structure and potential, not uplifting, but solid and successful. 86-87. Recommended. Drink 2018-2027.

 

 

UGC Paillac, Saint Estephe Saint Julien

Tasted blind at Chateau Clerc Milon

 

Chateau la Tour Carnet AOC Haut Medoc 2013

Firm ruby-purple spectrum here, looks like they achieved good ripeness of the fruit, were able to extract some good colour. On the attack, the tannins are fairly chalky, does have a quiet elegance to it. Improves over opening in the glass. 84-86. Recommended. Drink 2018-2032.

 

Chateau de Camensac AOC Haut Médoc 2013

Ripe fruit on the nose, well textured on the palate, feel the tannins manage to offer support without being drying, and there is some clever construction going on that conveys confidence.  87-88. Recommended. Drink 2018-2032.

 

Chateau Citran AOC Haut Médoc 2013

Again, some impressive colour extraction and tannic hold, this is almost too much, but in the end feel we have expertise here, and some actual plush purple en primeur fruit, could develop over ageing, offers potential, while still remaining elegant and working woth the vintage, but not being afraid to push things just a little. 87-88. Recommended. Drink 2018-2032.

 

Chateau Cantemerle AOC Haut Médoc 2013

Fairly open plum on the nose. Like this. Great anthocyane extraction, some purple-violet tones. Potential, poise, power, not over done, well worked, good winemkaing skills. 90-91. Highly recommended. Drink 2019-2032.

 

Chateau de Belgrave AOC Haut Médoc 2013

Medium to full extraction in colour, purple plum blush. Here the fruit is a touch more underripe than the others here. Still well constructed, feel the building blocks being well placed. Get some mid palate weight, and it finishes if not exactly wiuth a flourish but at least not a dip. The fruit is overly tight, less potential to soften, as heads to bitterness, but overall they have worked well with the vintage. 85-87. Recommended. Drink 2018-2029.

 

Chateau Lamarque AOC Haut Médoc 2013

A more obvious oak nose, have some eugenol clove and empryematic flavours, touch of kirsch, feel alcohol is high here and not so in balance (chaptilisation?.) Feel they kicked against the vintage, extraction overly full. Of course ambitious, there is potential. 84-86. Recommended. Drink 2016-2026.

 

Chateau Beaumont AOC Haut Medoc 2013

Soft sweet oak on the nose. Overly sweet on the palate. This is cherry and vanilla, more red fruit than black, feels less northern medoc than it should, indications that the fruit didn't reach full ripeness. 83-84. Recommended. Drink 2016-2026.

 

Chateau Coufran AOC Haut Médoc 2013

Back to a more expertly extracted nose. This has some good firm fruit, blackcurrant, clearly trying to maitrise the extraction, perhaos a notch over the top, as there is a lot of weight without perhaps the correct freshness to balance it out. Feels a little overworked. Still, certainly potential, and has characterisics of northern medoc. 86-88. Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Branaire Ducru AOC Saint Julien 2013

Sweeter fruit and new oak nose, hints of a more burnt complex oak, but overall this is underwhelming and over extracted, even though it is fairly lightweight in texture, so quite an achievement, suggests that the fruit was simply not ripe enough. 85-86. Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chatea Langoa Barton AOC Saint Julien 2013

Again, over extracted and underwhelming. There are tannins, there is acidity, there is structure, just not in balance at this stage of its development. Retro-olfaction offers attractive coffee notes, which may well open up over ageing. This needs time to reveal its potential, but it may well reward the effort. 87-88 Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Lagrange AOC Saint Julien 2013

A high extraction level, things are tight and uplifted, but at least the fruit is abundant which balances out the tannnins and acidity. This has depth and layers, feel some complexity, black pepper spices, great potential. Harvest 30th September to October 14th. 90-91. Highly recommended. Drink 2020-2032.

 

Chateau Talbot AOC Saint Julien 2013

Closed unobtrusive nose, and things are also closed and tight on the palate. This has juiciness, there is some fruit extraction, but things end pretty abruptly, and the fruit has less complexity than the best years at this property. They have two new sorting lines at Talbot this year, and use both optical sorters and La Tribaie machine. 86. Recommended. Drink 2019-2028.

 

Chateau Leoville Barton AOC Saint Julien 2013

As with Langoa (and these are tasted blind) the extraction is a little distracting. Can see where they are going, there is a construction job going on, but the tannins are bursting out rather than gliding. Once it calms down in the mid palate, this plays into itself, and there are attractive liquorice and bilberry notes. 86-88. Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Gruaud Larose AOC Saint Julien 2013

Firm extraction, fruit a litle sour, things a little unbalanced, but like they they have had the ambition in these appellations to at least try to construct an en primeur wine, which has tannins and acidity and will benefit from ageing. 88. Recommended. Drink 2020-2031.

 

Chateau Leoville Poyferre AOC Saint Julien 2013

Black black fruits, far more than most, high extraction, hugh oak. Ambitious. Coffee, chocolate, liquorice, tar, cigar.... Would like to retate this in bottle, out of kilter with the vintgae, but some success is evident, not drying, clear potential. 90. Highly recommended. Drink 2019-2033.

 

Chateau Saint Pierre AOC Saint Julien 2013

Sweet nose again, a little spur on the palate. Get some underripe here, although well masked. 85. Recommended. Drink 2019-2028.

 

Chateau Beychevelle AOC Saint Julien 2013

Merlot harvest 1-5 October, cabernet 6-10 October. Consultant Eric Boissenot. Nail varnish, suggesting a touch of volatile acidity. Asked for a second bottle to taste, and it was better, but still felt that the nose was a little unfocused, just suggesting that the fruit wasn't quite as clean as it might be. New sorting facility to harvest reception here, so certainly disappointing, but for me this is not a great Beycehevelle. 84. Recommended. Drink 2019-2028.

 

Chateau Gloria AOC Saint Julien 2013

Again, not my favourite vintge of what is a hugely successful and reliable estate. The tannins are firm and present but a little rustic, feel phenolic ripeness just not quite reached. There is fruit which manages to stay present, and keep up with the tannins from attack to finish, but overall a little underwhelming. 84-86 Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Haut Bages Liberale AOC Pauillac 2013

Light colour, medium extraction, a pretty cherry. This works with the vintage, medium term drinking, pretty quite floral, but the black fruit that dances in to mid palate reminds you of northern Medoc locateion. Not a blockbuster, but like this. Slightly chewy tannins. Not one to cellar for too long, but enjoyable. 89-90 Recommended to Highly Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Lynch Moussas AOC Pauillac 2013

Very strong coffee, percolating, quite intrusive, not in balance. I am opening up a case of coffee grounds here and it overpowers everything else. This is alway a good value wine, and certainly here we have a good attempt to bring character out of the vintage, but for me the fruit is simply too light. 83-84. Recommended. Drink 2019-2028. 

 

Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse AOC Pauillac 2013

Full fruited nose, black cherry and plum, with toasted pinenuts, cedarwood, good texture. A little short though. Hubert de Bouard is consultant at this estate, with Anne le Naour as technical director overseeing a blend of 52% cabernet sauvignon and 48% merlot. 89-90. Recommended to Highly Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Grand Puy Lacoste AOC Pauillac 2013

Sweet nose, good grip, but lacks mid palate, not a grdat complexity. 84-85. Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse AOC Pauillac 2013

Nose here damson, extraction a touch over entusiastic, drying potential. The palate though fattens up, and the knots could very clearly work themselves out over ageing. This was an unusual vintage at this estate, as they used 100% cabernet sauvignon fruit for the first time. It has worked out well though, there is some lovely texture to the fruit, good weight in the mouth. Not hugely typical of the vintage, they have been able to push things a little further than many. 90-91. Highly recommended. Drink 2020-2032.

 

Chateau Batailley AOC Pauillac 2013

Subdued but elegant nose, dark fruits, oak subtle, good lift on the palate, a little abrupt on close of play, but ambitious, almost succeeds. 88-90. Recommended to highly Recommended. Drink 2019-2030.

 

Chateau Croizet Bages AOC Pauillac 2013

Lighter colour extraction, pretty nose, underpowered on the palate, shame, as this esatate has had a run of good vintages, but here seems to have suffered from the vintage conditions. 82-84. Fair to Recommended. Drink 2018-2027.

 

Chateau Lynch Bages AOC Pauillac 2013

Like the nose here, subtle, warming, slightly spicy. Good tannic grip, this is a really pretty, elegant and sexy wine, have sime lovely charcoal and cigar notes. Like a lot. One to savour. Lovely. 90-91. Highly recommended. Drink 2020-2034.

 

Chateau d'Armailhac AOC Pauillac 2013 (tasted blind here, and at Mouton. Gave it 87-88 here, 88-89 at Mouton)

A rich, fruit-filled nose, but the oak is a touch over intrusive on the palate. Not so many compromises made to the vintage perhaps as many wines this year, managing to convey ambition and a good tunnel of bright acidity. Less early easy drinking than some, which is perhaps a good thing, definitely enjoy the winemaking skills on show here. Blend 59% cabernet sauvignon, 28% melrot, 12% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot. 88-89. Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau Clerc Milon AOC Pauillac 2013 (tasted blind here, and at Mouton. Gave it same score)

Lovely bright purple fruits, feel a whoosh of acidity that is not evident in many properties, this is ambitious and successful, although lacks some of the fleshiness of the best vintages, but this is enjoyable, a good wine that you feel will age well. Lost a lot of the merlot crop here because of coulure. Blend 58% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, 12% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot, 1% carmanere. 91-92. Highly Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau Ormes de Pez AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Smoky oak, smudged, damson and creme anglaise on the nose. A little short, not as sophisticated as some perhaps, but offers enjoyable early to medium term drinking, good winemaking skills on display here. 86. Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau Phelan Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Big, dour, over extracted, too dry on the attack, although the fruit fills out in the mid-palate. Seems a bit of a struggle. 82-84 Fair to Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau Lafon Rochet AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Very tight, too extracted, too tannic, lacks charm. 82-84 Fair to Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau Cos Labory AOC Saint Estephe 2013

Needs to work more with the vintage, as I again get over-strained tannins that feel over-traditional and over-extracted. Having a run of difficult Saint Estephes here. 82-84 Fair to Recommended. Drink 2018-2028.

 

Chateau de Pez AOC Saint Estephe 2013

A dip in the mid palate, but this has smooth tannins and some good fruit on the attack, and manages a very attractive finish, good persistancy and uplift. Often offers good value and this has some drinking pleasure on offer. 88. Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau Clement Pichon AOC Haut Medoc 2013

Rich and meaty nose. Pierre Meylheuc technical director has worked hard at extracting this. Certainly doesn't taste of underripe fruit on the attack, good texture, just a little short on the finish, where get some telltale green notes. 86-87 Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau d'Agassac AOC Haut Medoc 2013

Firm colour extraction. Tired sample, but even so the oak is drying and intrusive, needs to soften up over ageing and worry that it does not have the fruit available to do so. 83-85 Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau Hourtin-Ducasse AOC Haut Medoc 2013

This organic estate made no wine in 2012, but has managed to produce an attractive 2013, with firm, sappy fruit. Acidity feels fairly high, but the fruit beneath it is well worked, and heads just towards full ripeness. 84-86. Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Chateau de Retout AOC Haut Medoc 2013

55% cabernet sauvignon, 21% petit verdt, 20% merlot, 3.6% cabernet franc. 100% oak, with one-third new oak, 12.5%abv. Picking oct 1 to 11th across all grape varieties. This has some uplifting dark fruit flavours. A early drinker but really Iike this, a lovely cru bourgeois, simple and too the point in a difficult vintage. 85-86 Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.

 

Le Retout Blanc vin de France 2013

This is a blend of 41.5% gros manseng, 37% sauvignon gris, 13% savignin, 8.5% mondeuse blanc, 9 months in barrel, 34% new oak. The gros manseng is a late ripener and wasnt harvested until October 3 this year. As you would expect, this abounds with unusual flavours, herbal, slight touch of sweetness and fairly low acidity overall. Structured though, and round, but with a kick of lift. Enjoyable. 12.3% alcohol. Just 1.5ha, 5000 bottles. 88. Recommended. Drink 2018-2030.