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Bordeaux 2016: Excellent Vintage with Potential to Age
By Robert Whitley
Apr 11, 2017
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BORDEAUX, France – The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux got off to a rocky start, with heavy rains in the spring. The summer months began to sow optimism, with warm, dry weather that continued through harvest. Throughout the region, Right Bank and Left Bank, the vines were healthy and the crop bountiful.

The result is an excellent vintage that should please collectors with wines that show tremendous upside potential to age. While the quality was pretty much across the board, I give a slight edge to the Left Bank. The Left Bank wines presented at the annual en primeur tastings hosted by the Union des Grands Cru de Bordeaux exhibited a consistency that wasn’t as evident on the Right Bank, where the quality of the tannins was not as good in my opinion.

The wines of Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Estephe and Saint-Julien were outstanding across the board and in some cases brilliant. Color and concentration was good throughout the region and the wines do not suffer from an excess of alcohol. They are well balanced and possess sufficient fruit to ensure the fruit will outlive the tannins in most wines.

The Left Bank tannins were especially beautiful and often suave, quite an achievement in such young wines. The wines tasted were barrel samples and graded on the 100-point scale using a four-point range due to the fragile nature and volatility of such young wines. Where no score is listed, in my judgment the barrel sample was compromised.

This is an outstanding vintage that may not be as fine as 2005 or 2010, but with scores of wines that would easily fit into either one of those two remarkable vintages. The vintage for the whites of Graves and Pessac-Leognan and Barsac and Sauternes didn’t quite match up to the reds, but it is still very good and worthy of consideration depending upon the price.

The big question for many is whether or not this is a vintage to purchase on futures. My answer is an unequivocal yes; the quality is high and prices will continue to rise between now and the moment they are released in the United States in a couple of years.

Graves Blanc

Chateau de Chantegrive, Graves – Good fruit purity, showing notes of lemon and pear, with modest alcohols and good balance overall. 89-92.
Chateau Ferrande, Graves – Shows some barrel funk at this stage, with notes of white peach. Palate lacks length, with a disappointing finish. 77-80.
Chateau Rahoul, Graves – Lacking richness, but with delicate aromas of peach and pear. 84-87.

Graves Rouge

Chateau de Chantegrive, Graves – Blue and red fruits, with good concentration and firm tannins. Excellent potential. 90-93
Chateau Ferrande, Graves – Pretty red fruit with an herbal note in the background. Modest tannins. Near term potential. 86-89.
Chateau Rahoul, Graves – Medium bodied with restrained red fruit aromas and grippy tannins. Short term potential. 86-89.

Listrac

Chateau Clarke, Listrac – Floral, herbal nose. Modest but firm tannins. Silky mouthfeel. Medium weight, good concentration and length. Near term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Fonreaud, Listrac – Smooth palate, fine tannins, good concentration, nice balance. Near term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listrac – Tart red fruits, good balance, near term potential. 86-89.
Chateau Fourcas Hosten, Listrac – Tart red fruits, mild tannins, simple. 85-88.
Chateau Beaumont, Haut-Medoc – Green fruit, green tannins. 76-79.

Margaux

Chateau Angludet, Margaux – Good concentration, floral note, red and black fruits, fine tannins. 90-93.
Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Margaux – Floral note, good concentration, suave tannins, excellent long-term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Cantenac Brown, Margaux – Good concentration, but lean fruit notes, a bit of green fruit. Good near term potential. 87-90.
Chateau Dauzac, Margaux – Good concentration, hard tannins, good near term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Desmirail, Margaux – Dull fruit, barrel funk.
Chateau Dufort-Vivens, Margaux – Pretty black fruit and floral nose, excellent concentration of fruit, good balance and fine tannins. Excellent near term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Ferriere, Margaux – Good concentration of black fruits, very fleshy, medium tannins, rich and long. Good medium term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Giscours, Margaux – Good concentration, slight barrel funk, modest tannins. 86-89.
Chateau Kirwan, Margaux – Good concentration, white pepper, red fruits, fine tannins. Good long term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Labegorce, Margaux – Good concentration, layered red and black fruits, spicy, excellent long term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Lascombes, Margaux – Good concentration, excellent balance, suave palate, fine tannins, excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery, Margaux – Good concentration, medium weight, good length, firm tannins. Good medium term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Marquis de Terme, Margaux – Good concentration, medium weight, good length, good medium term potential, firm tannins. 89-92.
Chateau Monbrison, Margaux – Good concentration, medium weight, fine tannins, excellent medium term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Margaux – Good concentration, medium weight, good length, good long term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux – Excellent concentration, spicy, layered black fruits, firm tannins, excellent long term potential. 92-95.
Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux – Excellent concentration, layered black fruits, full-bodied, rich and long. Excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau Siran, Margaux – Excellent concentration, layered red and black fruits, rich and dense, firm tannins, excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau du Terte, Margaux – Good concentration, layered red and black fruits, fine tannins, good richness, good long term potential. 91-94.

Medoc/Haut Medoc

Chateau Belgrave, Haut-Medoc – Medium body, medium concentration, extremely hard tannins. Need minimum 10 years but decent potential. 88-91.
Chateau de Camensac, Haut-Medoc – Medium weight and concentration, very hard tannins. Medium term potential. 87-90.
Chateau Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc – Good concentration, layered fruit, hard tannins. 89-92.
Chateau Citran, Haut-Medoc – Good concentration, layered fruit, firm tannins, excellent long term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Coufran, Haut-Medoc – Spicy white pepper, good concentration, red and dark fruits, excellent long-term potential. 90-93.
Chateau La Lagune, Haut-Medoc – Pretty red fruits, good concentration, fine tannins, excellent long term potential. 91-94.
Chateau de Lamarque, Haut-Medoc – Spicy white pepper, good concentration, good depth and length, excellent long-term potential. 90-93.
Chateau La Tour Carnet, Haut-Medoc – Pretty red fruits, good concentration, medium body, excellent long term potential. 90-93.
Chateau La Tour de By, Medoc – Floral note, good concentration, layers of fruit, firm tannins, excellent medium term potential. 89-92.

Moulis-en-Medoc

Chateau Chasse-Spleen, Moulis – Tight, modest tannins, medium weight and concentration. 88-91.
Chateau Maucaillou, Moulis – Pretty floral note, bright red fruits, power in the glass, good concentration, firm tannins, good long term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Poujeaux, Moulis – Good concentration of black fruits, firm grape tannins, excellent long term potential. 91-94.

Pauillac

Chateau d’Armailhac, Pauillac – Excellent concentration, balanced, red and black fruits, good length, fine tannins, excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau Batailley, Pauillac – Good concentration, layered fruits, fleshy, soft tannins. Good near term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Clerc Milon, Pauillac – Good concentration, layered fruits, fleshy, fine tannins, good length. Excellent near term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Croizet-Bages, Pauillac – Good concentration, fleshy black fruits, fine tannins. Good medium term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse, Pauillac – Good concentration, fleshy black fruits, some barrel funk, soft tannins. Good near term potential. 87-90.
Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, Pauillac – Dirty fruit.
Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac – Excellent concentration, layered black fruits, well balanced, outstanding length, fine tannins. Excellent long term potential. 94-97.
Chateau Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac – Good concentration, fleshy palate, good length, good medium term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac – Good concentration, layered black fruits, fleshy and firm, fine tannins, excellent long term potential. 94-97.

Pessac-Leognan Blanc

Chateau Bouscaut, Pessac-Leognan – Low acid, flabby but with nice white peach and spice. 84-87.
Chateau Carbonnieux, Pessac-Leognan – Mouth-watering acidity, notes of pear and peach and green fruits. 88-91.
Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan – Beautiful white peach nose with freshness and zest. Very clean and pure. 92-95.
Chateau de Fieuzal, Pessac-Leognan – Thin, with grapefruit notes, lacking depth. 79-82.
Chateau de France, Pessac-Leognan – Notes of grapefruit and lemon. Clean and fresh but simple. 86-89.
Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan – Thin and utterly lifeless. 77-80.
Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan – Toasty nose, hints of pear and apple. Green fruits on the palate. Clean but finishes short. 87-90.
Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan – Grapefruit and peach aromas, decent acid, lacks flesh but crisp and clean. Short finish. 88-91.
Chateau La Louviere, Pessac-Leognan – Good weight and length, with nice fruit purity and freshness and a pleasing finish. 89-92.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan – Yellow peach and pear, hints of spice and a modicum or richness, with a medium finish. 89-92.
Chateau Olivier, Pessac-Leognan – Grapefruit and peach, with green fruits and a medium body and short finish. 87-90.
Chateau Pape Clement, Pessac-Leognan – Nice pear and peach notes, pleasing roundness with a bit of flesh and good persistence through the finish. 93-96.
Chateau Picque Caillou, Pessac-Leognan – Thin and lacking depth, but clean and fresh. 85-88.
Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan – White peach and vanilla, with good richness and excellent persistence, with a long finish. 93-96.
Pessac-Leognan Rouge
Chateau Bouscaut, Pessac-Leognan – Low fruit intensity, modest tannins, simple complexity. Short term potential. 84-87.
Chateau Carbonnieux, Pessac-Leognan – Good fruit concentration, with an inviting floral note and nicely integrated grape tannins. Excellent long-term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan – Good purity, with plum and blueberry and a floral note. Soft, round tannins suggest near term. 88-91.
Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan – Excellent concentration, good fruit purity and wonderful tannin structure that already seems integrated. 94-97.
Chateau de Fieuzal, Pessac-Leognan – Green tannins, modest fruit, near term. 83-86.
Chateau de France, Pessac-Leognan – Herbal and green with modest fruit. Near term. 83-86.
Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan – Low fruit intensity, high tannin intensity. 82-85.
Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan – Good concentration, nice blue fruits and a bit of floral, with medium tannins and decent length. 89-92.
Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan – Good concentration, pretty black and red fruits, with extremely firm tannins. Long term potential. 92-95.
Chateau La Louviere, Pessac-Leognan – Good concentration, dark fruits, firm tannins, excellent freshness. Long term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan – Good concentration, red fruits, hint of floral, firm tannins. Long term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Olivier, Pessac-Leognan – Excellent fruit concentration. Red fruits. Floral notes, and modest tannins. Medium range potential. 89-92.
Chateau Pape Clement, Pessac-Leognan – Suave even at this early stage, with red fruits, floral notes and firm grape tannins. 91-94.
Chateau Picque Caillou, Pessac-Leognan – Medium bodied with good concentration, red fruits and grippy tannins. Medium term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan – Suave and sleek, with red and black fruits, notes of floral and spice and a long finish. Excellent long term potential. 95-98.

Pomerol

Beauregard, Pomerol – Suave, rich, with good concentration and beautiful tannins. 91-94.
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol – Fleshy but with firm structure. Nice plum notes. 88-91
Chateau La Cabanne, Pomerol – Red fruits, concentrated, bold and aggressive tannins. 89-92.
Chateau Clinet, Pomerol – Good flesh with firm tannins. Good medium term potential. 88-91.
Chateau La Croix de Gay, Pomerol – Green tinges. 79-82.
Chateau Gazin, Pomerol – Wood tannins galore, but with plenty of concentrated fruit and good long-term potential. 88-91.
Chateau Petit-Village, Pomerol – Hard to find the fruit because of the hard tannins.
Chateau La Pointe, Pomerol – Modest fruit, high intensity tannins.

Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Chateau Ballestard La Tonnelle, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Concentrated and extracted, with riveting tannins. 88-91.
Chateau Berliquet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Good concentration, pretty red and black fruits, but overbearing wood tannins. 85-88.
Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Floral notes, red fruits, moderate tannins. Good medium term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Good concentration, richness and length on the palate, without being over-extracted. Potential to blossom. 90-93.
Chateau Cap de Moulin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Mouth puckering wood tannins. 78-81.
Chateau La Couspaude, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Pretty red fruits, modest tannins, simple. 86-89.
Chateau Dassault, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Excellent concentration, pretty red fruits, integrated tannins, an element of suave. 91-94.
Chateau La Dominique, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Good concentration, pretty black and red fruit complexity, elegant tannins. 90-93.
Clos Fourtet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Good concentration, blueberry fruit, a bit of floral, but a hole in the middle and no finish. 88-91
Chateau Franc Mayne, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Concentrated, extracted, aggressive tannins. 88-91.
Chateau Grand Mayne, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Pretty wine. Suave. Good concentration. Integrated tannins. Complex layers. Excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Good concentration, black fruits, medium tannins but short on the finish. Room to improve. 88-91.
Chateau Larmande, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Medium fruit, high intensity tannins. 86-89.
Chateau Pavie Macquin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Sour. 77-80.
Chateau Soutard, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Fat and round, but with intrusive wood tannins. 85-88.
Chateau Latour Figeac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Rich and bold, with fleshy ripe fruit and firm tannins. Good long term potential. 94-97.
Chateau Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Excellent concentration, dense and rich, with firm tannins. Black and red fruits. Excellent long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau TrotteVeille, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Barrel fermentation funk. Most likely a sample gone bad. NR (No Rating)
Chateau Villemaurine, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – Violets, red fruits, good concentration, firm tannins. Good midterm potential. 89-92.

Saint-Estephe

Chateau Cos Labory, Saint-Estephe – Excellent concentration, well balanced, firm tannins, black fruits, excellent long term potential. 92-95.
Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estephe – Good concentration, slightly tart red fruit, medium weight, good length, firm tannins. Good medium term potential. 89-92.
Chateau Ormes de Pez, Saint-Estephe – Good concentration, pretty floral note, medium weight, good length, good medium to long term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Phelan Segur, Saint-Estephe – Good concentration, medium weight, black fruits, firm grape tannins. Good medium to long term potential. 90-93.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beycheville, Saint-Julien – Excellent concentration, layered black fruits, good richness and flesh, good length, fine tannins. Excellent long term potential. 94-97.
Chateau Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien – Excellent concentration of black fruits, layered, fleshy, outstanding length. Fine tannins. Excellent long term potential. 94-97.
Chateau Gloria, Saint-Julien – Nice floral note, excellent concentration, soft tannins, good medium to long term potential. 90-93.
Chateau Gruaud Larose, Saint-Julien – Good concentration, flowery, red and black layers of fruit, fine tannins. Excellent long-term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Lagrange, Saint-Julien – Good concentration, good richness, layered black and red fruits, soft tannins. Excellent medium range potential. 90-93.
Chateau Langoa Barton, Saint-Julien – Excellent concentration, well balanced, medium body, good length, soft tannins. Excellent medium term potential. 91-94.
Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien – Excellent concentration, exquisite balance, layered fruits, good length, suave tannins. Excellent long term potential. 94-97.
Chateau Saint-Pierre, Saint-Julien – Pretty floral note, good concentration of fruit, layered and rich but firm. Excellent medium to long term potential. 93-96.
Chateau Talbot, Saint-Julien – Good concentration, fleshy but firm, good length. Good medium term potential. 90-93.

Sauternes/Barsac Dessert Wines

Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne, Sauternes – Pineapple upside down cake, fat and delicious. 88-91.
Chateau Broustet, Barsac – Fat and flabby. Cloying.
Chateau Coutet, Barsac – Pineapple, tropical, good balance, clean finish. 90-93.
Chateau Doisy Daene, Barsac – Honey comb, tropical, complex, balanced. 92-95.
Chateau Doisy-Vedrines, Sauternes – Honey comb, tropical, good acid, excellent potential. 93-96.
Chateau de Fargues, Sauternes – Honeyed, tropical, fat and luscious. 90-93.
Chateau Guirard, Sauternes – Fat and sassy, but soft and cloying. 87-90.
Chateau Haut-Peyraguey, Sauternes – Tropical, too sweet. 83-86.
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes – Honey comb, tropical, soft. 86-89.
Chateau de Malle, Sauternes – Sweet and soft. 85-88.
Chateau de Rayne Vigneau, Barsac – Pineapple, tropical, honey. Good concentration and balance, though a bit soft. 88-91.
Chateau Sigalas Rabaud, Sauternes – Honey comb, but falls off quickly. 86-89.
Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes – Honey comb, brioche, tropical fruits, excellent balance. 92-95.
Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes – Honey comb, tropical, good concentration. Clean. 88-91.