Pauillac: The Land Of Ckassified Bordeaux

Pauillac AOC

First Growth

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $610.00

Available November 2020

A blend of  96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot.  

99 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Composed of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon with 3.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Lafite Rothschild is a little shy on the nose to begin, opening out to scents of crushed blackcurrants, black cherries and warm black plums with touches of yeast extract, charcuterie, cigar box and fertile loam plus a hint of iron ore. POW—the paradoxically ethereal, medium-bodied palate hits you with vibrant, exhilarating black fruit and previously latent floral layers, supported with fantastic freshness and super fine-grained, pixelated tannins, finishing with persistent mineral and perfumed layers. Truly. Stunning.

98 Points James Suckling

This is very tight and tannic with lots of blackcurrant and sweet-tobacco character. Firm and powerful tannin texture sets this up for a long and chewy finish, yet it remains very compact and polished. It’s a wine that possesses all the hallmarks of Lafite — everything from flavors to structure.

98 Points Wine Enthusiast

Firm and closed, this is a dark and dense wine. There are impressive tannins alongside juicy black plum flavors as well as great concentration. It is an exceptional wine, with the power you should expect from a Lafite. It is certain to age and will not be ready before 2025.

98 Points Decanter

This is delicious, a real take-a-step-back moment. There’s a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon here, complex and layered with cassis and bilberry notes that tease the attack before being filled out with charcoal, slate, cedar, and even truffle hints, even at this early stage. The finish just doesn’t want to quit. It’s effortless but questioning, and most importantly it feels like a Lafite – for me this is a contender for red wine of the vintage. Less intense than 2016, but still just beautiful. 40hl/ha yield, unaffected by frost, or maybe just one tiny corner. 99% new oak. 3.75pH.

Chateau Latour

Futures Pre-Sale Price $

Available November 2020

 

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $500.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot.

99 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The 2017 Mouton Rothschild has one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon ever at 90%, with 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is already singing of crushed black currants, warm blackberries and chocolate-covered cherries with hints of violets, star anise, cinnamon stick and cloves plus wafts of pencil lead and unsmoked cigars. Medium-bodied, wonderfully delicate yet intense in the mouth (gaining some richness in the mid-palate on my second taste two and a half weeks later), it has super fine-grained, smooth tannins and incredible freshness, finishing very long with tons of tightly wound layers. Wow. This vintage is going to be very long-lived in the cellar!

98 Points James Suckling

This is a very shy and tight Mouton with blackberries, blackcurrants and hints of terracotta. Full body and very integrated tannins that are extremely polished and beautiful. Spicy and white-pepper finish. Sexy and exciting. So long and refined.

98 Points Wine Enthusiast

The wine develops slowly on the palate, gradually revealing its powerful tannins and solid structure. It has the classic black currant fruitiness of Cabernet Sauvignon, to match the robust, lasting tannins. This impressive wine will develop slowly with great power.

96 Points Decanter

Vibrancy is one of the key themes of the year in the most successful properties, and this has bright, plump fruit and good depth of colour, even if it’s less concentrated than the past few vintages. The Pauillac first growths have done a great job in 2017, and it’s hard to question the depth of fruit and richness here – there’s no doubting that this is a great Mouton. Cassis and blackberry notes are delivered with precision, but there is a clear restraint that is another signature of 2017, and perhaps doesn’t reflect Mouton’s personality as much as some of its neighbours. There’s not the same weight of tannins as 2016 (around 70 IPT this year, still a high amount), but it’s a beautiful, persistent, gorgeous wine that will age gracefully. 100% new oak. (Image is the 2015 bottle; the design for the 2017 label will be revealed later).

Second Growth

Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $135.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot.

97 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The grand vin represents 50% of production this year. A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot, the 2017 Pichon-Longueville Baron is deep garnet-purple in color and simply sings of vibrant blackcurrants, black cherries and rose hip notes with nuances of potpourri, incense, licorice and pencil shavings plus touches of cigar box and fertile loam. Medium-bodied, super intense and possessing stunning poise, it has very firm, fine-grained tannins and a beautifully silken texture, with bags of freshness and a very long, perfumed finish.

96 Points James Suckling

This is very centered and focused on the mid-palate with beautiful currant, coffee and walnut character. Full-bodied and superfine. Strong tannins and a long and bright finish. Lots of blackcurrants and blackberries in the end.

96 Points Wine Enthusiast

This wine has power and plenty of concentration. Rich fruit bursts out of the glass already, suggesting a wine that will age relatively quickly for this estate. It does have concentration as well as bold fruits that will let the wine mature from 2025.

95 Points Decanter

A wonderfully rich and beautiful wine, intense and concentrated but with real generosity of spirit and huge persistency. It’s in keeping with the more focussed and intensely intellectual style of wine that Pichon Baron has produced over the past few vintages, meaning that the austerity of the year really suits it. The 30hl/ha yield was not because of frost, but because of their low-yielding 60-year-old Cabernet vines. 80% new oak. 50% of production went into the grand vin. Harvested 18 September to 3 October, followed by an early and rapid fermentation and blending, meaning that wines were transferred into barrel by the end of November. A wine to age, and then some.

95 Points Wine Spectator

This is nice, with dark plum and blackberry compote flavors that have a fleshy edge, while light bay, tobacco and savory notes add range, combining with the vintage’s fresh acidity and bright mineral edge.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $130.00

Available November 2020

97 Points Wine Enthusiast

Certainly a fine wine, this has ripe tannins that are balanced by the fine, black fruits. With its smoky and black currant character, it has the structure for aging, as well as the attractive fruitiness of the vintage. Drink from 2024.

96 Points James Suckling

This is a really fascinating young Pichon Lalande with a dense center palate of currants, crushed stones, salt and seashells. Really long and intense. Wonderful energy. Showing character of some of the top years of the 1980s.

96 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

This barrel sample is 100% new oak, whereas the final blend will be only 60% new oak. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2017 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is very deep garnet-purple in color with an incredibly fragrant nose of roses, lavender and baking spices over a core of crushed blackcurrants, wild blueberries and fresh plums plus touches of iron ore and underbrush. Medium-bodied and elegant with firm, grainy tannins, it’s quite taut and muscular, with lots of perfumed and mineral layers and a long finish with lingering cinnamon and anise notes.

95 Points Wine Spectator

Solid, with a rounded, enticing core of plum and black currant preserve flavors supported by savory and tobacco notes. Has sleek tannins and fresh acidity for ample length and a nice graphite edge at the end.

94 Points Decanter

If you just taste the big name Pauillacs, you would be hard-pressed to understand that 2017 has been a challenging year. This is one of my wines of the vintage, no question. It’s from 21ha, biodynamically farmed, with Vincent Masson as consultant. Just a few plots further away from the river were affected by frost. The slight austerity of 2017 is evident, with a savoury quality to the fruit, but this is exceptionally good, with plenty of stunning fruit and well defined tannins. The aromatics are very refined, and the intense cassis fruit doesn’t sacrifice any intensity or power. It demonstrates the energy that Comtesse has displayed so consistently in recent vintages, with gorgeous finesse and structure to the tannins. The new cellar has raised the level of Cabernet from 65% to 70+%, with 12% press wine. This is going to age extremely well.

Third Growth

Fourth Growth

Chateau Duhart-Milon Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $70.00

Available November 2020

A blend of  76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot.

94 Points Decanter

A brilliantly elegant, suave Duhart, one of the successes of the appellation for me. This is a classically structured Duhart, a wine that is not overly exuberant but that has a sense of direction and balance, and is well held together. There’s a very attractive quality to the tannins, joined by dark bilberry fruits that gain weight through the palate. It doesn’t quite have the dense concentration and richness of 2016, but that was an exceptional vintage. This is a wine that I look forward to following as it ages. Around 5% frost on the northwest corner, affecting the Merlot for the second wine (not tasted). But overall the vintage was so early that even though the September rains probably brought alcohol levels down a touch, they did not unduly worry as the fruit was already ripe enough. 3.75pH. 50% new oak. 38hl/ha yield.

92 Points Vinous

The 2017 Duhart Milon is deep, luscious and fruity, with lovely mid-palate depth and pliancy. Soft, silky tannins wrap around a core of dark red and blackish fruit. The 2017 is a very pretty Clerc Milon with plenty to recommend it. This is really quite lovely. The blend is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot. Duhart is another impressive wine in a portfolio from Lafite that is especially strong this year. 

91 Points James Suckling

Very pretty chocolate and dark-berry character with a medium to full body, soft and silky tannins and a fresh finish. Balanced and refined.

91 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, the 2017 Duhart-Milon is beautifully scented of crushed red and black currants, black raspberries and spice cake with suggestions of lavender, cloves and rose hip tea. The palate is medium-bodied, very soft and elegant with seamless freshness and a lingering spiciness on the finish. Barrel Sample: 89-91

Fifth Growth

Chateau Pontet-Canet Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $114.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

98 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Blended of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Pontet-Canet opens with vibrant wild blueberries, black raspberries and crushed plums with notions of cinnamon stick, violets, unsmoked cigars and pencil lead plus wafts of roses, lavender and tilled black soil. Medium-bodied with very fine, incredibly plush tannins, it is deliciously savory in the mouth, with wonderful freshness and spectacular energy delivering many layers, resulting in a very long, mineral-laced finish.

97 Points James Suckling

This is incredibly transparent and refined with blackcurrant, blueberry and mineral character. Full-bodied, layered and ethereal. Tannins have a crushed-stone character. Long and persistent.

97 Points Wine Enthusiast

Firm structure supports the luscious fruit flavors—this is a richly generous wine. Finely integrated tannins are layered with ripe black currant notes. As often with this biodynamic estate, the purity of the fruit is outstanding and concentrated. It will age well over many years, but is enjoyable young.

94 Points Decanter

This is a very charming Pauillac with texture, rippling energy and undoubted finesse. It’s deceptive, because the dark, luscious blackberry, bilberry, and damson notes are fairly fresh, with a luscious lipsmacking quality, but the tannins build over the palate. It almost tastes like a St-Julien rather than a Pauillac as they’re so fine and elegant, but the Pauillac character becomes more apparent by the close of play – there’s no hiding those swirling cassis, smoke and menthol notes.

This has a really gorgeous tension and freshness without sacrificing concentration. They used brand-new concrete vats this year, designed by technical director Jean-Michel Comme’s, for one-third of the crop. The concrete was made from sands and gravels extracted from the exact spot that the building containing them now stands, utilising geothermal heating and cooling, with as few metallic parts as possible and insulated with hemp. The wine will be aged in 50% new oak, 35% concrete vats and t15% in one-year-old barrels.

They have made nearly no second wine again. Just 1% frost loss in 2017. The Merlot was harvested from 18 September, block by block over 10 days, then deleafed. The Cabernets were picked from 28 September through until 4 October.

93 Points Wine Spectator

Starts off high-pitched but fills out steadily, featuring red currant and crushed plum fruit carried by fresh acidity and a bright iron note. Reveals a lingering savory streak on the finish. Built on purity rather than density, with the minerality lingering.

Chateau Batailley Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $

Available November 2020

 

Chateau Haut-Batailley Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $65.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Merlot.

95 Points James Suckling

This is very structured and serious. Full-bodied, tannic and powerful. Boom. This is one of the best Haut-Batailleys in years. From the new owners, who also own Lynch-Bages.

92 Points Wine Spectator

This has good currant and damson fruit lined with tobacco and iron notes. Offers slightly dusty tannins but remains fresh and focused overall.

90 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Haut Batailley was just purchased in 2017 by Famille JM Cazes (owners of Château Lynch Bages). A barrel sample blended of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Haut Batailley features classic cassis and cigar box notes with nuances of kirsch, pencil shavings, bay leaves and dusty soil. Medium-bodied, the palate has firm, ripe, grainy tannins and great freshness lifting the delicate red and black fruit flavors through an earthy finish.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $78.00

Available November 2020

94 Points Decanter

These guys often over-deliver in challenging years, and have done so yet again. As you would expect in a vintage that has produced such an excellent Lacoste Borie, this GPL is exceptional, a real success that’s juicy and carefully extracted. It has weight and impact, with a Pauillac tannic hold and presence. It’s one of my wines of the vintage, and a must buy. The balanced, sculpted, juicy black fruits fully deliver personality and signature style. Harvested 15-29 September, yielding 45hl/ha. 80% new oak.

94 Points Wine Spectator

This is crunchy and lively, offering a bright herbaceous note mixed in with red and black currant fruit. There’s good iron-driven cut on the finish. A bit backward, but the pieces are there for a textbook, mineral-driven Pauillac.

93 Points James Suckling

Very pretty and focused with a tight and refined palate of juicy tannins and a savory finish. Elegant.

Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse

Futures Pre-Sale Price $

Available November 2020

 

Chateau Lynch-Bages

Futures Pre-Sale Price $110.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

96 Points James Suckling

This is an excellent Lynch that starts off slowly and then drives at the end with dark fruit and hints of hazelnuts. Strong and focused tannins. A beautiful young wine.

96 Points Wine Enthusiast

This dense wine is setting out to be fine and rich. It has power and density along with ripe blackberry flavors. Its concentration and dark tannins suggest a long life ahead. Drink from 2024.

95 Points Decanter

They’ve had their foot on the extraction pedal here, but the extremely dark fruit has great finesse. It is broad-shouldered and savoury-edged, and each time I tasted this wine it seemed a little richer and more complete, over-delivering for the year. This is going to age extremely well. 2% Petit Verdot makes up the blend. 75% new oak.

95 Points Wine Spectator

There’s really good flesh here for the vintage, with cassis, plum and blackberry compote flavors that are a step ahead of the pack in concentration. Light charcoal and iron notes score the finish, which is racy and fresh. Textbook Pauillac.

93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

The 2017 Lynch Bages is a barrel sample blended of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple-black in color, it leaps from the glass with energetic crushed black cherries, black plums and blackcurrants scents plus underlying notions of baking spices, underbrush, unsmoked cigars and fragrant earth. Medium-bodied, the palate offers a well-sustained mid-palate and firm frame of grainy tannins with loads of freshness and minerality on the long finish.

Chateau Lynch-Moussas Reviews

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Chateau d’Armailhac Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $48.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

94 Points James Suckling

Opulent and powerful for d’Armailhac with blackcurrants, blackberries and black olives. Full-bodied, tannic and extremely muscular. Very well done indeed.

93 Points Wine Spectator

Juicy and forward, with anise-tinged plum and cherry fruit backed by a light brambly structure. A lingering chalk echo adds length. This delivers nice latent depth.

92 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2017 D’Armailhac is deep garnet-purple in color and very open on the nose with expressive notes of crushed black cherries, black raspberries and cassis with hints of baking spices, lavender and wood smoke. The palate is medium-bodied with a great core of vibrant red and black fruits, ripe, grainy tannins and superb freshness, finishing long and minerally.

91 Points Decanter

The dry conditions in the summer hurt the Merlots in many areas, and consequently many wines have a higher level of Cabernet. Here, they have used the highest percentage in Armailhac since 2002. There’s great energy to the pretty dark fruit; it’s not fleshy but it has a lovely sense of direction with concentration and beautiful extraction. Fine tannins lend good grip through the palate. The drought rather than the frost impacted yields here, but only to 40hl/ha. Harvested 6-29 September. 40% new oak. All blends at Mouton completed by 1 December, the earliest ever.

Chateau Haut-Bages-Liberal Reviews

Futures Pre-Sale Price $43.00

Available in November 2020

95 Points James Suckling

Tannic and linear with blackberry and currant character. Full body, tight and chewy with a polished texture and excellent length. Shows toned muscles for the vintage. Demeter certified biodynamic.

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

This is a solid, foursquare style of wine with some firm tannins that should soften as the fruit develops. There is brightness and plenty of fruit at the core, waiting its turn. Drink from 2024.

93 Points Wine Spectator

Solid, with dark plum and currant fruit forming the core, while tobacco and iron accents add bass and cut through the finish. Has the fresh cut of the vintage.

Chateau Pedesclaux Reviews

Futures Pre Sale Price $43.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

95 Points Wine Enthusiast

This generous wine revels in its ripe Cabernet Sauvignon. It has firm tannins already fully integrated into the ripe blackberry fruit notes. Drink this fine wine from 2024.

94 Points James Suckling

This is tannic for the year with blueberry, blackberry and salt character. Sea shells too. Full body, powerful finish. Pure blackcurrants at the finish. Some flowers too. Impressive. Driven, tight finish.

93 Points Decanter

They have certainly continued to build up the feeling of serious weight and power at this property. It opens up carefully and consistently over ten minutes in the glass, with a clear focus on Cabernet flavours such as dark spice, blackcurrant berries and buds, liquorice and walls of slate. This wine is taking its place slowly but surely among the really good Pauillacs, and has managed to continue to make an impression in 2017.

91 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Pedesclaux is scented of crushed blueberries, warm black cherries and cigar box with touches of garrigue and cinnamon toast. Medium-bodied with firm, grainy tannins and just enough vibrant fruit, it has a nice long vivacious finish. The tentative blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.

91 Points Wine Spectator

Features a red currant and cherry core lined with chalky tannins. Shows floral lift and fresh acidity through the finish. Not big, but pure.

Chateau Clerc-Milon Reviews

Futures Suggested Retail Price $75.00

Available November 2020

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carménère.

95 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carménère, the 2017 Clerc Milon is deep garnet-purple in color and scented of crushed red and black currants, wild blueberries and black pepper with touches of cigar box, violets, underbrush and menthol. Medium-bodied and with a very firm structure of wonderfully ripe, pixelated tannins and exhilarating freshness, it finishes long with notes of pebbles and floral perfume.

95 Points Wine Enthusiast

Finely structured, there is an excellent balance between fruit and tannins on this ripe and juicy wine. It is elegant, harmonious and poised. It will develop easily and over time will be an impressive wine.

94 Points Decanter

It’s immediately obvious from both colour and first nose that this has a wonderful richness to it, offering powerful cherry pit, graphite and dark chocolate notes but without being overly sweet. A serious wine that is delivering on its potential, vintage after vintage. The Cab Franc vines are on limestone and clay here, and reached perfect ripeness. Overall there is a higher percentage of both Cabernets than usual in the blend. 9% press wine. 50% new oak.

93 Points James Suckling

Tight and compacted with chewy tannins and showing hot-stone, blackberry and blueberry character. Full body and a driven finish.

93 Points Wine Spectator

Crunchy plum and black currant notes are fresh and focused, while chalk, iron and savory details line the finish. Shows nice purity and minerally drive.

Chateau Croizet Bages