Undoubtedly the most well-known fine wine region on the planet, the French wine region of Bordeaux spans 120,000 hectares of vineyard and is demarcated by the Gironde Estuary and its two main tributaries, the Garonne and the Dordogne. The region is divided into the Left Bank, for vineyards located on the left bank of the Garonne River, and the Right Bank, for vineyards on the right bank of the Dordogne. Famous Left Bank appellations such as Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estephe and Margaux are well-known for their quality, but value is also found in Haut-Medoc and Moulis. The Right Bank is well known for Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, while the upcoming regions of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon should not be overlooked. Close to the city Sauternes and Barsac make some of the world's best sweet wines, while the appellations of Pessac-Leognan and Graves do a fine line in rich reds and full-bodied whites.
Red Bordeaux wines are made from a blend of grapes, and the permitted varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and, less commonly, Malbec and Carmenere. Very broadly speaking, Right Bank wines will have a predominance of Merlot, while Left Bank wines will rely on Cabernet Sauvignon as the primary variety in a blend. White wines, both dry and sweet, are made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
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Chateau Tour St Bonnet
The 2016 La Tour St Bonnet has quite a rich bouquet with small black cherries, pencil lead and just a little warmth suggesting maybe a day's extra maceration? The palate is soft and supple on the entry with juicy tannin, moderate complexity and a cohesive, tobacco tinged finish that needs just a touch more persistence. Drink 2020-2030. 87-89 points. Neal Martin, erobertparker.com, April 2017...read more
The 2016 Beaumont, owned by Suntory and Castel, has a rather conservative bouquet, a little backward and surly compared to its peers with undergrowth aromas coming through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, quite lithe and agile in the mouth, a wine willing to go out and please and not worry too much about cellaring. Drink 2019-2029. 88-90 points. Neal Martin, erobertparker.com, April 2017...read more
Chateau Cap de Faugeres
85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon with 100% new oak barrels. Impressive, forward black fruit nose with integrated vanilla and floral undertones. Vibrant and seductive with a blackcurrant and black cherry puree core and fused with subtle and creamy oak and hints of violet. A real sleeping beauty. Drink 2020-2028. Barrel sample. JG, April 2017....read more
The 2016 Lanessan has a perfumed, quite floral bouquet with graphite tinged black fruit—fine delineation with impressive focus, even if it is not the most complex Haut-Medoc that I encountered in this vintage out of barrel. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth tannin, well-judged acidity, plenty of black fruit with a harmonous, engaging and slightly tarry finish. This is a great Lanessan that should give 20 years of pleasure. This comes highly recommended and I expect it will land at the top of my banded score once in bottle. Drink 2020-2040. 90-92 points. Neil Martin, erobertparker.com, April 2017...read more
Another of those elusive Bordeaux wines that offer both excellent value and top quality, made by the highly-regarded Thienpont family and from a great year. Beautifully balanced, with rich fruit and fragrant spice along with a lingering finish and enough tannin and freshness to age for a couple of years yet. Great buying....read more
Chateau La Chenade