Médoc 2016 from barrel

Mags of Château Potensac and Château de Lamarque, among other good deals!

Bordeaux 2016 barrel tasting notes

10 May 2017

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

As seen already, the northern Médoc did very well especially from barrel. Budget conscious buyers will find cru bourgeois level wines with high quality. Including for example Château Potensac, which was released recently for about €20 a bottle. In my opinion a great deal! This section includes appellations to the south, such as Moulis (some more expensive than others), including classified growths like Château La Lagune, as well as pricier, non-classified growths like Château Sociando Mallet: both highly recommended.

Media tastings at the UGCB included many fine Médoc, Haut Médoc, Listrac and Moulis wines

Among the very best: Château La Lagune, Château Potensac, Château Sociando Mallet

Among best bargains: Château de Lamarque, Château Clarke, Château Brillette

Wines in bold, I liked in particular. When red and bold, even more. And when underlined, too, a kind of barrel tasting nirvana – for both price point and category.

2016 Château Beaumont – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted as well at Joanne negociant a few days earlier, and better at this UGCB press tasting, with cool blueberry ripe fruit aromatics. Still, a bit of hard tannin. It is not as sumptuous as the 2015, for example, and the words of Ludovic at Marquis de Terme about media “over estimating” 2016 and “under-estimating” 2014 (in some cases) ring true here. Still, not a bad wine at all. 87-89+

2016 Château Belgrave – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Certainly not blackberry tart über ripe. The palate is juicier than that of the Beaumont tasted just before. The tannins seem a bit hard but they have fine grain. This should turn out rather special. 90-93

2016 Château Bernadotte – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Smooth and nuanced, there is red and dark fruit. A bit of “classy austerity” on the finish. Nice job by Hubert de Bouard here. Not as over extracted a feel as the Charmail, for example. 88-90

2016 Château Brillette – France, Bordeaux, Moulis (4/3/2017)
Rather typical in its soft handed approach. There is light aspect but fine tannin, that barrel aging should fill out. A rather delicate Brillette, that is more red fruit than dark. Savory as well. And this should be an excellent QPR. 90-92

2016 Château de Camensac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted a few days earlier at the negociant Joanne and consistent notes. Almost a sweet plum nose, pleasing. The palate is marked by somewhat rustic tannin although the mid palate reassures with juicy aspects. This is merely OK. Time in barrel should smoothen some angular edges. Moderate length. I would not write home about it, and would prefer some cru bourgeois level wines. 87-89

2016 Château Cambon La Pelouse – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Freshness on the nose, juicy mid palate, if the finish is a touch drying to me. 87-89

2016 Château Cantemerle – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted at the negociant Joanne with similar enthusiastic notes. Excellent cru classé … QPR. Expressive nose of brambly fruit, with juicy density on the mid palate. Dark fruit, too. Tannins refined indeed, if somewhat foreboding. 52% Cab, 39% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc and 4 Petit Verdot, and 40% new oak. Gives off as well cool forest freshness on the aromatics. Certainly more finesse on the nose than at the Château Camensac, tasted just before. The palate shows depth and nuance and rather fine tannic grain that bodes will for aging. Bravo! 91-93

Tasting with Jane Anson and Miguel Lecuona at the negociant Joanne

2016 Château Charmail – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Sappy dark fruit, a bit of over extraction. Mid palate sap. Starts out fine but then you have extracted oak tannin. 100% new oak – but only en primeur. The final blend will have only 30 percent new oak. But why present en primeur with 100% new oak? Strange. Note reserved.

2016 Château Chasse-Spleen – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted after Château Clarke in Listrac, and this has less charm and less nuance on the body. A bit of a let down; there is a bit of austerity and even some mid palate dearth. The fruit is there, but a let down nonetheless. 86-88

2016 Château Citran – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Just ripe enough plum ripeness on the nose. The palate is actually rather fresh. More ripe dark and red fruit on the palate that pleases, albeit just a bit light (and tight) on the finish, which is medium, but it will be good for the price: not a 2009, mind you. 87-89

2016 Château Clarke – France, Listrac-Médoc (tasted at the UGCB, 4 April 2017)
QPR alert! An appealing red and dark berry nose. Plum. The palate has fine tannic grip and freshness along with ripe tannin. Bravo! 90-92+

2016 Château Coufran – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Grippy tannins, somewhat hard, as well. There is no sumptuous warmth from, say, the high Merlot content. However, the high tannin is not bitter or drying, so give it time: a good sign! This may turn out darn good with barrel and then five years of bottle aging. For now a conservative range of 86-89

2016 Château Fonréaud – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc (4/4/2017)
A full bodied aspect, with a bit more oak than the Château Clarke, which I prefer, for its greater elegance and freshness. Time in bottle here should make it rather nice however. 88-90

2016 Château Fourcas Dupré – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc (4/4/2017)
A rather tannic wine that lacks enough charm. And even poses the question “Where is the beef?” To some extent. Still you can get typical tannic “edginess” to a Listrac, so not too surprising. Time in barrel should fill it out, I hope. 87-89

2016 Château Fourcas Hosten – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Listrac-Médoc (4/4/2017)
A bit stolid and somewhat charmless, with somewhat of a dilute mid palate as compared to the other Listracs. 86-88

2016 Château Les Grands Chênes – France, Bordeaux, Médoc (4/1/2017)
Fruit up front on the nose with a palate that is fruit driven as well. The mid palate is juicy enough. I would say that the finish is a tad raw, which does not surprise me, coming from Magrez, but overall a rather crowd pleasing wine! 87-90

Excellent tasting conditions at the negociant Ulysse Cazabonne at Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux

2016 Château La Lagune – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted a few days earlier at Joanne, and this is even better. Glorious nose here, very perfumed that reminds me a bit of the 2014, but more “baritone”… There is much density to the wine with noticeable tannic grip, similar to 2010. A noticeable step up here, amongst the other Haut Médocs, even if the tannins need much time to resolve themselves: drinking window in 2027? I had visited the estate a couple of years ago, and it is just a gorgeous place, too, as you can see in the video, below. 92-94+


2016 Château La Tour de By – France, Bordeaux, Médoc (4/4/2017)
Somewhat raw tannins here as compared to some of the Haut Médocs tasted earlier. It is OK, there is medium body and ripe fruit. Just not as complete, say, as La Tour Carnet. 87-90

2016 Château de Lamarque – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Sleeper of the vintage? Certainly a QPR alert, and I plan to buy a few magnums of this, based on the barrel sample. What a wonderful, brisk attack! Then a full bodied mid palate. This shows excellent potential. I like the mix of red and black fruit. It clamps down on the medium finish however, but aging will brighten this. Nice job, and seek this puppy out! 91-93+

2016 Château Lanessan – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Fresh and frank, composed and elegant on the nose. The palate has power and poise as well. Tasted just after Grands Chenes and what a difference, as the gums are not as affected and yet it shows Medoc power. I still think Senejac is a bit more nuanced. But I like this quite a bit and in agreement with Jane Anson, as we are tasting together today. 89-92

2016 Château La Tour Carnet – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (4/4/2017)
Tasted a few days earlier at Joanne, Bordeaux negociant and clearly a “Magrez” wine, so you are not expecting subtlety. For lovers of this style, you get clean and smooth wine, and you can sense the oak, but not overdone, or heavy handed. At the UGCB press tasting, showed a bit more power, comparable to the de Lamarque, tasted just before, but a bit harder tannin however, and not as juicy. You pays your money, you takes your choice, and this is a rather good choice for the style. 89-91+

2016 Château Larrivaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Fresh and focused. Lovely freshness on the palate, with pure expressions of fruit.  Lift on the finish and like breathing needed oxygen, as if I landed in Cyprus after being in Strasbourg for too long … 89-91+

2016 Château de Malleret – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
The nose is a bit closed and somewhat odd in fact, peanut like … Bacteria? Alas we did not have another sample. A blackberry juiciness is pleasing however, so let us give a benefit of the doubt. Note reserved.

2016 Château Maucaillou – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (4/4/2017)
There is tannic grip but the tannin seems just a bit on the harder side. I have had better experiences en primeur, but do not get me wrong: with barrel aging this has the stuffing and the tannins should soften. There is medium density. And a medium finish. 88-90+

2016 Château Mauvesin Barton – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (3/30/2017)
This has more freshness than the Cambon La Pelouse overall. Fresh cranberry. Crackling red fruit. Great for Thanksgiving! 87-90

2016 Château Mayne Lalande – France, Bordeaux, Listrac (4/3/2017)
Rather strict tannins compared to the Pomerols, but not drying. Has solid tannin that needs to melt, but a Listrac with depth and should be tasty for a decent price. 88-90

2016 Château Paloumey – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
This is rather firm, rather stiff. While the Senejac has impressive power, this one is a bit stolid. Lacks a certain class and barrel aging will smoothen the tannin. 86-88

Domaines Delon not only made superb Léoville Las Cases, but also excellent Potensac in 2016 (photo by Miguel Lecuona)

2016 Château Peyrabon – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Ah, the left bank. You see, there is more freshness here than from the earlier wines tasted in this negociant tasting at Joanne. Fresh red fruit aromatics and brisker palate. Tangy finish. I like it! 89-91

2016 Château Potensac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc (4/1/2017)
Bargain alert! Will buy a few magnums of this one, to be sure. A wine that punches well above its weight. Cool blueberry fruit, balanced, rich yet streamlined. A dark color with blackberry on the palate, yet with fine lift on the finish. Nearly 14 per cent alcohol but not heavy. At 30% new oak, excellent balance. Over 55 hectoliters per hectare so the yields are generous. This should not be too expensive and based on the barrel sample, I cannot recommend it enough. Just over half went into this as a first wine, at 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot. Buy magnums for parties 10 years from now, or buy single bottles that will provide pleasure starting in 2021. 90-93

2016 Château Poujeaux – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Moulis en Médoc (4/4/2017)
Very ripe black fruit on the nose, with touches of licorice. The palate is just a bit hard: the tannin. I wish there were a bit more freshness and lift. Was it the hot, dry summer? Still the most substantial of the Moulis properties this vintage, by far. 90-92+

2016 Château Rollan de By – France, Bordeaux, Médoc (4/1/2017)
Slightly angular tannins detract here. Rather surprising! It could well one the sample, as this wine is usually more flattering from barrel. The oak derived tannins kick in (more expected) on the finish. Note reserved.

2016 Château Sénéjac – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017)
Firm, yet ripe, with a fine tannic grain. Although not saying much aromatically, one could sense something “serious” to the barrel sample. Give it time, as barrel aging should soften the tannin, and this should be quite a nice wine for the price. Revised score after re-tasting. 90-92

2016 Château Sociando-Mallet – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc (3/30/2017 and again in early April)
So far, my favorite at the negociant tasting chez Joanne. Lovely nose of crushed tobacco, graphite. The Cabernet shines through. Even if you have quite a bit of Merlot. Freshness. Picking earlier their Merlot yes? Oceanic influence – seeing the river. Classy expression. Jean Gautreau was born in 1927. He is making as great a wine as ever. Slightly upward revision, based on a second tasting. 92-94


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