A blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, 13.5% ABV. Rich and complete nose, black forest fruits, lead pencil, cool earth, warm spices, perfectly integrated oak, lovely depth; the palate delivers good 2009-ripeness, but in a firm and energetic context, with lovely mineral freshness and drive, a savoury character, finely ground and ripe tannins, excellent balance; complete finish, very good length. Nothing opulent or overripe here, beautifully judged extraction. This is developing quite quickly but seemingly very well and it should have at least two decades in it. Good value for a 2009.
Weekly tasting group; St. Estephe (The Judge): Beautiful bouquet with dark forest fruits, some licorice, beautiful oak and some tobacco. On the palate juicy dark berries, graphite, licorice, some chocolate, beautiful acidity and a touch of sweetness. Fairly round, but still firm tannin. Reading back my note from 2012, it seems this wine developed for the better quicker than expected. It is still very youthful, but also very approachable already. Will probably be great to drink between 2018 and 2025 and possibly longer. Hope to taste it again around 2020 to reconsider its longevity. 91 for tonight.
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(Chateau Lafon-Rochet (St Estèphe)) A very evocative style of fruit here, all forest fruits and dark berries with a bright, violet-tinged perfume. A big fleshy start on the palate, rich and caressing, the wine relaxing in the middle to reveal a formidable seam of tannin coming through towards the finish. This tastes rather more structured and convincing than the Phélan-Ségur and Ormes de Pez, with a lovely peppery spice to the polished, supple fruit character. A very different wine to the primeurs barrel sample I tasted, this is fine and grippy in the finish, a wine showing its youth but with very good potential.
(Chateau Lafon-Rochet St Estèphe) This wine has a vibrant appearance, with a bluish rim. The nose shows a grainy layer of alcohol above the fruit. And the palate follows in the same vein, showing lots of heat and alcohol here too. Underneath it all there is some supple fruit, but the wine has a huge extraction, the squishy fruit slowly disappearing beneath a massive sea of tannins. The soft acidity doesn't help. Not a great showing, but that's not unusual in the commune in this vintage.
(Château Lafon Rochet (St Estèphe)) From a half bottle. A dark hue. The blend is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, with 1% press wine. Lovely fruit at the top end of ripeness here, with a slightly dried desiccated feel to it. A creamy sweetness, with a touch of icing sugar over red-blue fruit. A beautifully creamy character, which slowly reveals a firm ripe tannic structure, with bright acidity too. The tannins have a really firm feel - more than I recall for this vintage - but the fruit covers this well. And there is an exotic tinge to it all. Fabulous, firm and serious structure leading into some spice in the finish. Lovely. Tasted with Basile at Lafon-Rochet.
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