Cotes de Bordeaux Trip

Tasted July 23, 2019 - July 27, 2019 by isaacjamesbaker with 293 views

Flight 1 - Vignobles Gonfrier (8 notes)

Very pleasant visit. They own several estates, scattered around the hills overlooking the Garonne.

Red
2016 Château Lauretan France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur
87 points
Deep nose of black currants and blackberries, along with incense sticks and warm mulling spices. Moderate tannins, medium acidity, a bit sharp but has some nice juicy currant fruit, along with bell pepper and cracked black pepper. 60% Merlot, 35% Cab Sauv, 5% Petit Verdot from estate organic vines in gravelly clay slopes.
Red
2016 Château Baracan France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
On the nose: crunchy red and black currants with tobacco and leather. Plush and zesty on the palate with red and black cherries. Notes of coffee, leather and spiced tea. Spicy but fruity and fun. Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot aged 12 months in French oak.
Red
2016 Château de Marsan Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
I get tangy red cherries and plums along with roses, violets and incense. Crisp but structured, quite harmonious in its balance. Tangy red and black currants and cherries mix well with rocky, earthy notes, and some spiced teal. Long finish. Very nice stuff that can be consumed now or left alone for at least a few years. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in French oak.
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Red
2015 Château de Marsan Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Dark, concentrated currant fruit, with earth and clove. A bit darker, more tannic and concentrated than the 2016, but still shows vibrant currant and cherry fruit and notes of clay, earthy, spice and minerals. This should improve with a few years, but it has a lot going for it.
Red
2016 Château Tanesse France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Juicy and dark on the nose with earthy, savory elements. Quite serious grip but vibrant acidity helps balance it out. Tart cherries and currants blend with cocoa, coffee and mint. Could use some time but still quite refreshing. 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged 12 months in French oak.
Red
2015 Château de Lestiac France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
So vibrant on the nose, with red cherries, currants, raspberries, with coco, mint and leaves. Plush, rich, built well with solid tannins and fresh acidity. Cherries and raspberries blend with cocoa, pepper, mint, fallen leaves. Vibrant, complex, delicious now but should improve. 60/40 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon from clay and limestone slopes.
White
2018 Château Tanesse Moelleux France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
86 points
So peachy on thee nose with lychee, floral perfume, circus peanuts. Rich, tropical and sweet on the palate but medium acidity helps balance it out. Plump and tropical with lychee and pineapple, and lots of flowers. Muscadelle (aged six months in barrel) with 15% Sauvignon Blanc.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Château Tanesse France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac
90 points
Nose boasts pineapple, sweet apricot and orange marmalade with lots of honey and ginger. So sweet on the palate but moderating acidity keeps it lively. Marmalade of pineapple, apricot and orange mixed with honey, flowers and sweet spice. Deep, complex, very pretty. 80/20 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc from silty, gravelly soils.

Flight 2 - Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux Dinner at Chateau Birot (14 notes)

Delicious dinner and a great time chatting with Arthur Fournier of Chateau Birot, Olivier Allo of Chateau La Rame, and Damien Chombart of Chateau Lamothe de Haux.

Rosé
2018 Château de Birot Bordeaux Rosé Rosé de Birot France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Rosé
86 points
Crisp yet juicy. Floral, spicy tones, goes down real easy on a scorching day. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
White
2017 Château de Birot Bordeaux Blanc France, Bordeaux
87 points
Lots of grass on the nose, limes, floral tones, a racy appeal. Zesty and bright on the palate with racy citrus, some honey, beeswax, hints of minerals and rocks. Impressive.
White
2017 Château Lamothe de Haux Cuvée Valentine France, Bordeaux
90 points
Gushes with limes, apricot, green apple, along with peach and cream. Pure and vibrant on the palate with lots of minerals, crushed limestone, with a pleasant creaminess. Quite complex, so delicious, this is barrel-fermented and spends eight months on the lees.
White
2018 Château La Rame Sauvignon Blanc Sec France, Bordeaux
90 points
Nose shows peaches, limes, crusty sea salt and chalky notes. The creaminess on the palate is nice, Racy limes and a unique kick of kiwi and white pepper, some mineral elements and limestone soil clarity in here, along with mint and spicy floral elements. Lovely.
Red
2014 Château de Birot Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Lots of cherries, roses, earthy and minty tones on the nose. Crisp and fresh with dusty tannins. Cherries galore with spiced tea and earth. Accessible young.
Red
2014 Château de Birot Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Darker cherries than the regular 2014, deeper with more spice but it’s also really vibrant. Velvety but structured, fresh acidity, lovely cherry and pomegranate fruit. Oak woven in well, lots of earth and spice. Could improve for at least a few years. From the estate’s oldest vines, only made in some years, aged in 50% new French oak.
Red
2015 Château Lamothe de Haux Cuvée Valentine France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
So much dark, lush, sweet fruit but it’s lively as well, with cedar, coffee, violets, clove. Smooth, velvety, full and suave on the palate with a bold feel but it’s fresh as well. Tannins have moderate grip, but it’s accessible already. Mocha, mint, earth and pepper notes as well. Delicious, but this will be much more expressive in five years. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red
2015 Château La Caussade France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Dark plums, juicy cherries, with earth, mint and pepper. Velvety yet fresh, pure and rich but complex, plums and black cherries mix with earth, cocoa and sweet coffee. Balanced very nicely, highly yummy but complex, too.
Red
2016 Château La Rame La Charmille France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Nose shows tart but big black and red currants with menthol, anise and coffee. Plush texture, velvety tannins, lovely freshness. Juicy, tangy fruit (red and black currants) with lots of earthy, pencil lead, charcoal and anise elements. Very well balanced, highly delicious, lovely now but I’d like to see this with 5-7 years on it.
Red
2010 Château Lamothe de Haux Cuvée Valentine France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
92 points
Lots of vibrant but moderately aged fruit on the nose (plums and cherries) with a whole lot of leafy, earthy, spicy, herbal, leathery complexity. Suave, great tannic backbone but lively acidity. Deep fruit (cherries and plums) with charcoal, tar, leather and tobacco, violets. Already very pretty but really structured well for further aging. This is legit Cadillac juice!
White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Château de Birot Cadillac France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac
88 points
Sweet nose of apricot marmalade with charred orange peel. Plush, waxy texture, medium acidity. Peaches, apricots, orange marmalade, with notes of ginger snap and peanut brittle. Highly yummy.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2017 Château La Rame La Caussade France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Croix du Mont
91 points
Bold, inviting nose of apricot and orange marmalade, honeyed, waxy notes. Unctuous on the palate, beautiful texture, lively acidity on this one. I like these ginger snap and honeyed tea notes. Really delicious and stays fresh. From clay-limestone soils on a high point above the Garonne.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Château Manos France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac
88 points
Aromas of orange peel, honey, candied ginger. Waxy, apricot jam, medium-low acidity. Plush and rich but shows complexity already.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1985 Château Manos France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac
84 points
Nose of toasted nuts, sea salt, bruised yellow apples. On the palate, this is a bit tired, muted, low acidity. It has some fun nutty and dried fruit notes, though.

Flight 3 - Château du Cros (4 notes)

I had a wonderful time hiking up to the castle ruins high above the Garonne. Owner/winemaker Catherine Boyer is making some classic examples of dry and sweet wines here in Loupiac.

White
2017 Château du Cros Bordeaux Sauvignon France, Bordeaux
88 points
Aromas of grapefruit and lime, grassy notes, white pepper and chalk dust. Medium-bodied, very tangy with a bright and zesty appeal, but lots of juicy ruby red grapefruit, peach. Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Sauvignon Gris. Nice floral and spice tones, too.
Red
2015 Château du Cros France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Aromas of black cherries, darker coffee, anise and cigar shop notes. Structured well with solid tannins but there’s a roundness to them. Juicy black currants and crunchy plum skins, mixed with charcoal, cigar lounge, leather and cocoa. Fun and juicy but well-built and complex.
Red
2015 Château du Cros Les Coteaux de Lou France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Dark and exciting on the nose with anise, cocoa and menthol topping the currant and blackberry fruit. Nice grip, medium acidity, strong but balanced. Dark and beautiful black fruit topped in anise, cocoa, pepper and earth. This has the stuffing to improve for 5-10 easily. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from a steep, west-facing slope.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Fleur du Cros France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Loupiac
87 points
Nose shows candied ginger, orange peel, lychee, with honey and clover field. Plush and waxy with honey and ginger, graham cracker. Peach nectar, orange peel, honeycomb, sweet and fun, lacking a bit of verve, but this is the second Loupiac dessert wine from this estate.

Flight 4 - Chateau La Peyruche (4 notes)

Interesting visit with owner Bertrand Weisgerber. I had a great time visiting his vineyards, tasting his wines, and chatting about organics, climate change, etc.

White
2018 Château La Peyruche Blanc France, Bordeaux
88 points
Nose pops with lemons, limes, green apples. Brisk and salty on the palate with lovely, crunchy green apples, sliced limes. There’s some creaminess, too, but lots of flowers, honeysuckle and chalky, mineral notes. 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon, one-third fermented in oak barrels adds some depth that I find pleasant.
Rosé
2018 Château La Peyruche Bordeaux Rosé France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Rosé
87 points
Peaches and rose hips on the nose. This is crisp and lively on the palate with tart white cherries and strawberries. Hints of flowers, white pepper and rose hips as well. A fun, simple, Merlot rose.
Red
2015 Château La Peyruche France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Nose shows cherry and blackberry compote with red licorice, tobacco. Plush but super fresh on the palate, moderately soft tannins mix well with bright acidity. Fresh raspberries and red cherries, juicy but vibrant, with dried roses and clove notes. Delicious and more accessible.
Red
2017 Château La Peyruche France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Tangier red fruits on the nose (pomegranate and red cherries) along with spiced tea and earth. Solid grip on the tannins, bright acid, showing tangy cherries and blackberries. Notes of spiced black tea and herbs. Well-made stuff, but it could use a few years to unwind.

Flight 5 - Chateau Les Conseillans (6 notes)

This was a really pleasant meeting with the winemaking and vineyard crew at this Chateau. Tasting a mini-vertical of their flagship red was really interesting, as was the discussion about the future of the Merlot grape, climate change, and more.

Red
2015 Château les Conseillans Réserve du Pré Carré France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Juicy, suave, dark cherries on the nose, vibrant-smelling. Velvety and jammy on the palate with black cherries all over the place, medium-low acidity. Rich and plush and chewy, this is fruity and fun, but well-done.
Red
2016 Château les Conseillans Réserve du Pré Carré France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Juicy plums and black cherries on the nose, a lot more freshness and tangy vibes than the 2015, with earth and violets. Velvety, structured but round tannins. Red and black cherries, rich but fresh, with complex notes of cocoa, violets, clove and earth. I’m loving that fresh, inviting, balanced 2016 vintage aesthetic in this wine. Crazy entry-level value here.
Red
2014 Château les Conseillans France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Nose of cranberries, cherries, violets, menthol, peppercorns, chewing tobacco. Nice grip balances with medium acidity. Tangy cherries, red currants and crunchy plums mix with peppercorns, coffee and dark chocolate. A bit of a green edge (not too much), there’s also more oak evidence in this vintage (which was dialed back later). I think a few years will do this good.
Red
2015 Château les Conseillans France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Deep and concentrated yet vibrant currant and blackberry fruit, with notes of earth, cocoa and mint. Solid backbone from the tannins but crisp acidity as well, and there’s a velvety feel. Juicy black cherries and currants, gushing fruit but complexities of mineral, graphite, violets, clove and forest floor are woven in nicely. Bit but beautiful, this will age wonderfully for quite some time.
Red
2016 Château les Conseillans France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
The nose is juicy, dark, but vibrant, with pretty cherries and currants topped in earthy, coffee, mint and clove notes. Serious grip but vibrant with fresh acidity, and it all balances well with dark yet crisp cherries and cassis fruit. Lively, fresh and bright, but shows the depth and complexity for long aging. This was one of the prettiest reds I tasted on the trip. I am so loving 2016 reds from this region.
Red
2017 Château les Conseillans France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Lots of floral tones here (violets, roses, wild herbs) along with chilled red and black currants, mint and eucalyptus. Lighter in still but still built well with moderate tannins. Tangy cherries and raspberries, vibrant and elegant fruit with complex notes of rose petals, mint, eucalyptus. Lovely freshness here. Beautiful to drink now or over the next few years while the 2016 and 2015 age.

Flight 6 - Chateau Pitray (8 notes)

I had a great day and night at this Chateau, built in 1870. Although the Chateau has been in the family for more than 20 generations – it’s almost hard to imagine. Jean de Boigne and his family were wonderful, and their wines were interesting as well.

Rosé
2018 Le Canon de Cote Montpezat Bordeaux Rosé France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Rosé
85 points
Steely and bright on the nose with white cherries and white pepper. Brisk and super light with tangy strawberries, white cherries, topped in white pepper and nettle notes. Fun, simple stuff.
White - Sparkling
N.V. Guy de Chassey Champagne Brut de Brut France, Champagne
87 points
Doughy nose with apples and limes and honey. Fun and zippy, not too complex, but has some tasty bread dough, baked apple and lemon curd flavors.
Red
2015 Château de Pitray France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Dark cherries and plums on the nose with nice smoky notes, roasted chestnut, graphite, scorched earth. Moderate grip, medium acidity, a powerful and young wine with dark cherries and currants. Pepper, earth, graphite, dried leaves, coffee add complexity. A bit young (this really needs 5-8 years), but all the elements are balanced and the quality is evident. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Red
2015 Château des Demoiselles (Bordeaux) Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Tangy dark fruit on the nose with charcoal and graphite. Medium tannins yet plush, velvety. Juicy cherries with graphite and loam. Could use a year or two.
Red
2016 Château de Pitray France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Warm and inviting on the nose with deep cherries, currants, along with violets, clove, black tea. Velvety yet structured with moderating acidity. Velvety but fresh fruit (black and red cherries, currants) with complex notes of mineral, graphite, violets. More accessible young now than the 15, but this can also age really well.
Red
2014 Château Montlandrie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Nose of tart red and black cherries with menthol, subtle green pepper. Tangy acidity, smooth and very balanced with juicy and tangy red and black currants. Notes of mint, menthol, anise, rocky notes. A nice wine that seems ready to go but can age well. Impressive 2014.
Red
2011 Château de Pitray Cuvée Madame France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Tangy red and black cherries on the nose with lots of complex tobacco, mint, charcoal, some meaty and peppery notes. So fresh, the acidity is lovely, but the tannins have strength as well. Balanced and vibrant, not a harsh edge here. Tangy red cherries and currants with lots of leathery, spicy, earthy notes. Underlying mineral, graphite and savory broth notes are coming out more and more. Drinking well now but still plenty of time ahead.
Red
2016 Vignobles Arbo France, Bordeaux, Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Saucy, meaty and leathery notes on the nose, along with sweet plums and juicy blackberries. Powerful, chewy, almost dense but it shows lively acidity, and I can’t deny how delicious it is. Plums, blackberries, sweet cassis. Pepper, leather, violets, coffee and sweet chocolate add some complexity. Lacking a bit of backbone as a varietal wine, but a really well-done Malbec that was delicious and fascinating to taste.
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Flight 7 - Chateau Beynat (4 notes)

Organic since 2008, I really liked this producer's focus on amphorae-fermented wines.

Red
2017 Château Beynat France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
86 points
Accessible, fun, juicy, entry-level wine. Vibrant plums and red cherries on the nose. Plush and lively with soft tannins and juicy plum and raspberry fruit, hints of earth. Simple but fun. An 80/20, Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend.
Red
2016 Château Beynat Cuvée Leonard France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Lovely nose of violets, lavender, dark cherries and earth. Lovely freshness but solid tannic backbone, young but expressive. Deep cherries and currant fruit, with earth, forest floor, graphite and charcoal. Lots of depth and complexity. 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate’s oldest vines (50 years).
Red
2017 Château Beynat Terre à Terre France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
92 points
So bright and airy on the nose with rose hips, violets, meaty and smoky tones. Velvety feel on the palate, medium acidity, suave tannins, this is elegant and expressive. Cherries and raspberries play well with spiced tea, pepper, violets, forest floor. This is an amphorae-fermented Merlot that isn’t typical but is very exciting and delicious. Great now but I’d love to see what this does in four or five years.
Red
2016 Château Beynat Cuvée des Lyres France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
So floral on the nose, savory, with brothy elements on top of vibrant red fruits. Showing nice power from the tannins but really fresh, too. Tart red currants, dark plums, the fruit is laced with savory, peppery, meaty tones. Lots of underlying graphite, minerals, rocky notes. Tank-fermented, aged 14 months in amphorae, this is all Merlot from clay, limestone, silex soils. Very exciting stuff.

Flight 8 - Chateau Page (7 notes)

This was a great little visit with owners/founders Patrick Honnef and Gerald Lecomte. They bought the vineyard, turned it organic immediately, and are making some really stylish, delicious wines. The regular blend is Merlot-dominate with the Page Noir is almost all Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red
2012 Château Page France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Dark and saucy aromas, tangy black currants and cherries, with lots of earthy, smoky, peppery elements. Shows tannic guts on the palate, and there’s a lot of concentration in the blackberry and raspberry fruit, but the acidity is fresh. Notes of anise, graphite, smoke, this has an old school feel to it, like it needs a while to come around. The non-fruit elements are going to evolve into something beautiful, but there’s also enough delicious fruit to age as well.
Red
2013 Château Page France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Saucy fruit, dark and plummy with violets, coffee, loamy earth. On the palate, this is dark and juicy with velvety tannins, more approachable than the 2012, moderate acidity keeps it lively, but this is a dark and juicy wine with a forward but fresh appeal.
Red
2014 Château Page France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
So pretty, wow, lots of violets, floral perfume, anise, pepper, on top of pure, juicy cherries. Great balance on the palate, medium-velvety tannins meet vibrant acidity. Tangy red plums and red and black cherries mix well with lots of earthy, soy, violets, and underlying notes of minerals and graphite. Elegant, complex, a very expressive 2014.
Red
2015 Château Page France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
Gorgeous dark fruits on the nose (all kinds of fruit), pure and juicy, with soy, leaves, pencil lead. Such intrepid balance on the palate with great tannic grip and vibrant acidity. Plums, blackberry and cassis, laced with lots of violets, loamy earth, pencil lead and charcoal. Long time ahead for this wine. Really impressive stuff.
Red
2016 Château Page France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
The nose is gorgeous, waves of dark fruit, with lots of soy, pencil lead, leaves, coffee. Beautiful balance between tannic grip and vibrant acidity on the palate. Plum, blackberry and cassis fruit, complex and crunchy with violets, loamy earth notes. Complex forest floor, anise, cedar. Great concentration, but also balance. Another beautiful 2016, but this was is really special.
Red
2012 Château Page Page Noir France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Deep currants on the nose with lots of tobacco, pepper, leather. Serious grip to the tannins (this is a powerful and young wine) with medium/low acidity. Dark currant and tart plum skin flavors. I love the gravelly, earthy, tobacco notes. Still quite tight, but this is quite lovely and should do great things over the next five to ten years.
Red
2015 Château Page Page Noir France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
Beautiful core of blackberry and cassis on the nose, with mint, pepper, leather. Pure and fresh, built on solid tannic group but the acidity is fresh as well, and the wine has an effortless feel at this young age. Blackberry and currant, smooth but tangy fruits, laced with complex earth, cocoa, pepper, anise. The depth and balance are delightful.
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Flight 9 - Lunch at Chateau Lapeyronie (13 notes)

Good times with winemakers from Chateau Lapeyronie, Chateau Godard-Bellevue and Chateau Laulan, tasting a mix of wines from the Francs and Sainte-Foye Cotes de Bordeaux appellations.

White
2018 Château Martet Blanc France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
89 points
Aromas of apricot, orange, with lemongrass and white pepper. Very bright on the palate, but bountiful tropical fruit (grapefruit, peach, pineapple), with mineral, floral and chalky tones. Plush texture but fresh, very good stuff. Semillon with Sauvignon Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.
White
2018 Château Puyanché Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc Sec France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Creamy and inviting on the nose, apples, pears, honey. On the palate, this barrel-fermented wine stands out, but it’s also quite nuanced and vibrant. Creamy, plush and leesy, but there’s a talc, mineral and chalk essence that I really like. Eye-opening stuff for me. 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon, started in stainless steel and aged seven months in barrel with lees stirring.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Château Franc Cardinal France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Nose shows strawberries, cherries, roses, sweet smelling herbs. Smooth on the palate, light tannins, medium+ acid. Raspberry and strawberry-driven with earth, cola, coffee tones. Light and fresh fun style. Merlot with 24% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec aged eight months in French oak.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2016 Château Galouchey France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
86 points
Fresh strawberries and cherries on the nose. Light tannins, fresh acidity, juicy and fruity but easy-drinking with subtle earth and leather notes. Fun, simple, in a good way. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in French oak.
Red
2016 Château Coutelor La Romarine France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
88 points
Dark currants on the nose with bell pepper and roasted herbs. Bold tannins with fresh acidity, dark and crunchy currant fruit. Nuanced earth, coffee, pepper. Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Merlot.
Red
2016 Château Laulan France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Cherry compote on the nose. Plush yet shows moderate tannins, with cranberry, strawberry, pepper and spice. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec aged 12 months in oak.
Red
2015 Château Godard Bellevue France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
84 points
Sweet and rich and saucy on the nose. All sorts of jammy fruits, plush texture and light tannins, low acidity. Jammy, forward style. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in oak.
Red
2015 Château Le Prévot France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Juicy and dark aromas with sweet coffee, black pepper glaze. Rich and fruity with moderate tannins, fresh acidity, and tart currant fruit. Coffee, cocoa, pepper tones. Merlot with 10% apiece of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red
2015 L'Eden de Lapeyronie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Plummy, cherries, earth on the nose. Full and velvety on the palate with suave tannins and fresh acidity. Currants and plums mixed with cocoa, pepper and cedar. Well done. 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc aged in 30% new oak.
Red
2014 Château de Francs Les Cerisiers France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Nose shows saucy red and black currants, cocoa, scorched earth. Plush feel, velvety tannins, this is a juicy, sweet plum-dominated wine with some interesting anise and roasted coffee tones. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red
2012 Château Moulin de Gueyraude France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
85 points
Smells of plum cake, prunes and sweet black licorice candies. Tannins are smooth, medium acidity, with plums and prune fruit. Notes of coffee and black tea. Merlot with 10% apiece Cab Franc and Cab Sauv.
Red
2016 Château Lapeyronie France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Sweet plums on the nose with roasted figs, cocoa and earth. Quite refined and fresh with juicy cherries and figs. Lovely acidity and freshness. Really vibrant, crisp, floral, but plenty of red fruits.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2016 Château Tour de Goupin France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
85 points
Sweet honey and tennis balls on the nose. The palate is rich and unctuous, showing medium-low acidity, and flavors of apricot, orange marmalade. Sweet but seems a bit thin at the same time? All Semillon from 50-year-old vines in clay, limestone soils.

Flight 10 - Chateau Puygueraud (6 notes)

I’ve tasted this estate’s wines before and found them very attractive (especially given their low price points), so I was excited to visit. What a gorgeous estate, in a high hilly area at the edge of the Francs Cotes de Bordeaux appellation. Lots of steep slopes of limestone and clay with plateau and valley fruit sources as well. Fun fact: they have two hectares of kiwis here.

White
2015 Château Puygueraud Blanc France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
So minty and white peppery on the nose with apricots and peaches. Zippy and crunchy on the palate with tart lemon and apricot fruit. There’s lovely notes of minerals, mountain stream, slate, along with mint and verbena notes. Fresh but harmonious with a lot of depth and personality. 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sauvignon Gris.
Red
2011 Château Puygueraud France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Nose of tart currants, complex notes of clove, graphite, scorched earth, violets. Suave and fresh on the palate, velvety yet solid tannins. Plums, tart currants, lovely vibrancy and freshness to the fruit, with subtle leaves, pepper and earth notes. Holding well, lots of time left ahead.
Red
2016 Château Puygueraud France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Exotic aromas of plush red fruits aced with violets, rose petals, iron and coffee. Strong tannins meet vibrant acidity and the mouthfeel and balance are lovely. Red and black currant fruit (juicy and fresh) mixed with complex rocky, mineral, earth notes. Really vibrant but lots of depth for the cellar as well.
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Red
2015 Château La Prade France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Concentrated black and red currant fruit on the nose with iron, black pepper, menthol. Well-built, moderate tannins and medium/low acidity. Tart dark currants with chocolate and graphite notes. This is put together well but it needs time to unwind.
Red
2016 Château Puygueraud Cuvée George France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Nose boasts sweet plums, violets, with interesting smoky and beefy tones. Velvety and smooth on the palate with a vibrant but smooth feel. Juicy dark plum and tangy red cherries blend well with notes of violets, clove, campfire. Pure and underlying rocky/mineral tones. Lots of depth here and this is attractive young but will do well over the next five years. 50% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Château Les Charmes-Godard Aurea France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Sweet notes of honey, apricot marmalade, sweet honey. Creamy and waxy with medium/low acidity. Flavors of orange peel and apricot jam with graham cracker, wax tones, candied ginger. Perhaps a bit low on the acid for me, but very nice.

Flight 11 - Chateau Le Camplat (4 notes)

This 40-year-old estate just began its first year of organic transition. I had a great time hiking through the vineyards and hanging out at a party with winemaker Marion Reculet and a bunch of locals, celebrating the estate’s 40th anniversary.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Château Le Camplat Les Bulles de Camplat Crémant France, Bordeaux, Crémant de Bordeaux
86 points
Spicy but sweet on the nose with juicy apples, verbena, white pepper. Fresh and light with fine bubbles and a chalky, floral appeal. Excellent wine to crush during a crazy heat wave.
White
2017 Domaine du Camplat Blanc France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Nose shows a diverse range of salty, creamy, fruit, honeyed elements. Plush texture, vibrant acidity, a round feel but stays bright. Peaches, limes, some basil and nettle notes. Refreshing, quite complex. 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Rosé
2018 Château Le Camplat Bordeaux Rosé France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Rosé
85 points
Zesty, fun, crushable, fresh with simple strawberry and herbal tones.
Red
2016 Château Le Camplat France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
86 points
Juicy and plush-smelling with raspberry and cherry compote, violets. Plush and juicy on the palate with velvety tannins. Peppery, smoky tones. Fun, simple, in a good way.

Flight 12 - Chateau L'Escadre (7 notes)

Nicolas Carreau, owner/winegrower at several Blaye estates, poured a range of his wines. Really good stuff across the board. A few of their wines are available in the U.S., and that's great, because the quality to price ratio on some of these wines is crazy high.

White
2018 Château La Croix St Pierre Blanc France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Aromas of lemon, white pepper, airy, mint. Bright and tangy, grapefruit and salty notes with white pepper and chalk. Shows a surprising amount of clarity and depth. Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris.
Red
2016 Château La Croix St Pierre France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Juicy red fruits on the nose with pepper and violets. Fresh, bright on the palate with soft tannins and lively acidity. Juicy cherries, raspberries, with clove and tobacco nots. All stainless steel. A really fun, fresh wine that would be great to drink early with a slight chill and some grilled meats. Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec.
Red
2016 Château La Croix St Pierre Grande Réserve France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
A bit more concentrated on the nose but still all red fruit, with menthol, incense and floral potpourri notes. Medium tannins, plush texture, medium acidity. Red plums and juicy cherries with menthol, pepper, mint, earth. Pretty but complex. 2016 – I am loving this vintage so much, and this wine overdelivers for the price point. Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec.
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Red
2017 Vignobles Carreau 100% Merlot France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Spicy cherries on the nose, inviting too with roses and menthol. Velvety and fresh on the palate with light/dusty tannins, and fresh, chilled red fruits. Spiced tea and earthy tones add complexity. A really inviting and vibrant Merlot.
Red
2016 Vignobles Carreau 100% Cabernet Sauvignon France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
88 points
Dark and savory on the nose with currants, violets, tobacco and clove. Chewy but lively, the tannins are velvety. Currants, juicy plums, with tobacco and anise. Really fun and easy-drinking but quite complex as well.
Red
2016 Vignobles Carreau 100% Malbec France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
This is a lot of fun, and really drives home my appreciation for Malbec in these areas. On the nose, juicy raspberries, red cherries, pomegranate, with cola, tobacco, spearmint. On the palate this is round and plush but has vibrant acidity and moderate tannins. Fresh cherries and raspberries mix well with tobacco, spearmint, cocoa. I feel like this could be a good step-up for Mendoza Malbec drinkers looking to branch out some more.
Red
2017 Château L'Escarde Major France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Gorgeous fruit on the nose (raspberries, cherries, plums) with cedar, leaves, tobacco. Plush yet built on medium tannins and acidity, all lined up nicely. Nuanced notes of tobacco, leather, earth, black tea. The oak is woven in well. This really impressed me, even though 2017 was a difficult vintage with yields way down, wines like this show a lot of refreshing and complex qualities.

Flight 13 - Chateau Mondesir-Gazin (4 notes)

I had heard of this estate before, but had not tasted any of Marc Pasquet’s wines before. But the wines were easily some of the best of the trip. Wonderful balance and vibrancy– they have this long-aging, old school aesthetic but they’re also really delicious and full of beautiful fruit. The blend each year is almost always the same, about two-thirds Merlot with the rest Malbec.

Owner/winemaker Marc Pasquet is such a genuine dude. I had a great tasting and lunch with him, sharing stories and hearing about his passion, not just for his wines, but for wines from all over the world. He travels extensively and seems genuinely stoked about what other winemakers are doing, even though his own wines are quite traditional in their approach.

I highly recommend these wines, and a visit if you’re ever in the area.

Red
2015 Château Mondesir-Gazin France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
92 points
Inviting and warm on the nose with cherries, blackberries, plums, with tobacco, cedar, violets. Great concentration on the palate but balanced so well, tannins are solid but not harsh, vibrant acidity. Tangy and juicy red and black cherries. Lots of woodsy, floral tones, earthy, violets, an underlying rocky, mineral presence. This has an old school, long-aging feel to it. Beautiful stuff.
Red
2012 Château Mondesir-Gazin France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Suave red and black currants on the nose, deep and concentrated fruit with violets, leather, cocoa and anise. Serious grip on the palate with moderate acidity, black cherries and crunchy red currants. I get lots of menthol, leather, pine forest, black tea notes. And there’s a lot of graphite and mineral elements. This needs a lot of time but is really good stuff.
Red
2009 Château Mondesir-Gazin France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
Deep and ripe on the nose, beautiful, concentrated black cherries, with violets, anise, chewing tobacco, minty-earthy tones. Solid grip still but the tannins have fined-down edges, medium acidity keeps it fresh. Tangy black currant and plum fruit mixes with earth, tobacco, violets, clove. Evolving so well, beautiful stuff, plenty of years ahead. One of my favorite wines of the trip.
Red
2005 Château Mondesir-Gazin France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
93 points
This is in a vibrant and lovely place. Nose shows red plums, red currant, with lots of savory tones (mushroom, mossy rocks, leaves) with leather and anise. But the wine is really alive and fresh – doesn’t smell tired at all. Serious grip still on the tannins with balanced acidity – this wine has a long time ahead. Red currants and cherries mix with complex notes of anise, pepper, leather. Balanced and lively, integrated well, and if stored properly a bottle of this should age well for another ten years.

Flight 14 - Clos de l’Echauguette (1 note)

What a unique estate, located within the Blaye Citadel, overlooking the Gironde. The soils (a mix of limestone and clay) were hauled up there and deposited in this tiny clos with about 700 Merlot vines. Stylistically, the wine was so different, but I found it really exciting. The 2016 is the second vintage of this wine.

Red
2016 Clos de l’Echauguette France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
So floral on the nose. Raspberries, red cherries, strawberries, airy and elegant. Light and airy, fine, dusty tannins. Floral and spicy, though, with cherries, raspberries. Vibrant, exciting, what a vibrant, lively 100% Merlot. Such an expressive wine to drink now or in the next few years.

Flight 15 - Chateau Cap Saint-Martin (9 notes)

The vines are planted in clay and limestone soilsthe villages of Saint-Martin Lacaussade and Cars. I had a great time visiting, tasting and dining with Pierre and Beatrice Ardoin, the owners of this 23-hectare estate. Their hospitality was tremendous, and their lively and friendly personalities show through in their wines. The 2016 and 2010 Prestige wines were really good.

White
2017 Château Cap Saint-Martin Blanc France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Lots of lemons, grapefruit, guava too, with verbena and white pepper. Zesty, crisp, nice creaminess though, with subtle spice, pepper and mint notes. All Sauvignon Blanc.
White
2018 Château Cap Saint-Martin Blanc France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
More expressive and tropical yet still fresh on the nose. Juicy and tropical with green melons and white peaches drizzled in lime. Stays zesty and crunchy with notes of sea salt, crushed shells. Juicier and deeper than the 2017.
Red
2017 Château Cap Saint-Martin Malbec France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
90 points
Luscious aromas of blueberry, plum, complex, meaty, saucy, peppery notes. Velvety tannins, fresh acidity, this is a vibrant and lively wine but shows plenty of dark but tangy fruit (black cherry, blueberry, plum). Notes of pepper, clove, violets, complex meaty/mushroomy notes. Rich yet vibrant and super fresh. Makes me think more Malbec in this region is a fine idea.
Red
2018 Château Cap Saint-Martin Prestige France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Juicy black fruit with earth, coffee and violet tones. Full-bodied, velvety, burly and young yet fruit maintains some freshness. Coffee, anise, scorched earth. Primary but promising, and seriously yummy. Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red
2016 Château Cap Saint-Martin Prestige France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Rich nose of plums, currants, violets and coffee. Full-bodied, suave, dark cherries and rich currant fruit. Violets, coffee, interesting clay, leather and pepper notes. Showing great freshness (a hallmark of the 2016 vintage) but this is a deep, age-worthy wine with undertones of rocks, earth and minerals. 100% Merlot.
Red
2015 Château Cap Saint-Martin Prestige France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Dark but lively with red and black currants, scorched earth, coffee. Built well with velvety tannins, medium acidity. Smoky, violets, tobacco, lots of rich fruit but also some interesting mineral tones. Already ready to drink but plenty of life ahead.
Red
2010 Château Cap Saint-Martin Prestige France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
91 points
Still a lot of life and dark fruit on the nose, pure and deep with tobacco and earth. Smooth and integrated on the palate, tannins still provide support, while the fresh acidity keeps it lively. Black cherries galore mix with complex graphite, chewing tobacco, with mineral, rocky, pine forest notes. Really impressive stuff that is in a great spot but could also age for at least a few more years. 83 Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red
2017 Château Cap Saint-Martin Le Cabernet d’en Face France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Smooth currants, juicy and straightforward fruit on the nose. Fresh and velvety with smooth tannins and moderate acidity. Red and black cherries, very vibrant, with subtle spice and earth tones. Made just for the Netherlands market, but they’re getting some fun, inexpensive stuff.
Red
2018 Château Cap Saint-Martin Le Cabernet d’en Face France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Dark chocolate and smoky tones on top of the fruity nose. Smooth, velvety, plummy and cherry-driven with smoky, charcoal elements.

Flight 16 - Chateau Monconseil-Gazin (5 notes)

A very brief but enjoyable tasting at this estate. The owners, the Baudet family, have an escape game in a building on their estate. I'd never participated in one before, but I had a total blast. It's wine-themed and involves all sorts of difficult puzzles. Fun times.

Rosé
2018 Château Monconseil Gazin Bordeaux Rosé Rosé Demi-Sec France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Rosé
85 points
Strawberries, white cherries, pepper and roses on the nose. Juicy strawberries and sweet maraschino cherries, with some salty and floral. Fun.
White
2018 Château Monconseil Gazin Blanc France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
87 points
Super tropical nose. Peachy but crisp, and very pleasant.
White
2017 Château Monconseil Gazin Cuvée Prestige France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
89 points
Waxy, creamy apples on the nose. Plush palate, lush and tropical with honeyed notes, but vibrant acidity as well.
Red
2017 Château Monconseil Gazin France, Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
86 points
Prunes, plum sauce and sweet color on the nose. Plummy and smooth with a coffee and juicy cola aesthetic. Fun, accessible.
Red
2015 Château Monconseil Gazin Grande Réserve France, Bordeaux, Blaye
88 points
Dark currants, plum cake, earthy, coffee tones on the nose. Suave tannins, juicy plums on the palate, this has a dark, saucy, coffee and pepper feel, but complexity underneath that should come out more with age.

Flight 17 - Chateau Pre la Lande (5 notes)

Michael and Angelita Beauce practicing biodynamics in their 14 hectares of vineyards. They produce about 70 thousand bottles. Michael uses a mix of old and new oak and amphorae on his wines. I found a lot of these wines to be very expressive and vibrant. Whatever justifiable skepticism one may have about biodynamics, as I was walking through his vineyards, I could feel a big difference in the life of the environment. Really interesting wines that I’d love to have around my house, especially the Cuvee Terra Cotta wines.

Red
2015 Château Pré La Lande Cuvée Terra Cotta France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
91 points
So pure and vibrant on the nose, red plums, raspberries, roses and violets. Structured but rounded tannins, vibrant acidity, red and black cherry fruit that is fresh and lively. Complex mulling spices, earthy, rocky, graphite notes with roasted herbs, pepper and minerals. Definitely one to age for at least a few years, but this is a beautiful wine. 60/40 Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Red
2016 Château Pré La Lande Cuvée Terra Cotta France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
92 points
More open, airy and expressive than the 2015, with juicy red fruits on the nose, along with popping floral, tobacco and earth tones. Velvety, pure and vibrant on the palate with cherries, red currants and tangy plums. Beautiful texture, plush but so fresh, with complex pepper, earth, violets. Lifted, pretty stuff. 60/40 Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Wow.
Red
2015 Château Pré La Lande Cuvée Diane France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
90 points
So pretty and vibrant on the nose with fresh cherries, licorice, violets. Bold presence on the palate but still lively and juicy, and the freshness is delightful. Smooth yet solid tannins, juicy cherries, laced with cedar, coffee grounds, graphite and sage. Very pretty but this should age nicely.
Red
2016 Château Pré La Lande Cuvée Diane France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
91 points
Airy, lifted, minty, eucalyptus notes on the nose with cherries and raspberries. So lively and smooth on the palate, yet a solid tannic grip. Roses, violets, eucalyptus and mine add all sorts of complexity to this lively, vibrant wine. Can age well but so pretty right out of the bat. These 2016s, man.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2017 Château Pré La Lande Cuvée des Fontenelles France, Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers, Sainte Foy Bordeaux
88 points
Rich and honeyed nose with apricot and dried mango. Plush, rich, waxy on the palate, a chewy, delicious, unctuous approach with honey, glazed pear, dried apricot and mango. A bit low in acidity for me to get too excited, but it's really delicious.
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