Vintage 2021 Part 2 – Bordeaux Right Bank
This is the second part of a three part article regarding the 2021 vintage in Bordeaux, as well as in other regions of France. The first part—describing the vintage in general and ‘left bank’ Bordeaux wines—is located here. This second part includes tasting notes from ‘right bank’ of Bordeaux, or the land located to the east of the Gironde Estuary. (The third part—located here— includes tasting notes about wines from the southern ‘Entre-Deux-Mers’ region, from general appellations that cover all of Bordeaux and also wines from outside of Bordeaux.)
Château Beausejour. Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 93 points.
A 73/27 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc. Aromas of rich ripe red fruit such as cranberries, as well as chalk, candy corn and slightly salty licorice. Bright, shining acidity, some beef jerky mid-palate. Light tannins. Not ready yet, though complex, silky and light.
Château Croix de Labrie. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 96+ points.
From a vintage blasted by frost and mildew, this old-vine, organic 90/5/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon retains the estate’s characteristic suppleness and grace. Rich aromas include raspberries, maple syrup and—after five minutes in the glass—tar and treacle. Some brownies on the attack, mint and mocha mid-palate and a beautifully enduring finish that includes some anise and mandarins. Fresh and bright acidity. Elegant and complex with a unique Cabernet Franc lilt that provide the mysterious Angel in the Bottle of Croix de Labrie. Toujours élégant.
Château Monlot. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 95 points.
55/45 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend from vines up to 40 years old. Rich, round, slightly spicy and beautifully focused aromas that include those of red plums, dark prunes, even tangerines. Wild red fruit on the attack, rich and bright acidity and silky tannins midpalate as well as flavors of red cherries, black berries. Beautiful length and a finish of morels and mocha. Consider pairing with sirloin steak cooked over burnt vines.
Château Monlot. Heritage. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 94 – 95 points.
This 100% Merlot includes aromas of young red fruit, including cassis as well as earth and slate. An elegant ribbon of dark juice. Attack includes black cherries, midpalate includes light, bright acidity, sleek tannins and flavors of red fruit, prunes and mocha. Some herbaceousness, including sage. Consider pairing with duck breast.
Château La Dominique. Relais de La Dominique. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 91 points.
From 30-year-old vines, this 100% Merlot typically ages 14 months in oak and stainless steel and includes aromas of young red fruit, including strawberries and red cherries. Rich and round with lambent acidity and a hint of orange citrics. Well-balanced.
Château La Dominique. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 94 points.
An 85/13/2 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon from 30-year-old vines. Ages 14 months typically—90% in oak and 10% in amphorae, polymer eggs and wine globes. Bright aromas that are light include florals such as violets, as well as apricots. Rich and silky tannins, voluptuous red fruit, slightly astringent finish. Mocha, mint, peaches and even oranges (from the Cabernet Sauvignon) midpalate. Truffles on the finish. Pair with roasted duck or oxtail soup.
Château Fonroque. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 94 points.
A 69/31 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc in this biodynamic wine. Aromas of raspberry jam and black and red cherries. Slightly jammy in the mouth, with midpalate flavors that include raspberries, and with cherries on the finish. Sleek tannins within this statured wine.
Chateau Jean Faure. 2021. 93 points.
A 60/33/7 blend of Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Malbec in this biodynamic wine. Aromas of raspberry jam, some vegetal notes. Midpalate of mocha, black pepper and oranges, as well as slight cumin and boysenberries. Juicy acidity and suave tannins.
Château Angélus. No. 3. Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93+ points.
An 85/10/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Brilliant, eclectic and electric aromas of hedgerow, black cherries, raspberries and strawberries. Slight maple syrup and crème de menthe also in this generous bouquet. A juicy red that is redolent with well-structured tannins, bubbling red fruit and light, crisp, focused acidity.
Château Angélus. Carillon d’Angélus. Saint-Émilion. 2021. 94+ points.
This second wine of Angélus, an 80/20 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc (a 10% increase in Cabernet Franc from previous years) includes gobs of freshness, with seriously beautiful aromas of raspberries, black berries, some golden syrup and a sliver of eucalyptus and mint. A light, bright and creamy wine. Finesse from elegant tannins and from sizzling but restrained acidity; includes a hint of herbaceousness on the finish. Angelic indeed.
Château Angélus. Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé “A”. 2021. 96 – 97 points.
From 50- to 90-year-old vines, this first wine of Angélus is unusual this year for its predominance of Cabernet Franc (60%) over Merlot (40%) in the blend. Spooky deep plush aromas that include orange peels, tar, and beef jerky. A complex and integrated rodeo of aromas on the nose. Beautifully balanced in the mouth, with a hint of blueberries in a matrix that includes darker flavors of licorice and sage. Creamy tannins completely integrated with fruit flavors.
Château du Paradis. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92 – 94 points.
From the Bardet family, this blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon includes aromas of black cherries and raspberries, mint crisp and oranges. In the mouth a rich and luscious midpalate of mocha, red cherries, boysenberries, butterscotch and citric from the acidity, as well as slight menthol on the finish. Easy drinking, layered and complex with crisp tannins. Plush enough to pair even with swordfish or a four-cheese lasagna. Still includes some of the most enticing bottle label art from Saint-Émilion.
Château Bernateau. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92 points.
Light aromas include those of forest scents and some herbaceousness. Dark fruit in the mouth and a wonderfully long finish that includes morels and chocolate. Supple tannins. Pair with a stew or slow coked veal.
Château Grand Corbin. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 94 points.
Typically a Merlot dominant blend with Cabernet Franc and sometimes Cabernet Sauvignon from 40-year-old vines. Crisp, edgy aromas of butternut squash, violets, persimmons, peat and wild strawberries. A strikingly diverse and unique set of aromas. Rich, layered and creamy in the mouth—though somewhat thin—with a midpalate of figs and prunes and wild strawberries and a beautiful finish of chocolate biscuits and cherries. Succulent acidity and suave tannins. Pair with an Asian bowl that includes beef, sesames and yellow peppers.
Château Laroze. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 94+ points.
From the Meslin family, this is a 60/28/8/1/3 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Petit Verdot. A bouncy set of aromas that include yellow plums, eucalyptus, cherries and a spring walk down a country lane. A well-balanced mouthful with poise and elegance—including midpalate flavors of black cherries and a long, sumptuous finish with chocolate cookies and strawberries. The wine is light with perky acidity and rolling, suave tannins. Pair with a cheddar souffle or a pineapple upside down cake dessert.
Château Trianon. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 94 points.
A Merlot dominant blend that also includes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Carménère. Hefty and succulent aromas that include buckets of black and red fruit and some sage. A firm, well balanced and statured wine with delicate acidity rolled in with suave tannins. Even keeled. A full mouthful of flavors that includes red fruit, minestrone, and some oranges on the finish. Pair with a main course of sirloin or even wild game—roasted rabbit or boar.
Château La Commanderie. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 93+ points.
Deliciously fresh and light aromas of red fruit and wet earth from this 75/25 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. A bountiful mouth full of red cherries and mocha with a long lingering finish of mint crisp, anise. Bright but tamed acidity coating an energetic wine with suave tannins. Pair with duck confit or a fruit clafoutis dessert. A beauty.
Clos des Jacobins. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 94+ points.
From the Decoster family comes 80/18/2 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of bluebells and licorice and crème de menthe. A well balanced and delicate assembly of succulent and fresh fruit that includes black and blueberries, strawberries and a hint of oranges in the river of internal acidity. A layered, complex and lovely assembly of generous flavors. Pair with orange sorbet dessert or with duck breast.
Château Tour de Pressac. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92+ points.
A Merlot dominant blend that also includes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carménère and Petit Verdot. Rich aromas of bourbon chocolate cookies, blackberries, some earth and menthol. A round and luxurious wine on the cheeks, with a chocolate wafer midpalate and cherry finish. Still young. Pair with blackened salmon, or lamb chops with mint sauce.
Château de Pressac. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 93 points.
From Jean-François and Dominique Quenin comes this Merlot dominant blend that also includes Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carménère and Petit Verdot. Somewhat acidic herbaceous aromas of black berries, black cherries, and a slab of unsweetened chocolate. Quite a billowing and bulbous midpalate of sliced cherries, mocha and some marmalade on the finish. Juicy acidity and tannins well integrated into the fruit. Structured, complex, attractive. Consider pairing with Szechuan beef.
Château Montlabert. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 93+ points.
This 80/20 Merlot/Cabernet Franc includes robust and layered aromas of pomegranate juice, cumin, dill, sage and strawberries. A multidimensional array of aromas. Light and layered in the mouth, with an enticing wheat grass finish. Black cherries on the attack, raspberries and some toffee midpalate. Bright acidity and velvety tannins. Pair with cajun food or a chocolate lava cake dessert.
La Croix de Montlabert. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 93 points.
Predominantly Merlot, with 20% Cabernet Franc. Wispy, semi-smoky aromas of black licorice, lavender and black cherries. Luscious, light, well integrated beauty—brimming with succulence and velvety tannins wrapped around a package of juicy ripe fruit flavors. Cola midpalate and a finish that is both semi-spicy and also with flavors of crème brulé. Exciting and beautiful. Pair with a goulash or brochette that includes chicken, lamb and beef.
Château La Marzelle. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 92 points.
Biodynamic since 2020, grapes from this 42-acre (17-hectare) site are hand harvested and this gravity fed juice produced a 80/15/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes grow over a band of blue clay that is shared with Château Figeac and Château Cheval Blanc. Aged in new oak and also 20% in French and Italian clay amphorae. They lost almost 40% of fruit in 2021 due to frost. Aromas of rich red fruit, Dutch licorice, acorns and raspberries. In the mouth the tannins are sleek, the acidity bright and the red plum flavors and those of black fruits well balanced. This will evolve slowly over decades, releasing subtle flavors over time.
Château Cheval Noir. Cuvée Le Fer. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 91 – 92. points.
Predominantly Merlot, this wine includes lush and toasted aromas of sesame, licorice, raspberries. Short attack, crisp and juicy acidic midpalate with flavors or red plums, prunes, black cherries and chocolate chips. A lush and creamy cherry finish. Slightly acidic with firm, soft tannins.
Château Fleur Cardinale. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé. 2021. 94 – 95 points.
A 70/20/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon that ages up to 14 months in new French oak. Creamy aromas that include brownies, licorice, red cherries and black berries. A distinguished wine with firm and supple tannins, glowing acidity and a midpalate of red fruit that includes cranberries. Pair with roasted duck breast or a Moroccan tajin.
Château Croix Cardinale. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 93 points.
A 75/25 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc from 30-year-old vines that age 13 months in new French oak from 11 different coopers. Blueberries and red plums on the nose, as well as some blacktop and granite minerality. A juicy, light and easy drinking wine—a meld of young fresh red fruit midpalate, with clear acidity on the finish. Consider pairing with sashimi. 6,400 bottles produced annually.
Château Fleur de Lisse. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92 – 93 points.
This 60/40 Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend that ages up to 18 months in casks and amphorae includes aromas of dark black fruit, brownies, licorice and some tobacco and black currant juice. Rounded, lambent acidity. Flavors include some sage and red fruit midpalate. Perky and easy drinking wine that can be paired with hearty fare—consider a grilled entrecote or a South African Potjie pot.
Château L’Etampe. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92 – 93 points.
From Vignobles Jade of the Teycheney family comes this 54/46 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend which will age one year in one year old oak barrels. Hefty and gorgeous aromas of red plums, red cherries, blueberries and shortbread. A delightfully light and fruity wine that is easily approachable with gobs of red and black fruit midpalate and a hit of blueberries on the finish. Acidity well integrated with tannins and fruit. Pair with wild game or a blueberry tart dessert. 3,600 bottles produced.
Vignobles Jade. Fontfleurie. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92+ points.
A 69/31 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend that ages up to 18 months in barrels, casks and amphorae has grand and sumptuous aromas of red and black cherries and florals—lilacs and hibiscus. A layer cake that includes blueberries midpalate and slightly citric acidity on the finish. Inviting and engaging with plush tannins. Pair with a creamy soufflé or a dessert of mint brittle.
Bien-Aimée de Fleur de Lisse. Saint-Émilion. 2021. 92+ points.
From the Teycheney family and winemaker Nicolas Géré comes this 92/8 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend from 40-year-old vines. Rich, statured, structured aromas that include dark black and blue fruit, as well as plums and red jam. A sweetly attractive delight in the mouth with glowing acidity, rich red fruit midpalate, some nuttiness on the finish. An easy drinking barbecue wine. Pair with grilled chicken or four cheese lasagna.
Muse du Val. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 94 points.
50/50 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc that ages up to 18 months in French oak. Aromas include brownies, red cherries as well as some grass and gorse. Supple and lambent acidity well enfolded into a midpalate of red and black cherries, some black pepper and oranges. Engaging and distinct. The finish is sweet red cherries and asks for another sip. Beautiful. 5,000 bottles produced.
Château Petit Val. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 93 points.
A 70/20/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot that ages up to 18 months in French oak. Rich aromas with some herbaceousness. Includes dexterous and inviting acidity, suave tannins and a midpalate of juicy red and black fruit. Cranberries, brownies and slight walnuts on a rich finish. Pair with charcuterie or a chocolate dessert.
Château Petit Val. Margo. Saint-Émilion. 2021. 92 – 93 points.
Toffee, dark fudge and wet grass in an enigmatic set of aromas for this 100% Cabernet Franc from 35-year-old vines that ages six months in amphorae. This year’s Margo is stellar due to the Cabernet Franc having been favored by weather conditions. A supple and elegant midpalate of slight menthol, red cherries, some black pepper and eucalyptus. Fine tannins well enfolded into a chunky matrix of red fruit and clean acidity. A lovely wine. Pair with mint brittle or even lamb chops with mint sauce. 700 bottles produced.
Château Franc la Rose. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 94 points.
75/25 Merlot/Cabernet Franc that ages 18 months in 60% new oak. This wine has cheery country lane aromas and also includes roses, some lilac, hibiscus, red cherries and menthol. Soft, light, and easy drinking—a flamenco dancer twirling effortlessly. Plush acidity fully integrated with chewy tannins, and a midpalate of soy, blueberries, red and black cherries. Pair with duck a l’orange or a banana chocolate dessert.
Château Cantenac. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 92 points.
From the Roskam-Brunot family, this 75/25 blend of Merlot/Cabernets includes aromas of caramel and minestrone. Red fruit midpalate, succulent and creamy acidity, and slight nuttiness on the finish. Layered and nuanced.
Château Du Parc. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 94 – 95 points.
An 80/20 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc. Rich, plush, soft, elegant and well-balanced aromas. A clean, coherent, focused and well-balanced river of pleasure with blueberries, mocha and slight balsamic. Acidity is well enfolded into the midpalate of crushed, raspberries, some black berries and slight vanilla. Delicious, and difficult to stop drinking. Pair with wiener schnitzel or grilled steak or a plum clafoutis dessert.
Clos Dubreuil. Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 2021. 93 points.
From Benoît Trocard, this 70/25/5 Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon blend has hefty sweet aromas of red fruit, some tarragon, beef, cumin and licorice. A sumptuous and silky midpalate that is very elegant with a light and inviting structure. Midpalate of some licorice, red fruit that includes raspberries and cranberries, and a finish that is long with a slight orange and menthol lilt. This is an elegant and well-integrated beauty. Pair with dulce de leche dessert or roasted rabbit with mango sauce.
Château Tour du Pas St-Georges. Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion. 2021. 94 points.
A 60/29/5/2/2/2 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Petit Verdot/Carménère with dark mocha and cherry aromas, as well as morels and wet earth. Perky and luscious wine with flavors of red and black cherries and black berries and eucalyptus. Toast and licorice on the finish. Harmonious integration between firm and elegant though thin tannins and lambent acidity coating a gorgeous mouthful of flavor. Pair with shish kebab or a morel risotto.
Château Clarisse. Puisseguin Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93 points.
This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc includes rich and energetic aromas of red and black cherries, as well as red currants and peat. The fruit is bright, the tannins soft and the acidity shining. Overall, acidity is the star of the show for Bordeaux vintage 2021. Flavors include blackberries and cherries in this fluidly structured wine.
Château Clarisse. Vielles Vignes. Puisseguin Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93 – 94 points.
Astonishing aromas of chocolate, mocha, black berries and pine needles in this 70/30 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Suave tannins and good structure in this complex, rich and layered wine that recalls the deft nuances of a Croix de Labrie. Includes the depth of a 2018 vintage and the openness of a 2019 vintage.
Château de Bellevue. Lussac-Saint-Émilion. 2021. 91 – 92 points.
This 95/5 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend includes a Grand Marnier treat of aromas—fluffy, fruity, with red cherries, Fry’s chocolate cream, and mandarins. A robust mouthful that delights and entices—a layered and complex meld of mocha and cherries and prunes midpalate with some menthol and malt balls on the finish. Serve with charbroiled steak or with wild game such as boar or with some seriously dry and semi-salty cheeses. Bravo!
Clos Bertineau. Montagne Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93+ points.
This 100% Merlot includes strikingly luscious red and black cherry aromas, as though in a fruit cake fresh from the oven. A little bit of sesame and dorp licorice. A generous and layered beauty in the mouth—redolent with cherries and rich with structure, some ginger on the finish. Delightful and with juicy acidity and a bucket full of red fruit. A layered and easy drinking, jovial seductress. Pair with shish kebab that includes cherry tomatoes, or a pear and strawberry flan. Gorgeous!
Vieux Château Palon. Montagne Saint-Émilion. 2021. 92 – 93 points.
Rich red and black berry aromas that make you sigh with relief that it’s wine time. Black cherry and teak and slight black pepper layers. A hearty and layered mouthful that includes festively juicy acidity, spry red fruits and approachable tannins. Layered and lovely.
Château Clos de Boüard. Montagne Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93 points.
A 66/25/9 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon aged up to 24 months in 30% new oak barrels. Creamy and enticing aromas that include cherries, chocolate and pine needles. The midpalate includes crisp acidity and light wild red strawberries and raspberries, though slightly thin. Some tarragon and licorice midpalate and a finish of succulent gariguette acidic strawberries. Pair with light fare such as sashimi, or with a dessert of blue berry tart.
Dame de Boüard. Montagne Saint-Émilion. 2021. 93 points.
A 66/25/9 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon from 40-year-old vines aged up to 14 months in 15% new oak. Rich, creamy, velvety aromas of fresh red fruit that includes black cherries, some blueberries. Poised, balanced, succulent flavors of red fruit and some eucalyptus/tarragon midpalate wrapped in a sheath of energetic acidity. Cocoa on the finish. Pair with dulce de leche dessert of chicken tetrazzini.
Château Tour Perruchon. Lussac Saint-Émilion. 2021. 92 points.
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Alain Pascal. This wine with has crisp and fresh aromas of black berries, cherries, some teak and mint. Fresh cranberries and raspberries midpalate, and some mushrooms and menthol and zipping acidity on the finish. Well integrated soft acidity and tannins enfolded around delicious red fruit flavors. Pair with a tajin or an orange sorbet dessert.
Château Croix de Rambeau. 2021. Lussac Saint-Émilion. 92 points.
A 90/10 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend that ages for 14 months in oak has wafting, layered and light floral aromas that include roses, as well as aromas of German chocolate cake, blueberries and red currants. A meaty midpalate of dark black fruit, some mocha and licorice, and a hint of mint on the finish. Pair with meatloaf or lasagna.
Château Mazeyres. Pomerol. 2021. 94 points.
From Alain Moueix comes this biodynamic 75/22/3 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot (one of only two Pomerol producers who use Petit Verdot). Bright raspberries on the nose. Flavors include raisins, oranges, and cocoa. Well integrated dark fruit, sleek acidity and supple tannins.
Château Beauregard. Pomerol. 2021. 95 points.
This 70/30 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc is organically produced, low yield. Well balanced, with big fresh aromas with abundant black and red cherries and florals that include violets. Midpalate of red cherries, light licorice, mocha and prunes. In the mouth, dark flavors of fruit and licorice with bright acidity.
Château Petit-Village. Pomerol. 2021. 96 points.
A 65/26/9 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. From the plateau of Pomerol with ample clay, this wine is processed via gravity and sorted via density rather than optical means. Aromas are bright and focused and include maple syrup, cola, wild country strawberries, as well as some violets, ferns, oranges and mint. Flavors include dorp licorice, maple syrup. Long finish with slight morels. A full bodied and well-balanced wine with bright acidity, chestnuts and red cherries midpalate.
Château La Conseillante. Pomerol. 2021. 95 points.
An 85/15 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon. Buoyant and elegant aromas of fresh acorns, wet earth and black fruit as well as menthol. Bright acidity takes center stage and eclipses well integrated tannins in this complex, suave wine with flavors that include red cherries, dark fruit midpalate and a finish with nuts and tarragon.
Château Maillet. Pomerol. 2021. 92 points.
From Moze Berthon comes this wine with ripe and acidic red fruit aromas, including black berries, black cherries, some earth and menthol. Light raspberries on attack, fresh red cherries and mocha midpalate and a long and enduring and luxurious finish of strawberry cheesecake and cep mushrooms. Fresh and well enfolded acidity, suave tannins on the finish. Midpalate still evolving.
Château Porte Chic. Pomerol. 2021. 94+ points.
From Benoit Trocard, this 70/25/5 Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon blend ages for 18 months in new French oak. Soft and lovely fruit and wild country lane aromas from Pomerol—a medley of cherries, raspberries and even mint brittle. A luscious, elegant full mouth full of sensory pleasure, with a midpalate of blueberries and cream, as well as a background of red cherries and some cumin. Soft though well-structured tannins, vibrant acidity well enfolded into the fruit. Pair with a Mediterranean mezze plate that includes hummus.
Clos de la Vieille-Église. Pomerol. 2021. 94+ points.
From Jean-Louis Trocard this 70/30 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc that ages 20 months in 100% new oak. Round, rich, fruity aromas that are commanding and perky. Some eucalyptus, mint, red cherries and embracing acidity well embedded in lush fruit. A hit of chocolate on a long and inviting finish. Soft tannins and light, crisp acidity. A symphony in the mouth. Pair with butternut squash ravioli or lamb chops with apple sauce. 9,000 bottles produced.
Château Haut-Surget. Lalande-de-Pomerol. 2021. 91 points.
Exuberant aromas of violets, roses, mint crisp, strawberries. Firm tannic structure, crisp acidity, some plums and prunes midpalate and mint on the finish. Pair with duck a l’orange or a lentil and red pepper pilaf.
Château Sergant. Lalande de Pomerol. 2021. 92+ points.
A Merlot dominant blend with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that ages in oak barrels for 12 months. Crisp and commanding aromas of smoke, tar, wet earth, fresh grass. An earthy assemblage. Creamy midpalate with red and black fruit and an exceptionally long and scrumptious finish that includes a taste of French dip, Malteser chocolates and fig newtons. One sip will catch up to you, and beg for more. Pair with tagliatelle Bolognese or a plumb tart.
Château La Fleur de Boüard. Lalande de Pomerol. 2021. 94 points.
77/8/8/7 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot from 30-year-old vines; aged up to 24 months in 80% new oak and without fining or filtration. Aromas of cookie dough and fresh fruit tart and a hint of mint—powerful and luscious. Scrumptious flavors of dorp licorice, mocha, candy cane and red and black cherries. A well-integrated winner with sleek tannins and brimming acidity folded over rich black fruit. Pair with mezze platter that includes pita slices and hummus or a lemon meringue dessert.
Le Lion de La Fleur de Boüard. Lalande de Pomerol. 2021. 92+ points.
A 77/8/8/7 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot from 30-year-old vines. Ages 16 months in 15% new French oak. Delicious waft of candy cane, maple syrup, mint crisp and plum tart aromas. Rich and delicate and generous on the nose. Succulent acidity, firm though quiet and thin tannins, rich wild strawberry and red plum flavors midpalate, and some chocolate lava cake on the finish. Scrumptious. Pair with parmigiana Reggiano cheese flaked onto tagliatelle, or steaming cornbread slathered in butter or a lemon cake dessert.
L’Ambroisie. Lalande-de-Pomerol. 2021. 93 points.
From Benoît Trocard, this 100% Merlot that ages 18 months in oak includes soft aromas of red cherries and raspberries. A well-integrated package of deft flavors that include those of blue berries. A bucket full of taste as well as brimming acidity highlighting a fruity matrix. Soft tannins. Pair with a blueberry tart or roasted duck breast.
Château La Croix Bellevue. Lalande-de-Pomerol. 2021. 93 points.
50/25/25 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon that ages 14 months in 50% new oak. Includes rich, crisp, fresh red and blue fruit aromas as well as some greenness and spice. Soft and sexy and inviting. A lovely mouthful of plush red and blue fruit midpalate with crisp, enticing acidity and soft tannins. A real testament to the beautiful potential of Lalande-de-Pomerol. Pair with fondue or chocolate lava cake.
Château La Croix des Moines. Lalande-de-Pomerol. 2021. 94 points.
From Jean-Louis Trocard comes this 80/20 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend that ages for 14 months in oak. Textured and crisp aromas include chocolate biscuit, lavender, balsamic, licorice and slight herbaceousness. Lusciously light and lambent, part of an indication that Lalande-de-Pomerol includes winners from 2021. Midpalate includes dark fruit, mocha and soft tannins. Pair with a barbecued lamb dish or a dessert of dark chocolate.
CANON-FRONSAC / FRONSAC
Château Lamarche Canon. Canon Fronsac. 2021. 91 points.
This biodynamic 60/20/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Malbec has aromas of raspberries, oxtail soup, oranges and chalk. In the mouth this wine includes flavors of light fruit such as sliced oranges, as well as fig newtons and maple syrup. Rich and textured and ready to pair with a confit de canard.
Château de Carles. Haut-Carles. Fronsac. 2021. 93 points.
A 90/5/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Malbec from 35-year-old vines with rich red fruit aromas that include raspberries, some tar and chocolate cookies. A joyous mouthful, cracking good to drink and one sip is just not enough. Layered and complex as a Christmas cake with cranberries, cocoa and mint crisp midpalate and some oranges on the finish. Acidity is the overall dominant feature in this complex wine. Pair with barbecued ribs or a bulghur and bean salad.
Château de Carles. Fronsac. 2021. 92 points.
A 90/5/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Malbec from 35-year-old vines—a red and black cherry delight on the nose. Perky and spry acidity that says springtime has arrived. Strawberry medley midpalate, with some beef jerky and anise on the finish. Layered, fresh, fun. Pair with appetizers of charcuterie and cheeses and fruit.
Château Plain-Point. Fronsac. 2021. 91 – 92 points.
Caramel and butterscotch melded with red cherries and red plum aromas in this 75/20/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc. A lusciously light and approachable attack and midpalate of red fruit, suave tannins and well enfolded acidity. Pair with roasted camembert or a fig and plum tart dessert. A layered beauty.
Château Gaby. Canon-Fronsac. 2021. 93+ points.
An 80/10/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon. Poised, elevated and confident aromas that are coherent and statured and include dark fruit, mocha, some balsamic and teak. In the mouth this is a soft and lambent wine with crisp acidity and evident balance between fine tannins and fresh fruit. Easy drinking and made for enjoyment. A testimony to the best of Fronsac. Pair with shish kebab.
Princess Gaby. Canon-Fronsac. 2021. 92+ points.
An 85/10/5 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon with soft, subtle, attractive aromas—hence the name princess—that include some cocoa, red cherries and cranberries. A silky beauty in the mouth—brimming on the edges with acidity around a bowl of crunchy chilled red fruit. Pair with a minestrone or oxtail soup or a Mediterranean vegetable dish. Reminiscent of a Pinot Noir meeting Carménère—soft and with black pepper on the finish.
Château Dalem. Fronsac. 2021. 91 points.
Strawberry and raspberry aromas in this 90/10 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc wine with firm tannins and a midpalate of minestrone, blueberry and toffee.
Château Plain-Point. Bordeaux. 2021. 92+ points.
This 80/20 blend of Sauvignon Blanc/Gros Manseng includes a creamy, slightly effervescent bath of green apples, spices and oatmeal aromas. Lively, lovely, scintillating midpalate of snappy acidity, fruit salad of mandarins, gooseberries and pears and a long honey-tinged finish. Pair with sticky toffee pudding or crème brulé or with sole meuniere. A winner.
CÔTES DE BORDEAUX APPELLATIONS
Château Bel-Air La Royère. Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 92 – 93 points.
This 35/65 Malbec/Merlot blend ages half in amphorae and half in new oak barrels. Aromas of boysenberries, blueberries, cranberries as well as wet earth, cocoa and ground nuts. In the mouth a firm matrix of fresh and wild red fruit and silky acidity on the attack. Quite a light delight with flavors of roast coffee and raspberries midpalate. A gentle and generous mouthful.
Château Bourdieu. 2021. Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. 91+ points.
From this 87/10/3 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc that is aged in steel vats come aromas of petrol, tar and peat and the creamy midpalate includes green peppers well integrated with blue and red fruits, with a lick of golden syrup on the finish. Pair with pork loin and chutney.
Château De La Chapelle. Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 91+ points.
This 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon blend that ages in steel tanks includes soft though somewhat volatile aromas of teak and blueberries. Almost Sangiovese like in heartiness with oxtail and minestrone aromas. The midpalate is soft, crisp and attractive and includes blue and black fruit as well as red currants, cranberries and raspberries. Sleek tannins and quiet acidity integrate well into this wine with a lovely and luscious After Eight mint finish.
Château Clarisse. Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 93+ points.
This 100% Merlot includes rich, complex, suave and sometimes profound aromas of dense fruit, as well as aromas of charcoal, acorns, raspberries, blackberries and some evergreen forest. Beautiful acidity and light red fruit in the mouth—with clear, soft tannins.
Château de Bernon. Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 90 – 92 points.
An 80/20 blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc with perky and wild red fruit, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Quite the spice cake on the nose. Juicy, buoyant red fruit, silky medley of tannins and sleek acidity. Some orange peel on the finish. Pair with an orange sorbet dessert or a lentil and burrata pilaf.
Château de la Pierre Levée. Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 91+ points.
From third-generation wine producer Sylvain Gracia, this 70/30 Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend includes hefty aromas of blueberries, menthol, raspberries and strawberries. Rich, light and luscious in the mouth—with overly acidic overtures from the 2021. Red fruit and toast midpalate, slight mandarins on the finish. Pair even with sushi or a creamy truffle risotto to cut the acidity.
Clos Louie. Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 91 points.
A 70/30 biodynamic blend of Merlot/Cabernet Franc from 60-year-old vines. Aromas of red plum jam, with well-integrated acidity and tannins.
Château Moya. Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. 2021. 91 points.
This 93/7 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, crafted by winemaker Damien Landouar, includes aromas of peat, herbs, sage, figs and red plums. Mouthful includes crisp tannins behind a light matrix of fresh acidity, red fruit and even yellow plums. Some sage on the textured finish.
CÒTES DE BOURG
Château de Barbe. Côtes de Bourg. 2021. 90 points.
Aromas of cranberries and wet bark and a midpalate of blueberries, strawberries and minestrone with a lick of sage on the finish. Uplifting acidity.
Château Falfas. La Demoiselles de Falfas. Côtes de Bourg. 2021. 91 points.
This 75/25 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon biodynamic blend includes deep and hefty aromas of red plum jam and blackberries. The somewhat acidic midpalate includes a medley of orange and red berry flavors.