En Primeur Bordeaux 2016

Dry Whites - The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Aile d'Argent Dry Whites £648 - 89-91 - 93-94 - - -
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The 2016 Aile d'Argent Blanc is a blend of 52% Sauvignon Blanc, 46% Sémillon and 2% Muscadelle. Philippe Dhalluin told me that there was more malolactic this year, around 27% of the wine going through complete malolactic fermentation. It has an attractive nose of lime flower, granite and orange blossom aromas, a touch of pineapple cordial developing with time. The palate is very well balanced with crisp acidity, tensile and precise with impressive focus. This is another a deep or powerful Aile d'Argent, but I admire the precision on display here.

Score: 89 - 91 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2019-2029

A fresh and fruity white with sliced-pear and apple character. Undertones of pineapple. Full-bodied, savory and round-textured wine. Delicious.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Another success for the white wines of the Médoc, this is lovely with true freshness expertly pulled together under tension, contrasting with the roundness through the mid-palate. Clear, fleshy white peach and soft citrus is pulled in on the finish by a lick of wet stone. 53% Sauvignon Blanc, 46% Semillon and 1% Muscadelle. 27% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation to ensure a creamy character to the body.

Score: 94 Decanter Maturity: 2018-2032

[Add to shopping basket] Carbonnieux Blanc Dry Whites £270 - 88-90 - 90-91 - 89-92 89-92
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The Carbonnieux 2016 Blanc has a gentle nose of peardrop, citrus peel and orange blossom: attractive if just missing the race and drive of either the 2014 and 2015. The palate is well balanced with lime and a touch of orange zest on the entry. There is good depth of fruit here and a pleasant saline finish t just needs more acidity.

Score: 88 - 90 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2018-2024

Linear and solid white with sliced-apple, pear and lemon character. Full body. Little old style but I like it - as always.

Score: 90 - 91 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Fresh and open, with a lime pith note giving the mix of verbena, melon rind and tarragon flavors good cut.

Score: 89 - 92 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Scents of slate, pear, green apple, mint and herbs give the 2016 Carbonnieux Blanc much of its distinctive personality. Bright and nuanced, with good depth, the 2016 hits all the right notes. This is terrific.

Score: 89 - 92 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

Clever use of extremely subtle oak that gives structure and body without being intrusive. This doesn't have the mineral directness and depth of, say 2011 or 2014, but it is a very good wine that will bring lots of pleasure. It majors on white flowers, touches of honeysuckle and white pepper spicing. Christophe Ollivier has taken the baton from Denis Dubourdieu who consulted here for 28 years.

Score: 90 Decanter Maturity: 2018-2030

[Add to shopping basket] Clarte de Haut Brion Dry Whites £730 - 87-89 91-94 93-94 - - 88-91
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The 2016 La Clarte de Haut-Brion Blanc is a blend of 23.7% Sauvignon Blanc and 76.3% Sémillon. It has a light lime flower scented bouquet that does not quite have the vigor of the 2015 last year. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, taut and linear with fresh grapefruit and hints of pineapple towards the brisk finish.

Score: 87 - 89 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2019-2028

23.7% Sauvignon Blanc, 76.3% Semillon. The second wine of both Haut Brion Blanc and La Mission Haut Brion Blanc. Crisp aromas of lime flowers, lime oil. Gorgeous slightly waxy texture combined with the crisp delicacy of white flowers and sweet citrus. Great acidity and juiciness.

Score: 91 - 94 Albany Vintners

Very salty and fruity with lots of dried pineapple and lemon rind. Medium-to full-bodied, dense and long. White pepper, too.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

The 2016 La Clarté de Haut-Brion feels quite rich and intense owing to the high percentage of Sémillon (76 percent) in the blend this year. A phenolic, broad white, the 2016 has plenty of personality, although it naturally lacks the pedigree of the top selections. It will be interesting to see if the Clarté finds a bit more harmony during its aging. Today, some of the edges show through. Citrus peel, stone fruit, mint and chalk add closing nuances.

Score: 88 - 91 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

Exceptionally rich flavour and succulence on show here, a lovely Clarté in a tough vintage that is more exotic than in some years but absolutely works. Some spicy herbal notes of rosemary pick up the mid-palate and there is a freshness that ensures a mouthwatering uplift to the finish. An interesting side note - there is 60% new oak here, significantly more than in the grand vin, showing just how the technical team truly is led by what is best for the wine, not what is expected of it. 76.3% Sémillon and 23.7% Sauvignon Blanc, harvested to 13th September. The pH ranges from 3.16 to 3.22 across lots.

Score: 90 Decanter Maturity: 2018-2025

[Add to shopping basket] Cos d'Estournel Blanc Dry Whites £1,020 - 90-92 92-94 96-97 - - 89-91
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The 2016 Cos d'Estournel Blanc is a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Sémillon that was picked between 12 September and 10 October, matured in a very modest 7% new oak. It has a fragrant bouquet with lemon curd, lime flower and just a hint of grilled almond. The palate is very well balanced with fine mineralité on the entry. Fine tension here, although I would like to see it develop more persistence on the finish, which just cuts away a little swiftly at present.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2019-2029

Just 5500 bottles are made of the 100% Sauvignon Blanc that aims to compete with the best whites from Graves. Grass, melon and a touch of peach, crisp and refreshing.

Score: 92 - 94 Albany Vintners

A layered and deep white with beautiful fruit giving mango, sliced-lemon and green-pineapple character. Full-bodied and so flavorful. Love the phenolic balance. One of the best dry whites of the vintage.

Score: 96 - 97 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Cos d'Estournel has done a terrific job in preserving a good deal of freshness with the 2016 Blanc. Citrus, floral notes and a touch of reduction convey energy and tension, both hard to come by in 2016, a vintage in which high temperatures created less-than-ideal conditions for whites. The Blanc is fermented and aged in neutral oak, with some lees stirring, but no malolactic fermentation. The Blanc is shaping up to be a success for the vintage. Production is down by about a third because of the severe selection that was required.

Score: 89 - 91 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

Another Médoc white to bear in mind when selecting this year. A 75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon blend, the team picked over the course of four outings, right through to 10th October having started on 12th September. This is far enough up in the northern Médoc to get full estuary breezes, and with extreme selection the crop is one third less than last year. The aromatic precision is lovely, a fresh, clean line of citrus and white peach flesh that opens up and peels itself back through the palate.

Score: 93 Decanter Maturity: 2019-2030

[Add to shopping basket] Domaine de Chevalier Blanc Dry Whites £852 - 90-92 93-96 96-97 - 90-93 89-92
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The Domaine de Chevalier 2016 Blanc has a somewhat delicate, nuanced bouquet this year, one that demanded gentle coaxing from the glass. It reveals delineated aromas of green apple, gooseberry and kiwi fruit, flintiness tucked just behind. The palate is well balanced and slightly Burgundy-like on the entry (strangely, not unlike a Nuits-Saint-Georges Blanc!). It opens nicely in the glass but never looses its head. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity and fine delineation, with pretty lemongrass and shaved ginger notes judiciously sprinkled over the finish. It is a Domaine de Chevalier Blanc that I would be inclined to consume in its youth rather than cellar, but hey, you never know the longevity of these wines; they can always surprise you.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2019-2029

Clear water white colour with lemon hints. An elegant nose, full-bodied and refreshing with ripe tropical fruit depth and lift on the palate.

Score: 93 - 96 Albany Vintners

A white with sliced apple, pear and lemon character. Medium to full body, layered and so long. Tight and exciting. So salty and minerally. Structured. Phenolic intensity and all wound up. What a white!

Score: 96 - 97 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Bright and fresh, with a rounded edge to the mix of lime curd, verbena, green plum and quinine flavors. On the weighty side of the spectrum, but has the freshness for balance.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Domaine de Chevalier's 2016 Blanc is unusually soft and silky, words I can't believe I’m writing about a young vintage of this reference-point white. Creamy, ample and inviting, the 2016 should drink well pretty much right out of the gate. These wines have a track record of aging for decades; I imagine the 2016 might have a slightly shorter life than other recent vintages, but not by much. The only thing missing is the delineation and explosive energy that, in the best vintages, makes the Blanc one of the world's most distinctive and pedigreed whites.

Score: 89 - 92 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media.com

This is clearly one of the more impressive whites on display here. They have teased out a sense of verticality, and you can feel the walls and scrape the flesh of the citrus. If it wasn't for the heights that we know Domaine de Chevalier can ascend to, you would be sighing over the structure of this wine. White peach and rich pear are seasoned with beautiful spicing, but it just lacks the grip and drama of the best vintages.

Score: 94 Decanter Maturity: 2019-2035

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