En Primeur Bordeaux 2016

Margaux - The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Alter Ego de Palmer (2nd wine of Palmer) Margaux Unreleased - - 91-94 95-96 16-17 - -
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40% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot. Packed with blackberry jam, soft black stone fruits with crushed rocks. Some chalkiness to the mid-palate. Very ripe and luscious with glycerol and a cocoa powder dry finish.

Score: 91 - 94 Albany Vintners

This is very concentrated yet soft and fresh in texture. Full-bodied and round and mouth-filling. So impressive how it fills your mouth yet remains fresh. It’s so framed.

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot. Very bright dark glossy crimson. Very rich and sweet and approachable. Round and fresh. Meaty. Very, very sweet start and then chewy. Lots going on here but not that much tannin, much less than in most other 2016s. Very juicy. 13%

Score: 16 - 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2022-2030

Palmer lost 20% of its crop in the spring, and the Merlot was affected more than the Cabernet so there is only around half as much Alter Ego as normal. The yield here is 29hl/ha, so a lot less than most of Margaux, mainly due to vineyard rebalancing after moving to biodynamics and the spring crop loss. The harvest start date of 3rd October was the latest on record, following on from a very long, slow ripening leading to lots of tannins (71 IPT) which although soft and integrated are at a higher level than 2015, while the 3.65pH remains the same. Late harvests encourage elongated tannins, and Thomas says he has never seen such sophistication in the construction of the wines here, so different from the 2015. As with Palmer, Alter Ego has a highly aromatic nose, majoring here on damson and blackberry. Tasted on an overcast Friday morning and yet it sings, with the most beautifully soft expression of black fruits. It's a different style to others, the 13% ABV being extremely low for this amount of Merlot. Beautiful.

Score: 93 Decanter Maturity: 2023-2040

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Boyd Cantenac Margaux Unreleased - - - 94-95 16 - -
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Extremely dense, fruity and full-bodied, yet it’s also tight and very refined with silky tannins and a flavorful finish. This is something in the making. Best in years.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Very dense glowing crimson. Rather farmyard aromas - are we in Chianti Classico? Masses of extraction and slightly syrupy texture but not enough freshness. Out of balance.

Score: 16 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2037

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Brane Cantenac Margaux Unreleased - - 91-93 95-96 17 90-93 -
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Exotic nose of ground coffee roast and blackcurrant jam. Rich and full-bodied with deep cherry fruit, blackforest gateau. Palate-staining, firm and ripe, this is big but balanced.

Score: 91 - 93 Albany Vintners

This is really strong from Brane-Cantenac this year with toned muscles and beautiful fruit. Full-bodied, chewy and polished. Shows wonderful intensity and density yet remains reserved and very tight. Very impressive from here. Grabs you. One of the best ever from here.

Score: 95 - 96 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed.

Score: 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2044

Shows a coffee edge, along with tobacco and bay notes that meld steadily into the core of steeped plum and black cherry fruit. The fleshy finish lets the bay element take an encore. A touch old-school.

Score: 90 - 93 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Gorgeous campsite woodsmoke effect on the nose and the effect, as is so often the case with Brane, is that their use of oak ageing is extremely cleverly thought out. This is a luscious wine with rich, deeply layered fruits and gentle spices, all set against well brushed, caressing tannins. This is a great vintage for this property, so effortless. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (now old enough at 10 years, and successful enough due to the late harvest, to finally make it into the grand vin). Excellent.

Score: 94 Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Cantenac Brown Margaux Unreleased - - 92-94 93-94 16 91-94 -
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Deep purple with a discreet but refined nose of black cherry and a touch of smoke. Moderate weight of ripe fruit and charm. Lovely overall balance and elegance.

Score: 92 - 94 Albany Vintners

A young red with lovely density and richness defined by currant and light coffee-bean character. Medium to full body and lightly chewy tannins. Lots here in the glass.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark crimson. Relatively high VA. Thick and sweet but with a green edge. Not the most generous nor the ripest Margaux. Falls away pretty suddenly on the palate. An attempt at glamour certainly. (16+)

Score: 16 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2040

Focused, with a light brambly frame around the juicy plum and blackberry fruit. Fresh bay and singed juniper notes line the finish. Nicely integrated and showing solid range. Well done.

Score: 91 - 94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

This is an elegant and beautifully balanced wine with plush damson aromatics and a punch of fruit that is totally captivating. The soft but extensive tannins of 2016 are fully on display, lush and well-worked. There is some charcoal and liquorice sitting underneath, with the wet stone minerality that always elevates a wine up to the next level. Very good.

Score: 94 Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Dauzac Margaux Unreleased - - 88-90 92-93 16 89-92 -
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Deep colour with a modern plush nose, extremely ripe with beefy fruit and thickset tannins leading to a dry slightly astringent finish.

Score: 88 - 90 Albany Vintners

Tight and chewy with polished tannins and an extremely deep and dense center palate of fruit. Minerally and intense. Precise and very fine. A nice follow-up after the excellent 2015.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Very deep purple. Some sweet coconutty oak in evidence, which I find a bit off-putting. Then a bit green on the finish. Evidence of some make-up here? Not a comfortable whole.

Score: 16 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2038

There's nice intensity here, with a beam of cassis and cherry preserves racing through, flecked with light anise and bay notes. Fresh acidity is nicely embedded on the finish. A restrained style, and sneakily long.

Score: 89 - 92 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Tucked into the southern tip of the Margaux appellation in the commune of Labarde, home to Dauzac, Siran and Giscours, there are some increasingly interesting things happening here. This, for me, is one of the few Margaux that is clearly better than its 2015 counterpart. Planted to 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, they have introduced a second wine for the first time in 2016 and unveiled new cellars, both helping to focus on upping selection for the main wine. You get a full and frank attack of powerful black fruits, tannins with an astringency and life that is extremely promising, and acidity that absolutely accompanies and plays off the other components. There is a slatey minerality and salinity on the finish. A wine to watch under the direction of Laurent Fortin.

Score: 93 Decanter Maturity: 2025-2045

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