En Primeur Bordeaux 2021

Pauillac - The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to shopping basket] Armailhac Pauillac £195 6x75cl 90-92 92-93 91-93 92 88-90 90-92
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The 2021 d'Armailhac is elegant and lithe in feel. Bright floral and savory notes lend freshness throughout a core of red berry fruit. In this tasting, Armailhac comes across as a bit vegetal, with slightly angular contours that hopefully will resolve with élevage. This is the first vintage made in the château's new cellar.

Score: 88 - 90 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2041

A firm and linear young red with currant and graphite character. Medium body. Fresh finish. Crunchy acidity. 63% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot, 13% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot.

Score: 92 - 93 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Reminiscent of a modern-day version of this estate's delicious 1999, the 2021 d'Armailhac is a terrific wine bursting with aromas of wild berries, cherries, exotic spices and rose petals. Medium to full-bodied, supple and seamless, it's fleshy and enveloping, with melting tannins and an ample core of sweet, succulent fruit. This is a pleasure-bent wine that will offer a broad drinking window.

Score: 91 - 93 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

First year with the new cellar at Armailhac, and a new technical director, as Lucie Lauilhé has replaced Jean-Paul Paultert, with Paultert retiring after 29 years in the post (Lauilhé was only present for harvest and blending, 2022 will be her first full year). There are big plans for this property, but in 2021 it is playing things a little safe, with juicy balance, delicate tannins, plenty of grip and precision to the raspberry and blackberry fruits, but a little soft on the finish. There is due to be a 2nd wine in the future, which will help with concentration, but the signature of 2021 is evident here. A little more Cabernet Franc, after poor fruit set with the Melrot. 3.73ph. 50% new oak, 60IPT. Tasted twice.

Score: 92 Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com

The 2021 d'Armailhac, aged in 50% new oak, is the first vintage to be vinified in the new winery, which was completed a month before the harvest. It has quite a strict bouquet, tight and focused, with broody dark berry fruit, pencil box and tar, quite classic in style. The palate is harmonious and smooth with fine tannins, just the right amount of acidity and a sapid finish that lingers in the mouth. Residual graphite notes linger after the wine has exited. Very fine. (13.0% alcohol)

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2025-2045

A blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, the 2021 Château D'Armailhac is a ripe, supple, very pure expression of the château, offering pretty cassis and black raspberry fruit as well as medium-bodied richness, wonderfully integrated oak, ripe tannins, hints of violets and spice, terrific balance, and just a seamless, pure, elegant style that shines in the vintage.

Score: 90 - 92 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Fragrant nose with brambly fruit and floral notes. Fresh, fruity and sapid on the palate with grainy tannin in behind. Lacks intensity but zest and energy to compensate. More for the medium than long term.

Score: 16 James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2035

[Add to shopping basket] Batailley Pauillac £165 6x75cl 92-94 93-94 90-92 92 - 88-90
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Subtle aromas of currants and fresh flowers with some tar and graphite. Medium-bodied with firm tannins and bright acidity. Very typical and bright for Pauillac. Linear and fine. Solid and tight. Well age nicely.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2021 Batailley shows promise, exhibiting aromas of cassis, plums, licorice, cigar wrapper, loamy soil and dark chocolate, followed by a medium to full-bodied, layered and charming palate built around ripe, powdery tannins. Supple and giving, it will offer a broad drinking window.

Score: 90 - 92 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Stands out in the appellation, with density through the mid palate, and Pauillac signature coming through in the pencil lead, graphite and cassis notes. This is a good quality wine with a touch of blackcurrant bud and earth reflecting the cooler temperatures of the year, but plenty of depth and ageing potential. Tasted twice.

Score: 92 Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com

The 2021 Batailley was picked September 30 to October 15 and matured in 55–60% new oak. It has a well-defined, focused bouquet, a quintessential Pauillac nose of black fruit infused with cedar and mint. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of black pepper on the entry and delivers good depth and fine grip. This is a Batailley with commendable stuffing for the vintage and it fans out with gusto on the finish. It might not be the best Pauillac in 2021, yet I bet you won’t find better value for money, notwithstanding its underestimated propensity to age.

Score: 92 - 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2050

The ruby/plum-hued 2021 Château Batailley has classic, almost old school notes of leather, red and black fruits, tobacco, and dried herbs. This carries to a medium-bodied, firm, focused, yet balanced, attractive Pauillac that should round into form nicely over the course of its élevage. It's not one of the standouts in the vintage, yet I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see it end up being an outstanding wine, and it has lots of character.

Score: 88 - 90 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Cask sample. Fresh and simple aromatically; dark and red fruit with a slight herbaceous note. Supple and loose-limbed on the palate with light but fine tannins. Lacks a bit of clout but attractive fruit and everything in balance.

Score: 16 James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2027-2036

[Add to waiting list] Carruades de Lafite (2nd wine of Ch Lafite) Pauillac £990 6x75cl Sold Out - - - - - -
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[Add to shopping basket] Clerc Milon Pauillac £342 6x75cl Low Stock 90-92 93-94 92-94 92 92-94 90-93
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The 2021 Clerc Milon is gorgeous. Beams of tannin lend energy and direction to an alluring Clerc Milon that marries fruit density with a classic sense of structure that is quite appealing.

Score: 92 - 94 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2029-2041

Polished and well-structured red with a medium body and firm but creamy and broad tannins. Perfumed already, with sandalwood, blackberry and currant character. Crushed stones. Tea leaves, too. Firm and solid to the end. Very solid for the vintage. 59% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 1.5% carmenere and 1.5% petit verdot.

Score: 93 - 94 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

The 2021 Clerc Milon is a success, bursting with aromas of blackberries, cassis and plums mingled with violets, tobacco leaf and nicely integrated new oak. Medium to full-bodied, layered and seamless, it's deep, fleshy and complete, with a rich core of succulent fruit, beautifully polished tannins and a long, sapid finish, it's a compelling, characterful wine that transcends the vintage.

Score: 92 - 94 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Sappy, concentrated, powerful, this is a wine that has a lot of power naturally and in a vintage like 2021 (and with higher Cabernet Franc and higher Carmanère than the past few years), it runs the risk of being austere. Certainly you feel a sterner character than over the past few years, but there is flexibility in the tannins, and well-worked blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Will benefit from fattening up through the mid palate over ageing, because all the elements are here. 55% new oak. 57IPT. 3.73ph. Caroline Artaud technical director as of this vintage. Strong candidate for upscore in bottle.

Score: 92 Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com

The 2021 Clerc Milon, aged in 55% new oak, contains a little more Cabernet Franc than usual. It has a slightly savory nose displaying moderate vigor and black fruit infused with touches of brown spice. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, and quite broad and fleshy. The plush finish makes me think this will drink well in its youth. Fine, though I lean toward the d'Armailhac this year. 13% alcohol)

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2027-2039

The 2021 Château Clerc Milon is based on 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Carmenère and Petit Verdot. It has more pure cassis and graphite as well as medium bodied richness, ripe, polished tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and a great finish.

Score: 90 - 93 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

More restrained aromatically than some this year. Dark fruit and savoury nuance. Palate solid and firm with plenty of freshness. Tannins present but well rounded, tightening on the finish to give some persistence. Pleasantly dry finish. Pauillac muscle but in a low-key form.

Score: 16.5 James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2028-2040

[Add to shopping basket] Duhart Milon Pauillac £336 6x75cl 90-92 94-95 91-93 93 90-92 90-92
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The 2021 Duhart-Milon is a potent, brooding wine. Dark fruit, herbs, licorice and incense fill out the layers nicely. The oak still needs time to come together, but that is what élevage is for. The 2021 is a serious Duhart. Whether or not it will acquire a bit more charm remains an open question.

Score: 90 - 92 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2028-2041

This is a really pretty Duhart and fans out nicely on the palate with medium soft tannins that are polished. Gorgeous young wine. 81% cabernet sauvignon and 19% merlot.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com

Incorporating fully 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2021 Duhart-Milon unwinds in the glass with aromas of sweet berries, cigar wrapper and pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied, lively and persuasively concentrated, with beautifully refined tannins and a long, penetrating finish, it's a classy, serious wine that reflects all the progress this estate has been making over the last decade. Duhart-Milon's vineyards are later-maturing than Lafite's, and the soils are less inherently balanced: the clay-rich parts of the vineyard are richer in clay than at Lafite, and the gravel-rich parts of the vineyard are richer in gravel—whereas Lafite's predominantly gravel soils sometimes contain more than 10% clay. That explains why Duhart-Milon historically often produced leaner wines than Lafite, with less mid-palate amplitude; but a warming climate and more attention to viticultural detail (sowing cover crops, for example, in clay-rich parts of the vineyard) are mitigating these disadvantages, and recent vintages have seen this estate attain new qualitative heights. As at all the Domaines Barons de Rothschild properties, winemaking and élevage are very classical, with regular rackings and the majority of the barriques derived from the in-house cooperage (emphasizing lightly toasted Allier and Nevers oak seasoned for 24 months), and as at Lafite, Cabernet is very much in the ascendant here, something that the 2021 vintage has only amplified.

Score: 91 - 93 William Kelley, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com

Precise and finessed black fruits here right from the first moments, this is high Cabernet Sauvignon, lovely black savoury fruits that suit the slighly serious feel of Duhart. Expect precision, strict tannins, straight lines, plenty of freshness but without the rusticity that you could find in older Duharts. About 15% press wine after careful extraction and a short maceration. A little more old school Duhart than we have seen over the past few years, but thoroughly enjoyable. 1st year organic conversion, 30hl/h yields.

Score: 93 Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com

The 2021 Duhart-Milon, which is aged in 50% new oak, has a clean, precise bouquet of mineral-driven black fruit and touches of pencil lead and cedar. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh and focused, with sappy black fruit and fine depth. This is a typically classically styled Duhart-Milon, though it does not quite have the persistence to rank as a top-rank vintage. But it will appeal to those who appreciate old-school Pauillac.

Score: 90 - 92 Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2045

A solid step up, the 2021 Château Duhart-Milon has terrific cassis, graphite, and tobacco notes in a medium-bodied, elegant style. I like its tannins, and it has good mid-palate depth as well as the fresher, almost crunchy style of the vintage.

Score: 90 - 92 Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Last time there was this much Cabernet was 2000 (but that was another vintage altogether…). Crimson hue but lighter at the rim. Pencil shavings and cassis notes. Upright and linear with a certain amount of drive but a little light in heft and structure. Could improve if it fills out in the bottle.

Score: 16 James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2036

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