En Primeur Bordeaux 2016

Sauternes - The wines with tasting notes


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[Add to shopping basket] Carmes de Rieussec (2nd wine of Rieussec) Sauternes/Barsac £170 - - - - - - -
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[Add to shopping basket] Climens Sauternes/Barsac £560 - 95-97 - - 18 - 93-96
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The 2016 Climens was tasted from the 12 different lots that will go into the Grand Vin, with some selected from the Deuxième Vin, Cyprès de Climens. As usual, I had to assemble them in my mind and relate commonalities, though at a négoçiant a week later I re-tasted four preprepared micro-blends. I found much elegance this year. It is not a powerful Climens in the making and even with the higher alcohol lots that reached 14.9%, you could not feel any warmth and the wines maintained the tension. Some lots displayed saline finishes, perhaps a little more than usual. Perhaps the most important factor was just how "Barsac" they all tasted. Sometimes some lots can taste more Sauternes-like in style, but not this year.

Score: 95 - 97 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2021-2055

Climens is usually blended over a prolonged period of at least a year with various lots assembled painstakingly along the way. Until 2017 this has meant that tasters have to visit the chai and schedule a good hour for the barrel-by-barrel process (see What may go into Climens 2015). This year Mathieu Chadronnier of CVBG persuaded Bérénice Lurton of Climens to provide samples of the four main ingredients in Climens 2016 for their tasting at Ch Belgrave in the Médoc, thereby putting it on the itinerary for far more tasters. A much-appreciated initiative. Sample from northern parcels (picked 30 Sep and 18 Oct, 14.1% alcohol, RS 120 g/l, 16% of the crop): Liquorice and rich and round and exciting. Thick and round. Sample from the eastern parcels (picked 29 Sep and 3, 4 Oct, 14.2% alcohol, RS 131 g/l, 27% of the crop): Toasty, deep and edgy with a green streak. From the western parcels (picked 28 Sep, 4, 8 Oct, 14.4% alcohol, RS 129 g/l, 14% of the crop): A bit loose and sweet with bracing acid. Big and bold, with a firm end. From the southern plots (picked 6, 19, 20, 22 Oct, 14.2% alcohol, RS 141 g/l, 43% of the crop): Friendly, round, fresh and floral, gorgeous. Bright fruit. 18+

Score: 18 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2048

I tasted the 2016 Climens from four separate lots identified by location, harvest dates, alcohol, residual sugar and the percentage each lot represents of the harvest. The four wines were remarkably different. The Nord was both plush and tropical-leaning, yet with notable freshness, while the Sud managed to be both deep and also light on its feet. I found the Ouest to be the most precise and aromatically lifted of the samples, while the Est was the most concentrated. A simple, impromptu blend of the four lots suggests the 2016 Climens is shaping up to be a magnificent Barsac. The interplay of the various components is quite remarkable.

Score: 93 - 96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Coutet Sauternes/Barsac £318 - 91-93 - 94-95 16-17 92-95 89-92
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The 2016 Coutet has an intriguing bouquet, more exotic than I have noticed in the past, scents of tangerine and dried pineapple, not quite the mineral drive that I expect from Coutet. The palate is serviced back to normal: a very fine line of acidity, great delineation, taut and focused with a brisk and precise finish. I just hope that the aromatics get their house in order during the barrel maturation so that it matches the palate. At the moment, I will be prudent with my score.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2021-2045

Oily and dense with lots of sliced-cooked-pineapple, honey and light spice character. Full body and a long and spicy finish. Lasts a long time on the palate.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

RS 153 g/l, TA 3.8 g/l. Correct but somewhat restrained nose, particularly in comparison with Clos Haut-Peyraguey. Just a little dull. Not the juiciest. Not the sweetest. Very youthful. 13.7%. 16.5+

Score: 16 - 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2040

Plump, with a mouthful of tangerine, peach and clementine notes laced with a ginger thread. A twinge of bitter orange adds cut on the finish.

Score: 92 - 95 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2016 Coutet is bold, immediate and delicious. Ripe pear, tangerine, spice, mint and dried flowers build into the soft, caressing finish. This is an especially discreet, understated style with less overt sweetness than is found in many other wines.

Score: 89 - 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Doisy Daene Sauternes/Barsac £315 - 95-97 - 94-95 17 92-95 91-94
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The 2016 Doisy Daene has a generous bouquet with lovely scents of yellow flower and peach infusing the honeyed aromas. The palate is fresh on the entry with tangy orange peel and peachy notes, very harmonious and viscous in texture, leading to a detailed and persistent finish that is one of the most delicious I can remember from this Barsac estate. This wine will always be tinged with sadness, since it coincides with the passing of Denis Dubourdieu. But his legacy will live on in his wines, including this one, which is magnificent.

Score: 95 - 97 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2021-2060

This is very serious with lots of spicy, botrytis character and a deep and dense palate. Full-bodied, very sweet and long on the finish.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Serious stuff. Very precise. Racy edge that reminds me of something medical - a refreshing pine disinfectant? Lots of energy. Valérie Lavigne has taking an interest in this for some time. A worthy memento of the late Denis Dubordieu.

Score: 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2037

This has a wide range of white peach, yellow apple and green fig flavors that show good zip and brightness for the vintage, with a long honeysuckle note lifting the finish.

Score: 92 - 95 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2016 Doisy-Daëne is all subtlety and finesse. White flowers, mint, orchard fruit, lemon confit and a kiss of new French oak add to an impression of elegance. Beautifully layered and open-knit, the 2016 exudes class from start to finish. The mid-weight structure and sense of freshness are incredibly appealing. I can't think of too many other Sauternes I would rather reach for than Doisy-Daëne.

Score: 91 - 94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

[Add to shopping basket] Doisy Vedrines Sauternes/Barsac £285 - 91-93 - 91-92 16-17 92-95 90-93
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The 2016 Doisy-Vedrines was tasted on three occasions. The first, the sample seemed a little subdued, although two further encounters attest to a fine Barsac. The aromatics do not quite convey the sophistication of the Doisy-Daene, yet there is purity here, attractive dried honey and quince-like aromas, perhaps with the flair of the 2015 last year. The palate is well balanced and more refined than the Doisy-Vedrines of the past, a trend I have noticed in recent vintages. It gains plenty of weight towards the finish, delivering enticing honey, tangerine and light apricot notes with satisfying persistence. Good potential here.

Score: 91 - 93 Neal Martin, robertparker.com Maturity: 2020-2040

Tangy and fruity with a honey and lemon-rind character. Lots of orange peel, too. Medium to full body and a sweet finish.

Score: 91 - 92 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

RS 141 g/l, TA 4.1 g/l. Blossomy nose. Open and broad with lots of charm even if not that much subtlety. Medium weight. Easy to like. Straightforward. 13.84%. 16.5

Score: 16 - 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2021-2034

This has good energy for the vintage, with a range of tangerine, clementine, peach and pineapple flavors showing nice definition through the finish.

Score: 92 - 95 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The 2016 Doisy-Védrines is precise, understated and gracious. Candied orange peel, crème brulee, wild flowers, passion fruit and tangerine are all delineated nicely. The 2016 is deep and resonant on the palate, yet it also retains quite a bit of brightness. Readers who prefer the more understated side of Sauternes will find much to admire.

Score: 90 - 93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinousmedia.com

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