En Primeur Bordeaux 2016

The wines with tasting notes

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[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Clarence Haut Brion (2nd wine of Haut Brion) Graves Unreleased - - 91-93 94-95 17 - -
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More brooding on the nose than Chapelle, intense darker fruit. Blackberry, damsons and stones with complex flavours and sweetness but not too much. Quite measured with strict tannins finishing dry.

Score: 91 - 93 Albany Vintners

This is powerful and intense with lots of minerals, crushed stones and dark fruit. Dense and linear. Minerally and very energetic.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Dark crimson. Intense nose that's very Haut-Brion. Fine, restrained and just a bit low key. But very classy fruit and oak. Would give a lot of pleasure quite young.

Score: 17 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2023-2038

As with La Mission Haut-Brion and La Chapelle, there is a beautiful signature here running from grand vin to second wine, a clear indication of quality. This is a little more intense than La Chapelle, which was pretty and floral, showing a firmer side with cassis and blackberry. A gorgeous, confident wine. It's very hard to think of a vintage where things are so well constructed and yet so soft. Clarence de Haut-Brion represents 31% of production, from a blend of 51.3% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.1% Cabernet Franc and 2.6% Petit Verdot aged in 33% new oak.

Score: 94 Decanter Maturity: 2023-2040

[Add to wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Clarte de Haut Brion Dry Whites Unreleased - - 91-94 93-94 - - -
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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

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 wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Clerc Milon Pauillac Unreleased - - 94-96 94-95 17-18 93-96 -
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55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Carmenere. Exciting polished blue and black fruits, crème de cassis and spices. Intense, long and mineral with high toned fruits in the middle and bright acidity. A great Clerc Milon.

Score: 94 - 96 Albany Vintners

Refined and ultra-fine with a linear and polished character. Full-bodied, yet tight and racy. A classy and sophisticated young wine.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Real aromatic lift. Calm, collected, lovely 'minerality'. Completely pure. Fully ripe but not a trace of sweetness. So cool! (17.5+)

Score: 17 - 18 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2043

Very fresh in feel, with bright cassis and cherry fruit racing along an iron edge. Shows a good sleek feel through the finish and a light tug of earth at the very end. A vivacious and delicious wine in the making.

Score: 93 - 96 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

An estate that has been making great leaps forward over recent years, and once again we have a gorgeous Clerc on our hands. This is extremely succulent, with aromatic complexity and a freshness that just bursts out of the glass. Things start off closed for the first minute or so, then the juice comes rushing through. The mid-palate is smooth and polished but also bursting with energy. This is quite clearly one of their best ever wines, ripped through with sweet cherry and wild blackberry fruit, tightened up by slate and cedar. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (some of the oldest plantings of this grape in Bordeaux).

Score: 96 Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050

[Add to shopping basket] Climens Sauternes/Barsac £56 - - - - 18 - 93-96
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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 wish list] [Add to pre-order list] Clinet Pomerol Unreleased - - 95-97 94-95 16 94-97 -
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90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovely quality of fresh forest fruits, quite complex with floral and spicy notes also. Creamy and full in the mouth, quite voluptuous with high but fine grained tannins leading to the long finish.

Score: 95 - 97 Albany Vintners

The linear character to this is so impressive with beautiful blackberries and blueberries. Crushed stones and minerals. Medium to full body. Very pretty.

Score: 94 - 95 James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com

Blackish crimson. Headily sweet and gamey on the nose with dark, purple-fruit aromas and then this sample went dead on me on the palate. Sucked out the saliva. Very drying end. Awkward, stodgy finish. Not for me. Unripe phenolics.

Score: 16 Jancis Robinson MW, Jancisrobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2036

Dark in profile, with plum, blackberry and black currant fruit melded together, while wood spice and bramble hints run along the edges. Plenty of depth and length here, with lively tobacco and tar notes on the finish. This fleshes out with air too. Impressive, in the richer style.

Score: 94 - 97 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

The colour on this is deep and inky and a blast of cassis and black cherry fruit greets you on the nose. It has undeniable oak impact, but also a lovely lift that carries right through the palate, and that incredible Clinet precision. A fantastic 2016, not as exuberant as 2015 but showing the quality of the vintage where even the big-shouldered wines have a stunning lift, and a feeling of an invisible gossamer curtain holding them in place. Not a hedonist's vintage like 2009 or 2015, but cerebral in the style of 2001 and 2010. Strong coffee and grilled caramel on the finish.

Score: 97 Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050

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