At the announcement, some 190 wines were available to taste, and below are the notes of the wines I tasted during a couple of hours at the session.
Themes across the piece included plenty of new oak flying around, sweet ripe fruit erring to lush fruit on occasion, supple, ripe tannins with nothing hard or edgy. From the list of blends, there seems to be plenty of petit verdot being used in this vintage.
Tasting notes, London, September 21, 2011.
Château Bessan Ségur, 2009, Médoc
50% cabernet sauvignon, 48% merlot, 2% cabernet franc
Sweet new oak amid bright red fruits. Smooth and sweet berry fruit, with a high kick of spice.
Château Blaignan, 2009, Médoc
60% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon
Gently spiced and toasted forest berries, quite lush medium body in nicely proportioned wine, which has some muscle. Good.
Château Chantemerle, 2009, Médoc
60% cabernet sauvignon, 35% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc
Spiced blackcurrants and cream on the nose, smooth, charming and gentle oak support; elegant proportions, and nicely balanced. Good.
Château les Grands Chênes, 2009, Médoc
55% merlot, 42% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc
Toasty and faintly oily whiff (not negative) on the nose, followed by rich, sweet fruit. Quite fat and broad in style, so lacks a bit of backbone for me. Lush, round, supple, very ripe style.
Château Greysac, 2009, Médoc
58% merlot, 38% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot
Spiced blackcurrant on the nose, smooth, fine-grained texture with sweet-ripe black fruits and faint cinnamon spice. A little more than medium bodied in a very nicely balanced wine that feels quite classic. Good.
Château Haut Barrail, 2009, Médoc
70% cabernet sauvignon 25% merlot 5%malbec
Bit of raw new oak on the nose in an ambitious wine, that may be also a bit rustic, still with sweet berry fruits in a clearly ripe and ready vintage.
Château Livran, 2009, Médoc
merlot, cabernet sauvignon
Deep black fruited nose, blackcurrant and vanilla-spiced cream palate in nicely proportioned wine, quite harmonious feel to this wine. Good.
Château Loudenne, 2009, Médoc
55% merlot – 40% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 1% malbec
Youthful, fine grained new oak tannins beginning to soften into sweet blackcurrant fruits in a wine of some attractive refined profile. Good.
Château Les Ormes Sorbet, 2009, Médoc
65 % cabernet sauvignon, 30 % merlot, 5 % petit verdot
Piquant vanilla spice on nose, with rustic, youthfully-grained tannins. Heading towards a fuller body of red-focused berry fruits, in nicely balanced wine. Good.
Château Patache d’Aux, 2009, Médoc
60 % cabernet sauvignon, 30 % merlot, 7 % cabernet franc, 3% petit verdot
Nose a bit subdued, then palate quite big, rustic and toasty. Plenty of sweet red berry fruit which should settle in.
Château Preuillac, 2009, Médoc
67% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc
Warmly aromatic nose of perfumed summer berries. Dark berries emerge on palate in smooth, youthfully crunchy texture. Nicely balanced and proportioned. Good density and intensity of dark berry and currant fruit. Good.
Château Rollan de By, 2009, Médoc
70% merlot, 20 % cabernet sauvignon et cabernet franc, 10% petit verdot
Spiced bramble bushes and blackcurrant, amid new oak spiciness and toastiness. Fresh structure to the medium body in a sweet-fruited whole.
Château Saint Christoly, 2009, Médoc
55 % merlot, 45 % cabernet sauvignon
Less interesting than I might have hoped.
Château Tour Prignac, 2009, Médoc
57% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon, 2% malbec, 1% cabernet franc
Gentle spice and supple, not quite sweet tannins, erring to purple fruit. Smooth texture with some intrigue, good density of sweet fruit. Good.
Château Vieux Robin, 2009, Médoc
55% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 3% cabernet franc 2% petit verdot
Bright cherry fruits, but not much else here of interest for me.
Château d’Agassac, 2009, Haut-Médoc
52% cabernet sauvignon, 48% merlot
Sweet bramble fruit in very smoothly textured palate of blackcurrant, nutmeg infused cream. Elegant and attractive. Good length.
Château Barreyres, 2009, Haut-Médoc
55% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon
Crunchy red fruit spectrum. Palate a bit subdued and less interesting than I might have hoped for.
Château Bibian, 2009, Haut-Médoc
60% merlot 40% cabernet sauvignon
Sweet blackcurrant cream nose and palate. Smooth with integrating splurge of new oak softening in. Heading towards a fuller body with sweet balance and freshness. Good.
Château Caronne Ste Gemme, 2009, Haut-Médoc
60% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot 3% petit verdot
Smoky red fruited nose, textured new oak streak to the core, plentiful sweet ripe tannin. Moving up a gear to bigger, more concentrated wine than those tasted thus far. Rich density of fruit in youthful profile.
Château Cissac, 2009, Haut-Médoc
67% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, 8% petit verdot
Darkly smoky nose, dark, black fruits on the palate, smooth and finely grained.
Château Devise d’Ardilley, 2009, Haut-Médoc
50 % cabernet sauvignon, 45 % merlot, 5 % petit verdot
Red fruits nose, sweet and fully textured. Fully lush and round, richly fruited, with decent length. Good.
Château Larose-Trintaudon, 2009, Haut-Médoc
60% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot
Smoky red aromas, smooth and finely structured. Elegant with some nice class and a bit of sophistication appearing here.
Château la Lauzette-Declercq, 2009, Haut-Médoc
cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc
Full and rustic-crunchy.
Château Liversan, 2009, Haut-Médoc
50 % cabernet sauvignon, 40 % merlot, 5 % cabernet franc, 5% petit verdot
Gently roasted forest berries, smooth attack, quite lush and sweet, rounded and full bodied. Definite high fruit-sweetness factor here, and lacks a bit of backbone, and tone round the middle, for me at this stage.
Château Paloumey, 2009, Haut-Médoc
55% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 40% merlot
Spiced sandalwood, a hint raw still at this stage. Medium weight, has lift and definition, needs to mellow a little more. Less succulent that some.
Château Puy Castéra, 2009, Haut-Médoc
50 % cabernet-sauvignon, 35% merlot, 14% cabernet-franc, 1% petit-verdot
Smoked berries, mid palate a little loose and lacking structure.
Château de Sainte-Gemme, 2009, Haut-Médoc
50% cabernet sauvignon, 50% merlot
Smoky black fruit, smooth textured attack of blackcurrant and loganberry, good sweetness and density in smooth profile, but lacks a little refinement.
Château de Villegeorge, 2009, Haut-Médoc
56% cabernet sauvignon, 44% merlot
Toasty and blackcurrant nose, full of roasted fruits and cinnamon, dark berries and black fruit. Smoothly textured, erring to full body in nicely balanced, rounded whole. Wholesom lush style, with some good length. Good.
Château Fonréaud, 2009, Listrac-Médoc
52% cabernet sauvignon, 45% merlot, 3% petit verdot
Spicy red fruits, lush and sweet fruit still with defining freshness, and depth of fruit. Nicely proportioned, with rich depth and level of seriousness.
Château Lestage, 2009, Listrac-Médoc
56% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petit verdot
Rustic nose, chewy palate. Aspirational rather than delivering, on this tasting, for me.
Château Vieux Moulin, 2009, Listrac-Médoc
65% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot
Toasted fruits and chewy oak. Sweet red fruit focus comes through on the mid palate, which will round out and soften in the tannin. Just a bit unintegrated now, though balance is not out of kilter.
Château d’Arsac, 2009, Margaux
67 % cabernet sauvignon, 33 % merlot
Smooth dark berry fruits, lush and with some sophistication here. A different class really, integrated with attractive concentration and future.
Château Deyrem Valentin, 2009, Margaux
50% merlot 48%, cabernet sauvignon, 2% petit verdot
Dark black fruits in crunchy tannin of fine grainy texture and firm backbone. Smooth textured, enticing, tasty. Very good.
Château Paveil de Luze, 2009, Margaux
70% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot
Red spicy stuff on the nose, full and toasted with integrity to mature nicely in bottle. Medium weight with elegant lifted fruit throughout profile. Good.
Château La Tour de Bessan, 2009, Margaux
60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 10% cabernet franc
Nose a bit closed. Palate fine grained with rich red berry fruits, elegantly structured, lovely depth of fruit and integrity. Nice.
Château la Fleur Peyrabon, 2009, Pauillac
67 % cabernet sauvignon, 26 % merlot, 7 % petit verdot
Big, crunchy, smoky nose, bit of rawness still on palate attack, plenty sweet fruit to subsume the oak in time.
Château Plantey, 2009, Pauillac
55% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon
Crunchy, black hints of dense oak in a big wine that should soften. Quite huge now, but not unbalanced.
Château Beau-Site, 2009, Saint-Estèphe
70% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot, 3% cabernet franc, 3% petit verdot
Muscley brambles on the nose, sweet and almost succulent black berry fruits on palate attack. Full and sweet, with fresh core. Serious, harmonious balance here. Nice wine with big concentration.
Château Le Crock, 2009, Saint-Estèphe
58% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 6% cabernet franc, 6% petit verdot
More in the red fruit spectrum. Lifted and upright, with fresh backbone and toned fruit flesh. Elegantly proportioned with readily ripe red fruits.
Château Lilian Ladouys, 2009, Saint-Estèphe
cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc
Crunchy toasted oak nose, sweet red fruits, smooth fruited profile, erring to full body, muscley in a smooth gentle way.