Pessac-Léognan

Pessac Léognan was a decent afternoon's work this year. A region with predominantly gravel soils, the intense heat, and hugely variable rainfall required minute by minute evaluation in the vineyard. Guillaume Pouthier of Carmes Haut Brion (sensationally excellent) said it was a year of 'intense involvement' to make a wine that by all accounts has even surpassed their magnificent 2022.

Neighbouring Haut Brion - always the hardest to assess at such a young age here, stands very tall in 2023, as did the much-revamped Château Haut Bailly. Perhaps the highlight was Smith Haut Lafitte, basking in the glow of a recent visit by King Charles III and Queen Camilla, where Charles could see the benefits of the organic viticulture which he had advised owner Florence Cathiard to pursue over a polo match 20 years ago. It is a similar story at Domaine de Chevalier. A thoroughly energising afternoon's tasting and little to fault.


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2023 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 21/5/2024

The grand vin from Olivier Bernard, this is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, picked at 30 hl/ha. This takes 58% of the crop in this vintage. This is severalThe grand vin from Olivier Bernard, this is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, picked at 30 hl/ha. This takes 58% of the crop in this vintage. This is several aromatic steps up from the second wine and the other Bernard wines, with stunning aromatic expression and purity, very dark and floral, with violets, roses, white peach and verbena. This translates into a palate which is beautifully polished and correct, with great coherence and composition in the middle, verging on velvety here, with dark and sinewy fruits and a firm seams of fine-boned and powdered tannins running beneath it all, lending it all considerable grip. It has great length too. This is a beautiful Domaine de Chevalier which should develop very nicely in the cellar. Tasted three times. The alcohol is about 14% Rating: 94-96 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2024)

Magnums, wood case of 3

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75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU PAPE CLEMENT Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU PAPE CLEMENT Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 16/5/2024

The blend here is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, picked at a yield of 35 hl/ha. Less use of oak here now, more focus on cement tanks and eggs. TheThe blend here is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, picked at a yield of 35 hl/ha. Less use of oak here now, more focus on cement tanks and eggs. The fermentation was aided by inoculation using yeasts isolated from the Pape-Clément vineyard. This presents a rather classy nose, with delicately desiccated dark summer berries and finely polished oak, all wrapped in ribbons of toast and tobacco, with some floral rose and peony notes as well. The palate brings a sense of harmony into play, with a polished and sinewy body of dark summer berries, laced with tobacco, leather, toast and dark chocolate too, with a particularly fine, well-knit and rather powdery frame of tannins. These give it a good grip, which works well with the fine acidity of the vintage. This shows delicious potential, and is ahead of many of its Pessac-Léognan peers in this vintage, especially in the finesse of the structure. Tasted twice, including at the château, with the same findings on each occasion. The alcohol is 13.4% Rating: 93-95 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU DE FIEUZAL Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU DE FIEUZAL Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 14/5/2024

Vibrant plum in colour, with juice, density and grip, another sign of how they are evolving the structure and architecture of this wine, giving it nuance without sacrificing the complexity. CocoaVibrant plum in colour, with juice, density and grip, another sign of how they are evolving the structure and architecture of this wine, giving it nuance without sacrificing the complexity. Cocoa bean, sweet berry, fruits, this is delicious. Drinking range: 2027 - 2028 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, www.janeanson.com (May 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 LA CHAPELLE DE LA MISSION Pessac-Léognan

2023 LA CHAPELLE DE LA MISSION Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 14/5/2024

Deep ruby colour, makes an immediate impression with its elegant, uplifted tannic grip delivering careful construction of red roses, blueberry and black cherry fruit, grilled spices and understatedDeep ruby colour, makes an immediate impression with its elegant, uplifted tannic grip delivering careful construction of red roses, blueberry and black cherry fruit, grilled spices and understated energy. Will need a good few years in bottle before fully softening, but full of joy. Drinking range: 2029 - 2040 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, www.janeanson.com (May 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU LA MISSION HAUT BRION Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU LA MISSION HAUT BRION Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 14/5/2024

The classy mouth-feel and length to this is really gorgeous, and it seduces you with its texture of fine silk and finesse. Lasts for a long, long time. Medium body with medium, creamy and roundThe classy mouth-feel and length to this is really gorgeous, and it seduces you with its texture of fine silk and finesse. Lasts for a long, long time. Medium body with medium, creamy and round tannins and a layered, textured finish. Shows blackcurrants, lead pencil and crushed stone at the end. 52.7% merlot, 29.6% cabernet sauvignon and 17.7% cabernet franc. Rating: 97-98 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 LE CLARENCE DE HAUT BRION Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Brion

2023 LE CLARENCE DE HAUT BRION Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Brion

Release date: 14/5/2024

The 2023 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a heady wine. Here, the tannins are especially polished, almost uncharacteristically so, even through they are very much present. Black cherry, plum, chocolate,The 2023 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion is a heady wine. Here, the tannins are especially polished, almost uncharacteristically so, even through they are very much present. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, new leather and gravel build effortlessly in the glass. Bright acids punctuate the finish. The 2023 is a showy Clarence with tons of character. Drinking range: 2026 - 2045 Rating: 91-93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU HAUT BRION 1er Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU HAUT BRION 1er Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 14/5/2024

The 2023 Haut-Brion is superb. Silky, soft tannins enshroud a core of black fruit, gravel, chocolate, cloves and licorice, building into a potent, sumptuous, dazzling wine. Exotic and racy, withThe 2023 Haut-Brion is superb. Silky, soft tannins enshroud a core of black fruit, gravel, chocolate, cloves and licorice, building into a potent, sumptuous, dazzling wine. Exotic and racy, with remarkable polish, this has a ton of potential. It’s an especially sensual, seamless Haut-Brion. All the 2023 needs is time—probably quite a bit of it, especially for readers who want a full-on Haut-Brion experience. Drinking range: 2033 - 2083 Rating: 95-97 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU MALARTIC LAGRAVIÈRE Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU MALARTIC LAGRAVIÈRE Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Release date: 7/5/2024

Very pretty and polished with blackberry, blueberry and ink character, as well as a hint of hazelnut. It’s medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins to the fruit. Fine and flavorful finish.Very pretty and polished with blackberry, blueberry and ink character, as well as a hint of hazelnut. It’s medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins to the fruit. Fine and flavorful finish. Rating: 95-96 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU HAUT BAILLY Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Bailly

2023 CHÂTEAU HAUT BAILLY Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Bailly

The 2023 Haut-Bailly is one of the most sensual, elegant wines I have tasted here. Soft, curvy and racy, the 2023 is impeccably balanced right out of the gate. Deceptively approachable and soft, theThe 2023 Haut-Bailly is one of the most sensual, elegant wines I have tasted here. Soft, curvy and racy, the 2023 is impeccably balanced right out of the gate. Deceptively approachable and soft, the 2023 is much more about finesse than power. It’s a wine that represents the new spirit of Bordeaux—a wine that emphasizes understatement and class. Drinking range: 2033 - 2063 Rating: 94-96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU LATOUR MARTILLAC Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU LATOUR MARTILLAC Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

The blackberry and blueberry character comes through clearly here, alongside a hint of stone. Medium-bodied with creamy and polished tannins and a savory finish. Very typical for the appellation.The blackberry and blueberry character comes through clearly here, alongside a hint of stone. Medium-bodied with creamy and polished tannins and a savory finish. Very typical for the appellation. Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU LE THIL Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU LE THIL Pessac-Léognan

The proportion of Cabernet Franc in the blend is now up to the heady heights of 8% here, with 92% Merlot, with more new plantings of Cabernet Franc coming online in future years. A wonderfullyThe proportion of Cabernet Franc in the blend is now up to the heady heights of 8% here, with 92% Merlot, with more new plantings of Cabernet Franc coming online in future years. A wonderfully perfumed nose, with dried blackberry, plum, currant and dark chocolate. The palate is just lovely, with a broad and lightly velvety substance, medium-bodied, with dark fruits, underpinned by a peppery energy. Great fruit combined with the restrained and sinewy texture of the vintage here, plenty of energy, a sappy drive and a peppery finish; I can see this developing well. The alcohol is about 14% here. Rating: 90-92 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, case of 6

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2023 CHÂTEAU LES CARMES HAUT BRION Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU LES CARMES HAUT BRION Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

The 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is increasingly a wine of seamlessness. Whereas the various components were once easily discernible, today Carmes is most often a wine of total beauty. The 2023 is aThe 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is increasingly a wine of seamlessness. Whereas the various components were once easily discernible, today Carmes is most often a wine of total beauty. The 2023 is a bit shy, especially in its aromatics. In other words, a pretty big departure from so many other recent vintages that have been far showier at this stage. Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier explains that he plans to give the 2023 longer aging, around 24-26 months, so he approached vinification and the early part of aging in a more reductive style than in the past. As always, Les Carmes is marked by its strong presence of Cabernet Franc and use of whole clusters, but as mentioned above, those signatures are less immediately evident than they once were. Les Carmes has been one of Bordeaux's stars over the last few years. I can't wait to see how the 2023 turns out. Drinking range: 2035 - 2073 Rating: 94-96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2024)

Double Magnum, wood case of 1

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Magnums, wood case of 3

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75cl bottles, wood case of 3

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2023 CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

2023 CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

The 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is a brilliant wine, revealing a complex, elegantly oaky bouquet of dark wild berries, mulberries, blueberries, flowers and spices. Medium to full-bodied, seamless andThe 2023 Smith Haut Lafitte is a brilliant wine, revealing a complex, elegantly oaky bouquet of dark wild berries, mulberries, blueberries, flowers and spices. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and rich, it has a fleshy core of fruit with good concentration and refined, structured tannins that segues into a long, penetrating and mineral finish. Crafted with an unprecedented majority of Cabernet Sauvignon—due to mildew affecting the Merlot—this Smith Haut Lafitte highlights a distinctly Cabernet-driven texture that authentically reflects its terroir despite a slightly more structured character. This blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, matured in 60% new oak barrels, represents one-third of the entire crop. Drinking range: 2025 - 2050 Rating: 94-96 Yohan Castaing, www.robertparker.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

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2023 LE PETIT SMITH HAUT LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan

2023 LE PETIT SMITH HAUT LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan

This has a big structure of polished tannins that are energetic and punchy. Medium to full body with beautiful blackcurrants, as well as dark tobacco and wet earth. Chewy at the end, but a pointedThis has a big structure of polished tannins that are energetic and punchy. Medium to full body with beautiful blackcurrants, as well as dark tobacco and wet earth. Chewy at the end, but a pointed and focused finish. More structured than 2022. 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot. From organically grown grapes. Rating: 94-95 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2024)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond