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2017 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac

Grapes Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Pauillac
Classification 5ème Cru Classé

68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Small berry fruits and bell pepper notes on the nose. The texture is smooth on entry. Good weight and depth. Tiny tannins and crisp acidity add to the structure. Notes of cassis, graphite and cedar but still quite reserved. Looks very promising. Rating: 90-91 L&S (Apr 2018)

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The 2017 d’Armailhac has an opulent bouquet despite this comprising one of the highest percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon ever, which Philippe Dhalluin attributes to the maturity of the berries. There is some lovely cassis and blueberry fruit here with a smear of vanilla. The palate is structured with fine tannin, here the Cabernets are much more expressive with a fine bead of acidity, an attractive pencil lead tincture coming through towards the finish. This is a more floral d’Armailhac that will drink well for the next decades. [Readers should note that my sample included 60% new oak although the final blend will be 40%.] Tasted three times with consistent notes. Drinking range: 2020 - 2035 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, 2018)

68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Very dark crimson with purple rim. Intense aroma of pure cassis and graphite, inviting mineral dustiness. Rich and full-fruited on the palate. Again, there's depth here as well as freshness. Chalky/chewy tannins on the finish but balanced by the fruit. Mouth-watering finish. Drinking range: 2025 - 2037 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, 2018)

A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2017 D'Armailhac is deep garnet-purple in color and very open on the nose with expressive notes of crushed black cherries, black raspberries and cassis with hints of baking spices, lavender and wood smoke. The palate is medium-bodied with a great core of vibrant red and black fruits, ripe, grainy tannins and superb freshness, finishing long and minerally. Rating: 90-92 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 2018)

The dry conditions in the summer hurt the Merlots in many areas, and consequently many wines have a higher level of Cabernet. Here, they have used the highest percentage in Armailhac since 2002. There's great energy to the pretty dark fruit; it's not fleshy but it has a lovely sense of direction with concentration and beautiful extraction. Fine tannins lend good grip through the palate. The drought rather than the frost impacted yields here, but only to 40hl/ha. Harvested 6-29 September. 40% new oak. All blends at Mouton completed by 1 December, the earliest ever. Drinking range: 2025 - 2038 Rating: 91 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2018)

The 2017 Château d'Armailhac is an undeniable success in the vintage. Based on a rough blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that will see 35% new French oak, this medium to full-bodied, textured, shockingly opulent 2017 offers of terrific notes of black cherries, blackberries, spice box, and earth. With its impressive depth and density, it should drink nicely in its youth yet also cruise in the cellar. Rating: 91-93 Jeb Dunnuck, 2018)

Opulent and powerful for d’Armailhac with blackcurrants, blackberries and black olives. Full-bodied, tannic and extremely muscular. Very well done indeed. Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, 2018)

Juicy and forward, with anise-tinged plum and cherry fruit backed by a light brambly structure. A lingering chalk echo adds length. This delivers nice latent depth. Rating: 90-93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2018)

Philippe Dhalluin and his team had no real problem with frost here, and were able to take advantage of what the warm growing season had to offer. The harvest kicked off very early, starting with the Merlot on September 6th, and finishing with the very last Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes, on September 29th. The blend was assembled in December, and it comprises 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. I find simply beautiful aromatic purity on the nose, the pure red cherry and raspberry fruits simply leaping from the glass, with a lightly dusty perfume of vanilla flowers, grilled grape pips and toast. The palate is fresh, cool, open and relaxed, with a gentle red cherry and dried cranberry fruit character on the palate, resting on a little underlying grip, and a very bright acid profile. Overall it is fresh, with a little chalky edge to the tannins, but a firm and velvety middle. An attractive wine Rating: 90-92 Chris Kissack, 2018)

Château d'Armailhac

Château d’Armailhac, which has had more names than it has needed over the years (having been Château d’Armailhacq, Château Mouton-d’Armailhacq, Château Mouton-Baron-Philippe, Château Mouton-Baronne-Philippe finally, Château d’Armailhac), was originally part of a larger Pauillac estate owned by the Marquis de Ségur. This was sold off in three lots, which became Château’s Pontet-Canet, d’Armailhac and Mouton-Rothschild. It came into common ownership with its famous neighbour to the north in 1933 when Baron Philippe de Rothschild bought the estate. There are 50ha under vine, which are planted to just under 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with roughly 20% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and a tiny amount of Petit Verdot. The wines spend around 16 months in barrique, about 30% new oak with rest being old barrels from Château Mouton Rothschild. The wines are, generally, softer than other wines from Pauillac or other wines in the Rothschild portfolio, but amongst the best value. The relatively high proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc make d’Armailhac a good bet in lesser vintages too.

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