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Cabernet Franc right before 2013 harvest

2013 was the most challenging year in Bordeaux many vine-growers and winemakers have seen in the past three decades. Many red Bordeaux in 2013 are diluted and failed to achieve full sugar ripeness (fruit) and phenolic ripeness (tannin).

2013 started poor with wet spring, uneven and late flowering. January had 51mm more rain than usual, the soil was wet and delayed bud break. A large proportion of yield was lost due to the rain in flowering. Most vines had insufficient photosynthesis. Then they had the hottest July for over 60 years, sadly storm broke out at the end of July, with Pessac-Leognan affected the worst. After the hail and storm in August, the ripening was slow and difficult. The warm and wet climate in September means early harvest from 27th September, in fact 2 weeks before the ideal harvest date.

A total of 80 wines tasted blind and 6 First Growth or equivalent tasted non-blind on the 7th November, 2017.


Chateau Pontet-Canet 2013

The 2013 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. There is a good sense of juicy red fruit, plum and lighter body cassis. Good dose of new oak and toasty spices. 50% new oak, 35% Amphora, 15% 1 year old oak. Lovely balance and not over exaggerated in oak. Medium minor bodied with a gentle extraction, forward with an appealing balance. Short finish. Low yield at 15hl/ha. A better buy than the 2013 Pichon Baron trading at a higher price. (83/100)

Chateau Pichon Baron 2013

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot. Lighter bodied, juicy red plums and mixed berries. The oak seem to be exaggerated, sweet spices and smoke. Austere tannins with a lifted acidity. Pleasant but there is too much oak to cover up the unripe fruits. 70% new oak. (80/100)

Chateau Pedesclaux 2013

Sweet fruit with fair depth. Not excessively complex but well-balanced with an earthy and plumy finish. One of the best value producers in Pauillac. (80/100)

Chateau Lynch-Moussas 2013

Wet and diluted fruit with soggy damp tone. Dried herbs and vegetal scent. Almost unpalatable. (72/100)

Chateau Lynch-Bages 2013

The 2013 Lynch-Bages is a successful vintage consider the weather conditions and the relatively higher yield (31hl/ha) compared to the rest of the Bordeaux in 2013. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Sweeter oak and lovely depth, richer berries and mild bouquet. 75% new oak but doesn’t feel excessive at the moment, but time will tell. (82/100)

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 2013

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste once again offers good value in this vintage compared to other Chateaux in Pauillac. The 2013 Grand-Puy-Lacoste has a good rich fruit core and sweet asian spice, better ripeness than other producers in Pauillac. Good extraction and framework. Blackberries, dark fruits, graphite, and cedar. Good purity and energy. (85/100)

Chateau Grand-Puy-Ducasse 2013

Charming oak at first, but tannin seems to be over-extracted. Short finish. (80/100)

Chateau Duhart-Milon 2013

The 2013 Duhart-Milon shows a straightforward red fruit nose of red plum, mixed berries and touch of herbs. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. Lighter bodied with an appealing acidity and modest tannin extraction, easy to drink but There is an elementary Asian spice. Finish falls short. (83/100)

Chateau Croizet-Bages 2013

Vegetal and plumy aroma and meaty development. Light bodied with abrupt oak spices. (76/100)

Chateau Clerc Milon 2013

The 2013 Clerc Milon has a sexy oak sweetness, dark berries, cedar and asian spice. The yield is considerably lower than other vintages due to coulure, at 23hl/ha. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere. Pretty tobacco smoke with a slight astringent finish. (82/100)

Chateau Batailley 2013

Some vegetal tone overpowering the wine, autumn leaf, red plums. Average. (78/100)

Chateau D’Armailhac 2013

Sweet oak toast like 2013 Clerc Milon, but not as in-depth. Good ripeness for this vintage, refreshing acidity, medium minor bodied with a firm backbone. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. (81/100)

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2013

The 2013 Mouton Rothschild is one of the most elegant Mouton Rothschild in the 21st Century. It is not as flamboyant as usual but still has a great balance and harmony. Dark cherry, cassis, premium oak spices, and tobacco. The length is particularly good considering the vintage. Great effort in this weak vintage. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Note Mouton Rothschild has gradually increased the percentage of Cabernet Franc in their wine. (88/100)

Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2013

Lafite Rothschild generally doesn’t show well during en premier tasting, but they always improve and outperform most other First Growth Bordeaux once they are bottled. This 2013 Lafite Rothschild is no exception. It showed beautiful depth and finesse. Fine cassis, elegant fruit core with vanilla and clove spice, a sense of opulence. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot. Medium bodied, polished tannins and fresh bouquet. Superb length. (90/100)


Chateau Talbot 2013

The 2013 Chateau Talbot has a gentle extraction, light tannins with sweet oak toast, fair concentration and dusty garden soil. Forward & early maturing. (81/100)

Chateau Leoville-Poyferre 2013

The 2013 Leoville Poyferre has a highest Merlot percentage of the three Leoville. I found it more pure and elegant than 2013 Leoville Barton, but not quite as in depth as Leoville Las Cases. Lifted bouquet of mixed fruits, plummy with a toasty style. Smoked layer of fruit and elegant earthy/gravel scent. There is a good grip of austere tannin with a slightly above average acidity. A good effort in this diluted vintage, drinkable now and should peak within 10 years. (83/100)

Chateau Leoville-Las Cases 2013

The 2013 Leoville-Las Cases performed well in blind tasting along with other Saint Julien. The Las Cases showed more opulence and depth compared to 2013 Leoville Poyferre and Leoville Barton. The oak integration is great, fine blueberries and sweet herbs. Good texture and gentle tannin extraction, medium minor finish. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 12% Merlot. (84/100)

Chateau Leoville Barton 2013

The release price of Leoville Barton is generally reasonable, thanks to the more realistic pricing policy of Anthony Barton. The 2013 Leoville Barton is not as chunky as usual, more elegant with a softer backbone. The 2013 Leoville Barton is more balanced and flavourful than the 2013 Langoa Barton, which showed more spicy oak at this stage. I doubt the 2013 Langoa Barton will gain harmony with time. This should be ready to drink in 5 years or less, but won’t make old bones. (82/100)

Chateau Langoa Barton 2013

The 2013 Langoa Barton is less intense than the three Leoville as expected. Nice oak toast, smoked cassis and cedar. Not as concentrated as others but refreshing. (80/100)

Chateau Lagrange 2013

Smoked soil and herbs. Missing some fruits and tannins are over-extracted. (75/100)

Chateau Gruard-Larose 2013

Chateau Gruaud Larose performed fairly well in this substandard vintage, it had better ripeness and more charm than its neighbour, Chateau Talbot. The 2013 Chateau Gruaud Larose has a smart new oak scent with fairly good ripeness and juicy red fruits. Medium minor body with good depth and length. It is one of the good producers in this weak vintage, along with Beychevelle and the Leovilles. Chateau Branaire-Ducru and Lagrange could be avoided. The yield was low in 2013, 1/3 of 2012. (84/100)

Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2013

Nicely laced fruit, average body and fair balance. Approachable. (79/100)

Chateau Beychevelle 2013

Smart oak spices, sweet plums. Nice weight and power for this vintage. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot. (83/100)


Chateau Montrose 2013

The 2013 Montrose is a bit disappointing. Light and fruit forward with not much depth. Mixed berries with hints of bell peppers. Doesn’t have the quality for the long run. Need to re-taste (79/100)

Chateau Lafon-Rochet 2013

Lighter fruit core with a herbal, cedar accent. (76/100)

Chateau Cos Labory 2013

Nice extraction and toasty berries. Simple and straightforward. (80/100)

Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2013

The 2013 Chateau Cos d’Estournel is the best wine in Saint Estephe of this vintage, followed by Calon Segur. Attractive cassis, ripe berries, lifted toast and asian spices. 60% new oak. A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The yield was 26.3hl/ha. Good concentration without any harsh tannins, well balanced. An elegant and lifted Cos d’Estournel. Needs 5 years in the bottle. (85/100)

Chateau Calon-Segur 2013

The 2013 Chateau Calon-Segur is juicy and charming. Lovely dark fruit core of blackberry, some earth, clove and vanilla spice. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Medium bodied with a lively acidity and supple tannins. Needs time in the bottle. (83/100)


Chateau Trotanoy 2013

I always find it difficult to review young Trotanoy. Trotanoy has an notoriously tough tannic structure that takes years in the bottle to resolve. The 2013 Trotanoy has a solid red fruit core and masculine tannins for this vintage, playful asian spices and toast. 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. Only 1000 cases made in this vintage. Should be ready to drink in a few years time. (85/100)

Chateau Petit Village 2013

Chateau Petit Village (owned by AXA Millesimes) generally makes a lighter version of wine compared to most producers in Pomerol. Lighter side of Pomerol, supple red fruits and delicate spices. Easy-going. (81/100)

Chateau La Fleur-Petrus 2013

This is my first time tasting La Fleur-Petrus since its another vineyard expansion in 2012. Mouiex added almost 4 hectares of vines to Chateau La Fleur-Petrus from Providence. The last vintage of Providence is 2012, the vineyard now is part of Chateau La Fleur-Petrus and the winery now belongs to Chateau Hosanna. About 75% of the 4 ha vines from Providence went into La Fleur-Petrus 2013. Only 2000 cases made. La Fleur-Petrus now owns 18.7 ha, made up of three parcels. Attractive spices with tobacco, raspberries and sweet finish. It didn’t show as well as the 2013 Trotanoy. (83/100)

Chateau La Fleur De Gay 2013

Chateau La Fleur De Gay has not been a top performer in Pomerol, 1989 and 1990 was there good vintages, but they haven’t made any particularly amazing wines since then (with a couple of exceptions). The 2013 La Fleur De Gay shows a creamy red plum core with slight under-ripe bell peppery and herbal tones. A bit disappointing for this terroir. (76/100)

Chateau La Croix De Gay 2013

La Croix De Gay has downsized their vineyard twice since 1982. In 2012, La Croix De Gay sold part of their vineyards to Lifite Rothschild for the extension of L’Evangile. Currently, La Croix De Gay only has 3.6 ha of vineyard left, 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. 5,500 bottles produced in 2013. Pleasant oak toast and approachable red fruits, fair ripeness and easy-going. (82/100)

Chateau La Conseillante 2013

2013 was the first vintage La Conseillante has Michel Rolland as the consultant. Unusual for Pomerol estate, La Conseillante owns basically one parcel of vineyard (12.3ha). 82% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc in 2013. Rightfully, their Cabernet Franc is planted near St-Emilion, close to Cheval Blanc. The 2013 La Conseillante has a charming soft edge with an elegant fragrant, fairly sweet and clean fruit with hints of violet. Very polished, gentle and approachable. One of the better producers in this vintage. (83/100)

Chateau Gazin 2013

Chateau Gazin has great neighbours, Petrus and L’Evangile. In fact, Gazin sold 5.5 ha of vines to Petrus in 1969. Some say the quality of Gazin was not as good after the vineyard reduction. Chateau Gazin is one of the large producers in Pomerol, they own 23.5 ha of vines, 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. In 2013, 100% Merlot was used. There is something floral and truffle-y in the 2013 Gazin, soft and bubbly. Great balance between oak and fruit. Good energy already. A wine to be consumed within 10 years. (84/100)


Chateau Valandraud 2013

I was half expecting Jean-Luc Thunevin to declassify their 2013 Chateau Valandraud to ‘Table Wine” after what happened in 2002… 2002 was a rainy year in Bordeaux, Jean-Luc Thunevin boldly covered 2 hectares of his vineyards with plastic sheets before the harvest to prevent the rain from damaging the grapes. He was forced by INAO to declassify the 2 ha harvest to Vin de France, so he did… “Interdit de V……..d Vin de France”… What a rebel!.. Unfortunately Fortunately, this didn’t happen in 2013. One of the most edgy 2013 St Emilion, rich cocoa, smoked black fruits and a St Emilion cut hay smell. (83/100)

Chateau Trotte Vielle 2013

Flashy new oak spices and juicy red fruits. 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. (82/100)

Chateau Troplong-Mondot 2013

Lots of oak extraction with great depth for this vintage. Generous blackberries and rich cherry. Attractive. Once again Troplong Mondot is flexing its muscles in weak vintage. It is not tough but needs time for the tannins and oak to integrate. (84/100)

Chateau Quintus 2013

2013 is the first vintage of Quintus to include harvest from L’Arrosee after acquisition. First vintage of Chateau Quintus is 2011. Forward and well made but didn’t make my heart pound faster. (80/100)

Chateau Pavie-Macquin 2013

Chateau Pavie-Macquin wines are concentrated and lush, a modern style Saint-Emilion. In 2013, the wine has a good ripeness and fair concentration, lovely sweetness towards the finish. (83/100)

Chateau La Fleur 2013

Some unripe fruits and herbal character. Smoked oak and meat. Average profile. (79/100)

Chateau Figeac 2013

Chateau Figeac is normally a good performer in Saint Emilion. However, this 2013 Figeac is slightly disappointing. Some unripeness, peppery and herbal tone with a juicy red fruit core. Austere structure. Might just need more time? (81?/100)

Chateau Dassault 2013

Good oak fragrant and toast. Black cherry, spiced berries, coffee. Quite impressive consider the price. (81/100)

Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere 2013

The 2013 Canon La Gaffeliere is soft and forward unlike most other vintages from La Gaffeliere. La Gaffeliere is generally modern, packed with new oak spices and rich. This 2013 is approachable. (81/100)

Chateau Belair-Monange 2013

Moueix family took full control of Chateau Belair-Monange in 2008, and the quality improved since. A plush Saint Emilion with ripe fruits, mixed berries, hints of flowers and minerals. Very lovely and approachable. (83/100)

Chateau Angelus 2013

The 2013 Chateau Angelus has a lovely vibrancy in it. 2013 Angelus is a blend of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc. Fresh red and blueberries and plums with some wood tannins. Angelus is known for its full-bodied, modern style, concentrated wine. Fortunately, the 2013 Chateau Angelus is not over-extracted, as it can be dangerous if they try to use too much oak or extraction to cover up the unripe fruit. This is a gentle Angelus with a soft and round edge, nice linearity and finesse in the weak vintage. Drink over the next 20 years. (86/100)

Chateau Cheval Blanc 2013

The 2013 Cheval Blanc was the highlight of 2013 St Emilion. It is opulent and stylish in many ways. 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot. Beautiful fragrant of dark berries, perfume and earth. Great ripeness and texture for this vintage. Medium bodied with a soft perfume on the palate. Nicely polished and laced. It hasn’t got the intensity of a good vintage, but this 2013 will offer lots of pleasure at a young age. (88/100)


Chateau Rauzan-Segla 2013

The 2013 Rauzan Segla is pleasant to drink taste even at 10 in the morning. Well-balanced and delicate aroma. Can be enjoyed for the next decade. (82/100)

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies 2013

The 2013 Rauzan-Gassies is lighter than Rauzan Segla 2013 but tannins are rigid. (79/100)

Chateau Prieure-Lichine 2013

Fresh red berries and forward Margaux earthy scent. (80/100)

Chateau Pouget 2013

Chateau Pouget is a fourth growth Chateau in Margaux. In a good vintage, their wines can be enjoyed on the young side. In bad vintages like 2013, probably best be approached with caution. This 2013 Pouget is unripe and shows average fruit. (77/100)

Chateau Marquis de Terme 2013

Fair fruit tone, medium minor bodied with some hard tannins. (80/100)

Chateau Lascombes 2013

Red fruit, tobacco, damp undergrowth and some herbs. Oak was forceful. (79/100)

Chateau d’Issan 2013

Light and forward. Clean but nothing memorable. (78/100)

Chateau Desmirail 2013

Extraction game is strong here. Good intensity. (80/100)

Chateau Cantenac-Brown 2013

There seems to be too much extraction in this wine. Flavours of Margaux are hidden. (78/100)

Chateau Brane-Cantenac 2013

The 2013 Brane-Cantenac performed better than Cantenac-Brown 2013. More flavourful and balanced. (82/100)

Chateau Boyd-Cantenac 2013

The lesser-known out of the ‘Cantenac’. The 2013 Boyd-Cantenac is a bit less concentrated than the other two, but still a good effort in this weak vintage. (79/100)

Chateau Margaux 2013

The 2013 Chateau Margaux is something different compared to other vintages of Chateau Margaux. It is the first ever time for Chateau Margaux not to include any Merlot into the blend. Resulting a pure Cabernet Sauvignon (94%) with a beautiful Margaux terroir. Chateau Margaux had serious grape selection this year, with only 38% of the crop went into the grand vin, at 22hl/ha. Chateau Margaux showed the most finesse of all the First Growth in 2013, elegant tones of ripe berries, spring flowers and sweet vanilla. Silky smooth and polished on the palate. Very stylish and classy. (89/100)

Pessac Leognan

Domaine de Chevalier 2013

Domaine de Chevalier is one of my favourite producers in Pessac Leognan, one of the many reasons is their fair release price compared to other rising stars in Bordeaux. 2013 Domaine de Chevalier rouge is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. The yields are about half the average, resulting in a fairly ripe wine. Sweetish bouquet of cherry, blackberries and toast. Good weight, intensity and fine acidity, tannins appeared a bit gritty. (84/100)

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2013

The 2013 Smith Haut Lafitte is far from the quality of the incredible 2009/2010. This is a light and forward wine with a herbaceous accent. Bright berries and refreshing acidity. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (80/100)

Chateau Olivier 2013

Slightly under-ripe. Light with a leafy and herbal tone. (78/100)

Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere 2013

I often find good value wines from both red and white wines of Malartic Lagraviere. This 2013 is charming to drink, juicy red plums, playful oak spices and coffee beans. Good roundness and balance. (84/100)

Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2013

The 2013 La Mission Haut Brion has a deep and broad nose compared to its peers. Lower alcohol at 13.1%. The yield is lower than usual, 26hl/ha, 5900cases. Savoury meaty aroma with dark berries and latent spices. Chewy tannins and detectable greenness. This seemed to be the most Merlot driven of all Pessac Leognan wines in 2013. Deep but awkward at the same time. Slightly disappointing for a La Mission Haut Brion. The 2013 Haut Brion performed considerably better in this weak vintage. (83/100)

Chateau Haut-Bailly 2013

2013 is no doubt one of the worst vintages in Bordeaux for the past couple of decades. Many regions in Bordeaux suffered in the race to get good ripeness. During the 2013 Bordeaux blind tasting, I rated Pessac Leognan higher than other regions (excluding the delicious 2013 Sauternes). If I had to choose a region to buy in 2013, it would most likely be Pessac Leognan. The 2013 Haut Bailly production is small, 2,500 cases. Great punch of elegant berries and oak toast. Better finish than other wines. (85/100)

Chateau De Fieuzal 2013

The 2013 De Fieuzal has a good punch of red berries, oak toast and a touch of bay leaf. Enjoyable linearity and softness with good length. Expressive and will drink well for the next 8-10 years. (84/100)

Chateau Bouscaut 2013

The 2013 Bouscaut outperformed some famous names in Pessac Leognan in the blind tasting. It has a cool freshness and juiciness. Good ripeness and elegance. Nice oak toast and fair depth. Enjoyable now. (85/100)

Chateau Haut-Brion 2013

The 2013 Chateau Haut-Brion performed well in this vintage. Great phenolic ripeness and medium bodied. Classic smoked gravel, cedar box and sweet tobacco of Haut-Brion. 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It has a great depth and harmony. Fuller and more majestic than 2013 La Mission Haut-Brion, impressively fine tannins and attractive complexity. Low yield at 26hl/ha, only 5900 cases made in 2013. 65% new oak that doesn’t over-power the fruit balance. Lovely finesse and good length. (89/100)

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