Revisiting Bordeaux 2007: no surprises

I re-tasted many Bordeaux 2007 wines at the London Wine Fair on 18 May, just over a year since I last tried them from bottle in both New York (January 2010) and in Duesseldorf, Germany (March 2010).

Some of the reds performed very well or even better than I was expecting, but I was not surprised really. The whites were generally better overall, with a particularly strong performance from Sauternes and Barsac…


Highlights included:

Beauregard and Clinet in Pomerol

Clos Fourtet and Canon La Gaffeliere and more in St Emilion

Poujeaux in Moulis

Citran, Belgrave and, especially, Camensac, in Haut Medoc

Brane Cantenac, Ferriere, Giscours, Kirwan and Labegorce in Margaux

Lagrange, Langoa and Leoville Barton in St Julien

Clerc Milon, Pichon Longueville Comtesse in Pauillac

Lafon Rochet and especially Phelan Segur in St Estephe

Climens and de Fargues in Barsac and Sauternes

Wines in bold, I liked. Wines in bold and red, I really liked. Wines in bold, red and underlined are truly special. 


Chateau Chantegrive. An agreeable wine, chipper and pleasant, with plum and cassis, medium feel, with a somewhat short finish. Moderate plus flavor overall and a success for the vintage.

Chateau Haut Bailly. A rather reticent nose at first. Less exuberant than the above, but far deeper, with cranberry and blackberry, hint of mineral, pepper, licorice. The palate is brisk on the attack but tightens up, subtle concentration, with a light chocolate note. Reminds me of the 2004 when tasted in 2008… far from ready. Fine.

Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion. A bit more expressive than Haut Bailly on the nose, if not as deep. There is a fine smoke, tobacco aspect to the nose. The palate is medium bodied, just a tad edgy, but very Graves in character.

Chateau Latour Martillac. More “composed” nose when compared to the above. Rather refined. Some cherry aromas and flavors, certainly more fruit in evidence here. Medium bodied, medium textured, and although the finish is a tad short, the mid palate has much charm.

Chateau Malartic Lagraviere. A sweeter nose than the above, fruit filled, and palate is very “solid”, broad with ripe black and red fruit expression. The mid palate displays good sap, but it lacks a bit of lift/energy on the finish.

Chateau Pape Clement. Another sweet nose, yet also forest like. The palate is sap filled, there is finesse too, not over rich as I was slightly expecting. A very impressive showing this vintage from the Pope.

Chateau Picque Caillou. The nose is endearingly smoky, there is a lightness to this wine that charms, without dilution, but just linear and flavorful, again tobacco aspects already, without being boring. A thirst quenching finish.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. A sweeter nose, similar to Malartic Lagraviere, perhaps? There is red fruit and spice, followed through on a crowd-pleasing palate. At the same time, not quite as serious as Haut Bailly nor as opulent/impressive as Pape Clement. Still, a nice wine.

Both Pomerol and St Emilion seemed rather even, with some estates doing better of course than others. I think the Merlot did OK, while on some occasions the Cabernet Franc lent much lift.


Canon La Gaffeliere. Here we have a wine that is ready to enjoy already! Fine aromas of spice and fruit invite a sip, the attack is soft, the mid palate medium in texture and intensity, with integrated tannins. Will not last long, but is very flavorful and light on the finish.

Dassault. Light spice on the nose, red fruit aromas and flavors. The attack is pedestrian, with a solid palate, lacking the richness of the Canon La Gaffeliere, but certainly a fine drink. Tannins dry just a bit on the finish.

Figeac. What a lovely nose, Cabernet driven cassis with camphor and light musc with a hint of violet. The palate is not as impressive, but I like the sap and tobacco aspects, and what reassures is a fine tannic finish that is not drying but structured. Good sign for future aging potential. Superb for the vintage.

Clos Fourtet. Another excellent wine for the vintage, with a deep nose of blackberry and cherry, much more seductive than the above. The palate does not quite follow through on the promise of the nose, just slightly thin on the mid palate, but overall, honest for the vintage and certainly pleasurable.

La Dominique. Here we have an intriguing minty freshness that is very fine, that succeeds no doubt via the Cabernet Franc. The palate is tannic, less rounded than say Canon La Gaffeliere or even La Gaffeliere. Will the structure outlast the fruit? Still, you have to love the nose.

La Gaffeliere. Fine spice, a deeper nose than Figeac though in the same register. Fine entrance, full mid palate, with a bit of drying on the finish, but overall impression is of a suave wine that is pleasurable and will improve with some further bottle aging.

Larmande. The nose is vinous. I am getting some red fruit but also a bit of paprika. A four square entry on the palate with a structured feel, a bit tight, a bit tannic. Needs more fruit in my opinion, and gives a muted expression. But there is lift on the finish.


Beauregard. A smashing success for the vintage. Very flattering nose, very Bordeaux in the sense that you have the fruit, in this case more black than red, but also freshness, with spice. Medium+ palate, charming throughout, ripe and balanced, although finish is slightly short.

Clinet. What a fresh nose here. Palate is subtle not unlike Haut Bailly but not as tight, showing light chocolate notes, and it is quite juicy… lingering on the finish, too. Serious effort for the vintage.

La Cabanne. The nose is pedestrian, and so is the palate. There is a light berry aroma, but the overall impression I get is of slight dilution if not lacking in finesse. OK.

La Pointe. Just one year before new owners, and this is not bad. There is a more tannic presence than the above, more life to this wine if a bit thin on the finish.

In the Medoc, much variety, across all appellations. Not that many wines participated in this tasting, but it was interesting to see such quality variance.


Chateau Clarke Listrac-Medoc. Nice, fresh nose, palate is a tad tight, if displaying balance. There is fruit and tannin and acidity but somewhat dry overall. Merely OK.

Chateau Chasse Spleen Moulis Medoc. The nose is somewhat reticent and so is the palate. I notice most of all the tannic structure, when tasted next to the Camensac, which is far more friendly. Give it time. Perhaps the 55% Cabernet is dominating the blend at this stage?

Chateau Poujeaux Moulis Medoc. Here we have even more Cabernet Sauvignon (65%) and even though this too is tight, there is more charm and even refinement. Nice job.

Chateau Belgrave Haut Medoc. A rather rich nose, very pleasing. A bit tight perhaps but cohesive and showing much potential, worthy of its cru classe status.

Chateau Cantemerle Haut Medoc. Fresh, forest like nose. A slight mint aspect (50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc…) Medium plus fruit expression, a welcoming and smooth texture. Not very long, lacks the depth of a better vintage, but medium intensity and darn good for the price.

Chateau Citran Haut Medoc. Decent freshness on the nose and palate, a chipper quality plus a healthy tannic aspect. Not drying in any way. Fine.

Chateau Coufran Haut Medoc. The so called Pomerol of the Medoc… but not so soft in 2007! A bit tinny on the palate in fact and there is a tannic edginess. Hmmm.

Chateau de Camensac Haut Medoc. Minty nose, juicy  palate, friendly tannin, albeit some hints of rusticity. But overall, this 50-50 Merlot Cab mix is almost lush. A pleasure.

Chateau de Lamarque. Medium intensity on the nose and palate, some notes of graphite and red fruit, palate has a bit of dilution, somewhat austere tannin on the back end, but there is sap on the mid palate.

Chateau Greysac Medoc. This is a modest estate that lives up to its status in an OK vintage, medium intensity, somewhat tight tannins, not pinched but not really expansive either. There is a palate presence that makes this OK for its price point.

Chateau La Tour de By Medoc. Very pleasing nose here, refreshing, red fruit, light cassis, even some vaguely tertiary aspects on the palate, fine overall!


Chateau Brane Cantenac. Very pretty floral aromatics. Solid on the palate, one detects the breed here. Just a bit of austerity on the back end but overall, a success for the vintage.

Chateau d’Angludet. Ashes on the nose, and a polite palate, good fruit but not that intense. Juicy on the mid palate, somewhat short on the finish.

Chateau du Tertre. Quite a bit of Cabernet Franc (18%), the nose is very expressive, spicy. The palate displays fine structure too, but tannins are a tad too present for the fruit. Medium intensity and a modest finish.

Chateau Ferriere. Minty and expressive nose, solid palate with notes of white chocolate and cassis. Smooth texture and medium plus intensity, quite refined overall. Nice job!

Chateau Giscours. Very pretty nose, floral and fruit basket like, with medium plus intensity on the palate, medium-full bodied, finely integrated tannins, showing their promise for aging but fine balance overall. Lingering finish. Lovely.

Chateau Kirwan. Frank and elegant on the nose and on the palate. Resembles experience I had when tasted last year in a vertical along with 2008 and 2009, the 2007 is certainly very refined, but lacks the depth of the 2008 and the intensity of the 2009. Still, a wine that will charm drinkers.

Chateau Labegorce. Very supple, tobacco like claret aromas and flavors. Fine.  

Chateau Prieure Lichine. Solid overall, nothing extraordinary but certainly friendly. Nice job.

Chateau Rauzan Gassies. This is also just OK, quite ordinary in profile, as it also lacks the éclat of some of the other Medocs tasted. And it is also a bit (too) light.


Chateau Lagrange. A hint of flower on the nose, followed through on the palate with finesse and even a certain nutmeg like spice, medium to full bodied. Lovely job!

Chateau Langoa Barton. Another lovely job from St Julien, with good fruit on the nose and a chipper brisk palate, medium bodied and intensity, with red fruit and notions of dark chocolate. Fine.

Chateau Leoville Barton. Somewhat like Haut Bailly, hardly ready today… The nose is deeper than Langoa, richer, but the palate is tight as a drum… needs time, much potential.

Chateau Talbot. A light entry with pedestrian aromatics and flavors. Soft on the mid palate, light intensity, overly inoffensive in my opinion and short on the finish.


Chateau Clerc Milon. Compared to d’Armailhac, this shows far more substance on the nose, and a superior “breed”… greater palate presence. It has focused fruit flavors, is medium plus in intensity and flavor, and delivers punch and a decent finish. Fine job for the vintage.

Chateau Croizet Bages. A rather sweet nose which surprised me. The palate is medium minus in intensity and flavor, with a certain solidity but nothing that special either. For the price, should be OK, yes?

Chateau d’Armailhac. The nose is fine, with soft cassis elements, followed through on the palate with fruit, albeit a bit loosely defined, with a diffuse finish. OK.

Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse. A mocha nose, with some menthol as well. Lacks the intensity of what one would expect from Pauillac but it has a soft and frank delivery with medium intensity of flavor. Good.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Very fine nose, elegant, almost perfumed. The palate is nuanced, showing layers of flavor, well defined, and focused, and a soft if lingering finish. A success for the vintage. Not as deep as the 2008 tasted in NYC earlier this year, but just as charming.


Chateau Lafon Rochet. Fine, juicy, a wine that invites drinking albeit somewhat short. Still, relatively good for the vintage.

Chateau Les Ormes de Pez. The nose is sweet, and there is some finesse on the palate, but lacks a bit of sap and dries on the finish…

Chateau Phelan Segur. A lovely nose of cherry and cassis fruit, with a medium plus intensity of flavor showing excellent sap, and a pleasing finish, lasting well enough. A very successful 2007, and not very expensive. The Beauregard of St Estephe?


Chateau Chantegrive. Lovely freshness showing apricot and peach. A medium bodied aspect with a smooth finish.

Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion. Grape like crystalline nose, pure and elegant, fine acidity, white peach notes on the finish.

Chateau Latour Martillac. This again shows a lovely nose of white fruits, even if the palate is a touch thin. Not quite as good as the above.

Chateau Malartic Lagraviere. A less exuberant nose than the above, but the palate is lovely, showing juicy peach, red apple. The medium plus body is thick without being fat, although I feel just a hint of heat…

Chateau Pape Clement. Spice and quince on the nose, a robust palate, yellow peach. In spite of the high alcohol – 14.5% – I do not feel the heat. Quite successful, fulfills the promise of last year’s tasting in NYC.  

Chateau Picque Caillou. After tasting the above, this comes across as thin – but misleading comparison. There is a lovely pine forest aroma and a refreshing palate. Fine.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. This is more evidently rich, even somewhat hefty, with yellow apricot notes and even some pineapple. While I like it, I wonder if the acidity seems just a tad too low?


Chateau Bastor Lamontagne. Lovely rich peach, yet fine acidity. Quince on the palate, notes of marzipan, and the richness on the palate is matched by freshness. Not the most complex Sauternes but darn good!

Chateau Climens. Beeswax, peach and pear on the nose. Very refined palate. Pear and spice, tea aspects. A subtle concentration, because there is much richness but expressed in such a nuanced fashion. A great wine.

Chateau Coutet. Another fine example of Barsac in 2007, with apricot and peach, some pineapple as well, and richness. Not nearly as good as Climens, but nice nonetheless.

Chateau de Fargues. Lovely yet rich! A triumph for Sauternes, with refined beeswax, sweet red apple, showing definition and complexity on the palate, botrytis induced spices, and real opulence without an ounce of flabbiness. Lovely!

Chateau Doisy Daene. Here we have a nuanced Barsac, much more accentuated by freshness than richness, notes of green apple even, crisp, with sweetness of course but this came across as particularly fresh. Fine job.  

Chateau Doisy Vedrines. Another success from Barsac, here the flavors are more peppermint, and the wine is a tad more plump on the palate, which is also delicious.

Chateau Guiraud. Red apple and cinnamon, rich and balanced, very “Sauternes”. Not as impressive as de Fargues, but very well made.

Chateau La Tour Blanche. Cool white peach aspects on the nose and palate, which is richer than the nose suggests, even a tad cloying? Still, underlying structure bodes well for the future, as this is a serious wine. The flavors are just showing some complexity. Give it time.

Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey. Lovely orange blossom notes on the nose, better balance than the above wine, with intensity of flavors and fine freshness. Fine job!

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