The 2016 Joanin Becot is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc cropped at 42 hectoliters per hectare between 12-19 October and matured in 65% new oak. It has a very well-defined bouquet with plenty of black cherry fruit, blueberry and a touch of boot polish. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, great volume, a fine bead of acidity and although there is a touch of reduction on the finish, it will be a fine, generous and quite powerful Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux with time.
The 2016 Citran has an understated bouquet that demanded some encouragement from the glass, although it eventually revealed nicely detailed black fruit tinged with cedar and graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, just the right amount of juiciness with a linear and taut, saline finish. This is a commendable follow-up to the 2015 Citran and it should give 10-15 years of pleasure.
The 2016 Chateau les Grands Chenes is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon picked from 5 to 18 October. It has a soft and rounded black cherry and red plum scented bouquet with a touch of orange blossom. The palate is sweet on the entry with grainy tannin, quite powerful, but the oak impedes a little towards the finish when other 2016s have demonstrated freshness and precision. Not bad, but this could have been better with more prudence.
The 2016 Cantemerle has a tightly wound bouquet and it never quite delivers the detail and mineralité that some of its peers have produced in this vintage. There are attractive undergrowth scents and a touch of tobacco, but it does not leap from the glass with joy. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, good depth of fruit, blackberry laced with cedar and graphite. One sample was missed a little precision, however, a second and third demonstrated much more precision and tension. My score reflects this.
The 2016 Giscours is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot, the highest percentage of Cabernet in recent years, picked between 26 September and 20 October. It was cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare with 13.2% alcohol, which is a little less than in 2015. Naturally that dominant proportion of Cabernet drives the aromatics with blackberry, cedar and graphite aromas. The palate is very well structured, more masculine than the 2015 and maybe without quite the same level of precision, but there is great density and length to this Giscours. I found that improved in the glass, gaining more energy from the ether. It is an impressive follow-up to last year's Giscours.
The 2016 Echo de Lynch Bages is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot, representing about one-third of the total production. It has a clean and precise bouquet, very polished and developing crushed violet scents with time. The palate is medium-bodied with quite crunchy, firm tannin on the entry. Quite saline in the mouth, masculine and grippy with just a little toughness on the finish that should mellow by the time of bottling. Best give this Deuxième Vin a couple of years in bottle if you can.
The 2016 Bourgneuf from the Vayron family is a wine to watch, especially with the talented Frédérique Vayron in charge of winemaking duties. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, it has an elegant, quite nuanced bouquet with blackberry and black truffle aromas, quintessential Pomerol in many ways. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that exert a gentle grip. The acidity is very well judged and there is impressive complexity interwoven into the long finish. What a superb Bourgneuf. This comes highly recommended as one of the best wines I have tasted from Trotanoy's next-door neighbor!
The 2016 Puy-Blanquet is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. It has plenty of lush red cherry and cranberry fruit on the nose, a smear of vanilla from the new oak that will be subsumed by the time of bottling. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly rustic tannin. Yes, there is a bit of hardness here, but that will soften, and there is plenty of freshness on the grainy finish. Fine.
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