a first Look at our editors’ Most exciting new wines

a Members-only, Biweekly Publication
this report on 2009 red Bordeaux Left Bank releases is the second of three straight Insiders focusing on the new ’09s (top sauternes ran last week; the right Bank is slated for next week). the 2009 vintage produced dense red wines loaded with ripe fruit flavors and polished tannins, with ample structure for cellaring. Many of the prominent classified growths produced classic-quality wines in 2009, but there are new and emerging faces as well, such as domaine allary and château Lilian-Ladouys. six of the best, the Hot wines, are on page 4. find our complete report on Bordeaux’s 2009 vintage in the upcoming March 31 issue of Wine Spectator. —James Molesworth
Château Cos-d’Estournel

Vol. 8, No. 2 | Jan. 11, 2012

Marvin R. Shanken Editor and Publisher

st.-estèphe 2009

Château MaRgaux
Margaux 2009

2009 red Bordeaux / Left Bank
Château MoNtRoSe
97 points | $225 | 17,000 cases made | Red
A bit of a brute, with a very chewy bittersweet ganache, tobacco and roasted fig core splayed open right now by a dagger of roasted apple wood, allspice and cedar. Long and dense through the finish, with a strong singed iron edge. The stuffing is certainly there, but this will take a while to come together as it’s running unbridled right now. Proves you can still get classic old-school Bordeaux. Best from 2020 through 2040.—J.M.

96 points | $1,250 | Na cases made | Red
Understated in feel, but not for lack of depth or length, as this has beguiling and well-defined notes of black tea, sandalwood, singed vanilla bean and Kenya AA coffee, backed by gorgeously silky plum, blackberry and cassis fruit flavors. But the finish is so balanced, suave, gentle and long, it would be easy to overlook just how much range there is here. So be patient and let cellaring do its thing. Best from 2018 through 2035.—J.M.

Château La MiSSioN haut-BRioN
Pessac-Léognan 2009

96 points | $885 | 6,000 cases made | Red
This is forcefully rendered, with dark tar, espresso and chocolate up front, backed by dense layers of fig sauce, currant reduction and smoldering black tea leaves. There’s dense flesh and great drive on the finish, which has serious grip. Best from 2016 through 2035.—J.M.

Château LyNCh BageS
Pauillac 2009

96 points | $150 | 31,500 cases made | Red
Tight and backward, this has dense, almost chewy layers of fig, currant and plum cake behind a very solid wall of cedar, roasted vanilla and charcoal notes. There’s serious grip on the finish, with an iron edge that won’t quit. Best from 2015 through 2035.—J.M.

Château PoNtet-CaNet
Pauillac 2009

96 points | $180 | 26,665 cases made | Red
This is amazingly expressive now considering how huge it is, with stunning espresso and warm fig confiture aromas followed by lush layer after layer of blackberry paste, cassis and plum sauce. A terrific loam underpinning strides in on the finish, which is weighty but sports serious cut. Equal parts fruit and earth. Best from 2018 through 2038.—J.M.

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Jan. 11, 2012


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Château SMith-haut-Lafitte
Pessac-Léognan 2009

Château PiChoN LoNgueviLLe LaLaNde
Pauillac 2009

96 points | $110 | Na cases made | Red
This is really loaded, with crushed plum, blueberry, cassis, fig and blackberry paste flavors all melded together, along with notes of tar, pastis and violet. Very long and dark, but polished and pure, with terrific fruit offset by a great tug of earth on the finish. Should cruise easily in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2035.—J.M.

94 points | $210 | 15,000 cases made | Red
Offers a dark roasted core of plum sauce, warm fig paste, melted licorice and singed cedar, while a mouthwatering iron edge and a lovely smoldering tobacco note add lift and length through the finish. A touch restrained now, but should blossom with cellaring. Best from 2017 through 2033.—J.M.

Château LéoviLLe BaRtoN
st.-Julien 2009

doMaiNe aLLaRy
Pessac-Léognan Haut-Brion 2009

93 points | $205 | 100 cases imported | Red
This builds nicely, with dark tobacco, mulled spice and roasted chestnut notes fading into the core of black Mission fig and hoisin sauce flavors. Long and very tarry through the finish, but with excellent polish despite its heft. Best from 2014 through 2026.—J.M.

95 points | $105 | 21,000 cases made | Red
This is powerful Cabernet, with gutsy weight, but polished feel to the fresh plum, warm blackberry sauce, bittersweet ganache and roasted apple wood notes. Long and tarry through the finish, but still invigorating despite its heft. Will need some time to round fully into form. Best from 2017 through 2035.—J.M.

Château BRaNaiRe-duCRu
st.-Julien 2009

Château PaLMeR
Margaux 2009

93 points | $70 | 12,000 cases made | Red
A ripe, chewy, muscular style, with good cut despite the hefty tar, blackberry, roasted fig and singed apple wood notes. The long, anise-stained finish lets the tarry edge play out, though this shows a touch more finesse than some of its colleagues. Best from 2015 through 2025.—J.M.

95 points | $330 | 9,500 cases made | Red
This is on another level from most in the appellation, with gorgeous layers of warm currant confiture, smoldering tobacco, licorice snap, warm paving stone and anise all framed by tarry but integrated grip. Stays sleek and well-defined through the finish. Should age beautifully. Best from 2015 through 2030.—J.M.

doMaiNe de ChevaLieR
Pessac-Léognan 2009

Château PaPe CLéMeNt
Pessac-Léognan 2009

93 points | $80 | 12,000 cases made | Red
Very rich, but sleek and pure, with beautiful mouthfeel and layers of enticing fig, steeped blackberry and warm currant confiture nicely stitched with black tea and mesquite. The long finish has a tarry underlay, but stays polished. Approachable for its mouthfeel, but has the balance to age nicely. Drink now through 2025.—J.M.

95 points | $150 | 7,500 cases made | Red
Rich and muscular, with exotic roasted spice, braised fig and warm raspberry confiture notes that are supported by a broad baseline of dark cocoa, tar and freshly brewed espresso. Not shy about its modernity, but everything is in place. Just needs to settle in with cellaring. Best from 2015 through 2030.—J.M.

Château CLeRC MiLoN
Pauillac 2009

Château PiChoN-LoNgueviLLe BaRoN
Pauillac 2009

93 points | $60 | Na cases made | Red
Juicy and nicely framed with a singed bay leaf note, which allows the medium-weight core of crushed plum and mulled fig to glide along nicely through the velvety finish. This fleshes out considerably as it sits in the glass, showing more layers of dark fruit and lingering minerality. This has some power in reserve, but lovely balance as well. Best from 2013 through 2024.—J.M.

95 points | $140 | 13,000 cases made | Red
This delivers a massive core of black Mission fig, black currant paste and roasted fig fruit, backed by alder wood, bay leaf, singed cedar and maduro tobacco. The finish lets a racy iron note take over. Long and authoritative, with gorgeous acidity giving the balance for long-term cellaring. Best from 2013 through 2030.—J.M.

Château haut-BaiLLy
Pessac-Léognan 2009

Château de fRaNCe
Pessac-Léognan 2009

93 points | $50 | 4,000 cases made | Red
Big and bold, with currant, blackberry and plum fruit backed by espresso, smoke and mineral notes in this muscular red. The powerful character is more menacing than alluring, but this shows impressive structure and depth. Best from 2014 through 2030.—T.M.

94 points | $145 | 6,665 cases made | Red
Offers a rich, very dense feel, but stays racy thanks to a strong graphite frame around the core of roasted fig, plum sauce and maduro tobacco. Muscular but defined on the finish, with a long tarry edge in reserve. This shows serious depth and is more backward than most of its peers. Should really stretch out nicely in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2035.—J.M.

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Jan. 11, 2012


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Château giSCouRS
Margaux 2009

Château BRowN
Pessac-Léognan 2009

93 points | $65 | 21,665 cases made | Red
This is alluring, with lots of incense, warm espresso and roasted mesquite notes leading the way for a sleek core of mouthwatering black currant and blackberry fruit. The long finish lets the mesquite edge linger, with well-embedded grip. Rock-solid. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2014 through 2029.—J.M.

92 points | $35 | 5,415 cases made | Red
Very tight, delivering espresso, iron and kirsch notes wound up at the core, covered for now with bay leaf, tar and roasted mesquite flavors. The long finish has nicely buried racy acidity. This is more lean muscle than overt power, and should age nicely. Best from 2013 through 2021.—J.M.

Château gRaNd-Puy-LaCoSte
Pauillac 2009

Château LeS CaRMeS haut-BRioN
Pessac-Léognan 2009

92 points | $60 | 2,083 cases made | Red
Still youthfully tight, this shows a packed core of plum, cassis and blackberry fruit wrapped with bittersweet cocoa, tobacco and charcoal notes. Nice drive marks the finish, with gorgeous polish, as a mouthwatering linzer torte note expands as it opens in the glass. Drink now through 2020.—J.M.

93 points | $80 | 15,000 cases made | Red
This is a step up, with ample black currant confiture and roasted fig notes allied to a racy graphite and iron spine. Very sleek through the finish, despite its heft, with a long finish filled with cassis bush and tobacco. Best from 2013 through 2025.—J.M.

Château LaNgoa BaRtoN
st.-Julien 2009

Château duhaRt-MiLoN RothSChiLd
Pauillac 2009

93 points | $70 | 10,000 cases made | Red
Very dense and still rather reserved, with dark blueberry, blackberry and fig notes rolled together, framed by freshly brewed espresso and Black Forest cake notes. Long and tarry through the finish, with a melted licorice snap note hanging on at the very end. Best from 2014 through 2030.—J.M.

92 points | $150 | Na cases made | Red
This takes a fleshy, rather toasty approach, showing roasted plum and black currant fruit, with a smoked mesquite note on the loamtinged finish. There’s more breadth than depth, but this has the latent minerality to last a long time in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2027.—J.M.

Château LéoviLLe PoyfeRRé
st.-Julien 2009

Château gLoRia
st.-Julien 2009

93 points | $180 | 17,666 cases made | Red
Solid notes of steeped black currant, ganache-coated fig and plum eau de vie pump along in this very dark red, but with wellintegrated structure. Long and winey through the finish, with the grip extending everything. Best from 2016 through 2026.—J.M.

92 points | $45 | 20,415 cases made | Red
A serious young wine, crammed with plum cake, blackberry preserves, warm fig confiture and blueberry reduction flavors, all laced with briar and sweet, toasty spice notes and backed by a long, tarry finish. Has a rustic edge but lots of stuffing. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2025.—J.M.

Margaux 2009

93 points | $75 | 750 cases made | Red
A very flashy, hypermodern style, with lush mocha, steeped blueberry and warm fig confiture aromas and flavors, carried by lush mocha-, espresso- and ganache-fueled structure. Long and very grippy through the finish, but with succulent flesh. Shows great drive and energy, though totally atypical in approach. Best from 2014 through 2028.—J.M.

Château gRuaud-LaRoSe
st.-Julien 2009

92 points | $80 | 14,500 cases made | Red
This has good density, with fleshy blackberry and blueberry cobbler flavors laced with anise, sweet spice and smoldering maduro tobacco notes. Long and well-structured, with fresh, embedded acidity. Best from 2013 through 2023.—J.M.

Château d’aRMaiLhaC
Pauillac 2009

Château LiLiaN LadouyS
st.-estèphe 2009

92 points | $45 | Na cases made | Red
This has density, structure and drive, offering seriously dark baker’s chocolate, plum, currant and fig flavors all wound up tightly by singed cedar, tar and dark tapenade notes, with a tight, mineral-driven finish. Needs a little time to unwind. Best from 2013 through 2023.—J.M.

92 points | $25 | 18,080 cases made | Red
On the toasty, more modern side of the spectrum, with ambitious roasted fig, apple wood and blueberry confiture notes followed by racy graphite, espresso and blackberry pâté de fruit. Not shy, but has the density for balance. Best from 2013 through 2024.—J.M.

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Jan. 11, 2012


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Château LatouR
Pauillac 2009

these are the most exciting discoveries from our editors’ most recent tastings, published exclusively in Wine Spectator insider. they are high-scoring, low-production wines from around the world that may be difficult to find, but are worth seeking out.

Château LéoviLLe LaS CaSeS
st.-Julien 2009

99 points | $1,600 | 9,580 cases made | Red
This seems to come full circle, with a blazing iron note and mouthwatering acidity up front leading to intense, vibrant cassis, blackberry and cherry skin flavors that course along, followed by the same vivacious minerality that started things off. The tobacco, ganache and espresso notes seem almost superfluous right now, but they’ll join the fray in due time. The question is, can you wait long enough? Best from 2020 through 2040. From France.—J.M.

98 points | $345 | 14,165 cases made | Red
This is gorgeously layered with cassis bush, anise, roasted fig and plum reduction notes all framed by very racy espresso and graphite. Very deep and very long, with terrific intensity on the finish thanks to razor cut from the seemingly endless iron spine. With its purity and precision, this mineral-driven Cabernet should cruise for two decades. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.—J.M.

Château haut-BRioN
Pessac-Léognan 2009

Château MoutoN-RothSChiLd
Pauillac 2009

98 points | $1,000 | 10,500 cases made | Red
This enormous young wine is among the most backward of the vintage at this early stage, with iron-clad grip holding the broad, deep core of blackberry, cassis and roasted fig notes in check for now. The finish is a torrent of dense, almost compressed layers of tobacco leaf, hot paving stone, singed bay leaf and tar that will take at least a decade to come together. This one is for the kids born in 2009. Best from 2020 through 2040. From France.—J.M.

98 points | $1,000 | Na cases made | Red
This is pure, unadulterated Cabernet, with a gorgeously creamy mouthfeel to the beam of cassis that’s backed by extra layers of cherry eau de vie, red licorice and raspberry ganache. Obviously dense but amazingly supple, with terrific length supported by a classic, iron-fueled spine. This has power if it needs it, but it’s all about length. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2040. From France.—J.M.

Château Lafite RothSChiLd
Pauillac 2009

Château CoS-d’eStouRNeL
st.-estèphe 2009

98 points | $1,800 | Na cases made | Red
This is stunning for its ability to take massively endowed fig, currant paste and crushed plum fruit flavors and harness them with ultrasuave freshly roasted espresso, black tea and ganache notes. A seductive style, long and velvety, with the dense core of black fruit and smoldering iron just waiting and waiting. Best from 2020 through 2040. From France.—J.M.

97 points | $350 | 20,830 cases made | Red
This is a stunner, with gloriously ripe, succulent cassis, blackberry and fig fruit flavors backed by extra notes of plum cake, blueberry confiture and roasted wood spice. On the back half, the iron spine takes over on the hard-driving and extremely long anise- and incense-tinged finish. An awesome expression of the modern style. Best from 2020 through 2040. From France.—J.M.

the Most experienced team of wine journalists in the world
Wine Spectator’s tasting staff includes 12 people in two offices. they work together to review more than 18,000 wines each year, more than any other publication. together, our six senior tasters count more than 140 years of tasting experience. we always taste wine blind in our offices in napa and new York. this is your guarantee that our reviews are fair and objective, and that a wine’s reputation or price does not influence its score. each editor specializes in the wines of specific regions; their initials identify the taster of each wine reviewed. we score wines using the 100-point scale, explained below. james Laube senior editor, napa Joined Wine Spectator in 1983. tasting beat: california Kim Marcus Managing editor, new York Joined Wine Spectator in 1988. tasting beat: austria, greece, Port, Portugal, southern france thomas Matthews executive editor, new York Joined Wine Spectator in 1988. tasting beat: new York, spain james Molesworth senior editor, new York Joined Wine Spectator in 1997. tasting beat: Bordeaux, chile, finger Lakes, Loire Valley, rhône Valley, south africa Bruce Sanderson tasting director, new York Joined Wine Spectator in 1993. tasting beat: Burgundy, germany, italy

harvey Steiman editor at large, san francisco Joined Wine Spectator in 1983. tasting beat: australia, oregon, washington Wine Spectator’s 100-Point Scale 95–100 classic tasting staff: 90–94 outstanding tim fish (california) 85–89 Very good alison Napjus (alsace, champagne, italy) 80–84 good Nathan wesley (argentina, italy) 75–79 Mediocre Maryann worobiec (california, new Zealand) 50–74 not recommended

Wine Spectator Insider Jan. 11, 2012


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