Chateau l’Evangile 2021
Released from the epic Lafite Rothschild stable is their right bank superstar Chateau l’Evangile at £1,110 per 6 IB. Scoring 94-96 points from both Neal Martin and Antonio Galloni of Vinous; Martin calls l’Evangile 2021 “a great success for this reenergized estate”, while Galloni praises this “heady, sensual wine. Silky and pliant, with fabulous balance, L’Évangile is a stand-out.” There is no question that L’Evangile is one of the most exciting wines this vintage; one to cellar for classic, focussed and elegant Pomerol.
We believe that L’Evangile will become just as sought after as the other major Pomerol Chateaux (Petrus, Le Pin and VCC) and its tiny production will make it enormously hard to come by. It is a Pomerol that is full of grace and beauty – a ‘Lafite of the right bank’.
From the critics
The 2021 L’Évangile is a heady, sensual wine. Silky and pliant, with fabulous balance, L’Évangile is a stand-out. The blend includes 30% Cabernet Franc, high for the château, but what really stands out is the wine’s balance. Red/purplish fruit, blood orange, rose petal and spice are all wrapped together by silky, pliant tannins. Franc aromatics and saline underpinnings extend the finish. Élevage is 50% new oak, 35% one year-old barrels and 15% amphora. Readers will find a super-classic Évangile that has tons of potential. I loved it. 94-96 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).
The 2021 L’Évangile was picked September 21 to October 4, and matured in 50% new oak and 15% in clay amphora. It registers 14.0% alcohol and a pH of 3.65. This is very different and, unsurprisingly, far superior on the nose of black cherries, black truffle, crushed stone and a touch of orange peel; very focused and very Pomerol. The palate is medium-bodied, cohesive and elegant with supple tannins and fine acidity, yet there is real depth and a sense of nascent energy toward the finish. The young Cabernet Franc on gravel soils from the Chantecaille lieu-dit absolutely defines this 2021. A great success for this reenergized estate. 94-96 points, Neal Martin (Vinous).
A good example of how skilful winemaking adapts to conditions – all the Cabernet Sauvignon has gone into the 1st wine this year because it achieved plenty of natural concentration, while recently it has been put into Blason because it took away from the elegance of the 1st wine. Savoury, supple black and blue fruits, austere but with sapidity and juice, and a gorgeous wash of campfire smoke, salted caramel, liquorice, cloves and saffron spices. 20hl/h yield after mildew. This is their first organic-certified vinified, and first year with Juliette Couderc as technical director from beginning to end of the growing season. Harvest September 21 to October 4. No chaptilisation. 50% new oak, 15% amphora, 3.6ph. 94 points, Jane Anson (Inside Bordeaux)
Chateau Troplong Mondot 2021
Chateau Troplong Mondot have released at £426 per 6 IB. Tipped to move from 1er Grand Cru Classe ‘B’ to a 1er Grand Cru Classe ‘A’, Troplong Mondot is a very smart place to put your money. It is sited adjacent to Pavie on the slopes of the village of St Emilion and consistently makes a wine equal in quality, but at a fraction of the price.
One of the few Chateaux to produce a better wine than last year, Antonio Galloni calls the 2021 “a dazzling wine” and “superb”, awarding an impressive 95-97 points (equal to Pavie). William Kelley (The Wine Advocate) notes that “the 2021 Troplong Mondot shows considerable promise” with “impressive intensity and texture”, scoring 93-96 points. This is a chateau to watch, we anticipate that it will soon be fiercely allocated, just like its neighbour Pavie.
From the critics
The 2021 Troplong Mondot is shockingly raw and untamed, but in the very best sense of those terms. A wine of energy and pure power, the 2021 is going to need a number of years to be at its best, but it is certainly very impressive in the early going. The 2021 clocks in at 13.5%, which has not been seen here since the 1990s. The 2021 is not an easy wine to taste at this stage, as it is not fully formed. I won’t be surprised if the 2021 turns out even better than this note suggests. It is a dazzling wine by any measure, and a far cry from the wines of decade ago, when the malolactic fermentations were often not finished when en primeur samples were presented! Superb.95-97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).
The 2021 Troplong Mondot shows considerable promise, exhibiting aromas of plums and wild berries mingled with notions of sweet spices, rose petals, vine smoke and raw cocoa, followed by a medium to full-bodied, seamless palate endowed with impressive intensity and texture. Built around beautifully refined, powdery tannins and lively acids, it concludes with a long, mouthwateringly saline finish. Macerations here were long but gentle, including a long cold soak before fermentation, and the blend, after much deliberation, is 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. Tasted four times. 93-96 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
The natural density that they have at Troplong was extremely helpful in a vintage like 2021. This is a little more reserved than a typical year, but very much delivers signature power. Expect gunsmoke, fern and raspberry leaf alongside cherry pit and saffron salinity, black cherry fruits, rosebud, anis, fennel spice, all with the powerful and concentrated signature of limestone. I was here on the last day of harvest, and I remember how healthy the grapes were. This is the first vintage where the cellar has been completely finished, moving from 20 to 42 tanks. No chaptilisation (but the natural 13.5%abv is extremely rare at this late ripening property, and a real indication of how long it took for sugars to climb in this vintage). 95 points, Jane Anson (Inside Bordeaux).
Chateau Montrose 2021
Chateau Montrose have released at £680 per 6 IB, 12% down on the 2020 release price. A perennial favourite of IG Wines, ‘Super Second’ growth Chateau Montrose has a long-standing reputation as one of the finest wines of Bordeaux and their 2021 is no exception. Neal Martin of Vinous posits that the 2021 has the “potential to become an aristocratic, classic Montrose”, and we couldn’t agree more.
Marking the first year of organic conversion, the Montrose team have pulled out all the stops to make an exceptional wine. Technical Director, Vincent Decup, explained that “We have never done so much [in the vineyard]”. Their efforts have been rewarded with resounding praise from the critics. Scoring 94-96 points from both William Kelley of the Wine Advocate and Antonio Galloni from Vinous. Kelley calls the 2021 “a brilliant achievement … reminiscent of a purer, more precise, modern-day version of the estate’s 1996” while Galloni notes that it is “a fine choice for Montrose fans who want to drink the Grand Vin without waiting for decades”.
From the critics
A brilliant achievement, the 2021 Montrose is reminiscent of a purer, more precise, modern-day version of the estate’s 1996. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of blackcurrants, pencil shavings, sweet loamy soil, black truffle and nicely integrated new oak, it’s full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with terrific depth at the core, lively acids and a seamless, harmonious profile. Exhibiting beautifully refined tannins and an impressive sense of completeness, it’s a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot—standing out as one of the few top wines of the vintage that actually includes more Merlot and less Cabernet than in recent years. 94-96 Points, William Kelly (Wine Advocate).
The 2021 is a fine choice for Montrose fans who want to drink the Grand Vin without waiting for decades. I imagine the slightly high amount of Merlot also helps in giving the Grand Vin a measure of suppleness that is rarely found in Montrose. Gentle extractions bring out gorgeous purity in the fruit. Scorched earth, licorice, rose petal and blood orange develop in the glass, followed by a kick of Montrose structure on the finish. The 2021 is not an especially typical Montrose, but it is an undeniably attractive wine. The 13.1% alcohol has not been seen here in years. 94-96 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).
The 2021 Montrose is very clean and precise on the nose. You could almost describe it has clinical, crushed stone infusing the black fruit and briar. It is not as intense as the previous two vintages, which is to be expected, though the Cabernet Sauvignon is expressive. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and fine acidity; a Monrose that is very tensile and focused. Moderate grip and volume, this is a more slimline version of recent vintages, a reflection of the growing season. Maybe it just misses the bravura finish that one has almost come to expect from this estate, yet it has the potential to become an aristocratic, classic Montrose. 93-95 points, Neal Martin (Vinous).
Chateau La Gaffeliere 2021
Chateau La Gaffeliere has released at £288 per 6 IB, and is an incredibly smart buy for speculators. Awarded a superb 95-97 points from Antonio Galloni, La Gaffeliere outscores Ausone, Angelus and Figeac at a fraction of the price. For Galloni, the 2021 “is a wine of extraordinary finesse and class” with “striking depth and complexity”. Neal Martin is in agreement, commenting on the “intensity and vibrancy” of the 2021, which “continues a strong run for this Saint-Émilion estate”. This is an estate on a very exciting trajectory and one to watch closely
From the critics
A notable success in this vintage, the 2021 La Gaffelière offers up aromas of sweet cherries and berries mingled with notions of licorice, loamy soil and spices. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and enveloping, it’s supple and charming, with a fleshy core of fruit, lively acids and ripe, powdery tannins, concluding with impressive persistence. Tasted four times, twice at the château. 92-94 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
The 2021 La Gaffelière was picked September 22 to October 15, and matured in 60% French new oak. There is a healthy 42% Cabernet Franc here. The nose is quite open with black cherry, blueberry and touches of violet and peony; the oak is nicely integrated. In the mouth, this is medium-bodied with fine delineation, good focus and real midpalate weight. Conveying good intensity and vibrancy, this continues a strong run for this Saint-Émilion estate. 94-96 points, Neal Martin (Vinous) Drink 2028-2055
The 2021 La Gaffelière is a wine of extraordinary finesse and class. Time in the glass brings out striking depth and complexity. The aromatics alone are beguiling but everything about the 2021 speaks to elegance. Crushed red berry fruit, rose petals, blood orange, mint and saline notes punctuate the finish. 95-97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2031-2061
A very precise and curated wine with ultra-fine tannins that run the length of the wine. Medium body. Dark berry and dark chocolate flavors and a creamy finish. Classy. 94-95 points, James Suckling
Chateau Clerc Milon 2021
From the Mouton Rothschild stable is the brilliant Fifth Growth Pauillac, Chateau Clerc Milon. At £342 per 6 IB, this top-value Pauillac offers superb, and affordable access to the majesty of Mouton Rothschild in a charming style. With vines situated between Lafite and Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Clerc Milon’s 2021 offers quintessential Pauillac from this terroir-driven estate. For Galloni, “2021 Clerc Milon is gorgeous” with a “classic sense of structure”. William Kelley also awards 92-94 points, calling the 2021 “a success, bursting with aromas of blackberries, cassis and plums mingled with violets, tobacco leaf and nicely integrated new oak”
From the critics
The 2021 Clerc Milon is a success, bursting with aromas of blackberries, cassis and plums mingled with violets, tobacco leaf and nicely integrated new oak. Medium to full-bodied, layered and seamless, it’s deep, fleshy and complete, with a rich core of succulent fruit, beautifully polished tannins and a long, sapid finish, it’s a compelling, characterful wine that transcends the vintage. 92-94 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
The 2021 Clerc Milon is gorgeous. Beams of tannin lend energy and direction to an alluring Clerc Milon that marries fruit density with a classic sense of structure that is quite appealing. 92-94 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2029-2041
Polished and well-structured red with a medium body and firm but creamy and broad tannins. Perfumed already, with sandalwood, blackberry and currant character. Crushed stones. Tea leaves, too. Firm and solid to the end. Very solid for the vintage. 59% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 1.5% carmenere and 1.5% petit verdot. 93-94 points, James Suckling.
Chateau Beychevelle 2021
Global powerhouse and perennial IG Wines favourite, Chateau Beychevelle has released at £706 per 12 IB. A wine loved globally, demand has rocketed in the last 10 years, the Dragon-boat-esque label makes it a darling in Asia. Back vintages of Beychevelle continue to see huge price increases. With the 2021 released onto the market 16% below current 2020 stocks and substantially below older vintages, this is a wine to snap up en primeur.
The 2021 has received praise across the major critics, with William Kelley calling it “a strong effort” and awarding 91-94 points. Antonio Galloni echoes this sentiment calling the 2021 “rich and sumptuous” and “a terrific Beychevelle with a bright future”. Scoring 92-94 points, the 2021 is a magnificent wine with huge potential to become a near-match for the high scoring 2020 and 2019.
From the critics
The 2021 Beychevelle is rich and sumptuous, but not quite as pushed in that direction as some recent vintages have been. Then again, that sort of opulence was simply not possible in 2021. Even so, the 2021 flows with dark blue/purplish fruit, incense, espresso, mocha, menthol and licorice. All the elements are so well balanced. The 2021 is a terrific Beychevelle with a bright future.92-94 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous) Drink 2031-2046
The 2021 Beychevelle is a strong effort, exhibiting aromas of sweet berries and plums mingled with cigar wrapper and fresh mint. Medium to full-bodied, bright and fine-boned, it’s deep and layered, with powdery tannins, lively acids and a saline finish. This wine only improved over the five times I tasted it. 91-94 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
Darkly herbal, spiced and perfumed nose. Supple, fruity, forward and lively, this has an initial vivacious and pulsing energy that settles giving some green pepper, eucalyptus and cedar notes as well as liquorice and clove which then dominate the finish. It starts well, with such pace, and you feel the fruit has been well worked with tannins that are silky and fine. This has density and chew which I love as well as structure and backbone wine overall finesse. Great potential here. 94 points, Georgina Hindle (Decanter). Drink 2025-2048
Chateau Leoville Poyferre 2021
Chateau Leoville Poyferre have released at £430 per 6 IB. This Saint Julien chateau has really risen up the quality ranks in recent years, producing sell out wines over the last four vintages and becoming one of the finest in the appellation. The 2021 release continues this amazing run of form with praise from all of the major critics. Jeb Dunnuck awards a superb 94-97 points, describing the 2021 as “a beauty” that “is unquestionably going to offer tons of pleasure over the coming 20-25 years”. Neal Martin echoes this sentiment calling this “a fine Saint-Julien that should give many years of drinking pleasure”.
From the critics
The top wine, the 2021 Château Léoville Poyferré is a beauty and certainly makes the most of the vintage. Based on 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that hit 14% alcohol (with an IPT of 78 and a pH of 3.85), its dense purple hue is followed by a rich, concentrated, medium to full-bodied Saint-Julien that has terrific purity of fruit, notes of cassis, violets, and spicy wood, ripe tannins, and remarkable overall balance. It brings more richness and depth than most in the vintage and is unquestionably going to offer tons of pleasure over the coming 20-25 years. 94-97 points, Jeb Dunnuck.
The 2021 Léoville Poyferré is classy and polished right out of the gate. All the classic Poyferré signatures come through, but in miniature. The 2021 impresses with its pliant fruit, silky tannins and fine balance. To be sure, the 2021 is a smaller-scaled wine than the norm here over the last few years, but that is the charm of this vintage. Inky dark fruit, pencil shavings, licorice and menthol build into the super-expressive finish. Tasted three times. 93-95 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).
Enjoyably supple texture, silky and juicy with blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and redcurrant fruit, along with liqourice, fennel and a touch of cocoa bean. This is a serious Poyferré with a firm tannic structure and clear ageing potential, more austere at this stage than you often find. Michel Rolland consultant, 45% new oak, 45% 1st wine, 24hl/h yield. Harvest September 28 to October 12. 95 points, Jane Anson (Inside Bordeaux).
Chateau Brane-Cantenac 2021
The excellent Chateau Brane-Cantenac released at £282 per 6 IB, 6% down on last year’s release price. This is quintessential Margaux that offers brilliant value for the unquestionable quality coming from this popular estate. Antonio Galloni awards 93-96 points, calling it “bold, sumptuous and alluring” and noting that there is “certainly a lot to look forward to”. Following from our own tastings in April, we wholly concur.
From the critics
The 2021 Brane-Cantenac notably marries fruit intensity with energy and structure. There is an exotic richness to the 2021 that is impossible to miss. Kirsch, red plum, blood orange, cinnamon, new leather and spice all meld together. The 2021 is bold, sumptuous and alluring. There is certainly a lot to look forward to. The oak needs to fully integrate, but that is what élevage is for. Brane-Cantenac was impressive on both occasions I tasted it. 93-96 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous).
The 2021 Brane-Cantenac shows considerable promise, exhibiting a deep bouquet of wild berries, cassis, spices and violets, followed by a medium to full-bodied, layered and impressively concentrated palate that’s framed by powdery tannins, concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish. This seamless and enveloping wine is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and the balance Carmenère and Petit Verdot. Once again, it’s derived from the château’s best holdings on the plateau of Brane and is maturing in entirely new barrels. 93-95 points, William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
Chateau Pichon Baron 2021
Pichon Baron 2021 has released at £660 per 6 IB. William Kelley waxes lyrical about the 2021 Pichon, calling it “one of the successes of the vintage, readers that overlook this wine will regret it” and scoring it 94-96+ points. Antonio Galloni awards it 95-97 points, which puts it up with some of his wines of the vintage – this is a Chateau to stock up on in abundance!
Further to great critic scores it is worth noting the price of Pichon Baron since 2013 increased on average 60% and all vintages have increased 30% over the last five. Baron are firmly one of the leading super second growths, making them one of the leading estates not only in Pauillac but arguably the whole of Bordeaux. Situated right next to the world-famous (and vastly more expensive) Chateau Latour; not only does Pichon rubs shoulders with the legends of Bordeaux it really does give them a run for their money in quality and price.
From the critics
The 2021 Pichon-Baron is a dense, packed wine, its mid-weight structure notwithstanding. There is a lot of wine here, but readers have to be patient. Red-toned fruit, blood orange, mint, rose petal and cinnamon add layers of nuance, but more than anything else, the 2021 stands out for its persistence. 95-97 points, Antonio Galloni (Vinous). Drink 2031-2061
A brilliant achievement, the 2021 Pichon-Longueville Baron opens in the glass with aromas of dark berries, blackcurrants, cigar wrapper, loamy soil, pencil shavings and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it’s concentrated and penetrating, with terrific concentration and a beautifully refined, classy profile. A blend of fully 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, it represents the wine this great estate could have produced in 1996. One of the real successes of the vintage, readers who overlook this wine will live to regret it. 94-96+ William Kelley (The Wine Advocate).
The 2021 Pichon Longueville Baron (which, incidentally, has been the legal name since 2021!) is matured in 70% new oak. It opens up nicely in the glass, revealing a straightdown-the-line, floral bouquet of violets intermingled with graphite notes. There is a delicacy about the aromatics that distinguishes it from recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, very pure and “athletic.” No extra fat here; instead, perhaps, slender like the MoutonRothschild, which is not a bad thing. Nimble might be a better word. Very fine. 93-95 points, Neal Martin (Vinous). Drink 2026-2055
Gorgeous depth through the palate, plenty of character, enjoyable, clear power to the well structured tannins. There is less density than the past three vintages of Pichon Baron, but they focused instead savoury Cabernet-dominant fruits and added complexity by drawing out the fennel, rosemary and pencil lead character that keeps us firmly in Pauillac. Highest level of Cabernet Sauvignon ever (just more than 2018), with 70% new oak for ageing. Harvest through to October 8. 94 points, Jane Anson (Inside Bordeaux).