Update 05/12/23

We’ve had some good releases the last couple of days. The Leoville Barton promises to be one of their finest ever (first vintage in the new cellars) and Langoa was simply awesome. Just wish I could get more of both as volume was down. Siran promises to be one of the best buys this year and also sports a one-off special label in tribute to Queen Elizabeth. Finally a trio of what are arguably the best-buys in all of St. Emilion. First off is Chateau Mangot. This has been a “sleeping giant” for quite some time with a superb terroir right near Chateau Valendraud. It was given cru classe status this year along with our next new offering the always loved Tour St. Christophe. This is once again another “homerun” from TSC don’t miss it. Finally another “sleeping giant” -Chateau Bellefont Belcier. This incredible property sits right next door to Chateau Pavie and the wine has never been better. I actually went out of my way to taste it twice just to be sure. Don’t miss it!

Update: 05/09/2023

The campaign gets underway today with the release of two very important wines. Cheval Blanc and Angelus. Both are some of the greatest ever produced at these famous Chateau!

Bordeaux 2022... The future is bright!

I just returned from a wonderful week in Bordeaux tasting the fabulous 2022 wines “en premiere”. With a very vigorous schedule I tasted almost every important wine on both banks (really the only ones I missed were Petrus, Le Pin and Lafluer!) some 2-3 times (as I also attended a few negociant tastings). All in all, I probably tasted close to 500 wines. Safe to say I’d like to think I have a pretty good sense of 2022 in its infant stage!

If you recall from the news 2022 was a very hot summer in France. Chateau folks told me they returned from holiday in August and were very concerned when they saw small berries with thick skins. Perhaps another 2003 was in the works?  But when it came to harvest (one of the earliest ever harvests by the way) the wines showed incredible freshness with reasonable alcohol levels.  How did this happen? I asked this question many times and received many different answers:

  • Better vineyard practices -especially canopy management to help give the grapes some nice shade
  • The vines have adapted to the “new normal” of hot vintages
  • 2021 was a relatively cooler vintage so the vines were in better shape to handle a rebound vintage like 2022
  • Better winemaking with more gentle extractions in the cellars

More flexibility at harvest. With smaller fermentation tanks and cold rooms for holding fruit, winemakers could harvest over a longer period of time instead of being forced to pick over-ripe or under-ripe grapes.

Of course, all of the above are probably true and as one Chateau director told me -these are Mediterranean plants that can adapt to these harsh climate changes. What remains to be seen is if this is a “one off” type of “miracle” vintage or if this is the new normal. Only time will tell but the winemaking and vineyard practices in Bordeaux have never been better so the future seems bright to me!

How do the wines taste? Well overall these wines were an absolute pleasure to taste. In many instances the fruit was so pure and beautiful it was almost as if they were ready to be bottled. The fruit is deep, dark and intense but in most cases the tannins are well integrated and very fine. You know you are tasting a wine of power, but the freshness and lift make that element quite less obvious. Almost like driving a large luxury car with a huge motor. The ride is quiet and smooth, but you know what will happen if you step on the gas!

My top five (well 6) of the vintage... not in order and it’s six as Latour is not sold as a future:

Vieux Chateau Certan
20% Cab Franc. A wine of amazing balance, intensely ripe but you don’t feel it, perfume for days on the nose…wow!

Blueberry compote on the nose, intense mineral undertone. The great Merlot here shines through. Tannins are so integrated. Fantastic

Violets on the nose, hidden power tension classic Pauillac. A great wine in the making for sure.

Carmes Haut Brion
Floral nose, mid-weight very, very pure fruit and tons of freshness. CHB just keeps getting better and better.

50/50 blend of Cab Franc and Merlot. Super dense yet balanced so exotic but still old world. Magical stuff

Brooding, mineral intensity. Dark berry fruits -tight and compact keeps changing in the glass. Amazing accomplishment


Other highlights:

Another year, another great Canon. Layers, layers, and more layers. Almost “salty” with that Canon elegance.

The limestone and clay terroirs at this special spot looking down on the rest of St. Emilion So subtle and so balanced. Hss all the hallmarks of a great wine. Troplong is the wine to watch right now.

Loved, loved this wine. 17% Cab Franc-layers of spicy fruit build up in intensity such finesse. Best L’evangile ever? Time will tell!

Haut Bailly
Voluptuous, and rich with wonderful Cabernet shining through. Very complex even at this early stage.

Brane Cantenac
Lots of buzz going around for this one already. Super fresh and bright and so finessed. A real joy to taste.


Other wines to put on your radar screen (that hopefully will be reasonably priced as well):

This will get huge scores. Sweet tannins and intense concentration yet you still know it’s a Margaux. Great stuff here

Larcis Ducasse
Another Phil favorite and the 2022 doesn’t disappoint. With that classic Larcis sexy fruit and mineral undertone it goes on and on…

Clerc Milon
Texture, mouthfeel, and delicious fruit. This should be a very strong buy.

Branaire Ducru
I’m always a Branaire fan and I love their 2022. Dark fruits, but so delicate at the same time. Has an interesting exotic character that brings you back. Great stuff!

Is there a better bang for the buck in Bordeaux right now? Red fruits, medium weight and so fresh. Another excellent Lagrange!

Delicious, will be a bargain and it will age very well. Once again, a “no brainer” purchase that you’d be best to buy right away as it sells out quick.

This is just a handful of highlights. Many other greats that I may comment on as they are released. As always, please feel free to email me at pbernstein@bassins.com with any questions.

*First growths and “big” St. Emilion and Pomerol wines will come in wood three packs. All other wines will be in wood six packs.
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2022 Chateau Angelus - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94693 | 26 Available
98-99 JS

So many beautiful primary fruit aromas. Al dente. Peaches. Very floral. Aromatic. Full-bodied and extremely fine tannins with length and beauty that show incredible depth. Superb brightness and reality. Exciting. Cabernet franc freshness and dynamics come...


2022 Chateau Barde Haut - St. Emilion (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94834 | 60 Available
96-98 JD

I was blown away by the quality of the 2022 Château Barde-Haut, and this 80/20 split of Merlot and Cabernet Franc does everything right in the vintage. Revealing a deep purple hue as well as stunning aromatics of cassis, spring flowers, black cherries, an...


2022 Chateau Bellefont Belcier St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94767 | 116 Available
96-97 JS

Blackberry, iron, hazelnut, crushed stone, hints of salt and spice. Medium to full body. Fresh and vivid. Very sophisticated and classy. The tannins are silky and so fine, but then it opens up at the end of the palate.


2022 Chateau Berliquet St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94787 | 72 Available
94-95 WA

The 2022 Berliquet is brilliant, bursting with aromas of plums, wild berries and lilac, followed by a medium to full-bodied, concentrated and vibrant palate that's deep and mineral. It's likely to be another of the vintage's more attractive en primeur pro...


2022 Chateau Beychevelle - St. Julien (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94783 | 72 Available
95-97 VM

The 2022 Beychevelle was picked between 12-29 September at 36hL/ha, matured in 70% new oak. It has an intense bouquet with black cherries, blueberry and touches of cassis and violet. Not as ostentatious as some other Saint-Julien wines at this early st...


2022 Chateau Carruades Lafite - Pauillac (Bordeaux FUTURE ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94795 | 24 Available
96-97 JS

Extremely perfumed with sweet tobacco and blackcurrants as well as cedar and dark chocolate. Aromatic. Medium-bodied with an intense center palate of blackcurrant, orange peel and peaches. Nervy. 53% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 3...


2022 Chateau Cheval Blanc - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94692 | Available
98-100 VM

The 2022 Cheval Blanc is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage. Deep, seamless and striking in its beauty, the 2022 possesses pedigree to burn. Readers will find a sumptuous wine, but there’s plenty of tannin lurking beneath all of that inte...


2022 Chateau Croix St George - Pomerol (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94814 | 59 Available
95-96 JS

Blackberry, hazelnut and chocolate, yet it remains reserved and focused. Full body with a solid core of fruit and fine tannins. Very classy. One of the best I have had.


2022 Chateau Du Tertre - Margaux (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94786 | 60 Available
95-96 JS

This is really clear and bright. Medium- to full-bodied with a solid tannin structure. Tight layers of phenolics to this. Racy and long finish. Firm and focused. 57% cabernet sauvignon, 23% cabernet franc, 15% merlot and 5% petit verdot


2022 Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild Pauillac (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94796 | 15 Available
94-96 JD

The Grand Vin 2022 Château Duhart-Milon is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot. It brings more richness as well as classic Pauillac character in its lead pencil, graphite, tobacco, and red and black fruit-driven aromatics. With gorgeous richness, a medi...


2022 Chateau Fieuzal Rouge - Pessac (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94735 | 32 Available
94-96+ WA

The cumulative rainfall at Château Fieuzal was only 385 millimeters in 2022, compared to 753 millimeters in 2021 and 743 millimeters in 2020. But this did not prevent Stephen Carrier and his team from making a fresh and energetic 2022 de Fieuzal, bursting...


2022 Chateau Fombrauge - St. Emilion (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94784 | 59 Available
94-96+ JD

Beautiful stuff, the 2022 Château Fombrauge is locked and loaded with red and black fruits as well as notes of melted chocolate, leafy tobacco, flowers, and spice. A hedonistic bomb offering full-bodied richness and a round, mouth-filling texture, with sw...


2022 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste - Pauillac (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94918 | 120 Available
96-98 VM

The 2022 Grand Puy Lacoste was picked from 7 to 23 September and contains more Merlot due to the high quality of the fruit, matured in 75% new oak. There is 14.2% alcohol. Therefore, this lends this GPL a little more precocity and sensuality compared to o...


2022 Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste - Pauillac HALF BTL (Future ETA 2025)

375ml | SKU 94926 | 36 Available
96-98 JD

The 2022 Grand Puy Lacoste was picked from 7 to 23 September and contains more Merlot due to the high quality of the fruit, matured in 75% new oak. There is 14.2% alcohol. Therefore, this lends this GPL a little more precocity and sensuality compared to o...


2022 Chateau Laroque - St. Emilion (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94794 | 120 Available
95-97 JD

Clearly one of the new superstars in the appellation, Château Laroque is located on the cooler, eastern edge of Saint-Emilion and consists of pure, classic upper plateau limestone soils. The estate covers a whopping 54 hectares, which gives director Davie...


2022 Chateau Latour Martillac Blanc - Pessac (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94871 | 60 Available
93-95 JD

Bright citrus, tart pineapple, and honeyed mint are just some of the nuances in the 2022 Château Latour-Martillac Blanc, a medium-bodied, vibrant, crisp white that certainly makes the most of the vintage. It shows plenty of ripeness and concentration, yet...


2022 Chateau Latour Martillac - Pessac (Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94872 | 60 Available
93-95 JD

The ruby/plum-hued 2022 Château Latour-Martillac offers up a smoking good bouquet of ripe currants, cassis, and assorted blue fruits as well as some classic Graves chocolate, scorched earth, and floral notes. Full-bodied, rich, and textured, it has lots o...


2022 Chateau Leoville Barton - St. Julien (Bordeaux Future ETA 2025)

750ml | SKU 94742 | 32 Available
96-97+ WA

One of the stars of the Médoc and a wine likely to equal or surpass its 2019 and 2016 counterparts, the 2022 Léoville Barton unwinds in the glass with deep aromas of cassis, pencil shavings, spices and tobacco leaf, followed by a medium to full-bodied, de...