2007 Bordeaux: The Left Bank

Sorting out the gems in a rough vintage


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Pauillac

Chateau Batailley

Very herbaceous and minty nose, green notes battling with black currant fruit, bay leaf, marked by green – narrow and compressed entry, palate is full of green herbal tones and shallow fruit, some black fruit but green and a bit extracted right through the finish. (83-84)


Chateau Clerc Milon

Sweet, almost strawberry scented nose with note of leather, creamy milk chocolate, and light oak spices – creamy entry, brightened by soft tannins which are very well integrated into the crisp red fruits, short finish, a bit simple but fresh and fruity. (87-88)


Chateau Croizet-Bages

Leathery and stinky on the nose with notes of dried fruits, freshly tilled earth, and caramel – Slick in the mouth, smooth, very fresh black raspberry fruit, soft ripe fruit tannin with integrated acids, clean and fresh, ends on some raw wood, a touch rustic. (87-88)


Chateau d’Armailhac

Oaky, tomato leaf, wood spice, black currant, black olive – sweet entry, olivy fruit, focused fresh feel to the black fruit in the mouth, properly ripe, nicely balanced, lovely layered feel, earthy and spicy toned mid-palate, good length, very nicely done. (91-92)


Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse

Oaky and almost soapy on the nose, a touch gamy even with a nice pink peppercorn tone – soft in the mouth, a bit indistinct, nice fresh tannins, very little follow through, nice tobacco and ripe herb tones on the finish though. (85-86)


Chateau Haut-Bages-Liberal

Woodsy, herbal, sweet wood swimming in sweet, plummy fruit – powerful and yet soft with well integrated structure blanketed but rich, slightly extracted feeling fruit, it’s really lovely with just enough rigid structure to keep it from getting cloying, tight on the finish but with sneaky length and excellent balance, a crowd pleaser. (91-92)


Chateau Lynch Bages

Herbaceous with green tobacco on the tight, slightly hard, woody nose – tight on entry, focused with juicy, ripe tannins, bright acid, polished if a touch lean on the mid-palate, yet full of ripe fruit on the backend, needs some time but everything is here and in proportion. (87-88)


Chateau Lynch-Moussas

Slightly herbaceous with rich, dark cherry fruit with an underlay of ripe tomato and aromatic wood - soft entry, shows surprisingly evolved fruit, nice tannins, simple but pleasant. (83-84)


Chateau Baron Pichon-Longueville

Quite floral on the nose and quite complex with notes of pencil lead, smoke, black currant, vanilla, and green olive – soft in the mouth, tannins turn a touch stiff on the mid-palate, almost elegant with a silky overall feel, nicely balanced, good focus and fine length to the fresh black fruit. (91-92)


Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Perfumed nose, floral with violets then tobacco, slight underlay of ripe herbaceous tones, lovely elegant feminine nose with suggestions of crisp red fruits – Light in the mouth, elegant, bright and pure fruit, uncomplicated feeling, truly ripe tannins, silky, so fine and elegant in the mouth, deceptive, has really good richness to it and power with a long, fine complex finish that shows just a suggestion of herbaciousness. (93-94)


Chateau Pontet-Canet

Lots of oak on the nose with big notes of candied cinnamon spice, red fruits, citrussy tones and hints of sandalwood and even some exotic guava tones – a bit thick on entry, seamless if still showing strong oak influences, lots of jammy fruit, black currant, crème de cassis, acids are b a bit spiky, tannins are powdery and raw on the moderately long finish. (89-90)


Saint – Estephe

Chateau Cos Labory

Very oaky, smoky, dried tomato, menthol, licorice, a touch pruny with cocoa notes – sweet, really sweet like pastry glaze, soft and weighty in the mouth, has plenty of rich fruit but too much extracted, dry tannin too, lots of depth to the honey and cocoa tinged dark fruit but those tannins clamp down quickly on the short finish. (87-88)


Chateau De Pez

Earthy and even a little poopy on the nose with smoky shale tones and hints of green peppercorn accenting the subtlely sweet black fruit – nice and chunky on entry, fine balance with soft tannins and integrated acids in balance with the nicely intense ripe fruit, nice purity to the fruit, not big on the backend but shows good length. (89-90)


Chateau Lafon Rochet

Chalk dust, pencil lead, spicy red fruits, wild raspberry with a touch of bramble – nice plush entry, good focus with ripe red fruits, nicely earthy mid-palate, tannins build on the back end with layered fruit and mineral notes, tannins are crisp and offer nice bite in the mouth but cut the finish a bit short, very solid though. (89-90)


Chateau Ormes de Pez

Smoky and autumnal on the nose with rich brambly fruit, dried herbs, slightly gamy notes that frame the lovely perfumed core of wild berry fruit, - gently elegant entry, transparent fruit, mouthwatering acids, fresh and crisp feeling, to the red currant fruit with hints of juniper, not a powerhouse but elegant, balances fruit and mineral note through the moderately long finish. (89-90)


Chateau Phelan Segur

Herbaceous and vegetal on the nose with an underlying woody sweetness – indistinct in the mouth with nice richness but not much focus, acid is acceptable, tannins really build up, sort of just lays across the palate. (81-82)

A word about scoring

Many people have written me to remark that my scores for these 2007 Bordeaux seem quite high. I would respectfully agree but just wanted to add a few details about my scoring of wine. I try to score conservatively, and generally against the potential of the vintage as opposed to any other vague absolute scale of quality. I tend to enjoy some delicacy in many wines, and thus may be more forgiving of the high acid, slightly under-ripe nature of vintages such as 2007 in Bordeaux. That being said, I have no agenda with my reviews, they are what they are and I urge you to take them as such. Any wine review is simply a snapshot of that bottle of wine at that given time and place. So many things affect our experience with a wine that extrapolating too much out of a wine review would be much like writing a film review after seeing a few frames, or writing a book review after reading just a few pages.


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Comments

  • It would be helpful if, along with your snapshot reviews, you gave what you feel is the aging potential of each of these, vs DRINK NOW or DONT DRINK NOW. My interest is very specific, because I had the (mis/good) fortune of visiting many of these chateaux in April '07 and wanted ideally to buy a btl from each of the places I visited, within reason and affordability:
    Pichon-Longueville was my "residence" for my week-long stay, and we also visited
    Petit Villages
    Lafon Rochet
    Margaux
    Lynch Bages
    Cantenac-Brown
    Loeville Barton,
    Suduiraut
    Pibran
    Ausone
    Valandraud
    Smith Haute Lafitte

    Some are obviously beyond my price range (Margaux and Ausone) but if any are priced reasonable to their quality for 2007, knowing if I should save or savor them now would be a plus.

    Thanks.
    Mary

    Aug 11, 2010 at 5:04 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 6,898

    So in your view what was the problem with Domaine de Chevalier? They usually do better, and are one of my go-tos in Pessac-Leognan. As is the Pape Clement, whose '97 I also like. Ditto Kirwan and Rauzan-Segla in Margaux, Branaire-Ducru and Gruad Larose in St. Julien, d'Armailhac and Pichon Baron and Comtesse in Pauillac, though we're rising in price scale. How much better do you guess the Pontet Canet will get with age?

    Aug 11, 2010 at 7:41 PM


  • There really is a typo in there: Bordeaux Clairet (deep pink) is great, but Clairette (the white grape) isn't permitted in Bordeaux.

    Aug 12, 2010 at 12:31 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 196,111

    Duly noted - Thanks!

    For the more in-depth questions, give me a bit of time to clear my desk and I shall return!

    Aug 12, 2010 at 12:47 PM


  • Snooth User: Amantivino
    400043 11

    Great article. I have had many similar arguments with friends who love the Southern Rhone in 2007. Like 2000, 2003, 2005 and now 2009 in Bordeaux, 2007 in the Rhone produced opulent wines with ripe tannins and powerful fruit. The kind of stuff the critics live for.

    Honestly I prefer the 2008 CDPs to those of 2007. What they lack in power, they more than make up for in nuance and elegance. I would love to hear your thoughts on the past few years in the Southern Rhone.

    Aug 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 196,111

    Mary, these wines will only improve with age, well most of them at least. I would be comfortable leaving them be for 3-5 years.

    Dmcker

    Let's see Domaine de Chevalier - looks fine just a bit too tannic at this stage, and with this being a lighter bodied vintage I am hesitant to suggest that this sort of issue will easily rectify itself. The Pontet Canet though looks like it is balance already so I would expect the wine to have a fine, if somewhat compressed evolution. Now keep in mind this is coming from someone who is now begging to drink his 99s, which i expect will be at peak over the coming 5-8 years.

    Thanks Amantivino. Well, I think vintages like 05 and 07 in the Rhone are fantastic - for Cotes du Rhone. I have preferred most 04 Rhones to their 05 counterparts, and lots not even discuss the 03s!

    Truth is the winemaking style in the Rhone has undergone radical changes over the past 10-15 years. A vintage like 1995 was my kind of vintage and some producers still ate making spectacular wines, but at a price.

    To be honest I don't generally buy much Rhone wine anymore. If I do it's likely to be from just a few producers in the north, and perhaps an equal numer in the south. Though i find myself thinking that if I want southern Rhones I'm better off looking towards the Rousillon-Languedoc these days for better wine at better pricing!

    Aug 13, 2010 at 6:04 PM


  • Oh Dear
    Not only am I at a loss to understand why we should be gambling large amounts of money to find which left bankers are worth the cash, my preferred alternative, the 2007 Southern Cotes du Rhone, where everything is a winner, not just the psh communes but the humble villages, is under attack!
    I am baffled chaps!
    Two of last years greatest young wines tasted were:-
    Font de Michelle Chateauneuf de Pape 2007
    Domaine du Cayron Gigondas 2007.

    Not only that but you can drink these from now onwards, not in 2016 or whenever the vendor tells you the closed tannins will soften and the vegetal aromas will subside!

    Lower priced alternatives are the excellent Rasteau applelation and Cotes du Rhone Villages. However, there is a reason the 2008s are more common and easy to find; the French and collectors are hoarding the 2007s.

    Aug 19, 2010 at 7:23 AM


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