After tasting Left Bank wines and really enjoying their quality we were a little apprehensive to trek across to the Right Bank. We have a lot of friends there, and although we had been told by them that the vintage was very good in both Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, we weren’t so sure.

In Pomerol, the UGC was disappointing — not in terms of quality, but rather with the small amount of producers displaying their wine. Bon Pasteur, Beauregard, Croix de Gay, Clinet and three or four other producers was all there was.

The best by far was Clinet. I was surprised that James Suckling only gave the wine a 93-95 rating, as the Chateau delivered a magnificent product. The Cabernet Sauvignon that is always part of Clinet’s blend gave a lift to an already impressive mix of beautiful fruit with sweet and creamy qualities. 88 % Merlot, 12 % Cab Sauv.

Chateau Clinet – MTW 97-99

Chateau Clos l’Eglise, Clinet’s neighbor was also a resounding success:
I was surprised as to how nicely the wine drank from the barrel. Aromatics were a mix of flowers and red fruit and on the palate, the wine offered that perfect tension that Patrice Leveque seems to seek for all his wines.

Chateau Clos l’Eglise MTW 96-98

Two Pomerol winery experiences were the very best for me, though. The first was Vieux Chateau Certan, where the 2016 shows all the beautiful VCC DNA, plus packs an extra punch of ripe juice.
Mr Thienpont believes that the success of the vintage was due to homogenous and rapid budding, which set the grapes in a healthy state in late Summer and allowed for picking at the utmost ripening time. Old vines did particularly well, producing deeply colored, balance and concentrated wines.

Vieux Chateau Certan MTW 98-100

The second was Chateau Le Conseillante, dubbed by many as the “Right Bank Wine of the Vintage.” Marielle Cazeaux, the extraordinary winemaker, cultivates in biodynamics,( although not certified due to the proximity of other wineries that don’t work in the same system). However, like VCC, her La Conseillante is lush and expressive, a kind of crossover between 2015 & 2009. Moreover, the aromatics were particularly fragrant and appealing. Alcohol, like most right bank wines, holds at around 14%, a good half degree higher than in the Medoc

Chateau Le Conseillante – MTW 98-100

Next door in Saint-Emilion, we sampled the usual suspects. At Chateau Cheval Blanc ( will rate with first growths), the nicest surprise was with the second wine, Petit Cheval – voluptuous, full of energy, this was the best I have tasted in many years. Pure nose, Aromas of red fruit, creaminess in the mouth, a superlative effort

Petit Cheval – MTW 95-97

Chateau Angelus and Chateau Pavie will be reviewed with the other first growths a little later.
Chateaux Poesia and Barde-Haut, the two stablemates of the Garcin-Leveque group, were both excellent in different ways. The Barde-Haut was mid- bodied with refined touches, while Poesia was beautifully muscular. These two properties keep making better wines and Poesia’s structure and overall style tells me a 100 pt rating will soon be in the offing for it!

Chateau Poesia –MTW 95-97
Chateau Barde-Haut –MTW 94-96

Chateau Canon ( 76 Merlot / 24 Cab Franc), fresh from its enormous success of 2015, was not a letdown. The more mineral of all right bank wines we tasted, it was all perfume, fruit and elegance

Chateau Canon-MTW 97-99

Best of all, as you may have guessed, was Chateau Ausone. However, it needs reviewing later and I should not even let you know how fabulous it was…well, too late!
Chapelle d’Ausone was also terrific — possibly lacking that final touch that makes a wine divine, but knocking at that door., with layer upon layer of rich fruit and finely ground, integrated tannins.

Chapelle d’Ausone – MTW 94-97

Eglise Clinet was an excellent blend of freshness, power and acidity, but I have to say that I was not as enthralled with it as with previous vintages. Was it the high yield ( 43 HL / Ha) ? Not sure, but the wine appeared slightly diluted…will need to review again

Chateau Eglise Clinet- MTW 93-95

In all, the Right Bank wines delivered just as much as their counterparts in the Medoc. Both sides of the river show wines giving generous, pleasing aromas and purity of fruit. If there is a difference, it is primarily that in this vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon shines through and gives great structure to northern Medoc wines in particular. On the Right Bank, young Merlot vines suffered from Summer burn. But older vines gathered rich fruit, which was never overwhelming. Alcohol levels on the right bank were slightly more elevated ( 14 % to 13-13.5% in Medoc)

So far, before speaking of the Pessac-Leognan region and before discussing First Growth wines in the Medoc, it would be fair to say that the vintage is excellent across the board. Many, many wines are well made and disappointments were very few. Is 2016 a fantastic vintage? I’m not sure yet. But in these early tastings, the wines show a lot of promise.

Now Bordeaux producers have the responsibility to decide whether they will charge a fair price for their wines, or charge as much as they possibly can and perpetuate the idea that Bordeaux are too expensive! We will see very soon!

1st notable offers futures 2016
Cos d’Estournel 96-98 pts $149.99
Pagodes de Cos 93-95 pts $43.99
Cos Blanc 96-98 pts $104.99


Michel Thibault