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Tasting notes: the satellite right-bank appellations

Colin Hay gives his verdict on the right-bank satellite appellations of Saintt Émilion (Lussac, Montagne & St Georges), Cadillac & Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Bourg, Fronsac and Lalande de Pomerol. 

There are also a handful of right-bank Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur tasted along the way, with wines listed alphabetically by appellation or appellation group (St-Emilion and Côtes de Bordeaux appellations are listed together).

Notable highlights:

  • Les Perrières (95-97+)
  • Roc de Cambes (92-94+)
  • Montlandrie (93-95)
  • Les Cruzelles (92-94)
  • Grand Village (92-94)

Value picks*:

  • Les Cruzelles (92-94)
  • Clos Puy Arnaud (91-93+)
  • Du Courlat Cuvée Jean-Baptiste (91-93+)
  • La Chenade (91-93)
  • La Dauphine (91-93)
  • Hauts-Conseillants (91-93)
  • Joanin Bécot (91-93)
  • Canon Chaigneau (90-92)

A note on the ratings

There is an indicative rating for each wine alongside the published comment, which are, necessarily subjective – my aim is more to describe the wine in the context of the vintage, the appellation and recent vintages of the same and similar wines, rather than to judge the wine per se. The comments should give you enough information to align the ratings more closely to your own palate – if the idea of the ‘new classicism’ leaves you cold for example, you may well wish to discount the (typically high) ratings I have given to wines described in such terms.

The 2023 vintage is from homogeneous, so my ratings span a considerable range – I see little point in publishing very low scores, so I have not publish scores for classed growths (or equivalent wines) that I have rated below 90 (range 89-91) or below 89 (88-90) for crus bourgeois (or equivalent wines).  Where my written assessment of the wine might proved unflattering to the property, I have simply not published either the commentary or the rating.

Finally, élevage is likely to be very important in determining the quality in bottle of these wines so all en primeur ratings should be treated with caution and taken with a certain pinch of salt.

Detailed tasting notes 


La Dauphine (Fronsac; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; tasted at the Grand Cercle tasting at La Dauphine). Gracious and charming with quite a dense and compact mid-palate richly enrobed with cedar and black cherries, blueberries and brambles. Very true to its silky style, this is elegant and refined if not quite at the level of the 2022. Super value and a great advert for the appellation, with those lovely crumbly calcaire tannins and impressive fruit purity. 91-93.

La Huste (Fronsac). One might expect this to be a little strict in a vintage like 2023, but it’s the searingly pure fruit that one notices, nice enrobed with gentle spicing and a little suggestion of cedar. I love the Cabernet Franc here, perfectly ripe and imparting a lovely tension – popping blueberries on the one hand and a slight hint of cassis leaf on the other. This is very fine, quite subtle and delicate and the acidity, like the tannins, are very well incorporated. A great advert for the value on offer from this appellation. 90-92.

Lalande de Pomerol

Canon Chaigneau (Lalande de Pomerol; 14% alcohol). Broader on the attack, much more creamily textured in the mid-palate and with a rather pleasingly open-textured structure, this is interestingly different from the Cuve 8a expression – even if one can sense immediately that it comes from the same terroir. The fruit is a little darker, there’s a little more complexity to it too with an attractive wild herbal note, even if the minerality is a little more tempered by the subtle presence of oak. The tannins on the finish will need a little time to soften, but this is an excellent wine in the making. 90-92.

Canon Chaigneau Cuve 8a (Lalande de Pomerol; 14% alcohol). The crasse de fer minerality is rather more evident in this, the non-oak-aged version of the wine, which I like. I like too the gently natural spiciness of the terroir – nutmeg and mace, cracked white peppercorns. Fresh, crisp and bright on the attack, with a dark berry and stone fruit and a very moderated and gentle extraction allowing the fresh fruit to take centre-stage. The tannins are a little chewy on the finish and this is never going to be a big wine, but there’s a pleasing eloquence to the terroir expression and quite a nicely-defined central spine. 88-90.

La Chenade (Lalande de Pomerol; 100% Merlot; aging in oak barrels, 40% of which are new; 14.3% alcohol; tasted at Eglise Clinet with Noémie Durantou). Quite dusty and earthy in personality, with crushed rocks and a ferrous character that I recognise each year. Almond, toasted white almond, frangipane, plums and black berries. There’s less La Chenade because so much was so good that it made the selection for Les Cruzelles. Cool and generous, not terribly ample but beautifully formed in the mouth – a densely pack lozenge shaped ball of fruit. Glistening in the mid-palate and rendered more interesting still by the minerality. Herbal notes too. Very clean on the finish. 91-93.

Les Cruzelles (Lalande de Pomerol; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; 55% new oak; 14.5% alcohol; tasted at Eglise Clinet with Noémie Durantou). Perhaps now the most Pomerol of the Lalande wines. Cedar and black cherry, black berry and bramble. Wild herbs – thyme and rosemary, bay leaf too. Crystalline. So pure and with a lovely shape in the mouth. Eddies of fresh Cabernet in a form so well defined and enrobed by the Merlot. Walnut shell on the finish. A lovely form and evolution with complexity at every stage. The best I’ve ever tasted from here. 92-94.

Enclos de Viaud (Lalande de Pomerol; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; a vineyard of 2.36 hectares; tasted at Bellefont Belcier with Emmanuelle Fulchi and Jean-Christophe Meyrou; as at all of the Vignobles K estates, there were essentially no losses here to mildew). Quite saline in its minerality, a blend of red and darker berry fruits, a little sage, some bright red cherry notes too. Impressive quality tannins. Gentle sweet spices. Cool textured, ample and nicely-enrobed with delicate tannins. Excellent for the vintage here, with signature Vignobles K finesse. 89-91.

 La Fleur de Boüard (Lalande de Pomerol; 85% Merlot; 10% Cabernet Franc; 5% Cabernet Sauvignon). Plump and plush with soft dark cherry fruit, a little bramble and mulberry too. This is not as big and robust a wine as it often is, but it’s been well-managed. The only trouble is that when the fruit runs out of road, as it were, the toasty barrique notes race in to fill the gap left (you don’t notice them before) and so the wine finishes a little caricaturally of vanilla, oak smoke and barbeque spices. But essentially it just needs time. 88-90.

Hauts-Conseillants (Lalande de Pomerol; 95% Merlot; 5%; tasted at Clos du Clocher; a final yield of 38 hl/ha; 10 ha of which 6.5 on the plateau of Néac; IPT 80-85; pH 3.57; 13.8% alcohol). Very difficult year to manage. Little decisions were important at every point. The cost of getting it wrong was very high. They are working on soft pruning to encourage the adaptability of the plant to the pressures it faces. This is impressive, with an intensely dark berry fruit profile. Black berries; wild herbal notes; a little spice; a ferrous minerality. Plump, nice ripeness, broad and ample in its frame. Air-pulse extraction helps explain the quality of the tannins. One of the best of the appellation now. 91-93.

Le Plus de la Fleur de Boüard (Lalande de Pomerol; 100% old-vine Merlot). A big step-up from Le Lion and La Fleur. This is, at first, floral (unlike its younger siblings), with a little peony and violet. Then we get to the big, plump black cherry fruit – very pure and succulent, sapid too. There’s graphite, too, and a little cedar with aeration. Rich, if not as dense or compact as previous vintages, but that gives this more of a sense of flow and evolution over the palate. Long and nicely rippling on the grippy and poised finish. 92-94.

La Sergue (Lalande de Pomerol; 78% Merlot; 16% Cabernet Franc; 6% Malbec; a final yield of 35 hl/ha; Pascal Chatonnet’s cuvée spéciale, a selection from the best of the 20 hectares of Haut Chaigneau, with around 15k bottles produced). More refined than Haut Chaigneau itself. Elegant. Juicy and sapid, the tannins though considerable already well-incorporated. Chewy. Black cherry, red and black current fruit, with a nice lift to the Cabernet component. 91-93.

Satellite Saint-Émilion & Cotes de Bordeaux

D’Aiguilhe (Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux; 90% Merlot; 10% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 30 hl/ha; on the limestone clay plateau; tasted at Canon-La-Gaffelière). Very slightly reductive on the nose at first, but that quickly passes. A little dip in the mid-palate due perhaps to the mildew damage in parcels that needed to be picked a little earlier. Spicy. Limpid and crystalline, glacial and glassy in the mid-palate. Easy and very attractive. A delicate and elegant wine. Pure and precise, with a nice balance between the sucrosity and the salinity. 90-92.

L’Aurage (Castillon). Elegant, charged with candlewax and incense. Aromatically very expressive. Nice in its freshness and purity if less floral than it sometimes is. A touch of the radoux blend cask, yet to be fully incorporated. Chocolate. Liquorice. Crushed dried violets. Quite sapid. No dryness. Intense and very true to its distinct style. 90-92.

Clos Lunelles (Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux; 70% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; a final yield of 32.6 hl/ha; pH 3.63; 14.4% alcohol; tasted at Pavie with Olivier Gailly). There’s a little more Cabernet Franc here now, recently replanted. Creamy, floral, lifted and very calcaire. Aniseed and liquorice. The salinity of the limestone terroir. Very much a wine of its terroir, with such a distinct chalky character to its minerality. Dark berry fruits above all, baked plum too. Nice fruit purity. Fresh. The acidity nicely managed. A lot of extraction and that leaves unresolved tannins on the finish, but as ever this is a vin de garde. The oak needs time to bed in too. But potent and that will give it plenty of what it needs to bring this into full balance. Ambitious and impressive. 91-93.

Clos Puy Arnaud (Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux; 50% Merlot; 45% Cabernet Franc; 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; pH 3.45; 14% alcohol; tasted at the Grand Cercle tasting at La Dauphine; certified organic and biodynamic). Thierry Valette brings us a basket of wild flowers and purple blooms with this vintage. Fresh, bright, lifted and very energetic and dynamic. Very fine grained tannins and a very gentle extraction allow this to glide sinuously over the palate with a wonderful Cabernet-inflected freshness welling up from below. That gives this a kind of vertical and horizontal textural interest and variation – with new textures and flavours popping out in both dimensions. Exciting and highly recommended. 91-93+.

Du Courlat Cuvée Jean-Baptiste (Lussac St-Emilion; 100% Merlot; a final yield of 37 hl/ha; from 5-6 hectares of 17 hectares; pH 3.59; 14.1% alcohol; tasted at Clos du Clocher). Nice black cherry and raspberry fruit purity, with a clear chalky stony minerality. Plump, pushing out the cheeks, with a lovely full plush mid-palate. Very sapid and juicy. A little white almond. Generous with lots of nice natural sweetness. An ample broad-shouldered wine but with great succulence. Good length too. Nice freshness and lift on the finish. Will bring a smile to many a face and almost immediately that it is in bottle 91-93+.

Domaine de Cambes (Côtes de Bourg; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol). Red and darker berry fruits. Glossy, limpid and lithe and dynamic. Chocolate. The oak sticks out a little, as it tends to do here at this early stage. Dried flowers. Camomile. Candied fruit. Fig. Liquorice. Salty. Sapid on the finish. Nicely sustained. 91-93.

Joanin Bécot (Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 40 hl/ha; tasted at Beau-Séjour-Bécot). There’s a little more clay on the limestone here than at Beau-Séjour-Bécot itself. Fresh berry fruits, with lots of verticality from the limestone. Peony. Iris. Very fresh and floral. Green and black peppercorns. Crumbly, almost pebbly on the finish with lovely salty limestone notes. Very authentically of its appellation and with wonderful quality tannins. 91-93.

Montlandrie (Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux; 55M; 20CF; 25CS; 50% new oak; 14.5% alcohol; the fight against mildew on the clay here was very difficult with stormy and intense downpours in the context of heat and the need to treat in conditions where tractors could not enter between the vines; tasted at Eglise-Clinet with Noémie Durantou). The first use of the Cabernet Sauvignon in the grand vin – and it is exactly that, a grand vin. The press wine of the Cabernet Sauvignon was also incorporated, which says a great deal for its quality – as very little press wine is generally used here. Graphite at first and then cedar with aeration, more and more. Profound. Serious. A little introvert but very beautiful. Loads of graphite. A little herbal element. A wine defined by the Cabernet components, aromatically and in terms of its depth and profundity. A little candlewax and even incense. Wondrous texture. Velour. Velvet. An incredibly dense and compact core, almost impenetrable in its intensity. A lovely spherical shape in the mouth. Tender and herbal. Vivid. Very long. Best ever from here with an additional profundity that comes from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Denis would have loved to see the evolution of this. 93-95.

Roc de Cambes (Côtes de Bourg; 80% Merlot; 20% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol). Sunnier, from the slopes. Brighter. More complex. Again, less floral at this stage than it sometimes is. Black cherry. Kirsch. Saffron. Wild thyme (just a touch). Graphite. Fig. Candied fruit. Walnut shell. Virgin olive oil. Very dark berry and, above all, stone fruits. Candlewax. Cool, fresh, lithe and sapid and juicy. Long and rippling, a big step-up from Domaine. Juicy. Layered. Fresh, with a lovely terroir signature. Liquorice. Great length and sustenance. A singularity but one that transcends the limits of the vintage. 92-94+.

Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur

Grand Village (Bordeaux; 91% Merlot; 9% Bouchet; tasted at Lafleur with Omri Ram). A vintage of work and little sleep reports Omri Ram, wistfully. A wine of gorgeous purity and clarity. Floral. Crushed berries and with great juiciness. Sandalwood. Mimosa. So intensely crystalline. Raspberries and loganberries, brambles and mulberries. A hint of walnut. Fabulous texturally. So sapid and succulent, with incredibly fine-grained tannins. Structured and very long and mineral, pure and precise. Incredibly tender on the rapier-like finish. Quite possibly the best I’ve ever tasted from here. 92-94.

Hommage à Denis Dubourdieu (Bordeaux; 100% Petit Verdot). Crushed black pepper, a little sloe, damson and cherry. This is lovely both aromatically and in the mouth. Not too dense or compact, it glides quite effortlessly over the palate, with a certain sinuous quality. Light, crisp, with fine-grained pixilating tannins this is very sapid and juicy. Immediately enjoyable and a fine and moderated expression of the varietal. 88-90.

Perrières de Lafleur (Bordeaux; 100% Bouchet – for the first time; tasted with Omri Ram at Lafleur). Incredibly chalky in its minerality and with a simply gorgeous aromatic profile. Cedar and blueberry, black currant, cassis, walnut shell. Peppery notes too. So gracious and so floral. Peony. Iris. Rose petal. Thyme. Graphite. Pencil-shavings. Bay leaf. All the Merlot this year is in the Grand Village, not because of lack of quality, but the two varietals have rather different profiles in this vintage making them more difficult to combine. The monovarietal expression somehow just elevates this to a different level. The texture is wonderful. So soft. Dense and compact, but incredibly aerial. Utterly divine and so graceful. A coup de coeur. 95-97+.



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