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Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 



Margaret river

Maritime Margaret River is a beautiful mixing pot of nature, surf and wine. It’s a rare place in that it produces some of Australia’s most stylish and prized Chardonnays as well as some of our most elegant and complex Cabernets. On paper it sounds like a lovechild between Bordeaux and Burgundy, but in reality it’s not.

A few hours south of Perth, Margaret River is home to some of Australia’s greatest wineries – Cullen, Vasse Felix, Leeuwin, Moss Wood and Cape Mentelle. In terms of newcomers, we take our hats off to Nocturne, Dormilona and Flametree.

Chardonnay, semillion and sauvignon blanc lead the charge on the white grapes. Oak is favoured in the premium styles which complements a rich core of nectarines, peaches and orchard fruits.  For reds, cabernet is the chosen one, and is often blended with merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. These red blends personify elegance and ageability.

 

The wines of Margaret River fly the flag for modern Australian wines, a beautiful balance of fruit and workmanship.

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The Margaret River wine region (some 240km south of Perth) is the most important region, alon with the Great Southern in Western Australia. Its viticultural history began in the nineteenth century on a very small scale when the grandfather of Dr Kevin Cullen, founder of Cullen Wines established vineyards at Bunbury in 1890, though the vineyard site has now been absorbed by Bunburys unban suburbs. Contemporary Margaret river viticulture began in 1967 when Perth cardiologist Tom Cullity - inspired by papers written by John Gladstones from the University of WA which suggested Margaret River was a good place to grow grapes - planted the first commercial vineyard at Vasse Felix.  Moss Wood, Cape Mentelle and Cullen soon followed and since then Margaret River has grown to become regarded as one of Australia's, and the world's great wine-producing regions and today there are nearly 5,500 hectares under vine and over 120 wine producers in the region.

Though warm, Margaret River's proximity to the Indian Ocean provides a moderating effect ensuring a temperate dry climate which is often likened to Bordeaux, in part due to the moderating influence of its proximity to the ocean and also due to the marked similarities between the average growing tempreture in Margaret River and Bordeaux in a dry vintage. These warm even growing conditions allow for the cultivation of a number of diverse grape varieties, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc (often blended together) does well here, producing fresh textural white wines best condumed in their youth. However, the real heroes are the world class Chardonnays (headed by Leeuwin Estate and Cullen) and Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends, Cullen and Moss Wood, that have done much to propel both the region and it's star performers on the world stage.  Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Cullen, Moss Wood, Lenton Brae, Pierro, Fraser Gallop and Woodlands are just some of the benchmark producers.

Sources:
The Wine Atlas of Australia, James Halliday


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  1. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  2. Senejac 2015
    Senejac 2015

    The 2015 Senejac is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. It has a pure, black cherry, pastille-like bouquet with touches of melted tar and licorice. The palate is well balanced with dry, rather masculine tannin on the entry, a good line of acidity, fresh and nicely proportioned with cedar and tobacco furnishing the long finish. This is a well-crafted, capable Sénéjac that deserves 5-6 years in bottle, and I expect it to land at the top of my banded score.  NEAL MARTIN
    2015
    Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  3. La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml
    La Fleur de Bouard 2010 375ml

    The 2010 La Fleur du Bouard (80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is bottled unfined and unfiltered and hit 14.5% natural alcohol. The wine offers up notes of black raspberry and blueberry pie intermixed with incense, lead pencil shavings and plenty of underlying floral notes. Some background oak is also present. The wine is medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, voluptuously textured, rich, long and hedonistic and satisfying. Drink it over the next 10+ years. The other cuvee, a limited production wine, can be absolutely magnificent with some bottle age, as the 2000 is certainly proving to be.

    The standard of excellence for Lalande de Pomerol is Hubert de Bouard’s 50-acre property, over half of it located on the highly prized Neac plateau, which consists of clay, sand and gravel sub-soils. ROBERT PARKER, 2013

    2010
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  4. Reserve de la Comtesse 2018
    Reserve de la Comtesse 2018
    The 2018 Réserve de la Comtesse is matured in 40% new oak, 30% one year old and 30% two years old. It has a relatively opulent bouquet, although not overdone, armed with copious blackberries, iodine and violet scents that gain intensity in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannin and pure black fruit laced with graphite and white pepper, leading to quite a dense but focused finish. This is a powerful Réserve de la Comtesse that will require three to five years in bottle. 90-92 NEIL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  5. Beychevelle 2015 375ml
    Beychevelle 2015 375ml
    SAINT JULIEN 4th Growth Cru Classé 
    The 2015 Beychevelle was picked between 22 September and 8 October, a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot that will be matured in 50% new oak. It has quite a high IPT at 81, a pH of 3.72. It has a clean and crisp bouquet, tightly-wound at first, then unfurls with redcurrant, cranberry and raspberry scents, leaning towards the red spectrum rather than black. There is impressive delineation here, no frills, almost clinical in its "aromatic efficiency." The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. This is a suave Beychevelle in the making, harmonious in the mouth, supple even, gently building towards a lightly spiced finish. Among the Saint Julien wines, this is clearly one of the more understated 2015s. It is only when you swallow the wine that its lingering flavors remind you that this could evolve into one of Philippe Blanc's great Beychevelles. While it is not a headline-grabbing wine, a decade in bottle will be handsomely rewarded. (92-94) ANTONIO GALLONI
    2015
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  6. Cullen Diana Madeline 2020
    Cullen Diana Madeline 2020

    Another beautiful, soulful release, this one a bit darker, a bit bolder, a mesh of tannins over train tracks and tension, but a wine of significant pedigree and wow factor nonetheless. Dark chocolate and graphite aromas with salted plum, black olive, bay leaf and oyster shell. Flavours ripple with authority in that weave of tannin, dark choc again, panforte perhaps more apt, dark cherry, saline minerality, more bayleaf and cinnamon spice. Succulent in the finish, mouth-watering and very fresh. Compelling stuff. (96) MIKE BENNIE, Winefront

    The Australian wine classic that remains a bargain…..
    I love the combination of bright dark fruit, savoury notes and ferrous hints in a wine that will cellar well but also offers immediate enjoyment. An impressive 97.5/100 for me.  The 2020 vintage was a hot, dry one in Margaret River. producing low yields and wines that were generally aromatic, balanced and pretty. The Diana Madeline is elegant and beguiling. The blend is largely cabernet sauvignon with smidgens of merlot, cabernet franc and malbec, which gives a Bordeaux-like refinement with mulberry, cranberry and salted caramel notes on the palate. It is a vivid wine with an eminently sensible 13% alcohol level. The 50% new French oak is already well integrated and plays second fiddle to the quality dark and fragrant fruit. (97.5) WINDSOR DOBBIN

    2019
    Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot
    Australia
    432
  7. Sociando Mallet 2015 1500ml
    Sociando Mallet 2015 1500ml
    One of the standouts of the vintage, the 2015 Sociando Mallet is all finesse. Light on its feet, gracious and super-expressive, the 2015 speaks to class above all else. The flavors are bright and beautifully lifted in this polished, sophisticated Haut-Médoc. Although a touch light, the 2015 is very pretty. The blend is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 90  ANTONIO GALLONI
    2015
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
    Special Price $195.00 Regular Price $230.00
  8. Clinet 2017
    Clinet 2017

    Pomerol
    9 BOTTLE remain at time of offer
    The 2017 Clinet was bottled at the end of June 2019. It has a more understated bouquet than the 2015 or 2016. Tightly wound, brambly black fruit with traces of pressed violet and iodine, gradually open with orange rind notes. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins. This is classic in style, firm grip and a little rigid in its youth, although it will flesh out with bottle age. I admire both the freshness and salinity in this Clinet, especially its linearity on the finish. Excellent. (13.2% alcohol) (93) NEAL MARTIN, vinous

    2017
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  9. Reserve de la Comtesse 2018- 1500ml
    Reserve de la Comtesse 2018- 1500ml
    The 2018 Réserve de la Comtesse is matured in 40% new oak, 30% one year old and 30% two years old. It has a relatively opulent bouquet, although not overdone, armed with copious blackberries, iodine and violet scents that gain intensity in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannin and pure black fruit laced with graphite and white pepper, leading to quite a dense but focused finish. This is a powerful Réserve de la Comtesse that will require three to five years in bottle. 90-92 NEIL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  10. Montrose 2017
    Montrose 2017

    Saint-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé 
    13 BOTTLE remain at time of offer

    Extremely aromatic with currant, wild-herb and fresh-violet aromas. This is regal cabernet sauvignon at its finest. The palate has unwaveringly long and defined tannins that carry such fresh, piercingly pure, redcurrant and cassis flavors. A twin to the superb 2015? A blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.(97) JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 Montrose is a very pretty, polished wine that speaks much more to finesse than power. Expressive floral and spices notes add an attractive inner sweetness to a Montrose that in 2017 leans more into the red fruit spectrum. Gracious yet deep, with terrific overall balance, the 2017 Montrose is a total winner. What impresses most about the 2017 is its freshness and sophistication. I won't be surprised if Montrose turns out to be even better than this note suggests further down the road. Graphite, licorice, menthol and sage lead to a finish with real grip and freshness. The 2017 is such a classy and promising wine. (95+) ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Montrose was so impressive from barrel and now, bottled since July, it continues to put in a strong case for being one of the best Left Bank wines. It has a very pure and intoxicating bouquet with intense blackberry, light cassis, juniper and violet aromas, almost Margaux-like in terms of personality. Although there is a patina of new oak after bottling, it is in sync with the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle grip on the entry. Tightly wound at the moment but supremely well focused, this is a classic Montrose, "cool" and reserved, demonstrating impressive tension and precision towards the finish. It will require less time in bottle than the 2016 for example, so broach this superb Saint-Estèphe after five or six years and then it will give 25 to 30 years of drinking pleasure, and knowing Montrose, probably longer. Tasted twice with consistent notes. (95) NEAL MARTIN

    2017
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  11. Lynch Bages 2015
    Lynch Bages 2015
    PAUILLAC 5th Growth Cru Classé
    One of the finest Pauillacs of 2015, Lynch-Bages is rich, racy and voluptuous. A rush of dark red and purplish stone fruit, mint, new leather, spice and blood orange give the 2015 a very decidedly exotic character that is impossible to miss. Raspberry jam, mocha, new leather and expressive floral notes appear with time in the glass, rounding things out nicely. Even though the 2015 is quite forward and open at this stage, the wine has plenty of stuffing as well as the underlying structure to support many years of exceptional drinking. This is a stellar showing for Lynch-Bages. ANTONIO GALLONI

    They 2015 Lynch Bages is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that was picked from 23 September until 2 October, matured in 75% new oak. There is an overwhelming sense of purity on the nose: perfumed, almost floral blackberry, wild strawberry, graphite and cedar scents, unmistakably Pauillac in style. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, a keen citrus thread that impart tension and ample freshness. Tasting this as the first wine of the day, it instantly refreshes the mouth and leaves it tingling with energy after it has departed. This is an excellent, top-grade Lynch Bages that deserves 8-10 years in bottle and then will offer three decade of pleasure, maybe more.
    (93-95) NEAL MARTIN
    2015
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
  12. Montrose 2017 1500ml
    Montrose 2017 1500ml

    Saint-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé 
    4 MAGNUMS remain at time of offer

    Extremely aromatic with currant, wild-herb and fresh-violet aromas. This is regal cabernet sauvignon at its finest. The palate has unwaveringly long and defined tannins that carry such fresh, piercingly pure, redcurrant and cassis flavors. A twin to the superb 2015? A blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.(97) JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 Montrose is a very pretty, polished wine that speaks much more to finesse than power. Expressive floral and spices notes add an attractive inner sweetness to a Montrose that in 2017 leans more into the red fruit spectrum. Gracious yet deep, with terrific overall balance, the 2017 Montrose is a total winner. What impresses most about the 2017 is its freshness and sophistication. I won't be surprised if Montrose turns out to be even better than this note suggests further down the road. Graphite, licorice, menthol and sage lead to a finish with real grip and freshness. The 2017 is such a classy and promising wine. (95+) ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Montrose was so impressive from barrel and now, bottled since July, it continues to put in a strong case for being one of the best Left Bank wines. It has a very pure and intoxicating bouquet with intense blackberry, light cassis, juniper and violet aromas, almost Margaux-like in terms of personality. Although there is a patina of new oak after bottling, it is in sync with the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle grip on the entry. Tightly wound at the moment but supremely well focused, this is a classic Montrose, "cool" and reserved, demonstrating impressive tension and precision towards the finish. It will require less time in bottle than the 2016 for example, so broach this superb Saint-Estèphe after five or six years and then it will give 25 to 30 years of drinking pleasure, and knowing Montrose, probably longer. Tasted twice with consistent notes. (95) NEAL MARTIN

    2017
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
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