A Stellar Bordeaux First and Second Growth Tasting

As an avid wine enthusiast, I had the privilege of attending the Bordeaux First and Second Growth Tasting at Berry Bros & Rudd in London, February 2023. Guided by the expert tutelage of Mark Pardoe MW, the Wine Director, the event was nothing short of spectacular.

We started the evening on a bubbly note with the Champagne Valentin Leflaive, Le Mesnil Sur Oger ’16, Grand Cru ($96). This champagne was a beautifully balanced symphony of fine bubbles, exuding notes of ripe pears, brioche, and delicate minerality – a fitting beginning to our journey (rating: 4.2/5.0).

The 2012 Ch. Haut Brion, 1er Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan ($621) followed, revealing a nuanced complexity of earthy minerality, a medley of ripe red and black fruits, and a touch of cedarwood – an overall opulent and well-integrated wine (rating: 4.7/5.0).

The 2017 Château Rauzan-Ségla, 2ème Cru Classé, Margaux ($93) exhibited a bouquet of ripe cherries, violets, and cassis. On the palate, it presented a harmonious interplay of firm tannins, fresh acidity, and profound depth of flavors (rating: 4.4/5.0).

The 2014 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, 2ème Cru Classé, Pauillac ($342) exuded an intense aroma of blackcurrants and graphite, with a trace of sweet spices. It was harmonious and balanced, with an enduring finish (rating: 4.5/5.0).

Next, the 2012 Ch. Léoville Las Cases, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien ($252) captured the elegance of St Julien with its vibrant red fruit character, pronounced tannins, and captivating minerality (rating: 4.6/5.0).

The tasting continued with the 2005 Ch. Gruaud Larose, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien ($165), showing a complex mix of dark fruit, tobacco, and truffle notes, albeit slightly restrained (rating: 4.2/5.0), followed by the 1995 Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien, a mature wine offering nuanced notes of dried cherries, leather, and earthy tobacco (rating: 4.3/5.0).

The first perfect score of the night was the 2012 Ch. Margaux, 1er Cru Classé, Margaux ($690). This ethereal wine unfolded with layers of ripe blackberries, floral violets, and subtle spices, showcasing supreme balance and grace (rating: 5.0/5.0).

The 2009 Ch. Latour, 1er Cru Classé, Pauillac ($1827), commanded attention with its powerful structure, deep layers of blackcurrant, graphite, and forest floor notes (rating: 4.7/5.0).

The second star of the evening was the 2005 Ch. Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé, Pauillac ($931). The wine was simply outstanding, exploding with a vibrant array of black fruits, exotic spices, cigar box, and an impressively long and velvety finish (rating: 5.0/5.0).

The final wine of the evening was the 2005 Ch. Lafite Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé, Pauillac ($1327). This wine was the epitome of elegance and finesse, with delicate layers of black fruits, cedar, and graphite. Its harmony and subtlety were a joy to behold (rating: 4.9/5.0).

In conclusion, this tasting was an enriching exploration of Bordeaux’s top wines, offering an in-depth appreciation of their intrinsic quality and expressiveness. The standout wines, Ch. Margaux and Ch. Mouton Rothschild, were nothing short of awe-inspiring, encapsulating the essence of Bordeaux’s wine excellence. For me, it showed that the First Growths still have the edge over the Second Growths, but some of them are amazing quality.

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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