Bordeaux Deep Dive ‘The New 1st Growths’

Berry Bros & Rudd’s Bordeaux Deep Dive, expertly steered by Master of Wine Mark Pardoe, offered a wonderful journey through the nuances of Bordeaux’s classifications, highlighting exceptional wines from both the First Growths and those less lauded but equally deserving of attention.

Apéritif: 2020 Brane-Cantenac Blanc ($75 – rating: 4.4 / 5.0)

Our tasting commenced with the 2020 Brane-Cantenac Blanc, a vibrant Bordeaux white that intrigued with its enticing nose of ripe pears, citrus, and a touch of brioche. The palate mirrored these notes, refreshed by crisp acidity and a generous fruit expression. A graceful introduction to the evening.

Wine 1: 2015 Ch. Mouton Rothschild, 1er Cru Classé, Pauillac ($807 – rating: 4.9 / 5.0)

The 2015 Ch. Mouton Rothschild was an exquisite expression of Pauillac. Its nose was heady with aromas of blackberries, cedar, and truffles. The palate delivered a superb balance of dark fruit, velvety tannins, and bright acidity. Its finish was exceptionally long, with notes of dark chocolate and tobacco.

Wine 2: 2017 Ch. Figeac, 1er Grand Cru Classé (B), St Emilion ($240 – rating: 5.0 / 5.0)

The 2017 Ch. Figeac was an absolute revelation. It captured the essence of St Emilion with its complex bouquet of black cherries, violets, and a hint of graphite. The palate was harmonious, seamlessly integrating ripe fruits, fine-grained tannins, and a vibrant acidity. The finish was outstandingly long, showcasing a fantastic balance between power and finesse.

Wine 3: 2017 Ch. l’Evangile, Pomerol ($345 – rating: 4.8 / 5.0)

The 2017 Ch. l’Evangile was a testament to the brilliance of Pomerol. Its nose was aromatic with ripe black fruits, cocoa, and a touch of savoury earth. The palate presented a beautiful blend of plush tannins, layered fruit flavours, and a bright acidity that rounded off the profile. Its finish was beautifully long, exhibiting a hint of spice.

Wine 4: 2016 Ch. les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (en magnum $532 – rating: 4.7 / 5.0)

The 2016 Ch. les Carmes Haut-Brion was a fascinating wine, offering complex aromas of dark fruits, tobacco, and a unique mineral edge. The palate was bold, harmonious, and well-structured, with the dark fruit flavours being well balanced by firm tannins and a lovely acidity. Its finish was long and persistent, emphasising its excellent ageing potential.

Wine 5: 2012 Ch. Montrose, 2ème Cru Classé, St Estèphe ($128 – rating: 4.8 / 5.0)

The 2012 Ch. Montrose from St Estèphe was indeed impressive. The nose was an enticing mix of blackberries, earthy tones, and an underpinning of cedar. Its palate was balanced, featuring a powerful expression of dark fruits supported by structured tannins and a lovely freshness. The finish was incredibly long, with a pleasing hint of spice.

Wine 6: 2012 Ch. Palmer, 3ème Cru Classé, Margaux ($430 – rating: 5.0 / 5.0)

The 2012 Ch. Palmer from Margaux was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening. The wine delivered an intriguing mix of ripe cherries, violets, and a touch of exotic spices on the nose. The palate was elegantly structured, showcasing the harmonious relationship between the plush tannins, ripe fruits, and the vibrant acidity. Its finish was extremely long, further highlighting its complexity.

Wine 7: 2014 Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien (en magnum $409 – rating: 4.9 / 5.0)

The 2014 Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou was a magnificent representation of St Julien. It enchanted with a vibrant nose of dark fruits, cedar, and a hint of tobacco. The palate was full-bodied and beautifully structured, balancing the rich fruit flavours with a remarkable acidity and robust tannins. The finish was long and remarkably elegant, marking this as a wine of great pedigree.

Wine 8: 2015 Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, 2ème Cru Classé Pauillac ($238 – rating: 4.8 / 5.0)

Finally, the 2015 Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande presented an intense nose of black fruits, violets, and a hint of cassis. The palate was opulent, revealing a great depth of ripe fruit flavours, supported by firm but velvety tannins and a refreshing acidity. Its finish was incredibly long, leaving a delightful aftertaste of dark chocolate and spice.

The conclusion of this deep dive was a testament to the breadth and depth of quality that Bordeaux has to offer. The lineup confirmed that regardless of their official classification, there are numerous Bordeaux estates producing wines of remarkable quality and depth, standing shoulder to shoulder with the revered First Growths. Mark Pardoe MW’s expert commentary further enriched this enlightening exploration of the Bordeaux landscape.

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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