Charles Searson, Searson's Wine Merchants

1. Chateau Doisy Daene Sec, 2004
You can't legally make dry Barsac, so this is dry white Bordeaux.  Created in 1948 by Pierre Dubourdieu, the great dry wine of Château Doisy-Daëne is historically the first dry white wine produced in the Sauternes area.  It's 100% Sauvignon Blanc, fermented in old oak barrels and left on its lees for 10-15 months.  Not so big and upfront as, say, a NZ Sauvignon, it initially tastes like Semillon but then gives a burst of typical SB  characteristics and some woody notes that might disappear with age  A teeny bit flabby.  12.5%

2. Chateau la Croix Canon, Canon Fronsac, 1999
Mid-, cherry red. A slightly greeny nose, not very lush.  Some oak, 'cool'. Good fruit, quite leathery with a little tooth-coating tannins. A bit one-dimensional but nice and refreshing.  This is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from a 12 ha vineyard. Barrels are changed every four years.  The year was rainy and uneven.

3. Chatea Latour a Pomerol, 1997
1997 was slated, but Charles reckons overly so.  Mid- to light-red with a light rim. Lovely fruity nose without being a blockbuster; quite restrained.  Well-balanced, clean, a hint of tannin, maybe fading a little.  The chateau is a collection of land parcels, managed but not owned by by JP Moueix, and is planted with 90% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc.


4. Chateau de Pez, St. Estephe, 1998
Just declared a Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel.  Quite deep, clear.  Notes of caramel and smoky oak. Quite crunchy, with a big burst of fruit and very fresh acidity.  Needs food and a few more years.  Became quite 'powdery' as it developed, putting me off. 45% Cab Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 11% Cab Franc.  12.5%

5. Chateau Langoa Barton, St. Julien, 1998
Deep red, no sign of ageing, closed in a bit but what is there is very pleasant. Fruit gums, very dry, stern, a food wine.  Very good.  This third growth is 15 ha, planted 72% Cab Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 8% Cab Franc. 50% new oak and fermented in temperature-controlled oak barrels.  Despite the fact that in '98 it rained and then rained again this is a fine wine. 


6. Chateau Brane Cantenac, Margaux, 1996
Getting a bit light around the edge but not much. Lovely cedar notes, classy, delicate; in the mouth hint of leather, cedar, mulberry. A bit drying still, but enough fruit.  90 ha with 65% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc on vines averaging 25 years old..  Less than 50% new oak.


7. Chateau La Fleur Petrus, Pomerol, 1997
Beautiful red, beginning to fade at the edge. Muted, a bit stalky.  On the palate good fruit, quite a bit of stalky tannins, high acidity. Our presenter worries about the acidity; I and others think it will improve over a few years.  13.8 ha, 4,000 cases with 85% Merlot, 15% Cab Franc. JP Moueix since 1953, hit badly by frost in '56.  It's beside Petrus but no t on the same soil.

8. Chateau Leoville Barton, St. Julien, 1990
This was the Anne Willoughby Memorial Wine - Happy Birthday Anne, and thanks. Sparkling red, graduating nicely from the centre. Mushroom and cigar (more than cigar box).  Long, cool, perfectly ripe.  Brilliant flavours, quite a bit of leathery tannin, will last maybe five more years. 72% Cab Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 8% Cabernet franc. According to Revue des Vins de France this was the "archetype of a great St. Julien.  Equal to 1959."  Definitely wine of the night but price ....

9. Chateau de Rayne-Vigneau, Sauternes,  1996
Wow!  Light gold.  Pineapple, ginger, lychee, spicy, lively.  Beautifully clean.  Great ginger flavour.  Not too luscious. Gorgeous.  Lemon and ginger upside-down pudding.   This property uses cyro-extraction, where freezing allows the pourriture noble juice to run off (it thaws at a lower temperature) while the water is locked up in the ice. It is from old vines, 74% Semillon, 24% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Muscadelle.  It was once up there with Yquem but slipped.  However, it has recovered; this one is splendiferous!

Home  Tasting Resource  Tasting Notes  Quotes  Links  Archive