Reminding me of the 2010 with its incredible stature and class (as opposed to the more opulently styled 2009), the 2016 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a legendary wine from the genius of Bruno Borie, who has managed this estate brilliantly since he arrived in 2003. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot brought up all in new oak, the 2016 has a mammoth bouquet of crème de cassis, espresso, camphor, crushed violets, toasty oak, and graphite. Full-bodied, concentrated, and backward on the palate, it nevertheless has perfectly integrated acidity and building tannins, a concentrated, layered texture, off-the-charts purity of fruit, and a finish that won't quit. Give this powerful, concentrated wine a solid 7-8 years of bottle age and enjoy it over the following 50 years or more.
The 2017 Cabernet shows aromas of fresh cherries, aromatic cedar, bright raspberries, and hints of candied violets and cocoa notes. On the palate, the entry is broad, soft and balanced, showing serious weight but with mature tannins that add volume without adding a coarse texture. The finish displays plums, bright juicy fresh fruit, and a fresh floral/lavender lift.
97 Points from Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is more closed and backward, yet has stunning currants, roasted coffee, smoked tobacco, and gravelly minerality and shows more violet and floral notes with time in the glass. Full-bodied, powerful, and structured on the palate, this is an elegant, tight, closed Scarecrow that's going to need 4-5 years of bottle age. It's going to age beautifully, though.
97 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Scarecrow opens with notions of warm cassis, baked plums, black raspberries and boysenberries with accents of dried mint, pencil shavings and fragrant soil plus a waft of cast iron pan. Full-bodied, firm and grainy, it has a solid backbone of fantastically ripe tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and mineral laced.
With red, blue and black (cassis) fruit, this is an aromatic wine that hits at the edge of minerality with a distinct note of graphite/pencil shavings plus a hint of licorice. The wine hits both high and low notes, with brightness but also density. It sits on the palate not with heaviness but with depth. With its tannic structure, this Moonracer is not for the faint of heart; however, it goes beyond hedonism and heft into something more serious and intellectual.
There’s something so unique about this bottling. It starts with the white flower, peppery, vanilla-tinged aromatic. If we didn’t know better, we’d swear there was a little Cabernet Franc mixed in with the Cabernet in this 3 acre hilltop block. The sweet black and purple fruits jump start the palate until the acidity of the site kicks in adding cut and a broad, ethereal feel that’s uncommon in hillside Napa Cabernet. The acidity keeps the mouthfeel juicy and fresh. The real complexity kicks in on the finish with blackcurrant liqueur, crushed rock, milk chocolate, cassis, blueberries and smoke all balanced by a streak of minerality that extends through the whole palate experience. This edition of Materium easily competes with all the great vintages that have come before it.
100 Points from Jeb Dunnuck
The 2018 Materium comes from the Weitz Vineyard in Oakville and is all Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in mostly new barrels. It's a very different wine than the Amoenus release and has more elegant, seamless aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, black raspberries, tobacco leaf, flowery incense, and sandalwood. Château Margaux-like in its elegance and complexity, this brilliant wine has loads of sweet fruit, flawless integration of its tannins and acidity, flawless balance, and just a heavenly overall profile that I wish every reader could taste. This extraordinary effort can be drunk today or cellared for 30 years or more.
A classically backward and inexpressive young Bonnes Mares nose of blueberry and violets that display an interesting note of bitter cherry that can also be found on the round, rich, muscular and taut full-bodied flavors that are quite firmly structured and wrapped in a linear, intense and long finish. Like the Amoureuses, the flavors and finish are beautifully focused and while quite focused, there is god mid-palate fat to buffer the not inconsiderable tannic spine.
97 Points from Decanter
Sand, clay and limestone soils make up the terroir of this 1ha parcel on the Chambolle side of the grand cru. The vines may be 80 years old, but this is not a powerful expression of the grand cru. Floral, juicy, sumptuous and exotic, it has a core of sweet bramble and raspberry fruit. Beautifully judged from a brilliant winemaker.
2017 was a vintage of extremes, with abundant rain in the winter and record-breaking heat waves during the growing season. A testament in resiliency, the 2017 Continuum shows freshness, hinting at rose petal on the nose with cacao, black cherry and plum giving way to a plush, silky mid palate. Fine tannins of crushed stone and subtle undertones of tapenade are present through a beautifully persistent finish.
98 Points from James Suckling
Wonderful blackberry and blackcurrant aromas here with hints of mint and fresh sage. Some cassis. Wrought iron, too. Full-bodied, tight and elegant with lovely tension. Beautiful. Ends fine and focused. Drinkable now, but better after 2022.
Cristal is a remarkably balanced and refined champagne whose length is inimitable. It has a silky texture and fruity aromas, complemented by a powerful mineral quality with white fruit and citrus notes. Cristal is a wine that keeps well: it can be conserved for over twenty years without losing its freshness and character.
98 Points from James Suckling
This is quite chalky with firm phenolics that frame the wine beautifully. It’s medium-to full-bodied with strawberries and earth. Dense, linear and intense. Hints of brioche and pie crust at the end. Very structured and gorgeous. Salty and lightly chewy. One third of the base wines fermented and aged in oak. Connoisseur Champagne. From organic vineyards of the Roederer domains. Smaller production than normal. Seven years on the lees. Give it two or three years to open.
Aromatically, the wine shows very pretty, bright tones of cherry, raspberry and blueberry, along with cinnamon bark, spiced tea and vanilla. At entry the wine is soft and full-bodied, and the palate shows a continuity of texture from start to finish. Flavors of warm blueberries and fresh cranberries, a hint of aniseed and a base note of cocoa all meld together in an integrated finish which displays the texture of heavy satin.
100 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Screaming Eagle is, as usual, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, it leaps from the glass with bright, exuberant blackberries, kirsch and warm blackcurrants scents plus touches of lavender, roses, tilled black loam, wild sage and dark chocolate with wafts of yeast extract, underbrush and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, firm and fine grained, with amazing freshness, it is layered with crunchy black and red fruits, sparked by floral and mineral notions and finishing with epic length and depth.
100 Points from James Suckling
The subtle and nuanced aromas to this are so enticing with perfumed, floral, blackcurrant and blackberry character. Roses, too. Some lavender. Full-bodied yet so refined and polished with the most transparent and polished texture. Firm and seamless. So beautiful now. Give it three or four years to come around, but this already sings.
Valbuena, is the purest expression of the Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) in Vega Sicilia. Tinto Fino is clearly the predominant wine in the assemblage of the varieties that make up this magnificent wine. The other variety used is Merlot, which is added to a greater or lesser extent depending on the vintage. Valbuena 5º 2015 is a concentrated and powerful vintage, but at the same time silky and deep.
97 Points from James Suckling
The aromas to this are so complex and enticing with nutmeg, dark berries, chocolate and white pepper. Full body. Dense and layered with so much wonderful, complex and succulent character. It just makes you want to drink it. Drink or hold.
96 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Valbuena, a red blend of mostly Tempranillo with some 5% Merlot, is released in the fifth year after the harvest. It's explosive and showy, with a complex nose that shows a mixture of flowers and wild herbs, balsamic touches and great nuance. This wine has gained in complexity since the 2010 vintage, where they implemented some changes that increased the expressivity and precision of this wine. The tannins are fine-grained and there is very good balance, and the warm conditions of the year have been absorbed well by the wine. Despite the natural conditions of the year, the wine follows the path of freshness of the 2010. 173,673 bottles, 5,625 magnums and some larger formats produced. It was bottled in June 2018.
Delicate gold color. Floral fragrances mixed with aromas of peach and appel mixed with vanilla. Intense and well-structured. Finely grained texture and beautiful minerality. Long and elegant finish.