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May 04, 2017

Chateau d’Armailhac & Chateau Labegorce 2016

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Chateau d’Armailhac has released this morning for £390 per case of 12 bottles. We view d’Armailhac as one of the perennial must buy wines of Pauillac. Indeed, in 2016 Pauillac reigns supreme, Neal Martin states that they ‘are unquestionably stellar wines in 2016 thanks to their peerless Cabernet Sauvignon. There are a clutch of legends in the making here.’ It comes as no surprise therefore that in 2016 Chateau d’Amailhac has produced potentially their greatest ever vintage, scoring 92-94 points from Neal Martin who states ‘Quite simply, this is one of the best wines of Château d’Armailhac that I have tasted.’ James Suckling agrees, also awarding it its highest ever score, ‘Perhaps the most powerful ever….Very, very impressive. Greatest ever?’ He has awarded is 95-96 points.

These are stunning scores and priced at £32.50 a bottle, this offers an utterly superb price point. To put today’s release into perspective the 93 point scoring 2010 trades at £470 per case, the 91 point scoring 2009 at £450 and the 90 point scoring 2005 at £550; the 2016 is sure to surpass these. The Estate produce an average of 18,000 cases per vintage, in 2016 they have released 25% less than in 2015 and taking into account the score their 12.5% euro increase on last year is extremely appealing.  We recommend this highly.

d’Armailhac WA JS Price Release Price
2016 92-94 95-96 £390 £390
2015 89-91 92-93 £325 £300
2014 89 94 £330 £235
2013 85-87 90 £300 £250
2012 91 92 £330 £275
2011 87 90 £320 £325
2010 93 93 £470 £375
2009 91 93 £450 £324
2008 89 90 £430 £220
2007 87 N/A £445 £205
2006 90 N/A £515 £190
2005 90 N/A £550 £235

Chateau d’Armailhac was once part of the Mouton Rothschild vineyards. As such, it boasts impressively deep gravel, 20% of which is clay-limestone, and the vines have the very impressive average age of 46 years, with one fifth of the vines dating back to 1890. As such, it embodies much of Mouton Rothschild’s greatness.

Chateau d’Armailhac 2016, 12×75 – £390 EP

92-94 PointsNeal Martin, Wine Advocate
The 2016 D’Armailhac is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that was picked between 27 September and 14 October. The bouquet is very impressive, typical d’Armaihlac in terms of the opulence and flamboyance with lush black cherry and boysenberry fruit, a subtle floral note developing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a crisp and tensile entry; there is immense purity here with some lovely blue fruit appearing on the finish. This is a d’Armailhac that is emboldened by unprecedented tannic structure that gives it real backbone and a sense of authority. Quite simply, this is one of the best wines of Château D’Armailhac that I have tasted, somehow not a million miles away from Grand Puy Lacoste in style. 

95-96 Points, James Suckling
This is really tannic and muscular for d’Armailhac. Perhaps the most powerful ever. Full and chewy yet balanced and polished. Very, very impressive. Greatest ever? 

One of the exciting stars of the vintage is Chateau Labegorce. It is already hugely oversubscribed on the Place de Bordeaux, the reason for this is that Neal Martin has awarded it 94-96 points and James Suckling 94-95 points. However, it is priced at £240 per case of 12, just £20 a bottle. This gives it a Price Over Points Score of 16.5, which will surely be the lowest of the entire campaign. The 2016 vintage marks the Estate’s greatest modern day vintage and it is a must own wine, which will assuredly pay collectors back in trumps .

However, this score of 94-96 is a continuation on the upward trend seen at the Estate. Martin says of the 2016 ‘What a brilliant wine from a Margaux estate that has really upped its game’. In 2014 they achieved 93 points and in 2015 91-93. The fine terroir and winemaking shining through as a result of recent investments. It is noteworthy that the 90 point 2009 already trades at £400 per 12×75, making the 2016 look extremely attractive.

Labegorce can be found on a plateau just north of the town of Margaux, across the road from Chateau Lascombes. It was named after the Gorce house and founded in 1332. The Chateau was originally the home of this noble family, whose roots run deep in the Margaux region. During the French revolution the Estate was seized and separated into three before being auctioned off: Labegorce the largest, then Labegorce-Zède a Cru Bourgeois in its own right, and l’Abbe Grosse de Grosse. Labegorce changed hands many times before it came into the hands of Hugh Perrodo, an industrialist who fell in love with Margaux whilst playing polo at Chateau Giscours. The Perrodo family bought the Estate in 1989 and have restored the Chateau to glory. It is extremely noteworthy that Perrodo reunited the three estates in the early 2000s. Today, the Estate spans 53 hectares, with 30 dedicated to the Grand Vin, producing 8,500 cases per year.

Chateau Labegorce 2016, 12×75 – £240 EP

94-96 PointsNeal Martin, Wine Advocate
The 2016 Labegorce is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot picked between 4-21 October and matured in 45% new oak. What I like about the bouquet is that it is quintessential Margaux–it could not come from anywhere else. Crushed violets infuse black cherries, blueberry and iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, very well-judged acidity, an elegant and very charming Margaux with pencil lead and a touch of spice on the long finish. What a brilliant wine from a Margaux estate that has really upped its game.

94-95 Points, James Suckling
This may be the best Labégorce ever. Full-bodied and dense yet vivid and energetic. Greatness in the making.