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Wine Spectator:

2016 Bordeaux Barrel Tasting: Top Scoring Dry Whites

Tasting notes and scores for 37 Bordeaux dry white barrel samples


April 3, 2017

by James Molesworth (Senior Editor)


 

While spending a few weeks in the region, Molesworth visits numerous châteaus, interviews many vintners and evaluates hundreds of wines. These visits are crucial to understanding the character and quality of the vintage. However, all official wine ratings come from our own independent blind tastings. Châteaus that decline to submit samples to these blind tastings are not reviewed for this report. This list contains his scores and tasting notes for 37 Bordeaux dry white wine barrel samples.

As these are unfinished wines, they are scored in 4-point ranges (e.g., 92–95 points) to indicate that the ratings are still preliminary. When the wines are released in bottle, they will be reviewed with their peers in blind tastings and given a final score.

Top 2016 Bordeaux Dry Whites

CHÂTEAU SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 92-95
Bright and engaging, with a nice crackle of fleur de sel along the edges of the salted butter, white peach and chamomile core. There's a flash of shortbread on the finish, but it hangs well back for now. Really good freshness for the vintage.—J.M.

CLOS MARSALETTE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 91-94
This has good richness, with a melon and yellow apple core caressed by a salted butter note, ending with a flash of macadamia nut. Has the zip for balance too, admirable for whites in this vintage.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU PAPE CLÉMENT Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 91-94
Creamy-edged, with alluring brioche, white peach and wet straw flavors, this has a broad feel but keeps good cut thanks to a light verbena thread. The brioche note takes over on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU BROWN Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 90-93
Lemon peel and salted butter notes give this some zip, while the core of yellow apple, fennel and melon rind flavors has good weight. Well done.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Bordeaux White Clos des Lunes Lune Blanche 2016 Score: 90-93
This has a good juicy edge, with a mix of pear, green almond and lime flavors, lined with a verbena note. A flash of quinine through the finish gives this some cut.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 90-93
Bright and fresh, with a rounded edge to the mix of lime curd, verbena, green plum and quinine flavors. On the weighty side of the spectrum, but has the freshness for balance.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DE FRANCE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 90-93
Very fresh and pure, with a steely edge to the mix of melon curd, white peach and verbena notes. The long finish has lovely cut.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD Bordeaux White Le G 2016 Score: 90-93
This is still a bit tight, with a racy lemon pith frame around the core of white peach, tangerine, chamomile and straw flavors. Shows weight and zip, and should fill out nicely.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LATOUR-MARTILLAC Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 90-93
Good crackling feel here, with quinine and fleur de sel notes rippling underneath the mix of yellow apple, fennel and white peach flavors. Has range and energy.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU SUDUIRAUT Bordeaux White S de Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes 2016 Score: 90-93
Very fresh, with Key lime, white peach and honeysuckle notes streaming along. Shows nice zip through the brioche-accented finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU CANTELYS Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 89-92
This has good tension for the vintage, with lime pith, verbena and tarragon notes cutting through the core of green apple and white peach flavors. Nicely done.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU CARBONNIEUX Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 89-92
Fresh and open, with a lime pith note giving the mix of verbena, melon rind and tarragon flavors good cut.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Bordeaux White Clos des Lunes Lune d’Argent 2016 Score: 89-92
Pure, with verbena, Key lime and kiwifruit notes carried by fresh acidity. Stays rounded in feel overall, with a light hint of brioche on the finish.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER Bordeaux White Clos des Lunes Lune d’Or 2016 Score: 89-92
Rounded in feel, with a mix of lime curd and pear fruit laced with chamomile and quinine hints. A touch shy on zip, but showing enjoyable feel and range.—J.M.

CLOS FLORIDÈNE Graves White 2016 Score: 89-92
Taut, with pink grapefruit zest, white peach and verbena notes backed by a steely hint on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DOISY DAËNE Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 89-92
Alluring brioche and straw accents gild the core of white peach and yellow apple fruit. Light fennel hints add range on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DE FIEUZAL Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 89-92
Focused, with a pretty mix of white peach, macadamia nut and yellow apple flavors harnessed by a light fennel frond hint on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LARRIVET HAUT-BRION Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 89-92
This sports a racy edge, with verbena and thyme flavors out front followed by lime pith and green plum notes. Good energy through the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU OLIVIER Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 89-92
Bright with lemon pulp and white peach flavors backed by a light shortbread note. Has good crackle for the vintage.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan White Les Hauts de Smith 2016 Score: 89-92
Nice purity, with lemon peel, white peach and verbena notes backed by a hint of shortbread that blossoms on the finish, giving this a flattering edge.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU VALANDRAUD Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 89-92
This has pretty lemon pith and white peach flavors zipping through, opening up to reveal more straw, brioche and yellow apple flavors. Has nice weight and length.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU COUHINS-LURTON Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 88-91
Good crackling lime pulp, pippin apple and verbena notes here, with a flash of thyme on the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU HAUT-BERGEY Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 88-91
Has a ripe and rounded feel, with a mix of melon, lime curd, pear and blanched almond notes. Has good spine, and should pull together while remaining in an open-knit, flattering style.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU HOSTENS-PICANT Ste.-Foy-Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 88-91
Bright, with fresh lemon pulp and white peach flavors, backed by a judicious bit of shortbread. A straw note lingers on the finish. Tasty.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU JEAN FAUX Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 88-91
This has a plump core of white peach, honeysuckle and shortbread notes, flanked by good zip and lively verbena and chamomile accents.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LESPAULT-MARTILLAC Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 88-91
Has a slightly soft edge, with notes of lemon curd, white peach and green plum forming the core. A light whiff of shortbread on the finish. Tasty, if just a touch shy on zip.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LA LOUVIÈRE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 88-91
A light lemon sherbet thread cuts through a core of white peach and straw flavors, ending with a flash of verbena. Nice length and cut.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU MALARTIC-LAGRAVIÈRE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 88-91
Fresh, with a quinine hint amid the mix of lime pith, fennel and verbena flavors. Good purity through the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan White Le Petit Haut Lafitte 2016 Score: 88-91
Fresh and forward, with a slight plump hint to the mix of white peach, salted butter and yellow apple notes.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU D'AIGUILHE Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 87-90
Pretty mâche and white asparagus notes bounce along, backed by a light lemon pith hint. A fresh, unencumbered white.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LES CHARMES-GODARD Francs Côtes de Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 87-90
Light but fresh, with a mix of thyme, lemon pith and fennel notes that mingle nicely through the finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LA GARDE Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 87-90
Pretty, with a high-pitched profile of lime pith, talc and verbena. Focused, racy finish. Small in scale but nicely put together.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU GAZIN ROCQUENCOURT Pessac-Léognan White 2016 Score: 87-90
Good focus, with racy lemon peel, white peach and chamomile flavors. Breezy finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU LYNCH BAGES Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 87-90
Open, with modest lime, thyme and white asparagus notes. Quick finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU REYNON Bordeaux White 2016 Score: 87-90
Fresh, with a jicama edge backed by light white peach and honeysuckle notes. Quick finish.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU VILLA BEL-AIR Graves White 2016 Score: 87-90
Plum-edged, with grapefruit and white peach notes backed by a light hint of sel gris.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU VALANDRAUD Bordeaux White Virginie de Valandraud 2016 Score: 86-89
The light straw, verbena and white peach notes have nice focus and freshness.—J.M.