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  • Julia Harding MW
Written by
  • Julia Harding MW
20 Apr 2012

For the wealth of tasting notes and articles related to the 2011 vintage, see our Bordeaux 2011 guide.

  • Dom Allary Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    A very interesting property. Just 1.3 ha that was for many years en métayage to Ch Haut-Brion and went into the Haut-Brion wine after 1979. The owner (the Allard family) took the vineyard back a few years ago and originally called the wine Domaine de la Passion Haut-Brion. But Haut-Brion objected and now it is called Domaine Allary Haut-Brion. 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, vineyard worked by horse. Tiny chai with open-topped wooden vats.
    Lovely leafy freshness on the nose, touch of tomato leaf like Carmenère, herbal. Very fragrant and scented on the palate. Cedary. Fine and dry and so refreshing. Dry, paper-fine tannins. Some might find it too herbaceous but it was an attractive counterpoint after lots of Merlot-dominated wines.

    Drink 2016-2024
    16.5
  • Ch Bouscaut 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Very deeply coloured, black core. Lifted, dark fruit and notes of mocha. Oaky on the nose. Dense tannins, sweet fruit in the middle, plus some vanilla sweetness, but the end is pretty dry. Lacks charm. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2023
    15.5
  • Ch Brown 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. Gravel on clay. Colour of elderberry juice. Very ripe fruit, a bit figgy. Then a little bit flat on the palate. Just enough acidity but the overall effect, with rather chalky tannins, is a bit flat and lacking energy. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2024
    15.5
  • Ch Carbonnieux 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Rich dark crimson. Ripe and lightly floral dark fruit. Violets appear. Firmly and finely structured, lots of dry graphite flavour and texture and there's just enough fruit to hold it in balance. Refined tannins that seem a little dry now but I think it will fill out a little. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2026
    16.5
  • Ch Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    A little smoky/dusty on the nose but there's also clear cassis. Powdery dry tannins. Drying. Sticks your mouth together. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2024
    15
  • Ch de Chantegrive 2011 Graves

    Smudgy deep crimson. Graphite more than fruit on the nose, gradually showing more cassis. A little dusty too. Leanness of fruit accentuates the oak, giving some char flavour. Dry, slightly flat finish. (JH)

    Drink 2015-2021
    15.5
  • Dom de Chevalier 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Inky dark core. Sweet, warm inviting cherry fruit plus a balancing graphite note. Dry, powder fine, quite gentle on the palate. Although the tannins are dry there's still a fluidity to the wine as a whole. A bit abrupt at the end. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2028
    17
  • Clos Marsalette 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Deep inky crimson. 40% Merlot, 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc. Little bit of chocolate and char. Savoury and quite soft but full in the mouth. Just fresh enough. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2023
    15.5
  • Ch Ferrande 2011 Graves

    Deep dark crimson. Very dusty nose – I thought it was the glass suffering from cardboard taint, but unfortunately it wasn't. Better on the palate. Dry, grainy tannins but too not dry. Lively graphite and dark fruit and nice fresh finish even though the fruit is pretty ripe in the middle. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2024
    16
  • Ch de Fieuzal 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Black core. Sweet warm hedgerow fruit but also a little bit stalky and a bit overripe – heterogeneous fruit. Disappointingly tough on the palate. A bit heavy on the extraction? (JH)

    Drink 2016-2022
    15
  • Ch de France 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Black core and black cherry rim. Smells a little volatile/oxidised, giving candied fruit aromas, and then sweet but very very dry on the palate. Leaves the mouth needing a clean. Not convinced that age will help much. (JH)

    Drink 2015-2022
    14.5
  • Ch La Garde 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Blackish crimson. Freshly aromatic though it's pretty toasty too. Bright fresh black fruit. Tight though fully ripe tannins. Dryish finish, good length, in harmony if not particularly elegant. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2024
    16
  • Ch Haut-Bailly 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Dark cherry crimson. Toasty but the oak doesn't cover the bright cassis and minerally freshness. Dense, pretty dry but very fine tannins and ones that suggest they will not overwhelm the fruit as it ages. Refined and more to come. (JH)

    Drink 2018-2030
    17
  • Ch Haut-Bergey 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Dark greyish crimson. Ripe dark fruit – cassis and raspberry and cherry – and just a touch cedary. A light smoky/Lapsang note. Rich, dense fruit that is just ripe – fresh and intense. Firm, chewy tannins. Big structure. Full bodied and still fragrant on the long finish. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2026
    16.5
  • Ch Haut-Brion, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    71.5% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, 22.8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.2% Petit Verdot. Deep glowing crimson again. Less aromatic than La Chapelle and darker fruited. Very soft tannins but thicker in texture than La Chapelle, more chocolate textured. Gentler all round though the acidity is still very fresh. Gentle softness on the finish without falling away. Denser in the middle and richer all round, though that may be the lower acidity. (JH)

    13.4%
    Drink 2020-2030
    16.5
  • Ch Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    34.8% Merlot, 18.9% Cabernet Franc, 46.3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Berries not as ripe as 2010 so they extracted shorter and faster to get tannins from skins not from seeds. The optical sorter came into its own, rejecting 5-7% of fruit across the board, in addition to all the other manual sorting that preceded it. There were different coloured berries on the same bunch and some rot at the end of September.
    Deep black cherry colour. Warm sweet cherry fruit, with the most chocolate-smooth (and in no way thick) tannins but also the acidity of fresh fruit too, fresh cherry. Very fine, intense and aromatic red fruit with just a touch of graphite. There's density and richness on the middle but such amazing softness though the tannins give tension underneath like closely packed bed springs. Like falling into a deep feather cover on a firm bed. So long. (JH)

    13.3%
    Drink 2020-2040
    18.5
  • Ch Haut-Nouchet 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. Blackish crimson. The first wine where I have smelt anything vaguely herbaceous. A little bit dry and lacking generosity. Tannins are fine grained but finish a little too dry. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2022
    15
  • Ch Larrivet Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Stringy and lean, just not enough fruit to fill the structure, though the aroma was quite attractive with sweet fruit, but it disappears on the palate. So drying on the finish. (JH)

    Drink 2015-2022
    15
  • Ch Latour-Martillac 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Inky black cherry with black core. Very ripe, almost raisiny fruit. Sweet and a touch figgy. Very ripe on the palate too so it misses Pessac's elegant fragrance and the ripeness overrides the minerality. Vintage seems to override terroir. (JH)

    Drink 2015-2023
    14.5
  • Ch La Louvière 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Inky blackish crimson. Whole line-up very deeply coloured. Fragrant clean fresh dark cherry and cassis and a touch mineral. Both dry and juicy on the palate. Refined texture and freshness of fruit. Lithe and bright. Fruit is not especially dense but nice harmony. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2027
    16.5
  • Ch Malartic Lagravière 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Colour of elderberry juice. Nose is difficult to describe, there's dark fruit, oak sweetness, and then a slightly smoky note, a little cedary too. Chewy and fresh on the palate, the fruit a little underwhelming for the structure but still some juicy fresh fruit emerges on the finish. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2024
    16.5
  • Ch La Mission Haut-Brion, La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    68.7% Merlot, 11.7% Cabernet Franc, 19.6% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep, bright glowing crimson. Fragrant cherry fruit. White pepper and a touch dusty. Generous cherry fruit and marked freshness. Tender, melted tannins. Lovely scent on the mid palate and fragrant lingering fresh finish. Great freshness and the is there fruit to balance. (JH)

    13.7%
    Drink 2018-2026
    17
  • Ch La Mission Haut-Brion 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    33.7% Merlot, 11.3% Cabernet Franc, 55% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep dark crimson and elderberry core. Initially a little dusty on the nose, a touch of vanilla. Quite reticent but opens up to spicy dark cherry. Lovely enveloping texture, deep and smooth, so fine you can't feel any grain. Some of that smoky warm brick. Rich and open-armed. (JH)

    13.5%
    Drink 2021-2035
    17.5
  • Ch Olivier 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Deep black cherry crimson. Dusty nose, a bit stalky. Very dry on the palate. Not quite enough fruit to counteract the dryness of the tannins. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2023
    15
  • Ch Pape Clément 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Deep smudgy black cherry colour. Ripe red fruit, bright and juicy on the palate too even though the tannins are firm and deep. Some savoury graphite and spice notes so not a simple fruit wine – though there is plenty of that. Full flavoured and full in the mouth. Deep-pile tannins. Generous rather than elegant. (JH)

    Drink 2018-2028
    16.5+
  • Ch Picque Caillou 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Smudgy black cherry. Gently aromatic, lifted red fruit with a touch of vanilla sweetness. Powdery layer of tannins balanced by just enough fruit and freshness all the way through. Juicy cherry aftertaste. Moderate length. On the slim side. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2024
    16
  • Ch de Portets 2011 Graves

    Dark crimson. Lively cherry fruit and a light graphite note. Taut, fresh, medium bodied so that the tannins dominate and seem a little dry on the finish. Lots of freshness, just a little dry and hard on the finish but the perfume lasts through to the end. (JH)

    Drink 2015-2019
    15
  • Ch Rahoul 2011 Graves

    Deep smudgy crimson. Very sweet, linctus-like red fruit on the nose. Quite spicy too. A touch confected. Very odd on the palate. Hard and very little fruit sweetness, dry finish. (JH)

    Drink 2016-2022
    14.5
  • Ch Smith Haut Lafitte 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Deep black cherry colour. Ripe, even minty, dark fruit. Plenty of sweet oak too. Upright, firm and tightly structured, with a strong graphite core and just enough fruit. No lack of freshness but it is a little drying now. Hope it will come round. (JH)

    Drink 2017-2028
    16.5+
  • Ch Le Thil Comte Clary 2011 Pessac-Léognan

    Darkest black cherry. Savoury but pure black fruit and a touch smoky. Dense, thick, smooth tannins. Savoury and rich on the palate. Not very Pessac-like? A bit foursquare at the moment but surprisingly powerful. Dense but not heavy or tough. (JH)

    Drink 2018-2026
    16