Primeurs 2016 Press Reviews

The Primeurs 2016 took place early April. Very good feedback and scores so far – watch this page for updates.

 Primeurs 2016 Press Reviews:

Château Belgrave 2016
Grand Cru Classé Haut-Médoc 1855

This is really constructed and powerful with lots of muscular tannins and rich fruit. Full-bodied, juicy and intense. Very serious. One of the best in years. 92-93 


This is an opulent wine, packed with ripe fruit, sweet tannins and ample acidity, all in balance. The wine is full and juicy, with great spice at the end. The finish is firm while still reveling in fruitiness. 93-95. Roger Voss

Investments at this property have increasingly paid off over recent vintages. This is brooding and a little subdued at the moment, but is packed with Médoc signature delivered in a subtle but enjoyable manner. It has a cedar sweetness and ripe blackberry fruits with a pulse of acidity, and is well held together. 91 . Jane Anson

A classic wine with very consistent quality. Dark purple red with violet hue and black core. Excellent nose with distinct oak influence, elegant toasting aroma and gingerbread spices, hints of white pepper in the background. On the palate well structured and balanced with firm tannins, juicy fruit and delicate spiciness in the background. Toasting aroma also in the finish. Convincing length. 92. Markus Del Monego


90 Points

Le cru poursuit sa quête de précision et affine la qualité de ses tanins. On le perçoit dans ce 2016 au fruité très net et défini. Il impose son équilibre et l’éclat de son corps. 16,5-17 

This is a structured wine with serious intent and it seems to have focussed its energies into the mid-palate with blackcurrant fruit and nicely weighted oak interventions. A smooth palate gives way to a spicy finish and the whole experience is delightful. It will need five years to soften, but I think it will also roll on longer than any previous vintage in the modern era.17.5+

The 2016 Belgrave is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot and was picked from 28 September until 20 October. It has a generous bouquet with small dark cherries, blueberry and crushed violet aromas, quite Margaux-like in style. There is certainly good intensity here. The palate is medium-bodied with a supple opening: blackberry, mint and cedar. From the start there is fine tension and there is very impressive structure towards the finish, plus a long saline aftertaste. This is a very strong follow-up to the 2015 Belgrave and indeed, it may surpass it. 90-92 – Neal Martin

A Dourthe property since 1979, here there are 59 hectares of vines, mostly planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, with a Cabernet dominance. We have here a riper fruit profile, with smoked cherry, darker, with a slightly smudged mulberry and plum note. The palate has an immediate texture, with creamed black plum, currant and damson, with a dried-fruit twist. It is underpinned by fresh and lightly chalky tannins, with bright acidity. A charming wine, fresh, pure, with some textural confidence, ripe but quite correct fruit, and a dry finish of moderate but grippy length. 93-95

Beau vin complet, notes de cèdre proches d’un saint-julien, la forme est onctueuse. 94-95


Pourpre violacé. Bouquet intense et complexe révélant des notes de baies noires et d’épices. Mûres, myrtilles, cannelle. Je relève également d’agréables notes de biscuit, de caramel et de bois de réglisse. Attaque dense et friande. Le corps a de l’ampleur, de l’équilibre et du caractère grâce à une structure rafraîchissante qui assure bien les arrières. Cette dernière est en accord avec des tannins aux grains fins qui se révèlent lentement en fin de bouche. Une belle réussite avec un très bon potentiel de garde. 93-95

Even though it’s technically in the Haut-Médoc, Belgrave is as good as many of the classed growths that surround it. It’s a serious, stylish, well-structured red with fresh, leafy Cabernet Sauvignon at its core, textured tannins and understated concentration. 92 


Tiefes Purpur mit satter Mitte und violettem Rand. Floraler Beginn mit wenig Fruchtdruck, dafür feinblättrige Noten und Brombeerstrauch. Am kräftigen, pfeffrigen Gaumen mit straff geschnittenem Körper und viel Cassis im Rückaroma, mündet in ein langes, gebündeltes Finale. Ein sehr klassischer Belgrave, kein Charmeur, aber mit Potenzial!Amongst the « Best of 2016 List. 17.5

Fruits noirs, toasté, un peu en prise de bois, bouche ronde en attaque, tanins assez présents, bonne matière, droit et pur. 16,5-17 – Coup de cœur

La cerise domine le premier nez avec une couleur très soutenue promise à une grande concentration. L’attaque confirme une belle vendange avec une juste maturité qui offre des arômes de fruits noirs. L’élevage est présent sur la finale avec des notes salines et de gras. 17

Château Le Boscq 2016
Cru Bourgeois Saint-Estèphe

This is very structured and powerful with an impressive depth of fruit and intense tannins. Medium to full body. Strong and muscular. This is rocking it. 93-94


Lively, with a mix of dark plum and cherry fruit giving this nice contrast. Pebbly tannins drive the finish. Light iron and floral notes peek in.—J.M. 89-92. James Molesworth


This is a wine that, even with its firm tannins, brings out opulent blackberry fruits and great acidity. It is concentrated, relying on its great structure, and should be ready to enjoy from 2029. 93-95. Roger Voss

Dark crimson. Relatively light tea-leaf aromas. Then density and a real charge of tannins. Dry end. Far from seamless but properly of its appellation. Quite demanding. 16.5

This is an exceptional vintage for this property, owned by Dourthe Vignobles, who have produced a wine that is showing exceptionally well. It has extremely well controlled fruit extraction shot through with cinammon and black pepper notes, some excellent tension and juicy fruit. Clearly an improvement on the 2015, and a great value pick. 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. 92. Jane Anson

Always one of my favourites, with its pumped up fruit and exotic touches, the 2016 vintage is no exception and there is a lot of wine here for the money. A bold, spicy and somewhat oaky nose gives way to a very nice plump violet and cherry-dense palate. Lovely. 17+


91 Points


The 2016 Le Boscq, owned by Vignobles Dourthe, is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot and was picked 29 September until 20 October. This represents a move towards Cabernet Sauvignon and away from Merlot in the final blend. It has a very ripe, opulent bouquet that does not quite convey its terroir with the same aplomb as say, the Phelan-Ségur. It translates more of the winemaking than the terroir. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, crisp acidity and quite an elegant finish. It is in the second half of this wine that the quality of the vintage shows through. Hopefully the aromatics will gain more composure and it will live up to the finish it currently displays. One to watch. 91-93. Neal Martin

Le Médoc le plus complet présenté par Dourthe : grande couleur, tannin racé de cèdre, long, sans doute le meilleur de l’histoire récente et un vrai rival pour les crus classés. Grand rapport qualité-prix probable. 94-95

Tiefes Purpur mit satter Mitte und violettem Rand. Komplexes Cassis-bouquet mit Lakritze und Brombeere, dahinter Veilchen. Am kräftigen Gaumen mit festem Körper und reifem Tannin, zeigt gute Frische, es fehlt aber der Aromendruck am Gaumen und im Finale. Amongst the « Best of 2016 List. 17

Pourpre violacé. Bouquet intense et complexe marqué par le fruit et les épices. Caractère élégant alliant baies noires, bois de réglisse et mûres. Attaque rafraîchissante et fruitée. Le palais est élégant, compacte et doté de tannins qui se révèlent lentement en fin de bouche. Finale persistante. Compacte. Belle réussite. 92-93

Palme de la robe d’encre ! Moitié merlot, 45% en cabernet et 5 de petit verdot. Comme en 2015 l’architecture tannique est impressionnante, serrée, maillée, tout en fermeté, tonicité, mais attentions les tanins n’accrochent pas. Prise de bois subtile, bel ensemble. 16.5

Nez frais, belle prise de bois, un nez complexe et charmeur. Bouche tendue, vive, vibrante avec des tanins bâtisseurs mais charmeurs. 16-17

Château La Garde Blanc 2016

Pessac Léognan

Tight and minerally with sliced-apple and lemon character. Medium body and flavors of fennel and stone with hints of chalk. Creamy texture and a flavourful finish. Punch at the end. 92-93


This wine is richly endowed with a white fruit core that’s graced by hints of lemon and wood spice. It is a finely structured wine, hinting at a ripe, full future. 92-94. Roger Voss

The La Garde 2016 Blanc is a blend of 86% Sauvignon Blanc and 14% Sémillon from vines grown only on limestone soil, matured in 12% new oak. It has a light apple blossom and gravel-scented bouquet that needs just a little more energy. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, fresh lime and grapefruit cordial on the entry with a touch of spice towards the finish. I appreciate the weight of this La Garde and there is fine tension on the finish. This is well worth checking out, especially given the market price. 89-91. Neal Martin

A Dourthe estate, with a vineyard of 52 hectares, although only a fraction of this is dedicated to white. Although usually dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, there is also a significant percentage of Sauvignon Gris in the vineyard, with Semillon in third place. Quite smoky, a minerally character on the nose, with kumquat, orange zest, powdery and pure. The palate shows all this, the fruit wrapped up in a polished texture, tense and fresh, with a very bright, cool character. Wonderful fruit substance, perhaps a little looser, leaner and more open than some, but charming nevertheless. A firm, grippy, pithy finish. Good. 90-92

Consistently the best white in the Dourthe line-up, this is every bit as good as the 2015, which marked a new level of quality for the château. Balanced, crunchy and refreshing, it has refined toast and gunflint notes, a leesy, creamy mid palate and sappy acidity.93


Château La Garde 2016


Very dark crimson. Light and fresh and concentrated. Really exciting, nervy, silky wine. Cool and beautiful balanced. 17

Soft and round tannins frame pretty chocolate and spice character. Medium to full body and lots of juicy fruit. Not quite at the 2015’s quality level but very pretty. 91-92


This sports a warm fruitcake note out front, followed by slightly toothy plum and raspberry paste flavours, turning to liquorice hints on the well-toasted finish. A bit ambitious, but the showy fruit will have fans.90.93 —James Molesworth

Velvety tannins give this wine its open charm and fine texture. Structured yet crisp in acidity, hold this wine until 2027. 92-94. Roger Voss

A Douthe Vignobles estate that has been investing heavily in replanting and reordering the vineyard, and has been a value pick for a number of years. This strays towards crushed ripe blackberry sweetness with grilled almonds on the finish, and good persistency. This is playing very nicely to the crowd, a well judged medium term drinker with integrated tannins and good impact, a fairly contemporary style. 62% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. 91. Jane Anson

A very nice, smoky, meaty nose overlays a plum and black cherry core and this is exciting and also inviting. The tannins are fairly firm and dry but there is more than enough fruit to achieve equilibrium in this wine. Just be patient…16.5 

91 Points

This is rich, pure and expressive, with a concentrated nose of mulberry, damson, and black cherry. An impressive aromatic profile, and the palate is the same, with creamed black plum, black olive, coffee bean and black bean, with a rolling underbelly of dry tannins and fresh acidity. It is delicious, pure, savoury, fresh and very complete, with a convincing tannin-laden finish. A super effort, very well made, and from a lesser-known estate. 93-95

Nez riche, épanoui et exubérant, fruit bien mûr, notes minérales et fleuries, bouche tout aussi aromatique, charnue, avec des tannins très serrés et de l’allonge. Energique, complet, tout en restant élégant, ce vin montre un bon potentiel. 92

Sattes Granat mit violettem Rand. Duftige Veilchen, dahinter kompaktes, schwarzbeeriges Bouquet. Am kräftigen Körper mit reifem, süssem Extrakt und bereits abgerundeten Tanninen. Endet auf einen Korb von blauen Beeren im Rückaroma, bleibt rassig bis ins lange Finale. Anspruchsvoller Pessac für jeden Tag! So gut wie 2005! Amongst the « Best of 2016 List » 18

Pourpre violacé. Notes de mûres, cassis et myrtilles. Touche de chocolat. Attaque compacte, élégante et soyeuse. Le corps a du gras et de la structure. Tannins granuleux en accord avec une structure rafraîchissante qui assure les arrières. Un vin agréable que l’on pourra approcher dans sa jeunesse mais qui a un potentiel respectable. 91-93

Fruits noirs, cassis, épices. Juteux, sapide, une belle charge tannique avec de la densité, des tanins sur l’allonge. 16-17

Château Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac 2016

Saint Émilion Grand Cru

This is very structured for this estate and shows a marked improvement with respect to the 2015. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and juicy fruit. Lively.92-93


This wine has rich Merlot fruit, expressed in concentrated black plum. It has an excellent structure, and should age well; try after 2029. 92-94. Roger Voss

This leads with bright fruit freshness on the one hand and a clear Cabernet Franc austerity on the other hand. The overall structure is tightly knit, but it will soften over time. It has an extremely attractive fruit character and a lovely fresh backbone. A blend this year of 69% Merlot and 31% Cabernet Franc, located on clay-gravel soils. A Dourthe property. 90. Jane Anson

The vineyard is 72% Merlot, picked first on September 27th and then from October 10th until the 14th, and 28% Cabernet Franc, picked on the 18th and 19th of October. The fermentation is traditional, in stainless steel. It has a pretty nose, the black cherry and currant fruit immediately matched by the bright perfume of white flower petals. The palate shows an interesting perfumed delicacy, intermingled with a bright, chalky reticence, along with dark cherry and curranty fruits. Fresh, pretty, but underpinned by substantial grip, a light texture, as well as a dry and detached minerally seam, and of course the fresh acid backbone of the vintage. It shows some nice structure in the finish. A dry, minerally and savoury wine with potential. 92-94

Excellent équilibre général avec les notes ferrugineuses classiques liées au terroir. 93-94 


90 points



Fruits frais, de la gourmandise, des notes épicées. Juteux, savoureux, une grosse charge tannique avec une finale droite, aérienne. 16-17

Château Rahoul 2016

Graves (Blanc)

This is mostly semillon with lots of sliced-apple and lemon character. Stone and chalk undertones. Medium to full body and a vibrant finish. 93-94


This wine has delicious citrus and ripe green-apple flavours, as well as a crisp, lightly mineral texture. It is already showing its refreshing, crisp side that will develop.90-92. Roger Voss

Nice and clean with a grainy, lemon pith feel, this is a forward wine with nice balance and little astringency to get in the way. 16.5

Richly perfumed – almost as though there were some Sauvignon Gris in this. Good tension and vivaciousness. Nerve. Lemon cough sweet flavours but at least it’s refreshing! 16+



Les jolis 2016 à retenir sur la Rive Gauche… Des sémillons (80%) qui évoquent la fraîcheur d’un sauvignon. Le vin est vif, avec ce qu’il faut de nervosité.16.5


Un peu fermé, encore timide. Bouche tendue, de l’acidité certes avec de la fraicheur. Boisé dominant à ce stade. 16-17

Château Rahoul 2016


This is very minerally and dense with lots of tension and richness. Medium to full body and blackcurrant and dark-fruit character. Shows tension and focus. 91-92


This fragrant, juicy wine is full of black currant fruits and ample acidity. The structure is gentle, with sweet tannins that frame lingering notes of spice and black fruit on the close. 90-92. Roger Voss

Sweet start and easy and fresh. Tight and pinched.16


The 2016 Rahoul is a blend of 60% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot picked from 28 September until 10 October. It has a well-defined bouquet with blackberry, sandalwood and light smoky aromas. I like the focus and detail of this Rahoul. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, very refined with nicely integrated new oak and a long, quite sensual finish. You know, this is a very good Rahoul that will surpass the excellent 2015. 90-92. Neal Martin

Merlot généreux, ample, fruité, peut-être le plus harmonieux jamais produit ici. Vraiment fait pour séduire sans vulgarité dans les bons restaurants. 92-93

« Coup de cœur »



Grand Vin de Château De Ricaud 2016

Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux

A round-textured and minerally red with a good amount of blackberry and blueberry character. Medium body and firm and silky tannins. Tight and firm. 90-91


From a gravelly patch in the middle of the vineyard.
Good energy and sweetness followed by tarriness but plenty of ambition. Pretty dry finish.  16

« Coup de cœur très particulier »


Commendably inexpensive for a wine of this quality, this was one of the surprises in the Dourthe portfolio in 2016. It’s a wonderfully smooth, easy drinking claret built around Cabernet Sauvignon and showing fine tannins and lots of perfume. 92


For information on Vintage 2016:  LIVRET PRIMEURS DOURTHE 2016