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2018 Bordeaux—New Releases from Clinet (JD96-99) and Branaire-Ducru (WS94-97) - 05/02/2019 - Red Bordeaux

The march of new 2018 Bordeaux releases continues. With new ratings and reviews coming down the pike from Jeb Dunnuck and Vinous, it is becoming clearer by the day that 2018 is truly an exceptional vintage. Two new, attention-grabbing releases from Clinet and Branaire-Ducru have just hit the market, and they are a pair you'll definitely want to include in your collection. Clinet produced a blockbuster red which Dunnuck awarded a potential 99-point review, stating: "It’s going to be hard to resist on release and knock your socks off over the following two decades or more." Equally as impressive is Branaire-Ducru's 2018, which Antonio Galloni describes as "one of the best recent Branaires I can remember tasting." Both are available at first tranche pricing, making this the perfect opportunity to get in early on two stars of a brilliant vintage.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2018 Siran, Margaux (Pre-Arrival) 95 $2.00 View
2018 Gazin, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) 96 $2.00 View
2018 Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac (Pre-Arrival) 97 $44.99 View
2018 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival) 94 $49.99 View
2018 Clinet, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) 99 $2.00 View
2018 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival) 97 $54.99 View

2018 Siran, Margaux (Pre-Arrival) - 0 available ($2.00)

94-95 points James Suckling: "This is a solid Siran with blackberries and hints of hazelnuts and chocolate. Full body and chewy tannins that are soft and polished. Shows depth and density." (04/2019)

93-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "With more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than previous years, this vintage is structured and full of a ripe black currant flavor. It is spicy and offers fine tannins that will contribute to its aging potential. (RV)" (04/2019)

93 points Decanter: "Another impressive Margaux in this vintage. It's a big wine with real structure and ageing ability, but it isn't too tight and is not too obviously pushing its agenda. This is a lovely Siran packed full of tannins, fruit and acidity - the triumvirate. It has excellent mouthfilling blackberry and pepper notes, with a pretty high kick of acidity on the finish, marked by its Petit Verdot. (JA)" (03/2019)

91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Siran opens with quietly spoken notions of baked blackberries, blackcurrant cordial and bay leaves with hints of scorched earth, tar and tobacco. The full-bodied palate is restrained and elegantly played with subtle earth layers among the black fruit and a solid foundation of ripe, grainy tannins, finishing with earth and mineral nuances. (LPB)" (04/2019)

89-92 points Vinous: "The 2018 Siran offers an explosion of red cherry/plum fruit, wild flowers, mint and spice. There is a sense of exuberance and energy to the 2018 that is impossible to miss. The tannins are a bit strict today, but there is so much fruit I think all the 2018 needs is time. The blend is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times. (AG)" (04/2019)

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 06, 2019

This was a pretty big winner each time we tasted it this past April! Red fruits in the nose, sweet fleshy mouthfeel, long bit of a cola flavor. Well made. Solid effort!

Staff ImageRalph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 02, 2019

Ch. Siran is on a fantastic roll of quality these days and I'm sure consulting oenologist Hubert De Bouard has a lot to do with that roll. Deep, plump, sweet fruit upfront and the Margaux elegance on the palate. May very well be the Margaux appelations greatest value. 1 Star Ralph Sands

2018 Gazin, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) - 0 available ($2.00)

94-96 points Jeb Dunnuck: "A rock star in the making, the 2018 Château Gazin is made from 93 %Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc. Rich, powerful, and medium to full-bodied, it has s serious feel in its structure and tannin as well as awesome notes of candied cherries, cassis, chocolate, and crushed rocks. With beautiful purity, it builds beautifully on the palate and has both richness and elegance. Its going to benefit from short-term cellaring and cruise for 20+ years." (05/2019)

94-96 points Wine Enthusiast: "Smooth and juicy, this is ripe in a blackberry flavor. The wine's rich fruits are shot through with the fresh acidity that marks so many Merlots from Pomerol in this vintage. The wine is sure to age well. (RV)" (04/2019)

94-95 points James Suckling: "This is very tight and polished with a compact and beautiful palate of blackberries, currants and black olives. Full-bodied yet structurally solid with a very long finish." (04/2019)

91-94 points Vinous: "The 2018 Gazin was impressive all three times I tasted it. Powerful and vibrant, with terrific persistence, the 2018 has more than enough supporting structure to balance the natural richness of the year. Grilled herbs, scorched earth, iron, licorice, mint and dried flowers give the red/purplish toned fruit a decidedly savory dimension that is hugely attractive. Some samples showed quite a bit of tannin, but the wine has more than enough breadth to develop beautifully during élevage and beyond. Tasted three times. (AG)" (04/2019)

2018 Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac (Pre-Arrival) ($44.99)

96-97 points James Suckling: "A fantastic wine with lovely depth of ripe fruit and transparency and beauty. Full bodied. Succulent and rich tannins to the gorgeous fruit. From biodynamically grown grapes." (04/2019)

92-95 points Vinous: "The 2018 Haut-Bages Libéral takes all of the signatures of the property and turns them up to 11. Rich, ample and yet also incredibly refined, the 2018 is a total knock-out. Super-ripe red cherry, plum, cedar, tobacco and star anise infuse this powerful, sumptuous Pauillac. Even with normal yields of 45 hectoliters per hectare, Haut-Bages Libéral is a stunningly deep, potent wine. The blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot. (AG)" (04/2019)

K&L Notes: *Biodynamic*

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 01, 2019

Given all that this property has going for it its superb terroir located between Chateau Latour and Chateau Pichon Baron; its winemaking team led by the legendary Claire Lurton; the excellent vintage seen in Pauillac in 2018 it should really be no surprise that this tasted as good as it did during En Primeur week. It showed the power of the vintage with a concentrated black cherry-kirsch core, plenty of gravelly minerals and graphite, notes of licorice and earthy herbs, while still retaining elegance and a long, acid-driven finish. At the price, this is one of the best pre-arrival values from the appellation.

2018 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival) ($49.99)

91-94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Château Langoa Barton comes from the team at Léoville Barton and is based on 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. It has remarkable purity and elegance, with a crunchy, juicy feel in its blue fruits, violets, and floral aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, elegant, and nicely concentrated on the palate, its going to need at least 7-8 years of bottle age, but its a beautiful wine." (05/2019)

93-94 points James Suckling: "Theres real freshness to the crushed-raspberry and blueberry character of this young red. Medium-to full-bodied and zingy with energetic tannins. Crisp finish. Lovely purity of fruit to this." (04/2019)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Langoa Barton is slightly shy at this nascent stage, revealing wonderfully pure, warm red and black currant scents with nuances of blueberry preserves, chocolate mint, smoked meat and a waft of bouquet garni. Full-bodied, rich and sporting a lot of vibrant, juicy fruit in the mouth, it has firm, rounded tannins and a lively backbone lifting the fruit to a good, long finish. (LPB)" (04/2019)

92-94 points Wine Enthusiast: "This wine has generous tannins that are matched by a blackberry flavor. It has the structure and concentration that will allow the wine to age. (RV)" (04/2019)

93 points Decanter: "The gap has been closing recently between Langoa and Léoville Barton, but Langoa is not quite keeping up in this vintage. There's no question that here is a firm, structured, complex and concentrated wine with an effortless St-Julien signature, but the tannins are a touch more foursquare on the finish, not quite as supple and full of life as in 2016. Still, it will be ready to drink sooner and offers tons of pleasure in the glass, so I'm not complaining. 60% new oak. (JA)" (04/2019)

90-93 points Vinous: "I was really impressed with the 2018 Langoa Barton. Fresh, floral and silky, with tremendous fruit purity, the 2018 is delicate and understated to the core. Langoa is always one of the most gracious wines of Saint-Julien. The 2018 has an extra kick of textural resonance that makes it incredibly appealing and delicious. The 2018 is an especially fine Langoa Barton. Tasted two times. (AG)" (04/2019)

Jancis Robinson: "Black core. Intense, small-berried wild black fruits. A very nice combination of dark fruit and savoury black olive. Firm, dense and compact in tannin structure but not tough or drying, just very tannic. The second time I tasted this it seemed more supple. Even with these obvious tannins, there's freshness on the very end. (JH)" (04/2019)

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 06, 2019

Very pretty nose, aromatic, red fruits, toasty, elegant and pure, Very fresh long finish. Wonderful purity. Excellent wine!

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 01, 2019

We think St Julien may be the best region in Bordeaux for 2018 (what else is new?) and this is always a value in the region. Tasted four times with consistent notes, this wine is precise and pure with a black cherry cola aroma and long sweet palate impression. A steal for sure.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 30, 2019

Tasted at Leoville Barton during En Primeur week. Very expressive, bursting with bright briary red fruit, licorice, cola and cranberry, with even a touch of orange. Very expressive and bright with great acidity, and well extracted tannins for great ageability. 13.85% abv.

2018 Clinet, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) - 0 available ($2.00)

96-99 points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Château Clinet is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (which is more Cabernet than usual) that was brought up in slightly more new oak than normal, aging in 75% new and 25% once used French oak. Sporting a saturated purple color, it has a massive perfume of black and blue fruits, crushed violets, spice, and orange blossom. Full-bodied, deep, expansive, and layered on the palate, it's an incredibly hedonistic and sexy wine that shows the best of this great vintage. Its going to be hard to resist on release and knock your socks off over the following two decades or more." (05/2019)

97 points Decanter: "One of the star Pomerol names showing us how its done in 2018. This wine absolutely stands out, being beautifully vibrant and very polished, where you feel the individual strands of flavour and know its clearly going to age. Here you get licks of salted rosemary sprigs right on the nose followed by a silkiness and round mouthfeel that speaks to the alcohol but you certainly don't feel it. Its well judged, very Pomerol, and on the dark side of the fruit scale, perhaps because this is Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, not Cabernet Franc. I found Clinet a little difficult to approach in 2017, giving it a highly recommended but at the low end of the scale, but here it is roaring back to form. (JA)" (04/2019)

94-96 points Wine Enthusiast: "A perfumed wine with fine tannins, this is packed with a blackberry flavor and finishes with intense acidity. All the elements are in place for a wine that will reveal great elegance as it develops. (RV)" (04/2019)

95-96 points James Suckling: "This is a young red that really grows on the palate with so much dark fruit and firm yet luscious tannins. Full-bodied, it grows and grows on the palate. Extremely long and vivid. Solid as a rock. 15 per cent cabernet sauvignon, the rest merlot." (04/2019)

94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Clinet begins a little coy and then, with coaxing, opens out to vibrant black cherries, kirsch, baked plums and cinnamon stick scents with hints of cloves and anise plus earthy truffles and fungi wafts. Full-bodied and chock-full of bright, energetic fruit, it has a firm, finely grained structure and long, fragrant finish. The blend is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aging is anticipated to last for 16 months in French oak barriques, 75% new. (LPB) 94-96+" (04/2019)

91-94 points Vinous: "The 2018 Clinet is a powerful, explosive wine. Clinet is unusual for Pomerol in that the wine includes a good bit of Cabernet Sauvignon (15% in 2018). Gravel, smoke, licorice, grilled herbs, leather and menthol wrap around a core of plush, dark fruit. The Cabernet is very much felt in the wine's flavor profile and textural weight. Dense, rich and inviting, Clinet is a winner from proprietor Ronan Laborde. Tasted three times. (AG)" (04/2019)

Staff ImageRalph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 02, 2019

As usual, Clinet features racy, exotic black fruit with freshness and grip. Very tasty! No question one of the few great buys from the commune of Pomerol. 1.5 Stars Ralph Sands

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 01, 2019

One of the tour de forces for 2018-they have been making great wines of late. Black color. Deep and dense wine with blackberries on nose and palate. Putit away for a long time.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 30, 2019

One of the top wines tasted at the Union des Grands Crus at Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol during En Primeur week. Clinet has expressive red fruits, cranberries and dark cherries, plenty of smoke and graphite, with a pleasant lingering acid driven finish. There is plenty of structure from the concentrated fruit, robust tannins and bright acidity, so this will age well for at least a couple of decades.

Staff ImageRyan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 15, 2019

Perhaps my favorite Clinet since the 2010, and there are tons of highlights within that range. In contrast to the more structured 2015 and 2016, this year's flagship bottling is generous, polished, and incredibly delicious already. Waves of pure red fruits and fine grain tannin carry a long, long finish. It is certainly a bit on the modern side of things but never overdone - it manages balance deftly and with tons of character.

2018 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival) ($54.99)

94-97 points Wine Spectator: "This is well-packed, with blueberry, açaí and blackberry fruit flavors and licorice snap and fruitcake notes. Long and refined despite the copious fruit, showing polish and poise through the finish. (JM)" (03/2019)

93-96 points Vinous: "The 2018 Branaire-Ducru is fabulous. Bright, lifted and impeccably precise, the 2018 is one of the best recent Branaires I can remember tasting. The 2018 is distinguished by its vertical lift, striking aromatic intensity and exceptional balance. Lavender, rose petal, gravel, mint and sweet red/purplish berry fruit are all given an extra kick of textural richness. More than anything else, I was blown away by the wine's density and precision. The 2018 is dazzling. There's not much else to say. Well, except the obvious question, which is why is Branaire not at this level every year? (AG)" (04/2019)

94-96 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a dense wine that is built by firm tannins, bright acidity and great fruitiness. Its structure is fully integrated into the blackberry fruits that give a rich wine that has a fine future. (RV)" (04/2019)

95-96 points James Suckling: "This is a fantastic Brainaire with deep and dark fruit, such as blackberries and blackcurrants. Lots of raspberries, too. Full-bodied with firm and creamy tannins and a super long finish. We will see if its better than 2016, but on its way." (04/2019)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Branaire-Ducru begins just a tad reduced with broody tar, rubber and fried herbs scents giving way to a fragrant core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry coulis with touches of smoked meats and tobacco. Full-bodied, firm and rugged in the mouth with brawny, muscular fruit and a sturdy frame of grainy tannins, it finishes long and savory. (LPB)" (04/2019)

93 points Decanter: "Branaire-Ducru has managed to produce an exceptionally balanced and refined St-Julien in a year when that was not the easiest task. Depth and complexity is clear, although it's just a little held back right now. The architecture is such that there are walls to scale and depths to plumb, but with less generosity overall. (JA)" (04/2019)

Jancis Robinson: "Black-cherry rim with opaque core. Scented with cassis and ripe damson fruit, quite open on the nose. Lively on the palate too, really fruity, balanced by fine layers of dry but not drying tannins. Oaky, chewy, rich, but smooth on the finish with aromatic fruit through to the finish. (JH)" (03/2019)

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 06, 2019

Loaded with red fruits, hints of cola and spice, long and sweet core of middle fruit, long, fleshy and silky. This is going to be one of my "must buys" from this vintage. Excellent!

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 01, 2019

Xavier Maroteaux has fashioned a delicious wine in 2018. Tasted three times- 58% CS, 33%M, and mix of PV and CF to finish. Elegant wine with ripe roses on the nose and palate. Lush wine with sweet, ripe tannins. Fresh and full with some tannin evident. Fabulous wine in 2018.

Staff ImageRalph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 01, 2019

In my opinion Saint-Julien is definitely a sweet spot in the 2018 vintage. Branaire is an absolute beauty! Prue, plump red fruit with great freshness, elegance and most importantly great tasting and a complete wine. This wine hits all the marks of greatness and is a 3 Star wine and one of the best wines of the vintage. It will drink a bit earlier and give more pleasure than most wines in 2018. Ralph Sands

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 30, 2019

Tasted at Branaire Ducru during En Primeur week. Immediately out of the barrel this is a pretty wine, with rich, mouth-watering red fruit flavors of cola berry and cherry with herbs and licorice and a very subtle toast. It has perfectly integrated, approachable tannins and a very long fresh finish. 14.3% abv

Staff ImageRyan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 16, 2019

I've always admired Branaire Ducru, but I've never been captured by a vintage of their wine in the same way as their splendid 2018. A core of bright red fruit and hint of cherry cola carries to a resounding finish. It is intense, full, but always refined. Tasted on four occasions, it never ceased to be one of the best wines in the room and is one of the great highlights of a superlative St-Julien vintage.