2023 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

2023 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 20231006090
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2023 Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux

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Description

Blend: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% Merlot; 13% Cabernet Franc; 2% Petit Verdot.

With 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, this represents not only the style of Left Bank Bordeaux in 2023, but also the changes and investment here, as part of the Ch. Mouton Rothschild portfolio. Technical director Lucie Lauilhé has made a statement of intent in defining the future direction of the wine. It is pure, tight and precise – the epitome of 2023’s best Cabernet Sauvignon. There is still the old-vine Cabernet Franc providing lift and perfume, and there is still the slightly sinewy twist in the mid-palate. But this is also a more articulate expression of its terroir than before. It is admirable and impressive.

Drink 2029 - 2048

Our score: 17/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson94/100

High Cabernet, as is the story of the vintage on the Left Bank. A wine that also continues the new story of Armailhac following serious investment in vineyards and cellar, and technical director Lucie Lauilhé. Bright and vivid from the first moment, layered cassis, crushed mint, liqourice root, crushed rocks, an excellently precise, structed and textured Armailhac. Love it. Harvest September 7 to 30. 80ha in production, 50% new oak barrels for ageing.

Drink 2030 - 2046

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous91-93/100

The 2023 d'Armailhac was picked from September 7 to 30 and aged in 50% new oak. It contains the highest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon to date. Its tightly wound bouquet demands encouragement from the glass, perhaps just missing the panache that elevated the previous vintage. You could argue that this seems more “serious.” The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins and a firm backbone. It’s a little pepperier than previous vintages, closing with a streamlined finish. Give this two or three years in bottle.

Drink 2028 - 2043

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous90-92/100

The 2023 d’Armailhac is a plump, juicy wine that very much captures the generous side of the year. Succulent red plum, spice, new leather, rose petal and pomegranate are nicely amplified. Armailhac can have a slight edginess in its tannin profile, but today, that is not especially evident. This is a very sexy, almost opulent d'Armailhac, despite having the most Cabernet Sauvignon ever in the blend.

Drink 2028 - 2043

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW93-95/100

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2023 d'Armailhac sings of black raspberries, wild strawberries, and tilled soil with hints of dried herbs and wet slate. The medium-bodied palate is lively and elegantly styled, with plush tannins supporting delicate red and black fruit layers, culminating in a well-sustained finish. Very impressive! The blend is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon (the highest ever percentage for d'Armailhac), 15% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot, with pH 3.75. The alcohol is 13.5%.

Drink 2028 - 2042

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (April 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16/20

70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.

Fresh and crunchy, the fruit zesty. Medium-bodied but lacks some depth. Powdery tannins on the finish that stick out just a little.

Drink 2028 - 2040

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate92-93/100

The 2023 d'Armailhac is an attractive effort, bursting with aromas of cherries, raspberries, licorice and cigar wrapper. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and succulent, with a pretty core of fruit, sweet powdery tannins and lively acids, it's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot—which is a rather high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon for this address.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling92-94/100

There’s a powdery and open texture to this red. Full-bodied and layered with a pretty and weightless texture. Blackcurrants and blueberries and an orange-peel undertone. Velvety texture at the end. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 13% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100

Including slightly more Cabernet Sauvignon than usual, the 2023 Château D'Armailhac is based on 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, aging in 50% new oak. It's a ripe, medium to full-bodied, spicy, impressive Pauillac that has both red and black fruits, ripe, round, velvety tannins, the fresher, vibrant style of the vintage, and some classy tobacco and lead pencil aromatics. It's going to need at least 4-5 years of bottle age to come together, but it’s beautiful wine in the making. The alcohol is 13.5%, and it has a pH of 3.75.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Château d'Armailhac

Château d'Armailhac

Classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, Château d’Armailhac came under the ownership of the Baron Philippe de Rothschild family in 1933. Today Baroness Philippine’s children, Camille and Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild continue the family’s quest for excellence and innovation in the vineyard and winery.

The 76-hectare estate is managed alongside stablemates Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Clerc Milon; expertise is shared across the properties.

The south-facing vineyard is located in the northern part of Pauillac, adjacent to Château Mouton Rothschild, and is made up of deep, gravelly soil favoured by Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s no surprise, then, that this grape dominates the planting with the rest given over to Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%). The Cabernet Franc vines, which have an average age of 60 years, derived from ancestral massal selection, make up a relatively high proportion of the blend and are a hallmark of the wine. Harvesting is done by hand, and the grapes are sorted and destemmed.

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Pauillac

Pauillac

Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.

For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.

Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.

Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.

Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.

Recommended Châteaux
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.

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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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