Bordeaux Wishes and Classified Dreams

And Buyer’s Guide for 2021 Futures and Top Current Vintages

By John Szabo, MS

The majestic château of the Left Bank fuel the Bordeaux dreams of wine connoisseurs worldwide. The turreted, romantic renaissance castle of Pichon Baron with its grey slate roofs and white limestone walls, the neo-Palladian masterpiece of Château Margaux, the singular Oriental design of Cos d’Estournelle and its monumental 17th century Zanzibar portal, the elegant Tuscan-style tower at Château Lagrange… all conjure flights of aristocratic fantasies and fine wine reveries.

©John Szabo

The splendid architecture of the region reflects its prosperity over the past 400 years as the source, and gateway, for all wine exports from southwest France.

The wines, of course, are also among the finest in France, and the world, unsurprising given the near limitless resources at the disposal of the top one-per-cent of Bordeaux estates. To visit any one of these tops many bucket lists. But you’ll need an appointment. Nobody drops in unannounced.

In September 2023 I spent ten days touring and tasting through the region, significantly shortening my own bucket list. With many wineries showing the exceptional trio of vintages 2018-2019-2020, quality was universally high, and mid-90s scoring wines almost routine. Add in some terrific 2016s, and even 2011s that are starting to drink quite beautifully now, and the list of recommended wines runs as long as a 19th century Russian novel.

But it’s not all about the classified growths and their near untouchable wine prices. For more grounded wine lovers, Bordeaux also has much to offer. Remember that the Left Bank 1855 classified growths number about sixty, while the greater Bordeaux region counts some 6000 wine producers. In such a vast amount of wine can be found some of the best cabernet and merlot red blends, and sauvignon-semillon white blends, in the world that don’t require re-mortgaging. Languishing as so many properties do in the shadows, yet with access to vast expertise and information-sharing with neighbours, not to mention a string of excellent vintages, and the quality-pleasure-price quotient of many of the wines is jaw dropping.

And the so-called ‘second wines’ of the top château, usually from younger vines or lots that don’t make it into the grand vin, or more rarely from vineyards entirely separate from those used for the top bottlings, are fertile hunting grounds for relative value today more than ever. Vast improvements in vineyard management and winemaking technology and acumen have had both a positive ripple up and ripple down effect on a château’s entire portfolio.

Château Montrose barrel cellar ©John Szabo

And it’s worth pointing out that Bordeaux is actually a lovely place to visit, a fact that seems to have been forgotten, or never even learned in the first place. Beyond the stuffy air that settles around some château, and the buttoned-up, business-like image that the Bordeaux trade often projects, you’ll find a lively and engaged young generation of open-minded, wine loving Bordelais hoping you’ll visit, many offering accommodations and serving some of the best food in the region.

South of the town of Bordeaux, for example, in the Graves appellation, Haut Bailly welcomes guests to their “Private Table” in the 19th century château. Groups of 4 up to 15 people enjoy bespoke lunches featuring the exceptional wines of Haut Bailly and their newly (and spectacularly) renovated chai, paired with the Michelin-level seasonal cuisine of chef Maxime Pommier.  A recent harvest menu included smoked eel, corn cream and chanterelles with the refined 2017 Haut Bailly, while the more powerful 2015 was poured with a magnificent dish of aged beef, smoked eggplant, and dense, sweet carrot jus. Under the same ownership, neighboring Château Le Pape offers newly renovated guestrooms and secluded gardens designed by landscape artist Camille Muller.

Across the Gironde on the Right Bank, the memorable medieval town of St. Emilion, a UNESCO heritage site perched on its famous limestone plateau, has been a source of fine wine for 2000 years. Whereas stern cabernet sauvignon headlines on the Left Bank (in the Médoc and Graves regions) earlier-repining merlot dominates on this more clay-rich side of the estuary, in the environs of St. Emilion, Pomerol, Bourg and Blaye, yielding wines that reach their drinking window earlier with sweeter fruit and softer tannins. And the so-called ‘satellite’ appellations such as the Côtes de Castillon, Fronsac and Cannon Fronsac, and Bordeaux Côtes de Francs are rich hunting grounds for those high pleasure-value wines.

UNESCO-inscribed, medieval St. Emilion plateau ©John Szabo

Compared to the Médoc, wine estates are also much smaller, with an average of less than ten hectares versus the Left Bank’s 20ha (and the top cru classés are more often around 80-90ha). But smaller doesn’t mean any less grand an experience; indeed, you’re much more likely to catch a winemaker or winery principal as opposed to the hospitality director.

For the best food in the region head to Les Belles Perdrix at Troplong Mondot. The view of St. Emilion from this highest point in the region is exceptional, but the cuisine even more so; Chef David Charrier’s menus have earned a Michelin star, with a rumoured second on the way. Trolong Mondot’s wines are equally worth the visit, much improved in the last decade, born of a unique dense clay terroir matched only at Pétrus. Across the lane from the winery/restaurant, Trolong Mondot offers charming one and two-bedroom suites as well as a five-bedroom house for larger celebrations.

The St. Emilion plateau ©John Szabo

Returning from wine country, the wine scene in the town of Bordeaux itself has been equally shaken up for the better by a less stiff generation. Wine bars are also a great source to discover many of the countless “petit château” that are performing above their status, championed by passionate sommeliers.

Explore the old town, especially the quartiers of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Michel down by the Gironde, where locals will direct you to Aux Quatres Coins du Vin or bistro Chez Lolotte. For an immersive educational experience, try Le Cité du Vin run by the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine in the quartier des Chartrons, a modern interactive wine museum and tasting bar representing all 64 Bordeaux appellations.

Further afield, an hour’s drive east through the Landes pine forest gets you to Cape Ferret and its sand dunes and surfing beaches, where the celebrated oysters from Arcachon Basin and tiny whelks are served at every shack. La Cabane du Mimbeau and slightly more upscale Chez Hortense are references, though this is beachside, shorts and flip-flop country, with wine lists that run only three or four selections deep.

©John Szabo

From turrets to tank tops, Michelin stars to shacks, Bordeaux has something to share. If you’d written the region off as unattainable, give it another chance.

Jump straight to John Szabo’s Bordeaux Buyer’s Guides:

2021 Futures
White, All Appellations
Left Bank Crus Classés, Grands Vins
Left Bank Crus Classés, “Second Wines”
Left Bank Cru Bourgeois and Other Top Values
Right Bank Top Wines
Right Bank Top Values

See all Wines Reviewed in September 2023

Buyer’s Guide: Bordeaux 2021 Futures

In January, Sara, Megha, Michael and I attended the annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux LCBO walk around taste-and-buy event at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, part of a North America-wide UGC tour. The 2021 vintage was featured exclusively, with some 80 producers showing their wares. It’s not a very conducive environment for detailed note taking, but the event does provide an opportunity to gain a fairly comprehensive overview of the vintage and pick out the top performers. I tasted through about 50 wines, mostly left bank (Médoc and Graves), and have grouped the best into Recommended and Highly Recommended categories. The wines are available to buy online now from the LCBO, and will arrive sometime in 2024 (exact date TBD – check with the LCBO).

Vintage 2021

A word about 2021: in a nutshell, it’s a return to a more ‘classic’ style, the way Bordeaux used to be in the 1980s and 1990s. Reds are highly variable, but with some lovely, elegant wines that will provide for fine drinking over the mid-term. Whites are generally excellent, one of the finest vintages in memory.

Yields were down quite significantly at some châteaux from a confluence of atmospheric challenges (frost, hail, rain, mildew, cool, gloomy days, you name it), but despite the limited quantities produced, prices remain attractive thanks to the mixed reviews of the vintage and dampened enthusiasm from the trade.

Fans of the ripe and robust trio of 2018-2019-2020 will find the ‘21s comparably light; alcohol levels are down by about a full degree on average, closer to 13%-13.5% compared to the recent spate of 14%+ wines.

It was a year to treat sensitively in the cellar to protect the delicate fruit. Those who got it wrong produced hard, over-extracted and often overly woody wines, the kind that will likely never come around before the fruit fades. Those who got it right produced beautifully balanced, perfumed, silky, elegant reds. St. Julien and Margaux were particularly successful, though there are some terrific buys in less vaunted appellations like Moulis, Listrac and Haut-Médoc not to miss.

The best whites of Graves and Péssac-Léognan are supremely fresh with succulent acids and vibrant, ripe but fresh fruit. There are some stunners on offer, though here, the generally tiny quantities mean that prices are pretty steep.

Highly Recommended
29571, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, $199
29481, Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $255
29673, Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $175
29569, Château Pape Clément Blanc 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $225
37335, Château Poujeaux 2021, AC Moulis-en-Médoc, $52
29188, Château La Lagune 2021, AC Haut-Médoc, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $69
29069, Château Angludet 2021, AC Margaux, $59
29588, Château Brane-Cantenac 2021, AC Margaux, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $115
29415, Château Rauzan-Ségla 2021, AC Margaux, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $149
29277, Château Branaire-Ducru 2021, AC Saint-Julien, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $79
29296, Château Lagrange 2021, AC Saint-Julien, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $87

29541, Château Haut-Bailly 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $235
29570, Château Pape Clément 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $149
29490, Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $215
29680, Domaine de Chevalier 2021, AC Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Graves, $115
29581, Château Clinet 2021, AC Pomerol, $165
37386, Château Clarke 2021, AC Listrac-Médoc, $53
37387, Château Coufran 2021, AC Haut-Médoc, $39
37388, Château de Lamarque 2021, AC Haut-Médoc, JS 92-93
37336, Château Citran 2021, AC Haut-Médoc, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $39
29323, Château Cantenac-Brown 2021, AC Margaux, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $85
29544, Château Gloria 2021, AC Saint-Julien, $67 
29267, Château Talbot 2021, AC Saint-Julien, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $99
37383, Château Batailley 2021, AC Pauillac, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $95
29273, Château Lynch-Bages 2021, AC Pauillac, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, $219

Buyer’s Guide: White Bordeaux, All Appellations

The following wines were tasted in the region with producers in September of 2023.

97 Cheval Blanc Le Petit Cheval Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2021
A relatively new white wine made at the neighboring property purchased by Cheval Blanc in 2006; the first vintage offered commercially was 2014. It undergoes a very long elevage of 22 months, in 25-35hl cuves, 15hl foudres and some demi-muids of which 20% are renewed each year.  The stylistic aim is to avoid varietal, tropical notes; malo is not done, and fermentation is initiated with inoculation by yeasts selected on the property. Sweet, ripe fruit, pear and apple, apricot, and white orchard fruit lead off the top, with no wood influence to report. The palate is dense and broad but not heavy, turning to more citrus, grapefruit, tangerine, and kumquat flavours, with terrifically succulent acids and tremendous length. This could well be one of the finest white Bordeaux I’ve tasted outside of the Graves region, easily the top on the right bank, a magnificent wine all in all, and should age beautifully for 15-20 years if you have the patience. The long-term plan is to produce 45k thousand bottles when everything is in full production. Tasted September 2023.

2023 harvest into concrete vats at Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion ©John Szabo

94 Château Tronquoy Blanc de Tronquoy Bordeaux Blanc 2019
A 1.2ha parcel of white within the St. Estèphe AOC, in the middle of the red varieties, a unique feature of this white. It’s on the highest part of Tronquoy, which is the highest in St. Estèphe at 33 meters, planted 16 years ago, on cooler clay soils, well-suited for white in this land of cabernet sauvignon. Fermented and aged in barrels for a year, with regular bâtonnage; 80% semillon, 20% sauvignon gris. Pretty, perfumed, very ripe but fresh, well-integrated wood, creamy textured, with sapid acids and caramelized citrus-lime, lightly candied flavours. Length and depth are excellent, with gentle salinity. No malo allowed to go through, to preserve some freshness. Seems to be evolving relatively slowly, though I’d drink over the next half dozen years. Lovely wine. Tasted September 2023.

92 Château Les Charmes-Godard Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc 2018
63% semillon, 21% sauvignon blanc and 16% sauvignon gris, fermented and aged in barrel. The results are subtle, appealingly complex, integrated, gently spicy, tarragon-basil-inflected, with clean, fluffy lees. The palate adds in sweet orange citrus on a creamy frame, even if acids sweep in on the finish to drive saliva and freshen the ensemble. Value here is exceptional, depth and concentration, and complexity in the category are impressive. Tasted September 2023.

91 Château Sudiraut Lions de Suduiraut Bordeaux Blanc Sec 2022
Explosive aromatics, very fresh and fruity, with mostly citrus and green tropical notes, lemongrass, citrus blossom, grapefruit, lemon peel, tonic and refreshing, with no detectable wood. The palate is well balanced, fresh and zesty, with some semillon creaminess; excellent length in the category. Solid value. Would land around $35 in VINTAGES. Tasted September 2023.

90 Château Les Clauzots Graves Blanc 2021
Classic white Bordeaux from just south of Sauternes on gravelly-limestone terroir, a 5th generation family property searching for fruit purity produced in a reductive style, with detail and precision uncommon at this price level. No wood ageing here, just 8 months on the lees in steel. Sweet green herbs, tropical fruit, grapefruit and citrus, and passion fruit mingle, with no green-pyrazine character noted. Acids are fresh and lively, and length is good to very good. Delicious, easy-drinking, ready to go. 70% sauvignon, 25% semillon, 5% sauvignon gris. Tasted September 2023.

88 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc Héritiers Georges Thienpont 2018
Francs Côtes de Bordeaux was an AOC known at the end of the last century for sweet white wine, and still produces tiny amounts, though more dry white wine today, and production has shifted predominantly to red. Puygueraud’s 2018 dry white is starting to show some age, turning a touch petrol-diesel-inflected, lightly candied citrus fruit-scented, caramelized grapefruit. The palate shows decent freshness and lively acids, though I’d say it’s à point; complexity and depth are correct.  90% sauvignon blanc, 10% sauvignon gris. Tasted September 2023.

Buyer’s Guide: Bordeaux Left Bank Crus Classés, Grands Vins

98 Château Carmes Haut Brion Grand Vin, Péssac-Léognan 2018
2018 was the first vintage that Carmes went full-on with the “infusion” philosophy, that is, no pump overs during fermentation to minimize extraction, suitable in this warm, powerful vintage. And it’s a ripe and spicy vintage for Carmes, with riper fruit than the 2017, especially black cherry and tonic-herbal spice, tea, pine needle, rosehip, dried rose, really lovely, perfumed and attractive, and mesmerizingly complex . This is one of the finest 2018s from Bordeaux, especially if you favour more elegant, delicate styles – such is the freshness and perfume, the refined silky tannins, uncommon in this often dense, very ripe year. Sheer beauty, absolutely gorgeous, such a sapid and saline mouthful and abundant mouthfeel, and enjoyable even now, even if it will only turn more deliciously savoury over the next decade plus, and likely hold into the ’40s for more silk and lace. 13.5% alcohol. 38% cabernet franc, 35% CS, and the balance in merlot, 60% whole bunch. Tasted September 2023.

98 Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 2015
The 2015 Mouton has a spectacular set of aromatics straight off the top, compact and tightly wound, beautifully ripe and gravelly-stony, complex and complete. The palate is broad, bold and highly structured, a muscular vintage to be sure, still years from prime enjoyment. Ripe liqueur-like black fruit, cassis and blackberry dominate in the classic spectrum, 100% new wood is fully digested, and length is simply outstanding. A wine of density and concentration, depth and power, a near-perfect wine, best from 2035-2055+.  82% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot, 2% cabernet franc. Tasted September 2023.

98 Château Lagrange Grand Vin, St. Julien 2019
2019 has the highest percentage of cabernet of any grand vin from Lagrange at 80%, with 18% merlot and 2% petit verdot. In this excellent vintage, more of the second wine, Les Fiefs de Lagrange, was produced than on average, around 70% of production, in order to make an exceptional grand vin to celebrate Suntory’s 120th anniversary since founding (the Suntory group owns Lagrange). The 2019 Les Fiefs is exceptional, but this really shines, a wine that will have a very long window of enjoyment, almost from this early point, even if it will be superior in 4-5 years. The nose is spectacular, full of freshness and tension, herbal vibrancy, very ripe but also very fresh. I love the combination of power and precision, the energy and structure – abundant tannins but also very fine – such beautiful harmony. A spectacular wine, the finest Lagrange ever? Best 2028-2050+. Tasted September 2023.

The tour at Château Latour ©John Szabo

97 Château Latour Grand Vin, Pauillac 2011
All new oak is used for the Grand Vin of course, from about 30 different origins, coopers, forests, toast levels, etc., for about 18 months on average. 2011 was one of those vintages caught between more lauded years like 2009 and 2010. It’s nearly 85% cabernet, always a high percentage in Latour, with the balance in merlot and 0.5% petit verdot. This is just shifting into the early tertiary stage of aromatic evolution, really sweet barrel spice, cacao nibs, dried flowers, plus a range of dark fruit. It’s extremely seductive on the palate, fullish, plush, round but structured, with excellent depth and length, exhibiting elegance and refinement. Although on the cusp of drinkability, I’d still suggest another 4-6 years in the cellar to reach a greater stage of complexity, and this will go down as one of the more balanced and composed vintages for Latour. In the words of estate hospitality director Manon: “Latour is always kind of perfect, very elegant, straight, pure, very fine, while Lafite wines are harder to appreciate, but have more complexity, more surprises, more layers.” Tasted September 2023.

97 Château Pichon Baron au Baron de Longueville Grand Vin, Pauillac 2018
Officially labelled as Pichon Baron from the 2012 vintage, dropping the “Pichon Longueville Baron”, which caused some confusion with Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Pichon Baron was always the nickname of the estate. The 2018 is still quite closed on the nose, also tightly wound on the palate, with massive tannic structure. Fruit remains surprisingly fresh considering the heat of the vintage, and this should age magnificently. Balance is nicely intact, with fruit extract matching the tannic extract, both high density. Wood influence is nicely enmeshed in the ensemble. Length is excellent. This is a good terroir in warm vintage – water stress is rarely an issue, with a layer of clay and chalk under 3-4m of gravels. A top notch 2018. Best from 2030, or hold into the ’50s no doubt. Tasted September 2023.

97 Château Montrose Grand Vin, Saint Estèphe 2019
2019 was a superb vintage across Bordeaux’s left bank, and particularly successful at Montrose in St. Estèphe. It shows high ripeness on the nose, and a unique black tea, cola spice, an uncommon feature, also dried rose, alongside fresh-ripe black fruit. Wood is still marked for the moment, but will no doubt become fully digested in another half dozen years or so. I love the sapidity and the silky-firm texture on the palate, the long, perfumed, lingering finish, the salinity and succulence that drives desire for more. This should start to hit full stride towards the end of the decade, but with this exceptional balance, genuine concentration and length, this should age gracefully into the ’50s. Tasted September 2023.

96 Château Lagrange Grand Vin, St. Julien 2018
“The ultimate generous vintage ever”, according to managing director Matthieu Bordes, with the highest phenolics and sugar levels yet recorded, with tiny berries – close to 50-50 juice to skin ratio in the tank. Extraction thus had to be managed very carefully. The nose is explosive – 0.59 volatile the highest in the estate’s history, and 14.8% alcohol, but you’d be hard pressed to find it, especially if served at a correct 18ºC or less. Tannins are cleverly extracted, indeed quite supple and silky, and length and depth are truly superb – a terrific success for the vintage, best from 2028-2040+. 67% CS, 28% M, 5% PV. Tasted September 2023.

96 Château Carmes Haut Brion Grand Vin, Péssac-Léognan 2017
Pure red-red colour, with just the start of the shift to garnet. 45% whole bunch, 42% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon, with the balance in merlot. Aged 80% in wood, 80% new, and 10 percent each in foudre and amphora. This is particularly spicy and lifted on the nose with an appealing mix of red and black fruit, all very fresh and firm, while the palate shows plenty of salinity, and dusty tannins, abundant but refined, with long, perfumed but delicate finish. This is not a wine of power but rather subtle depth and finesse, though I’d suggest another 2-3 years minimum in the cellar to fully polish the texture. Lovely succulence and perfume; gorgeous wine. Tasted September 2023.

95 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac 2016
2016 saw a rainy spring, with more than half the annual rainfall in a couple of months, leading into a long, dry summer. Overall it’s widely considered a beautiful vintage. The composition is made up of 55% cabernet sauvignon, 13% cabernet franc  29% merlot,  2% petit verdot and 1% carmenere. Clerc Milon is described as a “cooler terroir”, with clay subsoil overlain with gravels, which sits between Mouton and Lafite, overlooking the river. It shows slightly overripe character off the top on the nose, slightly pruney, also very ripe black fruit, while the palate shows excellent structure and depth, still very tightly wound and evolving slowly it appears, surging ahead a gear or two from the still awkward aromatics, though tannins are smooth and velvety, perfectly ripe. Excellent depth of fruit and perfectly integrated wood, and superb length. Still a long way from prime enjoyment, I’d say another 6-8 years at least before revisiting, or hold into the ’40s. A very stylish and complete wine, top class. Tasted September 2023.

95 Phélan-Ségur, St. Estèphe 2019
Even-keeled aromatics, ripe but fresh, quite pure, driving – I love the silky texture on the palate, finely detailed with great precision. Length is exceptional, as is complexity. A very complete and immensely satisfying wine, which should hit full stride in another 6-8 years. A top vintage for Phélan-Ségur, and the Médoc in general. 56% cabernet, 42% merlot, 2% cabernet franc. Tasted September 2023.

Brane Cantenac, Margaux ©John Szabo

95 Château Brane Cantenac Grand Vin, Margaux 2020
Classy, expressive, premium wine off the top, with notable high quality wood, with delicate coffee and cacao spice framing beautiful red fruit, fresh and fragrant, like wild strawberries, fresh blackberries, largely absent herbal-green character. The palate is nicely structured with abundant but silky tannins and impressive depth. Length is excellent. Shows the DNA of the property, alongside transparent vintage character. Classic Bordeaux from a good vintage, best from 2030 or so. Tasted September 2023.

95 Château Haut-Bailly Grand Vin, Péssac-Léognan 2020
Subtle and reserved on the nose, this is a wine of restraint and understated elegance, yet with excellent underlying power and the characteristic stony-minerality of the château and a whisper of florality. Tannins are tight and fine, limey, acids firm and energetic. All in all, this is a lovely, sophisticated and elegant expression, with excellent length and depth – again, these are not high impact wines, but rather ones for which you need to search a little more deeply and carefully, and which generously reward patience and attention. Classically-styled, old school but precise. Best from 2028-2040+.  52% cabernet sauvignon, 42% merlot, 3% cabernet franc, 3% petit verdot. Tasted September 2023.

©John Szabo

94 Phélan-Ségur, St. Estèphe 2017
Phélan-Ségur has vineyards in four distinct areas of the St. Estèphe appellation, making it highly representative overall. Two wines are made at the château: Phélan-Ségur and Frank Phélan, the second wine. The composition is usually about 55% cabernet sauvignon and 45% merlot, though in ’17 cabernet took on greater importance at 64% of the blend. It offers lovely perfume off the top, fragrant and fresh, and it grows in the glass, with fine and refined tannins, an elegant expression in this vintage, perhaps less dense and concentrated than the top, but I appreciate the finesse, drinkability and forthrightness. Lovely wine, best from 2027-2040+. Tasted September 2023.

94 Phélan-Ségur, St. Estèphe 2014
I love the aromatics on this 2014, beautifully ripe but fresh, savoury, complex, just beginning the shift into tertiary notes, including florals and umami. The palate is balanced and refined with high concentration, grainy-gravelly-ripe tannins, and even-keeled balance, with excellent length. A superb wine for the vintage – St. Estèphe excelled in general in 2014, receiving less rain than many other parts of the Médoc. 65% cabernet, 35% merlot. Tasted September 2023.

94 Phélan-Ségur, St. Estèphe 2020
The first vintage that contains a splash of petit verdot. Open, generous, ripe aromatics; plump black fruit, forward and accessible, or at least should be fairly early. 54% cabernet, 42% merlot, 2% petit verdot, 2% cabernet franc. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Margaux Grand Vin, Margaux 2011
An early harvest, 2011 was in general overshadowed by the 2009 and 2010 vintages, though one that delivers plenty of finesse, balance and elegance. Classic cigar box and spice, earthy, compost (is there some brett?), cedary in any case. The palate shows surprising structure, drying, dusty tannins, somewhat angular; power is impressive, but it has a bit of a hard shell, you could say more classically styled, but less focused on the textbook elegance of the appellation, not to say rustic. Length is superb, and complexity is high. Tasted September 2023.

Château Léoville Poyferré ©John Szabo

94 Château Léoville Poyferré, St. Julien 2014
The challenging 2014 vintage saw a late harvest, into the first two weeks of October during a period of fine weather. It’s composed of 60% CS, 35% merlot 3% CF, 2% PV, yielding a notably spicy wine, fragrant, herbal, with dried flowers, fresh-dried red and black fruit. I really like the silky elegance, the refined tannins, the underlying power and depth without heaviness. Tremendous length. Classy, long, quality wine, a grand success for the year I’d say. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Lynch Bages Grand Vin, Pauillac 2014
Starting to show some maturity now, just beginning the shift to tertiary aromatics, particularly savoury and earthy, with damp earth, dark spice, and well-integrated wood influence, high complexity overall – the nose is haunting. On the palate it’s still firm and tightly wound, showing significant minerality, iodine, meaty-savoury character, showing well now even if not fully at prime. 2014 seems to be the vintage that many château want to pour at this stage, a vintage in which terroir really came through, each appellation is faithfully represented.  I like the sleekness and forthrightness. Best from 2026-2040+. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Brane Cantenac Grand Vin, Margaux 2021
The top wine of Brane Cantenac comes only from the main gravelly plateau of the  estate since the 2019 vintage, where concentration meets refinement, depth and complexity, with greater ease than some of the sandier, lower-lying terraces. It’s is still very young to be sure, with wood still showing (100% new wood), but I appreciate the balance and freshness on the palate – tannins are silky-refined, not green nor rough, while fruit remains taut, tart and fresh, more in the red spectrum. Length and depth are very good – it’s not a blockbuster vintage, but rather one that will reward moderate patience and surprise in time, one in which terroir and winemaking skills were of paramount importance, and well done at Brane. Try after 2028 or so – this will evolve into an appealingly succulent, saline wine – an old school Bordeaux lover’s wine. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Haut-Bailly Grand Vin, Péssac-Léognan 2021
The top wine of Haut-Bailly is composed of about 2/3rds cabernet sauvignon with 22% merlot, 10% petit verdot and 3% cabernet franc in 2021, and always includes about 20% of the oldest, 120 year-old vines planted (some of the first planted in the region post-phylloxera) to a mixed field blend of the six main Bordeaux grapes, but harvested in two passes to collect early and later ripening verities separately. It displays a great deal of finesse on the nose, ripe but with the gentle herbal-green character of the Bordeaux grapes in a cool vintage like 2021; wood is well integrated, offering just a touch of coffee character. The palate is vibrant and energetic, with light but dusty-grippy tannins, sapid acids and the minerality that marks the terroir of this château. These are not flashy wines, but rather more subtle and stony expression, ones that take time to unfurl in the cellar. Length and depth are very good to excellent. A great success for the vintage. Best 2027-2037. Tasted September 2023.

Buyer’s Guide: Bordeaux Left Bank Crus Classés, “Second Wines”

94 Château Latour Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac 2017
A refined and elegant vintage for Latour’s second wine in this lighter and fresher vintage, featuring here some uncommon dried mint and herbal freshness, mint tea, fresh black fruit. The palate is silky and juicy, succulent, with very refined tannins and lively acids, a direct and linear wine across the palate, toute en finesse. Drinking really well now I have to say, though no rush of course – this should turn marvelously savoury in another half dozen years. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Pichon Baron Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac 2019
The second label of Pichon Baron, with an uncommonly high percentage of merlot, old vines in this case, representing about 2/3rds of the assemblage. The 2019 is showing attractively fresh, herbal character, more structured than the basic Pauillac, in fact with quite firm and grippy tannins, and significant depth and power. Length is excellent. I like the firmness allied to finesse, the balance and even keeled nature. This is well done; it likely won’t hit full stride for another half dozen years if not more, or hold into the late ’30s easily.  68% merlot, 19% cabernet sauvignon. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Lagrange Les Fiefs de Lagrange 2019
2019 was a special vintage for several reasons. Aside from being an excellent growing season, the Japan-based  Suntory group, a family-run company that owns Lagrange, is celebrating the 120th year since founding. So, in 2019,  only 30% of production went into the Grand Vin, a sever selection “to take it to another level”, according to MD Matthieu Bordes. That means that 70% of production went to this second wine, Les Fiefs de Lagrange, including many parcels that usually go to the grand vin, resulting in the finest Les Fiefs in Bordes’ experience. It’s still very tightly wound on the nose, not giving much for now and will take several years to come into shape. Yet the palate shows remarkable balance, freshness, poise and precision, with loads of power, and excellent length. It can be considered a genuine value, approaching the quality of the Grand Vin in most years. 53% CS, 44% M, 3% PV. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Montrose La Dame de Montrose, Saint Estèphe 2017
I like the finesse and freshness on offer – St. Estèphe faired well in this vintage. Fruit is taut, turgid, fresh and black, with lovely spice and well integrated wood; tannins are gritty, quite abundant but not hard; length and depth are very good to excellent. Classy, sophisticated wine, best 2025-2035. 49% merlot, cabernet 43%, CF 4%, 4% PV. Tasted September 2023.

94 Château Carmes Haut Brion C des Carmes Haut Brion, Péssac-Léognan 2019
“C des Carmes” is produced from Carmes’ estate vineyards outside of the city of Bordeaux in Martillac, a cabernet sauvignon-based wine unlike the franc-based Carmes ‘grand vin’, here with 30% maximum whole bunch on the merlot and petit verdot portion; cabernet sauvignon stems rarely lignify to the necessary degree for inclusion. This is designed for freshness, acidity and drinkability, aged two years in wood (30% new) followed by another 6 months in concrete. The 2019 is lovely with lifted perfume, very floral, gently high-toned, with a good mix of red fruit along with fresh black, and gentle herbal spice even if not green. The palate is lively and zesty, delicate, showing more perfume than the mean, with terrifically succulent acids and ultra fine tannins, pure silk. Such a refined and delicate wine, elegant and sophisticated, a very Burgundian expression. Love this. Pure and clean. 13% alcohol. (Tasted September 2023.

Left Bank: Cru Bourgeois and Top Value Unclassified Growths

93 Château Le Crock St., Estèphe 2017
Le Crock is a property purchased by the Cuvelier family of Léoville Poyferré in 1903. The 2017 is a lovely, ripe fruit-flavoured, forward, plump, fresh not overripe wine. I like the thick and velvety texture, the supple-velvety tannins, the ripe, comfortable, balanced acids. Length is excellent. A fine discovery. Tasted September 2023.

92 Château du Taillan Cru Bourgeois Exceptionelle, Haut Médoc 2018
The first estate you’ll drive past when heading north from Bordeaux, a majority of merlot, 70%. Lots of wood, dense and deep, evidently quality, very good stuff. This is top value. Classic. Tasted September 2023.

92 Château Moulin Riche St., Julien 2016
The sister property of Léoville Poyferré neighboring in St. Julien, this is the Grand Vin of Moulin Riche. It offers intriguing orange zest spice, bright-tart red and black fruit; the palate is plump and fleshy with good volume, and supple, round tannins supported by firm acids – the balance is spot on. Length and depth are very good to excellent. This is solid wine, not yet at peak – try after 2026. I like this. 63% cabernet sauvignon, 26% merlot, 11% petit verdot. Tasted September 2023.

92 Château Castera Cru Bourgeois Médoc 2016
The oldest property in the lower Médoc from the 13th century, ranked “Supérieur” in the Cru Bourgeois classification, 65% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon, 5% each cab franc and petit verdot. This is polished, complete, succulent and juicy, well balanced and flavourful, with lovely sapidity and very good length. Drinking beautifully now, or hold mid-term. Tasted September 2023.

91 Château Tronquoy, Saint-Estèphe 2019
Château Tronquoy is a property owned by the same family that owns Montrose, counting 30 hectares of vineyards around the château itself, a quite homogenous terroir. Tronquoy sits at the highest point in St. Estèphe, at 33m, and there’s more clay than Montrose, hence more freshness on average, also a higher percentage of merlot (50%), with 44% cabernet sauvignon and 6% petit verdot in this vintage. It’s appealingly fresh and fruit forward, with modest wood impact, nicely integrated, clean and pure. The palate is supple and round, with velvety tannins. Complexity is moderate in the context of cru classés, but this is well made. Pleasant, highly drinkable even now, though should hold nicely for another decade or so. “The new Bordeaux style”, that is, enjoyable even when young even if the stuffing is there to cellar.  90k bottles made. Tasted September 2023.

Buyer’s Guide: Bordeaux Right Bank Top Wines

97 Château Cheval Blanc St. Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classe “A” 2011
2011 is described as an “even vintage,” one without extremes (there was some botrytis pressure, but at an estate at this level, any affected berries are eliminated, affecting only quantity, not quality). I find this represents the estate faithfully: subtle, sophisticated, particularly floral and finessed, melding red and black fruit, ripe but taut and fresh, with licorice, mint, subtle dried earth and fresh bark, while truffle is creeping in alongside tertiary incense notes, just beginning to emerge as it enters a favourable drinking window. The attack is vivid and bright, leading with succulent acids and supported by ultra fine tannins. Finish is near endless, such a pretty wine, structured but refined, elegant and balanced. Best now-2045+; open a couple of hours before serving, though at this age, decanting is not required (younger or older, yes). 57% cabernet franc. Tasted September 2023.

97 Château Pavie Macquin Saint Emilion 1er Grand Crus Classé 2018
Pavie Macquin sits on the edge of the Saint Emilion plateau in prime position, with south-west facing slopes adjacent to Château Pavie on the famous Pavie slope. Vines at the top of the hill grow in very shallow clay over pure limestone, while those further down tuck into a mix of slightly deeper brown and red clay over a more tender limestone. The tendency at PM is to go for power and ripeness, not as exaggerated as some, but intense and liqueur like in any case, especially in this warm and powerful vintage, also complete and complex. The palate is explosive, thick and rich but not overly heavy, with a sweet, sensation driven by liqueur-like fruit, blackberry jam. There’s much to admire here, voluptuous and rich as it is, but also in balance, everything is amped up to 11 without distortion. Excellent length. Gorgeous, with loads of appeal, best 2028-2050+.  Tasted September 2023.

97 Château Trolong Mondot Saint Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2019
2019 marks the first year that all of the malos were done in tank rather than barrel, the goal being to blend the new wines in a more pure state, without wood interference. The result in this case is a gorgeous, cohesive nose, uniquely herbal, with sweet herbs, dried mint, also very floral, with dried roses, such a pretty and elegant set of aromatics. Fruit is taut and vibrant, very pure, clean and precise. Tannins are ultra silky, firm and structure giving, but so fine, and length is excellent. This is easily the best Troplong Mondot yet, a brilliant new direction for the property away from sheer power and overripeness and extraction, and towards tension, finesse, in a lifted and refined style, built on salty acids and naturally low pH. It was terrific value when first released, down 30% on the price of the ’18, and it’s a better wine. This will have a very long drinking window, almost ready to go now with decanting, but of course better in 4-6 years, or hold comfortably into the’40s. Tasted September 2023.

96 Château Larcis Ducasse Saint Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2018
Larcis Ducasse sits on the celebrated ‘Pavie slope’ with south exposure next door to Château Pavie on the edge of the Saint Emilion plateau, with what’s called ‘molasses du fronsadais’, a cool, moisture retentive soil. The 2018 is a ripe and powerful Saint Emilion, with notable high quality wood spice and melted butter, also deep, ripe black and even some blue fruit, complex and complete, still very young, and with tension and minerality in spades. The palate is broad and fleshy, showing a mixture of power and elegance – alcohol is high at 14.5% declared, but fits into the wine well enough, and should continue to integrate over the next half dozen years. Best after 2028 – this has the stuffing to go far in the cellar as well. A top example.  89% merlot, 11% cabernet franc. Tasted September 2023.

95 Château La Confession Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2019 
La Confession is co-owned by John Howard of Megalomaniac (and formerly Vineland Estates) in the Niagara Peninsula, and Jean-Philippe Janoueix. Wine is crafted from a 5ha vineyard planted around the château itself, with 1/3 cabernet franc, and 2/3 merlot. The first vintage under this label was 2001. The excellent 2019 vintage presents bold and ripe aromatics, dark and forward, but also subtle and complex – there’s a great deal going on here. The palate shows a fine blend of power and freshness even with its very ripe fruit, while depth and concentration are excellent – this is wine at a very high level. Tannins are full-on, abundant but velvety, still many years from prime enjoyment, and wood needs integration time; try again after 2027, or hold into the ’40s. Clay limestones – the energy and tension come through. Tasted September 2023.

95 Château La Croix St. Geroges, Pomerol 2019
This is from a gravelly-clay site next to vaunted neighbors like Le Pin in the heart of the Pomerol plateau, a small 4.5 hectare property waiting to be fully discovered. The 2019 is deeply roasted, ripe, smoky-earthy, clean but with concentration pushed to the maximum; wood is still highly present with char, coffee bean, and dark chocolate contributions, also some DMS starting to develop. The palate is dense, thick and chewy, with massive structure and extract, and long finish. It’s admittedly a little much for me, but will really satisfy fans of high impact wines. Best from 2029-2045 – this can go long in the cellar, indeed needs to be cellared for prime enjoyment. I prefer La Confession from the Janoueix portfolio, but this is impressive to be sure. Tasted September 2023.

Château Clinet, Pomerol ©John Szabo

95 Château Clinet, Pomerol 2021
Bottled this past July, and this is a world premier tasting outside of the primeur tastings. The 2021 has lower alcohol than most from the last decade, declared at 13%. It has an unusually high percentage of cabernet sauvignon for both Pomerol, and Clinet, 25%, thanks to a parcel of merlot that was ripped out to replant, increasing the relative weight of cabernet on the property. It’s a fresh vintage to be sure, also very youthful, showing a dash of wood on the nose alongside fresh black fruit. It’s notably absent any green character considering the high percentage of cabernet, though it is undoubtedly spicy with uncommon cedar box/tobacco, pepper notes. I like the linearity, the long line through line, perhaps atypical Pomerol, less fat and sweet, but all the more elegant for it. Tannins are abundant and grainy but not aggressive, and will soften – as this already grows in stature in the glass with air. It should age nicely over the next half dozen years and develop high complexity, though should also hold late into the 30s. Hugely successful for the vintage all in all. Tasted September 2023.

95 Château Trolong Mondot Saint Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2020
2020 was a warm and powerful vintage, but the new direction of Troplong Mondot shepherded this towards chalky refinement, powerful to be sure, concentrated, with abundant, chalky tannins, not as silky as the tremendous 2019 and one that will take longer to unfurl in the cellar. Dense, brooding, with coiled energy in spades, loads of spice, integrated wood, and excellent, long, chalky finish. Best from 2028 Tasted September 2023.

Buyer’s Guide: Bordeaux Right Bank Top Values

94 Château Tour Saint Christophe Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2020
Château Tour Saint Christophe has a beautiful south facing terroir on the limestones of Saint Emilion with a layer of clay over pure limestone, which gives its wines tension and freshness and length. The 2020 pours a deep ruby-purple colour, and offers big aromatics off the top, explosive, ripe but with a degree of finesse and broad complexity, from very ripe but still fresh black fruit, fresh sweet herbs, mint, even floral. The palate gives a sweet, ripe impression up front, but remains slim, svelte and lean throughout the long finish, still tightly wound. Tannins are ultra-fine, such fine-grained limestone tannins with energetic acids, measurably, and palpably low pH. A superb discovery, rising star that has come a very long way since Peter Kwok took over the estate and made massive investments. Superb value in the context. Tasted September 2023.

Cuverie at Bellfont-Belcier, St. Emilion ©John Szabo

93 Château Belfont Belcier Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2020
Subtle on the nose, still marked by sweet, good quality wood, dark chocolate, fresh coffee, with appealingly sweet, dark fruit to match and meld – this will surely come together fully in time. The palate is broad and powerful, with a wash of dark fruit framed by sweet tannins, a velvety experience, with long, warm finish. A very high potential terroir to be sure, now in the capable hands of Peter Kwok and his team, bringing this property back to its full potential – a château to follow.  Tasted September 2023.

93 Château Troplong Mondot “Mondot by Trolong Mondot”, Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2018
Formerly a second label of Troplong Mondot, Mondot by Troplong Mondot has evolved into a wine with its own source, made from grapes from the new adjacent property purchased in 2017, which is not classified as 1er grand cru, plus whatever doesn’t make it into the grand vin. It’s aged 60% in barrel, all once used, the balance in stainless steel with the intention to “keep the energy”.  The 2018 is a wine of brightness and freshness, sharp black fruit, and marked salinity on the palate that drives additional sips. I love the energy, the licorice and tarragon, cooling mint, flavours, clean and precise. 14.5% alcohol is well integrated, balanced by naturally low pH, rarely more than 3.45. Tannins are fine and silky. Drinking well now, but this will hold comfortably into the ’30s. Tasted September 2023.

92 Château Les Charmes-Godard Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc 2018
63% semillon, 21% sauvignon blanc and 16% sauvignon gris, fermented and aged in barrel. The results are subtle, appealingly complex, integrated, gently spicy, tarragon-basil-inflected, with clean, fluffy lees. The palate adds in sweet orange citrus on a creamy frame, even if acids sweep in on the finish to drive saliva and freshen the ensemble. Value here is exceptional, depth and concentration, and complexity in the category are impressive. Tasted September 2023.

91 Château Le Rey Les Rocheuses Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2020
Le Rey is an 18 hectare estate in Castillon, with two distinct soils: limestones, which suddenly give way to deep clay. The idea came to bottle the two terroirs separately in the Burgundian fashion from the 2017 vintage.  This is the limestone bottling, the more premium of the two, harvested and built to age, composed of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc and aged in wood, of which 20% is new. The nose is quite pure and driving, showing appealing herbals in the varietal idiom, but also plenty of dark fruit and notably stoniness, some florality, a fairly serious example all in all. I like the sapidity and salinity on the palate, the fine-grained tannins, very stony, limestone-driven. Length and depth are very good. A nice discovery – there’s fantasy here. Bottled in Burgundy-shaped glass. Tasted September 2023.

91 Château La Prade Francs de Bordeaux 2018
Château La Prade enjoys a site on the plateau of the Francs de Bordeaux AOC, with shallow clay over limestone neighboring Puygueraud, also in the Thienpont family, planted to 85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc. The 2018 shows remarkable freshness in this warm vintage, also fine finesse and elegance, and striking minerality. Tannins are fine and incisive, gently chalky, softening up now, with ripe, sweet fruit pulled back into balance by a touch of appealing bitterness. Very good length. Cabernet franc florality comes out on the palate. Tasted September 2023.

91 Châteu Pailhas Vieilles Vignes, Saint Emilion 2018
80% merlot, 20% cabernet franc. On the east side of the plateau of Saint Emilion, on limestone and gravels. The nose is vibrant and fresh, especially for the 2018 vintage, still very young, ripe, in a forward, almost new world style but everything is well contained, and the finish extends admirably on well-integrated wood. Very good length. Drink now-2032. Tasted September 2023.

91 Château La Fleur des Rouzes, Pomerol 2020
A 2.8 ha estate, tiny even by Pomerol standards. Nice aromatics here, a 80% merlot, 20% cabernet franc blend, aged 70% in wood of various ages, the rest in steel. The palate is fleshy, with deep fruit, also with good tannic depth, tonic, there’s something here, a touch rustic but lots going on. Best after 2025. A compagnie Medocaine exclusive. Tasted September 2023.

90 Château de Monbadon Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux 2021
The top wine of Monbadon, selected in the cellar and sent on a different ageing path than the ‘second’ wine of the château called Indie: 225l and 500l barrels, mostly Burgundian coopers, with a small portion in amphora. It offers clean, fresh, lively aromatics with discreet wood influence, and crunchy red currant, pomegranate, i.e. an unusual set of aromatics for red Bordeaux, at least traditionally – the aim here is more firmness and freshness. Tannins are fine and firm, limey-dusty, supported by energetic acids. I like the tautness and tension. Length, depth and complexity are good – this is not intended to be a long-ageing wine, but rather one for enjoyment over the near term, with a light chill, though it will hold comfortably for 3-4 years no doubt. Lightweight bottle (450 grams) and no capsule boost sustainability cred. Tasted September 2023.

90 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux Héritiers Georges Thienpont 2018
Château Puygueraud is a 35-ha estate under the Thienpont Family portfolio, Nicolas and Cyrille, the red here made from a majority of merlot with a splash of cabernet franc. The ‘declassified’ wine from Puygueraud goes under the Château Oriole label. It’s a ripe and forward, fruity wine, dark and plummy, round and with a sweet impression on the palate, and integrated, good quality wood. Fleshy, flashy, easy-drinking all in all, really showing well now or hold another 5 years – the appeal will be wide here, and it’s a sharp value. Tasted September 2023.

90 Château Alcée Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2018 
Château Alcée is planted on mainly red clay soils over typical limestones, with a large majority of merlot and 4% cabernet franc. The 2018 is open, with impressively complete aromatics, appealing florality, sweet ripe but fresh fruit, delicate and elegant – I’m really liking these outer, slightly cooler ‘satellite’ appellations in this warm vintage, maintaining freshness and finesse, also thanks in part to the abundant underlying limestone that supplies sufficient humidity. The palate does shows some plummy, slightly pruney character, though it’s holds nicely together on the palate and acids are not short; tannins are chalky. Good length and depth.  Tasted September 2023.

90 Château Relais de la Poste Côtes de Bourg 2020
Ripe red fruit, red cherry leads off on this lively and immediate red Bordeaux, with attractive vibrancy, fine and juicy on the palate. Tannins are fine-grained, polished, I’d call them ‘limestone tannins’. Length and depth are very good. 80% merlot, 10% each cabernet sauvignon and franc. Good stony finish. Terrific value, a real find in the region. Tasted September 2023.

90 Château Haut La Greniere Lussac Saint Emilion 2020
Plump, ripe, raspberry fruit leads off the top, in a forward and attractive guise, like raspberry jam, with broad, juicy, limey palate; there’s no wood here. Crunchy, vibrant, lively. Quite delicious, immediately enjoyable. Crunchy fun. 75% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, 5% cabernet sauvignon, a Cie. Medocaine exclusive. Tasted September 2023.

89 Château de Monbadon Indie de Monbadon Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2021
Jean-Philippe Janoueix bought the historic Château Monbadon in 2021, and has initiated a replanting program that includes malbec, as well as sauvignon blanc, semillon, chenin blanc and viognier, not to mention Arbequina, Luque and Nyons olive trees, as well as apple trees. The terroir is classic clay over pure limestone, and vines are about 25 year old, with 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% merlot. Elevage is in amphora, concrete and 500l barrel. Certified organic. The 2021 is fresh and perfumed, lively, with marked floral character – tannins are very fine and gritty in the limestone fashion. Acids are crisp and energetic – there’s good tension here – it’s designed to be enjoyed with a chill, as this wine has been served. I like the violet perfume, and even the absence of green-pyrazine flavours. A thoroughly modern Bordeaux expression, very much in line with the times. Tasted September 2023.

That’s all for this special report, see you around the next bottle.