"Thoroughly enjoyable Armailhac, with concentration immediately apparent on the nose, more so than in many vintages of this wine. There's a pleasing austerity to the tannins giving a confident but not overbearing structure with lovely juiciness on the finish. Of the three Pauillac estates in the Mouton stable, this has the youngest vines as an average age (although also some of the oldest vines in the whole of the Médoc, dating back to the 1890s) which sometimes holds it back from reaching full complexity of expression, but that is not something you'll be complaining about here. Instead you get a fresh core, silkily textured blackberry and cassis fruits with good balance. This is the last vintage made in the old facilities, as they are about to re-do the cellars. Harvest began around one week earlier than average, on September 18, spread out through to October 9. Petit Verdot 2% completes the blend. Tasted twice one week apart.
Drinking Window 2028 - 2042"
93 Points, Decanter
"This year the blend is 62%Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, harvested from the 19th of September to the 9th of October. The 2019 D'Armailhac sports a medium to deep garnet-purple color and notes of warm plums, stewed cherries, mulberries and blackcurrant pastilles with touches of aniseed, wild thyme and chocolate box. The medium-bodied palate has a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness supporting the expressive black and blue fruits, finishing with a provocative herbal lift.
“There is a good amount of Merlot in the D’Armailhac this year,” managing director Philippe Dhalhuin informed me. “Only 56% of the total crop went into the grand vin.” Going from strength to strength, the success of the next-door neighbor, Pontet-Canet, also a fifth growth according to the 1855 Classification, has surely not gone unnoticed by the folks at Baron Philippe de Rothschild, because there are big plans for improvements in the pipeline. For a start, Dhalhuin mentioned that the 2020 harvest will be the last vintage to be made in the old facilities. “We have scrapped the whole thing,” he said. “We are switching from using 22 vats in the old building to 52 vats in the new building. This will make things much better in terms of selection and precision. And we will have a much bigger barrel room. Currently, we are not able to age d’Armailhac much more than 14 months in the cellar. But we will be expanding the cellars to allow for longer aging of this wine. Everything will be ready for 2021.” Aspirations are high for the reinvigorated future of D’Armhailac. I cannot wait to see how far up the quality ladder this well-positioned estate can be taken."
91-93 Points, Wine Advocate
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavours of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.