Chateau Poujeaux is Dead to Me, Along with Other Recently Rollandized Estates

Robert, stay away from young Bordeaux damn it. Why in hell are you drinking 09 now? It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy. I am as concerned as you about the modernization of Bordeaux but wasn’t the same doom spread with the the 82’s and 85’s when the grapes started to be picked later and sorting tables started? They turned out pretty good me thinks. Give these changes some time and who knows how they turn out in 20 years.

Jeez, I’m not even touching the 2000 vintage yet…

Based on my dealings with many of the mentioned properties a conflict probably exists with this post but considering BDXs open market system and the fact that I deal with every property that is important…Poujeaux volume we do is negligible for us sooooo… What the hell…

Tasted with H D Boüard (total savant) some things recently when he came to visit as his son Quentin was interning with us to learn about the nitty gritty of international distribution, American MKT, etc. Every time you taste with these guys it’s hilarious because I go to what I hear from the old school style crowd (IMO when the aggregated glass of wine among any category was much weaker… Hmm pre Rolland, pre Parker and his consumer crusades of green is bad and so are cellars in violation of every health code imaginable), and realize they both, consultants and wine nuts, value the Bordeaux spirit but the consultants can see the big picture a little more clearly. There seems to be a general misunderstanding of how these consultants operate, for starters. And there also seems to be an echo chamber existing in the AFWE community that not only is putting a style on a pedestal and burying the other’s reputation, but the simplistic terms I hear this argument take in terms of production, vintage issues, preferred styles by customers, how to make wines age in erratic, warmer conditions using constantly updated and more finely tuned equipment, vinification techniques and vineyard Mgmt… Etc. We often feel so strongly about such a personal subject (how we taste and perceive wine, this crazy expensive product that gets us buzzed then we piss out two hours later all the same anyways) that we don’t realize that bordeaux isn’t in a vacuum and that to most people AFWE style tastes boring at best and disgusting at worst.*** And nowadays wines need to be opened earlier because people won’t stop opening their bottles too young (in fairness it’s too expensive for most on premise restaurants to properly create and cellar wines to maturity or backfill without stealing all of Moldova’s GDP).

Ripeness proponents aren’t so vocal these days because the pendulum has already shifted farther than most would want for many top wines stylistically, hence a 75 score for a wine that had a stylistic ‘flaw’ that many buyers of ‘wine’ of this blend and price point category would see as a delicious reason to buy this wine. That being said… this wine is blindable as Bordeaux by only a handful of us and has taken on an uber ripe super Cuvee style in this vintage. As a house, they are one of the ripest because it fits them and I probably would have made the same decision as the owner (I can hear the boos already) because wineries aren’t fan clubs, they are businesses, and they do ripe wine well.

Also, 82 Bdx… Yeah written off at many properties for being too ripe, will fall apart… Etc the baby fat still hasn’t receded completely even! How could anyone expect the oak to be resolved yet?? These are long term vintages, and stylistically a yowza Napa super Cuvee vintage just with elevated IPT that isn’t so apparent because of this vintage, in particulars, acids (total, ph, etc… Pretty low acid and fleshy).

***Preference to Burgundy is an obvious exception, but then again young burgundy doesn’t taste good when there is Oregon to drink for the mass consumer at a given price point in a non guided tasting. I’m just going to stop right there and say Ménage et Trois, silver oak and Prisoner.

Interesting thread, didn’t know that about Poujeaux. Earlier this year I grabbed an '05 and '10 Poujeaux thinking it would be fun to try together. I guess I’ll see how it goes when I get around to it…


I dunno, I’m just a lemming. Some of the critics that love this wine say “drink now” and “should drink well young”. Come on, Carlos, you and I have been drinking Bordeaux long enough to be able to assess a youngish Bordeaux from a forward vintage. I also wonder about those '82 anecdotes, I don’t think the alcohol percentages in that vintage were in the 14s and 15s on average.

What should this riduculous score of 75 tell us?

An expression of your aversion against the style?
I thought a score has something to do with quality, not with love or hate.

You would prefer we all use an 89-100 point scale, so long as a wine isn’t flawed?
I don’t score, but I do rejoice when somebody is willing to say 75 or 55 about a wine they actively disliked.

Like R. Alfert, I’m also 50 years old. And I love Bordeaux and Burgs, with plenty of age on them.
I find most 1996 (and younger) Bordeaux not yet ready, for My taste.

But I have gathered some experience regarding Bords from the eighties.
Today, I know/understand more, why many of the so called rustic chateaux, made their wine in a greener “hard to drink young” style (Lanessan, Chasse Spleen, Sociando Mallet, Caronne st. Gemme, Durhart-Milon, Armailhac…)
-This “wisdom” can sadly not be used for buying new vintages of My favorite top QPR wines(chateaux) any more…

I can’t expect the same results after aging todays wines, as the recipes for making the wines has changed considerably.
And that’s both frustrating, and disappointing.

Of course evolution(and money) will always influence the wine production. (And thanks for that…Wine is generally better than 200 years ago, I hope.)

Just sad that, just when You think You got it, -style/recipe has changed, and You can start over again, finding the right wines for drinking 25 years from now.

Regards, Soren.

What should this ridiculous post tell us?

An expression that all wines should get 90+? That everyone gets a medal?
I thought a score has something to with the person’s opinion of quality, which may include love or hate.

But on one thing you are right, according to Parker’s scale, I overrated it:

70 - 79:
An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.

60 - 69:
A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.

50 - 59:
A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

This wine is not soundly made, in my opinion. It has noticeable deficiencies which I clearly point out in my original post.

I recall you poo-pooing my praise of a 1998 Jamet, which I scored a 95. Diversity of opinion is a good thing.

You are clearly concerned about the alcohol level (believe me, I get that), but the rest is stylistic preference.

Scoring is useless anyway, so it’s not a productive argument.

I have had the 2009 Poujeaux twice. The first was within the first year after receipt and the wine was obviously more modern but fairly tasty for that style. Close to California but not quite. Maybe not my idea of Bdx but I can see how it fits the vintage. The second bottle was more recent and it really didn’t show well at all. Not nearly as enjoyable as the first and I would say disappointing. It came off a little harsh and disjointed. I do think this wine will be fine and something that I can enjoy drinking again in about five to seven years but not right now. But only for those who are not opposed to modern style wines.

Despite a flawed Chinon-loving palate, let me ask my AWFE friend a serious question: back in the day, a wine like Lanessan was hard as nails on birth and no fun at all to drink. It took many years to develop into something that gave pleasure. But we bought them and cellared them nonetheless confident that they would one day be a joy to drink.

Tell me what the Poujeaux will be in 20 years time. It gave you no pleasure last night, and from the sound of it, it would not have made me happy either. But what can we reliably say about how a wine like this will taste in 2 decades? I ask because I don’t know.

I had a 1998 Bon Pasteur last year and it was delicious and well-mannered. You’d have liked it, Robert. Jancis has raved about a number of Rolland’s recent efforts; is her palate decaying, or is she recognizing what the wine will be with age?

None of this is to dispute what you tasted. I am just questioning whether some nuance is being missed by dismissing all Rolland-consulted wines as monsters on that basis alone.

My usual question in those situations is: would you be able to name the Poujeaux in a blind tasting of 12 09 Bordeaux?

I guess it´s a problem of prejudices. Some hear the name Rolland and the wine is bad from that moment on. As others think a wine is superb because the bottles carries a Rothschild or Rousseau label.

Today is probably the worst moment to taste 09 Bordeaux. It´s ok to taste the wines after release or 10 years after. In between most of the wines are pretty closed not offering their inner quality. I have not tasted 09 Poujeaux recently but have 6 in my cellar. I will see in probably 10 years how good or bad the wine is.

BTW: Robert – do you know what the job of Rolland EXACTLY is at Poujeaux? It´s not true that Rolland has full control at many properties he consults. Pretty often his contribution to the wine making process is rather small.

The consultants at Poujeaux are Stéphane Derenoncourt and Nicolas Thienpont. Having had the 2009 Ch. Poujeaux once (in its youth), I agree that it’s a very modern styled wine - quite contrary to former Poujeaux. Still, I give the wine the benefit of the doubt and will wait eight to ten years until the next bottle and will see then. I agree though that it’s always a good idea to welcome each and every bottle of wine with an open mind. Even though I like Robert Alfert’s tasting notes very much, usually, the one in the original post smells a bit of attitude.

Astute comments as always, Neal. As to your question about Poujeaux in 20 years, the truth is, none of us know. We can only prognosticate based on our experience and perceptions. I personally do not believe high alcohol and heavy oak integrate or resolve to a point where I will enjoy it. I’m also very dissappointed in the change at this historic Chateau.

As to your points about Rolland, I will admit to having enjoyed some of his earlier efforts, not all. I wonder whether his style had evovled, too. I’ve had more than enough wines from Rolland to know that the odds are I’m wasting my money buying anything he touches. Multiple $50+ misses cannot justify finding an occasional gem.


I have some 2010 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses, as well, but have not opened any. When would you drink them.

Fair points Steve and Jurgen. I admit being chapped but my assessment of the wine is what it is. Did not like it at all and am very disappointed in such a stylistic change for Poujeaux. Look at Blake’s comment about this Uber-ripe wine.

Seems like every time I post a critical note on a young wine, I get critical comments about popping a wine so young. I truly believe that most of us on this website know how to assess wine in their youth. I actually enjoyed assessing wine during the entire life of their development, and most of the wine that I buy, as I have a relatively narrow palate, I buy in sufficient quantities where I can try them young, middle-aged, and mature. Raffault generally is a wine that needs time, and 2010 has the stuffing to go long. It literally took 3 days to open. I doubt I touch another for 7-10 years. I know Raffault can go 30+ as I have tried quite a few that mature, and lots of 89 and 90.

It is pretty sad when a longtime favorite goes to the dark side (literally), but to say that there are only one or two or only a handful of old fashioned Bordeaux left at decent price points (see, e.g., post 18) seems quite odd to me.

When I was in Bordeaux a couple of years ago, everyone there considered 2009 an “American” vintage. They thought more of 2001, 2005 and even 2010, of recent vintages. I wonder if a 2006 or 2008 or 2014 of some the wines mentioned would be better. More recently, I would think that people who let the 2014s go and then load up on 2015s probably should not complain when the wines they have bought are too modern.

One Bordeaux I tasted for the first time when I was there was a Margaux called Chateau Ferriere. While they poured me a 2009 (I would like it being an American), I bought some 2005s. Have not opened any yet, but thought the wine was quite good and more traditional in style. My sense is there are quite a number of wines in Margaux, St. Julien and Graves that are still more traditional. I know John Gilman thinks Domaine de Chevalier is no longer good, but the ones I have had I still really like.

One of my favorite visits when I was in Bordeaux was at Ducru. Totally different price point (can still get the 2001 for a bit over $100), but making great wines. And, they make other wines that are less expensive but also quite nice. And, the other part of the Borie family makes excellent wines as well. I recently bought some half bottles of 2010 Chateau Ducluzeau that was quite nice for less than $12 per half bottle.

With regard to aging modern styled wines, I will say that th 94 and 95 Monbousquets, that i bought on Parker’s advice, before I learned better, still taste modern, spoofy and oaky. It is an extreme example, of course, Recently at a tasting, I had a 98 Janasse Vielles Vignes. Janasse is made according to the taste of the owners, not according to any oenologue, but, alas, their taste runs to very ripe wines. I mistook the 98 Vielles Vignes, which I tasted blind, for a CA Rhone style wine. I think these wines turn from what they are into older versions of what they are. Those who like them young, will like them with age and those who don’t won’t. They won’t turn from ducklings into swans or from swanlings into ducks. Of course, even 16 years for a CdP or 21 for a Bdx may not be the end of the story. But at least a plot is developing.

Howard, I don’t think anybody is saying that old fashioned Bordeaux is disappearing; there is still plenty. Where I think the concern is, is in St. Emilion, where so many wines are going over to the “Dark Side”. I keep talking about it, but there politics here are a little strange, and tied into the classification. The latest version of this might well have been copying those points, because promotion and demotion were based on the results. Fortunately Pomerol does not have any kind of classification, which may well be the reason why there are still so many well run estates which remain traditional.

I think you are right about the inexpensive $20 wines. Harder to find now than before. We knew Poujeaux was a problem, and rumor has it, Lanessan, has all gone. La Tour de By, Angludet Fourcas Holstein, and a little more pricy, Prieure Lichine and Lagrange.