Chateau Haut-Bages Averous Pauillac 2001

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Chateau HautBages Averous Pauillac 2001

Since 1978 (2 years before I landed) the famous Chateau Lynch-Bages has been producing “Averous” as the second label of the property rolling out 10,000 cases annually. As a second label it gives the consumer a chance to sample a prestigious Cinquièmes Cru wine without breaking the bank. However, even with the second label (and sometimes third label) sharing a close location to the Cru class property and benefiting from the input of their famous winemakers these wines seldom live up to their lauded fathers names.

Not so with Averous, in certain vintages holding a red hot flaming candle to Lynch-Bages and certainly the 2001 vintage has all the class, colour, texture and nose you’d want from top class Pauillac.

In the case of the Chateau HautBages Averous 2001, currently selling with Virgin Wines at £27 we have a wine from a very good Claret vintage at less than half the price of the Lynch-Bages and at a great point in its drinking curve.

Chateau Lynch-Bages itself is, due to the failings of the 1855 system, a 5th growth property but it’s an undisputed fact in wine circles that this classification falls well short of the châteaux obvious pedigree.

So what should you expect of a wine from Pauillac? For those who don’t know Pauillac is an area within Bordeaux famous for producing top quality claret. Home to three of the five Bordeaux first growths Mouton-Rothschild, Latour and Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac is considered the jewel in Bordeaux’s red crown. Even within the appellation itself there is a great variance in the wine quality with “Pauillac” alone on the label no assurance of quality but certainly an assurance of price.

Just north of St Julien (whom frequent readers will know is my favourite area of Bordeaux) the best wines of Pauillac are in many ways similar to those of St Julien but true examples will carry clear notes of cigar-box, blackcurrent and pencil shavings. I’m sure the reader is aware of the prices currently attached to a 2001 first growth, but in case you haven’t checked for a while or noticed the miserable fall of our pound then please have a brown paper bag ready before moving onto the next paragraph.

It’s unusual for Wine90 to cover Bordeaux, but so impressed was I with this £27 2001 Chateau HautBages Averous from the normally woefully dire range at Virgin Wines that I felt the need to tell any Virgin members that finally they have a top quality Bordeaux to buy for their subscription. Premier Cru Class Pauillac from Lafite in the 2001 vintage will set you back £365 a bottle. If I had the choice between 12 bottles of the Averous and 1 bottle of Lafite I would certainly choose Lafite but I’m a terrible snob. The smart money would be on Averous.

Chateau HautBages Averous Pauillac 2001BUY – £27
Still somewhat dark in colour though a clear orange hue to the rim. On the nose this wine sings pure Pauillac and is as delightful a wine nose as I’ve had wafted my way in the last 6 months. Blackberries, cedar and super ripe. On the palate the wine was still quite tannic but firm with fruit continuing to a very full and fair length finish. A mid bodied wine that needs only 15 minutes out of the bottle. 89 Points

I haven’t seen another wine writer rate this wine so highly so I’m out on a limb here but you gotta call ’em as you see ’em and I think the 2001 is reaching a peak. I highly recommend, any Brits (or anyone in fact!) reading this blog to please go out and try this wine and if you’re not blown away, well, I’ll send you a copy of Hugh Johnson’s new book which the good people at Mitchell Beazley have sent me to review next week. So until next time, take care of yourself… and each other.

Where can I buy this Wine?
Europeans – GetraenkeweltWeiser – €27.75
Americans – Sherry-Lehmann – $39.95
Brits – Virgin Wines – £27

Leave a Comment
Recommend a wine for me to review! It’s more fun when we get to interact! As long as it’s available in the UK I’ll try it. Any other comments about the blog or about this wine greatly received!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have not covered anything Australian have you? Not to my memory. Please review Haerdys Shiraz

  2. Kathy says:

    We had a beautiful Burg with our Roast Lamb last weekend was a 2003 Savigny Beaune from BBR can't remember the producer.

  3. Richard D says:

    Or even Echo de Lynch Bages as it'll soon be known. What do you think of the name change Sarah?

  4. winesleuth says:

    ekkkk! Hardy's shiraz! Well, what do ya say, 90? I think you should! BTW that Pauillac was divine, esp with my Hershey's chocolate, eh, eh? 🙂

  5. I've bought (and only recently drunk) 3 different vintages of this wine (1996, 1998, 2003) and although the complexity and character of the wine varies across the three, the quality is consistent. As a Lynch Bages lover, this stuff provides a wonderful alternative at great value.

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