I was expecting wines from the left bank to shine. They are Cabernet Sauvignon based, and in a warm year, this grape will ripe well, without green- or leafiness.
The wines from Margaux were strong across the board. I liked Chateau Ferriere, a full-bodied wine, fresh and elegant with some forest characters and good length (95 points). Chateau d'Issan was also impressive: a rich and concentrated wine, with redcurrant fruit, violets and fragrant flavours, an elegant and balanced wine with soft tannins (94 points). In a similar mould is Brane de Baron. This wine also shows tobacco and meaty flavours and a higher tannin level (93 points). Chateau Giscours has a sweet ripeness, but I found the wine a bit bland by comparison (93 points). The weaker wines in this bracket were Chateau Prieure Lichine and Dufort Vivens. They have depth and elegance, but were a bit leafy and bitter and a bit disjointed (92 points).
In the bracket from St. Julian was the other 100 point wine from Parker, Chateau Leoville Poyferre. It is a dark, full-bodied wine with plenty of oak, not ready to drink for 10 years. Many felt it falls off at the finish, and the wine was not too well received (93 points). My favorite in this bracket was Chateau Lagrange, a medium-bodied wine with great aroma and good intensity. The linearity and elegance on the palate impressed (94 points). I also liked Petit Caillou. This wine was less concentrated, but elegant, with lifted aromas, a good structure and a lengthy finish (94 points). Chateau Langoa Barton, a well known wine, was very powerful, oaky and tannic. Keep your hands off for 10 years (93 points). Les Fiefs de Lagrange was uneven. Quite ripe, but some greenness as well, and a little hot (92 points). And finally, Chateau Beychevelle, another well known wine, disappointed. An opulent and ripe wine, but not giving me much to be excited about (92 points).
Further north, from Paulliac, three wines impressed. Petit Mouton, the second wine of Mouton-Rothschild was fragrant, elegant, with well integrated oak and high quality tannins (95 points). Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste had good depth of flavour and a long finish (94 points). And Chateau Haut Batailley was also quite concentrated, with soft berry flavours, good length and a slightly oaky finish (94 points).
Overall, as you can tell, my ratings are high. The overall standard is excellent, with depth of flavour and elegance. The expensive wines show a lot of oak and are quite tannic. They need to be left alone for at least five to ten years. My ratings did not correlate very highly with price. Before you fork out a fortune, I highly recommend you buy one bottle to taste. Do not be guided by reputation alone.