|91-93 THE WINEADVOCATE: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Fleur Cardinale features pronounced baked blueberries, stewed black plums and blackberry preserves scents with touches of bay leaves, moss-covered bark and forest floor. Full-bodied and laden with black fruit preserves sparked by earth and dried herbs, it has a solid backbone of ripe, rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long. Barrel aging is expected to be for 12-14 months in 100% new oak barrels. The tentative blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon."
94 FALSTAFF: "Tiefdunkles Rubingranat, violette Reflexe, dezente Randaufhellung. Mit zarter Kräuterwürze unterlegtes schwarzes Waldbeerkonfit, reife Pflaumen, ein Hauch von Dörrobst, kandierte Orangenzesten. Kraftvoll, engmaschig, reife Kirschen, Lakritze, tragende Tannine, gute Frische, bleibt haften, verfügt über sicheres Reifepotenzial."
93-96 WINESPECTATOR: "Offers lovely fruit, with exotic plum and boysenberry notes gliding along, carried by a very velvety structure. The long finish has a nice flow, showing a latent anise echo. Seems to be holding back a bit, but there´s some serious depth of fruit here.—J.M."
92-94 WINE ENTHUSIAST: "Ripe and juicy, this is a delicious wine with its fine tannins and acidity already in harmony. The structure of the wine is powerful with a dry core that will broaden out as the wine matures."
94 DECANTER: "As the Vauthier influence continues to be felt, this is definitely a wine to watch this year. It´s a powerful wine with this juicy, seductive texture to the fruit that you see in so many of the best wines in 2018. It´s fleshy and brambly, with finely tuned tannins and gorgeous lift through the finish. Harvested between 27 September and 9 October. Right now there´s a 10-year programme of vineyard restructuring under way, as well as drainage programmes, and the percentage of Cabernet Franc is set to rise. 100% new oak."
94-95 JAMES SUCKLING: "This is really linear and tight for this winery and shows seriousness and polish. Medium-to full-bodied and a tight, compact palate. Very fresh and long, too. I can see a change to more linear and precise wines here."
91-94 ANTONIO GALLONI: "The 2018 Fleur Cardinale is gorgeous. Supple, racy and wonderfully persistent, the 2018 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. Blackberry jam, cloves, chocolate, new leather, licorice and sweet spice all build in a sumptuous, voluptuous Saint-Émilion loaded with class and potential. The question now is really how the 2018 will develop in élevage. Past vintages have been impressive en primeur but then suffered from too much oak during aging. Hopefully that won´t be the case here, as the 2018 is really terrific. In the early going, the 2018 does feel a bit less extracted than in the past, and that is certainly a positive development. The blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon."
93-95 THE WINE CELLAR INSIDER: "Loaded with licorice, chocolate, coffee bean and black fruits, the wine is fleshy, round, fruit-filled and finishes with lusciously textured, espresso, dark plums, licorice and even darker cocoa. The wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The harvest took place September 27 - October 24."
92-94+ JEB DUNNUCK: "The 2018 Château Fleur Cardinale shows the subtle change in style at this estate, offering slightly more elegance and finesse while still packing plenty of fruit and texture. Coming from a 23.5-hectare vineyard consisting mostly of older vines, the 2018 is currently a tentative blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon that was harvested starting on September 27th, which is a record early date for this estate. It hit 14.5% alcohol and will spend 12-14 months in new French oak. Perfumed notes of cassis, black raspberries, violets, and spring flowers all emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant texture, terrific ripeness, and sweet tannins. It’s an elegant yet still sexy wine that shows the vintage beautifully."