“Bordeaux 2010: Saint Emilion the Exquisite?”
Neal Martin, wine writer for Robert Paker, tasted some Bordeaux 2010 Grands Crus in November 2012 and for most of the following one, in february at the Chateau.
Lets discover some of his favorite wines for 2010 (reds) below :
“The Saint Emilion wines have generally fared extremely well in 2010. They are certainly not as consistent, though the wines underpinned by a proportion of Cabernet Franc fared the best. I was not quite so certain of when I tasted them out of barrel, though I should qualify this was in the context of the high bar that he sets, rather than that of Saint Emilion.
Château Cheval Blanc 2010 is a brilliant wine : not as sumptuous as the 2009, more aloof and aristocratic… but is that not what we want from such a cru? Tasting this wine even at this nascent stage, one is overcome with the feeling that this is a seriously long-term wine that is made from the cellar.
In 2010 the sunlight hours actually exceeded the previous year and it means that those vines could gallop on accumulating sugar without a care in the world. I witnessed winemakers’ expressions of resigned embarrassment as they recounted refractometers going through the roof. I am not going to sit here and lazily dismiss wines because it says 15.5% or 16% on the label. But let us take three examples of high alcohol Saint Emilion wines and contrast them: Château Angelus, Tertre-Rôteboeuf and Troplong-Mondot.
The Château Angélus 2010 is a fine Saint Emilion with a delightful, hedonistic and yet “controlled” bouquet that does not belie the 15.6% alcohol and yet there is no doubt that you can sense it towards the finish.
Perhaps the most controversial and divisive wine is going to be Château Troplong-Mondot 2010 that delivers a payload of 16% alcohol as clearly stated on the label. A blend of 87.5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. I have a sentimental attachment to Troplong-Mondot since this was the first estate I ever visited.
Their 2010 is defined and governed by the alcohol level. Sure, the aromatics manage to contain the alcohol with aplomb and it positively explodes with sensual ripe fruit and glycerine. But on the palate it is there, rendering the wine heavy in the mouth and showing some heat towards the finish.
There is one successful wine in Saint Emilion: a beautiful, modern, sleek Clos Fourtet 2010. The wine is modern in style, wonderfully controlled and pure, adorned with a silky smooth finish that offers abundant mineralité.
In 2010, it will be Saint Emilion crus such as Canon, and Cheval Blanc that most likely will.
One to lie down: Chateau Cheval Blanc
One to start an argument: Chateau Troplong Mondot
2010 Chateau Angelus 92
Bottled in September, this sample was opened an hour before and decanted upon my request to allow it to settle as much as possible. The nose is very pure and nicely defined, the fruit very concentrated and handling the alcohol well (15.6%). The palate is full-bodied with firm, very structured tannins. There is plenty of dense dark cherries, crème de cassis and boysenberry fruit with a touch of spice.
2010 Chateau Cheval Blanc 98
The Cheval Blanc 2010 has a wonderful bouquet with pixelated clarity: blackberry, briary, crushed stone and a touch of cigar box – it is stately and almost aloof in style. The palate is medium-bodied with superb balance and focus. The tannins are fully ripe, but it maintains the austere style of the vintage. Hints of bay leaf, black pepper and a touch of black truffle inform the dry, but powerful finish. This will need 10 years to really show its pedigree, but it will grow up
to by a sublime Cheval Blanc.
2010 Chateau Canon 95
The Canon 2010 has a reticent nose despite rigorous coaxing. Yet there is certainly good definition and plenty of sharp red brambly fruits within. The palate is much more expressive. It is supremely well balanced with lovely ripe espresso-tinged black fruit and a compelling sense of harmony and focus. The finish is crisp, beautifully defined with a spicy note lingering on the aftertaste. This has great potential – but it will need time.
2010 Clos Fourtet 94
The Clos Fourtet has an intense, voluminous bouquet with dark plum, dried figs and sweet red berry fruit that beautifully encases the new oak. The palate is ripe, controlled and in my opinion, shows more control and precision than recent vintages. The terroir really shows through on the black truffle tinged finish. Superb.”