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Bordeaux 2010 - part I

by Tom Cannavan

Ten Best & Ten Best Value

The Ten Best (Money No Object)

Note: I did not taste Latour or Haut-Brion personally, so they were not considered for this selection, but there are notes for them in the Pauillac and Graves listings.

Château Ausone, St Emilion 2010
Super sweet, super vibrant fruit quality. Extraordinary lift to the aromatics, with the kirsch-like fruit singing from the glass and exotic hints of red liquorice, some incense and a touch of game. Expressive and beautiful. The palate it equally riveting, the full, luscious sweetness and ripeness of the fruit and the superb refinement of the tannins and acid balance. A truly beautiful, natural, unforced wine of extraordinary harmony and length. 98/100

Château Margaux, Margaux 2010
Absolutely exquisite aromatics, with the Margaux perfume already soaring from the glass. Kirsch and a touch of herby charter, background notes of Sandalwood and floral aspects. Fantastic palate, the silky texture of the tannins and the fruit, the beautiful natural concentration without any effort. The fruit is wonderful, with an iron fist in a velvet glove . Talcum soft tannins, beautiful balance and purity in to a long, perfectly focused finish. Not a single touch of tannin dryness. Only 13.5% alcohol too. 98/100

Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol 2010
Gorgeous, fragrant, herb-scented and red and black fruit nose. Wisps of woodsmoke and cedar, and delightfully fresh. In the mouth lovely, vigorous stuff, with a sweetness to the fruit that is plump and full, and a meaty density without dryness. Tannins and acids are gripping, but already this has fantastic harmony and is a beautifully composed wine that has tamed the tannins and produced a wine of enormous elegance. 98/100

Château d'Yquem, Sauternes 2010
Six passes through the vineyard to choose fruit and an eventual 141g/l of sugar in this vintage. Lovely apricot and barley sugar Botrytis immediately evident. Delightful little leaf tea and orange notes. Rich and fragrant. Fabulous palate: really fresh, with opulent richness and that juicy nectarine elegance and soft honeyed notes. There's some exotic mango and white flower lift, the acidity is excellent, with a touch of nuttiness and really great length. This has fabulous elegance and richness in combination, and really vibrant character. 97-98/100

Château Lafite, Pauillac 2010
There's a lovely sense of composed minerality on the nose here, with cedar and a herbal aspect and lots of schist and gentle smokiness. A gravelly note. On the palate this is very tightly wound and intense. There's a natural sense of purity to the blue-black fruit and that intensely mineral, graphite precision to the tannins. The tannins are huge but have a terrific sense of precision to them, leading this through to a finish that allows the juiciness of the fruit to breathe, and the lovely acidity that add a sense of light and shade and illuminate the finish. 97/100

Château Pétrus, Pomerol 2010
Fantastic black cherry depth of fruit, with a vinous, dark vine fruit density and just the subtlest hints of chestnut and violet, and crushed berry fruit. The Palate has a raft of tannin, a huge density with the juiciness of the acidity and tightness of the tannins focused beneath its muscular, sinewy style. Tight, brooding, masculine and vigorous, and will need considerable time. A thirty-year wine. 96/100

Château Trotanoy, Pomerol 2010
Effortless sophistication here, with gently cedary tones to racy, elegant fruit, a background of gently charred meat and blood-streaked ripeness. The palate has fabulous concentration and drive, the juicy clarity and length, pulling through to a beautifully composed finish of joyously pure fruit and seamless tannin. 95-96//100

Château Palmer, Margaux 2010
Really much more expressive, though there's some resinous, youthful oak character, but the black fruit comes through more. On the palate a similar black fruit definition and muscularity, but there's cassis and a hint of almost violet lift to the fruit, hint of kirsch and more fresh intensity. The tannins are massive here, and will take some time to tame, but lovely acidity and a vigorous, fairly profound style but has the elegant lift that is missing in the otherwise excellent Alter Ego. 95-96/100

Château Montrose, St-Estèphe 2010
Montrose presents a pool of dark, glossy, tightly-wound black fruit. The silky weight of black fruit dominates some cedar and spice and polished oak, a bit of earthy weight. The palate has a wonderful purity of fruit: there's a long, focused core of black plum and cassis, with a muscular but elegant density. Very polished. The tannins are big, dominating the finish, but have a silky ripeness too, which along with a hint of chocolate and that meatiness, makes for a very powerful finish, the acidity and that purity of fruit giving these an austere but long, very well made and promising a lot for the future. 95-96/100

Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac 2010
Lots of black cherry and nicely herby notes, with nice earthy minerality, and a certain lift of freshness and light and shade. The tannins are big, ashy and dry, with a lot of cigar-box oak, some dry earth and plenty of juicy acidity. There's a lemony, cherry fruited freshness to the acidity and the fruit here, meaning this has terrific juiciness and vitality. The estate's first year being biodynamically certified. All 81 hectares certified. The juicy black plum and black cherry raciness of this is really terrific I must say. The tannins are more blunt than in a wine like Lafite at this stage, but I feel this will come round because of that delicious quality of fruit, acidity and the expressive minerality. 95-96/100

The Ten Best Value (relatively)

These wines sold for £15-£35 per bottle in the 2009 vintage.

Domaine de l'A, Cotes de Castillon 2010
Stephan Derenecourt's own estate. Sweet, cedary overlay to the more refined black fruit here. Lovely finesse, sweet, ripe and enjoyably lightened with a touch of herbs. 90-91/100

Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac 2010
More closed than the d'Armailhac, the oak more dominant and the whole picture more dense and tight. On the palate the tannins are big and forceful, but there's a certain elegance to them too. The fruit, more meaty, more plummy than the d'Armailhac, begins to assert with a lovely cassis core and the gentle cedar, tobacco and coffee richness and smooth texture very nice against the tannins and the fresh, cherry acidity. 93-94/100

Château La Croix de Gay, Pomerol 2010
Very tight, schisty, very attractive black fruit. Lots of damson and blueberry richness, meaty depth too. On the palate there's a charming plumpness and ripeness top the fruit. Though the tannins are big and chunky, there's an inherent sweetness and moderate balancing acidity that make this a little more approachable than some at this stage. Elegant and delicious. 92/100

Château de Fieuzal, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Lovely cherry ripeness here, lots more of that smoky, gravel depth and cedary refinement too. Big dry tannins swamp the palate, but this has lovely sinewy structure and grip, the balanced fruit and acidity is delicious. 93/100

Château Franc Mayne, St-Emilion 2010
Delicious and delicate lift of flowers and fresh, summery berries here - a really attractive wine aromatically, with an elegant fruit expression. The palate follows this through, with a juiciness at its core of that fresh, cassis fruit, licked with chocolate and finishing with both succulence and chewiness. A wine that is carrying the 2010 tannins effortlessly and a fabulous effort from Franc-Mayne. 93/100

Goulee by Château Cos d'Estournel, Médoc 2010
Owned by Château Cos d'Estournel, this has a slightly herbal, slightly meaty character, with a dustiness to the nose. Very nice quality of coffeeish oak, and rich berry fruit beneath. Masses of sweet fruit on the palate, with a real silkiness to the oak and the tannins, the fresh orangey acidity lifting the finish in a very stylish, modern interpretation. 92/100

Château Langoa-Barton, St-Julien 2010
Brightly fruity, has very nice, plump, intensely fruity appeal. The palate has lots of dry extract, lots of grip, the oak is coffeeish and deep, but it is the mineral and sinewy structure that sits beneath the fruit on the finish. 93/100

Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Meaty, dense, a tiny bit reductive, but solidly black fruited and savoury beneath. The palate has a wonderfully plush, dense weight. Here, the tannins of this vintage don't let up, but it already shows signs of having the plummy, fleshy density of fruit and acid balance. 92-93/100

Château Preuillac, Médoc 2010
Very nice refinement here, an edge of cedar and exotic spice to the black fruit. On the palate delicious sweetness to the fruit. Real juiciness in this Preuillac, with a long, balanced finish.

Château Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Emilion 2010
Meatier, more sinewy, more dry and earthy immediately. There's an ashy dryness to the tannins here, the extract slightly overpowering the fruit, though there is a certain silkiness, a certain juiciness too with lovely refinement in the end, despite the tannic heft. Really nicely sweet fruit does come through, and a little tobacco, with fine concentration and much more substance than the Sainte-Anne. 91-92

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