In January, I attended the Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2010 Vintage tasting in New York City. (At this point in my Minx-dom I do not get invitations to fly over for En Primeur advance tastings, but I will. Oh, I will.)
I did not have a lot of time to taste leisurely at this event, and realize my notes have more than a few holes, but this quick-and-dirty experience was still overwhelmingly positive. The one sub-region where I felt the wines did not immediately express themselves to the high level I expected was Pauillac, but I do expect these wines to develop. I also wanted a little more from the dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac, however, these also need time to grow and mature.
That's a big point, actually: tasting Bordeaux wines so soon after release is a kind of infanticide. They are meant to age and evolve, some for decades. And yet we Wineaux have to pounce on the new vintage, shouting our critiques from the rooftops. While many of these wines are enjoyable now (albeit rough and tumble,) if they intrigue you, be sure to put aside some bottles and take the journey of a true Bordeaux-lover over the next twenty years.
A COUPLE OF WHITES: (These you can drink now!)
Château de Fieuzal Blanc (Pessac-Léognan) : 70% Sauv Blanc, 30% Sémillon. Very pale with an aromatic nose, quite tart but excellent fruit and SweeTarts candy. I like. (~$60)
Château Pape Clément (Pessac-Léognan) : 51 Sauv Blanc, 33 Sémillon, 13 Sauv Gris, 3 Muscadet. FLORAL aromatics (hello Muscadet/Sauv Gris?!) tangy, interesting. Well-intigrated. (~$160)
THE MAIN EVENT:
Châteu de Fieuzal (Pessac-Léognan) : 70 Cab Sauv, 10 Merlot, 10 Cab Franc, 10 Petit Verdot. Bright fruit, strong expression. Very nice. (~$60)
Château Haut-Bailly (Pessac-Léognan) : Very earthy, merde-y, light fruit, more terroir and leather, supple tannins. (~$150)
Château Pape Clément (Pessac-Léognan) : Nice nose, quite soft considering youth, very tannic but smooth, black cassis. Very nice. (~$210)
Château Beauregard (Pomerol) : Soft violets, dark berries, bit of dusty tannins and chocolate. (~$55)
Château Clinet (Pomerol) : Black fruits, tightly wound. Chocolate, some lavender. Wow - can't wait to see what this does in a few years! (~$170)
Château La Conseillante (Pomerol) : Violets, gorgeous amazeballs nose. Rich, velvety, herbs - somewhat light fruit on the finish. (~$250)
Château Belgrave (Haut-Médoc) : Cranberry, strawberry, very nice feminine style - flirty. Florals and herbs on the finish. (~$40)
Château Cantemerle (Haut-Médoc) : 52 Cab Sauv, 35 Merlot, 8 Cab Franc, 5 Petit Verdot. Dense - brick dust, dirt, dark red cherries. This will take a WHILE to develop. (~$45)
Château La Lagune (Haut-Médoc) : Red cherries, dirt, bit of cherry liqueur at the finish, not too earthy. (~$70)
Château La Tour de By (Médoc) : Berry syrup, behind-the-teeth tannins, like eating dirt and cherry baked in a pie. Nice! (~$22)
Château Brane-Cantenac (Margaux) : Nice components, SMOOTH integration! Great fruit and structure. Wow. (~$95)
Château Cantenac Brown (Margaux) : Spice box and cherry, florals on finish. Very nice - bit more of a terroir expression. (~$70)
Château Prieuré-Lichine (Margaux) : Sexy black fruit, lavender. Very yummy. (~$70)
Château Gruaud Larose (Saint-Julien) : Sweet oak, GREAT fruit. Bright and rich red fruit. (~$85)
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste (Pauillac) : Black fruit, light - thin-ish in the mouth. (~$105)
Château Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) : Very earthy terroir, bit vegetative. Hm. (~$190)
Château Pichon-Longueville, Baron (Pauillac) : Earthy, somewhat thin in mouth but nice notes, florals, fruit on finish. Elegant but lightweight. (~$250)
Château Peélan-Ségur (Saint-Estèphe) : Lovely perfumey nose, super smooth. Good acidity, very very very nice. Robust red fruits. (~$55)
Château Doisy Daëne (Barsac) : Closed nose. Lemon curd, sugary. (~$30/375ml)
Château La Tour Blanche (Sauternes) : Interesting - marzipan?!? Floral, little funky. (~$45/375ml)
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Sauternes) : Perfumey, light honey, light caramel. (~$35/375ml)
Château Suduiraut (Sauternes) : Honey, florals, bit of botrytis. Light & nice. (~$48/375ml)
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Well, there you have it - this Wine Minx's knee-jerk reaction to the 2010 Bordeaux wines. All in all - from a region trying to reclaim its status amongst younger Wineaux who need to be convinced that Bordeaux wines are not stodgy, overpriced status symbols - an exciting offering.
Let me know how you find them! Cheers!
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A little overview for the Burgeoning Wineaux:
- Bordeaux is a region in western France, and is one of the most storied and historical wine-producing areas of the world, with sub-regions all with individual terroirs and personalities.
- The whites are typically from Graves and Pessac-Léognan and are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Recently, some other grapes are elbowing their way into the blend.
- The reds are usually Cabernet Sauvignon-based on the Left Bank (see the map above) and Merlot-based on the Right Bank. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot are often blended in and Carménère and Malbec are also allowed.
- The dessert wines are from Sauternes and Barsac, from blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, very sweet with high residual sugar, often affected by the Noble Rot botrytis cinerea, commonly sold in 375ml bottles.
- All Bordeaux wines command high prices, and the reds and dessert wines have the capacity to age for 20-30 years or more. Even the whites can develop with some age.