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Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: Haut-Médoc & Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Less joy for me in this appellation in 2010 than in 2009s. The latter look more seductive and wondrous by comparison. Only a few estates have produced wines of comparable quality in my mind, Chateau Belgrave and especially Chateau Cantemerle spring to mind. Chateau La Lagune is also very good. I expected more from Chateau La Tour Carnet but there is just too much Magrez make-up [ie new oak] and the pedal feels pushed right to the floor. Overall there is a lot of dry tannin and grip dominating the fruit in a great many cases.  They will settle of course but I’d opt for any remaining 2009s still on the market now. You could be taking delivery of these next year and be drinking them from the off. As good as some are in 2010 you’ll be waiting an age for them to settle. It’s a case of chalk and cheese.

Chateau Beaumont

Deep and concentrated looking, fraction lighter at the core than some of the others; little reductive element, fresh cab and some stalks; quite grippy and high toned; needs to settle. Bit disjointed at present – all acid, tannin and extract at present. If settles 84-86/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and dense; thick, some strawberry and real ripenes, some fruithere and chew; tannic and grippy palate but bright in fruit. More settled. 86-88/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Belgrave

Deep & saturated; plumy and deep, a sumptuous quality here; some oak too; palate ripe and rich; good attack and some velvet before the tannins. Will be good. Rich wine. Actually in this company, and for 2010, quite sumptuous. Good depth and richness with tannin and grip 88-90+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and black; creamy cassis and blackcurrant; some oak resin too; thick but palate good; cream and blackcurrants with depth. Chewy and with grip but plenty of material here. 88-90/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau de Camensac

Deep and saturated; fresh, some perfume, some boiled sweet, some higher toned qualities; dense and extracted with grippy tannins. Probably will settle as there is length and density here. Grippy. 86-88+/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Very deep black, very ripe, cherry with blacker fruits; dense and tannic palate, over extraction here, very chewy and tannic. If comes good 85-87?/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Cantemerle

Dense and arterial; ripe; some floral notes, roses, violet [Margaux like], cassis and blackcurrants – nice overall; some cream and depth to the palate; rich and concentrated, good blackcurrant flavours, concentrated and tannic with good acid too. Grippy and tannic finish. Good in time 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Thick and deep, ripe and smoky nose; thick and rich; attractive nose; lots of cassis and blackcurrant; thick and ripe, rich; lovely palate, lots of fruit here, lashings in fact. This should be good Very impressive. 90-92/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Citran

Deep and dense; ripe strawberry tones; some resin from oak; quite ripe and rasiny, almost jammy note; resin again, some chocolate; lots of extract and grip. Will meld. Tannin [lots] is ripe. 86-88/100 Tasted 5 April at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; super-ripe, almost jammy note; certainly on the sweet strawberry fruit spectrum; quite sweet strawberry fruit on the palate two but also tannic; dry palate and chewy with density. Lots of tannin here. Feels over extracted. Much  84-86?/100 Tasted 7 April at UGC

Chateau Coufran

Deep and dense; needs to settle, some reductive qualities; feels tannic at present; chewy palate with density and extract – lots of substance. Good density and will be ok, lots of fruit. 86-88/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Very dense and dark; ripeness but thick and resinous; extracted feel; lots of material; chewy and masculine but very tannic on the finish on this second sample. May settle 85-87?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau de Lamarque

Deep and saturated; creamy and attractive ripe nose; lots of extract and density; initially sweet attack and ripe and rich plus tannin and grip. Puckering at the end. Needs time. 85-87/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; ripe nose; lots of fatness; palate big and tannic and extracted at present. Lacks precision. Monolithic and extremely tannic. 82-84?/100 Tasted  7 April 2011 at UGC

 Chateau La Lagune

Very saturated in colour, deep and dense; very succulent nose, ripe, rich and deep with real ripe notes like molasses and fig; sweet entry, chewy and intense but also again with succulence. Will meld together well. Good length and a grippy finish. 88-90/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Thick and black in the glass; legs; polished nose, nice layers here; some cassis and perfume; feels deep; ripe and perfumed palate; dense, but with focus. Pretty good effort. Ripe and very good. 90-92/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Larose Trintaudon

Deep and arterial; stalky blackcurrant nose; feels deep if a little backward; clean palate; will work OK in the end; clean and fresh Medoc. Expect a fair price from one of the largest vineyards in Bordeaux. 83-85/100 L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau La Tour Carnet

Deep and saturated; sweet and ripe with lashings of oak; too much influence really; good density and oaky [again] palate; blackcurrants, oak resin; but also very aggressive tannins. Should settle but verging on the over-extracted in this vintage so verdict out. 86-88?/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and dense; thick, liquorice, smoke and tar along with blackcurrants; ripe fruit but lots of extraction on the palate; too much; lots of extract and material but feel it’s been obliterated by the winemaking; Very big and awkward at present. Will it come good? Hope so. 86-87?/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Malecasse

Very dark and saturated; fresh blackcurrants, some reductive notes; some cream but feels infant [obviously], tannic and grippy palate of some substance; but feels very disjointed and needs to settle. Lots of tannin and acid here. 84-86?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deepish and vibrant colour; fresh, some Cabernet here; bit stalky though; blackcurrants and herbs on the palate but grippy too; not that bad if it settles. Bit foursquare though 85-87?/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC


Again the top Médoc 2010s are considerably less unctuous than 2009. They are more overtly structured and have much more grip on the palate and bite to the tannin. I’m sure after all these posts you’ve got a handle on the left bank’s principal characteristics in 2010! Look out for too much extraction and dry, chunky tannin, which seems to be a bit of problem for some. The usual suspects, nevertheless, have made very good, classical wines with more power under the bonnet than usual. These include Chateau Potensac, Chateau Patache d’Aux and Chateau La Tour St Bonnet. The revitalised Chateau Blaignan also looks to be a pretty confident effort.

Chateau Blaignan

Deep and dense; some stalky blackcurrant notes; some sweetness; works well; ripe quality balanced by tannin and grip. Works quite well. 85-87/100 L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010 [Second tasting] Bright looking; good concentration; ripe blackcurrants, some stalkys, fresh; blackcurrants and smoky notes on the palate; flesh and soft. Nice. 85-87/100 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Tasted 8 April at Chateau Meyney.

Also tasted a ‘premium’ cuvee of Blaignan [best parcels, aged in barrels, 2000 cases] – this had nice vibrant and dense colour; real ripe blackcurrants; ripe and deep; good density on the palate, ripe and nicely judged tannin. Good finish  87+/100 Tasted 8 April at Chateau Meyney. 

Chateau La Cardonne

Deep black; pretty saturated; some smoky blackcurrant fruit; pretty good; some oak; palate saturated with tannin and fruit; obvious depth but bit monolithic; mouth puckering tannin at the back. Probably will settle ok [esp with a bit of egg white fining down the line!] 84-86?/100 L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau Les Grands Chenes

Deep and saturated black red; lots of oak and sweetness and ripe fruit too; liquorice; soft and immediate palate; not bad but feels a bit souped-up; more like you’re in the Barossa Valley than the Medoc. Lots of oak tannins on the finish. Overdone. 84/100 L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau Greysac

Mid depth, strawberry little dumb, some chocolate; palate clean but lacks concentration compared to the La Tour de By and others. Grippy and tannic finish. 80-82?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC

Chateau La Tour de By

Dense, ripe, blackcurrants, fresh; palate fleshy but with extract and grip. Not bad. Obvious depth and ripe fruit and lots of it. Grip and tannin too. Should meld. 84-86+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Noaillac

Deep; slightly stalky note; dusty; some meat and life on the palate and then the tannins arrive, but this has flavour and grip. Good blackcurrant fruit. Good 85+/100 L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois Tasted 5 April 2010

Chateau Les Ormes Sorbet

Deep colour again; ripe, blackcurrants; some stalks and dust; quite fleshy and soft to begin with; good density; depth and extract; finishes chewy and quite tannic but fruit there. 84-85/100 Tasted L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau Patache d’Aux

Deep and saturated in colour; ripe blackcurrants; some smoke and earth; some dust too; oak on the palate, density and chew; pretty good dense and chewy Medoc. Will come good. 85+/100 Tasted L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau Potensac

Deep, saturated; quite velvety and very ripe on the nose; some smoke; very polished palate, thick and ripe with good mid-palate and attractive. Good grip to. 88-90/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at Chateau Leoville Las Cases.

Chateau Ramafort

Deep and saturated; some depth but also some dusty tannin; blackcurrant fruit on the palate; real grip and tannin here; not that bad if simple. Grippy. 84/100 Tasted L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau Rollan de By

Deep and black; feels jammy, very strawberry jam nose; oak tannins dominate the palate; some attractive qualities but feels a bit overdone to me. 82-84?/100 Tasted L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

Chateau La Tour St Bonnet

Deep and saturated; ripe lift and density; palate rich and softer in attack than you’d expect; layers and richness here; very good effort and quite pure; good and will fill out further I expect. 85-87+/100 Tasted L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois 5 April 2010

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