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Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: Pauillac

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Overall 2010 is dense and intense in Pauillac. The wines are less easy to enjoy than ’09, without that easy flamboyance but they do have phenomenal strength and power, with lots tannin and grip too. It will be very interesting to see how they settle. So the best wines are different in style rather than in quality over ’09. Generally I was seduced more by the style of ’09 in Pauillac to ’10. That said amongst the first growths Mouton has produced an even better wine in ’10 than in ’09, Lafite is perfect but very concentrated and dense and feels less elegant and seductive over ’09. Latour is very dense, concentrated and quite amazing – and almost equalled by a quite extraordinary Les Forts de Latour. Carruades de Lafite is no slouch this year and neither is Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild.

The Pichons are strong in ’10, but I preferred them in ’09. Again Chateau Pichon Longueville [Baron] always seems to taste better at this stage Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande. Comtesse looks extremely good but was a bit reticent. Chateau Lynch Bages has great density and strength, tremendous power in fact but again I preferred their brilliant 2009. Chateau Pontet-Canet has produced something extremely pure and unadorned and it will be a great wine. What’s more is that 2010 Pontet Canet is certified organic and biodynamic. That’s a great effort.

Chateau Duhart-Milon has made a wine equally to its 2005 and 2009 and is tremendous. Amongst the values, Clerc Milon, maybe not quite the ‘value’ it once was, looked excellent twice out of the three times I tasted it. Chateau Batailley as ever impressed, now with added finesse and more grip than ’09. Stablemate Lynch Moussas looked very nice and promised to be extremely drinkable, a point to remember when wading through all the density, grip and tannin. Chateau Grand-Puy Lacoste looked to have finesse and precision, Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse continues its improvement, though the ’10 is a wine with more obvious structure and grip than ’09 – true I guess for all the wines in this commune.

Overall Pauillac’s proprietors see the vintage as more classical than ’09 but with more strength and concentration – ‘plus, plus’ I kept being told. Personally I found the wines a bit tricky to judge overall because of the strength of the tannins and the grip, despite the obvious concentration here in 2010. I tasted everything twice, some three times, because I was concerned that I might be misinterpreting them. In the end, I concluded that 2010 is a great year if you like strength and power though I found more joy and seduction here in 2009 at the same age. Time will tell which is the greater vintage, I suspect it will simply come down to a question of personal taste rather than definitive quality. If 2009 didn’t exist we’d certainly be arguing the toss between 2010 and 2005.

The following wines were tasted at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. Chateau Pontet Canet, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Latour were all tasted separately.

Chateau Batailley

Deep centre, legs; some smoke, cream and blackcurrant; feels pretty seductive on the nose; Cabernet on the palate, strong; some higher toned notes; acid and grip here too; depth plus richness. Good mid-palate density. Warm at the end. Grip and tannin. [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot alc 13.5%] 90-92/100 Tasted 5April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Deep colour; fresh blackcurrants, nice life, very attractive wine on the nose; some summer fruits; ripe and attractive; palate quite dense but some seductive perfume and then there is the solid core and the tannins. Ripeness here. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Clerc Milon

Very deep and intense; fresh looking; little more evocative than the d’Armailhac – very pure, very fresh tasting; fresh blackcurrants again; summer fruit pudding; good structure, acid and tannin here; bit less evolved on the palate than on the nose; feels leaner and meaner but good chew and density and good length on the finish suggests more than enough fruit is here. Excellent length in fact 90-92+/100 Tasted 4 April at Mouton. [Second tasting] Deep core, legs, purple rim; ripe blackcurrant nose; cassis, some grip, leaf and density on the palate; feels that it’s quite infant; tannin and acid very present and lots of material; sample a trifle disjointed; Good length and grip on the finish. 90-92 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC [Third tasting] Deep and saturated; some summer fruit pudding; ripe and rich; deep and attractive; dense blackcurrant, quite grippy and fresh. Good length. Very good. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Croizet-Bages

Deep and saturated; legs; some coffee, brooding; feels like there is depth here; some cassis. Tannic palate and feels extracted and dry. Grippy too. Overall a bit chunky and disjointed at present. 84-86?/100 5th April 2011 UGC. [Second tasting UGC] Not bad colour or depth; ripe and lifted, not bad effort, dense; clean and attractive lacks the depth of the best, some blackcurrant, quite fresh. Better sample than previous 86-88+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau d’Armailhac

Deep and dense; black at the centre; healthy sheen; some minerality, rocks, with blackcurrants; dense; little more subdued than usual; creamy; good concentration on the palate; quite fresh feel; blackcurrants; classical wine with race; density and concentration; great mid-palate; very good chew and length on the end; real bite. Lively. Good length. Should be very good. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, alcohol 14] 90-92/100 4th April 2011 at Mouton Rothschild [Second tasting] Deep and dark, legs, saturated looking; sweetness and ripeness here; cassis and layered nose; attractive; quite concentrated and dense on the palate but there is fruit here; but lots of tannin and grip; lots of extract here. Chewy finish. Intensity and grip. Long life ahead. 90-92/100 5April 2011. [Third tasting UGC] Deep and dense; full of colour, full of extract too; ripe and full nose, blackcurrants, some lift here; attractive; chewy on the palate but with freshness; clean; blackcurrants again; grip and acid. Nice and fresh. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Duhart Milon

Very dense; up to the rim; saturated; lovely depth to the nose; touch tighter and more pent up than the Carruades; cool and very deep; really intense cassis and blackcurrants; very pure and very focused; freshness on the palate with layers; very creamy and ripe blackcurrant flavours but with depth and length; lots of sublimation here; chewy blackcurrant finish. Lovely length. [73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot alc 13.5] 94-96+/100

Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse

Very saturated, deep; very clean, blackcurrant, depth, not majorly expressive, ripe, some cassis; real depth and concentration on the palate; feels a bit woody and tannic on the palate; acid here too. Feels strong but bit currently disjointed. Will meld no doubt[60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot] 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC [Second tasting UGC] Deep and dark; up to rim; blackcurrants, quite seductive quite full; some blackcurrant even tobacco; ripe and full; chewy and ripe. Good grip and lift. Promising. 89-91+/100 Tasted 7 April UGC [Third tasting] Deep and saturated; vibrant looking; blackcurrant, fresh, some smoke and cassis here; oak little obvious for now on the palate; will meld; density, grip and tannin here. Structured and correct. Would like a bit more flesh but guess that’s the vintage. 88-90/100 Tasted 8April at Chateau Meyney

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste

Deep and dense; nice cassia and blackcurrants; fresh; almost some mint and menthol; palate concentrated and intense with depth; not over extracted here. Quite fine. Dips away a fraction at the end but overall very good 89-91/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC.[Second tasting] Thick and dark looking; ripe and thick nose, blackcurrants, ripe and creamy; dense, concentrated wine with some freshness; quite firm with acid, chewy and dense. Good freshness here. Intense. 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2010

Chateau Haut-Bages Libéral

Deep, saturated; maybe fraction less dense here; some higher toned notes as usual; some gdc; some fragrance too, blackcurrants; not bad palate; quite grippy. Feels fresh. 87-89/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 UGC. [Second tasting UGC] Deep, not as dark and black as some; quite pretty and fragrant Cabernet nose; clean and quite fresh; feels higher tones but nice; blackcurrants and cream on the palate; quite intense; lots of blackcurrant fruit and some chew and grip too; Quite sappy. Good and fresh 88-90+/100 Tasted 7April UGC

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild

Deep and saturated; the most saturated of all the wines shown; thick in the glass; creamy blackcurrant aroma – very enticing and succulent; very deep nose but also very fresh; some summer pudding along with some graphite; sweet entry on the palate, sublimated, with some oak but soaked in blackcurrant fruit; real density and length; layers and layers; more strength it feels than 2009; great concentration and very well balanced by freshness. Very, very long and remains vibrant. [87.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.8% Merlot, alc 13.5] 98-100/100 

Carruades de Lafite

Deep and dense; legs; purple meniscus; lovely ripe blackcurrants, cassis, very fresh; some menthol; cream and blackcurrants with a minerality too; density too; very ripe; lots of ripe succulent blackcurrants on the palate; seems denser than last year; good chew and grip here. Very good length and finish. Excellent. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.5% Merlot, 5.1% Cabernet Franc, 2.4% Petit Verdot, alc 13.5] 94-96+/100

Chateau Latour

Dense, legs; graphite, minerals; sublimated and strong; really strong minerality, very intense with extraordinary depth on the nose; aeration revealed tightly packed layers of aroma, very focused; a nose of density and strength; very concentrated core of blackcurrant fruit on the palate; dense yet fresh; blackcurrants and cream; layer upon layer of flavour; lovely poise; terrific concentration and very, very long. Amazing. [90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot, alc 14.4% IPT 83] 100/100

Les Forts de Latour

Very dense, tight to the meniscus; cream and blackcurrants, very fresh and very deep; more forward and seemingly lush than the grand vin; very appealing; very seductive on the nose; plush palate but with real extract and density and real freshness too; concentrated with layers; polished and pure; perfect extraction; powerful but some how elegant. Lovely wine of fantastic length. Focused and persistent. Quite terrific. [72.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.5% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, alc 14.3%, IPT 87] 96-98+/100

Pauillac de Latour

Very deep and saturated look; fraction less so than Les Forts and Latour, very ripe nose; succulent fruit, quite perfumed; dense attack, pretty good; very clean and pure wine with freshness that prevents the palate dipping. Very attractive wine with good length. Blackcurrants. Focus and grip excellent. [55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, alc 13.9% IPT 79] 91-93+/100

Chateau Lynch-Bages

Deep and saturated; very ripe, cassis; attractive; deep and meaty; nicely done here; blackcurrants on the palate; lots of extract, real mid palate density. Good density here. Blimey – lots of tannin and extract here. Need to settle. Good length. Could be brilliant, but lots of tannins and grip. [79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc 1% Petit Verdot, alc 13.6] 92-94?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting UGC] Very deep and very dark; thick and concentrated on the nose; lots of blackcurrants; quite sublime; creamy note; depth here; strong wine with depth and concentration on the nose; big mouthful, lots of extract and tannin here; little disjointed on the palate; big chewy and dense and tannins. Stronger and more concentrated even than 2010 but with less finesse, seduction and flamboyance. I preferred ’09 at the same stage. This is longer term obviously. 92-94/100 Tasted 7 April UGC

Chateau Lynch-Moussas

Dense and saturated; cassis and blackcurrants; softer tones here; attractive; bit of leaf; quite floral notes and blackcurrants; tannin and material and grip. Not that bad at all. Good mid weight wine. Not overdone. Nice 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011[Second tasting UGC] Deep and dark; ripe blackcurrants; quite open; some leaf and tobacco; forward and engaging; rose petal palate; nicely judjed; blackcurrants and density but feels well balanced and more towards mid-weight; nicely done. Lacks some depth and concentration but works well for me. Should be good value. 88-90+/100 [76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot] Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild

Deep and dense; oaky and brooding; lots of blackcurrants on aeration; very deep; loaded with pure, fresh blackcurrant fruits; some coffee and coconut at the edge; very polished wine on the palate; blackcurrant purity; depth and concentration here, tannins very nicely done; fantastic depth and length; intense flavours. Real freshness here, and really substantial and yet revealing more than 2009 Mouton did at the same stage. Extremely seductive wine and with fantastic length. Absolutely terrific wine. Incredible freshness and purity. [94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot alcohol 14%] 98-100/100 Tasted 4 April 2011 at the Chateau

Le Petit Mouton

Deep, arterial, tight to the core; very opaque at centre; legs; very blackcurrant; fresh with some cream; almost summer fruit compote; feels very open on the nose; but nicely pure; quite forward and sexy palate [very saturated with flavour] yet with density and concentration too; blackcurrants and cream in a glass. Density and chew on the finish; very attractive and a great effort. Quite excellent. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, alcohol 14] 92-94+/100 Tasted at the chateau

Chateau Pichon Longueville [Baron]

Depth and density; blackcurrants, quite pure and fresh; really concentrated cassis; quite perfumed too. Clean palate, lots of material and acid; grip and density. Good length, concentration and freshness. Maybe not as knockout as 2009 here though. 92-94/100 Tasted 5 April 2011[Second tasting UGC] Deep and dark; very tight to the rim; quite arterial; essence and very concentrated; really sublimated feel; real cassis and blackcurrants, some cream lots of fruit and high levels of concentration; layers of flavour and lots of density. Tannins well handled but there are lots of them. Very good length and power. Different from ’09, less seductive more sublimated and powerful. You choose. 94-96+/100 [13.8 alc] Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Deepish; saturated but less so than some; some cream and blackcurrants; some rose petal; intense palate, blackcurrant notes; concentration; tannin and grip. Nice balance on the palate. Not overdone – good length. 92-94/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC [Second tasting] Dense; maybe less so than some [cf Pichon Baron], some floral notes, little dumb, cream and blackcurrants; opens up in the glass; actually quite voluptuous and satiny; quite dense on the palate, feels a little awkward; is density here and good finish. Tannic but ripe and fine. More 92-94/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Pontet Canet

Deep and very dense saturated look; ripe, attractive nose; quite forthcoming; blackcurrants, fresh, some coffee, creamy and layered; very ripe and attractive palate; very well balanced and harmonious; terrific balance; quite fine tannins, extraction managed perfectly. Caresses the palate, clean and fresh. Almost easy. Brilliant wine. 95-97+/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at the chateau

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