St Estèphe has done well in 2010 and has produced big, strong and dense wines. Certainly this isn’t a vintage for early drinking and there is not the succulence of 2009 in the best wines this year. There is richness but it’s shown more in strength rather than in opulence. There is also noticeable grip on the palates amongst the wines along with plenty of dense tannin and high-ish alcohols. The wines will be long lived and will need time in bottle. This reflects the overall vintage conditions and partly Merlot’s reduced yield. The variety was affected by coulure because of unsettled weather during flowering, a problem that hasn’t so much affected quality but has reduced the quantity of Merlot in some blends.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Cos d’Estournel’
Jean-Guillaume Prats got into a lot of trouble last year with his 2009 Cos d’Estournel. Some critics thought it was over-the-top, too alcoholic and far too much of a good thing. Others, Robert Parker included, thought it close to perfection. For me the wine tasted last November looked brilliant. The 2010 is, in fact, identical in alcoholic content to 2009, but it does manage a little more freshness and grip – though that is relative.
It’s tricky business assessing a young wine just five months after harvest. Of course a critic has to call the wine exactly as she or he sees it, anything else would be dishonest, but in judging wine that young there is always a margin of error. A big wine in a big year will always have the risk of feeling monolithic at the outset. Given the size of all the elements how could it be otherwise? Now maybe those critics who lambasted 2009 Chateau Cos d’Estournel this spring for being over-the-top did allow for that. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just a question of taste. Would they say the same thing if the wine was lined up for them now after a year in barrel I wonder? I think not.
I’ve just spent the last few days on whistle stop tour of the Haut-Médoc and Pessac-Léognan. It’s been great fun and tremendously exciting, not just because of visits to some great estates, or because the new vintage is in and there is lots of positive talk. Rather it’s because I’ve had some wonderfully frank and inspiring conversations with proprietors generally and met exciting emerging winemakers filled with passion and energy. I’ve even met one owner who flies a helicopter for a living and has set up his chais in a dining room. So interesting times in Bordeaux indeed. There has also been the chance to look again at some 2009s, some I missed earlier in the year, and a few for the second time. There is no doubt at all that this vintage redefines the term extraordinary. More on that soon but before that a brief word the 2010 harvest now that the young wines are in tank and being pressed off….
Well, we are waiting with baited breath for the releases of the first growths in 2009. I’ve read that London’s Farr Vintners report that Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is already ‘pre-trading’ at £10,000 [$15000] a case. Blimey. I guess when you’ve got a worldwide army of wine investors chasing your wine that’s what happens. If Lafite is releasing anything near these prices you can bet Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour will be up there too.