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Bordeaux 2010 In Bottle: Haut-Médoc

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Cantemerle label cu

The wines from the Haut-Médoc have come along a lot since their primordial days during primeurs week in April 2011. The nascent wines then felt tannic and extremely grippy. Yes they had huge volumes of fruit and extract, but with all the density and acid they were hardly a joy to taste. Such was the early character of the vintage. It still is their character to a degree but the best wines have put on much gloss and weight and have rounded out quite a bit during elévage. They are not the hedonistic efforts the appellation produced in 2009, but are more correct, more obviously structured, serious wines, with lots of grip and sap that, even at this level, remain pretty long-term efforts. Chalk and cheese once again.

Having just described a rather tough experience of tasting these wines two years ago, there was never any doubt for me then that both Chateau La Lagune and Chateau Cantemerle stood head and shoulders above the rest. They, too, still are looking very good, if a little shut down, particularly versus their atypical, even flash, 2009 efforts. Chateau La Tour Carnet has come on in leaps and bounds. It is the usual saturated Magrez mouthful, but it is very enjoyable. Chateau Belgrave proves, once again, that you don’t have to shell out a fortune to enjoy suave, sophisticated Haut-Médoc. It’s often a great buy. Chateau de Camensac, the other cru classé Haut-Médoc, has also produced an intense wine with lots of meaty, blackcurrant notes and undergrowth tones.

Chateau Citran and Chateau Coufran are good, if less sublime than 2009, and will need some time in the cellar to unite. Chateau Beaumont was very stalky and sappy. Chateau de Lamarque felt monolithic and a bit old-fashioned. In the Médoc itself Chateau La Tour de By looks good in a sappy, vigorous way.

The summary here has to be that 2010 Haut-Médoc is pretty serious stuff and some properties are very impressive. For pure and immediate joy in my opinion you are still better off searching out their 2009’s instead though. At this level we’re looking at drinking, not investing, so maybe better to spend your cash on wine that is the same price [2009 is cheaper in many cases] but which is already drinking beautifully. 2010 Haut-Médoc, as undoubtedly good as it is, is a long-term prospect. The best properties [Cantemerle, La Lagune, Belgrave] will, in the short term, most likely shut down further rather than open up. Of course there will be pleasure to be had in their youth if you a real fan of vigour and freshness, but they’ll be better in 5-10 years I reckon. In this respect the vintage here in the Haut-Médoc resembles 2005 more closely in it’s structure than 2009 – and think how much 2005 has really crept into its shell.

The following wines were tasted at the UGCB event in London’s Covent Garden in November 2012.

Chateau Beaumont

Deep and saturated; more spikey fruit, stalky blackcurrant flavours; chewy and quite grippy on the palate. Lots of acid and sap here. Grippy. 86/100

Chateau Belgrave

Deep and saturated; cassis, black cherry and plum notes on the nose; depth of fruit with also a silk and spice note; real purity here; ripe and rich palate with lots of flavour and fruit, grip and structure; really fruit loaded; dips a fraction but nice chew and grip with good length. 90/100

Chateau Cantemerle

Deep and saturated look; textured nose with layers; blackcurrants, some coffee tones; attractive; not ’09 but this is very good; grippy palate but with lots of blackcurrant fruit, extract and acid – a mouthful. Classic with freshness, chew and good length. 91+/100

Chateau Citran

Deep and dark; red fruits, quite saturated in flavour; thick and rich palate; chewier than ’09 with more grip and obvious structure. Some earthy tones with freshness and grip. 88+/100

Chateau Coufran

Deepish; glossy looking; fresh blackcurrant aromas with black cherry and plum; some depth; pure blackcurrants on the palate; attractive; nice purity with extract, depth and grip. 88+/100

Chateau de Camensac

Deep and saturated; earthy and intense, quite attractive meaty, earthy blackcurrant aromas with undergrowth; grippy blackcurrant flavours on the palate, some earth but lots of material and extract; plenty of chew but acid. Works well in its earthy way. 89+/100

Chateau de Lamarque

Deep and saturated; little fig, chocolate and some depth; not hugely expressive; some thickness and minerality; quite thick on the palate with lots of extract. Needs some time here. Little old fashioned. 85+/100

Chateau La Lagune

Deep and saturated; close to rim; lots of density too to the nose; plums, black fruits and spice; rich palate with lots of depth; layered with tannin and extract. Longer term than ’09 but lots of ripe, plummy fruit here with structure and grip. 92+/100

Chateau La Tour Carnet

Deep and dark; saturated at the core; meaty, saturated nose with lift; lots of extract here and obvious density; saturated palate, sweetness but nice in this vintage; some spice but lots of depth and chew. Not over-extracted ultimately but well balanced. Very good effort. 92+/100


Chateau La Tour de By

Deep and fresh looking; fresh blackcurrant, some stalks and sappy tones; blackcurrant and black cherry on the palate; some minerality; nice grip and sap on the palate; needs a couple of years but good vigorous Médoc. 87/100

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