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Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: Margaux

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux


There is some variability here in Margaux both between the wines, some excellent, others over extracted, some variability between samples. Generally I was impressed by the wines on my first pass, the second pass I did the Margaux appellation slightly impressive, interesting as it was generally the other way around in the other districts. Of course the large appellation here with its wide variety of soils and terroirs does means that often you are not comparing like with like. There is also considerable variability between the blends in Margaux and in the wine making; some much more extractive and manipulative than others.

I can highly recommend the following wines: Chateau Angludet has produced a terrific wine and there are strong wines from Chateau Cantenac Brown, Chateau Giscours, stable mate Chateau du Tertre, Chateau Kirwan and Chateau Marquis de Terme . The real surprise for me, and a star potentially in value terms, is Chateau Labegorce. This didn’t impress me as much in 2009, but the 2010 looks really good. This property has now been reunited with the vineyards of the former, and now defunct, Chateau Labegorce-Zede.  Chateau Labegorce should prove to be a good buy along with the Angludet mentioned above.

Other Chateaux which have done well, but showed a bit of variability were Chateau Brane Cantenac, Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Chateau Monbrison and Chateau Siran, both of which have produced good wines again, as they did in 2009. The major misfires for me: Chateau Malescot St Exupery, it seemed overdone and extracted, a real surprise, as the 2009 was sublime. Chateau Lascombes has the same kind of problems. I do hope these wines settle but for the moment the jury is out. The other disappointment for me was Chateau Rauzan-Segla. The 2009 was terrific [I bought some] but one 2010 sample, tasted too tannic and over done. The second was better and I’m giving this the benefit of the doubt, because I’m usually a fan and think John Kolasa is a terrific winemaker, but it’s a relative disappointment. I see that others have given Rauzan-Segla much higher scores, so maybe I have it wrong. Chateau Durfort Vivens was also a dry and tannic and not much fun at present and Chateau Dauzac, seemed extracted on the palate. One sample showed better than the other, but both were pushing things past the comfortable I thought.

Chateau Margaux is in a completely different league here in 2010. It has produced a lovely wine [see detailed earlier post], one of the most beautiful in the vintage. Chateau Palmer has also done really well again. Their 2010, fractionally less brilliant for me than their 2009, is a superb wine nevertheless with lots of lovely plush flavours [see preceding post] and considerable but finely managed tannin.

Here are the detailed notes on the wines tasted last week at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting held at Chateau Lascombes along with the other notes from tastings at Chateau Margaux and Chateau Palmer.

Chateau Angludet

Very deep and concentrated colour; quite strong and pure; depth to the nose with substance; cassis and blackcurrants; intense; full, good density and precise on the palate; fresh and will work well. Nicely judged wine.  89-91+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011.[Second tasting] Deep and dense; lots of ripe fruit on the nose; blackcurrants, violets; quite saturated and will be beautiful, very pure and unadorned with oak or extractive hijinks – pure. Violets on the palate too, lots of ripe, bright fruit, fresh. Good grip too and a fresh finish. Excellent wine 90-92/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC

Chateau Brane Cantenac

Deep and saturated colour; some reductive notes; some violets too; cassis; palate quite grippy and backward; little alkward needs to settle and blossom a bit, but not over extracted;  87-89/100 Tasted 5April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; floral and perfumed, fresh blackcurrants and violets, quite seductive; some grip on the palate, blackcurrants again, some coffee; elegance with intensity. Some chew at the back. Much better sample. 90-92/100 [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 13.5 alc] Tasted 7April 2011 UGC

Chateau Cantenac-Brown

Deep and saturated; fragrant and attractive, violets; quite plush, feels like fine Margaux; perfumed; palate attractive with some blackcurrants, violet notes again with some rosehip; some grip here but nicely done. Elegant and intense. Much better than 2009. Excellent 91-93+ Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Deep and intense; more concentration and intensity on the nose than Brane; riper and full; some violest; good density on the palate, quite unctuous and worked palate; quite thick palate with chew and extraction. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot 13.6 alc] 90-92+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 UGC

Chateau Dauzac

Deep and saturated; toasty meaty nose; lots of substance here; tar and liquorice; ripe and layered; quite meaty and deep, not that bad, good density without overdoing the extraction. Grip. Very good but not traditional Margaux.  88-90/100 5th April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; vibrant, some cough mixture, jam, coffee and chocolate; cassis dominant; palate feels a bit forced and palate more oaky and disjointed than earlier. Some bitter tannins. Feels overdone? If it settles. Sample variation here. 88?/100 tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Desmirail

Dense, but not as saturated as some; mid weight nose; ripe, some cassis, quite supple; polished and glossy; some blackcurrant; good palate, open and drinkable but with some concentration. Good grip. Some leaf on the palate. Elegant mid weight and attractive. 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated colour; lots of coffee, liquorice and cassis; ripe and quite supple and modern; blackcurrant cassis on the palate along with some oak; ripe but a faint green streak here too; bit of tannin and austerity on the finish. Slightly vegetal/green streak in this sample.  86-88?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau du Tertre

Deep and saturated; very attractive, perfumed nose; violets and blackcurrants; seductive; some coffee and char at the end; nicely judged palate; full of flavour and ripeness; very digestible; clean and with real depth. Nice freshness, some warmth a very end. 91-93 [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, alc 13.8%] Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Mid depth; purple at edge; fresh, some fragrance, feels quite full [Cabernet?], freshness here; palate similarly cool and fresh, some tannin and extract too; quite chewy but tannins ripe and should settle down. Strong wine, nice Cab freshness. 88-90+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Durfort-Vivens

Deep and saturated; super-ripe notes here plus a curious vegetal streak too; quite intense and blackcurrant, but feels a bit vegetal. Extract and intensity but rather herbal green note. Disappointing.  84-87?/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep, bit rasiny and cooked to me; thick and rather stewy; not me; some blackcurrant notes but feels terribly dry and tannic. May settle but I’d be surprised. I just don’t get the wine this year. 84-87?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Ferrière

Pretty saturated in colour; very ripe, plush nose, attractive, some menthol, blackcurrant; layered and good; some herbs and spices here on palate; grippy but intense. Tannin here but should round out. Good and nice length. 89-91/100 5th April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep and dark, some velvet, some strawberry, fleshy and quite seductive; freshness; ripe attack but also some astringency in this sample; quite dry on the palate. Needs to settle. Tannic 87-89?/100 7th April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Giscours

Very deep and saturated; fresh and creamy, blackcurrants and some violets but feels plush and sumptuous; lovely; great palate, intense, black fruits; sumptuous and layered. Great depth and concentration. Tastes wonderful and flattering. 92-94/100 [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, alc 13.9%] Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Dense and deep; some minerals, some ripe fruit, oak and blackcurrants; some chew; palate on this sample marked by oak; feels a little disjointed at present; oaky. Earlier sample better 87-89?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Kirwan

Very deep and saturated; strong, whiff of animal; cassis and blackcurrants; plushness and concentration; great entry, layers and concentration and material; grip and structure too; fruit coes back to soak the tannin [of which there is plenty]. Strong wine, tannic and big. 91-93/100 [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot 13.9 alc] Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC [Second tasting] Deep and dense; quite plush and plump on the palate; full, some velvet; ripe concentrated wine but with some violet notes; quite thick on the palate and dense but with freshness. Chewy and tannic at the end but extract and fruit seem to dominate the oak. Consistent notes. 91-93+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Labégorce

Deep and saturated look; attractive nose, some resin some cassis and vioilet lift; quite layered and good and deep; quite plush palate, rich wine; lots of extract and mid-palate density. Sumptous and good depth and length. Should be a great value 89-91+/100 [45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, alc 13.5%] Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep and dark; nice freshness here this year; blackcurrant, cassis; nice seam of ripe fruit; some cream too; palate has depth, sweetness and is not over-extracted – nicely done. Quite focused and precise. This could be a great buy 89-91+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC.

 Chateau Lascombes

Deep and dark looking; very ripe nose; strawberry tones; very lush and ripe layers and real ripeness; verging almost towards the overblown; concentration on the palate but lots of tannin and feels very extracted. Dry and extracted palate. Overdone? If settles 88-90?/100 Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Very dense and saturated look; very sweet and strawberry tones; thick nose, on the unctuous side, verging toward jammy; ripe and thick concentrated palate with density but also tannin here. Blackcurrants and cassis but palate on the drying side and tannins seem overdone? 88-90?/100 but only if settles. Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupéry

Deep and saturated; more fragrant than Lascombes; violet perfume plus some marzipan; ripeness; palate very extracted and tannic; think again this is overdone. Mouthpuckering at present and monolithic. Needs to settle? Really unsure here. This estate produced a beauty in 2009, but not 2010.  If settles 88-90?/100 but will it? [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc 5% Petit Verdot, alc 14%] Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and dense; tar and ripeness on the nose; some marzipan hints; strawberry too; quite thick; sweet entry, quite fat seemingly but also tannins here very dry. Dry finish. Very tannic and dry. Blimey this wine needs to settle. 86-88?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Marquis de Terme

Deep and saturated; some cream and freshness with violets more cream and lift; creamy palate, very intense, layered but with saturation and extract and tannin too but plenty of sweet ripe fruit I feel. Prefer 2009 to 2010 but should work out very well. 89-91/100 13.5 alc Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC [Second tasting] deep and dense, clean, slightly cooler nose, some cassis and blackcurrants, black fruits and coffee; violets here too; dense palate but very good extraction and feels like it works. Chewy, dense but fresh. Very good. 90-92+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Monbrison

Deep and dark; little more traditional; some stalky notes but with violets and blackcurrants; richness here and some sumptuousness on the palate; fragrance and attractive too; good life here again; depth and fragrance. Good length. Should be a good buy. 88+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Quite dense, legs; cool, some violets, fresh and cassis too; palate grippy with strong acid needs a bit more flesh. Quite chewy this sample. Promising if the tannin melds a bit. 87-89/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Palmer

Dense and saturated colour; tight to the rim; quite dense; ripe, cassis and blackcurrants; very layered nose, seam of ripe fruit, very perfumed; lots of depth; deep and layered; good and clean, quite ‘cool’ feel and fresh; concentrated and tannic palate but nicely done; chewy and dense. Lots of life and grip here. 2009 is more flamboyant but this extremely good and not far behind at all. In fact, given time it may be the other way around. Let’s see. Super wine. [54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, alc 14.5%] 95-96+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at the Chateau.

Alter Ego

Deep; creamy ripe blackcurrants; pretty seductive; quite intense with grip, more grip on the palate. Freshness here, despite the 14.5 degrees alcohol. In fact pretty lively on the palate. Great effort. 90-92/100 [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot] Tasted 7April 2011 at Chateau Palmer.

Chateau Priéure-Lichine

Deep and saturated colour; strong, not primary fruit or fresh but worked; palate dense and imntense but feels extracted. Bit overdone in 2010? Will probably settle but currently clumsy and tannic. Jury out 86-88?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Deep and dense; some violets, some coffee; blackcurrants, pretty good; palate full, quite fleshy and with grip; this will meld and soften. Chewy and grippy finish but flesh here in this sample I think. 87-89/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies

Deep and saturated; some violet, some coffee and blackcurrants and cassis; good; quite nicely done; palate a little extracted but there is density and concentration. Bit chunky and grippy too. Probably will be ok. Lots of oak on finish however. Grippy and tannic finish. Not that bad. 87-89/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Deep and dark; some density on the nose; blackcurrant fruit and some cough mixture; sweetness from the oak, pretty good; oak dominates the palate but there is flesh here. Not a bad effort from this estate. Chew and grip at the end 88-90/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau Rauzan-Ségla

Deep and intense looking; very ripe, sweet strawberry nose; quite a surprise; good palate but real extraction toward the; feels a little overdone? Chewy. Blimey! Big and extracted on the palate. Monster. How will this develop? 2009 better looking at the same stage. 88-90?/100 [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc 1% Petit Verdot, alc 14%] Tasted 5April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and concentrated; more strawberry ripeness; cherry, attractive and some violets with ripe cherry; very dense and rich and intense but lots of tannin; dense and chewy. More settled than first sample. Jury still out a bit though and a far cry from 2009’s knockout quality. 90-92+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at UGC

Chateau Siran

Deep and saturated; some perfume and lift; cassis beneath; quite deep and plush; more violets on the palate; some tannin here, in fact pretty tannic and extracted on the palate; Probably will be ok 86-88/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Deep and dense; thick looking; cassis, blackcurrant, some coffee; big and ripe and with lots of extract and fruit. Extracted but fruit is there. Will round out. Pretty good. 87-88+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC.

Chateau La Tour du Mons

Very deep and saturated; some freshness and violet perfume; creamy; some weight here but not overdone; nice balance; some tannin and extract but nice grip and mid-palate. Should be good. 85-87/100 Tasted 5th April 2010 at L’Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Medoc.  

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