This appellation has had a fantastic vintage in 2010. Yes some wines have too much alcohol but in most cases the wines have incredible balance because of the freshness of the vintage. Also over-extraction is seemingly less problematic here than usual, although again that is a relative thing. There are a host of terrific wines this year but it seems that those that have a high proportion of Cabernet Franc, and even Cabernet Sauvignon as in the case of Chateau Figeac, have made the very finest wines. Amongst these, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Angélus, Chateau Figeac and Chateau Trottevielle have made truly extraordinary wines which are approaching perfection in my book.
That said even those with much more Merlot predominant blends have made great reds too, these include Chateau Beauséjour, Chateau Beau-Séjour-Bécot, Chateau Belair–Monagne, Clos Fourtet, Chateau Larcis-Ducasse, Chateau Pavie-Macquin and Chateau Troplong Mondot. These are all superb. I’m afraid that I don’t know quite what to make of Chateau Pavie in 2010, a bit like some others I gather. I’ve never had such a big and extracted infant wine and I have no idea how it will settle or develop. It certainly represents a very extreme form of winemaking.
Last year at the 2009 primeurs tastings I found a lot of very dry tannins and over-extraction in some wines here. This wasn’t the case this year. At the Cercle de Rive Driote there were also a great set of St Emilion’s on show.
The following wines were tasted at Chateau La Couspaude in St Emilion at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting and at Chateau Beau-Séjour-Bécot which held the tasting for the Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion. The major omission here is Chateau Ausone which I didn’t get to taste, though I hope to soon.
Rich and deep looking; lovely seductive nose; real quality, some smoke and savoury notes; layered and intense; terrific; palate wonderful; fabulous concentration; extract, sweetness and perfume here; really terrific. Very clean and well done. One of the real standouts. Brilliant. Very sublimated, intense. 98/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle
Deep and dark, some chocolate on the nose but feels tired and oxidised; good depth and chew but too much extraction and plodding heavy palate 84-86?/100 6th April at UGC.
Deep and thick in the glass; slightly stewed note here; not as polished and outwardly as fine as the rest; later opened up, smoke and blackfruits, some liquorice; menthol, like this very much also with oak from barrels; freshness initially on the palate; then intensity, grip, cool and well handled palate; real precison again, density and layers and layers; lots of chew and depth; good length. 96-98/100 [92+]. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot
Deep and saturated; ripe, rich nose; perfume and jam with nice lift; quite satiny with real density and extract; Very chewy and dense. Thick and rich and lots of black fruits here, some liquorice. Very strong wine. 94-96+/100 6th April 2011 [Second] Deep and saturated; rich, ripe and very seductive; feels quite big; slightly jammy note; certainly very ripe style; thick and rich on the palate, concentrated and dense with tannin and grip and extract; wow, feels very dense, lots of extract and material; very big chewy wine. 94-96/100. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Deep and saturated; ripe, liquorice, tar note; slightly burnt edge; layered; some menthol, very tight and layered; later some perfume, almost floral; fresh; density but fine extraction wonderfully handled. Great density and weight, very good length. Some heat on the finish but also grip here. 96-98/100. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Saturated again; thick looking; very ripe nose, some figs but plush, nice ripeness here; layered too; quite plush palate, little more tannin and chew. Bit lacking in sophistication. Tannin little chunky 86-88/100 6th April 2011 at UGC
Deep and saturated; nice concentration, life, some menthol and herbal notes; attractive; very ripe and thick; density here; pretty good wine. Chewy and dense but not overdone. 88-90/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau Cap de Mourlin
Very dense and saturated; nose very fatigued and heavy; similar rasin notes on the palate; feels tired and way over done. Not a good sample. 84?/100 6th April 2011 at UGC
Deep and saturated, tight to rim; rich and ripe on nose, shows real concentration; unctuousness; relatively simple by comparison with previous [Trottevielle] but very pure; real purity in fact; quite a lot of puppy fat here; real ripeness; lacks some of the complexity of the last but lots of fruit and density; feels alcoholic; some length, bit hot. Less impressive than the rest. 90-92/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Deep and dense; ripe and creamy nose, very plush, lots of extract it would seem; ripe but nicely handled palate, good density, sweet and sexy with layers of flavour; density yes but doesn’t feel pushed too far; chalky minerality here to; grip and density but nicely done. Rich and attractive wine. 92-94+/100 [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 14.5 alc] 6th April 2011
Chateau Cheval Blanc
Deep and dense; tight to the rim; legs; quite dense nose; some smoke; depth and intensity here; fine fruit, flowers; palate ripe and seductive; real velvety feel here; very well managed extraction; lots of flesh and fruit but wonderfully seductive palate; quite a lot of tannin at the back but very ripe; lots of material and fruit. This looks wonderfully concentrated and with real grip and density. This wine is approaching perfection and extremely exciting. The question for me was more how the tannins eventually settle. [56% Cabernet Franc, 44% Merlot, Alc: 14.5] 96-98+/100
Very saturated black, to the rim; very pretty, plump and sweet; quite seductive and very attractive; good intensity; supple wine; full of flavour and extract; lots of concentration; very supple; tannin very well managed. Fills the mouth with flavour. Good length. Lots of extract and tannin. Freshness too. [75% Melot, 25% Cabernet Franc Alc: 14.5%]
Deep and saturated; ripe and fresh fruit; clean and concentrated; minerals and chalk; deep; sweet attack, nice density, concentration and bid; thick on palate but grip too. Concentrated but balanced [large proportions!]. Will be excellent. 92-94/100 [87% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc 14.5% alc] 6th April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Thick in the glass, dense and saturated; stones and minerals, more chalk and minerals than the rest; freshness and violets; open and supple palate; less density than the last but still with lots of extract and guts; quite tannic clout at the end, but grip and brightness too. 92-94 [90-92]. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion
Clos des Jacobins
Deep and dense; thick looking; ripe yet fresh nose; lots of depth here; some coconut and spice too along with violets; sweet ripe entry; thick and rich; very plush and velvety palate. Impressive. 90-92/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Thick and saturated; ripe, feels dull and a bit tired; some rasiny notes? Palate thick but pretty stewed feel here; thick and chunky. Not me. 84-86?/100 6th April 2011
Solid black; deep; sweet and open nose; coconut oak; very sweet and ripe palate; lashings of fruit and oak; lacks complexity but really seductive fruit. 88-90/100.Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Deep and arterial; sweet strawberry notes; red fruits; intense and sublimated; black cherry; very attractive palate; lots of extraction but lovely sweet fruit and excellent length. Only a 1000 cases made. 92-94+/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Deep and dense; legs; very attractive nose; seductive, rich and intense, very tight but intense black fruits and very deep; rich palate and real intensity and precision here; needs time but nicely done. Tannic and long haul but nice acid and grip at the end. This really is a lovely wine. Hands down the best St Emillion shown at the UGC 94-96+/100 [33% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon 13.9 alc] 6th April 2011 UGC [Second] Deep and dark; saturated colour; ripe and pure; seductive with a whiff of violets; very classy nose; lovely freshness suggests Cabernet [Figeac?]; extremely classy and wonderful. Very glossy and classy palate; rich and ripe; really layered with perfume. Terrific wine. Complexity and fragrance. Great length and extremely fine. One of the wines of the vintage to my mind. 98-100/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Chateau Franc Mayne
Deep and saturated black red; thick, ripe and spicy, lots of obvious concentration on the nose; supple attack initially and then the tannins – dense – but very chewy and tannic at the back. Bit overdone? May settle 85-87?/100 6th April 2011 UGC
Thick and dense; extracted look; sweet and very ripe nose; feels thick; sweet attack onpalate; very ripe fruit here; some chew and depth; alcohol present but creamy palate. Not that bad. 88-90/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau Magrez Fombrauge
Deep and saturated black; sweet and ripe nose; some marzipan, spices; thick and sweet ripe entry; very soft and very unctuous; tannin but in check. Very good and very concentrated and sublime. Tannic twist at the end and some grip. Very good. 92-94/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Deep and arterial black; super ripe nose; some jam, unctuous; some fruit cake; ripe and sweet palate; dense and yet very easy, supple almost; chewy finish. Lots of extract lurking beneath the sweet depths, but actually pretty good. 88-90+/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Deep; earthy nose; ripe, cassis notes; density here; attractive and layered wine; lots of extract; bit tannic at the end; feels a trifle overdone but may settle. Have been quite impressed with this wine before. 87-88/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac
Deep and dark; sweet and ripe; freshness here too; violets; concentrated and dense palate; Tannic and grippy finish. 86-88?/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau Grand Corbin-Despagne
Deep and dense; sweet and ripe but classy; attractive and seductive; violets and nice lift on the nose; plummy and plush; sweet entry; very ripe and coincentrated with real density; fabulous ripeness but very well handled; velvety and sumptuous; chewy and dense; some alcohol here but this is a beauty 92-94+/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Deep and dense looking; super ripe feel, jam and cherry; dense and chalky on the palate; some extraction and feels a bit raw. Finishes with grip and chew. Raw. Needs to settle. 85-87?/100 6th April 2011 UGC
Chateau La Commanderie
Deep and dense; thick and ripe, slightly stewed note; sweet and ripe palate; thick and rich; lacks a bit of finesse and a bit monolithic; big; lacks bit of grip at the end. 88/100. Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite.
Chateau La Couspaude
Deep and dense; pretty attractive nose; some floral notes with sweet oak at the back; seductive; palate nicely done, concentrated with extract but not too tannic. Wood showing. Chewy finish. Pretty good. 88-90/100 6th April 2011 UGC
Chateau La Dominique
Very deep, concentrated look; minerals, rocks and ripeness; also seductive qualities big and thick palate with lots of flesh and extract and warmth; some grip at the end. Pretty plush in the middle with real density. Chew and tannin but plenty of lush fruit here 90-92+/100 6th April 2011 UGC
Chateau La Gaffèliere
Deep and saturated; some density to the nose; some chalk, some plum and spices; good fruit solid effort, chew and extract; tannins maybe a bit chunky. Pretty good effort. 88-90/100 6April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Deep arterial black; even tighter to the rim; nicely done; meaty quality here; feels big and brooding, not the elegance of the previous wine; strong aroma, powerful; very glossy palate, lots of material; quite lush and pretty well done; some warmth at the end. Very big and lots of [ripe] tannin. Lacks sophistication but has power. 90-92/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion
Chateau La Gomerie
Deep and dark; spicey, lush and thick; some cake like notes; very ripe and sweet palate; thick and rich but not too OTT. Earthy note at the end. Pretty good 88-90/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau La Grangère
Deep and dark; lots of fruit, quite fresh and dense too; some black fruits; thick palate, dense and porty; lots of ripe fruits; quite straightforward; lots of concentration and fruit but pretty simple 86-88/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau La Marzelle
Deep and dense looking; rich and ripe nose; thick; succulent; ripe and concentrated palate; lots of extract but also lots of tannin. Big wine. Needs to settle. Bit monolithic. 87-89/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite
Chateau La Tour du Pin
Deep and dense; tight to the rim; cream, ripe, some fresh plum, good concentration hgere; fleshy and intense; some elegance almost; good mid-palate; nice weight and extract. Good material and extract. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, Alc: 13.9] 91-93/100 Tasted at Chateau Cheval Blanc 4th April 2011
Chateau La Tour Figeac
Mid depth in terms of saturation, but that’s by comparison; ripe spicy nose, some fruit cake, chalk and rock; attractive nose; nice sweet entry, violet fruit tones with spices and density and more mineral/rock notes; very nicely done. Good grip and balance. 90-92/100 6th April 2011 UGC Tasted at Chateau Cheval Blanc 4th April 2011
Chateau Larcis Ducasse
Deep and saturated, really arterial in colour; very ripe, plush nose; lots of layers here; full; some jam, but very nice; palate ripe and full, lots of flesh and fruit; very, very god. Attractive and seductive. Some grip and chew at the back. Good length. Really nicely done. Seductive. 92-94/100 6th April UGC
Deep and saturated; very attractive nose, lush and layered, some smoke, floral qualities too; palate dense, nice extraction and chew; ripeness here. Very good. Sweet ripe fruit actually pretty tannic and concentrated. 90-92/100 [65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon] 6th April 2011 UGC
Deep arterial black; tight to rim; luscious opulent nose but with some real delicacy; ripe and layered; very satiny and pure palate; great entry; silky and refined; lovely poise; terrific balance; surprisingly elegant palate in fact. Very fine. Finishes well. Good length. 92-94/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Deep and very saturated look; ripe and smoky, quite jammy and dense; lots of fruit and concentration; some pruney notes; feels very ripe, but lacks the complexity and freshness of the best; almost a rasiny note; clean palate entry; quite rasiny, primary fruits; dense and tannic; increasingly tannic; blimey too tannic and extracted surely? Overdone, extremely drying at the end. Maybe 90?/100 if it settles, but no idea how to rate this properly. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Deep and dense; very aromatic, seductive and pretty; oak and density; black fruits liquorice, menthol, some violet too; sweet attack, dark fruits, molasses and liquorice, but not too over-the-top. Nicely done. Certainly seductive. More oak on the finish. Will meld. 92-94/100 [85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon] 6th April 2011 UGC [Second tastings] Deep and saturated; rich, ripe but nicely judged; whiff of marzipan; very ripe and attractive; big bold and ripe on the nose; thick; not unattractive; rich and cake like; very plush palate; tannins here, quite extracted; but freshness too; dense extract and material; little more extracted than some; coffee and oak. Thick and rich. Warm too. 96-98/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Chateau Quinault L’Enclos
Deep and dense; some pretty perfume; some real ripeness and depth; ripe palate, red fruits, strawberry; lots of flesh and lots of tannin but also extract. Drying on teh finish. Will round out I expect but pretty extracted. 88-90?/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite.
Chateau Rol Valentin
Deep and dense; super-ripe notes; strawberry jam and some raisin; very jammy; palate sweet, spicy and ripe; lacks a bit of freshness and feels very late picked. Alcoholic and lacks grip. 86-88/100 Tasted 6 April Le Cercle Rive Droite.
Arterial and saturated; very ripe and concentrated as you’d expect; sublimation of a wine; lots of extract and ripe sweet fruit; concentrated and layered; real intensity and chew. Pretty hefty tannin count too. This is big and thick but really ripe – sweet ripe and very pure – with some grip and bite at the back. 94-96/100 6th April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Deep and saturated, tight to the meniscus; quite ‘cool’ nose; deep and pure; some marzipan and a whiff of alcohol – nevertheless seductive; feels cool but with some menthol and spice; very brooding and deep; polished; satiny palate, real perfume and verve; density but wonderful fruit here; extremely concentrated and tannic but there is sweetness of fruit and some grip here to balance. 96-98+/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Deep red; not the most saturated; thick and concentrated, some smoke, black cherry, some stalk, attractive and thick, some red fruits too – strawberries; good palate, chew and fruit with excellent density. Lots of extract and grip too. Very good. Real finesse here the Cabernet Franc influence. 92-94+/100 6th April 2011 UGC [Second] Saturated and deep; legs; smoky tones, graphite and earth; more minerality here; more intense too; very tight and layered and intense; very fine wine here; excellent focus and precision on the palate; very, very precise; density too; precise, focused and intense. Fabulous length, simply goes on and on. Quite tremendous. 96-98/100 [94-96] Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
Tags: 2010, Cercle de La Rive Droite, Chateau Angélus, Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle, Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot, Chateau Beauséjour, Chateau Belair-Monange, Chateau Berliquet, Chateau Boutisse, Chateau Canon, Chateau Canon La Gaffelière, Chateau Cap de Mourlin, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Dassault, Chateau Faugères, Chateau Figeac, Chateau Fombrauge, Chateau Fonplégade, Chateau Fonroque, Chateau Franc Mayne, Chateau Grand Barrail Lamarzelle, Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne, Chateau Grand Mayne, Chateau La Commanderie, Chateau La Couspaude, Chateau La Dominique, Chateau La Gaffelière, Chateau La Gomerie, Chateau La Grangère, Chateau La Marzelle, Chateau La Tour du Pin, Chateau La Tour Figeac, Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Chateau Larmande, Chateau Magdelaine, Chateau Magrez-Fombrauge, Chateau Pavie, Chateau Pavie Macquin, Chateau Péby Faugères, Chateau Quinault l’Enclos, Chateau Rol Valentin, Chateau Troplong Mondot, Chateau Trottevielle, Clos des Jacobins, Clos Fourtet, Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion, Le Petit Cheval, Merlot, St Emilion, UGCB