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Bordeaux 2010 Revisited: St Estèphe

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_6257St Estèphe enjoyed an excellent vintage in 2010. The vintage showed great promise early on and later at Vinexpo at an in-depth tasting of the appellation’s wines two years ago [see those notes here]. The MW Institute’s line up of five of the top properties of the appellation last November, albeit sans over-achiever Château Meyney, shows the wines to be living up to their potential. Almost all have much more to give with further bottle age. Château Montrose is full of power and weight, but also freshness. This is yet another Montrose with years of life ahead of it. Château Calon Ségur has produced beautiful Bordeaux that has the most wonderfully moreish texture. Château Cos d’Estournel was a little backward compared with the rest, and certainly compared to its own overt 2009, but there is greater freshness and typicity to Cos in 2010. Château Cos Labory has made another chewy, substantial wine. Qualitatively it rivals their fabulous 2009.

If I had to draw any immediate conclusions, it is what a great fan of Calon-Ségur I have become. Yes Montrose is magnificent in 2010, a wine of formidable scale, grandeur and freshness, and, yes, Cos has produced a very layered, accomplished contender [although more backward at this stage than I’d have expected], but once again I came away from the tasting being thrilled at the elegance and refinement of Calon-Ségur. This property has made spellbinding wines 2008-2012 – no doubt about it – and 2013 is no slouch either in this trickiest of recent vintages. Moreover the price of Calon is [usually] a fraction Montrose and Cos in the great years.


I was also very impressed with Château Lafon Rochet once again. This is a very big, muscular 2010 that will last decades. Château Cos Labory was the most forward of the five wines shown at the tasting and appears to be drinking well already, though the quality here is a notch or so down from Lafon Rochet.

Below are the detailed notes on the five wines tasted last November at the MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting. I hope you find them interesting. This completes the set of posts on Bordeaux 2010 revisited. Next up, some notes on a recent trip in January to the Napa Valley with visits to the remarkable Hall winery near St Helena [fascinating full throttle Cabs] as well as a trip to the Rolls Royce of the valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars which, perhaps more than any other property, put Napa’s reds on the map in the 1970s.

Château Calon-Ségur

Deep looking; lovely nose; blackcurrant Cabernet tones with pain grillé notes; elegance; less immediate flesh evident than in ’09; opens up in the glass; wonderful palate with blackcurrant notes and great purity; terrific stuff and great balance; lots of extract and tannin here; concentrated and precise with beautiful tension between the texture, the blackcurrant fruit and the acidity. Great counterpart to the near perfect 2009 here. Drink 2017-2040. 97+

Château Cos d’Estournel

Deep and dense looking; little chalky note initially; obvious depth but little reticent; intense spicy palate with menthol and black fruit flavours; quite thick but much fresher than 2009; very attractive texture and density but also richness. Very good wine indeed if a little subdued on the day. Needs time. Drink 2018-2040. 96+

Château Cos Labory

Deep looking; red fruits; looser and more open; strawberry tones; lifted spicy plum notes; creamy palate with some texture; reasonable concentration and depth. Chewy finish. Has depth and length. Good effort from Cos Labory. Drink now-2028. 90

Château Lafon-Rochet

Deep and saturated looking; very dark; full, sweet ripe fruit; slightly sweaty note; palate big and bold but manages to be caressing; ripe fruit with plenty of concentration and extract. Chewy and substantial, and true to the appellation, this is big, bold Lafon-Rochet and a rival to the excellent 2009 here. Drink 2018-2035. 93+

Château Montrose

Deep and saturated looking; inky blackcurrants; some lead pencil notes; opens up slowly to reveal layer upon layer of blackcurrant fruit; remarkably intense; palate initially creamy and very full; lots of extract and ‘matter’; wow! Tannins very nicely handled; volume and concentration here; backward though at present shows its great potential. Very long, spicy finish. Needs eight years minimum and will last for fifty surely? Drink 2022-2060. 98+

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