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Bordeaux 2010 Revisited: St Julien

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_62592010 is a very strong vintage in St Julien. The scale and grandeur of the wines, evident during primeurs and after bottling is still apparent. These are big scaled, long-term St Juliens that, once again, provide an exciting counterpoint to the heavenly, enticing wines made here in 2009. Unlike that vintage, 2010 still has much to reveal, and a number of wines are comparatively quite backward. The Léovilles are impressive here as ever. There is an exceptional effort from Château Léoville Poyferré, a currently rather backward but nevertheless impressively concentrated Château Léoville-Las-Cases and, a fraction behind, a very classical Château Léoville Barton. The real show stopper was a stand-out effort from Château Saint-Pierre which is wonderfully seductive. Château Langoa Barton, though a notch or two down from this, is very impressive. Classical and nicely composed wines have been made at Château Beychevelle, Château Branaire-Ducru, Château Lagrange and Château Talbot.

St Julien is pretty much always a homogeneous appellation, comparatively small, with excellent terroir. If you’ve bought any of these wines already frankly you’re in for a treat, and while they were released at the highest prices Bordeaux has ever seen, many have dipped back in price and pretty much all the wines remain widely available.

I’m a great fan of Anthony Barton’s St Juliens. There is consistency to the wines year in, year out which always exhibit purity and a sense of proportion. Langoa shows impressive blackcurrant fruit tones which open up nicely in the glass. Léoville-Barton was comparatively forward amongst the Léovilles [especially compared to Las Cases]. This is a deep, pure effort. Léoville Las Cases has extraordinary depth and great power, but is currently pretty closed as mentioned. I’d expect this to be better than I’ve currently rated it [notes always more important than the numbers] as there is plenty of matter and extract here.


Château Léoville-Poyferré is outstanding and remarkable counterpoint to their 2009. Didier Cuvelier interestingly compares the vintage to a modern day 1975. There is plenty to this wine – real density and considerable scale – but also polish and precision. At the tasting, Château St Pierre was its equal and must be considered to be one of the best ever wines from this property. It was on wonderfully seductive form and is really fabulous St Julien.

Impressive wines have been made at Château Beychevelle, Château Branaire-Ducru and Château Talbot. These are well-balanced but have good levels of fruit and nicely handled tannins. Château Lagrange also has made a well-balanced and polished wine with good texture.

The following nine wines were tasted at the MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting last November in London. The major omissions are Château Ducru-Beaucaillou and Château Gruaud Larose which were not shown, but I hope to catch up with these wines soon and will update the notes. Gruaud-Larose was especially impressive during primeurs and after bottling.

Château Beychevelle

Deep and saturated looking; chocolate and chalk tones; spices; later opens up in the glass to reveal blackcurrant aromas; blackcurrant fruit on the palate; nice seam of fruit; polished feel to it; stalky blackcurrant characters; nice; quite tight finish with nice acidity. Drink 2016-2030. 91

Château Branaire-Ducru

Deep and saturated looking; stoney mineral tones; sturdy and pent up in feel; cassis comes through later; inky and intense on the palate; firm wine; nice blackcurrant fruit; elegant and pent-up; needs time to uncoil. Drink 2018-2030. 91+

Château Lagrange

Deep and dense; creamy blackcurrant fruit; sturdy and firm; ink and blackcurrant notes dominate the aromatics; palate has a good texture; blackcurrants and ink again; will be good. Drink 2018-2030. 91+

Château Langoa-Barton

Deep and dark at the centre; stalky fresh blackcurrants and ink; tight but layers and opens up in the glass; very clean and very pure; impressive; blackcurrant fruit tones domnate the palate; solid but clean and crisp; very good stuff. Drink 2018-2035. 93+

Château Léoville-Barton

Very deep looking; colour the to rim; pure cassis and blackcurrant tones; overt for Léoville-Barton; lovely purity and real classicism to the aromatics; seam of fruit here; inky palate with Cabernet fruit and lots of depth and density; tannin is considerable with chew and grip on the finish. Less polish than Poyferré to the tannins but great effort. Drink 2016-2040 95+

Château Léoville-Las-Cases

Very deep looking; cassis, blackcurrants; sturdy and intense; little reduced and on further aeration the scale of the wine is revealed; scale and strength and depth to the aromatics; powerful stuff; stalky blackcurrants on the palate; strong and stalky; powerful if a little unyielding at present. Traditionally styled and powerful. Drink 2020-2045. 96+

Château Léoville Poyferré

Saturated and deep looking; creamy and full; very complete aromatically; evidences lots of depth; intense and inky on the palate with lots of depth and concentration; terrific balance here – will last for thirty years but already showing considerable harmony. Deep and considerable levels of extract and chew. Hot on the heels of the tremendous ’09 here. Drink 2018-2040. 97+

Château Saint-Pierre

Deep and saturated looking; lovely seductive blackcurrant aromatics; really perfumed and pure; aromas leap from the glass; terrific stuff; aromatically top notch; cool Cabernet texture to the palate; layers and purity; real class and depth here. Fabulous effort from Saint-Pierre. Terrific wine. For me ties with Léoville-Poyferré for top St Julien at this stage. Drink 2018-2035. 97+

Château Talbot

Deep colour; blackcurrant aromatics with spices; complex with depth; full and substantial on the palate – one of the best Talbot’s of recent years – palate has texture and crunch and plenty of blackcurrant fruit and attractive earthy tones. Nice acidity. Good effort. Drink 2016-2030. 91+

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