Wine Words & Video Tape

Wine, Words and Videotape

Fine Wine Review site

Château Balestard La Tonnelle

Address: 33330 St Emilion

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 74 62 06



Vineyard/Terrior: 10.6 hectares on clay-limestone soils planted with 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Grand Cru Classe.

  • 2015 Thick and dark looking; ripe and jammy nose; fruit but a little rasin-y; lifted; jam; never changes here; sweet ripe entry on the palate; ripe, extracted but not too dry on the finish; soft and easy fruit with little chew at the back. Drink 2020-2030. 87-89
  • 2014 Mid depth; deepish look; vibrant edge; ripe black fruits; purity this year; fruitcake like spices; some wet rocks; red fruits too; chewy and dense on the palate; extract; some oak tannins; chewy and a little extracted and dry on the finish. Nice fruit, but stewed on the end. [70% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Drink 2019-2028. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 85-87
  • 2013 Deep-ish; black at centre; lifted and upfront aromatics; some fig and black fruit tones; full attack of fruit on the palate and then some rustic tannin; full but seemingly lacks flavour, despite the weight. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted 2/4/14 UGC. 85-87
  • 2012 Thick and quite dark looking in the glass; fruit here but dips in the middle; spicy fruit but lacks intensity. OK overall. Drink 2015-2022. 86 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; tight to edge; very ripe notes, pretty thick and deep; some coffee and mocha; toasty; creamy entry, quite thick and rich; not the freshness of some but big. Tannins ripe and reasonably fine. Goodish if thick style. 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Saiuvignon. 87-88+ UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 2011 Deep and saturated; figgy, bit stewed and rather late harvested in feel; some VA lift; lots of extract and chew on the palate; big and thick certainly though less extracted than Cap de Mourlin. Drink 2015-2021. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Thick and dark looking in the glass, lacks vibrancy; liquorice and tar notes, very black fruits, toffee and Pontefract cakes; jammy note on entry; tobacco; quite thick and evolved; sweet palate, oak and alcohol but tannin soft. No dryness. Thick and sweet style. No bad, just not me. 86-87/100
  • 2010 Quite big looking in the glass; some red at edge; thick and VA lift on the nose; figgy; thick and ripe sweet palate with lots of extract. Not much life for me. Feels tired. 86 [Earlier] 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.
  • 2009 Dense; ripe fruit nose; some vanilla; intense and some chocolate; good fruit attack, chunky St Emilion; finishes a little short. 86-88/100
  • 2008 Deep and saturated look; strawberry fruit, very ripe unctuous notes; some prunes and darker fruits; quite solid and full; chewy, dense palate. Inky and dense if you like that sort of thing. 87 ‘12
  • 2007 Deep core; red at edge; some boiled sweet, earth and red fruits with lift; pretty simple; some raisin; red fruits on the palate with toffee notes. Chewy. This is OK but lacks sophistication. 85/100 ‘11

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