The MW Institute’s Annual Claret tasting of over one hundred top chateaux held last November was a good opportunity to assess how the 2010 Bordeaux vintage is developing. There is no doubt that this is a great vintage for many reds. It has been pretty consistent from cask to bottle, a vintage generally much more classical than the precocious and forward 2009, but of similarly prodigious quality. Taken together these two vintages make an exceptional back-to-back duo for Bordeaux, especially so on the Left Bank and in Pessac-Léognan. The same can also be said for Sauternes and Barsac. Pomerol and St Emilion once again have made many excellent wines in 2010, often extremely well endowed and big framed, though sometimes too much so in St Emilion when they nudge sixteen degrees.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte’
The red and white wines of Pessac-Léognan are looking good now they are in-bottle. The whites have good aromatic profiles, plenty of flavour and nice acidity. The reds are medium bodied, forward and attractive. 2012 would appear to be an early-maturing vintage for both styles. Top of my list for red and white would have to be Château Smith Haut Lafitte. It had produced two very impressive wines. Close behind are Château Bouscaut [two outstanding efforts from this property], Château de Fieuzal, Château Malartic-Lagravière, Domaine de Chevalier and Château Pape Clément. Château Haut-Bailly has made an impressive, masculine red, and Château Olivier and Château Carbonnieux have made lovely vibrant whites.
With the first reds finishing ferment but still much picking to do [see harvest at Chateau Quintus left] there are promising signs that Bordeaux 2014 will be a potentially good red Bordeaux vintage. Excitement has risen considerably following a near perfect month in September, one of the sunniest and driest on record. Some are comparing the conditions in the past month to 1961, 1929 and even 1921. Hold your breath though. While the weather has largely held in the first week of October, allowing many properties to finish harvesting their Merlot [the harvest is already over for several leading Pomerol properties] more variable weather is on the way. This week is likely to be critical for the Cabernets and perhaps the overall quality of the vintage on the left bank especially.
The white wine harvest is already well underway in Bordeaux [see here white grapes sorted at Château Carbonnieux] and the early signs are promising. After a string of dreary vintages culminating in the washout 2013 harvest, Bordeaux has been blessed with a sunny early September and those properties in Pessac-Léognan that have begun picking the white varieties [Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris] seem happy at this stage. The weather still needs to hold fair for the harvest of the red varieties, Merlot at the end of the month and Cabernet perhaps at the beginning of October. But with healthy fruit and good anthocyanin levels in the grapes, there’s an air of optimism about the 2014 vintage that seems encouraging at this stage. More sun and warm temperatures are forecast, though there will be some moisture about later in the week.