As promised, here’s the follow-up to my first set of 2010 Bordeaux tasting notes from bottle: this time I’m covering the value-priced appellations of Moulis, Medoc and Haut Medoc, and the Left Bank communes of Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac and St. Estephe. These notes are from the UGC Bordeaux tasting in January and the BurdiGala Grand Tasting last week here in New York. My faves/ recommended bottles for purchase are starred*. If you are going to make any purchases now, you may want to make them before Robert Parker’s scores get released on the 28th, which may cause prices on high-scorers to rise. You got the inside scoop first, right here!
Chasse-Spleen – showing leafy green tobacco herbal notes and licorice on the nose. Brooding, with anise flavors on the palate. 89-92
Poujeaux – slightly higher toned nose than the Chasse-Spleen; fresher but a slight picklish(?) quality. Licorice on the palate like the Chasse-Spleen, but the added freshness here gives this the edge this year in Moulis.
Cantemerle* – has a very pretty nose; sweetish fruits, and certainly some oak here, but nicely done. A perfumed quality to the fruits on the nose makes this promising. Palate is quite tannic, boding well for ageability, but
already delicious due to sweet fruits on the palate – with a freshness that makes this better than many of the higher classified growths today. A touch of red-fruitedness and delineation here. One of the top outperformers of the day, for sure. A bit more giving on the palate than the more structured La Lagune tasted right after. 92-94
La Lagune – an herbal tobacco leaf quality on the nose, and sweet fruits and some oak to make it work as well. Structured and fresh on the palate. 91-93
Tour de By – On the structured, graphite, stony side. Very good. 90-92
Belgrave – green pepper and dark fruits on the nose. Lead pencil palate, earthy. 90-91+
Beaumont – A lot of dirt on the nose with a bit of stinky mineral funk. Dark-fruited, with licorice and green pepper notes. A bit bitter on the palate. Not my favorite. 87-89.
Margaux - as a group, the 2010 wines from the commune of Margaux showed quite differently than any of the last 5 vintages or so; quite dense on the nose and tannic on the palate.
Rauzan Segla – a bit of floral perfume on the nose. Somewhat silky onthe palate. Good acidity, I think this will stay nice and fresh through its development. Not overpowering, has an easy charm, and I think the Margaux character will come out more over time. Really like the freshness. 92-95.
Prieure Lichine – A touch of coffee on the nose. Much more dense, powerful and tannic than any vintage of Prieure Lichine I have tasted, even compared to the 2009, which was charming. Not sure how this will develop compared to other vintages; first taste a bit confounding. Second taste: much better, showing much more open; nice and pretty. 91-94
Malescot St. Exupery -Definitely showing some oak and modern style, with some perfume on the nose. Palate is way tannic but less brooding than a lot of the wines today. True to reputation, this feels kind of modern; open, but not overextracted, and not as inscrutable as the Prieure Lichine on first taste.
Lascombes – A little lightish on the attack, which is probably good for a Margaux, especially given how modern recent vintages of Lascombes have been. The power does kick in on the midpalate, continuing through with some spice on the finish. Not as brutally tannic as even some of the Graves reds were. This chateau seems to have dialed it back a bit now. 92-94
Kirwan – Dense and extracted compared to the other Margaux wines. Smooth, with a dense modern feel. Tough to detect any Margaux typicity here.
Giscours* – Better than the Kirwan, with some detailed aromas, red-fruitedness, and cologne quality on the nose. On the palate, there’s some real delineation and true Margaux feel here. A surprise outperformer for me today. 92-94.
Du Tertre – Compared to its sibling Giscours, this has more of a lead pencil, darker profile – not as open and delineated. Dense and tannic, this feels a bit broad. Lacks charm, which is not the greatest quality in a Margaux. Still, a very decent wine. 89-91.
Rauzan Gassies – Not a big fan of this wine – lots of licorice character on the palate, without much charm to the fruit to go with it. Has rockiness, with an overpowering quality to the licorice flavors. 87-89
D’Issan - Pretty, definitely more structured and slightly cooler in fruit profile than the 2006 tasted before it. On the palate, structured, nice, will be very good. 92-94.
Palmer* – Nose is very perfumed, with perfectly sweet fruit. Perhaps a bit more dense, round and rich than I might have expected from a Palmer, but nothing like the Cos. Palate is beautiful, perfectly balanced, sweet-fruited; impactful with finesse, with no need for high extraction. A wonderful, complete wine. 96-98+
Beychevelle – showing damp dirt on the nose, which I like. Tough to read, but falls within the house style. Has a dark, brooding quality - clearly good, but not as readable as the 2009. 91-93
Branaire Ducru – shows more perfume and openness on the nose than the Beychevelle. Not as broodingly tannic, either. Has some slightly bitter licorice quality – one can see the comparison to the ’89s, with a bit more power. Maybe like the 2000s?
Gruaud Larose* – the house style is very recognizable here. Has refined mineral, a touch of leafy green, but also cigar/tobacco leaf sweetness to the fruit on the nose. Very engaging sweetness to the fruit on the palate; among the most delineated wines today. Easily among the best overall, as well. Will be a very good Gruaud Larose. 94-96 Tasted again in February at BurdiGala, with consistent notes.
Lagrange – shows more lead pencil on the nose than Gruaud. On the palate, very similar to the Branaire Ducru in its licorice flavors. A little more dark perhaps.
Leoville Barton – showing sweet purplish fruits on the nose, with some peppery spice like the 2009. Not quite as engaging though. Still, very good. 92-94+
Langoa Barton – redder-fruited nose to it than the Barton. Some perfume on the nose that I really like. Has power and spice on the palate. For once, I like this as much as the Barton. The Barton has sweeter, higher quality fruit but the balance here, somehow with the slightly redder fruits and open style, make this just as good as its more heralded sibling wine.
Leoville Poyferre – some refined mineral on the nose. Dark, powerful, anise-inflected. Don’t like it as much as some of the other St. Juliens however. 91-93
Saint-Pierre – some sweetness to the fruit on the nose, and some tobacco leaf, cedary sweetness present too. A little similar to the Gruaud. Has an oaky perfume, but a perfume nonetheless. On the palate, has a tough-to-read density and power. From the nose, definitely promising, in a way similar to the Gruaud. 92-93++, chance for some big upside, but tough to tell right now.
Talbot – has an interesting quality on the nose – some caramel oak, but also a certain nuttiness. A touch of red fruits in the mix, with some licorice as well. Stony mineral on the palate makes me feel very good about this wine. More readable than a lot of the others – like the touch of delineation here. Has a sense of dynamics – not all density. 92-94
Gloria – kind of a licorice-dominated palate. A bit brooding, a little more detail than most vintages? Solid, competent for the vintage. 90-92
Ducru Beaucaillou* - Wonderfully perfumed on the nose – so much so that I checked – twice – to see if someone around me was wearing perfume. Such sweet, pretty fruit. Very good on the palate as well – juicy, balanced. One of the best 2010 Bordeaux I have tasted. Retasted at the end of the tasting (different bottle) with consistent results. 94-97
Clerc Milon – Has a liveliness to the flavors that I didn’t feel in a lot of the St. Juliens, definitely a step up from most of them. Not as brooding, has a dynamic quality to it. Excellent wine. 93-94+
Armailhac – Nose has a nutty, roasted oak quality. Palate is tannic but a bit neutral. 90ish.
Pichon Baron* – A bit of the plummy quality that the Lalande has; very nice, showing easily better than the 2009 did last year. A little spice and power here, with a nice balance between red-fruitedness and darker fruits, with some engaging sweetness. Has the power I’ve come to expect from Baron, but also a finesse that almost feels more Lalande to me than Baron. Good acidity, a touch of floral here… this is definitely less ripe than the 1990 Pichon Baron. Probably my favorite vintage of Baron to date. 93-95+
2nd taste: denser and less floral than the first sample,
Grand Puy Lacoste – tannic, sweet-fruited, but feels a bit tough to judge. Looks to be quite good, but I think I preferred the 2009 at the same stage.
Pichon Lalande* – (January note) Has power, but also an easy quality to it. Not overextracted, but has density, for a Lalande anyway. Smooth, with freshness. A touch of spice. Power without being too expansive. One of the beautiful wines of the tasting. Will always be a dogfight between this and the 2009 Pichon Lalande as to which is better. 94-96
(February note) Similar results as prior tasting at UGC. At BurdiGala, this is more tannic and a touch less ripe than the 2009 tasted just before it, but the consistency from vintage to vintage is noteworthy. Slightly brighter acidity on the 2010, boding for a long life; like this balance just a shade more than the 2009. 95-97+
Tasted back-to-back with Palmer 2010, this showed a bit stonier, with a darker-fruited perfume and not as sweet on the nose, and more anisette character. On the palate, more structure, more tannin, more licorice flavor.
Lynch-Bages – Big, structured, with even more anise quality than the Pontet- Canet. The acidity on the Lynch-Bages is a little livelier, racier, with cooler fruits than the PC. Some real potential for this wine to turn out like the legendary 1989 Lynch. Very good. 92-95
Pontet Canet* – A little darker, more powerful, and structured than the 2006 Pontet Canet tasted before it, with graphite notes. Sweet-fruited, tannic, and rounded on the palate. Very very nice. Structured in style, this is very true to the nature of the 2010 vintage. Has a slightly plummy quality to the acid, which I really like, and again, the lead pencil notes on the palate. 93-95+
St. Estephe - The St. Estephes seem to show a bit more mineral quality than the other appellations, based on a small sample size tasted so far.
Phelan Segur – showing plenty of mineral and open red fruits on the nose. Safe value pick – has got all you could ask for at this price level: pretty, open fruit, lots of structure, graphite and mineral notes. On the palate, lead pencil, touches of sweet fruit. 90-92.
Lafon Rochet – damp earth, a bit of primary-fruited magic marker pungency to the aroma on the nose, with some caramel oak and a touch of refined tobacco leaf peeking through too. Decent fruit, lots of mineral, nice typicity. 91-93
Cos Labory – stony, with fruit that’s not overdone, some sweetness showing through. 90-91+
Cos d’Estournel *- A recognizable house style for recent vintages is demonstrated by this range of 2006/08/10 Cos – a somewhat muddled style to be frank, characterized by dense fruits, some coffee notes, and damp earth on the nose, etc., which results in wines that don’t excite me in the 2006 and 2008 wines. However, the 2010 is clearly a great rendition of this style, offering livelier fruit that lifts this above the 2006 and 2008 by quite a margin. The fruit explodes with some sweetness but also charm and beauty, putting the elements together in a way the other two vintages don’t. Tannic, but quite pretty on the palate, again with lively fruit, juicy acid yet sweetness to the fruit. Lots of structure, some graphite notes. I think this will be a great wine. 94-96
Sweet wines of Sauternes/Barsac
Climens – very nice, not over the top. Good in a balanced way. Served out of decanter, which served this well.
De Fargues – more generously honey-fruited than the Climens, with a slight floral quality. Not over the top. Pretty balanced, really lovely.
Suduiraut – prettiest nose of the sweet wines so far, captivating in its floral qualities and sweet fruit. On the palate, the richest and most honeyed so far, but certainly very delicious.
Guiraud – lighter on the nose and palate than the Suduiraut. Has a slight herbal quality that comes across as a touch bitter on the palate, putting this behind the other sweet wines tasted thus far in quality. Certainly an engaging nose, though.
Coutet - [notes on nose truncated]. On the palate, nice and on the richer side but something doesn’t quite work here, lacking in the finish? Suduiraut is better today in this style.
La Tour Blanche – most captivating nose yet – floral, with a lychee fruit thing going on. Light in style, with just a touch of grapefruit and green apple that makes the nose intriguing. Smooth, lightish palate – very likeable, very very good. Delicate, with personality too. Best sweet wine here?
These notes are gathered from tastings put on both by the UGC and the BurdiGala Grand Tasting, which I attended free of charge as a member of the media.