|Appellation:||Premières Côtes de Bordeaux|
|Grower:|| Mont Perat|
|Size:|| BT (75cl)|
|Available:|| In bond|
|Drink:|| Now - 2016||
Another effort from the Despagne family, this particular cuvee is 80% Merlot and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Attractive strawberry and black cherry fruit with hints of loamy soil as well as forest floor undertones make for a tasty, medium-bodied, fruit-driven wine that is consumer-friendly. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (205)
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This region spans 60km along the bank of the river with steep slopes with perfect slants for viticulture. Clay is widespread and clay limestone and clay gravel slopes are defining features in this region. The inclination means that variation in a relatively smaller area is common place, often with coarser elements such as gravel and rocks being found higher up on slopes while lower down silt and clays are prevalent.
The region is famous for producing almost black wines with powerful, distinctive aromas of red and black berries. These Merlot blends have firm tannic structure and offer a refreshing, fruity palate. However, the sun drenched and altogether hotter southerly part is known for its sweet white wines. Here the steep clay limestone soils are drenched in sunlight and allowed to ripen late. Further, a cycle of dry sunny days and humid nights mean that the use of ‘noble rot’ is prevalent in some vineyards (as in the Sauternes).
Limestone, gravels and clay (often stratified down steep inclines)
Type of wine produced:
Vibrant and strong red wines and smaller quantities of dry/sweet whites.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carmenere for reds. Semillion, Sauvignon and Muscadelle for whites.
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One phrase which is being used increasingly to describe the 2010 vintage is ‘embarrassingly good.’ Given how 2009 was lauded to the heavens by the bordelaise as ‘the best ever’, it’s something of an awkward truth that – a mere twelve months later - we are faced once more with awe-inspiring quality. A due sense of cynicism is to be expected, but this mustn’t interfere with our appreciation of what is, quite objectively, a fabulous vintage.
Not that this came as a sudden surprise, as Bill Blatch (Bordeaux expert and negociant) notes: “Back in November, many owners were already quietly confident that their ’10 was better than the already legendary ’09 but, coming hot on the heels of the hallowed 2009s, they seemed embarrassed to say it too loudly. Today, half of Bordeaux is less timid in assessing ’10 as great as, if not greater than ’09.” He adds, “There is one point of total agreement: It is totally different from its predecessor.”
What we appear to have is more of a stylistic shift, while the quality has remained essentially static in its excellence. This quality isn’t reserved to the top tiers of Bordeaux producers, either. David Peppercorn MW observes that wines are attractive at all levels, from lesser properties all the way up to Grand Crus: “Those with lesser sites have made excellent wines.” He added that he would be quite happy to list many of them as everyday wines at the prestigious West End Garrick Club, where he sits on the wine committee.
These are not wines for the faint-hearted, and in their excellence they are uncompromising. The average alcohol level is 14.5 per cent, peaking at 15.5 per cent in some cases. In addition, pH values are very low, acidity is obviously very high, and the tannins are formidable (ensuring fantastic ageing potential.)
Overall, these are ripe, dense wines packed with sweet fruit notes such as raspberry, strawberry and black cherry. Some are so richly flavourful that they take on a delicious ‘pruney’ dimension. Ordinarily this would be overpowering, but the keen balancing acidity keeps everything in check.
There is also what we might call a ‘rustic’ edge to many of these reds, in contrast to the silky voluptuousness of the 2009s. This is due to a searing hit of green tannins, which will develop and imbue the wine with steadily greater structure and balance.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc were generally picked in near-perfect conditions during the gloriously dry conditions of mid-October. (Click here to close this window)