|Size:|| BT (75cl)|
|Available:|| In bond|
|Drink:|| 2017 - 2030||
80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.
This tiny St.-Emilion gem has fashioned excellent wines in both 2009 and 2010. The dense ruby/purple-hued 2010 exhibits crushed rock, raspberry and blueberry notes along with an unmistakable minerality. Medium-bodied, quintessentially elegant, pure and textured, it should drink well for 12-15+ years.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194)
Jancis Robinson 15.5 (2010)
- Heady, smells as though there is a lot of alcohol here! Then luscious palate and some marked acidity but a slight hole in the middle.Wine Spectator 89-92 (2010)
- Fleshy and forward, with lots of boysenberry, linzer torte and sweet spice notes. Broad and fleshy on the finish. Should be a crowd-pleaser. —J.M.
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Often described as “the hill with a thousand chateaux” this region boasts over 800 winegrowers in total – only just falling short of its hyperbolic status. The oceanic climate is made more temperate by the cooling presence of the Dordogne. The fall is a sunny affair which is fantastic for optimal ripening.
The terroir is comprised of four major zones. The centre is a limestone plateau surrounded by terraces of chalk, clays and then silts. In the northwest of the region there is much sand, while in the south in the Dordogne valley there are airier soils of tiny stones and sand.
Given the above, the wines of Saint-Emillon vary a great deal from composed and intricate to powerful and dense, with the former being sourced from the south and the latter coming from the uncompromising limestone core of the region.
Cabernet Sauvignon, which drags its heels in terms of ripening, has little place here. Instead Merlot and Cabernet Franc take the fore at 60% and 30% of vines planted, respectively.
If it were possible to generalise these distinct wines it would be fair to say that they are, for the most part, warm, corpulent and vivid in colour. Flavours of plump red fruit berries with undertones of creamy vanilla, saddle-leather and soft spices are also to be found. This is layered with a velvet texture provided by solid yet supple tannins – giving an overall fleshiness.
Limestone, clay-limestone, gravels, chalks and silts.
Type of wine produced:
Full-bodied reds, for the most part
Merlot, Cabernet Franc
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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)