|Size:|| BT (75cl)|
|Available:|| In bond|
|Drink:|| Drink: 2013 - 2023||
A fabulous sleeper of the vintage, Chantegrive’s 2010 is the best wine I have ever tasted from this estate, which has long made very good wines that represent terrific values. An equal part blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 exceeds all expectations. Notes of tobacco leaf, creme de cassis, barbecue smoke and loads of flesh, opulence and richness characterize this dense purple-colored wine, which is full-bodied and over-achieving. Drink it over the next decade. A major sleeper of the vintage.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (205)
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Stretching 50km along the Garonne River, the Graves is named after its soil – a potent blend of gravels, clays and sands. Pebbles and stones mixed with silts and clays rest on soils that are far sandier than the norm – in fact pure sand or hardpan (iron-oxide cemented sand) can be found. Some of the top estates even have deposits of white quartz in their soils. Unusually for the region, two-thirds of Graves is dedicated to white wine growth with Semillon taking the place of honour. The appellation of Sauternes gives rise to some of the world’s most clamoured after dessert wines.
The leading light of Graves is Chateau Haut-Brion – its only first growth, the other four belonging to the Medoc. Many estates here have an illustrious history – Chateau Pape-Clement was, as the name suggests, founded by the soon-to-be pope Bertrand de Goth. Planted in 1300 and with seven hundred harvests under its belt it is the oldest wine estate in the Bordeaux – comparatively, the region of Medoc only came into existence when the then-marsh was drained by Dutch engineers in the 17th century!
Gravels, clays and sands that are carried down from the mountains by the Gironde.
Type of wine produced:
Robust medium to full-bodied reds and noble dry whites.
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc for reds. Semillon, Sauvignon, 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)