As unlikely as it seems, 2010 seems to be the second excellent vintage in a row for the Grands Crus wines of Bordeaux. This phenomenon does occur a few times a century, but early reports of this new great vintage engendered a lot of skepticism.
On that next to last day of the week, we eased into the tasting with some lovely wines from the middle of the Médoc region, a fairly long, narrow rustic peninsula just north of Bordeaux, where small farms are interspersed with vineyards and very small villages.
Before we began the day with our formal tasting, we all trooped over to Château Cheval Blanc. It was, as usual, a media circus with the top wine critics from around the world shooting interviews with each other and with dapper, sophisticated winery manager Pierre Lurton -- who we would later also see at the Château d’Yquem tasting – the other property he manages.
Becky Sue Epstein is back in Bordeaux, for the annual en primeur tastings. Before the Union des Grands Crus tastings started on Monday, she put in a hefty amount of time amongst the other red wines of Bordeaux. Here’s what she learned in her first 24 hours on the ground.
An elegant offering from Washington’s Columbia Valley. Alcohol on the nose (14.5%) initially obscures the lovely treats underneath of cedar, anise, and fresh leather. Crisp on the palate, soft tannins, and expressive flavors of dark cherry and blackcurrant. At first it seems to finish short, but comes around in short order. A slow starter out of the gate, but a winner by many lengths. A great steak wine. Highly recommended.
Sweet white- 80% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in 33% new oak for 18 months. Very high fruit and bright acids, with sweet stone fruits, peach, nectarine, and sweet pink grapefruit. Quite young, this will settle down with cellar time into something lovely. Highly recommended.