My Top 100 Bordeaux 2010: The Great, The Good and the Ugly

POSTED ON 09/07/2011

I may be the last person left standing to post their Bordeaux 2010 en primeur tasting notes, but never mind. A call was made to the wine press by Jancis Robinson MW, OBE before the start of the tastings in Bordeaux back at the end of March. She asked us to get together and not to put up our tasting notes and scores on barrel samples at least until after the Bordelais had come out with their opening prices. ‘I can see that I play a part in a process that really does not benefit the consumer’ said Jancis, calling herself ‘a pawn in a game designed to part you with as much money as possible’. I agreed. I hadn’t done it in the past but it seemed like the right thing to do.

Château Latour: a badge of prideChâteau Latour: a badge of pride

Maybe I’m not the last person on earth to have done it. As far as I know a few others haven’t yet posted their scores and tasting notes. Let’s hope either way that the handwringing by journalists who came out early with their scores and then wept crocodile tears of doubt and regret will help build some sort of momentum for avoiding this sort of débâcle in future years – or rather in futures years.

Maybe we aren’t as important as we like to think we are and the Bordelais would have gone ahead with their extravagant pricing even if the press had waited. Obviously some are more important than others, his eminence R. Parker in particular. But the fact that a largely uncritical and complacent wine trade in the UK at least has quoted a raft of journalists’ notes and scores to accompany its en primeur offers (I haven’t noticed any journalists objecting, have you?) suggests the trade thinks that publishing notes and aggregating scores brings added weight to their recommendations. For the trade it’s money for jam, and woe betide the poor consumer who gets caught up in the gold rush.

Not every wine merchants is necessarily out to make a fast buck out of Bordeaux 2010. I rather like what the Wine Society, Haynes Hanson & Clark and Tanners have done. They’ve come out with relatively sensible offers of lower-priced, reasonably valued châteaux for their loyal customers who love to buy Bordeaux en primeur every year –for drinking, lest we forget. As The Wine Society says ‘At the top end…prices will be high…,but there are lovely wines too that punch above their weight in terns of price as welll as quality and we have a great selection of them’.

No, not a golf sale, we're talking gold hereNo, not a golf sale, we're talking gold here

Of course it’s not just about the press scoring early. More important is the whole issue of reviewing and selling on the basis of unfinished samples. I won’t go into the whole issue here and now. Suffice it to say to say, given barrel variation, the temptation to select the best sample and a host of other variables, that tasting unfinished samples in March gives the press only the haziest approximation of what the wines are going to turn out once bottled. In an ideal world, it would be best to wait before making ‘definitive’ judgments until the wines have been bottled.

An ideal world may well be a Panglossian world of unrealistic optimism, but it would be good if Bordeaux itself would help to co-operate on at least some of these points. Yes, it’s hard to see the Bordelais waiting till Parker et al’s scores are out before releasing prices. Why else invite the whole shebang to Bordeaux in the first place? But to ask for an embargo on publication, as the Union des Grands Crus did, and then not back it up (by giving samples to selected journalists early) seems mealy-mouthed. Let’s hope they at least review this policy and actually enforce the embargo – which they are in a position to do.

So here are my notes on a Top 100 samples in this vintage, with all the qualifications mentioned previously. These wines when tasted were just a snapshot. They were unfinished and imperfect and so any judgment needs to be viewed in that light. At least now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve watched the campaign unfold and seen the prices. Most prices are reasonable because they have to be. Relatively few châteaux have increased their prices to extortionate levels (according to Liv-ex, the average increase of the top châteaux is around 15%) and you can see why they’ve done it. The justification is that if the market will bear it (and in some cases it will, in others it won’t), why should the middlemen cream off their profits?

Whatever the rights and wrongs, the problem is that the arrogance of the few reflects badly on the reasonableness of the many. I would like to say that I’ve not bought any Bordeaux 2010 this year in protest against the excessive greed of the few. I would like to say so, but I have earmarked a very small amount this year for buying, albeit not to the extent of 2005 and 2009. There are certain châteaux that I like to follow or whose wines I thought especially good this year and I would have bought if they hadn’t priced themselves out of my market. Je ne regrette rien. One day Bordeaux may wake up and realise there’s another world of wine out there.

[Amended 13 July to include Haynes Hanson & Clark as one of the wine merchants going out of their way to offer good value Bordeaux 2010 en primeur]

Château LatourChâteau Latour


The Top 20 Greatest Wines of the 2010 Vintage En Primeur

Château Latour, Pauillac 2010
36% of total production with 100% new oak, a blend of 90.5% cabernet sauvignon, 8.5% merlot, 0.5% cabernet franc and 0.5% petit verdot, and 14.4% alcohol. This is dense in colour with brooding sweet dark fruits on the nose, absorbing new oak well, it’s a big, rich dense and intensely flavoured mouthful of black fruits with concentrated bittersweet chocolatey undertones, powerful yet incredibly supple ripe tannin backbone, and juicy refreshing acidity, showing a lovely freshness throughout; fleshy, yet firmly structured and very fine-boned with an impressive ‘iron fist’ structure. This is a great classic, very cabernet in style, very Pauillac, very Latour in fact. Probably more classic even than 2009 and a wine destined to outlive anyone alive today. 98 – 100.

Château Margaux, Margaux 2010
A blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot, 1.5% cabernet franc and 1.5% petit verdot, at 38% of production, and a relatively moderate 13.5% alcohol, this is opaque in colour with intensely perfumed violet and black fruits with real freshness, thoroughly seductive and voluptuous sweetly opulent mulberry and black cherry fruit with a firmer structure and spine that the Pavillon Rouge and yet equally voluptuous and seductive in its own way, just perhaps a longer-lasting red with its greater concentration, seductive succulence and spine of acidity. 98 - 100

Don't do it, Corinne. Corinne Mentzelopoulos and daughter Alex of Château MargauxDon't do it, Corinne. Corinne Mentzelopoulos and daughter Alex of Château Margaux

Château Ausone Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A 2010
Very dense opaque ruby in colour with an immensely inviting purity and freshness of fruit on the nose, it’s quite gorgeously seductive with an intense mulberry and damson richness and concentration and a super-silky, suave textural quality that envelops the fruit in a cocoon of the most supple and seductive tannins imaginable, while the lifesaving brings life verve and freshness and balance to a wine whose flavour seems to go on for aeons. As close to perfection as it comes. 98 – 100

Château Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé A 2010
This is a blend of 56% cabernet franc and 44% merlot. A deep saturated ruby, a lovely perfume of dark red fruits and spices wafts from the glass, wonderfully sleek red fruits opulence with a deceptive concentration and richness that lingers seductively on the mid-palate thanks to a powerful but subtle framework of fine, supple tannins and pristine mulberryish freshness. A very compact, self-contained and smart, yet far from 4-square wine with poise and class. 98 – 100

Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense in colour, fabulously invitingly richly fruited and intense aromatic power wafts from the glass here and puts a huge smile on your face before you've even tasted it; there's a lovely density and purity of ripe, dark berry fruitiness here bringing seductive opulence in its wake with dark chocolate to the mid-palate but all reined in and restrained by a firm yet elegant backbone of tannin and fresh acidity that bring great length, balance and finesse. This is very fine and beautifully balanced. 57% cabernet sauvignon, 23% merlot, 20% franc. 42% of grand vin = 8,000 cases. 98 – 100

Château Le Pin, Pomerol 2010
Only 5000-odd bottles of this pure merlot were made in 2010. There’s a pure black cherry and damson perfume, deliciously juicy, almost approachable black cherry fruit lusciousness, with almost imperceptible tannins, they're so fine and etched with the most succulently juicy fresh savoury acidity, a seamless and elegant red making for an almost burgundian style of Bordeaux; it's so voluptuous and juicy you want to drink it on the spot, but with its fresh twist of acidity and deceptive tannins, you know it will gather complexity with age. What more do you want? Oh yes, the dosh to pay for it. 98 -100

Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol 2010
From what Alexandre Thienpont calls ‘A once in a lifetime vintage’ (he compares it to 1950), this is a blend of 86% merlot, 8% cab franc and 6% cab sauvignon, displaying a lovely sweet ripe black cherry perfume and sexy oak veneer; it’s immensely vibrant and vivid in colour, and an equally vibrant and vivid fresh wine, with super-juicy intense and concentrated black cherry and blueberry flavours, seductively juicy and fine tannins that gently coat the palate with a textural film and fine spine of acidity running throughout this wine, all the while maintaining a lively fresh twist. Wonderful wine that goes on and on. 98 – 100

Vieux Château Certan: a sexy beast in 2010Vieux Château Certan: a sexy beast in 2010

Château Pétrus, Pomerol 2010
Made from pure merlot, this is huge in colour with a fine aromatic, rich sweet bramble and dark berry fruits quality on the nose, intensely flavoured rich dense textured fruit on the palate framed by liquoricey oak spice, with length and a suave seductive textural quality; it’s a powerful intense style with plenty of muscular tannin and acid spine and yet the pillars are in perfect proportion thanks to deceptively mouthcoating tannins and afresh twist of astringency. At this stage of its development, it's neither elegant nor beautiful, but rather precise and classic, very much a vin de garde and it may well turn out to be both (elegant and beautiful). 97 – 99+

Château Palmer, Margaux 2010
A big wine at 14.5% and a blend of 40% cabernet sauvignon, 54% merlot, 6% petit verdot, this is very deep-hued with an intense aromatic quality, hugely rich and concentrated cedary-infused black cherry and cassis fruit with palate-coating chocolate adding texture and richness to a powerful and intensely flavoured, concentrated wine; the tannins are muscular yet fine, the acidity seductively juicy and vivid, the wine intense, full of flavour and very impressively put together. 97 – 99+

[Château Lafite Pauillac 2010 (not tasted by me so not included in my Top 20)
There’s a lovely sense of composed minerality on the nose here, with cedar and a herbal aspect and lots of schist and gentle smokiness. A gravelly note. On the palate this is very tightly-wound and intense. There’s a natural sense of purity to the blue-black fruit and that intensely mineral, graphite precision to the tannins. The tannins are huge but have a terrific sense of precision to them, leading this through to a finish that allows the juiciness of the fruit to breathe, good acidity adding a sense of light and shade to illuminate the finish. 97 - 98
Tom Cannavan]

Château Léoville Las Cases, Saint Julien 2010
Dense saturated ruby hue, spice, chocolate and dark fruits on the nose; very richly concentrated and opulent black cherry and blackberry fruit richness and dark chcolatey sweetness with powerful mouthcoating tannin and yet a fine textured qulaity refreshed by the typical lively fresh acidity of the vintage; a very impressive wine with huge potential for long ageing. Frustratingly youthful! Ca c'et du vin! 82% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 8% cabernet franc. 96 - 98+

Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 2010
This is deep dense and brooding on the nose, still quite closed in; and then it starts to emerge with rich dark fruits predominant behind light toasty oak; the wine is dense and fleshy with a ripe black cherry and cassis opulence and a deceptive apparent silkiness which continues all the way until a firm spine of tannins combining with freshness kicks in on the finish. I'm not always the greatest fan of Mouton but this is looking the most impressive Mouton I remember tasting in years. 94% cabernet sauvignon, 6% merlot. 96 – 98

Château La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Very dense and vivid ruby to the rim of the glass, invitingly rich sweet nose of dark fruits and a hint of underlying pepper and liquorice spiciness. Wow, it's quite exotically lovely on the palate, absolutely silky textured and plush with delicious black cherry and dark fruits flavours and a glycerol richness of texture encased in a firm spine of fresh acidity, which you notice before the tannins, and then the tannins creep up on you, but they're fine and beautifully resolved. Hard to believe it's 15.1% alcohol, but it is. 37% merlot, 62% cabernet sauvignon, 1% cabernet franc. 47% of grand vin = 5,000 cases. 96 - 98

La Mission Haut-Brion: Big Wine, Big PriceLa Mission Haut-Brion: Big Wine, Big Price

Château Pontet Canet, Pauillac 2010
Lovely classic cassis-sweet perfume, with an almost with a spicy syrah-like note to it; lovely succulent density and concentration of black fruits with an opulent black cherry and dark chocolatey undertones, sweet juicy and ripe and the most supple fine-grained tannins behind a deliciously ripe sweet fleshiness of texture and full flavour; all refreshed by a lively refreshing acidity and distinct grip and firmness of backbone. Lovely pristine rich fruit quality. 65% cabernet, 30% merlot, 4% petit verdot and 1% cabernet franc and 60% new oak. 95 - 97

Château La Conseillante, Pomerol 2010
Beautifully perfumed and fragrant, this appealing wine has excellent concentration of opulent blackberry fruitiness on the palate; tinged with light spicy oak, it's extremely well extracted and deftly proportioned with fine-grained tannins and super-savoury freshness to boot, a thoroughly delicious and elegant style that's seamless through and through. 95 - 97

Château Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe 2010
Dense inky ruby, very saturated in colour, fine intense aromatic quality, much more like the classic Cos of old; very dense and sweetly ripe with opulent blackberry and black cherry fruit and a powerful coating of textured tannins in a steel framework of bitey, damsony acidity; this is a skeleton with big, strong bones, but it has the flesh to match. A classic Cos that would almost be traditional if it weren't for the extreme concentration of fruit, firm but fine tannins and damson-fresh acidity. 95 - 97

Inside Cos, the Asian Market StirsInside Cos, the Asian Market Stirs

Château Figeac, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Dense youthful ruby, deep, dark, brooding and faintly liquorice spicy fragrance, there's substance and richness in the concentration of blackberry fruit here, an attractive linear purity of fruit that's encased in quite a firm stronghold of tannins and yet the tannins are resolved, the structure combining both tannin and acidity in a neat, compact and well-balanced style for long-term ageing. A beautiful Saint Emilion classic and a tribute to the late (great) Thierry Manoncourt. 95 – 97

Château Montrose, St-Estèphe 2010
Dense saturated ruby purple in colour, brooding dark fruits fragrance; rich, densely textured black heart of vibrant dark berry fruit and palate-coating, grainy dark chocolate and cedary oak; the richness is there but tightly encased in a firm iron grip of muscle and acidity; a powerful and concentrated dark-hearted red that will need a good couple of decades to soften down and come into its own, but should plateau out for an equal length of time. 95 – 97

Château Pichon Lalande, Pauillac 2010
Dense inky purple, lovely spicy aromaric power on the nose, very seductive pristine pure dark berry fruits, loganberry and mulberry, a fleshiness of texture that would be almost simple, if it weren't for good concentration and richness on the mid-palate and the spine of acidity and fine muscularity of tannin behind it. Yet another Pauillac that's not a blockbuster but just beautifully proportioned, elegant and very well made. 94 – 96

Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac 2010
Dense saturated inky ruby purple, lovely spicy fresh fragrance here, this is a very elegant style with a lovely full-flavoured plum and cassis fruit quality that's exuberantly bright and youthful and subtly spiced with background oak; and while you're enjoying the satisfaction of its layered flavours and seductive texture, in like Flynn comes the backbone of muscular tannin and lively acidity, bringing structure to the enterprise. 94 – 96

Château Pichon Baron, Pauillac 2010
There’s a wonderfully aromatic and intense quality to the aromas of this Pauillac second growth, a rich and beautifully balanced quality of dense, pure black fruit on the palate and great clarity and precision of structure; if Lynch-Bages is ‘poor man’s Mouton-Rothschild;’ this is ‘poor man’s Latour’, or would be if the price hadn’t shot up by almost double in 2010. 94 – 96

Something to smile about? Alfred Tesseron and his winemaker Jean Michel Comme of Pontet CanetSomething to smile about? Alfred Tesseron and his winemaker Jean Michel Comme of Pontet Canet


Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac 2010
Very dense colour, intense sweetly perfumed aromas, promising plenty of opulence, and delivering, with lots of sweet fleshy cassis fruit density in the mouth, this second wine of Château Latour displays deceptive tannins that are present and creep up on you slowly and behind the fruit and tannin, a refreshing twist of light astringency and a nice touch (50% new) of new oak. More accessible and charming than the grand vin but still great backbone and a good 10 years + life ahead of it and a grand vin in fact in its own right. 94 – 96

Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste , Pauillac 2010
Dense in saturated ruby, fine fresh and complex on the nose, this blend of 83% cabernet sauvignon, 17% merlot is classic Pauillac in style, with fine-tuned precision of blueberry and black fruits concentration , a touch of chocolatey sweetness and textured suppleness showing the typical classic firm tannic spine and freshness of the vintage; excellent muscular length, a wine that should give pleasure, especially with the right kind of food, for 10 years plus. 94 – 96

Xavier Borie of Grand Puy LacosteXavier Borie of Grand Puy Lacoste

Château Calon-Ségur, St-Estèphe 2010
Lovely dense brooding black fruits aromas, deliciously ripe sweet cassis fruit with a hint of blackcurrant leaf behind seductive cassis fruit flavours; there's an honesty and robustness, a real taste of cabernet about it that's almost surprising for a cru classé; it's real wine, beautifully ripe and resolved, with energy, freshness and flavour and yet has the pedigree of a 3rd cru classé to go with it. 42% of overall production . 86% cabernet, 12% meroot and 2% petit verdot. 94 – 96

Château Léoville Barton, St. Julien 2010
Dense inky purple, this is almost wickedly, sexily vanilla and smoke-laden with oak on the nose; it's followed by a seductively rich and concentrated, lovely long and weighty tenderloin of blackberry and black cherry fruit; the style is quite masculine with firmish, muscular tannins, but good typical liveliness too, bringing a chunky, slightly chewy textural element to the fruit; nothing wrong with that at this stage as it will soften down nicely in the medium to long-term given the ripeness of the tannins. 94 – 96

Château Ducru Beaucaillou, Saint Julien 2010
On average this is a 10,000 case wine but in 2010 it’s more likely to be 8,500 cases. It’s 90% cabernet and 10% merlot ad spends 18 months in 95% new oak. It’s very dense in colour, with a brooding, spicy rich aromatic quality; ultra-modern in style, with lots of sexy chocolatey vanillin oak on the nose, dense sweet red and black fruits on the palate, firm but succulently textured tannins and good fresh acidity balancing the entire enterprise; it’s as flashy in style as the château’s disco-like cellar and yet quite serious at the same time, even if not quite together yet..93 - 95+

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense ruby, attractive aromatic quality, lovely ripeness and richly concentrated opulence of black cherry fruit with a good fleshy quality on the mid-palate with attractively succulent tannins and good damsony-fresh acidity; overall very well- balanced and stylish with real finesse. 93 - 95+

Château Léoville Poyferré, St. Julien 2010
Dense and opaque, an attractive nose with some sweet oak vanilla and spice on it, equally attractively fleshy ripe juicy mulberry and blackcurrant fruit richness with firm palate-coating tannins and a chocolatey edge to it, all nicely cocooned in fine tannin and a fresh twist of astringency. Very good and very well-made and should provide much satisfaction in the medium to long term. 93 – 95

Château Rauzan Ségla, Margaux 2010
Deep coloured, dark and brooding, not giving much on the nose at this stage; yet the palate is dense, black-hearted and concentrated; lots of intense ripe sweet black cherry richness on the mid-plate with firm but fine muscular tannins and vibrant acidity; overall very stylish and well-proportioned red for the medium to long term. 93 - 95

Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux 2010, Margaux
A blend of 66% cabernet, 30% merlot, 4% petit verdot, comprising 38% of the production and pronounced by Paul Pontallier to be the best ever, this is opaque with a lovely nose of cedary spice and black cherry, gorgeous rich sweet black cherry and cassis fruit concentration with mid-palate vibrancy; very seductive fruit quality with light chocolatey edge to it, lovely juicy fruit with almost imperceptible tannins and freshness; very voluptuous with super fruit succulence. 93 – 95

Château Beychevelle, St. Julien 2010
Opaque ruby, a tad shy on the nose, good mouthful of voluptuously ripe sweet cassis-laden fruit with some mulberry acidity bringing nice verve and freshness to the wine; the spicy oak sits nicely in the background while the tannins, although substantial and present, even big-boned, are sufficiently supple and ripe to blend nicely into the wine and the acidity is fresh and bright. 93 - 95

Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac 2010
Dense colour fine, fresh, expressive nose, with lots of underlying spice and almost floral pristine clear loganberry and dark berry fruit freshness and flavour on the palate, a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot, 11% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot and 1% carmenère, with underyling notes of toasty oak; extremely rounded and would almost be juicy if it weren't for the deceptive tannic backbone and refreshing acidity behind the ripe fleshiness. Very well-balanced, full-flavoured and impressive, this should give enormous satisfaction for 10 – 15 years plus. 92 – 94+

Les Forts de Latour, a tower of powerLes Forts de Latour, a tower of power

Château Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense colour, lots of sweet mocha oak on the nose of this self-evidently modern New World style the fruit is intense, dark and spicily liquoricey and chocolatey, the tannins coating the palate with good textural qualities and the acidity bringing a nicely balancing freshness to the enterprise; this may not be your style or taste but there's no doubting the quality of the fruit and the winemaking. 92 - 94+

Château Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 2010
Dense youthful ruby purple, lovely complex nose with background spice and dark fruits behind it; this is a richly concentrated red with seductive mid-palate opulence and very fine-boned tannins and verve; there's a slight chunkiness to it, but that's no bad thing in an otherwise seamlessly fruity red that will give a lot of satisfaction in the short to medium term. 92 - 94

Château Talbot, St. Julien 2010.
Deep colour, lovely complex fragrance with background liquorice and vanillin spice and sweet prune, the fruit here is intense, fresh and seductive, assailing the palate with its mouthcoating dark-hearted opulence and swishing seductively like a ball-gown onto the back palate and then taking centre stage, tannins and freshness holding it all together nicely, albeit finishing with a firm twist of astringency. 92 - 94

Is This a Sign?Is This a Sign?

Château Brane Cantenac, Margaux 2010.
Big ruby colour, nice nose, cedary oak spice, fresh, ripe, blackcurrant notes, good dense, exuberantly concentrated cassis and black cherry richness of fruit concentration here, very good length as the flavour runs and runs right through to a well-judged finish of fine yet toned tannins and succulent refreshing acidity on the back palate; there’s much to enjoy and admire about this stylish wine that really hits the sweet spot. 92 – 94

Château Branaire Ducru, St. Julien 2010
Deep ruby, fine brooding dark aromatic quality, lovely pure pristine concentration of blackberry and cassis on the mid-palate; a seductive richness with a touch of chocolate backed up by very fine silky tannins and vivacity; a beautifully balanced and well-put-together claret with a seamless structure for the medium to longer term. 92 - 94

Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Vivid dense colour, slightly closed on the nose, but very good intense and concentrated dark berry fruits quality; vivid, vibrant fruit that's richly flavoured with an underyling bittersweet chocolatey edge to it and topped off with an excellent balance of fine, if firm, tannins and good refreshing acidity. 92 – 94

Château Langoa Barton, St. Julien 2010
Very deep dark brooding inky purple colour here, this is a beautiful aroma that draws you in as you breathe into the glass; there's loads of ripe and seductive black cherry and cassis fruit sweetness here and it coats the palate and continues to do so until gradually the tannins and spine of acidity start to emerge, showing the fine-boned structure behind the seductively fleshy fruit. There's flavour, proportion and balance here; one for the medium to long-term. 92 - 94

Clos du Marquis, Saint Julien 2010
Dense colour, fine nose, very juicy, ripe sweet cassis fruit with a lot of richness and concentration and a touch of dark chocolate; firm tannin and acid spine behind the fruit bringing structure and potential longevity; typically stylish Clos du Marquis, a blend of 75% cabernet sauvignon, 17% merlot and 8% cabernet franc. 92 – 94

Château Malescot St Exupéry, Margaux 2010.
Deep dense colour, fine fresh dark berry fruit fragrance with a gentle oak spice undertone, lovely rich black cherry and cassis-laden opulence on the palate which is beautifully defined by a silky succulence of fine-grained tannins and brought into sharper focus by a bright fresh blade of acidity; overall extremely full-flavoured, graceful and charming with excellent definition and balance. Ca c'est du vin. One for medium to long-term. 92 - 94

Lilian Barton Sartorius, Lady Langoa herselfLilian Barton Sartorius, Lady Langoa herself


Château Canon, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Deep in colour with a very attractive fragrance and lovely dark berry fruits flavours that are quite savoury thanks to a long firm spine of acidity and succulent, supple tannins; an elegant style that's half rich, half savoury and beautifully proportioned with a structure that bodes well for the medium to long term. A Saint Emilion classic. 94 - 96

Château Troplong Mondot, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Dense and brooding, rich, ripe and opulent on the nose, similarly there's dark fruits and palate-coating blackberry fruit and chocolatey richness here, an intense red with firm extraction and a good spine of acidity, bringing a twist of bittersweet chocolatey character to a well-crafted, well-balanced and impressive, if rather masculine, wine. 94 - 96

Château Clinet, Pomerol 2010
Deeply saturated ruby, very sexy nose with spicy oak and black fruit dominating; intense black cherry infused with spices, lovely succulence of texture and freshness, a chocolatey edge,; a very well-crafted and seductive Pomerol (I thought tasting it blind it was La Conseillante; oops!), whose seamless balance of fruit, muscular texture, freshness will deliver satisfaction for a decade and longer. 94 – 96

One of the Big Guns of 2010One of the Big Guns of 2010

Château L'Angélus, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Dense in colour with a veneer of sexy vanillin and liquorice spicy oak, this is a powerfully built red with damson and black cherry fruit richness framed by muscular tannins and a spine of fresh savoury acidity, all coating the palate in a sensual, textural way. It's a big wine, a bit of a monster even, but there's enough fruit concentration there to co-exist with the powerful structure; a long haul wine in anyone's book. 93 – 95+

Clos Fourtet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Deep dense ruby hue, sweet and spicy oak on the nose is followed by a good whack of ripe dark berry fruits on the palate, a very well-crafted wine showing excellent concentration of opulent mulberry and black cherry fruit, firm tannins, a rich, satisfying succulence of texture and the requisite freshness bringing balance and finesse. 93 – 95

La Chapelle d'Ausone Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
The second wine of Château Ausone, this is a dense, opaque ruby, with lovely aromas and dark red fruits concentration; it’s intensely flavoured with rich and powerful mulberry fruits allied to a pristine purity of flavour and a seamless quality that makes it hard to distinguish from grand vin, so supple, and subtle is the stucture of tannin and acidity here. Serious yet seductive. 93 – 95

Château Canon La Gaffelière, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Deep youthful ruby, showing spicy oak and very ripe sweet dark fruits on the nose, nicely proportioned, opulent red fruits character, attractively supple yet substantial tannins and juicy succulent mulberryish fruit; all nicely proportioned, albeit veering towards the riper spectrum of richness, yet juicy and satisfyingly refreshing, with the legs for the medium to long-term. 92 - 94+

Château La Dominique, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Deep ruby, stylish dark brooding intense nose, the fruit is richly concentrated and savoury, very individual with lots of personality, and dark in the blackberry and cassis spectrum, but it's also beautifully proportioned between fruit concentration and fleshy satisfaction, fine-grained tannins and refreshing acidity,. A wine with excellent poise and balance. 92 - 94+

Château Larmande, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Dense ruby hue, fine brooding nose, with intense and concentrated blackberry and black cherry fruit richness, good extraction of firmish muscular tannins and lovely savoury freshness tempering this very attractive and well-proportioned wine. 92 - 94

Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Very dense youthful ruby, this has an attractive mulberry and dark berry fruits fragrance; it's richly fruited on the palate with quite firm tannins but ultimately nicely resolved tannins and savoury refreshing acidity, a well-balanced, well-crafted red for medium to long- term drinking. 92 – 94

Château Moulin Saint Georges Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
Dense opaque ruby, good intense perfume, brooding dark fruits and spice, lots of sweetly ripe and opulent rich damsony fruitiness, very good concentration and flavour here, real damsony twist of acidity and firm yet supple tannins framing a wine with a lovely purity, freshness and concentration. This is quite delicious and seductive, a super food wine. 92 – 94

Château Gazin, Pomerol 2010
Good colour, attractive red fruits aromas, very nicely juicy ripe and a supple red, almost understated by comparison with St.Emilion's bigger power and extraction; and yet there's fine red fruits concentration and substance, seductively balanced texture and juiciness. Lovely. 92 – 94

Château Pavie-Macquin, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Curiously cinnamon spicy and cola-like on the nose with floral touches, the fruit shows some sweet, spicy green pepper characters and good concentration with a structure of firm tannins and a good spine of acidity. Hard to know how to interpret this one and not everyone's cup of tea, but I find the fruit fragrance and flavours attractive and the balance is good, with nice fruit concentration and freshness. 92 – 94?

You can Ring my Bell: Château L'AngélusYou can Ring my Bell: Château L'Angélus

Château La Tour Figeac, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Deeply coloured, dark, sweet, cassisy nose, good rich opulent cassis-like fruit quality on the palate, attractively fleshy and opulent with a very juicy and succulently fleshy textured fruit quality and good fresh acidity and balance. Deliciously moreish and crowd-pleasing. 91 - 93+

Le Petit Cheval, Saint Emilion 2010
A blend of 75% merlot and 25% cab franc from the Cheval Blanc stable (geddit? oh never mind), this is dense in colour and quite oaky at this stage; showing a fair whack of vanilla oak spice, but good rich dark fruit flavours and opulence and nicely restrained, pure fruit within a firm framework of supple tannins and a strong spine of acidity. Lovely pristine fruit quality here. 91 – 93

Château Nénin, Pomerol 2010
82% merlot, 19% cabernet franc. Deep colour, very nice spicy aromatic quality, a bit more guts and flesh to it than the Fugues de Nénin, delicious red fruits sweetness but a more palate-coating tannin with good fresh and firm acidity adding more structure to the wine. 91 – 93

Le Carillon d'Angelus Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
A blend of blend 50% merlot and 50% cabernet franc, this has an attractive fresh red fruits fragrance, lovely rich intense red opulence and concentration of fruit behind which a substantial layer of palate-coating tannins contains the seeds of fresh astringency within. Pretty serious stuff for a second wine. 90 -92

Le Plus de la Fleur de Bouard, Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
This has attractive aromas, good rich dark fruits flavours and concentrated black fruits richness; it's quite powerfully built with a firm spine of tannin and acidity, but it's both rich and fresh at the same time, with an appealing fruit quality 90 – 92

Château Berliquet, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Deeply coloured, attractive fragrance with spicy vanillin oak undertones, seductively fleshy and juicy mulberryish opulence etched with spicy undertones and showing lots of juicy, freshness and balance; not perhaps a wine that's the ultimate in length and class but it's voluptuously juicy and attractive, and should be good for short to medium-term drinking. 90 – 92

Château Haut Simard Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
A blend of 60% merlot and 40% cabernet franc from the Ausone group, this is a deep ruby, with an intense sweetly ripe dark berry fruits nose, powerful rich dark berry fruits with muscular tannins and firm fresh spine of acidity the framework for some delicious red fruit flavours; very polished and a little more serious and structured than the Simard so should develop for longer in bottle. 90-92

Beware, there may be a high price to payBeware, there may be a high price to pay


Château Monbrison, Margaux 2010.
Medium dark ruby, attractively spiced oak and black fruits nose, excellent definition of black fruit flavours nicely encased in juicy succulent sweet tannins and vivid fresh acidity; a very satisfying wine with plenty of seductive flavour and spice and well-defined focus and texture, with bright damsony freshness; one for the medium to long haul. 92 – 94

Château Sociando Mallet, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense colour, good fresh leafy cabernet with cassisy tones, powerful sweetly ripe cassis and black cherry fruit with quite firm, muscular tannin structure and lively acidity, the structure deriving from substantial low yield concentration. Substantial and serious red. 92 – 94

Château Batailley, Pauillac 2010
Inky in colour, quite intense cedar-smoky oak aromas here, good rich underlying black fruit on the palate, ripe and concentrated yet exuberantly lively and juicy thanks to a fine backbone of ripe tannins and spicy freshness nicely rounded out by oak; there's a slight hint of bittersweet chocolate on the finish but it's an astringency that bodes well for the future. 91 – 93

Château Labégorce Margaux 2010.
Dense deep ruby purple, quite sexy sweet cinnamon spice fragrance on this one, this is immediately seductive and appealing. The fruit is rather lovely too, mingling red and dark fruits richness of flavour in equal proportion on the mid-palate and then comes the surprise; halfway along, in comes a band of chunky tannins, as it morphs neatly from fruit to structure, bringing a certain chewiness and focus and lively definition. This is medium to long-term stuff and distinctly au dessus de sa gare. 91 - 93

Château D'Angludet, Margaux 2010.
Saturated inky purple, pungent cinnamon spice and coffee-bean oak aromas; lots of sweetly ripe dense cassis-laden fruit concentration on the palate of this blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 38% merlot and 12% petit verdot; easy, juicy textured ripe tannins, or so it first appears, but then they creep up on you bringing a degree of muscularity to this ripe, almost sweet style, with sufficient vibrancy and structure for the medium to long haul. Excellent. 91 - 93

Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Vivid colour, nice liquoricey, spicy aromas, good dense fruit concentration and richness here with black cherry opulence tinged with vanillin, chocolatey oak sweetness; a really crowd-pleasing style, especially since the tannins are nicely sweet and resolved and the acidity, though present, is not too demanding, together bringing both richness and balance to the wine. 91 - 93

Clos des Quatre Vents, Margaux 2010
A blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 5% petit verdot amd matured in 100% new oak, this has a stylish oak veneer, intense and concentrated dark fruits with lots of vanilla and cedary oak, good finesse and opulence of dark fruits,; there’s excellent intensity of flavour and concentration of fruit, weight and substance, and behind them the structure of muscular tannins spine of acidity to bring good ageing potential. 90 - 92+

Château Rauzan Gassies, Margaux 2010.
Deep dense ruby hue, fine aromatic quality, dark berry and concentrated fruit quality here, with a spicy veneer of sweet oak, vibrant fresh acidity and finely wrought tannins bringing structure to the blackberry fruit. There's lots going on here, the pudding possibly a tad overegged, but fruit flavours are nicely balanced out by a well-defined and focused, albeit muscular, structure. 90 - 92

Château Haura, Graves 2010
From the gravels of the Graves, this is a blend of 65% cabernet, 35% merlot from Denis Dubourdieu a red with a fine cassis nose, juicy ripe concentration and richness, lovely black fruist quality that's very supple and rich with fine-grained tannins and freshness, and well-crafted extraction of tannins and fine balance of dark red fruits with damsony fresh bite. 90 – 92

La Croix de Beaucaillou, Saint Julien 2010
A blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon, and 15% merlot that spends 12 months in 60% new oak, this is dense in colour, with a fine nose of spicy oak, good intense dark berry fruits on the palate, attractive opulence and richness of cassisy fruit, bisected by good firm tannins and juicy fresh acidity; very nice pristine pure fruit that's surprisingly succulently juicy; in fact almost approachable now, usually a good sign. 90 – 92

Château Phélan-Segur, St. Estephe 2010
Deep colour, distinctly leafy fresh cabernet nose, rather attractive, with a similarly leafy blackcurranty vivacity on the palate, nicely resolved tannins and a good firm, lively spine of acidity behind it. The flesh is just a tad on the lean side but it's an elegant and well-made style for medium term drinking. 90 – 92

Château Poujeaux, Moulis 2010.
Good dense ruby, inviting smoky oak aromas , nice freshness, attractively sweetly ripe cassis and black cherry quality, supple ripe sweet tannins framed by a fair whack of spicy oak, with a robust aspect to them and good vivid savoury acidity; a well-made, robust style for the medium term. 90 – 92

Château Cantemerle never looked lovelierChâteau Cantemerle never looked lovelier

Château Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense ruby purple, attractive nose with a fair whack of liquorice and vanilla oak spice, the immediate attack on the palate is lively, almost sharp in acidity with some dark fruits sweetness coming through on the mid-palate, then back into a rather firm grip of tannins and marked acidity. A wine of three parts, the best the tenderloin of sweetness on the mid-palate; this will need time and patience. 90 - 92

La Dame de Montrose St-Estèphe 2010
Dense colour, fine nose, sweet dark fruits, firm structure of muscular tannins and lively savoury acidity with a twist of bittrsweet chocolate; still youthfully vigorous and chewy at this stage, but the tannins are quite fine though firm, the oak nicely integrated and the focus sharp. Serious stuff needing time to come into its own. 90 - 92

Château Lacoste Borie, Saint Julien 2010
Good colour, charming nose, very attractive blueberry primary fruit quality with nicely juicy mid-palate richness, and very succulently juicy tannins, tipped off with refreshing acidity. Really attractive, charming and approachable. 89 – 91+

Château Château Tayac-Plaisance, Margaux 2010
A blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 5% petit verdot, the spicy tobaccoey nose is followed by a dense black cherry fruit quality with good length of flavour and plenty of guts; there’s both freshness and intensity with chunky form tannins on the finish; serious stuff for a petit château. Lovely balance. 89 – 91

Château de Fonbel Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
From the Ausone group, this has a good fresh, pure dark red fruits nose, attractive damsony richness, very nice fruit purity with and sweetly ripe juicy middle and supple tannins and above all very nice freshness; it’s very well crafted overall and quite delicious to taste at this stage. 89 – 91

Château Capbern Gasqueton, St Esephe 2010
From the Calon-Ségur stable, this blend of 73% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot has a lovely ripe blackcurrant nose with a hint of leafy green pepper and blackcurrant leaf and good intense ripe, rich cassis fruit flavours; a very honest, classic claret with firm but fine chunky tannins, a lovely robust style with freshness and typically rustic edge to it. 89 – 91

Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis 2010.
Deepish ruby, pleasant if slightly subdued blackcurranty aromas, nicely ripe sweet mid-palate black fruits quality, juicy and fresh with firmish tannins sitting in the background and a twist of astringency bringing a welcome degree of freshness to the wine. Well-balanced, well-structured, good wine. 88 – 90+

Villa des Quatre Soeurs, Margaux 2010
This is the second wine of Quatre Vents, a 40% cabernet sauvignon, 55% merlot and 5% petit verdot blend with attractive black cherry fruit, lovely opulence with firm tannins and incisive refreshingly juicy acidity, nicely resolved on the finish with good density of fruit quality; very Margaux in style. 88 -90+

The 20 Best Whites 2010 en primeur

Dry White

Château Haut Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Fermented in almost half new oak, this has a lovely fresh smoky, vanillin and grapefruity aromas, with a deliciously full, ripe exotic grapefruity character, zesty fresh intense fruitiness, deliciously fruit with fine mineral dry finish and excellent balance. 94 – 96.

Château La Mission Haut Brion Blanc , Pessac-Léognan 2010
A blend of 81% semillon, 19% sauvignon almost half of which is fermented in new oak, this is wonderfully aromatic, fresh and intense, with a richness of fruit and spicy oak notes underpinned by lovely fresh balancing zesty acidity in classic ‘Graves’ style; really seductive quality fruit. 93 - 95

Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux 2010
Fine nose, lovely smoky exotic grapefuit quality, very nicely zestily fresh and juicy grapefuity flavours too, fine concentration and richness underlying smoky barrel-fermented oak characters the fruit; this is deliciously intense with a gorgeous pristine fruit quality and ultra-sleek crafting. 93 – 95

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Immensely attractive, slightly smoky touch of wood on the nose combining nicely with citrusy fruit qualities; this is very stylish, with creamy richness you’d expect from a great vintage but is has class and style and above all lovely grapefruity flavours and zesty freshness. 93 – 95

Château Fieuzal, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Appealing vanillin oak and fruit aromas, excellent fresh and juicy fruit quality, lovely richness on the mid-palate, spiced by vanillin oak and finishing with very good zesty citrusy acidity; overall well-made and very stylish. 92 – 94

Château La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Fresh on the nose, attractive apple, lemon and grapefruit, nicely elegant fruit on the palate with good complex yeast-lees derived complexity, good touchy of oak, and attractive freshness with juicy acidity complementing this elegant style. 91 - 93

Château Bouscaut, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Fine intense aromatic quality here, expressive and powerful with spicy, toasty oak, lemon and grapefruit zest to the fore; exotic fruit richness on the palate with a sheen of spicy oak complementing it beautifully while the refreshing acidity keeps the whole thing in beautiful balance; this is polished and classy in anyone's book. 91 – 93.

Château Olivier, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Fine nose, classic Graves style with lemon and grapefruit freshness, lovely juicy fresh palate of exotic fresh grapefruit and lemon nicely rounded by a spicy touch of oak, finishing with lovely juicy acidity, all in all a very elegant and classic style of dry white Bordeaux. 91 – 93

Château Picque Caillou, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Very nice nose, pineapple and grapefruit, quite creamy and rich with lots of concentrated and intense full exotic fruit quality, very zesty and grapefruity with fine juicy acidity and nicely polished sub-threshhold oak. Classic style. 91 - 93

Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Powerfully aromatic, excellent fruit freshness, zesty acidity and lemony freshness, quite typical, attractively fruity on the elegant side with nicely refreshingly zingy character, infused with a marked sauvignon-like character. 91 - 93

Sweet White

[this excludes Château Climens because only the component parts were shown but it promises to be one of the greats of the vintage]

Château Rieussec, Sauternes 2010
Lots of dried apricot and peach on the nose, with a rich, almost viscously luscious fruit quality with lots of intensely flavoured dried apricot and peach on the palate, real intensity and freshness of fruit and a fine textural quality for overall freshness, balance and complexity. 94 – 96

Château De Malle, Sauternes 2010
Gorgeous nose , complex and rich, with a touch of spicy oak, yet fresh; there's fine intensity of opulently luscious peach fruit concentration on the palate; lovely pristine dried peach fruit quality with a viscous, textured creaminess, excellent length and beautiful balancing acidity. Very stylish. 94 – 96

Château d’Yquem, Sauternes 2010
A blend of 87% semillon and 13% sauvignon fermented in 100% new oak
the 2010 represented 40% of the year’s production; it shows spicy oak and cling peach luscious fruit, seductively juicy rich liquid crystallised peach flavours without perhaps the power or richness of the 2009 but with a cleansingly trenchant blade of acidity. 93 – 95

Château De Fargues, Sauternes 2010
A complex aromatic sweet white with an exotic touch of curry spice on the nose and rich dried apricot fruitiness and a honeyed touch of botrytis, similarly on the palate lovely dried apricot richness and complexity with the intensity and freshness of dried fruit flavours, well-integrated oak; finishing with deliciously fresh citrusy acidity. 93 - 95

Château Suduiraut, Sauternes 2010
This is beautifully fresh with angelica spice and honey undertones on the nose, a really attractive fruit viscosity and richness on the palate, a finely textured quality and with fine, zesty, citrusy acidity and a powerful long-lasting finish. 93 – 95

Château De Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes 2010
Fine nose, complex and rich with almondy undertones, lovely luscious and concentrated dried peachy fruits richness on the palate with honeyed undertones and luscious texture and freshness; very well crafted and intense fruit quality. 93 – 95

Château Coutet, Barsac 2010
Rich notes of banana, honey and peach on the nose, this is viscously rich with lusciously ripe peachy fruit on the palate, a concentrated and intense quality that's also very sweetly honeyed and yet has the creaminess of texture and enough fresh acidity to balance out that richness. 93-95

Château La Tour Blanche, Sauternes 2010
Intense fresh marzipany notes on the notes, attractively viscously rich textured peachy quality with a pristine pure peachy fruit character and deliciously incisive balancing acidity. 92 - 94+

Château Doisy-Daëne, Sauternes 2010
Lovely aromatic quality with very nice freshness, honeyed botrytis, and good ripe peachy aromas with light honeyed undertones; intensely rich and concentrated, vivid sweet peach and apricot lusciousness flecked with honey; textured and fresh with a citrusy finish. Very well-made. 92 – 94.

Château Guiraud, Sauternes 2010
Attractively ripe aromatic quality with a touch of smoky, vanillin oak, attractively juicy, rich sweet and opulent stonefruit richness with balanced, incisive, pineappley acidity in a relatively restrained and elegant style. Nothing not to like here. 92 – 94

Tasting, Tasting, Tasting, at Château CantemerleTasting, Tasting, Tasting, at Château Cantemerle



Château Giscours, Margaux 2010.
Dense ruby purple, slightly porty aromas of sweet blackcurrant; quite pungently oaky dark berry / cassisy fruits character on the palate, which is ripely sweet with a nice succulence to it and framed by a structure of rounded oak and tannins. A very ripe style and yet quite firm, chunky and muscular at the same time. 91 – 93+

Château Haut-Batailley, Pauillac 2010
Good deep colour, attractively fresh dark berry fruits nose touch of toasty oak, immensely juicy and almost approachable black cherry and blackcurrant fruitiness in this blend of 78% cabernet sauvignon, 22% merlot, with very succulent tannins and refreshing mulberry bitey acidity all in approachable balance. A cross between Pauillac and St.Julien in style with that lovely supppleness and charm. Firmer than 2009. 91 – 93+

Pagodes de Cos, St Estephe 2010
Dense colour, fine nose, dusted with vanilla and chocolatey oak, very promising, there's a lot of opulent black fruit flavours to this second wine of Cos d'Estournel, all encased in an iron grip of firm although not brutish tannins and distinctly bitey damsony acidity; this is pretty serious for a second wine. 91 – 93+

Château Du Tertre, Margaux 2010.
Medium ruby, attractive nose, nicely fresh with sweet bell pepper and oak-derived notes of cola-spice, very attractively juicy ripe black fruits succulence plus a touch of dark chocolate on the mid-palate; this is a very well-crafted and balanced wine with more finesse and definition than many in this neck of the Médoc; the tannins and the fresh spine sit behind the fruit as a seamless part of the whole. 91 – 93

Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac 2010
Good fresh attractive aromatic black fruits quality, this blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 23% merlot, 15% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot shows slight underlying herbal notes, attractive almost approachable ripe sweet mid-palate with undertones of cinnamon and angostura and supple, succulently juicy tannins, spicily full of dark berry fruits flavours with a tenderloin richness on the one hand, and chunky and vibrant on the other, but an exceptional d'Armailhacq. 91 – 93

Château Saint-Pierre, St. Julien 2010
Dense deep inky purple, good brooding dark nose, super mulberry and black cherry fruit richness and concentration on the palate, a powerful, densely fruited style with pedigree cedar-spicy oak sitting in the background and the tannins, while substantial and present, act as an RSJ supporting the weight of fruit very nicely. 91 - 93

Château Pédesclaux 2010
Deep dense colour, aromatic, very attractively juicy mulberryish red fruits quality, nicely succulent and juicy, textured ripe fruit, very nicely approachable style with good bright acidity; a big improvement on earlier years. This is one to watch. 91 - 93

Château Haut Marbuzet, St-Estèphe 2010
Dense ruby, lots of powerful intense black cherry fruit richness and concentration, muscular tannins yet fine, bright fresh damsony acidity, all very well-proportioned and intense; lovely black cherry and blackberry fruit bisected by very juicy acidity. 91 – 93

Château Château Carbonnieux, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense, vivid youthful ruby, attractive aromatic quality, good intense black fruits richness on the palate, and a very nicely concentrated, pure fruit quality; very fresh and firmly structured with quite firm, extracted tannins for the long haul, but overall nicely resolved and grainy with overall good balance. 91 - 93

Château Lascombes, Margaux 2010.
Dense deep ruby purple, deep, brooding dark fruits freshness on the nose, seemingly nicely proportioned; good opulent black cherry fruit concentration on the palate, nicely framed by spicy oak, choolatey richness and firm muscular tannins which add a chunky dry element to the finish. Good wine with time - and the right food. 91 - 93

Château d'Issan, Margaux 2010
Dense colour, quite attractively aromatic, nice red fruits mid-palate, good succulence and sweetness of fruit, nicely textured with firm classical lines of muscular tannins and fresh acidity; overall well-crafted with good fruit concentration and balance. 91 – 93

Le Clarence de Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense in primary ruby, this is warm and inviting on the nose with notes of black cherry and light vanilla oak spice; it's is a little more serious , structured and concentrated than the La Chapelle, but has fine cherry fruit flavours, a light touch of oak spiciness and it's marked with an incisive blade of fresh acidity; all very pure, supple and succulent. 52% merlot, 36% cabernet sauvignon, 10% franc, 2% petit verdot. 38% of production. 14.4%. 90 - 92+

Château Prieuré Lichine, Margaux 2010.
Dense dark ruby purple, dark brooding nose, opulent black cherry and cassis fruit concentration with dark chocolatey undertones, a concentrated rich red which is very muscular in its framework, yet attractively vibrant and lively, big-boned, yes, but this should drink nicely in the medium to long-term. 90 – 92+

La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion , Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense primary colour, attractively fresh and warm sweet cherryish aromas and a touch of mocha oak waft from the glass; lovely sweet dark berry fruit assails the palate here, with supple tannins and a firm twist of refreshing acidity; this is quite delicious. 27% merlot, 47% cabernet sauvignon, 26% cabernet franc. 42% of production. 14.8%. 90 - 92+

Château Larcis Ducasse, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Dense youthful ruby, an attractively sweet red fruits and cinnamon spicy oak fragrance combine stylishly on the nose here, leading to a palate of richly concentrated black cherry fruitiness and quite firm underlying chunky tannins behind which there’s a firm spine of fresh acidity. It's quite sexy and up-front with lots of appeal but perhaps not the ultimate in length and class. 90 - 92+

Château Siran, Margaux 2010.
Deep dense ruby, attractively aromatic, good intense and concentrated dark berry fruits opulence on the mid-palate, a chocolatey rich oaky coating adding chunky, textured complexity, with firm muscular tannins and freshness adding definition to a powerful and concentrated red for the long haul. Serious stuff. 90 - 92

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 2010
Good dense colour, attractive sweetly ripe cassis fruit quality, open, attractive ripe sweet tannins, juicy dark fruits quality with firm, slightly chunky tannins on the back palate but attractive fresh acidity bringing very nice overall balance to what's a well-turned out, a well-crafted and quite serious second wine. 68% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot and 8% cabernet franc. 90 – 92

Château Ferrière, Margaux 2010.
Dense deep ruby purple, good fresh aromatic quality, good ripe sweet black cherry and cassis fruit on the palate, an attractive core of ripe fruit nicely focused by ripe yet firm tannins and lively definition and freshness; it finishes quite muscular but the balance appears to be there. 90 – 92

Château de Fieuzal, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Vivid dense ruby, sweet tarry and vanillin oak aromas with an almost baked, blackberry jam undertone; on the palate, this is ripe, opulently sweet with a concentrated dark fruits quality that's not in fact jammy thanks to nicely resolved yet firm tannins and fresh balancing acidity with a rustic edge. 90 - 92

Château Lynch Moussas, Pauillac 2010
Dense colour, although not as saturated as some; a fresh cabernet leafiness coming through on the aromas here and a coating of smoky oak; there's good cherry fruit richness and lively concentration on the palate with that fresh leafy cabernet character arriving nicely on the palate alongside it; the tannins are suave and silky and the spine of acidity brings a dimension of balance and structure; not a blockbuster by any means but an elegant style in the context of the vintage. 90 – 92

Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux 2010.
Deep colour, cola-spicy and sweet bell pepper aromas, intense dark fruit quality with some chocolatey and sexy vanillin undertones, very firm and muscular tannins behind the fruit which is fresh and vivid, but there's nothing shy and retiring here; a wine that will take quite some time for the substantially extracted and chunky tannins to soften down. 90 – 92

Château La Lagune, Haut-Médoc 2010
Deeply coloured with an immediately attractive sweetly fruited nose and a touch of vanillin oak, this displays a lovely richness of black fruit flavours and at the same time has the trenchant acidity and tannic backbone for medium-term to long-term ageing. 90 – 92

Château Lagrange, St. Julien 2010
Attractively intense aromatic quality, dark fruits in the background, good attack of dark fruits richness on the palate with a leafy cabernet character and quite firm and muscular tannins and lively refreshing acidity as a nice counterpoint to the fruit; not quite together at the moment as the extraction of tannin comes through from the mid-palate as still a little chunky and dry and tad aggressive towards the finish. 90 – 92

Château Petit Village, Pomerol 2010
Deepish ruby, attractively floral nose, pleasantly supple and juicy red fruits character with seductive fruit character and balance, fair concentration and Pomerol character for the short to medium term. 90 – 92

Château Gloria, St. Julien 2010
Slightly curious nose here, the oak slightly out of kilter, good fleshy ripe dark fruits on the palate, a tad on the dry and extracted side in the context of the vintage and appellation, the mid-palate sweetness pulling up just a little short in favour of a somewhat muscular and sinewy structure. 90 – 92.

Château Lafon Rochet, St-Estèphe 2010
Bright intense colour, aromatic, good dark red and black fruits framed by pungently smoky oak and quite firm extracted and hefty tannins but the acidity is bright and the fruit should cope with that level of tannins. 90 - 92

Château Maucaillou, Moulis 2010.
A blend of 52% cabernet s auvignon, 41% merlot and 7% petit verdot, this youthfully vivid red shows attractively sweet and intense aromatic dark fruitiness on the nose, lovely seductive and concentrated rich cherry and damson-fresh lift to this very well-made succulent and balanced red; a wine that should give immense satisfaction in the short to medium term. 90 - 92

Château La Tour Carnet, Haut-Médoc 2010
Good dense colour, quite cedary and spicy on the nose, the immediate attack here is quite tart, almost aggressive, while the tannins are thick and extracted and cloak the mouth in dark fruit and bittersweet chocolatey undertones; it's not giving a huge amount of pleasure at the moment but there is sweet fruit there and, down the track, the betting is that it should come into its own nicely. 90 – 92?

Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac 2010 (not tasted by me)
Beautifully refined, lightly cedary nose with a cherry ripeness to the fruit and solid underpinning black fruit. The plate has a depth and richness immediately, The tannins are dry and full as would be expected, but a nice clarity to the fruit and good length. 90 - 91
Tom Cannavan

Pauillac (de Latour) , Pauillac 2010
Nice fresh, juicy blackcurrant, deliciously supple and juicy soft black fruits with good density and above all a lovely freshness of acidity.
89 – 91+

Fugue de Nénin, Pomerol 2010
Good colour, lovely aromas, deliciously spicy merlot-based sweetly ripe red berry fruits punctuated by juicy fine tannins and suave, seductive tannins and freshness; a little delight of a wine and very accessible and yet with some tannin and an acid spine. Lovely and juicy. 92% merlot, 8% cabernet franc. 89 – 91+

Le Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases, saint Julien 2010
Very nice nose, ripe, sweet blackcurrant and plum fruit, quite classic, with juicy dark red fruits, fine yet robust tannins and lively fresh acidity and a nice aromatic touch of spicy oak; well-put together for medium term drinking; very approachable indeed. 89 - 91+

Château Cos Labory, St-Estèphe 2010
Dense colour, attractive nose, attractive fruit richness with good dense dark berry fruit richness and concentration backed by an exuberant freshness and muscular tannins, the oak is subtle and nicely rounds out the fruit for firmness and yet suppleness of texture; this is reasonably well-balanced and well-made if just a tad on the extracted side on the finish. 89 – 91

Château Les Ormes de Pez
Good dense colour, very ripe aromas, quite plummy ripe sweet fruit with a lot of oak infusing the fruit flavours, and quite substantial firm tannins behind it; rustic style. 89 – 91.

Château De Pez, St-Estèphe 2010
Deep, dark fruits and smoky oak aromas, fair dark fruits richness and concentration on the mid-palate, nicely juicy fresh blackcurranty friut quality and nicely rounded out by oak with a good firm spine of acidity and elegantly understated tannins, making for a well-balanced and enjoyable St-Estèphe style for the medium term. 89 - 91

Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac 2010
Deep inky purple, curious nose here with an apparent hint of oxidation, unless it's just very ripe dark fruits; rather thick dark fruits on the palate, a tad rustic style, with quite firm extraction, slightly wobbly fruit quality and rather lacking the concentration and poise of many of its appellation compatriots. 89 – 91

Château Croizet Bages, Pauillac 2010
Good dark ruby, very ripe on the nose, some dark berry fruits richness and concentration on the mid-palate, but rather coating the palate with chunky tannins, the structure of the wine showing sinewy tannins, a fair wine for the medium term. 89 - 91

Château De France, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense ruby, attractively sweet aromatic quality, very ripe and sweet, with good opulent dark berry fruits, a light kiss of chocolatey oak and fleshy cassis fruit and structure with a marked spine of fresh acidity and firm tannins for structure; nicely done, if a tad chunky, rustic and dry on the finish 89 – 91

Château La Louvière, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Vivid colour, attractively perfumed nose, quite attractive dark berry fruit quality, nice flavours of blackberry and cherry, firmish degree of extraction and good fresh acidity; well-crafted red with firm spine of tannin and acidity but perhaps a little more polish than some. 89 – 91

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense colour, attractively sweetly perfumed, quite dense, punchy black fruits on the palate, initially this seems quite extracted, but as time goes on, the fruit lingers and the tannins coat the mouth without puckering. Will need the right food though. 89 – 91

Château Grand Puy Ducasse, Pauillac 2010
Dense inky colour, immediately attractive fragrance with chocolate and vanilla undertones; the palate is rather dense and thick on this one, the tannins quite firmly extracted although not overdone; and yet there's a chewiness and a dryness on the finish that has you wondering if the fruit will outlast the big-boned structure. Finishes a little rustic for my liking in this appellation. 89 - 91

Château Latour Martillac, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense colour, attractive aromatics, firm and solid on the palate, with some attractive black fruits, if a tad chunky and four-square, nice freshness, albeit finishing a little on the rustic and dry side. 89 – 91

Château Picque- Caillou, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense colour, expressive, slighly leafy nose with sweetly ripe tobaccoey spicy quality, good cassis and black cherry fruit and almnost tart freshness, all well-expressed in an elegant, perhaps even slightly understated, yet balanced rich red. 89 – 91

Château Dauzac , Margaux 2010.
Deep dense ruby, attractively sweet pepper and blackcurrant aromas; very cabernet; richly concentrated black cherry and cassis fruit on the mid-palate and then followed by a tight, almost steely grip of firmly extracted tannin and freshness; I have a feeling this will soften down nicely given time, but it's a little hard going at the moment. 89 - 91

Château Simard Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2010
Attractive red fruits fragrance, good strawberryish red fruits quality with nice zip and twist of damsony acidity, encased in an elegant framework of oak spice, fine tannins and nice fresh juiciness; it’s thoroughly approachable with an attractive sheen of textured tannins. 89 – 91

Clos Floridène, Graves 2010
There's an attractive floral nose to Denis Dubourdieu's Graves blend of 75% cabernet, 25% merlot, good intense rich black fruits with a peppery undertone, lovely supple succulent fruit quality, powerful and yet nicely fresh with good backbone. 89 - 91

Réserve de la Comtesse , Pauillac2010
Good colour, primary aromas and fruit, a tad stalky at this stage of its evolution, nice suppleness and freshness, raspberryish fruit succulence.
89 – 91

Château Monbousquet Saint Emilion 2010
Pleasant nose, quite attractively sweet and rich red fruits flavours, well-made, quite firm and muscular but good ripe tannin and fresh acidity, showing a certain level of spicy vanillin oak. 89 - 91

Château Marquis de Terme , Margaux 2010.
Deep dense dark and brooding (and that's just the colour), this is pungently sweetly smoky on the nose, autumn bonfire style, and meaty with sausagey, chorizo-esque tones; there's a lot of cassis and blackberry fruit concentration on the palate, a vivid red with a powerful structure of muscular tannins , firm extraction and dry tannins. 89 - 91

Château Camensac, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense colour, dark brooding nose, a tad shy at the moment, this is quite a big-boned style with a fair whack of chunky extracted tannins behind an attractive degree of blackcurranty sweetness on the mid-palate; you rather have to chew you way through the oak and tannins initially to get to the fruit, so will need time but the fruit should sit well in due course with the structure. 89 - 91

Château La Cabanne, Pomerol 2010
Good ripe spicy aromatic quality, very nicely juicy and seductively succulent red fruits flavours, nicely proportioned classic Pomerol with that seductive red fruits succulence and freshness, lightly tinged with spicy oak, that's very appealing if a tad rustic. 89 – 91

Château Pavie, Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé 2010
Dense in colour, superripe super-sweet red fruits aromas, with lots of black cherry and blackcurrant jam sweetness on the mid-palate and a firm (to the point of chunky) degree of tannin extraction that comes close to being moderated by good fresh acidity, but a question mark remains over whether this will actually soften down and balance. I wouldn't like to bet on it. 89 – 91?

Château Kirwan , Margaux 2010.
Dense deep ruby purple, sweet aromas of liquorice spicy oak and blackcurrant; lots of sweet dark fruits concentration contained in a an iron grip of muscular tannins at this stage; a big palate-cloaking wine that at this stage is a tad chewy but I think there may be the concentration of fruit behind the structure to make this a long liver. Jury out....89 – 91?

Château Meyney, St Es 2010
Deep colour, dense, quite okay smoky infused black fruits, firm, muscular, palate-coating, powerful fruit quality, good. 88 - 90+

Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc 2010
Good rich dense colour, attractively perfumed, nice cedary touch of oak with good ripe dark fruits and supple tannins bisected by a firm spine of lively acidity; overall very fresh and nicely balanced claret with superfresh twist of astringency. 88 – 90+

Château Belgrave, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense colour, quite blackcerranty on the nose with lots of instantly sexy, smoky, and slightly rubbery oak on the nose; some nice sweet blackcurranty fruit and liquorice spice on the mid-palate, a degree of richness and concentration and the tannins are nicely rounded by oak with good lively acidity bringing up the rear with a swish of its tail. Should make for good medium-term drinking. 88 - 90

Château Franc-Mayne, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Very dense youthful ruby, quite a lot of spicy oak on the nose, curious character, with some rich black cherry fruit concentration and strong veneer of spicy vanillin oak, quite firm muscular tannins bordering overextraction,; yet while big and powerful, there's some flesh on the bones of a firmly structured red. 88 – 90

Château Desmirail, Margaux 2010.
Medium ruby; relatively light in colour in the context of the vintage; slightly shy nose and medium weight fruit; nothing wrong with it just a tad plain and one-dimensional, with a question mark over the longevity of the wine if the tannins are as firmly extracted and dry on the finish as they are. 88 - 90

Château Fourcas Hosten, Listrac 2010.
Medium dense ruby, chocolatey / ovaltiney sweet nose, very attractive; attractive sweet, ripe blackcurrant fruit too, oak nicely done, quite firm tannins and good fresh acidity finishing with a thick, palate-cloaking dark chocolatey character. Good wine. 88 – 90

Château Le Tour du Pin, Saint Emilion 2010
An 85% merlot 15 % cab franc blend, this has an attractive fresh red fruit fragrance and spice, vibrant on the nose, supple fresh red fruits flavours, very attractive succulent juiciness, made in a very approachable style and yet with good substantial red fruits flavours and structure for the short to medium term. 88 - 90

Château La Pointe, Pomerol 2010
Dense saturated ruby, this is very savoury both on the nose and the palate, it's quite concentrated showing dark berry fruit flavours but quite extracted too and a little chewy and dry on the aftertaste for my liking. 88 - 90

Château Reynon, Cadillac, Côtes de Bordeaux v
From clay / chalk soils, this blend of 80% merlot, 10% cab, 10% petit verdot from Denis Dubourdieu has an appealing nose, a light touch of toasty oak, good juicy black fruits purity, and it's quite intense with a fine blade of fresh acidity; a very nice petit Château wine.
88 – 90

Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Good colour, a tad closed on the nose, touch of volatile acidity going on here, pleasantly sweetish, powerful fruit, quite attractive dark berry fruits quality, with slightly angular tannins, and finishing quite chunky; nothing wrong with this but all a little on the pedestrian side. 88 - 90

Château Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Vivid colour, quite a lot of sweet smoke and chocolate on the nose, suggesting ripeness and opulence, a good mouthful of plum and damson fruit with quite firm, extracted tannins that sit rather chunkily in the mouth, tending to pucker and pinch, all ending up just a little on the dry and rustic side. Starts out with great hopes, but expectations slightly dashed. 88 - 90

Château Ferrande, Graves 2010
Deep ruby, slight green pepper note of cabernet franc and mocha oak on the nose (or not wholly ripe cabernet sauvignon), attractive palate, with sweetly ripe black fruits fruit and fair degree of extraction behind it; finishing dry but the tannins are just the right side of ripe. 88 - 90

Château Chantegrive, Graves 2010
Dense vivid ruby, sweet oak aromas, attractively fresh and aromatic, quite rich with liquorice spice and dark chocolate notes, slightly short on the mid-palate, finishing with firm, slightly rustic tannins, but this has some nice freshness and verve about it. 88 - 90

Château Rahoul Graves 2010
Deepish ruby, pleasant fresh sweetness on the nose, quite attractive fresh dark fruits quanlty and dark chocolate, a fair level of extraction of tannin on the mid-palate, so on the chewy and rustic side on the finish. 88 – 90

Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Dense ruby hue, some sweet oak on the nose and pleasant sweet dark fruits palate with an underlying touch of bittersweet chocolate, quite well-made with nice fruit quality, albeit fairly extracted tannins bringing a rather dry finish but good fresh acidity so should be ok with the right food. 88 – 90

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Good colour, slightly shy on the nose here, the fruits' medium weight with distinctly chunky tannins that pucker the mouth and take hold before you've had a really good opportunity to enjoy the fruit. Chunky, chewy finish. 88 – 90

Château Potensac, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense inky opaque colour, this is very ripe and blackcurrant jammy on the nose, the fruit, a blend of 42% merlot, 37% cabernet sauvignon, 21% cabrnet franc and 5% petit verdot, is equally rich and ripe, almost superripe in fact with a blackcurrant jam undertones and lots of thick, palate coating tannins with the typical freshness of acidity to help break down those tannins. Classic and yet not classic, if that makes sense. Maybe a little too ripe for its own good this year? Or could it be the sample? 88 – 90?

Château Durfort-Vivens, Margaux 2010.
Dense deep ruby purple, this smells quite oaky in a slightly murky and dank sort of way; there's very sweet supple dark fruits on the palate and nice succulence, in fact the palate is much better than the nose, so a tad hard to judge at this stage. 88 – 90?

Château Lalande Borie, St. Julien 2010
From Ducru Beaucaillou, this is a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 40 % merlot and 10% cab franc, spending 12 months in 30% new oak and showing good colour, spicy oak, and an attractive dark red fruits character, with nice richness on the mid-palate juicy fresh acidity and ripe, supple tannins. A wine that's approachable and hard to dislike. 87 – 89+

Château Z (for Zédé), Bordeaux 2010
A 60% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 10% petit verdot blend with deep colour, liquoricey tobacco spicy aromas, attractive ripe sweet black cherry juiciness and freshness, fine-textured and full-flavoured, very-well-crafted with freshness derived from no oak. 87 – 89

Château Beaumont, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense in colour, dark brooding nose, attractively fresh blackberry fruit richness with good mid-level concentration and weight of fruit for the level of tannins and acidity, which balance the fruit out nicely in an attractively supple, if two rather then three-dimensional short to medium term claret. 87 – 89

Château Bonneau, Haut-Médoc 2010
Spending 15 months in older barriques, this 30% cabernet sauvignon, 65% merlot, 5% petit verdot blend shows good colour, attractively juicy ripe dark cherry and cassis fruit, nicely rounded and textured by a subtle touch of oak, firmer tannins than the Z but nice structure of lively acidity and good freshness, very nicely done, and very much a food wine. 87 – 89

Château Greysac, Haut-Médoc 2010.
Dense ruby hue, perfumed with dark berry fruits and an undertone of vanillin oak spice; supple, juicy cassis-laden fruit quality here with mid-length concentration and length of flavour and a good background behind the fruit of succulent tannins and balancing freshness; well-made mid-ranking claret for the short to medium term. 87 - 89

La Chapelle de Potensac, Haut-Médoc 2010
Good dense colour, atractive dark berry fruits, nicely juicy and ripe and yet with a freshness and verve that promise well for the next three to five years; very approachable and attractive, albeit a tad robust on the finish. 56% merlot, 31% cabernet sauvignon, 12% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot. 87 – 89

Château Bouscaut, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Deepish ruby, expressive nose with distinctive spicy oak on the nose, at once dusty and sweet, attractive ripe dark fruits quality, a touch of dark chocolate, fair concentration, but quite rustic and chewy with mid-palate slightly overcoated with tannin to give a really comfortable feel. 87 – 89

Château Paloumey, Haut Médoc 2010
Dense colour, nicely perfumed, good rich sweet cassis core of fruit with an attractive veneer of vanillin oak; very good concentration, substantial chocolatey tannins and lively damson-fresh acidity. 87 - 89

Château Cambon La Pelouse, Haut Médoc 2010
Very dense, inky colour, attractive fresh fragrance and good intense dark cherry fruits concentration, with lively fresh damsony fruits on the mid-palate encased in a bastion of firm tannins and damsony acidity; pretty serious stuff for a petit château. 87 - 89

Château Montpeyrat 2010
Deep colour, sweet blackcurrant fruit with juicy damson acidity and nicely proportioned oak rounding this wine out to give it extra suppleness and softness; quite substantial and full-flavoured. 87 – 89

Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Deep colour, attractive fragrance, good rich concentration of black cherry and damsony fruit vibrancy with nicely rounding touch of oak and lively damsony freshness on the finish; well-balanced and quite serious. 87 – 89

Château Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Deep colour, quite attractive cassis fruit quality, nice concentration and richness, good balance of firmish but juicy ripe tannins, some palate-cloaking chocolatey richness and vivacious acidity; another serious claret for the short to medium-term. 87 - 89

Château Beauregard, Pomerol 2010
Dense saturated ruby, this is very sweet and ripe on the nose, almost overripe, the fruit too is veering towards the porty and overripe and while it does have some concentration and freshness, it's a little hard to see how it's going to maintain the requisite level of fruit sweetness it needs to give satisfaction in the longer term. 87 – 89?

Clarke, Listrac 2010.
Dense ruby, nicely fragrant and fresh with plenty of vanilla and cedary oak and ripe blackcurrant on the nose; very concentrated rich cassis fruit on the palate on a longish leash of firm, muscular tannins and bright, vivid acidity; it's a big, powerful claret perhaps even with ideas above its station, but no harm in a bit of ambition when the wherewithal is there. 86 – 88+

Château La Tour de By, Haut-Médoc 2010.
Dense ruby hue, attractively fragrant with good intense depth of aroma, showing a modern touch of mocha oak and ripe cassis fruit; rich concentrated cassis and black cherry fruit on the palate contained in an ornate framework of muscular tannins and a good spine of acidity; the proportions are big but balanced. 86 – 88+

Château Fourcas Dupré, Listrac 2010.
Almost inky ruby, fine aromatic quality with cedar-spicy oak and dark cassisy fruit; this is quite dense on the mid-plate with good black fruits flavours and mid-length concentration, the tannins very firm and muscular at this stage , possibly even a tad chunky for the weight of fruit, but there's freshness at least; time will tell. 86 - 88+

Château Tronquoy Lalande, St Estephe 2010
More new oak on this and more spicy and riper on the nose than the same stable’s Tronquoy de Sainte Anne; quite firm dark fruits character, nicely succulent on the mid-palate with good clean lines and succulent ripe fruit , a tad rustic on the finish with a bit more structure and tannin than its second wine, but very fresh if not yet approachable. 86 - 88+

Château Fonréaud, Listrac 2010.
Good colour, distinctive aromas, some green pepper and mocha oak and attractively juicy sweet dark berry fruits and dark chocolate on the palate; quite firm and robust tannins and astringency providing a substantial framework and structure to the wine, whose fruit hangs on in there. 86 - 88

Château Marsau 2010
Nice fresh damsony nose and good juicy ripe fruit, nicely oaked and succulently fresh, this is very juicy, supple and satisfying. 86 - 88

Château Reynon 2010
Deep colour, quite a lot of smoky oak on the nose and palate, god depth of dark fruits with firm damson acidity and tight tannins, almost demanding for a petit château. 86 – 88

Château Tronquoy de Sainte Anne, St Estephe 2010
Good colour, pleasantly aromatic, very nice juicy ripe succulent red fruits flavours with supple texture and freshness, a tad short and dry on the finish but a good typical petit château in the vintage with more focus and precision than you might expect. Quite serious stuff in fact. 86 – 88

Château Lamarque, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense deep opaque ruby, deep brooding aromas with a fair whack of slightly rubbery oak; the fruit is sweet and powerful but encased at this stage in a firm vice of drying tannins and a smoky autumn bonfire pile of oak. This will need time, and patience, to emerge from its cocoon of oak and tannins. 86 - 88

Goulée 2010
Deep colour, polished veneer of spicy, even sexy oak, on this, good sweet black fruit, dark chocolate. Not exactly sweet but lush, and bisected by firm incisive, damsony acidity, with supple juicy tannins; pleasurable, if quite demanding at the same time. 86 - 88

Château Fourcas Borie, Listrac 2010
Formerly Fourcas Dumont, this 70% merlot, 15% cab sauvignon and 15% petit verdot blend from the Ducru stable has an attractive nose with quite simple juicy fruit and nothing wrong with it, in fact it has very decently drinkable blackcurrant fruit, some chocolate and juicy, fresh acidity. 86 – 88

Château La Gaffelière, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010. Curious nose, hard to fathom, but plenty of dentine-cinnamony spice there behind the fruit; pleasant red fruits juiciness and good fresh savoury acidity, perfectly pleasant and approachable but lacks a bit of fruit concentration and charm and finishes a tad extracted and dry. 85 – 87

Château Citran, Haut-Médoc 2010
Dense colour, rather obvious sweet smoky oak, a little extracted and chewy and dominated by sweet vanilla oak characters, making it hard to see how the fruit will emerge from its wooden cask. 85 - 87

Château Malescasse, Haut-Médoc 2010
Good dense colour, brooding dark quite shy nose, firmly extracted and quite concentrated dark fruits, rather chewy and hefty at the moment, with lots of chunky dark fruit and chocolate; not easy to see your way through the thicket of tannins and oak, and finishing without the charm one might have hoped for, but again, this may well just need to settle down for the fruit to come through. 85 - 87

Château La Croix de Gay, Pomerol 2010
Hmm what happened here? There’s an odd nose on this one, pleasant enough red fruits character on the palate, albeit but a tad rustic and dry on the finish too. 85 - 87

Château Caronne Saint Gemme, Haut-Médoc
Deep colour, very ripe and concentrated black fruits, quite chunky and porty, hefty extraction on this one making it rather painful to taste at this stage, although may come round. 85 - 87

Château Clément-Pichon, Haut Médoc 2010
Smoked anchovy oak and vanilla oak? nicely concentrated dark fruits richness and good fruit concentration and richness, very nice fresh damsony acidity; powerfully flavoured and intense and yet hard to get beyond that slightly iodeney nose 85- 87?

Château La Couspaude, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
A dense youthful ruby, this has an intense sweet nose of blackcurrant jam and an odd, slightly meaty, bone marrow-like undertone as well; the fruit is dark with some of that meatiness underlying it, the extraction quite hefty bringing a chunky, almost chewy feel to the tannins. Trying hard , but, but, but...84 – 86

Château Loudenne, Haut-Médoc
Slightly dusty oak, ripe dark fruits, supple and juicy mid-length a tad one-dimensional with slightly rustic finish, but approachable and pleasant drinking, if a tad rustic and dry on the finish. 84 - 86

Château Charmail, Haut-Médoc
Overripe nose and fruit, too porty and jammy. 83 – 85

Château Grand Mayne, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Weird VA, porty nose, don't want to put this in your mouth if you can help it; tastes as if the fruit is a little oxidised with jammy notes and hefty extraction. Let’s hope its just the sample that’s a bit off colour. 83 – 85.

Château Trottevieille, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010
Slightly strange, grubby nose that seems to combine a certain stalkiness with overripeness: it's very chewy and extracted on the palate, and pulls up short in the mouth before giving you much of a chance to enjoy the fruit. 83 – 85

Château Pavie Decesse Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé 2010
Very ripe and porty nose, lots of sweet rich jammy fruit and very extracted tannins, powerful mouth-singeing alcohol, with a level of oak that you have to chew your way through; rather recalling Charlie Chaplin eating his own boots in The Gold Rush. It's hard to understand how anyone can make a wine like this; as for selling it, who'd want to buy? Appalling. 79 - 81

Château Dassault, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
One of the few to date that have been overripe and jammy on the nose, the fruit is also blackcurrant jammy and sweet with a liquoricey spicy edge in porty vein while the tannins are rather extracted and dry, so much so that it's hard to see how this wine will develop for the better. 79 – 81

Château Cap de Mourlin, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
Oh dear, Gott Im Himmel! What have we here? Oxidised bruised prunes on the nose, the fruit died somewhere between the vine and the cellar. A shocker. 79 - 81

Château Balestard La Tonnelle, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2010.
No, no, no. The nose is overwooded and clumsy, even slightly grubby, you don't want to taste and actually it's better on the palate but only just: horribly overextracted and dry. A shocker as it stands – and falls. 78 – 80

Rest of the Whites


Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Attractively aromatic, combining sweet smoky vanillin oak with ripe juicy exotic citrusy characters, this is nicely juicy and quite richly concentrated with fresh acidity and very nicely rounded out by spicy oak; powerful, richly flavoured and well-crafted. 90 - 92

Château Reynon 2010
A blend of sauvignon blanc, with a touch of semillon, this is an attractively refreshing dry white; clean, refreshing and dry, nicely juicy and piquant with an elegant dry finish and unoaked for maximum freshness. 87 – 89

Château Roc de Pellebouc 2010
A blend of sauvignon gris and sauvignon blanc, this is fresh, grapefruity juicy and zesty an attractive dry white that has a kinship with Graves, and is unoaked for maximum freshness and juiciness, finishing with attractive lemony acidity. 86 - 88

Château Doisy-Daëne Sec, Bordeaux Blanc 2010
Barrel-fermented but only 10% new oak, quite exotic, nice mineral dryness, good length with light smoky touch of oak and leesy, citrus-zesty freshness and balance. 89 – 91.

Clos Floridène, Graves 2010
Barrel-fermented sauvignon-semillon blend from 30 year old vines, showing an appealing touch of smoky new oak on the nose, quite leesy on the palate, rich and grapefuity, zesty and complex with lovely freshness. 89 – 91


Château Suau, Sauternes 2010
This has an alluring fresh, exotic grapefuity nose that seems to say sauvignon blanc; the palate is rich, intense, concentrated and creamy with a really attractively juicy, zesty quality and excellent length and balance. A really crowd-pleasing style if not the ultimate in complexity. 91 – 93.

Château Doisy Védrines, Sauternes 2010
Deliciously fresh and pineppley fruit, attarctive and rich with a nice peachy quality, well-absorbed oak and an attractive citrusy freshness. Overall this is very well-made and delightfully fresh and elegantly balanced if not quite in the superleague. 91 - 93

Château Bastor Lamontagne, Sauternes 2010
Rich, smoky and honeyed on the nose, immensely concentrated, almost viscously textured rich apricot and marmalade fruit on the palate with well-integrated, lightly smoky oak and good fresh balancing pineappley acidity. 90 – 92.

THE END (for now)

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