I attended the 2010 preview tasting of Bordeaux at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The tasting took place in the cental dining room under a beautiful stained glass dome which had a sun light background. My purpose was to taste and evaluate about 24 of the 120 Chateaux that were pouring their current vintage.
OVERALL OPINION: The entire range of wines were all extremely well made and rich in color and had youthful tannins which will reward time in the cellar. Most of the wines had a rich outer layer of fruit and aromas to compliment the core of ripeness. The level of winemaking was outstanding as there were no apparent flaws in both red and whites. At the prices these wines will sell for, you would expect top wine making that shows the inherent terrior of the vineyards and the vintage.
TOP WINES: Because I did not taste more than 30 properties these were at the top of my list. I tasted mostly White Graves since they are the most rare. Why? Because if you get the opportunity it would be foolish not to!
RED BORDEAUX: Rausan Segla, Figeac, Lynch Bages, Pichon Baron and Langoa Barton. Each of these wines were most impressive with dark red fruit flavors and rich extract that gives a full palate feel and long finish. These wines stand alone as high points of their respective districts in Bordeaux.
WHITE BORDEAUX: Chateau la France, Pape Clement and Domaine de Chevalier. Except for la France the others are barrel fermented. Each of these wines is impressive for their size and complete mouth feel. They are very serious wines which will age quite well due to their acid to fruit balance. I was most impressed with the quality of Chateau la France; it is outstanding. There were also others of very high quality: Carbonnieux , Rahoul, La Louviere Latour Martillac and Smith Haut Lafitte.
SAUTERNES: This region was extremely successful in 2010. These are some of the most difficult wines to produce because of the need for botritis. That being said two of the eight wines poured were clearly outstanding. Chateau Suduiraut and de Fargues were very complete, rich and round wines of distinction. The de Fargues is owned by Alexandre Lur Salues, the former owner of d'qYuem the premier Sauterne of France. Winemaking and viticulture is the same at both properties. They married the intense fruit of Semillion and Sauvignon. The other wines tasted were all very good but just a shade less rich and long and they were: Coutet, Bastor-Lamontagne, Climens, Rayne Vigneau, Doisy Daene, Guiraud, Latour Blanche and Lafaurie-Peyraguey.
SUMMARY: The wines were brilliant. If your pocketbook is there all of these wines will provide excellent drinking for many years. Given the fact that it is such a good vintage I think there could be deals in Bordeaux from other areas such as Fronsac, Listrac and more satellite areas. My hope is that this has been of some help for you when choosing Bordeaux in the coming months and year. Enjoy a glass of good wine.