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November 16, 2012

UNION DES GRANDS CRUS DE BORDEAUX 2010

UGC1

From very early on the wine makers of Bordeaux wanted to share their nectar with the rest of the world, however this was not very easy for the smaller producers of Bordeaux who had neither the funds nor the man-power.

In 1973 six (crus classes) pioneers came together with the innovative idea of joining forces with other producers as a collective to show case their best, and so giving birth to the Union Grand Crus de Bordeaux.

2010 VINTAGE

2010 is high in alcohol, with high acidity and big tannins, this helped to create balanced wines with great structure. A wet June and dry Autumn helped to produce vines of good concentration, high sugar and lots of tannin. The cooler evenings of 2010 – compared to 2009 – produced higher acidity giving the wines a more refreshing quality. With more structure the wines have longer aging capability and will need more time to become approachable. Overall the Left-bank displayed better acidity and balance than the Right-bank. Robert Parker gives 2010 the same praise as 2009 and 2005, stating that these are the “three greatest Bordeaux vintages” he has tasted in his career.

In summary 2010 had great concentration and structure which should see them through for the long term.

LEFT-BANK

St Emilion Grand Cru:

  • Chateaux Figeac* (–PP)
    Deep purple with ruby accents. Raspberry, plummy, ripe fruit, eucalyptus with vanilla notes. Lovely roundness with soft approachable velvety tannins, high alcohol, but acidity manages to balance. Medium finish. Juicy and quite lovely.
  • Chateaux La Gaffeliere (91-93PP)
    Smokey and quite heady! Concentrated fruit with good acidity that lifts on the finish.
  • Chateaux Troplong Mondot (96-98+PP)
    Dense ripe red fruit, raspberry, redcurrant, plum, smoke. Lots if vanilla. Velvety tannins, high alcohol but also high in acidity, needs time to integrate.

Pomerol:

  • Chateaux La Croix de Gay (89-91PP)
    Alcohol quite pronounced on the nose, though there is also freshness. On the palate concentrated fruit with soft, subtle tannins and high alcohol. Detection of almost burnt caramel. Lots of vanilla and sweet spice. Perhaps not enough acid for balance.

RIGHT-BANK

Margaux:

  • Chateaux Brane Cantenac* (93-96PP)
    A little closed on the nose. Starts with saltiness, then follows with dark fruit, violets and boiled sweets. More promise on the palate with silky tannins, black fruit and slight note of burnt caramel. Feminine and elegant. Nice hints of violets on the finish with a lovely savouriness. Medium alcohol. Very refreshing. Great Wine.
  • Chateaux Durfort-Vivens* (89-91PP)
    Dark concentrated purple. This is deep, packed with concentrated fruit, with black current, boysenberry and cassis. Good acidity with ripe tannin and a refreshing finish. Incredible burst of violets on the finish, quite something!
  • Chateaux Lascombes* (94-97PP)
    Rich, concentrated and quietly seductive. Concentrated ripe dark fruit accompanied by violets and beautiful ripe soft tannins, gorgeous mouth-feel. Quite high in alcohol however high acidity helps lift. Good structure, needs time to soften and integrate. On the finish violets, perfume, fruit, lingering… I could have tasted this forever.
  • Chateaux Rauzan-Gassies* (90-93PP)
    Perfumed and soft yet concentrated on the nose. On the palate vanilla, violets, chocolate, damsons, boysenberry, bursting with fruit. Soft fine tannins on the palate and lovely concentration on the finish. Feminine and pretty.
  • Chateaux Rauzan-Segla* (92-94PP)
    Still quite feminine with a of touch smoke, detected alcohol in the nose and a whiff of chlorine. Lovely savouriness with hints of sweet spice. On the palate a touch denser and greener accompanied by cassis. Packed with lots of fine tannins. High acidity and high alcohol again, needs time.

St Julien:

  • Chateaux Beychevelle (90-92PP)
    Concentrated nose filled with cassis, chocolate, leather, toast  and spice. Quite an elegant wine with good body and acidity.
  • Chateaux Branaire-Ducru (93-95PP)
    Deep ruby, nose is filled with dark fruit character, toast and vanilla. On the palate a backbone of fresh fruit and spice. High acidity.
  • Chateaux Gruaud Larose (92-94PP)
    Muscular, serious with a pleasant freshness. Dark fruit, cassis, concentrated and deep. Smokey with a hint of tar. Ripe fine tannins with high alcohol on the finish, dark fruit and capsicum.
  • Chateaux Langoa Barton* (90-92PP)
    This broad shouldered wine is smoky and musky with black currant and black currant leaves, dense fruit with sweet vanilla notes. Good acidity with well integrated alcohol. Long fruit driven finish. Will be lovely in time.
  • Chateaux Leoville Barton* (91-93+PP)
    Deep dense beautiful colour. Nose attacks with chocolate, dark fruit, burnt caramel, rich and compact. Lots of vanilla however this is quite well integrated. Beautiful ripe tannins. Alcohol battles it out with acidity continually on finish. Incredible stuff.
  • Chateaux Leoville Poyferre (95-98PP)
    A little closed, again compact flavours with a touch of perfume. Flavours of cassis, damson, plum, blue berry, smoke and a hint of eucalyptus slowly emerge. Good acidity with a medium body. Tannins slightly tougher, needs time to soften.
  • Chateaux Talbot (91-93PP)
    Quite soft and ripe fruit. Lovely chalky tannins creating a lovely mouth-feel. Soft smoke is complimented by black current. Elegant, well rounded with a black fruit finish.

Pauillac:

  • Chateaux Batailley (89-91PP)
    Subtle at first then an explosion of fruit. A touch of greenness with black currant leaf, smoke. Heavier tannins, quite high in alcohol with a long finish. Very refined.
  • Chateau Clerc Milon (91-93PP)
    Opaque ruby. Vibrant black fruit, cassis, damsons and cedar. High alcohol and well balanced. Full bodied with high acidity and structured tannins. Lovely long finish.
  • Chateaux D’Armailhac* (89-92PP)
    Good concentration of dark fruit. Ripe tannins, nice mouth-feel, touch of leafiness. Fresh, medium bodied, very drinkable. Delicious.
  • Chateaux Lynch Bages* (95-97PP)
    Heady and intoxicating. Dense purple, with cassis, smoke. Thick and full on the palate. Mocha, fruitcake, black currant accompanied by silky tannins. Finishes on fruitcake. Serious and deep.
  • Chateaux Pichon-Longueville* (97-99+PP)
    Soft, beautiful, elegant, eucalyptus, subtle ripe fruit and smoke. On the palate fresh, lifted with velvety tannins. Alcohol is possibly a touch too high. Refreshing long finish with chocolate notes and sweet spice.
  • Chateaux Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (92-95+PP)
    A little shy perhaps. Hidden layers of spice, pepper and liquorice. Dark fruit with good acidity and a medium finish of polished black fruit.

Sauternes et Barsac:

  • Chateaux Coutet (93-95PP)
    Lovely and rich, a touch musky with lemon and mandarin. Wonderful mouthfeel, silky and concentrated. On the palate more fruit with notes of peach and pineapple, finishes with orange marmalade
  • Chateaux Doisy Daene (92-92PP) 
    Camomile and marmalade. Intense with a slight headiness. High alcohol and great acidity. Long finish with stone fruits fruits.
  • Chateaux Guiraud* (91-93PP)
    Lifted and bright. Full with a viscous honey like mouth-feel, notes of orange marmalade, lemon rind, touch of orange, nectarine. Lively, long finish. Lovely stuff.

Apologies for the over extracted use of the word lovely, but a lot of it was. An incredible vintage with lots of promise.

* Denotes our favourites.