One of the best-run estates in the underrated and undervalued appellation of Cotes de Castillon is Chateau d’Aiguilhe, which is owned by Stephan von Neipperg. As with all of von Neipperg’s wines, Stephane Derenoncourt is the consulting winemaker. The blend is usually 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, although I did not see the statistics on this particular vintage. The 2010 (10,000 cases produced) achieved 14% natural alcohol from modest yields of 34 hectoliters per hectare. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue, lots of cassis, crushed rock and floral characteristics, a round, generous, savory, broadly textured style and sweet tannins. Drink it over the next decade.
A tiny organic vineyard with pre-phylloxeric vines owned by Pascal and Sophie Lucin Douteau. ‘Louison & Leopoldine’ is their second wine; with a high proportion of Cabernet Franc it has a charm and elegance and is drinking wonderfully right now.
‘Red cherry with hints of mint, creamy and smooth on the palate. Expressive and with fine depth of flavour – a good find.’ – www.bordeaux.com
A superb wine from the Southern Medoc, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc is a real sleeper of the vintage. Floral notes intermixed with forest floor, black currant and some subtle smoke and truffle are all present in this seriously endowed, full-bodied wine that is performing beautifully.
After bottling, wine often goes through a difficult period of weak aromatic expression and/or imbalance, with a sensation of hollowness. This stage is called “Bottle Shock”. In the case of Kirwan 2009, this phase is over and the fruit dominates, with robust notes of black cherry. The attack is soft, round and juicy in the mouth. The flesh has a velvety character that blankets the palate while aromas of pepper, cedar, cocoa and light roasted coffee complement the pervasive fruit. Even young, Kirwan 2009 already presents remarkable complexity. The months to come will further accentuate these perceptions of volume and smoothness. As for the bouquet, it will continue to develop for many years…..patience.
Château Kirwan is a 3ème Cru Classé. The wine is typically a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. The wine is then matured in oak barriques (30-50% new) for 18 months. Owned by Dutch Bordeaux négociants firm Schröder and since 1925, it has enjoyed an upsurge in quality since the 1990s when bringing the estate back to its true status as a classed growth.
Intense aromas of beeswax and honey combine with a luscious, full-bodied palate of ripe tropical fruit, bitter orange and quince with lovely fresh acidity to balance the richness of this delicious sweet wine.
The long, dry growing season of 2009 produced extremely healthy grapes and this wine, although beautiful to drink now, has the capability to age for well in excess of 20 years.
Classified a Second growth Cru Classé in 1855, Château Filhot is a famous Sauternes property producing wonderful sweet wines from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The vineyard originally dates back to the seventeenth century and the Château was built in 1709. Now covering 62 hectares on deep gravel, sand and clay soils, Filhot displays the classic characteristics of Sauternes produced from low-yielding, nobly-rotted grapes individually picked by hand.
Beautiful blueberry, black raspberry and cassis fruit as well as incense and graphite jump from the glass of this inky ruby/purple-colored wine. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, dense and rich, this is one of the stars of Moulis in 2009.
Château Chasse-Spleen is a leading estate in Moulis. Although classified as a Cru Bourgeois, it regularly outperforms many of the Médoc’s more renowned classed growths.
A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. It is matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 18 months and is bottled unfiltered.
A rich, ripe core of dark fruit, tobacco, leather and spices, cassis, plum and cedar too. A wonderful blend of classic Bordeaux styling with modern fruit purity.
Impressive generosity of flavour (delicious, rich dark fruits) with elegant structure, the greatness of the vaunted 2010 vintage is confirmed at every point from the succulent entry to the long, fine finish. Supported by a velvety bed of fine ripe tannins with a spine of juicy acid and liquorice spice, it’s approaching its very best drinking – released at 5 years old, it will only improve over the next 5 years.
90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“This wine, which is a blend of the three basic varietals planted in Bordeaux – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – is a major sleeper of the vintage and far exceeded my expectations, and that, of course, is all good news. Lots of red and black currant fruit, licorice, spice and soft tannins have resulted in a silky, opulently styled wine that far exceeds its humble origins and appellation. Drink it over the its first decade of life, although the position of Prince Robert is to release this wine only when it is showing some maturity, as their target market is largely consumers desiring immediate gratification and restaurants seeking similar qualities. (RP)”