Champagne Mandois – Blanc de Blancs Brut Premier Cru, 2010
100% Chardonnay, this is a crisp Champagne with fantastic depth of flavour and a long, biscuity finish. Light yellow with green tints. Refined, mature nose blending brioche, mineral and toast notes backed by delicate fruit. The palate shows seductively refined texture, ethereal fullness, freshness and minerality.
Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc, 2010
A beautiful effort from Chasse-Spleen, this dense purple wine exhibits plenty of black currant and black cherry fruit with some licorice, roasted herbs and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied and supple, the final blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot has produced a fleshy, succulent style of Chasse-Spleen to drink over the next 15+ years.
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.
Château d’Agassac, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, 2010
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.
Château d’Aiguilhe, Comtes von Neipperg, Côtes de Castillon, 2010
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.
Château Meyney, Saint-Estéphe, 2010
55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot. Deep, dark cherry red. Smells more pure-fruited than the 2009 and doesn’t have its dusty mineral character. Much more down the line Cabernet aroma of cassis and cedar but the fruit is intense so that there is also a touch of dark chocolate – in a thick, chewy texture as well as in the flavour. Firm and chewy and with real mass as well as structure and still finishes fresh thanks to the fruit clarity. This has some way to go but has fine St-Estèphe direction and firmness and the fruit to fill out the middle. Long and satisfying and attractively aromatic as well as powerful.
Château Meyney is a Cru Bourgeois estate located in St Estèphe. Owned by Domaines Cordier, it neighbours Château Montrose and has relatively small production of 30,000 cases per year.
Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva Rioja DOC 2010
– This wine is only made in “excellent” or “very good” vintages. It undergoes nearly two-and-a-half years ageing in highest quality oak barrels, followed by further ageing in bottle before release. Showing great complexity with notes of roasted coffee, spice, plum and strawberry. Powerful in the mouth with fleshy fruit and nuances of toasty, well-integrated oak leading to a long, balanced finish. Can be drunk now with grilled meats or game, or cellared successfully for the next 10 years.