harvest 2010

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Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Pétrus and Cheval-Blanc

Notes on the 2010 wines from two big names on the Right Bank, plus the great Sauternes estate of Yquem

Posted: March 30, 2011  By James Molesworth

On my last day of visits in Bordeaux, I decided to go back where I started—Pomerol and St.-Emilion. Since I would be beginning my blind tastings of the 2010 barrel samples with wines from those appellations, I thought it would make a smooth transition, so I stopped at Châteaus Pétrus and Cheval-Blanc. Below are my notes.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Haut-Brion

Notes on the 2010 reds and whites from the first-growth and its sister in Pessac-Léognan

Posted: March 29, 2011  By James Molesworth

The expressway that circles the city of Bordeaux has become a major artery for commuters and long-haul truckers, and traffic on the rocade is always bad. So I avoided it for the short drive from my hotel to Pessac, the Bordeaux suburb that now engulfs the historic château and vineyards of first-growth Haut-Brion.

Jean-Philippe Delmas, the technical director at the sister châteaus of Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion, which are just opposite each other, has a big vintage on his hands. Of all the first-growths, these wines were easily the most backward examples of the 2010 vintage yet. Delmas was dealing with too much of a good thing, which he admits made for a tough time deciding on the blend.

Below are my notes on the 2010 Haut-Brion red and white, as well as those of La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion, Le Clarence de Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Château Latour

Notes on the 2010 wines from a first-growth aiming to make every parcel worthy of the grand vin

Posted: March 28, 2011  By James Molesworth

Last December, I visited Château Latour, one of the three first-growths in Pauillac, and spoke with its intensely focused president, Frédéric Engerer. On this visit, he picked up where he left off—all Latour, all the time, despite the recent acquisition (pending final paperwork) of Château-Grillet in the Rhône.

Engerer wanted to talk about selection. It seems that every top château in Bordeaux is being more stringent in their selection of the lots for their grand vin. But Engerer insists that the process begins in the vineyards. Simply selecting quality levels of wine after the fact is limited.

After touring a few vineyard parcels, on bike no less, I tasted the 2010 Latour, Les Forts de Latour and the third-wine Pauillac. Below are my notes.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Château Mouton-Rothschild

Notes on the 2010 wines from the first-growth and its siblings, d’Armailhac and Clerc-Milon

Posted: March 25, 2011  By James Molesworth

Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac is the only Bordeaux classified growth ever to have been promoted; in 1973, it rose from second-growth to first-growth. Proud yet unyielding, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the owner at the time, proclaimed the château’s motto: “I, Mouton, do not change.”

But since taking over the winemaking here in 2004, Philippe Dhalluin has made changes—and the wines here are embarking on a new era of purity and elegance, while still retaining their classic, ironclad power.

Below are my scores and tasting notes for the wines I tasted with Dhalluin at Mouton, including châteaus d’Armailhac and Clerc-Milon.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Château Lafite Rothschild

Notes on wines from the first-growth and other estates in the Rothschild portfolio: Duhart-Milon, L'Evangile and Rieussec

Posted: March 24, 2011  By James Molesworth

I headed further up through the Médoc today, into the heart of the left bank’s prime Cabernet Sauvignon territory—St.-Julien and Pauillac.

I ended the day at the famed first-growth Château Lafite-Rothschild, where I met with estate manager Charles Chevalier and Christophe Salin, managing director of the parent company, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).

Below are my scores and tasting notes for the wines I tasted, including châteaus Lafite Rothschild, Duhart-Milon, L'Evangile and Rieussec.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting at Château Margaux

An overview of the 2010 vintage of top estates on Bordeaux's Left Bank, including Château Margaux

Posted: March 23, 2011  By James Molesworth

Another splendid day in Bordeaux, with bright skies and cool breezy weather greeted me as I made the drive into the Margaux appellation for a handful of visits.

If Christian Moueix is the dean of Pomerol, Paul Pontallier holds an equivalent position in Margaux. The soft-spoken but serious winemaker has built a sterling 30-year career at the helm of one of the region’s top estates, first growth Château Margaux. Like Moueix, Pontallier resists hyperbole, yet he was nearly giddy (by Pontallier standards) at the prospects of the 2010 vintage. I had spoken to him shortly after the harvest last year, and he has not changed his position.

Below are my scores and tasting notes for Margaux's red and white wines.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Tasting with Christian Moueix

An overview of the 2010 vintage at top Right Bank estates, including Lafleur-Pétrus and Trotanoy

Posted: March 22, 2011  By James Molesworth

The weather in Bordeaux today was simply perfect for tasting—bright and sunny, with high air pressure and a fresh, cooling breeze. It put me in a great mood as I set off for Pomerol for my first day of visits to taste the barrel samples of 2010 Bordeaux.

As if I truly needed another reason to be excited, since I was going to visit Christian Moueix. Moueix is one of the true wise men of Bordeaux, and his portfolio is rich with the jewels of the appellations of Pomerol and St.-Emilion. Though he no longer personally controls Château Pétrus (I’ll taste that wine later), there’s no better place than Moueix’s Libourne headquarters to get an overview of how the Right Bank fared in the vintage.

Below are my scores and tasting notes for the wines I tasted, including châteaus Lafleur-Pétrus and Trotanoy.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Off to Bordeaux

My château visits and tastings of the 2010 red, white and sweet Bordeaux start this week

Posted: March 21, 2011  By James Molesworth

I'm on my way to Bordeaux to taste the 2010 vintage, the first official unveiling of the vintage by the region's many producers. Just before I left, I was able to taste 20 wines from the Right Bank, a mix of Pomerol, St.-Emilion and satellite appellations. (View notes on these wines here.) Based on that first small sampling, I think I'm going to enjoy my tastings and visits over the next two weeks: 2010 looks like it will give the tremendous 2009 vintage a run for its money.

The châteaus will be showcasing barrel samples, unfinished wines still aging in their cellars. So what exactly do you look for when tasting young wines, reds in particular, at such an early stage in their evolution?

News & Features  :  Barrel Tasting

2010 Bordeaux Barrel Tasting

How exciting is the new vintage? James Molesworth is tasting in Bordeaux for two weeks to find out. Check out his tasting notes and daily blogs

Posted: March 21, 2011  By James Molesworth

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

Bordeaux 2010: The First Look

20 Right Bank châteaus give a glimpse of the quality of the new vintage

Posted: March 18, 2011  By James Molesworth

Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2011 Issue  :  News

2010 Vintage Report

Posted: February 28, 2011  By Mitch Frank

Blogs  :  Oz Clarke's Adventures

Puzzling Over Burgundy

First impressions can change with time

Posted: January 25, 2011  By Oz Clarke

You can get a very strong and not always accurate view of a vintage by turning up on the wrong day. I turned up for the end of the 2010 vintage in Burgundy under sodden late-September skies; lines of rain-coated pickers were spread across the slopes looking like marauding beetles. Could the wines possibly be any good?

But then you can also get a surprisingly warped view of a vintage even if you wait for 15 months, until the tasting season starts. Usually the Burgundy specialists offer their wine for tasting in the January that falls about 15 months after harvest. In January 2010, I had a good look at the 2008 Burgundies and decided that they were in the main thin, hollow and unappealing.

What I didn’t know at the time was that most of them had still not undergone their malolactic fermentation. Retasting the wines in September 2010, I found that thinness has now transformed into elegance.

Dec. 15, 2010 Issue  :  News

Harvest Mishaps

Posted: December 15, 2010  By Mitch Frank

News & Features  :  News

2010 Vintage Report: Europe

A first look at vintage quality in European wine regions, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Posted: November 19, 2010  

News & Features  :  Tasting Reports

2010 Beaujolais Nouveau Arrives

A blind tasting of France's first wines of 2010 reveals a solid vintage

Posted: November 18, 2010  By Alison Napjus

News & Features  :  News

2010 Vintage Report: France

A first look at vintage quality in French wine regions, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Posted: November 18, 2010  

News & Features  :  News

2010 Vintage Report: United States

A first look at vintage quality in U.S. wine regions, with eyewitness reports from growers and winemakers

Posted: November 17, 2010  

Nov. 15, 2010 Issue  :  News

2010 Vintage Tests California Vintners

Posted: November 15, 2010  By Tim Fish

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Pacific Northwest Battens Down

Cold, rain affect both Oregon and Washington in 2010

Posted: October 25, 2010  By Harvey Steiman

Despite cold temperatures and rain, vintners in the Oregon and Washington are optimistic that the 2010 vintage will be memorable.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

A Soggy Weekend In Wine Country

Vintners raced to beat a big, wet storm

Posted: October 25, 2010  By James Laube

A powerful storm drenched Northern California over the weekend, putting an exclamation point on a very strange harvest.

Winemakers worked frantically last week to harvest as many grapes as possible in anticipation of the weekend rain, and rain it did, sometimes quite heavily. More than 2 inches fell in Napa, and closer to 3 in areas such as Mendocino and Sonoma, which are closer to the ocean.

Those who beat the storm are excited about quality. For many winemakers who didn't, there is little to do but wait and hope.

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