The just-bottled 2010 Monte Bello combines pure structure and power in a rich, full-
bodied style for this wine. Waves of dark red fruit, crushed rocks, flowers, mint and grilled herbs wrap around the long, insistent finish. Today, the 2010 is slightly more reticent than it was last year, but the wine comes to life the more it sits in the glass. Always classy, the 2010 Monte Bello impresses for its impeccable balance. Count me among those who will be thrilled to own this magnificent California classic. The 2010 is a decidedly virile, powerful Monte Bello, qualities winemaker Eric Baugher attributes to a year with a very cold summer and periods of heat that arrived only towards the tail end of the growing season. In 2010, the blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2040.
Dow Port 2011 96-98 Points Parker $79.99 per bottle
The 2011 Dow Vintage Port was made from no less than 44 separate ferments from finest fruit sourced from Quinta do Bomfim (35% of the blend), Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira (42%) and the Santinho (14%) and Cerdeira (6%) estates. Just six of the best lots were used in the final blend, which consists of 40% Touriga Franca, 36% Touriga Nacional, 10% Sousao and 14% of old vine plantings. It has a beautiful, quite extravagant bouquet with copious black and red fruit, Indian spice, and hints of menthol and orange rind that unfold wonderfully in the glass. The palate is a sumptuous affair, one that is beautifully balanced with velvety smooth, plump tannins, copious black fruit with a harmonious, white pepper-tinged finish that is a decadent delight. This is one of the finest of the declarations of 2011 Vintage Ports, a sublime expression of the vintage you would be foolish not to buy. This is Dow at its best. 5,000 cases have been declared. Tasted May 2013.
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011 97 Points Wine Spectator $94.99 per bottle
Powerful, featuring concentrated dark plum and spicy cherry flavors that are finely balanced, showing notes ofraspberry preserves. The mocha and wild herb accents are interwoven and supported by powerful tannins. Thefinish offers intense grip and violet hints. Best from 2020 through 2045.
Fonseca 2011 97-99 Points Parker $94.99 per bottle
The Fonseca 2011 is typically more forthcoming on the nose compared to the bashful Croft: a strident bouquet with lifted scents of freshly picked blackberries, kirsch, crushed stone and a dash of Hoi Sin and oyster sauce. It is very well-defined, very focused and direct. The palate is silky smooth with not a rough edge in sight, though not a typically voluptuous Fonseca because of the keen thread of acidity and the structure that lends this mighty Port wonderful backbone. A slight viscosity on the finish lacquers the tongue and indicates a core of sweet fruit is ticking away underneath that will surely explode several years after bottling. A tincture of salted licorice on the aftertaste is very attractive. This will turn out to become an outstanding Fonseca, the growing season taming its exuberance with spectacular results. So much potential, but just 6,000 cases were produced. Tasted May 2013.
Chateau Chasse Spleen 2010 90 Wine Spectator $44.99 per bottle
Very supple and refined, with a crumpled velvet feel to the smoldering bay, tobacco and mulled spice hints surrounding the core of steeped plum and blackberry fruit. Flashes of cedar and sandalwood hang through the fine-grained finish. Rustic and lovely. Drink now through 2017. â€“JM
Chateau La Pointe 2010 93 Wine Spectator $49.99 per bottle
This has power in reserve, but stays remarkably restrained for now, with a torrent of boysenberry, fig and raspberry fruit held in check by charcoal-studded grip and well-embedded acidity. The long, dense smoked apple wood finish should let this cruise nicely in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2030. â€“JM
Chateau Talbot 2010 94 Points Parker $74.99 per bottle
One of the best Talbots over recent years, and possibly the best since the 1986 and 1982, this sexy juggernaut of a wine struts forth with an opaque plum/ruby/purple color and terrific notes of creme de cassis, licorice, roasted herbs and smoky barbecue. It is a brilliant effort, with full body, wonderful fruit, a savory, expansive mouthfeel, sensational texture and a long finish, but no hardness or astringency. This is a fabulous Talbot to drink over the next 20-25 years.
Chateau Malescot St-Exupery 2009 Parker 96 $119.99 per bottle
An inky/purple color is followed by notes of Asian plum sauce, forest floor, creme de cassis, black raspberries and a floral component that is unusual for a Margaux. A wine of exceptional intensity and purity with a full-bodied, sumptuous texture, lots of fresh vibrancy and excellent definition, this beautiful 2009 exhibits high but sweet tannin. It is more sexy than the 2005 was at a similar age, although their level of extract and concentration is relatively equal. Something about the 2009 reminds me of a Margaux version of St.-Julien’s Leoville Poyferre … if that makes any sense. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040.
Chateau Malescot St-Exupery 2010 Parker 95 $104.99 per bottle
Gorgeous, flowery, classic Margaux once again, the 2010 Malescot St.-Exupery continues to show virtually no toasty oak, given the impeccable balance and full-bodied, full-throttle style it possesses. Black raspberries, creme de cassis and spring floral notes intermixed with forest floor and a hint of charcoal are followed by an opulent, sexy, full-bodied wine whose tannins have become much sweeter, while the wine is less restrained yet still exuberant and impressive. This is a phenomenal example once again for this estate, harmonious in every sense of style, extraordinarily long, rich and ageworthy. Three to four years of bottle age will do wonders to make it more accessible, but this wine is set for 25-30 years of longevity.
Chateau Kirwan 2010 92 Parker $79.99 per bottle
As always, this estate has produced a blockbuster style of Margaux in 2010, with the more masculine side of the appellation providing density, power, big body, loads of fruit, extract and richness. This wine is powerful and concentrated, but by no means excessively extracted. Dense purple, muscular, deep and impressive, it is a wine that allows for no compromise among wine lovers. Forget it for 6-10 years and drink it over the following 20-40 years.
Chateau Lynch Bages 2010 96 Parker $169.99 per bottle
The 2010 Lynch Bages is an absolutely brilliant wine, and somewhat reminiscent at this stage in its development of the profound 1989. Jean-Charles Cazes, who took over for his father a number of years ago, has produced a magnificent wine with the classic creme de cassis note intermixed with smoke, graphite and spring flowers. It is a massive Lynch Bages, full-bodied and very 1989-ish, with notable power, loads of tannin, and extraordinary concentration and precision. This is not a Lynch Bages to drink in its exuberant youth, but one to hold on to for 5-6 years and drink over the following three decades.
Chateau Pontet Canet 2009 100 Points Parker. One 6 bottle wood case of 750 ml available at $1,500.00
An amazing wine in every sense, this classic, full-bodied Pauillac is the quintessential Pontet Canet from proprietor Alfred Tesseron, who continues to reduce yields and farms his vineyards biodynamically â€“ a rarity in Bordeaux. Black as a moonless night, the 2009 Pontet Canet offers up notes of incense, graphite, smoke, licorice, creme de cassis and blackberries. A wine of irrefutable purity, laser-like precision, colossal weight and richness, and sensational freshness, this is a tour de force in winemaking that is capable of lasting 50 or more years. The tannins are elevated, but they are sweet and beautifully integrated as are the acidity, wood and alcohol (which must be in excess of 14%). This vineyard, which is situated on the high plateau of Pauillac adjacent to Mouton Rothschild, appears to have done everything perfectly in 2009. This cuvee should shut down in the cellar and re-open in a decade or more. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2075.
Chateau Pontet Canet 2010 100 Points Parker. One 6 bottle wood case of magnums available at $3,000.00
An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and thatâ€™s assuming it doesnâ€™t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canetâ€™s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!