Cru Classes de Graves 60th Anniversary Tasting

1 March 2013
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee

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This year, 2013, marks the 60th anniversary of the official classification of the Cru Classes de Graves. To commemorate this special sixth decade, the sixteen chateaux of the classified growths, all located in the appellation of Pessac-Leognan, will be showcasing their wines in major cities around the world. The group will be presenting two great vintages – their 2010 whites and their 2009 reds. Below are notes from my tasting of the Cru Classes de Graves wines in February 2013.


Top red wines


1. 2009 Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Majestic, complex, reserved Haut-Brion that shows amazing potential. At the moment the wine is closed but the texture and structure leaves no room for doubt that this is one of their greatest vintages. (97-99)


2. 2009 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Compared with Haut-Brion, La Mission is more open with spicy, cedar, tobacco flavours. A generous, layered wine with supple texture and beautifully ripe tannins. (95-97)


3. 2009 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Beautifully crafted red with velvety, almost silky tannins. A poised, gracious wine that is both serious and generous with ripe plums and blackberry fruits. (94)


4. 2009 Chateau Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
A classy red with plenty of substance and potential to age for decades. The beautiful handling of the tannins makes the wine seductive and substantial. Don’t approach for another 10 years. (92-94)


5. 2009 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
An alluring red with supple texture and plenty of spicy, floral and blackberry fruit. The wine is generous without being heavy or big. Wonderfully composed, harmonious red. (92)


6. 2009 Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
This red combines freshness along with precise, detailed flavours that range from cedar, cassis to sweet spices and violets. A lifted red that is more open than many of the other wines from this vintage. (91)


7. 2009 Chateau de Fieuzal , Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
One of the most open 2009 reds from Pessac-Leognan tasted in a lineup of more than 12. Expressive flavours of cedar, violets and cassis that are wrapped around ripe, velvety tannins. Good concentration and balance. (88)


8. 2009 Chateau Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Full bodied, generous red with firm tannin structure and good flavour concentration. This is an opulent style by Latour-Martillac with lots of ripe blackberry and plum fruits. (87)


9. 2009 Chateau Olivier, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
This wine is open and enjoyable now with plenty of cassis, plums and Chinese dried red date flavours. Well composed, medium bodied red. (86)


Top white wines


1. 2010 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
This is consistently one of my top white wines from Bordeaux. Year after year, Olivier Bernard crafts delicious, generous whites that have great intensity and potential to age. This vintage is especially concentrated and has a very long finish. (92)


2. 2010 Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Both the whites and reds from this chateau are excellent and in 2010, their white wine is vibrant, lifted and filled with juicy apricot and nectarine fruits. Enjoy it now but this is a wine worthy of your cellar to age easily for a decade. (90)


3. 2010 Chateau Pape Clement Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
This is a full bodied, creamy Bordeaux white that has quite obvious toasty oak notes. There is sufficient intensity and layers of ripe flavours to stand up to the oak treatment and it would be best to approach it in 2-3 years time. (90)


4. 2010 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
I love the svelteness and fresh, lively flavours in this wine. Elegant white with hint of gooseberries, star fruit and dragon fruit. Well integrated oak and fairly long finish. (90) 


5. 2010 Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Light bodied and elegant, this wine has lovely vibrant flavours of mangosteen and passionfruit. The crisp acidity and lean body allows the details of the wine to shine. Beautifully crafted. (88)


6. 2010 Chateau Bouscaut Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Light bodied, focused white with gooseberry flavours and herbal notes in the background. Lively flavours that are lifted by fresh acidity. Balanced, well-made Bordeaux white that should be consumed fairly young. (86)