Overview of 2010 Right Bank Wines - St Emilion

7 April 2011
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee


The 2010 reds from St Emilion are less consistent than in 2009, but the standout properties like Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Angelus made terrific wines – some of their best examples from this decade. Ausone was the most impressive, able to combine lifted fruit flavours with fresh acidity, and excellent concentration with dense, velvety smooth seamless tannins. Ausone was, without competition, my top wine from the right bank. The wines that disappointed were too extracted, alcoholic, or had bitter, tough tannins. Modern style St Emilions that are muscular, thick, body-builder types were most often too heavy – high alcohol, dry tannins and thick texture. The most successful producers combined freshness with tame tannins that are layered and cashmere-like in texture.


Below are a selection of my top picks:


1. 2010 Château Ausone, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Ausone exudes aromas of violets, cigars, plums, and blackberries and has an exuberant and lifted palate with velvety firm tannins. This is a perfect Ausone, better than the 2009, more concentrated yet with greater lifted acidity and intensity. A truly gorgeous wine, it has an amazing finish and great depth, suggesting it will keep for decades. 55% Cab Franc, 45% Merlot. (98-100)


2. 2010 Château Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Cheval Blanc gives off notes of violets, roses, cedar, tobacco, spices and blackberries, resulting in a very aromatic wine, with rich velvety tannins and a density that is prominent on the mid palate and finish. More restrained in style than the 2009, this is a classic, precise wine built to last for many decades. While the 2010 is wonderful I have a slight preference for the 2009, which has more sex appeal, perhaps on account of its much higher Merlot content – 60%, compared with only 44% in 2010. (96-98)


3. 2010 Château Angelus, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Angelus has notes of fresh blackberries, blueberries and cedar, and is made in a lively style with good length and freshness. The wines of Angelus are definitely evolving towards a more elegant style, with the right amount of supporting acidity. (93-96)


4. 2010 Château Ausone la Chapelle d’Ausone, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Chapelle d’Ausone offers notes of roasted herbs, spices, plums, and blackberries, and amazing flavours that just dance on the palate. Lacking any heaviness, the wine is generous on the palate, with flavours of great intensity and length. Composed of mostly Merlot, this Chapelle d’Ausone is longer and has longer aging potential than the 2009. (93-96)


5. 2010 Château Larcis-Ducasse, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Larcis Ducasse gives off aromas of cedar, roasted meat, spices, and ripe plums, and has wonderful and complex layers of flavour, with great depth of fruit. In this powerful, well made and full bodied style, all the elements are heightened and elevated.. Both samples tasted were very impressive – this is a fantastic wine! (93-95)


6. 2010 Château Moulin St-Georges, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Moulin St. Georges has notes of roasted herbs, spices, plums, and blackberries, with expressive yet precise and layered flavours interlaced in a gorgeous intricate pattern. This is a very sophisticated, classy wine of velvety tannins and great clarity and depth. A phenomenal wine with a very long finish. (93-95)


7. 2010 Château Pavie, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Pavie is made in a rich, ripe modern style but with very nice depth and finesse. Aromas of ripe plums, blackberries, cassis, and cedar are followed on the palate by rich generous fruit and well managed tannins. In most recent years Pavie borders on being too heavy but this year the acidity lifts the flavours and adds lightness while retaining good length, but it will still take about a decade for the tannins to be tamed. (93-95)


8. 2010 Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Canon la Gaffeliere has aromas of blackberries, blueberries, cedar and plums, and on the palate we find a dense, full-bodied wine whose tannins are very stern and jutting out right now. While there is plenty of depth and intensity to suggest the wine will come around in several years time, this is a great wine for laying down for your children – it will easily age for decades. (92-94)


9. 2010 Château Figeac, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Figeac gives up notes of tomato leaf, cassis, and herbs, and wonderful spices and very detailed flavours on the mid palate and finish, yielding a supple, soft wine with plenty of depth and finesse. This is a typically classy and well-made Figeac that isn’t big or powerful, yet offers wonderful terroir expression and will clearly age for decades. (92-94)


10. 2010 Château Haut Simard, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Haut Simard offers plums, blackberries, blueberries, and cedar on the nose, and a lovely linear profile with fresh acidity and a nice lift to the fruit. The substantial tannins in the background are balanced by a freshness and vibrancy of fruit characters resulting in a gorgeous balanced wine of great depth and weight. (92-94)


11. 2010 Château Cheval Blanc le Petit Cheval, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Petit Cheval has aromas of plums, cassis, blackberries and cedar, and exuberant flavours with wonderful ripe blackberry and violet notes. This beautifully austere second wine has the same pH (acidity level), and alcohol as the Cheval Blanc, layers of concentration and very dense firm tannins – a wine to lay down for at least 8-10 years. (92-94)


12. 2010 Château Monbousquet, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Monbousquet gives up notes of plum, blackberry and cassis and enticing lifted dark berry flavours. This is a modern but beautifully crafted and executed style of St Emilion which, despite its power, offers subtle flavours and detail on the palate, with layers of fruit and plenty of depth. (93-94)


13. 2010 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, St Emilion, Bordeaux, France The 2010 Beau-Sejour Becot, with its aromas of dark plum, lively fruit and blackberries, is a full voluptuous wine with velvety tannins and fresh fruit to balance out its intensity. This wine is a good example of the power of the 2010 vintage — full bodied and dense where in 2009 it had more delicacy and exuberance of flavour expression. Enjoy this wine with at least 5 years of bottle age. (92-93)