The best 2010s from Pauillac

12 April 2011
Author: Jeannie Cho Lee


This appellation has produced consistently good wines in 2010, with ripe fleshy tannins and vibrant blackberry fruit characters. The top Pauillac chateaux produced wines that are on a par with their 2009s. A few properties like Pontet Canet and Carruades de Lafite produced their best wines in the past few decades, surpassing their 2009s in quality. Some properties like Mouton had too much extraction and a very ripe, almost jammy fruit profile which made it less good than their 2009 vintage. Much of the quality of this vintage hinged on the harvest date and the level of physiological as well as phenolic ripeness of the grapes. The higher acidity and freshness of the 2010 vintage, combined with firm, ripe tannins, means 2010s are wines for our children and grandchildren, with an aging potential surpassing that of the 2009s. This is a very successful year for the wines of Pauillac.


1. 2010 Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The beautiful deep ruby 2010 Lafite Rothschild has wonderful, enticing aromatics, offering up a gorgeous perfume of violets, cedar, cassis and blackberries. On the palate there are delicate layers of lifted flavours and silky tannins, giving a velvety, succulent texture in the mid palate, and a very long finish. This is a very successful vintage for Lafite, despite the character of the vintage, neither heavy nor dense, and even better than their 2009! (98-100)


2. 2010 Château Latour, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby purple, opaque 2010 Latour offers up notes of blackberries, blueberries, plums and cedar, and is packed with layers and layers of both flavours and tannins. Density is the dominating factor in this vintage and Latour is among the densest. It is a mouth-filling, generous, full-bodied and archetypical Latour – all about power and longevity. It lacks the charming, more expressive characters of the 2009, but this wine will likely outlive it. (95-99)


3. 2010 Château Pichon Lalande, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The 2010 Pichon Lalande is fairly deep ruby in colour, with aromas of fresh blackberries, a hint of violets and cedar, echoed in the very lively flavours. This is a full-bodied Pichon Lalande with great depth and complexity and, despite a fair amount of dense tannins it isn’t extracted or thick. Another hugely successful vintage with the potential to age for many decades. Bravo! (95-97)


4. 2010 Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Mouton-Rothschild has aromas of sweet plums, violets, a hint of cedar and vanilla, and is made in a seductive, perhaps overly ripe style, with powerful sweet plum and blackberry flavours. This Mouton is all about power, but with such density and concentration in the tannins and flavours, the wine ultimately lacks the finesse and detail to be expected of a Mouton. (94-96)


5. 2010 Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Pontet-Canet has wonderful aromatics of violets, blackberries, spices, cedar, plums and cassis, and gentle seductive flavours on the palate with velvety tannins and great length. This is a multi-dimensional wine with depth to its seamless flavours and amazing texture to its tannins. (94-95)


6. 2010 Château d’Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 d’Armailhac is a wine of great finesse, with an amazingly expressive bouquet of spices, cocoa, and roasted meat, all echoed in the layers of flavour that linger for a long time on the palate. According to the wine director of Mouton-Rothschild who guides the winemaking for this estate, this is the best d’Armailhac they have ever made. This is a very good value Bordeaux from 2010! (93-94)


7. 2010 Château Lafite Rothschild – Carruades De Lafite, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby purple 2010 Carruades de Lafite offers aromas of violets, plums, blackberries, with a hint of cedar, supported by nice mid palate fruit flavours balanced by velvety tannins and a fairly long finish. This Carruades is made in a full-bodied, rich, very tannic style with such density and depth that it seems more like a grand vin than a second wine. The selection was done after the malolactic from about 50 parcels, and the result is a gorgeous wine that stands on its own.(93-95)


8. 2010 Château Pichon Baron, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby 2010 Pichon Baron offers up notes of spices, anise, plum and blackcurrant, opening onto a wonderful fresh mid palate and finish. This a full bodied, very densely packed Pichon Baron, with good length but chunkier and thicker in texture than the 2009. The 2009 was poured next to the 2010 and both are clearly excellent vintages for Pichon Baron. (92-95)


9. 2010 Château Clerc Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Clerc Milon has aromas of fresh blackberries, dark cherries and cassis, the vibrant fruit notes echoed on the palate as the rich velvety tannins just envelop the mouth. This wine bursts with freshness, and has a lovely long finish. It is worth noting that the grapes for Clerc Milon are 40 ha of vines planted adjacent to Chateau Lafite. (92-94)


10. 2010 Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby 2010 Lynch-Bages has aromas of plums, blackberries, cherries and cedar, but is ultimately a very dark wine with amazing density and concentration and thick tannins. While these tannins are currently overwhelming, there is enough freshness there with hints of lively fruit and acidity that it will likely open up in about five years time.. This is a classy, serious Lynch Bages and will need time to evolve. (91-93)


11. 2010 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste , Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The 2010 Grand-Puy-Lacoste is fairly deep ruby in colour, with restrained notes of cedar, plums and cassis, echoed on the palate. This is a classic Bordeaux made in an austere style, with plenty of depth and velvety-textured firm tannins. Enjoy in about five years time. (91-92)


12. 2010 Château Pichon Lalande – Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The 2010 Reserve de la Comtesse has a fairly deep ruby hue, and aromas of fresh blackberries, cedar and a hint of violets. Made in a gentle delicate style, this second wine from Pichon Lalande successfully captures the very aromatic, perfumed flavours characteristic of this vintage. (91-92)


13. 2010 Château Duhart-Milon, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby 2010 Duhart-Milon offers up notes of blackberries, black cherries and blackcurrant, supported by densely packed fruit flavours of amazing freshness and depth. The wine has a long length and the thick, rich texture supports the ripe blackberry flavours. This vineyard was bought in 1962 by the Barons de Rothschild group and all the vines were replanted; thus the vines are about 30 years old. This wine has great aging potential – keep for at least eight years before opening. (90-93)


14. 2010 Château Haut Batailley, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The gorgeous 2010 Haut Batailley is a fairly deep ruby colour with intense aromas of violets cassis, blackberries and plums. This is a wine with supple tannins and generous flavours made in an exuberant style that, unlike many other 2010s, will be ready to be enjoy fairly young. Owned by Xavier Borie, with improvements made over the past several years, this is a very balanced and generous 5th growth from Pauillac. (90-93)


15. 2010 Château Latour – Les Fort de Latour, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep ruby 2010 Fort de Latour has aromas of plums, fresh blackberries, juicy blueberries and cedar, echoed on the palate but lurking behind a wall of tannins. This wine has good length and depth, but is very closed and backward at the moment, and will need at least 7-8 more years before the tannins soften and the fruit comes to the fore. (90-92)


16. 2010 Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Grand-Puy-Ducasse offers up aromas of plums, blackberries, cedar and cassis, and has wonderful depth and layers of flavour on the palate. A big, dense and full-bodied style, this is a wine with generous fruit and a fairly long finish. (90-91)


17. 2010 Château Haut-Bages-Liberal, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Haut-Bages-Liberal has lifted aromatics of violets, cassis, blackberries and plums, supported by ripe, delicate and beautifully restrained flavours which are fresh and lively in the mid palate. This is a classic Pauillac of great sensuality and elegance. (90-91)


18. 2010 Château Mouton – Petit Mouton, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The deep purple 2010 Petit Mouton offers up notes of blackberries, blueberries, cedar and plums, with a lovely freshness in the middle palate and firm rounded tannins. Made in a generous style, unlike the grand vin which is heavy and thick, this wine will be best enjoyed with at least five or more years’ bottle age. (90-91)


19. 2010 Château Pibran, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The 2010 Pibran has a very attractive aromas of vibrant blackberries, cherries, plums, cedar, followed on the palate by a generosity of flavours. The vibrant flavours are well balanced by wonderful structure and good length. Pibran is a small 17 ha property next to Pontet Canet making better and better wine every year. This 50% Cabernet and 50% Merlot often found below 30 Euros makes it a very good value wine.(89-91)