Perfection in Saint Estephe – Parker’s Pick for 2010 and Beyond – Stunning Chateau Montrose

Perfection in Saint Estephe – Perfection In 2010!

 

I’ll never forget my first opportunity to taste and purchase this masterpiece – the 2010 Montrose. I was in attendance at the 2010 en premier tasting where this garnered throngs of curious Sommeliers, professionals buyers and personal collectors. Each had their glasses lifted for a thimble full of what Delmas announced as the greatest achievement Chez Montrose in his tenure.

Octogenarians back in America confirmed the 2010’s place alongside the 1945 and ’47, and Robert Parker pulled no punches – rating the ’10 a near-perfect 99 points once bottled. Multiple tastings later – one summer not too long ago the most recent as well as most exciting – the 2010 officially joined the ranks of perfection.

Ranked alongside such coveted treasures as the 1929 and ’59, Montrose 2010 will go down as the stuff of legends.

I wonder how many of you were gifted with the same foresight as I was when I first tasted it. How many of you purchased a half case to stash away for a long as humanly possible?

2010 Montrose St Estephe

This is considered to be among the greatest vintages ever made in Montrose, right up with the 1929, 1945, 1947, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1990 and 2009. Harvest was October 15 to 17. The wine has really come on since I last tasted it, and it needs at least another 10 years of cellaring. The blend was 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine is opaque black/blue, with an incredible nose of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, with hints of incense, licorice, and acacia flowers. Tannins are incredibly sweet and very present. The wine is full-bodied, even massive, with great purity, depth and a finish that goes on close to a minute. This is a 50- to 75-year-old wine that will repay handsomely those with good aging genes. (Note: The Chateau Montrose website gives an aging potential of 2020-2100.)

100 points – Robert Parker

 

2010 Clos de Sarpe Saint Emilion – “Quintessential Blockbuster”

Ancient, Historical Clos de Sarpe

Just north east of Saint Emilion’s city center in the heart of the region’s Sarpe zone, Chateau Clos de Sarpe has been owned by Jean-Guy Beyney’s family for three generations. Originally held by the Baron du Foussat de Bogeron until 1923, this is one of the smallest properties in the zone, totaling just under 4ha (roughly 12 acres). Tasting the wines here is a step back in time; a lesson in profound, historical exuberance.

Every aspect of the estate pays homage to and reflects the characteristics of ancestral times in Saint Emilion. In tasting the recent releases – in particular the ravishing, brooding 2010 – Parker informs us that these are

“…Wines that probably have more in common with the great vintages of the late 1800’s than anything produced today.”

Current proprietor, third generation Jean-Guy Beyney manages a unique terroir, a crumbling, thin layer of clay resting atop deep layers of limestone. Today, the youngest vines – 70% of the vineyard – average nearly 80 years of age, the balance of the estate’s vines are approaching 95 years of age.

With this age and the density of plantings, Clos de Sarpe is consistently massive, a

“… Pedal-to-the-metal … sort of wine”

… as Robert Parker has told us in past reviews. The 2010 is one I’ve always loved in blind tastings. It’s one of the most thrilling, confounding, complex, hard to define, yet exciting throwbacks you’ll ever encounter. The vintage has yet to be toppled, so if you come across a few bottles, add them to your cellar, as have I.

2010 Clos de Sarpe

The 2010 Clos de Sarpe is deep garnet-purple in color with a profound, very youthful nose of blackcurrant cordial, warm plums and blueberry pie with hints of chocolate box, roses, star anise and cigar box plus a beautifully fragrant waft of lilacs. Full-bodied, rich, opulent and oh-so-seductive, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and explosive freshness to lend an electric charge through the mid-palate and epically long finish. Amazing wine.

98 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

I have always loved to taste this wine, because it comes from a tiny, nearly 12-acre property owned by Jean-Guy Beyney, who, I have said, before tends to go overboard making wines that probably have more in common with the great vintages of the late 1800’s than anything produced today. How long will these wines last? Certainly the great vintages are 50+ year wines. Beyney’s absurdly low yields in 2010 (15 hectoliters per hectare) have fashioned a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc that hits all the sweet spots on the palate.

96+ Robert Parker

Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes 2010 – Giving d’Yquem a Run for the Money

Quietly Famous Barrel Room at Sigalas Rabaud

Quietly Famous Barrel Room at Sigalas Rabaud

If Sigalas Rabaud is off your radar – even you die-hard Sauternes fans – it’s not a total surprise. With only 35 acres under vine, it ranks as the smallest of all the vineyards in Sauternes. Moreover, it has changed ownership so many times, it’s been difficult over the decades to discern the estate’s actual name at any time in history.

The current, hyphenated name reflects the original owners; the Rabaud family who were in charge in the 1600s, and the Sigalas family, who took over in the mid-1800s.

The final formation, which is recognized as Sigalas Rabaud today – land holdings, special hillside plantings – le bijou de Sigalas (“the jewel of Sigalas”) – and the rest, changed hands (with name variations ensuing) in 1903, 1929, and the ’40s.

By the 1970s, Cordier – an established Bordeaux corporation – became interested, and by the early ’90s they owned a substantial stake.

And that’s when things took a major turn for the better. The Wine Advocate’s Sauternes critic, Neal Martin – decades of experience under his belt with the subject – began to report on the goings on Chez Sigalas Rabaud.

With reviews in the mid to upper nineties, and prose to the effect of “Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle”, suddenly the little estate on the hill became the cult secret of the appellation.

2010 Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes

“Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle. It has an engaging, pure and lifted bouquet with scents of lemon curd, honey, ripe oranges and quince that are extremely well-defined. The palate is well-defined with a fine line of acidity, crisp mineralite and tension. This is very composed and tightly wound, a Sauternes probably built for Sigalas Rabaud btlthe long-term and not giving too much away now. Yet the class is already tangible. This is one of the best wines from the estate in recent years. Drink now-2030+.”

95 points – Wine Advocate (NM)

One worth the effort to secure, costing a fraction of its famous neighbor’s bottlings…