Tasted May 2016.
Pauillac is the largest city in the Medoc, on the Bordeaux Left Bank, and is home to three of the four original 1855 classification of First Growths, aka Premiere Grand Crus. These were Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and Chateau Margaux.
Since there were no Right Bank wines named in the 1855 classification, some appellations invented their own; St. Emilion in 1995 established its own version of First Growth, and updates it every 10 years. After this folks, it just gets way more complicated, and partly ridiculous.
The Left Bank red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon dominant; this grape grows best in the LB gravelly soils. The Right Bank soil is clay predominant, and this best supports the Merlot grape, the main ingredient of red wines on the RB.
This particular wine carries a Fifth Growth classification, and is produced from a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Purchased in the local supermarket in Hong Kong for a bargain, it sat amongst a range of Bordeaux reds, many of them from the 2010 ‘vintage of the century’; this is but one of them.
First, the winemaker’s notes:
Colour is deep dark red, nose alive with Nile pepper spice, dried herbs, blackberry, vanilla oak. Palate is med bodied, rich and long. Tannins are slightly grainy but in beautiful balance, acid line is straight and true, finish is smooth and long.
And in between all that is the harmony of the elements that make these 2010 wines so special; fruit, acid, tannins, spice, oak all in harmony so not one seems prominent.
You only have to smell it to know it will be good, the bouquet then reinforced by the silky texture and the supple tannins. Depending on how and where it has been stored, it seems that this wine is right now in its perfect drinking window.
The finish is long and rich, perfectly supported by the rounded tannins, having long lost their tough edge.
You just finish that glass and look to see if there is any left in the bottle. This is the kind of wine we should be drinking.