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*Latour*- 100 points
One of the perfect wines of the vintage, Frederic Engerer challenged me when I tasted the 2010 Latour at the estate, asking, “If you rate the 2009 one hundred, then how can this not be higher?” Well, the scoring system stops at 100, (and has for 34 years,) and will continue for as long as I continue to write about wine. Nevertheless, this blend of 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.5% Merlot, and .5% Petit Verdot hit 14.4% natural alcohol and represents a tiny 36% of their entire production. The pH is about 3.6, which is normal compared to the 3.8 pH of the 2009, that wine being slightly lower in alcohol, hence the combination that makes it more flamboyant and accessible. The 2010 is a liquid skyscraper in the mouth, building layers upon layers of extravagant, if not over-the-top richness with its hints of subtle charcoal, truffle, blackberry, cassis, espresso and notes of toast and graphite. Full-bodied, with wonderfully sweet tannin, it is a mind-boggling, prodigious achievement that should hit its prime in about 15 years, and last for 50 to 100. 2028 - 2078
*Petrus*- 100 points
The harvest at Petrus took place between September 27 and October 12, and the 2010 finished at 14.1% natural alcohol, which is slightly lower than the 2009's 14.5%. The 2010 reminds me somewhat of the pre-1975 vintages of Petrus, a monster-in-the-making, with loads of mulberry, coffee, licorice and black cherry notes with an overlay of enormous amounts of glycerin and depth. Stunningly rich, full-bodied and more tannic and classic than the 2009, this is an awesome Petrus, but probably needs to be forgotten for 8-10 years. It should last at least another 50 or more. 2021 - 2071
*Cheval Blanc*- 100 points
The 2010 is one of the most impressive two-year-old Cheval Blancs I have tasted in 34 years in this profession. The final blend of 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Merlot has the tell-tale berry/floral nose with subtle hints of menthol, blueberry, raspberry and flowers in addition to some forest floor and a delicate touch of lead pencil shavings. The wine exhibits more structure and density than it did from barrel, and it was already remarkable then. The foresty/floral notes seem to linger and linger in this surprisingly full-bodied, powerful Cheval Blanc, yet it possesses a very healthy pH that should ensure enormous longevity. Dense purple in color, and a bigger, richer wine than usual, this is one Cheval Blanc that will probably need a decade of cellaring. I like the description from the estate’s administrator, Pierre Lurton, who said it tasted like “liquid cashmere,” a perfect expression, despite the wine’s structure and intensity. This is another 50-year wine from this amazingly structured, rich vintage.
*Haut Brion*- 100 points
As for the 2010 Haut-Brion, it does not have the power of Latour’s 2010 or the intense lead pencil shavings and chocolaty component of Lafite-Rothschild, but it is extraordinary, perfect wine. It has a slightly lower pH than the 2009 (3.7 versus the 2009's 3.8), and een higher alcohol than the 2009 (14.6%). The wine is ethereal. From its dense purple color to its incredibly subtle but striking aromatics that build incrementally, offering up a spectacular smorgasbord of aromas ranging from charcoal and camphor to black currant and blueberry liqueur and spring flowers, this wine’s finesse, elegant yet noble power and authority come through in a compelling fashion. It is full-bodied, but that’s only apparent in the aftertaste, as the wine seems to float across the palate with remarkable sweetness, harmony, and the integration of all its component parts – alcohol, tannin, acidity, wood, etc. This prodigious Haut-Brion is hard to compare to another vintage, at least right now, but it should have 50 to 75 years of aging potential. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2065+.
*Margaux*- 99 points
The 2010 is a brilliant Chateau Margaux, as one might expect in this vintage. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend hit 90%, the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and only 38% of the crop made it into the Chateau Margaux. Paul Pontallier, the administrator, told me that this wine has even higher levels of tannin than some other extraordinary vintages such as 2005, 2000, 1996, etc. Deep purple, pure and intense, with floral notes, tremendous opulence and palate presence, this is a wine of considerable nobility. With loads of blueberry, black currant and violet-infused fruit and a heady alcohol level above 13.5% (although that looks modest compared to several other first growths, particularly Chateau Latour and Chateau Haut-Brion), its beautifully sweet texture, ripe tannin, abundant depth and profound finish all make for another near-perfect wine that should age effortlessly for 30-40 years. 2013 - 2053
*Mouton Rothschild*- 98+ points
Only 49% of the production made it into the 2010 Mouton Rothschild, which has a strikingly beautiful label by Jeffrey Koons. This is a truly great wine, with a very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (94%) and the other 6% Merlot. At 13.9% natural alcohol, Mouton’s director, Philippe Dhalluin, has clearly produced another 50- to 60-year wine that has a chance at perfection in about 15 years time, when I suspect this wine will be rounding into drinking condition. It is dense, rich and full-bodied, with the classic Mouton creme de cassis, forest floor, licorice and floral notes, but also some blueberry and hints of subtle espresso and mulberry. The wine has more minerality and precision than the rich, extravagantly opulent 2009, and while that may please some, others will have their patience tested as they wait and wait for this compelling Mouton Rothschild to hit full maturity.
*Mission Haut Brion*- 98+ points
A strong candidate for a perfect score in about 15 years, the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion could well turn out to be a modern-day version of their 1955. Sadly (or maybe fortunately) for me, I’m not old enough to have tasted the 1955 in 1958 from bottle, but this wine could also be an update on the more modern 2000 which, of course, I know well and actually own. This full-bodied, colossal giant of a wine is one of the goliaths of the vintage. It may well have the highest level of natural alcohol for any wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux (15.1%) and has the definite potential to be a 50- to 75-year wine. Dense purple, it offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, charcoal embers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur along with massive concentration, a multi-dimensional mouthfeel and a monumental finish that goes well past a minute, which I think might be a record for a young Bordeaux. Keep in mind that the 2009, which I gave three digits, came in at 14.7%, but the pH of the 2010 is lower, giving the wine a freshness and precision that is remarkable. The final blend was 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and – unlike the Chapelle de la Mission, which has 26% Cabernet Franc – there’s only 1% Cabernet Franc in the 2010 La Mission Haut-Brion. This is a wine for those of you with youth on your side as well as patience. It will need a good decade of cellaring. An amazing wine. Anticipated maturity: 2024-2075+.
*Lafite*- 98 points
The 2010 Lafite Rothschild, a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Merlot (a 3% difference from the barrel sample shown two years ago), achieved relatively high alcohol of 13.32%, according to administrator Charles Chevalier. The wine is very impressive, not as fleshy, flamboyant and massive as the 2009, but nevertheless, a big, rich, full-throttle Lafite-Rothschild meant to age a half century or more. Deep purple, with notes of white chocolate, mocha, cedar and charcoal as well as hints of vanillin and creme de cassis, the wine is full-bodied yet has that ethereal lightness that makes it a Lafite. Rich, with good acidity, precision and freshness, this is a slightly zestier version of the 2009 as well as more restrained and structured than that particular vintage. It will need at least 10-12 years of cellaring and keep for 50+ years. 2023 - 2073
Such are the risks of tasting blind. Against its peers, the brilliance that Chateau 2010 d’Yquem showed from barrel seems to have become lost. This is still a wonderful Sauternes wine, yet this showing suggests that is it not “best in class”. The nose demands coaxing in the glass compared to its peers, but it is worth the patience as it unfurls to reveal quince, beeswax and honeysuckle aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a viscous entry and well-judged acidity. There is a touch of orange peel lining the citrus fruit, with an effervescent finish that lingers long in the mouth. This is an excellent d’Yquem, but it needs to keep an eye on the competition. Drink 2018-2035+.