A tremendous way to kick-start the year was the annual Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting here in San Francisco featuring the Grand Cru Classe wines of Bordeaux’s critically acclaimed 2010 vintage. With the very best of Bordeaux all in one room, one phrase could describe the event….A mind-blowing yet brilliant clusterf**k. Pardon my French, but hey, it was a Bordeaux tasting event after all. But curse words aside, this tasting was an amazing intro to what critics are claiming to be a marvelous vintage. Below are my favorites from the event. But before I dive into those, earlier that week I also had the pleasure of meeting with Aline Baly of the legendary Château Coutet to have a taste of their newly launched dry white wine called Opalie. Here were my thoughts!
Opalie de Château Coutet 2010 – Barsac
A 50/50 ratio of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, this is quite a complex and powerful little dry white that maintains its light body and refreshing acidity. Immediately on the nose and palate is a burst of sheer minerality bolstered by hints of saline that quickly leads into notes of sweet citrus, green peppers, and a lengthy finish of wild grasses and white pepper. A very exciting inaugural vintage of Opalie for the folks at Coutet!
Château Pape Clément – Pessac–Léognan
Sophisticatedly dry with its talcum powdery tannin and vivacious acidity zipping through notes of black cherry, mulberry, espresso beans, savory spices, cinnamon and a distinct earthy finish reconfirming the firm structure of the wine.
Château Lynch–Moussas – Pauillac
Definitely the rustic renegade of the group with its lanolin and wet wool barnyard aromas followed by earthy herbal hints of menthol, ginseng, and dill that are all brought back to grace with a bit of luscious blackcurrant, fine-grained tannin, and lively acidity.
Château Branaire–Ducru – Saint Julien
Elegantly tranquil yet animated with its aromas of lush blackberries and violets, lenient oak influences, and sinuous tannins that are firmed up by the wine’s vibrant acidity, dried herbal notes, and a long resilient finish.
Château La Gaffelière – Saint-Émilion
Strikingly mineral driven with graphite qualities yet slightly more humble in tannin and acidity, the wine is upheld by its stunning black fruits, black pepper, sweet spices, and gorgeous floral notes expressing a finish of yellow roses in full bloom.
Château Rauzan–Ségla – Margaux
And English garden of lilac, lavender, rose, and dried sage that is laced with succulent black plums and mulberry fruit; held together with its velvety tannin, brilliant acid, and a nice long finish of blossoming vanilla orchid.