Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé: Delicious Wines, Relative Values

view of Saint-Émilion (image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Saint-Émilion is both the most charming town in all of Bordeaux and a red wine appellation surrounding that town on the right bank of the Gironde River. It is an area that has been growing grapes since Roman times and the source of some of the world’s greatest Merlot and Cabernet Franc based wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon, which is more heavily planted on the warmer Left Bank, rarely ripens in most areas of Saint-Émilion. Being largely Merlot based then, Saint-Émilion wines tend to be plush and rich, with sweet black fruit. They are accessible much sooner than the Left Bank’s more structured, Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. With a few exceptions, however, they do not make for wines that age as long as the greatest wines from the Left Bank.

Top Saint-Émilion producers whose wines are among the most magnificent I’ve ever tasted are Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Troplong Mondot. These are famous names, with huge reputations. As a result, a bottle of the current vintage of Ausone—2010—goes for an average of nearly $2,000 in the U.S.; Cheval Blanc is a relative bargain at $1500.

There are, however, delicious wines available from this region for a tiny fraction of the price of the top names. I had a chance recently to taste through wines from a representative sampling of these middle range Saint-Émilion producers, from both the 2010 and 2009 vintages. Both were strong vintages there, and virtually all are delicious, crowd pleasing wines. Lovers of Napa Cabs and Merlots will find themselves very much at home with these wines. And some of the best of this group are available for only $35 to $45 a bottle.

Before we get to specific recommendations, it is important to understand the unusual hierarchy of classifications in Saint-Émilion.

Even though wine growing in the area around this medieval town long predates the planting of vineyards on the former marshlands of the Left Bank, Right Bank wines were left out of the famous 1855 classification created in response to Napoleon III’s call for a ranking of Bordeaux wines for that year’s Universal Exhibition of Paris. Those rankings were made based on château reputation and wine trading price, and have proven remarkably resilient. Saint-Émilion finally got around to classifying its producers a century later, in 1955.

Saint-Émilion ended up with four confusingly titled classifications. The lowest level is those wines entitled to be designated as Saint-Émilion. The next level up are more than 200 wines classified as Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. Higher still is the group called Grand Cru Classé. The final group at the apex–which includes Ausone and Cheval Blanc, and which is further subdivided into two subgroups, “A” and “B”–are the wines designated Premier Grand Cru Classé.

Ausone and Cheval BlancWhat makes the Saint-Émilion classification unique not just in Bordeaux but all of France is that it is designed to be updated on a regular basis, based primarily on panel tastings. The basic Saint-Émilion classification is on an annual basis only, so wines allowed to put Saint-Émilion AC on their label must be so approved each year. The higher level classifications are updated roughly every 10 years, and are based not only on panel tastings but also on château reputation and soil analysis.

This rigorous, merit-based system should, and does, encourage producers to meet and exceed minimum standards, and to make constant improvements in both the vineyards and cellars. Nonetheless, because these classifications have such a huge impact on how much a producer can charge for their wines, the classification process has gotten increasingly political and litigious.

The 2006 classification was ultimately thrown out after legal challenges and a series of government actions. Even the 2012 classification that ultimately took its place, and which outsourced the tastings and château inspections to wine professionals from outside Bordeaux to avoid the allegations of favoritism that brought down the 2006 classification, has been subject to appeals.

Based on the latest classification, 18 producers make up the very top, Premier Grand Cru Classé category. Four of those are classed as “A” at that level, with Angelus and Pavie having joined Ausone and Cheval Blanc in that rarefied ranking as of 2012. The next level down, Grand Cru Classé, consists of 64 producers. I got to taste the wines of nearly half of these producers at the recent trade event in San Francisco (which also visited New York and Chicago) organized by the Association of Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Émilion.

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This was a rare opportunity to sample comparable wines from producers classed at this level, many of whom currently lack distribution in the U.S.

My conclusion from the tasting in terms of vintages was that I generally preferred the 2010 wines from most of these producers. I find 2010 a more classic, complex and structured Bordeaux vintage than the 2009s that resulted from a warmer year with a shorter growing season. Both vintages are, however, quite enjoyable.

My lowest ranked wines at the tasting, at 89 points, were delicious wines. Of the 62 wines poured, I ranked a total of 15 at 92 points or higher.

The producers of my top wines were Chauvin, Clos de Sarpe, Corbin, Faurie de Souchard, de Ferrand, Laroze, Le Prieure, Moulin du Cadet and de Pressac. Some of the 2010s from these producers—like my top ranked Le Prieure and Moulin du Cadet at 93 points–are not yet available in the U.S. The 2010 Corbin and de Ferrand are, however, widely available.

The best value of all among currently available wines is the 2010 de Ferrand, which I rated 92+ points. It averages $35. This chateau was built in 1702 and has been in the hands of only two families over a period of more than 300 years. The 103-acre vineyard here is planted mainly to Merlot, with a smaller amount of Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

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The 2010 Corbin and 2010 Laroze, which I also rated 92+ points, are $40 and $45 respectively. Corbin is another one of Saint-Émilion’s oldest producers. Their 32 acres of vineyards, planted 80% to Merlot and 20% to Cabernet Franc, lie near the Pomerol appellation border. Laroze was founded in 1882 by a family that had been growers for generations before that. Their 67-acre vineyard is planted predominantly to Merlot (68%), but contains 6% Cabernet Sauvignon.

For my complete tasting notes and scores on all 62 wine tasted at the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé event, see below.

Château Bellefont-Belcier
2010 Château Bellefont-Belcier
Very dark red violet color; baked raspberry, caramel oak, vanilla nose; rich but poised, ripe black fruit, black currant berry milkshake palate; ready now and should go 4-5 years; medium-plus finish (73% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.5% alcohol; 3.66 pH; .9 grams RS) 90+ points
2009 Château Bellefont-Belcier
Dark ruby color; ripe raspberry, baked berry, light caramel oak nose; plush, tart black currant, ripe black fruit, espresso palate with sweet tannins; medium finish (75% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; 3.81 pH; 0.6 grams RS; ready now) 90 points

Château Chauvin
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2010 Château Chauvin
Very dark red violet color; appealing, black currant, ripe berry, light graham cracker oak nose; tight, tasty, ripe black currant, tart berry, tart black fruit palate with firm sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.3% alcohol; 3.61 pH; 2.9 grams RS; needs 2 years) 91+ points
2009 Château Chauvin
Dark red violet color; appealing, baked berry, berry syrup, subtle oak, light mint nose; tasty, poised, ripe raspberry, berry syrup, light mint palate; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.69% alcohol; 3.77 pH; 1.7 grams RS; appealing in a ripe style; ready now) 92 points

Château Clos de Sarpe
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2010 Château Clos de Sarpe
Opaque red violet color; appealing, lifted, berry syrup, ripe boysenberry nose; rich, ripe boysenberry, boysenberry syurp palate with concentration; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 15% alcohol; 3.30 pH; 2.5 grams RS; could use 2 years; Napa-ish) 92 points
2009 Château Clos de Sarpe
Opaque red violet color; intense, rich milk chocolate, chocolate cherry, caramel nose; rich, ripe cherry, chocolate cherry palate; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.34 pH; 3.2 grams RS; could use 2 years) 90+ points

Château Corbin
2010 Château Corbin
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe berry, black currant, berry syrup nose; ripe, plush, ripe blackberry, berry syrup, very ripe black currant palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc; 15% alcohol; 3.68 pH; 1.9 grams RS; could use 1-2 years) 92+ points
2009 Château Corbin
Dark red violet color; appealing, tart cherry, ripe raspberry, subtle oak spice nose; tasty, poised, elegant, baked berry, blackberry syrup palate with suave, sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc; 14% alcohol; 3.77 pH; 1.7 grams RS; ready now and should go 8-10 years) 92 points

Château Dassault
2010 Château Dassault
Very dark ruby color; appealing, lifted, tart black fruit, plum, raspberry nose; poised, light-medium bodied, tart black fruit, mineral palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish (83% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; 3.63 pH; pretty much ready now) 90 points
2009 Château Dassault
Very dark red violet color; appealing, ripe black fruit, plum, black currant nose; tight, poised, tasty, medium bodied, ripe black fruit, plum, black currant palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; 3.71 pH; needs 2 years) 91 points

Château de Ferrand
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2010 Château de Ferrand
Dark red violet color; appealing, ripe berry, black currant, French vanilla nose; tasty, poised, ripe black currant, blackberry, tart berry syrup palate with suave, sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (77% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3 grams RS) 92+ points
2009 Château de Ferrand
Dark ruby color; appealing, baked raspberry, ripe black currant tart black cherry nose; plush but balanced, ripe black currant, blackberry, violets, light coffee palate; medium-plus finish (83% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; 2.9 grams RS) 92 points

Château de Pressac
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2010 Château de Pressac
Very dark ruby color; ripe black currant, vanilla, ripe black fruit nose; rich, ripe black currant, vanilla, ripe black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (72% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Carmenere, 1% Malbec; 14.5% alcohol; 3.41 pH; 2.1 grams RS; ready now) 92 points
2009 Château de Pressac
Dark ruby color; appealing, plush, black currant, ripe berry nose; tasty, rich, ripe black currant, blackberry honey, ripe berry palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (72% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Carmenere, 1% Malbec; 14% alcohol; 3.57 pH; 2.6 grams RS) 92 points

Château Destieux
2010 Château Destieux Dark ruby color; appealing, baked berry, black cherry nose; rich, baked berry, black cherry palate; medium-plus finish (66% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; ready now) 90+ points
2009 Château Destieux
Medium dark red violet color; appealing, tart black currant, blackberry nose; rich, tart black currant, blackberry palate; medium-plus finish (66% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; ready now) 91 points

Château Faugères
2010 Château Faugères
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe berry, black currant nose; rich, ripe black fruit, ripe berry palate; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; reminiscent of a Napa Cab; ready now) 90 points
2009 Château Faugères
Dark red violet color; baked berry, stewed black fruit nose; baked berry, stewed black fruit palate; medium finish (85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; ready now) 89+ points
2010 Château Faugères Cuvée Spéciale Péby
Opaque red violet color; baked black fruit, baking spice, baked berries nose; rich, baked black fruit, baked berries, baking spice palate; medium-plus finish (100% Merlot, 15% alcohol; Napa Cab-like; ready now) 90+ points
2009 Château Faugères Cuvée Spéciale Péby
Opaque red violet color; baked red fruit, oak nose; rich, baked berry, ripe black currant palate; medium-plus finish (100% Merlot, 15% alcohol; ready now) 89 points

Château Faurie de Souchard
2010 Château Faurie de Souchard Very dark ruby color; appealing, lifted, berry, blackberry, ripe black currant nose; rich, ripe black currant, ripe berry palate; ready now and should go 10 years; medium-plus finish (68% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 3.54 pH; .4 grams RS) 92 points
2009 Château Faurie de Souchard
Very dark ruby color; appealing, baked berry, black currant nose; rich, tasty, black currant, herbs, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; 3.7 pH; .3 grams RS; ready now) 91 points

Château Fleur Cardinale
2010 Château Fleur Cardinale
Nearly opaque ruby color; baked berry, black currant nose; rich, baked berry, ripe black currant, berry syrup palate; medium finish (70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol) 90 points
2009 Château Fleur Cardinale
Opaque ruby color; baked berry, black fruit nose; rich, berry syrup, baked black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; like a Napa Cab; 15% alcohol) 90 points

Château Fombrauge
2010 Château Fombrauge
Very dark red violet color; ripe red currant, tart berry, baked raspberry nose; tasty, ripe, baked raspberry, ripe red currant, berry palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.6% alcohol; 3.57 pH; .4 grams RS) 91 points
2009 Château Fombrauge
Dark red violet color; baked berry, ripe black currant nose; rich, tart black currant, baked berry palate with firm tannins; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (77% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; 3.92 pH; .4 grams RS) 90+ points

Château Fonplégade
2010 Château Fonplégade
Opaque red violet color; lifted, black currant, black raspberry, violets nose; tasty, rich, ripe black currant, black raspberry, violets palate with firm, sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc; 15% alcohol; 3.44 pH; 2.4 grams RS) 91+ points
2009 Château Fonplégade
Very dark ruby color; appealing, lifted, black currant, black fruit, oak spice nose; tasty, plush, ripe black fruit, black currant, blackberry syrup palate with sweet, ripe tannins; needs 1 years; medium-plus finish (92% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; 3.67 pH; 2.8 grams RS) 91 points

Château Fonroque
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2010 Château Fonroque
Very dark red violet color; appealing, black currant, ripe berry nose; tasty, black currant, ripe berry, black currant syrup, blackberry syrup palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; ready now) 91 points
2009 Château Fonroque
Very dark red violet color; appealing, ripe black currant, tart berry nose; tasty, ripe black currant, blackberry, blackberry syrup palate with sweet tannins;medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; ready now) 90+ points

Château Franc-Mayne
2010 Château Franc-Mayne
Very dark ruby color; appealing, berry syrup, ripe black currant, boysenberry nose; berry syrup, ripe black currant, boysenberry palate with sweet tannins; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc; 14.2% alcohol; 3.49 pH; 2.7 grams RS) 91+ points
2009 Château Franc-Mayne
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe berry, sweet green herbs, subtle oak spice nose; rich, ripe berry, mulberry, sweet green herb palate; needs 1-plus year; medium-plus finish (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.7 pH; 3 grams RS) 91+ points

Château Grand Corbin
2010 Château Grand Corbin
Very dark ruby color; appealing, lifted, baked raspberry, black fruit, subtle oak nose; rich, tasty, ripe black fruit, blackberry palate with sweet, fine tannins; could use 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 3.75 pH; .4 grams RS) 91+ points
2009 Château Grand Corbin
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe black fruit, ripe black currant nose; rich, tasty, ripe black fruit, ripe black currant palate with sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 3.73 pH; 2.4 grams RS) 91 points

Château Grand Corbin-Despagne
2010 Château Grand Corbin-Despagne
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe black currant, berry syrup nose; rich, ripe black currant, berry syrup, blackberry syrup palate with plush, sweet tannins; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; 3.56 pH; 2 grams RS) 90+ points
2009 Château Grand Corbin-Despagne
Very dark ruby color; appealing, black currant, tart black fruit, sweet green herbs nose; tight, tasty, tart black currant, tart black fruit, mineral palate; could use 1 year; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 3.75 pH; 2 grams RS) 91 points

Château Grand-Pontet
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2010 Château Grand-Pontet
Very dark ruby color; appealing, baked raspberry, ripe black currant nose; rich, poised, ripe black currant, baked raspberry palate with sweet, suave tannins; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.5% alcohol; 3.56 pH; .5 grams RS; ready now) 91 points
2009 Château Grand-Pontet
Dark red violet color; appealing, ripe red currant, raspberry, talc nose; tasty, ripe raspberry, ripe red currant, talc palate with sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% alcohol; 3.7 pH; .34 grams RS) 90+ points

Château Guadet
2010 Château Guadet
Opaque red violet color; fresh, ripe black currant, red currant nose; rich, ripe red and black currant, ripe red berry palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.65 pH; .3 grams RS; ready now) 90 points
2009 Château Guadet
Very dark red violet color; mature, tart currant, sweet coffee nose; medium bodied, sweet coffee, black currant palate; medium finish (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.83 pH; .28 grams RS; ready now) 89 points

Château Jean-Faure
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2010 Château Jean-Faure
Very dark ruby color; lifted, ripe red currant, black raspberry, raspberry syrup nose; tasty, ripe red currant, black raspberry, raspberry syrup palate; medium-plus finish (54% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 6% Malbec; 14% alcohol; 3.65 pH; .3 grams RS; could use 2 years) 91+ points
2009 Château Jean-Faure
Dark ruby color; lifted, ripe red currant, baked raspberry nose; rich but poised, baked raspberry, ripe red currant, mineral, light herbs palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (54% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 6% Malbec; 13.5% alcohol; 3.7 pH; .1 grams RS) 91 points

Château La Commanderie
2010 Château La Commanderie
Very dark ruby color; lifted, baked raspberry, vanilla nose; tasty, tight, tart black currant palate with polished, sweet tannins; medium-plus finish (14.5% alcohol; 3.55 pH; 2.5 grams RS) 90 points
2009 Château La Commanderie
Dark ruby color; lifted, cedar, tobacco, tart red currant nose; tasty, tart currant, tobacco, cedar palate with medium acidity; medium finish (14% alcohol; 3.76 pH; 2.5 grams RS) 89 points

Château La Dominique
2010 Château La Dominique
Very dark red violet color; appealing, tart plum, black currant nose; rich, poised, ripe black currant, ripe berry, baked berry palate with firm, sweet tannins; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc) 91 points
2009 Château La Dominique
Very dark red violet color; baked raspberry, baked berry nose; tight, tart black currant, ripe berry, pencil lead palate with good acidity; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc) 90 points

Château La Marzelle
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2010 Château La Marzelle
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe black fruit, baked black fruit, baked berry nose; rich, ripe black fruit, baked black fruit, baked berry, berry syrup palate; ready now; medium-plus finish (80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 3.59 pH; 1.9 grams RS) 91+ points
2009 Château La Marzelle
Very dark ruby color; baked plum, French vanilla oak, berry syrup nose; rich, berry syrup, ripe black fruit palate with plush, sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% alcohol; 3.6 pH; 2 grams RS) 91 points

Château La Tour Figeac
2010 Château La Tour Figeac
Very dark ruby color; baked berry, lifted, berry compote nose; rich, ripe berry, berry syrup palate with sweet, plush tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; 14% alcohol; 3.61 pH; 1.6 grams RS) 90+ points
2009 Château La Tour Figeac
Nearly opaque red violet color; roasted red fruit, torrefaction nose; roasted red fruit, torrefaction palate with soft tannins; ready now; medium finish (78% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc; 14% alcohol; 3.82 pH; 1.6 grams RS) 89 points

Château Laroze
2010 Château Laroze
Opaque red violet color; appealing, black raspberry, ripe berry, subtle oak nose; rich, tasty, ripe black fruit, ripe berry, black currant, mineral palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% alcohol; 3.62 pH) 92+ points
2009 Château Laroze
Very dark ruby color; appealing, baked berry, ripe black fruit, light graham cracker oak nose; rich, plush, tasty, tart black currant, black fruit, mineral, violets palate; nearly ready; medium-plus finish (70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% alcohol; 3.65 pH) 92 points

Château Le Prieure
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2010 Château Le Prieure
From magnum – very dark red violet color; appealing, lifted, baked berry, boysenberry, blackberry nose; rich, baked berry, boysenberry, blackberry, boysenberry syrup palate with sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; 15% alcohol; 3.46 pH) 93 points
2009 Château Le Prieure
From magnum – dark red violet color; raspberry syrup, light caramel oak nose; tasty, rich, poised, raspberry syrup, ripe cherry palate with sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.67 pH) 92 points

Château Moulin du Cadet
2010 Château Moulin du Cadet
Very dark ruby color; lifted, ripe black currant, blackberry nose; tasty, poised, ripe black currant, blackberry palate; medium-plus finish (100% Merlot; 14% alcohol) 93 points
2009 Château Moulin du Cadet
Dark red violet color; black currant, ripe blackberry, leafy nose; tasty, tight, ripe black currant, blackberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (100% Merlot, 14% alcohol) 92+ points

Château Yon-Figeac
2010 Château Yon-Figeac
Very dark ruby color; appealing, ripe raspberry, raspberry syrup, berry syrup nose; rich, tasty, berry and black raspberry syrup palate with sweet tannins; ready now; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 15% alcohol; 3.56 pH; 1.9 grams RS) 90+ points
2009 Château Yon-Figeac
Dark red violet color; appealing, lifted, ripe red currant, talc, herbaceous nose; dense, ripe black fruit, ripe berry palate with sweet tannins; medium finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14% alcohol; 3.73 pH; 1.5 grams RS) 89 points

Clos des Jacobins
2010 Clos des Jacobins
Dark ruby color; appealing, ripe black currant, ripe berry nose; tasty, ripe black currant, ripe black fruit palate with suave tannins; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15.5% alcohol; 3.54 pH; basically ready now) 91 points
2009 Clos des Jacobins
Dark red violet color; appealing, plush, black currant, ripe black fruit nose; tart black currant, tart berry palate wtih medium acidity and firm, drying tannins; medium-plus finish (75% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc; 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.5% alcohol; 3.8 pH; 2 grams RS; could use 1-2 years) 90 points

Couvent des Jacobins
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2010 Couvent des Jacobins
Very dark ruby color; appealing, tart berry, ripe black fruit nose; tight, ripe black fruit, pencil lead, cedar palate; needs 1-plus year; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14.5% alcohol; 3.68 pH; 2 grams RS) 90+ points
2009 Couvent des Jacobins
Very dark red violet color; appealing, red currant, herbaceous, olive nose; tasty, poised, herbaceous, red currant, olive, classic Bordeaux palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc; 14% alcohol; 3.72 pH; 2 grams RS) 90+ points

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