94-96/100 Robert Parker Jr. This large estate (190 acres) has been on a qualitative rise for nearly a decade. A classic Pauillac, the opaque purple-colored 2010, a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot, reveals beautiful notes of creme de cassis, licorice, tobacco leaf and forest floor. Bigger and more muscular than most previous vintages, this full-bodied Pauillac possesses stunning density as well as intensity. Atypically high in alcohol for this property, it requires 5-7 years of cellaring and should age effortlessly for 25-30 years.
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavours of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.