“A brilliant effort from this property, known for the sheer elegance and finesse of its wines, the 2010 La Conseillante offers back-to-back monumental efforts, particularly given the remarkable 2009. This estate has been on a hot streak of late. The 2010 is a slightly bigger, richer wine, but without losing its floral, elegant mulberry, black raspberry and sweet kirsch notes. Combine those with some licorice, subtle new oak and a hint of forest floor, and the result is a medium to full-bodied, rich, complex wine that has striking aromatics and perfect balance in the mouth. Forget it for 3-5 years and drink it over the following 30.” – reviewed by Robert M. Parker, Jr. in 2013
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Made from 100% Merlot (one percent for each rating point I’ve assigned), this wine is explosively rich and compelling. Dense plum/purple, it boasts the remarkable delineation and freshness that are hallmarks of this vintage. From a much smaller production than normal because of Merlot’s poor flowering, the very hot, dry growing and harvest conditions, this is a super-endowed, very rich Le Pin with its exotic new oak largely buried behind its extravagant concentration, power and richness. I don’t know what its natural alcohol level is, but I suspect it is pushing 15% in 2010. Rich, tannic, but exceptionally well-endowed, this is a sublime example of Merlot at its very finest. Forget it for 5-7 years (which is somewhat unusual for Le Pin) and drink it over the following three decades.
The 2000 Latour (a relatively abundant 14,000 cases compared to what they produced in 2009, 2008, or 2005) is “packed and stacked.” The extremely rich, black/purple color to the rim is followed by a wine with some subtle smoke, loads of minerals, a hint of vanilla, and plenty of creme de cassis as well as roasted meat and a slight scorched earth character. Broad, savory, and rich, the wine seems to be about 5 years away from full maturity and should drink well for at least 40-50 more years. A great effort, probably eclipsed only by 2003 and 2009. My original ratings appear to have been dead on the money for both of these efforts from Chateau Latour.
Its bigger sister, the 2005 Château Palmer (53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot), is one of the great efforts of this superlative vintage. Floral notes mixed with blackberry, cassis, plum, licorice and spring flowers soar from the glass of this dense ruby/purple wine. It is medium to full-bodied, surprisingly opulent (it has a big percentage of Merlot), long, multi-dimensional and textured. This wonderfully pure, stunning wine once again performs as a first-growth. It should drink well for the next 20-25 years.
The competition between the 2009, 2005 and 2000 La Conseillante will be interesting to follow over the next twenty years. There was more of a selection process at this estate in 2009 than there was in 2000, resulting in a beautiful Pomerol offering notes of mulberries, sweet cherries, spring flowers, raspberries and truffles. The color is a healthy deep plum/ruby/purple and the wine is medium to full-bodied with silky tannins, a broad, layered mouthfeel and wonderful freshness as well as length. This gorgeous, complex, Burgundian-styled Pomerol will be drinkable in 4-6 years and should keep for 30-40. (The 1970 is still alive and that was not nearly as well made as the 2009.)
The 2015 Cheval Blanc represents the entire vineyard this year, since there is no Le Petit Cheval (two plots that did not meet requirements were not included in any blend). A blend of 45% Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot, matured in 100% new oak, it has a very complex bouquet, subtle and tightly wound, very precise with dark berry fruit, hints of graphite, minerals and a hint of black pepper, perhaps a little spicier than recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with extraordinarily fine tannin. Beautifully balanced, perfectly controlled, this Cheval Blanc gently builds in the mouth, but remains strict and precise. The Cabernet Franc here is very expressive (though apparently the Merlot was showier prior to malolactic). This is an intellectual Cheval Blanc, thoroughly enjoyable, but it will need 10-12 years to really show its pedigree. A profound wine in the making, it will rank with the great wines of the past. – Neil Martin (March 23, 2016)
What a blockbuster effort! Atypically powerful, one day, the 2009 Haut-Brion may be considered to be the 21st century version of the 1959. It is an extraordinarily complex, concentrated effort made from a blend of 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Cabernet Franc with the highest alcohol ever achieved at this estate, 14.3%. Even richer than the perfect 1989, with similar technical numbers although slightly higher extract and alcohol, it offers up a sensational perfume of subtle burning embers, unsmoked cigar tobacco, charcoal, black raspberries, wet gravel, plums, figs and blueberries. There is so much going on in the aromatics that one almost hesitates to stop smelling it. However, when it hits the palate, it is hardly a letdown. This unctuously textured, full-bodied 2009 possesses low acidity along with stunning extract and remarkable clarity for a wine with a pH close to 4.0. The good news is that there are 10,500 cases of the 2009, one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made. It requires a decade of cellaring and should last a half century or more. Readers who have loved the complexity of Haut-Brion should be prepared for a bigger, richer, more massive wine, but one that does not lose any of its prodigious aromatic attractions. – Robert Parker Jr. (2012)
Wine Advocate Rating: 100
Drink Date: NAwine spotlight
Harvested between September 17 and October 5, this wine seems always open for business, so to speak, much like the great 1982s. The summer of 2009 was very hot and dry, which got the harvest off to a reasonably early start. The blend was 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Jean Bernard Delmas’ goal was to find perfect equilibrium between freshness and concentration, given its incredible opulence and the voluptuous character this vintage offered. That’s what this wine has in abundance. With an astounding dense purple color, the wine has velvety, sweet tannins, and an extremely open-knit and opulent blueberry, blackberry and creme de cassis nose. There is scorched earth, vanilla and, again, telltale licorice and spice. It is unctuously textured – thicker and juicier than the 2010 and more forward. This wine should come into its own in another five years. And again, it has at least 50+ years of aging potential. – Robert Parker Jr. (2014)
Wine Advocate Rating: 100
Drink Date: 2018-2068wine spotlight
A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2009 La Mission-Haut-Brion stood out as one of the most exceptional young wines I had ever tasted from barrel, and its greatness has been confirmed in the bottle. A remarkable effort from the Dillon family, this is another large-scaled La Mission that tips the scales at 15% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (47% of each) and the rest Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a magnificent bouquet of truffles, scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, subtle smoke and spring flowers. The wine’s remarkable concentration offers up an unctuous/viscous texture, a skyscraper-like mouthfeel, sweet, sumptuous, nearly over-the-top flavors and massive density. Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime La Mission-Haut-Brion, the 2009 will take its place alongside the many great wines made here since the early 1920s. The good news is that there are nearly 6,000 cases of the 2009. It should last for 50-75+ years. Given the wine’s unctuosity and sweetness of the tannin, I would have no problem drinking it in about 5-6 years. – Robert Parker Jr. (2012)
Wine Advocate Rating: 100wine spotlight