19 June 2010 at Vinexpo, Bordeaux. Over the next few days, I will be posting notes on new and old vintages of great wines. Many from lunches and dinners: at Domaine de Chevalier, at Haut Brion, at Haut Bailly, at Cheval Blanc, at Lascombes. And from tastings, including Petrus, Beausejour DL, Pavie Macquin, Sociando Mallet.  The occasion? Vinexpo. The world’s largest wine fair… every two years in Bordeaux and sitting in the press room, I must say the service is great, including free glasses of Bollinger Brut. How can you go wrong?

Entrance F to Vinexpo

But first things first. June 16, Wednesday a few days before Vinexpo. Let’s start with Petrus, one of the greatest wines in the world, and arguably the very best Bordeaux has to offer, and it is 100% Merlot, Miles. Jean Claude Berrouet had been responsible for making the wine for many years, but his son Olivier took over in 2008. I am working on a feature on Jean Claude, Olivier and Jean Francois, Jean Claude’s other son, for The World of Fine Wine and interviewed Jean Claude a few days before Vinexpo got underway at Petrus. As you can see below, much renovation is going on at the estate: new cellars are being built, a new tasting room and offices. Some vines have been ripped out to build this, almost a full half hectare of vines. At a festive dinner at Chateau Soutard in St Emilion – see article, here – Olivier Bernard told me that many of those vines were Cabernet Franc that had not been ideally planted in the first place. Nearby, at Chateau Cheval Blanc, another candidate for wine of Bordeaux, a brand new cellar was just opened for the 2011 harvest, and I was invited to lunch for that inauguration (see article HERE).

New cellars being built for Petrus

Petrus. The name is magical and so is the wine. I was more impressed tasting the 2010 barrel sample this time in June than during en primeur in early April. It had lost some of its somewhat bigger nature, and had increased in elegance, even though it was racked just two weeks earlier…. Jean Claude Berrouet, who knows the wine very well, agrees that 2010 is better than 2009. While I think 2009 is an overall better vintage in Bordeaux, far more homogenous, certain wines on the Right Bank, including Vieux Chateau Certan, for another example, did better in 2010. Petrus, too, because it seems to convey greater energy. The acidity was higher. Still, I say that none of the Petrus samples I have tried en primeur since 2004 are better than the 2005 vintage. Berrouet agrees that 2005 is monumental. Anyway, this is El Dorado, which I can find, but not afford. In fact, I drank a nice glass for the tasting…

Petrus 2010 Barrel sample: Very fresh. Chocolate. 50% new oak. Red fruit here, less black fruit. Very deep and rich. Surprising freshness here. Big legs. Tasting with international students who are visiting from Montpellier. A certain spice element as well. Some caught clove, I thought more white pepper. Subtle. More layered than it was in April, the freshness has increased. And Jean Claude Berrouet again agreed: better than 2009. Very deep and rich and long… without being heavy. Old pink rose. Violet as well, Jean Claude said.  In contrast to a wine like Valandraud, also tasted today, this has far more nuance. 95-97+

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