The 2009 and 2010 vintages in Saint-Émilion promise to be two potentially Right Bank classics. Despite exceptionally erratic weather conditions – vine stress due to heat waves, lack of rain, freezing winters and the resulting high alcohol levels – many producers in this Merlot-dominated appellation managed to retain freshness, elegance and varietal character. The trick, more so than ever, was all in the management of the vineyards.

Here are some of my favourites which not surprisingly, in most cases, were those that had the lowest yields, the least alcohol or the better exposition (i.e. the Saint-Émilion plateau). The following selection renders the on-going classification argument moot, as they prove that great wines which provide great pleasure don’t always need categories.

2009 Château Destieux

2009 Château Grand Corbin

2009 Château Laroque

2010 Château La Serre

2010 Château Faurie de Souchard

2010 Château Fonroque

2010 Château Grand Pontet

2010 Château Jean Faure

2010 Château La Clotte

2010 Château Le Prieure

Originally published in the August-September 2013 issue of France Today

 

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