Bordeaux 2009: The Best Ever? (May 2010)

(a blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot; 13.35% alcohol; pH 3.85; 76 IPT; 40% selection) Deep ruby. A very classic nose of cassis, cedar and smoky graphite is devoid of animal and earthy scents and conveys a sense of refinement rare for this wine. Then very smooth in the mouth, with excellent palate presence and sneaky concentration to its sweet, ripe black fruit and smoky peppery flavors. Lively, harmonious acidity leaves an impression of freshness on the long, dense finish, which features a touch of dried herbs and oaky torrefaction along with a trace of heat. As ripe and spicy as this is, it’s an unusually graceful Gruaud Larose, one of this estate’s most successful wines in memory. Call me fixated, but I can’t help but think that making the grand vin from just 40% of the total crop has everything to do with the quality of this wine. It cannot be a coincidence that almost all of the best wines in ’09 have this in common.