Bdx & Bdx Sup 2010/2011 tasting notes

Tasted for Decanter, September 2012

Together, the two wine appellations of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur make over half of the Bordeaux region’s annual production of close on a billion bottles of wine. And they do this by bottling a range of easy-drinking styles that are packed with the expertise and centuries of history that make Bordeaux the world’s wine capital.

Every 13 seconds, a bottle of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur is consumed somewhere in the world – these are wines made to be enjoyed with friends, while relaxing, enjoying food, taking a moment to unwind. Across the vineyards of Bordeaux, thousands of small family-run estates follow traditions that have been handed down over the centuries. All styles are produced, meaning you can find something you like for an apéritif, a picnic, a more formal meal, or to indulge in with your favourite dessert.

Under the spotlight in this tasting are the red wines in the 2010 and 2011 vintages – made from a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc grapes, sometimes with a touch of malbec, carmanere or petit verdot.

The vintage most likely to be found in stores right now is the 2010 - a year that garnered universal praise for its quality. This is the perfect vintage for getting to know the smaller properties of Bordeaux, where the perfect weather conditions allowed winemakers across the region to shine, making powerful, rich and succulent wines that promise to age well over the next few years. And the AOC Bordeaux/AOC Bordeaux Superierus are a wonderful way to experience the quality of 2010 without the price tag that accompanies some of the wines from other appellations within the Bordeaux region.

With all the power and concentration that comes with such a hot vintage, some 2010s are not quite ready to drink yet, but following on from 2010 was the gentle, fruit-filled vintage of 2011, where many of the wines are tasting luscious right now. Depending on your mood, the food you are eating, and the company you are with, you will find a perfect wine for every mood from these two vintages.

Those who want to get to know the wines and winemakers better by visiting Bordeaux itself, should pay a visit to Planet Bordeaux, the home of these wines located 15 minutes from the city centre of Bordeaux. There you’ll find a well-stocked boutique, an award- winning wine museum, and regular events from art exhibitions to cookery and wine classes. And the location of Planet Bordeaux makes it a perfect launch for getting out into the towns, villages, and vineyards that surround the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bordeaux. Set alongside the two main rivers of the Dordogne and the Garonne, the winemakers of Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur are ready to offer tastings to visitors, and are happy to spend the time to share their knowledge and passion for the grape.

In the meantime, having tasted through a wide selection of wines, Decanter can recommend the following wines…


Chateau de Seguin, cuvée Carl 2010, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Top bottling of this reliable chateau, owned by Michael and Gert Carl of Carl Wines. Love the rich loganberry, bilberry nose on this. An autumn walk. The charm of the nose carries through on to the palate, where there is great definition, good length, plenty of oak but well integrated. Very good example of the vintage. 90/17 Highly recommended. Venus Wines,

Chateau Mirefleurs, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2012
Good, rich, deep fruit flavours, that are well defined. Quite a grownup wine, with some clear cinnamon and black pepper spicing. This has complexity and real personality, from a blend of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon grapes. The chateau has been owned by the Castel family since 1975. 90/17 Highly recommended. £11.90, Nicolas,

Chateau Galand Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Once owned by the Moueix family – and still family-owned, although now by Jean Galand, this is a standout wine, from grapes grown just outside Fronsac on the Right Bank of Bordeaux.  Smooth texture, with touches of coffee and dark autumnal fruits, helped no doubt by the 5% of malbec that is found in the merlot-cabernet franc blend. Hand harvesting, oak aged in barrels. 14%.  88/16.5. Recommended. (can buy direct, €7.50)

Chateau La France, Cuvée Gallus, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A warm, open nose, rich with promises of fruit. And this, although a touch unbalanced through alcohol, does have plenty of promise on the palate also, with good tannins, well structured, black fruits, enjoyable. 50% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 20% malbec, 10% cabernet franc. 87/16.25. Recommended. (can buy direct, €8.75)

Chateau Regaldo Saint Blancard  AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Lovely, gooseberry and redcurrant, from a blend of 57% merlot, 34% cabernet franc and 7% cabernet sauvignon. Fresh, frank, lilting acidity. Like this a lot, it's unforced but cheerful. A fairly hefty 14% alcohol, but well balanced, from hand harvested grapes. 87/16.25. Recommended. 00 336 70 47 00 62.

Chateau Barreyre, AOC Bordeaux Superieur2010
A family estate owned by Michel Giron which dates back to the early 18th century, and is located near to Macau in the Médoc. Good, smooth, tasty fruit flavours. Lovely caramel touches, and a soft finish, with well integrated tannins. A pick me up. The only hesitation here is the alcohol, at a full 15%ABV., but overall this is a successful wine. 75% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot. 87/16.25. Recommended. 00 33 5 57 88 07 64.

Chateau de Parenchere, cuvée Raphael, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Again, good quality, lovely rich strands of flavour, some dark chocolate, rich roasted coffee beans. The blend here is 70% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 15% cabernet franc. This is their top cuvée, named after original family owner Raphael Gazaniol, who bought the estate in 1958, returning to France after his family had spent 200 years as winemakers in North Africa. The wine spends 16 months in French oak, and should age well over the next five three to five years. 87/16.25. Recommended.

Le Secret de Lestrille AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Exotic, spices here, with touches of cinammon and cloves, showing a well-handled barrel toasting. Quite sweet on the palate, with clear potential. Like the soft but rich finish. Needs a little time in the glass to open up – great winemaking from Estelle Roumage. 100% merlot. 14.5% alcohol. 87/16.25. Recommended. Hallgarten-Druitt Wines.

Chateau Turcaud Cuvée Majeure, Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Plenty of personality, bit intense on alcohol (14%), but after a slightly hot attack, it rights itself in the mid palate, and overall there is balance and complexity to flesh things out. Good potential, needs time in bottle. 65% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon. 87/16.25.Bo

Chateau de Bonhoste, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
This is a very smooth, richly fruited wine, with top notes of liquorice and cocoa beans. High toast I image on the barrel, fairly modern in style, smooth and pleasing overall, from Vignobles Fournier. Classic Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon. 87/16.25. Recommended., £8.70 (2008 vintage)

Chateau Bolaire, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Autumnal, well ripened fruits from Vignobles Robert. This is smooth, with clear coffee and chocolate, but well balanced by the fruits, like this very much. Good persistency. Has an impact and personality, but not too aggressive, with lovely gentle spice, perhaps from the high (40%) of petit verdot in the blend. This is rounded out by 35% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon, and clocks in at 13.5% alcohol. 87/16.25. Recommended.

Chateau Julian, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Impressive quality, good smooth texture, clear persistency, some black spice, heavy tannins which dry things out a touch in the mid palate, but the finish is well supported by fruit. Potential. The vineyard is located in Entre deux Mers, and owned by the Dulon family. 50% cabernet sauvignon, 45% merlot, 5% cabernet franc. 13.5%abv.  86/16. Recommended.

Chateau la Faviere, AOC Bordeaux Superieur2010
Good powerful fruit nose, touch hot on the palate, but good layers of black fruits, fairly intense, with liquorice, hazlenuts and toasted almonds. 14%abv. A modern style of wine – and clearly a modern-style of chateau, as this has a QR code on the bottle if you want further info on the estate. 60% merlot, 30% cabernet franc, 10`% cabernet sauvignon 86/16. Recommended.

Chateau Sarail la Guillaumiere, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Pleasant, good rich plum fruits, clear signs of the hot year and solid growing season of 2010. Touches of acidity keep things in balance. The blend is 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon. 86/16. Recommended. 00 33 556 20 40 14.

Chateau Le Luc Regula Bois Sacré, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Pretty mid-weight plum colour, there is clear oak on the nose but with a very light touch. This is an easy drinking style, very successful. Good clean summery fruits, not trying too hard. Blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, from this attractive chateau in the southern tip of Bordeaux, under new ownership of Dominque Destouches. 86/16. Recommended. €10.50 ex-chateau. (chateau does not have its own website yet, but this is the owner’s site, where you can buy the wine)

Chateau les Gravieres de la Brandille Cuvée Prestige, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
This has real promise, and a firm grip of brambly, crushed autumn fruit. The alcohol is high (14%) but well balanced by freshness and tannins. A blend of 85% merlot and15% cabernet sauvigon, from winemaker Frederic Borderie. 86/16. Recommended. £12.50-£15, Stone, Vine & Sun, (magnum of 2005 available at £26.50)

Chateau le Grand Verdus La Grande Réserve, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Fourth generation of the aristocratic-sounding Le Grix de la Salle family is in charge at this Sadirac property. A high quality win, managing to be both soft and rich, not aggressive but well structured. 13% alcohol, from 80% merlot, 9% cabernet sauvignon, 11% cabernet franc vines. 86/16. Recommended. L’Assemblage, Chester, £19.99, (currently stocking 2006 vintage, plus 2009 of the Generations cuvee).

Chateau Jean Faux, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Stephane Derenoncourt is the wine consultant at this good quality estate, located on the banks of the Dordogn river opposite Saint Emilion, Smooth, ripe fruits, slightly exotic, with a passion fruit, cardamon edge to the flavours.  Dramatic, but interesting. Partial micro-oxygenation during fermentation, malolactic fermentation in barrels. Certified organic since 2011. 86/16. Recommended, €15.60 (can buy through the site)

Chateau Mahon-Laville, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Again, fairly promising nose, some oak, some toasting, that carries through to the palate. Almost swamped by the oak on the palate in fact, but there is some pleasant mocha-dipped cherry bursts here that keep things on track. A modern feel, confident. fun. 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon. 85+/15.75. Recommended. Liberty Wines, £12.99, (2009),

Chateau Bellevue Peycharneau, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Good firm fruit, rich plum colour. Bit high in alcohol on the attack, but fruit comes in to catch the mid-palate before it falls away. Overall, this is not too tannic, with a clean soft finish. Sweet black cherry fruits, slightly rustic, but overall good, from 15ha of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc vines. 85+/15.75. Recommended.

Chateau Laronde Désormes Cuvée, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A zippy, enjoyable wine. Hazelnut touches from the barrels or from ripe fruit tannins, but the overriding feeling is of smooth dark fruits. Not great persistency, but while it lasts, it’s very good. 85/15.5. Recommended. 00 3 5 57 88 07 64

Chateau Haut Mongeat, Cuvée Isabelle, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Quality estate currently in conversion to organic farming. Their cuvee Isabelle (named after winemaker and owner Isabelle Bouchon) offers rich fruits and good grip, balancing the 14% alcohol. Some intense black spices, with the lush fruit of 100% merlot. 85/15.5. Recommended. (online purchasing available), €8.60

Chateau de L’Aubrade, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Small estate owned since 1973 by Jean Pierre and Paulette Lobre, joined in recent years by their sons Jean Christophe and Gerard. The wine offers sweet cherry on the nose. Good weight, nice balance of fruit and acidity, with firm tannins. Not great complexity, but plenty to admire. 85/15.5. Recommended.

La Grande Dame de Chateau de Lavagnac, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A 15th century estate close to Saint Emilion, owned by Michele and Philippe Riviere, this good quality wine has impressive depth of fruit, and well defined layers of flavour. Clear ripe fruit here, with some ageing potential. 90% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, 50% new oak. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Costes du Chateau Feret-Lambert, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Bright purple colour, plenty of anthocyanins here, a colour more than worthy of the ripe 2010 vintage. This is meaty, textured and ambitious. Not perfect balance, alcohol a touch heavy. But it's good, with impressive persistency. 14% alcohol, with a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Chateau Lauduc Prestige, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Good, soft fruits, with some depth of flavour and claear tannins, but not over drawn out, some lightness in the overall structure. Vignobles Grandeau. 13.5%. 85/15.5. Recommended. £13.99, www.oddbins (2009 AOC Bordeaux Rouge for £8)

Chateau Malbat L’Authentique, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Good, spicy, exotic, touch pinched on finish, but attack is lovely, quite elegant flavours, good silky texture. Vinified in stainless steel, then transferred into oak barrels for one-year ageing. Blend is 60% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Chateau Bois-Malot Nobilis, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Attractive estate run by Jacques Meynard on the banks of the Dordogne river. This is perky, with good definition, dark blueberry muffin flavours, quite juicy. Some micro-oxygenation to soften the tannins. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Chateau Pierrail, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Classy wine from Jacques Demonchaux. Touch of blue cheese on the nose. Tight tannins, this is almost green in the mid-palate, but manages to bring fruit back in strongly on the finish. Packed with well weighted dark blueberries. 85% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc. 85/15.5. Recommended. Chateaux Wines, Bristol. 01454 613959, £11.30 (by the case only)

Chateau Bossuet, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
The vines of this estate are located close to the borders of Lalande de Pomerol and Montagne Saint Emilion, and are an average of 30 years old. The resulting wine is smooth and soft, with touches of cinammon and black cherry, sweetened with a dollop of vanilla. Pleasing, from a blend of 65% merlot, 17.5% cabernet franc, 17.5% cabernet sauvignon. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau La Rose du Pin, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Successful, a modern touch from its vanilla oak, some dusting of coffee beans, not overly generous fruit at this early stage of its life, but this has definite potential to unfurl, and should be a keeper. Vignobles Ducourt, 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, vines an average of 25 years old, sustainable agriculture. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau Landereau Prestige, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Perfumed nose, which continues in intensity onto the palate, revealing touches of loganberry, some gooseberry, and clear burnt coffee beans. Alcohol high, oak high, creating a slightly dramatic feel to this wine. 90% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, given a touch of micro-oxygenation to round the fruits, and 18months in new oak. Unfiltered. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau du Lugagnac, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Deeply fruited on the nose, plums and loganberry, with clear alcohol souring the effect. Still, on the palate this has potential, just needs time. Good texture, it's silky smooth with integrated tannins. 50% merlot, 48% cabernet sauvignon, 2% petit verdot. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau Panchille, Cuvée Alix, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Owned by Pascal and Geraldine Sirat, this wine has a sweet attack, with some evident new oak, giving a smoky edge of charcoal and liquorice. A blend of 95% merlot, 3% cabernet franc, 1% malbec, 1% petit verdot, with some swirling spice on the finish. 6 months in stainless steel, 12 months in French oak barrels. 84/15.25. Recommended. Marks and Spencer (currently out of stock)

Chateau Gamage, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A pretty wine, not huge definition, but cheerful, juicy summer fruits, rustic and pleasing. Lovely full mid-palate, laden with rhubarb. 84/15.25. Recommended. €5.50

Chateau de Beau Rivage, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Sharp but well defined fruit and clear black pepper spices from this Médoc-located vineyard owned by the family of Nadalié coopers. Needs time to open up, but has the three clear benefits of 2010 – freshness, fruit and tannins. One to keep for a few years, and decant before drinking. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau de la Cour d’Argent , AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Vignobles Denis Barraud. Ripe to over-ripe fruit on the nose, followed by a rich and alluring palate. This teeters on being too much, but has real sweetness to the fruit, and good potential. 14 months in barrel. Clearly needs time to open and settle. Pair with a juicy steak. 84/15.25., £8.50, Vine Trail,

Chateau de Lisennes, Cuvée Prestige, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Father and son winemaking team of Jean-Pierre and Jean-Luc Soubie. Good balance to this wine, although a touch underpowered for the vintage. A blend of 67% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc 84/15.25. Recommended. £12-15, The City Beverage Company,

Chateau Lamothe Vincent Heritage, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Distinct fruit flavours on display here, rich peppery spices, overall an exotic modern feel. 90% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol, 84/15.25. Recommended. Approx £12, The Real Wine Company, (white and rosé currently in stock), Paul Roberts Wine Birmingham, (2009 currently in stock).

Clos Maucaillou, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
This wine is made by the owners of Chateau Boyd Cantenac in Margaux. Full extraction is evident, but the wine retains a light touch on the finish. Some good firm fruits in evidence, with a blend of 62% merlot, 36% c
abernet sauvignon, 2% cabernet franc. Needs time to open up. 84/15.25. Recommended. £12-15, (on menu at Boyd’s Brasserie in London)

Chateau La Mothe du Barry, Cuvée Le Barry, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Rich, smooth texture, and pleasant well-ripened fruit on the palate. Nice weight, that carries through the wine, not dipping down in the mid-palate, but a touch hot on the finish. 75% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon. 84/15.25. Recommended. Lea & Sandeman, (2008 sold out, 2009 vintage on its way, £9.50)

Chateau d’Aryvres, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Fruit-filled blend of 99% merlot and just 1% cabernet sauvignon, worked at full extraction to give bitter dark chocolate and coffee bean flavours. The effect is to concentrate the qualities of the vintage, taking it perhaps a little too far. Needs time to open up, could relax into itself. 83/15. Recommended.

Chateau de Ricaud, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Subdued nose, and over all this is rather tight, needs to open up in the glass before the flavours start to uncurl. Still tight, this is a tannic wine for the appellation, clearly has ambition, backed up by good fruit. Again, the 2010 vintage is showing what it can do across smaller appellations. 83/15. Recommended. £8, Champagnes et Chateaux,

Chateau Lajarre, cuvee Eleonore, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Owned by doctor-winemaker Gregory Lovato since 2005, the extraction is full here, meaning that the fruit-acidity-tannin triumvirate of 2010 is in full force. This has attack, it has length, it is just a little full on the acidity in the mid palate.  70% merlot, with the rest split between cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Potential 83/15. Recommended.

Chateau Peychaud, Cuvée Speciale, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Crisp firm flavours, straight from the attack you can feel the texture and shape of this wine. Another big hitter, pouring itself into this excellent vintage. 50% merlot, 45% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc. And as an aside, the estate is owned b Count Jacques de Pontac – a distant descendant of the original founder of Chateau Haut-Brion. 83/15. Recommended.

Chateau Lescalle AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
This is a pleasingly round wine, with chunky well ripened fruit. Some crab apple freshness creeping in on the finish. 70% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon 10% petit verdot. Vineyard located on the edge of the Margaux appellation. 83/15. Recommended. The Wine Reserve, (2008, £11.99)

Chateau La Tuilerie de Puy AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Good warming wine, with a steadfast nose, from the Regaud family at this pretty family estate. On the palate, this packs quite a punch on the attack, but the mid-palate is smooth and rich. Slightly rustic on the finish. 83/15. Recommended. Jackson Nugent Vintners,, £14.

Chateau Brun Despagne Héritage, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A blue cheese touch on the nose, good fresh attack, tight finish. It works right up to the burnt caramel finish, which is a little bitter. 90% merlot, 10% cabernet franc – make sure you give this time to open, and pair with food. Definite potential. 83/15, Recommended. £8.80, Fine & Rare,

Chateau Tetre Cabaron AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Five generations of the Dugrand family have made wine at this Entre deux Mers estate. Sweet, rich fruit on the nose, feels like a hot year, well ripened. A touch short on the finish, but this is gentle and pleasant. Merlot and cabernet sauvignon, aged in oak. 82/14.75. Fair.

Chateau Trocard, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
A reliable, well-regarded property that manages to consistently produce good drinking claret. This is a little drowned by the oak, and is a touch sour from the alcohol, but the black fruit flavours are hanging in there. One to carafe. 83/15, Recommended. £11, Richards Walford & Company,

Chateau Sainte Marie, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Again, a well-regarded estate that is a go-to name in most vintages. Slightly disappointed by the finish on this, which stops a little short. But sweet fruit in the mid-palate makes it worth the time. 81/14.5. Fair. £12. Enotria.

Chateau Beaulieu Comtes de Taste AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2010
Sweet oak nose, clearly trying to entice you in to the fruit. Things are a little short overall, a little light on fruit for such a wonderful vintage, but this is charming nd pretty. An easy-drinker. 81/14.5. Fair. Private Cellar, £10



Chateau Lesparre AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011

Clear personality and well-ripened, juicy summer fruit evident here.  A charming wine, not overly concentrated but successful. 86/16. Recommended.

Chateau Clou de Pin, AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011

Domaines Fontana

A pretty blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, with just six months of barrel ageing. This has worked very well in the vintage, with some smooth fruits, nice and elegant, good structure. 86/16. Recommended.

Chateau Verbois La Reserve AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011
A family-run estate, but working with Les Veyriers cooperative. 60% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 20% cabernet franc, farmed sustainably. This has sweet ripe fruit, witth a smooth, good silky texture, well controlled extraction. A little short perhaps, but offers good drinking pleasure. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Chateau Vieux Dominique Reserve AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011
Owned by Cyrille Gregoire, the son of the Gregoire family at Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac. The oak is a touch heavy, but they have managed to hold off on the extraction to allow the fruit to get through. Clean flavours, soft red fruit, real potential. 84/15.25. Recommended.

Chateau Cru Cantemerle, Cuvée Grand Reserve AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011
Well controlled, with soft extracted, medium-weight in structure but it holds it well. Organic wine, estate in Saint Gervais. 14% alcohol. 83/15. Recommended. €4.50 from website.

Chateau Port du Roy AOC Bordeaux Superieur 2011
Vineyard located in Portets, on the banks of the Garonne river. Gentle wine, soft extraction and gentle black fruits. 83/15. Recommended.  Adnams, £7.99,


AOC Bordeaux 2010s

Damnation de Roque Mauriac, AOC Bordeaux 2010

This is a very smooth wine, delicious cabernet franc fruit (85% of the blend, founded out by 15% merlot), with a soft white pepper edge, and completely smooth tannins. A real success in this vintage. There is perhaps a touch too much oak, makings things a little over sweet, but enough complexity to hold it. Virgin Wines, £16.99. 90/17. Highly recommended.

Chateau du Lort, AOC Bordeaux 2010
65% merlot, 26% cabernet sauvignon,9% cabernet franc,
Property of the Castel family, this is a good quality 2010. Plenty of structure without being overly tannic. Rich and round, probably able to last for next five years. 90/17. Highly recommended.£10.99 Nicolas (2006 vintage),

Chateau Malbec, AOC Bordeaux 2010
53% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 15% cabernet franc, 2% malbec. Lovely deep, intense damson colour, from the cabernets and malbec, 13.5% alcohol, good intensity on the palate also, damson and bilberries, some good structure, not too drying. 89/16.75. Recommended. Approx £12 Nicolas (not in current range?).

Chateau la Freynelle, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Winemaker Véronique Barthe is the first girl born into the family since the French Revolution (now there’s an example of great back label info). This merlot cabernet sauvignon blend has a sweet nose which suggests new oak. On the palate, it is well integrated and thoroughly enjoyable. Great example of 2010 success. 13.5% 88/16.5. Recommended.

Ch l'Insoumise cuvée Chai 45, AOC Bordeaux 2010
60% merlot, 15% malbec, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc, from a vineyard that crosses the 45th parrallel, 14.5%abv. Owned by Cecile Thirouin and Thierry de Taffin, this is good, nice rich colour, with plenty of fresh acidity and fruit balance, not overly tannic. 87/16.25. Recommended. Bordeaux Terroir,, £12/14.

Chateau Motte Maucourt, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Not exactly shy and retiring at 14% alcohol, this blend of 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon provides a good warming glass, with full fruit, and a clear vanilla edge from the oak ageing. Firm tannins, could do with being open for a few hours of carafing before drinking. Should go a few years also. Very good value for the price. 87/16.25. Wrightson & Co., £6.87 (2009 vintage)

Esprit de Pavie, AOC Bordeaux 2010
The makers of this wine, owners of Chateau Pavie in Saint Emilion, are enjoying a moment in the sun, as their main estate has just been promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé A in the most recent Saint Emilion ranking. This is a chance to get a taste of the winemaking for a fraction of the price, with their AOC Bordeaux wine. A blend of 65% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 15% cabernet franc, with a full 14.5% alcohol. Straight off, a good open nose full of black fruits. Big tannins, a punch at the end that dries it out a little, but real potential for a good food wine here. Needs to wait another year or two. 86/16. Recommended. £15, Dourthe UK.

Chateau Tour de Mirambeau Cuvée Passion, AOC Bordeaux 2010
82% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon and 8% cabernet franc, 14% alcohol, a bit heavy on the oak pedal, but this has a rich expressive seam of dark fruits, and gentle cinnamon spicing. A contemporary take on Bordeaux, and the 2010 vintage is showing it off well. 86/16. Recommended. £9, Ellis of Richmond, (2009 vintage)

Chateau Lauduc Classic, AOC Bordeaux 2010

Classic Bordeaux blend of 60% merlot, 20% cabernet franc and 20 cabernet sauvignon. Very smooth, good cherry and dark plum fruit – an excellent example of easy-drinking affordable Bordeaux, from a well-respected producer. £8.99 86/16. Recommended, www.oddbins £8 (2009 vintage)

Leo de Gaffeliere, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Blend of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon from quality producers Maison Malet Roquefort, owners of Chateau La Gaffeliere, this is a branded wine that has real personality. It clocks in at 13.5% alcohol, and is a classic example of why 2010 is a great vintage -the acidity gives even modest wines a real lift on the finish, and the fruit gives depth. 86/16. Recommended.

Chateau Bel Air Perponcher Grande Cuvee AOC Bordeuax 2010
A Despagne family wine, with the quality that you would expect . Expect a modern, fully-charged wine at 14% alcohol with clear oak character and fairly low acidity for the vintage. What it brings in spades are smooth fruit flavours, good texture and impressive persistency. Very good quality for the price. 86/16. Recommended. Wine Society, £8.50

Chateau Grand Jean, AOC Bordeaux 2010
60% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 500,000 bottles produced on average per year by Vignobles Dulon. Soft, good fruit, this is not a complex wine, but a very enjoyable one, that once again gets a vintage lift that the winemakers have taken full advantage of. 85/15.5. Recommended.

Chateau Bonnet Reserve, AOC Bordeaux 2010
50% merlot, 50% cabernet sauvignon, 350,000 bottles made annually of this wine from André Lurton, so a good bet for reliable good quality that is relatively easy to get hold of. You can taste the oak on this Reserve version, but the fruit of the vintage balances it out, and this has some excellent black fruits. A good food wine. 85/15.5. Recommended. Bibendum, £8

Ad Vitam Aeternam, AOC Bordeaux 2010
90% merlot, 10% cabernet franc, a full 15% alcohol. If you forgive the heat on the finish, there are rich chocolate flavours and damson juiciness to enjoy, the fruits of ripe grapes in a turbo-charged vintage. It's big, modern, needs time. 85/15.5. Recommended. €18-22 (in France).

Clarendelle AOC Bordeaux 2010
A blend of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon from Domaines Clarence Dillon, the owners of Chateau Haut-Brion. This is from their range of branded wines, and offers good dense fruit. A warming red, with clear structure, it woul be a good accompaniment to easy-going food. 85/15.5. Recommended. Coe Vintners, £14.99

Chateau Joinin, AOC Bordeaux 2010
90% merlot, 10% cabernet franc from the owners of Chateau Pipeau in Saint Emilion. The aroma majors heavily on roasted coffee beans, very strong, makes it modern and a little flashy. Might be a bit much after a glass, but enjoyable and dramatic. Suits the vintage. 85/15.5. Recommended. Worsley Wines,

Chateau de Beauregard-Ducourt AOC Bordeaux 2010
80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, aged 30% in oak barrels and the rest in stainless steel tanks. A modern style from the reliable and attentive Ducourt family. This is excellent quality, relatively inexpensive Bordeaux that offers clean blackcurrant, cedar and loganberry notes. 85/15.5. Recommended. £8-10, Charles Taylor Wines,

Chateau Beau Rivage, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Owned and produced by Borie-Manoux négociants, this comes in at 13% alcohol, and is a classic blend of merlot and the two cabernets. A lighter style of 2010, fairly low acidity, but nicely blended, smooth tannins, easy drinking. 84/15.25 Recommended. Hallgarten Druitt,

Chateau Pilet, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Easy-drinking wine from Vignobles Queyrens, clocking in at 13%, alcohol, from a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. There is some punch to the fruits, which smooths out to a soft mid-palate, spreading with summer fruits. The finish drops off a little, but this is good. 84/15.25 Recommended. Taurus Wines,

Vignes et Passion d'Excellor AOC Bordeaux 2010
Made by a cooperative cellar in Duras, just south of Bordeaux, but working with growers from the Bordeaux region, this has been packaged in a tall bottle, and has clearly gone for a modern, international feel. Chocolate, coffee, gentle toasting, damson jam… not exactly typical of Bordeaux, but enjoyable. 84/15.25 Recommended.

Chateau de Fontenille AOC Bordeaux 2010
Reliable, well-regarded wine from Stephane Defraine. Good, smooth fruit on the attack. 14% alcohol, which you do feel on the finish, pushing it a little out of balance. This is a good, modern style, very confident. 83/15. Recommended.

Chateau Pey la Tour, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Always a name to look out for in the search for ‘reliable, inexpensive’ Bordeaux. The blend here is 84% merlot, 9% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, Subdued nose, definitely needs some time, but carafing/ giving it breathing space in the glass should be all you need. 83/15. Recommended. Dourthe UK, around £7-£10.

Vinum Natura de Chateau Vallon de Brumes, AOC Bordeaux 2010
80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and franc, lovely name, and back label attests the grapes are in organic conversion ('We guarantee: Grapes are cultivated without weedkiller, without chemical manures'). Rustic nose, fairly simple, but pleasurable. 13.5%. 83/15. Recommended.

Chateau Toutigeac, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Well executed blend of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, 13% alcohol. Overall a gentle experience, there is good fruit here, if a little short on the finish from Vignobles Laurent Mazeau-Bergstrom. 83/15. Recommended.

Domaine de Valmengaux, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Made by Beatrice and Vincent Rapin, owners also of La Dame de Onze Heures in Saint Emilion, this is a real find. Gentle for the vintage at 13% alcohol, the blend is 85% merlot, 15% cabernet franc and sauvignon. Clearly hard work going on here, from vines growing near to Fronsac. 83/15. Recommended. (can buy on the site, €15)

Chateau Turcaud, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Vignobles Maurice Robert, another reliable, go-to Bordeaux name. The blend here is 60% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 20% cabernet franc. Oaky, but with good plummy fruits, and fresh with 13% alcohol. A lighter style of 2010. 82/14.75. Fair.

Chateau Haut de Lerm AOC Bordeaux 2010
Two women winemakers here, sisters Christelle and Valerie Gonthier, carrying on four centuries of family tradition. A blend of two grape varieties – cabernet sauvignon and merlot – they have produced an enjoyable wine in the vintage, with good plump attack, well-filled out mid-palate, if a touch short on the finish, 13% alcohol, 82/14.75. Fair. €4.50 direct. www.haut-de-lerm,

Mouton Cadet AOC Bordeaux 2010
The classic Bordeaux branded wine, made from a mix of 65% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon 15% cabernet franc grapes. Mouton Cadet here shows it is sticking to its brief of creating a modern-day Bordeaux that continues to nod to the traditional idea of high tannins, high fruit and high acidity. This needs some time to open. 82/14.75. Fair. £9.99

Premius, AOC Bordeaux 2010
Branded Bordeaux from negociant house Yvon Mau, this is playing to the strengths of the vintage – rich fruit, barrel-toasted, vanilla-peppered oak, all a bit dramatic. Could settle into itself nicely. 82/14.75. Fair.

Chateau Franc Baudron, Cuvée Recto AOC Bordeaux 2010
Family-run estate by Michel Guimberteau, this has 80% merlot, 20% cabernet franc in the blend. A rich wine,with 14% alcohol, it lacks some of the freshness that it needs in the vintage, but should work well with a rich steak dinner. 82/14.75. Fair.

Les Vignerons de Tutiac, Plaisir AOC Bordeaux 2010
Sustainable vineyard management is insisted upon for all wine growers contributing to this wine, made by a cooperative in Marcillac, working with growers in Bordeaux. Good label, pretty fruits, no major faults. 82/14.75. Fair.



Chateau Lamothe Vincent AOC Bordeaux 2011
80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignom, This is a charming wine, with really good fruiting, plump for the vintage, plenty of pleasure. £8.99, 88/16.5. Recommended. The Real Wine Company, & Paul Roberts Wines,

Chateau Bois Pertuis AOC Bordeaux 2011
Blend of 90% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon from winemaker Vincent Cacheau. Oak aged, rich summery red fruits, no harsh edges. Impressive. 88/16.5. Recommended. Waitrose £9.99,

Extrait de Rambaud, AOC Bordeaux 2011
Quite fruity, soft, extraction clearly undertaken very gently, as the resulting wine is not too tannic. Quality winemaker Daniel Mouty has worked well with the vintage here, producing an enjoyable 100% merlot wine. 85/15.5, Recommended. €11,

Chateau Haut Mondain AOC Bordeaux 2011
Blueberry, vanilla, with touches of sherbet and liquorice. Modern, but clearly pleasurable blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, 85/15.5, Recommended. £7.99 Smart Wines, Ascot,

Chateau Lesparre, AOC Bordeaux 2011
Organic wine. Medium-weight in colour and texture, from a blend of 80% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc. Michel Gonet has produced here a gentle wine that works with the 2011 vintage – a good pizza or pasta wine. 13%. 84/15.25 Recommended.

Chateau Penin Natur AOC Bordeaux 2011
Owner Patrick Carteyron makes this wine with no added sulphur. The 2011 vintage needed above all not to be over-extracted, and this gentle fruity 100% merlot  wine suits the style of the year. A touch underpowered perhaps. 84/15.25 Recommended. £12, Cambridge Wine Merchants,, Adnams, Woodwinters

7 hectares

Chateau de Lisennes, AOC Bordeaux 2011
Organic slightly rustic, but soft, fruity, pleasant wine from owner Jean Pierre Souble. Blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc. 84/15.25 Recommended., Berry Bros, (out of stock at the moment)

Chateau Jean de Bel Air, AOC Bordeaux 2011
Blend of 60% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon. Starts slowly on the attack, but the length is good, and the tannins well integrated. 82/14.75. Fair.