Beausejour 2010

St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B

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Tasting Notes

The 2004 Monte Bello (76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) reveals a similar dark ruby/purple color, but it is not as thick looking as the 2003 or 2005. A lighter, more elegant example of Monte Bello, the finesse-styled 2004 does not possess the power one normally sees in this wine. It offers pure fruit, a pretty, St.-Julien-like style, notes of cedar, spice box, herbs, background oak, and red as well as black currants, and silky tannin. It is capable of lasting 15-20 years. Ridge’s iconic Monte Bello Proprietary Red (no longer called Cabernet Sauvignon) is one of the candidates for the longest-lived Bordeaux blend made in California. Even vintages from the late sixties and early seventies are still vibrant wines. The winery owns just over 100 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines, and production varies enormously based on the mountain climate. With respect to this group of wines, the smallest yields were achieved in 2005, and the highest in 2007. The selection process here is relatively severe. For their Monte Bello, the flagship wine, 32% of the production was used in 2003, 38% in 2004, 49% in 2005, 39% in 2006, and 41% in 2007. These wines continue to be anomalies in the sense that the Cabernet Sauvignon component is aged in American oak, a somewhat contrarian procedure since most top producers long ago moved to French oak. The Santa Cruz Mountains cuvees, essentially a second wine culled out from Monte Bello, are also high quality efforts from Ridge. Each of the vintages I tasted reflects the vintage conditions in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Three 2008 barrel samples reveal a consistent, high quality style with slightly more elevated alcohol contents.

Score: 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, Maturity: 2025-2055 01 February 2013

Since the wunderkind team of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt assumed responsibility for this extraordinary vineyard planted on the clay and limestone southern slopes of St.-Emilion, quality has soared. The 2009 (rated 96-98+) was the greatest vintage since the estate’s prodigious 1990 and the 2010 looks to be its equal. Composed of 73% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon made from tiny yields of 21 hectoliters per hectare, the 2010 achieved a remarkably high 15% natural alcohol. However, the high alcohol is completely hidden by the wine’s freshness, high acids and modest pH. A remarkable nose of blueberries, blackberries, crushed chalk, acacia flowers, licorice and truffles is accompanied by an unbelievable minerality on the palate, full-bodied power, amazing texture, a multidimensional personality and a 50+ second finish. One of the most profound wines of the vintage, this 2010 should drink well for 30-35 years or more.

Score: 96 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 04 May 2011

This has a very refined, composed, well-defined bouquet with pure cassis and raspberry fruit, nice mineralité underneath that should become exposed by age. The palate is very fleshy and oaky on the entry but there is decent freshness here. Slips down the throat with ease with notes of crushed strawberry, redcurrant and a touch of Morello, very harmonious towards the finish if lacking a little backbone, but very fine nonetheless. Tasted April 2011. (91-93+ Points)

Score: 91 - 93

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 27 April 2011

Derenoncourt from 2009. Very dark crimson. Much lighter than the Villemaurine 2010 I have just tasted. Easy with much less of the exaggerated framework that characterises most of Stéphane Derenoncourt’s 2010s though it is a relatively tough wine.

Score: 16 - 17

Jancis Robinson MW, Maturity: 2016-2025 14 April 2011

Elegant texture and tannins. Gentle, caressing fruit. Harmonious. Follows the progress made in '09.

Score: 17

Decanter, Maturity: 2018-2035 01 April 2011

Ripe and exotic, but focused, with really enticing blueberry, violet, pastis and raspberry aromas and flavors. Lush and long, with lots of range and length.

Score: 93 - 96

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 31 March 2011