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2010 Cantemerle

2010 Cantemerle

94+ RP

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Critic Reviews

A wine with blueberry and mineral aromas follows through to a full body, with fine tannins and a juicy finish. Best for years from here. Needs at least three years of bottle age to soften. Could be better than 2009 in the long run.

James Suckling | 94 JS
The 2010 Cantemerle is vigorous and open on the nose, a mixture of red and black fruit with cedar and humidor scents. I admire the focus and detail. The palate is rounded in texture on the entry. This is a plumper, richer, more fruit-driven 2010 with a lush finish on the context of the growing season. You could broach this now, although I would prefer to leave it another three or four years. This is another excellent wine and candidate for most over-performing cru this vintage. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners 10-Year On Bordeaux horizontal.

Vinous Media | 93 VM
Plush dark fruit in aroma and flavour, with plenty of extract and a firm tannic base, yet smooth and slick in texture. Still a touch chewy; leave a while. Drinking Window 2019 - 2029.

Decanter | 92 DEC
A great success for this southern Médoc chateau, this is fine, elegant and perfumed. It bursts with a black fruit flavor, balanced by smooth tannins and acidity. It’s a wine for medium-term aging over the next six years.

Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE
Tasted at BBR’s 2005/2009 tasting in London. This is a great 2005. The Cantemerle is developing a very attractive, lifted nose with more cedar and crushed stone, hints of freshly rolled tobacco and briary. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, gentle grip, leading to a foursquare but precise finish that does not dare put a foot wrong. Sedate at the moment but sure to open up with time. Classic Bordeaux.

Robert Parker Neal Martin | 91 RP-NM
Offers a sappy feel, with deliciously pure notes of kirsch and blackberry preserves. Lightly toasted spice and singed anise accents lead to the long, graphite-fueled finish. Should age gracefully.

Wine Spectator | 91 WS

Wine Details for 2010 Cantemerle

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Haut-Medoc

Overview

Producer Chateau Cantemerle : Thanks to well documenting methods used by the monks of La Sauve Mejur Abbey, the history of Chateau Cantemerle in Haut-Medoc can be traced back to the 12th century, making it one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux. These documents are records of business that transpired in the monastic community, which confirms that the estate took its name from the Lords of Cantemerle.

Ponset de Cantemerle became the first person to cultivate the vineyards designated to growing grapes in 1340. This was a large directional change as most of the land at the time was used to grow wheat. By the 16th century, Cantemerle was devoted to the production of wine. It would also see the powerful Villeneuve-Durfort family take control of the estate, bringing the quality of wine to unprecedented levels.

Madame Villeneuve-Durfort was a feisty owner who cared greatly for the estate, working tirelessly to uphold the estate’s reputation and its heritage. She was successful in fending off a neighboring property who insisted that the Cantemerle name was title of land and not a family name, thus justifying his claim to legally add the word Cantemerle to his estate name. Madame Villeneuve-Durfort did not agree. She was able to produce forty years of book records that stated his findings false and he was then forced to pay the cost of the trial. A great victory for the Villeneuve-Durfort family.

In 1855, when the classification of the Medoc took place, Chateau Cantemerle was accidentally left off the list of classified growths. It was the continued insistence of Madame Villeneuve-Durfort that her property be reinstated in the classification. Years of documentation proving Cantemerle had been outselling many chateau that were already classified and the Madame’s dogged approach saw the estate awarded Fifth Growth Status.

The fortunes of Chateau Cantemerle could not have been any better that it was in the late 1800’s; However, this all changed when tragedy struck the region. Cantemerle was not only one of the worst sufferers of the phylloxera crisis, its vines were subsequently attacked by downy mildew between 1879 and 1887, slashing the production by 50% and ultimately bringing an end to the Villeneuve-Durfort dynasty over Chateau Cantemerle. In 1892, the descendants of the last of the Villeneuve family sold Cantemerle to the Dubos family after owning the estate for over 300 years. It was sold again in 1981 to the SMABTP group. The property was in dire need of restoration, and the new owners went to work reviving, replanting and expanding the vineyards.

Today, this huge 108-hectare vineyard property has 92 hectares under vine, planted to 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. There has been a major shift over the years in reducing the amount of Cabernet Franc, while increasing the Cabernet Sauvignon plantings. It is the goal of the estate to continue increasing the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard. The terroir is mostly sand and gravel soils, but can be divided into three sections; close to the chateau, soil with pebbles, small rocks and dark sand. To the east, close to the water, there are large stones and gravel with sand, while farther south there are small rocks with almost white sand. The estate’s best terroir is located close to the chateau and is where Cabernet Sauvignon is found.

The new owners have certainly rebounded Cantemerle’s success and popularity. It is now producing about 25,000 cases annually. Cantemerle is a medium-bodied, light, fresh, and elegantly styled, charming Bordeaux that can be enjoyed young (though decanted for at least an hour) or allowed to age for up to several decades.

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