Friday, June 2, 2023

Clarion Vines: The Inaugural Wine Itself

December 5, 2014

by Jonathan D. Price

Here we proudly present the first wine to be subjected to the exacting palate of Executive Editor and wine critic Jonathan D. Price as part of our new feature, “Clarion Vines: A Column for the Future Wines of History.” In case you missed it, see the column’s introduction here.

2010 Chateau Talbot

The 2010 Château Talbot as tasted at Warsaw.

2010 Château Talbot
Saint-Julien (Bordeaux)
Grand Cru Classé (Fourth Growth / Quatrieme Grand Cru Classé / in 1855)
Average retail price: 58 EUR (73 USD) (46 GBP)
Tasted on November 1st-2nd, 2014 in Warsaw, Poland.

5 minutes out of cellar.
Purple suede raspberry preserves. A bit of an Australian vanilla bomb at the beginning. Mohave desert, mouth-drying tannins that jump to the roof of your mouth and seem to reach back to the larynx as barbed vines.  Finishes long and tapers off like a fire slowly extinguishing itself.

1 hour.
Dry, salty nose, like in Skye Scotches or fresh ‘Hollandse nieuwe’ herring, minus the fishiness. Nose also New Worldy (one knows who they think their market is). Collects in the roof of my own nose. Fruity perfume with hint of musk. Compact tannins.  Integrated and tight, like a punch with a heavily-padded boxing glove. Moderate acidity. Looks as young as it is. Long front mouth finish. Abbreviated finish in the back of mouth.  The empty glass is fragrant and sweet. The wine has a long life ahead of it.

3 hours.
Straight, neat cabernet blend. Not the Basic Bordeaux Nose (BBN) of myth and legend.

10 hours.
Meaty in consistency and taste. Just as at 3 hours, but now noticeably tighter. Leather is back but not as suedey as at the beginning. Pine box. Not so much fruit. Acidic alcohol forward on nose. Finish a bit dappled and dancing on the tongue as if a Riverdance troupe were installed there.

35 hours.
Open and hospitable. Clove on the nose. Tobacco, something between earth and tar. Granular on tongue when rolled. The nose and taste have diverged markedly, as if they began in different places and only converged briefly in the glass. Berry salt-water taffy that makes you want to chew, as if it is stuck in your teeth (maybe it is; I have no mirror to check for the purple-teeth monster, and my wife long ago made clear her preference not to be asked such questions on a regular basis). Now a more stereotypical BBN, but a bit of a parody of what it would be after 12-15 years in the cellar. This wine is worth waiting until after dinner to enjoy, rather than with food. Has a bit of the acidic finish that Burgundies sometimes have, minus the cherries. The nose, too, is redolent of the powerful Burgundies of Pommard, not in content but in form. I think a mushroom slipped into my glass on the last swig, but it could be the wine talking.

When to drink
It is too young to drink properly in the next five years. Although I enjoyed each sip, it was mostly aspirationally, for what it one day will be and for the noble but as of yet undeveloped characteristics. It is a bold and imposing guest as it currently is – not unbalanced and not in any way offensive – like having Richard Branson over for dinner. You are only going to be talking about his endeavours. Four or five years from now, it will have settled into its skin and become reserved enough to invite over even for a Sunday brunch. But you would still not want it to stay for tea. If I had to make an educated guess, I suspect that the magic day is early evening of January 10th, 2027 (GMT).

Oxford Mark: First class- alpha-beta αβ (70-71).

CV advised: Yes, for cellaring with expectation of significant improvements.


Jonathan D. Price is Executive Editor of the Clarion Group. He tastes from England and the Continent. 

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