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2011 Chateau Guiraud 1er Grand Cru Classe
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- Closure: Cork
While it seems that 2011 Bordeaux brought everyone even remotely associated with wine back down to earth, gold is still glowing in and around Sauternes. The dream run of 2009 and 2010 became a trifecta for many producers and the famed Bordeaux district stole the show from the reds during the En Primeurs tasting, with the wines described early as "opulent and aromatic".
Unlike the text book perfection of 2010, 2011 has been coined a “vignerons vintage” and rightly so. It presented a more challenging set of conditions as the Sauternais once again demonstrated its peculiarity in a capricious climatic drama: Day temperatures soaring, cool nights and sporadic light showers brought most estates to hasten into the vineyards to harvest the gold. Thankfully, the Indian summer settled in mid September.
A clear picture of the vintage emerged early with most commentators agreeing on superlatives, in fact, one could have wondered if a single drop of red wine had been produced - such was the focus of attention on the sweet and golden nectars.
2011 also presents a watershed for one of our personal favourites. It is Chateau Guiraud's first vintage under organic certification . It marks the accomplishment of an endeavour started 15 years prior with the replanting of most of the vineyard, as well as management of grass cover and the re-establishment of tree hedges and aromatic plants to attract a thriving biodiversity.
Xavier Planty gave himself a challenge to completely rethink the way they approach vineyards and so avoid the systematic approach that has prevailed over the last 30 years. This new focus is surgical and precise, no doubt a sign of still greater things to come from this 1er Cru estate.
This wine has exceptional clarity, balance and freshness, with lots of spicy botrytis character. Full body, medium-sweet and a crisp finish. It’s racy and refined. What’s impressive is the intensity of noble rot that makes the wine feel almost dry. This is the greatest wine ever made here. Made from organic grapes. Try in 2017, but already delicious to drink.
James Suckling - Jamessuckling.com Jan 2014
A large-scale version, with seamlessly layered notes of almond cream, apricot, ginger, mango, piecrust, papaya and toasted hazelnut. The long, spice-infused finish shows ample depth, echoing with an enticing tarte Tatin note. Best from 2016 through 2035. 7,000 cases made.
James Molesworth - Wine Spectator Jan 2014
Elegant, refined style, typical of Guiraud. Silky sweetness with finely woven flavours and long finish. Combines finesse with depth. Delicate yet intense, the wine possesses breeding and immense drinkability. Drink 2021-2042.
Decanter.com - Apr 2012
Not terribly open on the nose though you can find ripe lemon and apricot plus an oily minerality. Rich, powerful apricot fruit, bitter orange and marked freshness to counterbalance. Zesty in a rich framework, slight pear-grain grip. Pure, lots of power, incredibly viscous. Mouthwatering finish. Drink 2019-2035.
Julia Harding - jancisrobinson.com – Apr 2012
An intense wine that is rich, rounded, dense and solid. Along with its weighty ripe fruit, there are suggestions of acidity. Layered with botrytis flavors.
Roger Voss - Wine Enthusiast Magazine Apr 2012