Château Lilian Ladouys Saint-Estèphe 2010

Dark ruby color; light plum, blackberry, cherry on diffident nose; plum, red & black currants, sour cherry, some minerality, oak; fresh, full body, flexes some power, dusty-assertive tannins on the finish, very dry at the core.

Blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot; you can find more elegant Saint-Estèphe efforts, but not likely at this price, which is more-or-less entry level for quality wines from this area of Bordeaux. Saint-Estèphe is region in the Médoc subregion; it takes its name from the commune (smallest administrative division in France) of Saint-Estèphe and is the northernmost of the six communal appellations in Médoc. Médoc produces all the red wines in the 1855 Classification, with the exception of Château Haut-Brion from Graves. All these regions, château, and wine efforts represent pinnacle princes of the left-bank aristocracy. Château Lilian Ladouys traces its history back to 1654. It has suffered ups and downs through the centuries; in the early 1900s, the estate had to sell off some vineyards to make ends meet; a plague of cork taint plagued the house at the turn of the twentieth century, but new owners and management seems to have turned that around and re-purchased some of the land lost the century before. Several wine critics cite the 2010 effort as proof of a Château Lilian Ladouys renaissance. Made in modern style—oak lovers will approve—with some grounding in the ancient ways. Worth a buy and try. $40
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