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The top five right bank chateaux of 2010

James Lawther MW gives us his five personal favourites plus see Decanter's five 'most improved' and 'greatest value' wines.

On the right bank, James Lawther MW tasted all manner of Bordeaux wines but, in the end, these chateaux turned out on top.

5 personal favourites

Clos Fourtet (St-Emilion 1GCC)
Outstanding effort. One of the best from this estate. Could be a great buy. Dense, round, perfumed fruit. Lovely texture and weight. Balancing freshness and long, persistent finish. 2018-2040 (18 points)

Ch Canon-la-Gaffelière (St-Emilion GCC)
Fresh, expressive, a really elegant wine with 45% Cabernet in the blend. Impeccable quality of fruit. Abundant tannins but very refined. Drink 2018-2035. (18 points)

Ch La Dominique (St-Emilion GCC)
You have to go back to 1989 to find a vintage as fine as this. Elegant, lifted, crushed berry fruit aroma and flavour. Ripe, precise tannins. Long, fresh, persistent finish. Drink 2018-2035. (17.5 points)

Ch Petit-Village (Pomerol)
Impressive wine this year. The best ever? Dense, complex nose. Explosive fruit on the palate. Velvety texture. Plenty of freshness and a long, persistent finish. Drink 2018-2035. (18 points)

Ch Vray Croix de Gay (Pomerol)
A great success this year. Fresh and fragrant – blueberry, violet notes with a hint of toasted oak behind. Pure and clean on the palate. Fine, ripe tannins. Long finish. Drink 2017-2030. (17.5 points)

5 great-value wines

Ch Grand Corbin-Despagne (St-Emilion GCC)
One of the best ever from this estate. Splendid wine with extra depth and purity of fruit. Suave texture and very fine tannins. Drink 2016-2025. (17 points)

Fugue de Nénin (Pomerol)
Even better than the (very good) ’09 and still great value. Lovely fruit and freshness. Pretty violet notes. Good length. Drink 2015-2025. (16.5 points)

La Fleur de Boüard (Lalande de Pomerol, 2L)
Super freshness and length – a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and vintage conditions giving extra lift. Cherry and berry fruit aromas and flavour. Hits a perfect pitch. Drink 2016-2022. (16.5 points)

Ch Moulin Haut-Laroque (Fronsac)
Another fine offering from one of the leaders of this undervalued AC. Ripe, complex nose. Layers of fruit on the palate. Supple texture and tannins. Good length. Drink 2016-2025. (16.5 points)

Domaine de l’A (Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux)
Sumptuous nose. Pure fruit aromas and flavour. Caressing fruit on the palate. Tannins ripe and long. Drink 2015-2022. (17 points)

5 most improved châteaux

Ch Fonroque (St-Emilion GCC)
The conversion to biodynamics seems to be paying off. Purity of aroma. Rich, round extract with a minerally freshness apparent. More refined structure. Good length. Drink 2017-2028. (16.5 points)

Ch Le Prieuré (St-Emilion GCC)
Lovely fruit extract and freshness. Super purity of fruit. Fine, ripe tannins. Long persistent finish. Perfect expression of the limestone terroir. Drink 2018-2030. (17.5 points)

Clos La Madeleine (St-Emilion GC)
Achieves grand cru classé level in 2010. A clear expression of its limestone terroir. Minerally, red fruit notes and flavour. Very attractive fruit. Finely edged tannins. Freshness and length. Fine. Drink 2017-2030. (17 points)

Ch Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac (St-Emilion GC)
Continued progress from last year. Medium-bodied. Fine, ripe tannins. Lively fruit and freshness. A satisfying drink. Drink 2015-2022. (16 points)

Ch Beauregard (Pomerol)
Just the ticket. Perfumed, floral, fresh with lovely length and line. Possibly the best ever from this estate. Drink 2017-2030. (17 points)

5 wines that disappointed

Ch Fonplégade (St-Emilion GCC)
Plenty of ripe fruit but seems a touch more extracted this year. Tannins a little tough. Drink 2015-2025. (15 points)

Ch Cap de Mourlin (St-Emilion GCC)
Sweet, ripe and raisined. Perhaps picked a little late? Touch of alcohol. Robust, grainy tannins. Drink 2016-2025. (15 points)

Ch Larmande (St-Emilion GCC)
Expected more this year (after a good ’09). Solid fruit but lacks some charm. Extraction pushed? Drink 2015-2025. (15.5 points)

Gracia (St-Emilion GC)
Modern style. Rich, dense and inky. Big extract but trying a little too hard. Drink 2015-2022. (15 points)

Ch La Cabanne (Pomerol)
Good berry fruit extract but tannins rather rustic and firm. Lacks a little charm. Drink 2016-2024. (15.5 points)

Written by Matt Chappell

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