I thoroughly enjoyed this 2009 Tronquoy-Lalande last evening. The wine was inky in color thanks to the addition of Petit Verdot in this St. Estephe Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tight at first, the nose opened up to black cherries, dark berries, tobacco with a hint of French roasted coffee and minerality. The oak structure was present but soft and the oak was well integrated in the wine. On the palate, it still had primary fruit flavors with good structure and soft tannins. The finish was long and all the elements described were evident in the finale. A really good bottle of Left Bank Bordeaux!
The media touted 2009 as a great vintage just to turn around in 2010 and claim it as the better of the two. The 2009 vintage had almost perfect weather and growing conditions producing wines that are a bit softer in tannin and more approachable in their youth. The 2009 Tronquoy-Lalande from St. Estephe (at 10 years of age) was a good representation of the deliciousness of this vintage. As for the 2010 vintage, the conditions were somewhat variable and although it is considered a classic vintage as well, the 2010 wines are more tannic and will take more time to soften and integrate. I suspect some may lose their fruit before the transformation occurs.
So, does vintage matter? Yes! Maybe not if you are purchasing ‘Wednesday wines’ to enjoy with your pizza tonight, but certainly if you are investing your money in wines to hold for a while. I consider ‘Wednesday wines’ to be good quality wine, ready to drink now and not intended to age. For the cellar, I purchase classic examples of wines of good quality, not ready to drink now but to hold as these should improve with age…hopefully.
To borrow (and tweak) a line from Forrest Gump, ‘Wine is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” It’s the journey that really counts and you can be sure you will always learn something and enjoy yourself along the way!