2009 La Gaffelière, St-Emilion
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An absolutely spectacular effort, the 2009 is one of the all-time great La Gaffelieres produced. One would have to go back to the 2005, 1947 or 1961 to find this level of quality from this ancient, historic vineyard planted adjacent to the walls of St.-Emilion, on the Cote Pavie. Dating back to the 1400s, this estate has been owned for over three centuries by the Malet-Roquefort family. Composed of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (in the past it was two-thirds Merlot and the rest split between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc), the 2009 reveals compelling elegance, tremendous intensity and opulence and more viscosity than one normally sees. While I thought the alcohol was well past 14%, the Chateau claims it is only 13.5%, which is relatively modest in this vintage. Lots of kirsch, licorice, incense, truffle, asphalt, blackberry and cassis notes dominate the aromatics and flavors of this full-bodied, viscous, fabulously pure, flamboyant St.-Emilion. Drinking it now may be considered infanticide by some consumers, but it is already attractive, and should last for 3-4 decades. Kudos to consultant Michel Rolland for fashioning one of the all-time greats from La Gaffeliere. (95+)
Straight down the line, this wine shows fruit and acidity. The tannins are relatively soft while the fruit is forward. Blackberries, coffee and licorice notes all come together.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Dark ruby-red. Precise though very ripe aromas of red fruits, licorice and minerals are complicated by Oriental spices. Then juicy, leanish and a bit tart in the mouth; began youthfully sullen but opened with air to show more seductive flavors of spicy dark plum, blackberry, soy sauce and underbrush. This finishes clean and long, with hints of blueberry, pine needle and clove. Nicely balanced and light on its feet. With only 13.5% alcohol, this has a very easy-to-drink quality, and it's easy to miss the wine's concentration.
Very fleshy, with lush, velvety-textured plum sauce, currant paste and melted licorice notes, woven with toasty spice and backed by a dark chocolate bark note on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2023.
*+ At UGC: Sweet and lovely wine, quite ripe but in fine balance. Some red currant and black fruit undertones. Ralph: Elegant red fruit. Terroir-driven, not the fruitball style. Very good.