2010 Chateau Poitevin Medoc
 
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Chateau Poitevin #1 Cru Bourgeois Medoc of the Historic 2010 Vintage

The story of Guillaume Poitevin, and how his youthful brashness set him on an improbable path that began at the northernmost tip of Medoc and ended chez Alain Ducasse has been told many times over. But never in English -- and never in America. Today's offer of the magnificent 2010 Chateau Poitevin -- winner of the 2012 Cru Bourgeois competition -- is one of the greatest coups of our 5-year gig at WineAccess.

In 1950, Rene Poitevin purchased 10 gravelly acres some forty minutes north of Pauillac, just four kilometers from the tip of the prized Left Bank, where the Gironde river meets the Dordogne. Rene and then his son, Georges, would work the vines for forty years, perfectly content to sell off their Cabernet Sauvignon clusters to the local cooperative. But in 1991, all that was about to change.

Guillaume Poitevin had just finished high school when he issued the ultimatum. He told his Dad he was willing to join him in the vines, but only if his father agreed to roll the dice on winemaking. Georges understood the magnitude of the risk, but also the brashness of his son's resolve. In 1991, cautiously, the father gave his son the OK to make two barrels of Bordeaux. If the wine was of high quality, he'd hand over the reins to his son. If not, Guillaume would temper his audacity.

The 1991 growing season started out badly. A spring frost damaged the Cabernet buds before the father and son team even got started. The vines recovered and threw out new buds, retarding the harvest. In late September, with sugar levels still low, the sky opened up on the Medoc, with heavy rain falling for days. When Guillaume finally brought in just one ton of the best Cabernet clusters on the property, it was the second week of October. While Georges was disappointed for his son, he was also relieved. The odds of Guillaume making 50 cases of fine Medoc in 1991 was next to nothing. Or so Georges thought.

Not only did the gifted 18-year-old turn out a beautifully refined Medoc in 1991, but he did the same in the almost equally difficult 1992, 1993 and 1994 vintages. By the time 1995 (an excellent vintage) rolled around, most of the Poitevin clusters were headed to Guillaume's crusher. Chateau Poitevin was on a roll.

By 2003, Guillaume's wines had drawn the attention not only of the Parisian bargain hunters, but of some of the greatest names of the Medoc. That year, Chateau Cos d'Estournel pounced, purchasing a property a stone's throw from Poitevin, also set a few kilometers from the river. "Goulée" draws critics, sommeliers and collectors to these stunning gravel soils, many of whom couldn't help but notice the 30-year-old winegrower next door. Shortly thereafter, the sommeliers chez Alain Ducasse discovered the improbable genius of Guillaume Poitevin.

Over the last few years, Guillaume Poitevin's richly structured blend of Cabernet Sauvignon power, Merlot plumpness and prized Petit Verdot muscle have taken Paris's Michelin stars by storm. Plaza Athénée, Le Jules Verne (400 feet up the Eiffel Tower!), Ghislaine Arabian's Les Petites Sorcières, and Le Violon D'Ingres have all adopted Guillaume's silken Medoc -- as have Presidents Sarkozy and Hollande in the private dining room at L'Elysée.

Most proprietors in the Medoc would be puffing out their chests, overjoyed with their 3-star placements in the Parisian limelight. Their hands are soft, and they've long forgotten how to drive a tractor. But the brilliant 39-year-old winegrower at Chateau Poitevin hasn't changed much since his brash beginnings in 1991. To Guillaume Poitevin, neither the feature placement chez Ducasse or a spot on the President of the Republic's table hold a candle to the May 2012 results of the Cru Bourgeois concours in Bordeaux.

In what many believe to be the Medoc's finest vintage since 1961, one-hundred-sixty-seven top shelf Cru Bourgeois were entered in the annual competition. Most carried price tags that dwarf Chateau Poitevin's. But when the judges' votes were counted -- twenty-one years after a brash 18-year-old issued a winemaking ultimatum to his father -- Guillaume Poitevin had reached the pinnacle of Bordelais celebrity.

Today's 2010 Chateau Poitevin was voted the #1 Cru Bourgeois of the vintage.

The 2010 Chateau Poitevin is deep purple in color. The nose is textbook Medoc, a luscious blend of blackberries, violets and cassis, laced with tobacco. The attack shows off all the richness of this voluptuous vintage, packed with crushed black fruits, still beautifully cut and chiseled. Guillaume suggests a minimum of five years of cellaring. Our thoughts? Pop one now, give it an hour of air before serving, then you be the judge. While marvelously age-worthy, this one's almost too delicious to pass up in its youth.


Tasting Notes

2010 Chateau Poitevin Medoc
"Deep purple in color. The nose is textbook Medoc, a luscious blend of blackberries, violets and cassis, laced with tobacco. The attack shows off all the bombast and richness of this voluptuous vintage, packed with crushed black fruits, still muscular and beautifully chiseled. Drink now (for the sheer hedonism of it all) or do as the winemaker suggests -- age for 5-10 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

*Important Shipping Information
    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in early February, 2013.

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