In 1827, the Count of St. Exupéry purchased Château Malescot and the surrounding 15 acres of vineyards and then renamed his estate Château Malescot St. Exupéry. But the wine business of the 19th century bore little resemblance to that of today. Twenty-six years later, following the death of the count, his widow was obliged to auction off this now-priceless domaine just a stone's throw from Château Margaux.
(A quick side note: For those of us who spent hundreds of evenings reading bedtime stories to kids who refused to close their eyes, you surely remember Le Petit Prince, whose author was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the count's great-grandson. If you're a history buff, you may also recall that Antoine was both a novelist and an aviator, whose plane vanished mysteriously off the coast of Nazi-occupied France on July 31, 1944, during a reconnaissance mission for the American army.)
Château Malescot St. Exupéry passed into the hands of the Zuger family in 1955, 11 years after the count’s great-grandson flew his final mission. As the war-torn economy rebounded, the château experienced a major renaissance. The surge continued into the new millennium — propelled by owner Jean-Luc Zuger’s diligence in the vineyard and the cellar — culminating with a drop-dead gorgeous 2010 that put all of Margaux on high alert.
Malescot St. Exupéry’s meteoric rise wasn’t lost on Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate noted, “This estate, which has been on a qualitative crescendo for over ten years, has made a prodigious 2010 that ranks alongside their 2009, 2005 and 2000.” Parker tasted the 2010 on two separate occasions, handing out similarly glowing 94-96 and 95-point reviews, calling it “gorgeous, flowery, classic Margaux … harmonious in every sense of style, extraordinarily long, rich and ageworthy.”
Of course, in 2010, Jean-Luc Zuger’s influence was only half the story. The rest? Chalk it up to Mother Nature.
The vintage that Decanter and Wine Spectator have rated the highest in Bordeaux HISTORY was the region’s second consecutive drought year. But even less rain fell in Margaux than in 2009, and there were no significant heat waves in 2010. June was warmer than 2009, yet there were more cloudy days. July was hot and dry, followed by the marvelously mild yet sunny months of August, September, and October that gave birth to terrifically concentrated reds, braced by sumptuous, age-worthy tannins.
The 2010 Château Malescot St. Exupéry is opaque purple in the glass. Plush and voluminous aromatically, featuring a suave mix of black raspberry and black currant preserves, with hints of spice box and charcoal. Massively concentrated, silken in texture, this is a 2010 of exquisite purity and density, finishing with tremendous persistence and energy. Drinking window? Mr. Parker suggests now-2043.
Today, those with self-discipline should hit “Buy” on two bottles and lay both down for a decade or more.
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