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Undeniably, Talbot is one of the most famous Médoc wines. This fine reputation is no doubt due to a mysterious combination of factors, such as the size of its vineyard, nearly one hundred hectares, and the regularity of its wine. Nearly a century in the same family, the name Talbot is concise and hard-hitting, easy to pronounce in all languages and a part of our history… However, the first thing that makes Talbot popular is the wonderful nature of its wine.
‘For many, Talbot embodies the ideal Saint Julien, a generous bouquet, extremely stable and dependable during aging,’ emphasize Bettane and Desseauve in their Guide to French Wines.
It’s true. A champion of longevity, even when young Talbot is pleasant and rounded, ever distinguished by silky, mild and very civilized tannins. Talbot possesses an extraverted nature. It’s never withdrawn into itself, and has the courtesy of being in a good mood every day. It’s a racy wine, with complex marks of Havana and licorice, classically delicious without ever the slightest hint of austerity.
Legend relates that the name of this imposing estate originates with Connétable Talbot, a famous English warrior, defeated at the battle of Castillon 1453. Talbot is one of the Medoc’s oldest estates, its glory never tainted. Through the years it has been fortunate enough to remain in good hands. The owners are Nancy Bignon- Cordier and her family. They are the fourth generation of Cordiers to manage this Saint-Julien fourth classified growth.
BY CHRISTIAN HOSTEIN
My views on 2010 campaign
Big blue sky above our beloved Médoc, with north east breeze and 23°C this afternoon.
These are perfect harvesting conditions, especially for the Moulin patch, our cabernet sauvignon core located right in the middle of the Talbot plateau.
Since October 4th the bigger harvest team has been picking fruit so black that it turned blue, showing velvety bloom, thick skins, ample tannin, sweet and firm pulp. The seeds too are ripe. This is the right time to pick our best cabernets which will be the cornerstone of 2010 blends.
The very promising clusters result from favourable climate once again, soils we cherish, practices inherited from well-tried tradition and our knowledge of all these complex factors. Another element is the balance in the plant itself ensured by harmonious therefore controlled vegetation and balanced production on each vine stock and in each patch.
We still have in mind last winter’s fierceness, scarce sunshine and long weeks with temperatures below 0°C endured by those who pruned and bent the vines. Autumn rainfalls had refilled the ground waters and we expected warm summer temperatures in return.
It was not the case but then an interesting phenomenon occurred when ground surface drought gradually set in to reach perfection in August and September. Combined with cooler night temperatures, this greatly benefited white and red varietals which produced the magnificent berries we are now picking. One drawback if any (and even this might prove positive after winemaking) was a cold and wet period that caused flower abortion on merlot around June 4th.
We removed a few bunches from cabernet-sauvignons and they now display unusually long stems for the variety. With a bit more patience in the vineyards (4 or 5 more picking days) and at the cellar we should taste another great vintage with impressive aromatic palette, fruit freshness and alcoholic-phenolic balance already perceptible. Vintage 2010 should be all about power and concentration but we shall see...
Important figures and dates:
January: 73 mm
February: 40 mm
March: 73 mm
April: 13 mm
May: 42.5 mm
July: 27 mm
August: 9.5 mm
September: 30 mm
Saturday February 27th: storm
May 24th: end of pruning
June 4th: half blossom
July 23rd: first ripening berries
July 28th: widespread ripening started
September 14th & 15th: White sauvignon
September 20th: Semillon
September 29th & 30th, October 1st: merlot smaller team
October 4th: merlot larger team
October 7th (ongoing): cabernet-sauvignons
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but significantly colder than those of 2005, which totaled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and an attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little precipitation (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227 mm of rain fell.
Another characteristic of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures especially during the first three weeks of August, which allowed good acidity levels to be preserved in the grapes while maintaining an attractive aromatic freshness.