We were generally very impressed by the balance and harmony of the wines at the St Julien UGC. Few were blockbusters, but they all had ample fruit, a sense of freshness, sympathetic tannins and a sense of cohesion. Henri Martin’s wines are always ambitious with lots of extract and colour. Produced from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, this is another impressive, saturated St Pierre. It doesn’t hit the highs of their mighty 2009, but it is none the less very impressive and a big step up in amplitude and volume on its stablemate, Gloria. The nose offers a pretty bouquet of red berries, vibrant mulberry, pastry, clove and oak spice. This doesn’t have the class of Gruaud Larose and Leoville Barton, but it possesses admirable density, a concentrated core of pure hedgerow fruit, structure tannins and plenty of length.
Saint Pierre was one of the most obscure classified growths until very recently, but under the directorship of Henri Martin (owner of Gloria), this small estate his emerged as a somewhat unlikely threat to the established order. In fact, this wine now regularly pops up in conversation alongside the likes of Ducru Beaucaillou, Leoville Las Cases and Leoville Poyferre. The style is classic, but polished with inky colour and profound depth. In 2009 and 2010 this estate reached new levels of excellence, but this has become a property we expect to excel year in year out.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.