Tasting Report: Wine Spectator Grand Tour Las Vegas 2010

Tasting Report: Wine Spectator Grand Tour Las Vegas 2010

There are monster wine events, and then there is the Grand Tour, Wine Spectator magazine’s celebration of its highest-rated wines and an event of unparalleled opulence.

The list of wines being poured — each winery gets just one bottling at the table, none of these dozen-to-choose-from affairs — makes it almost impossible to know where to start. Margaux or Latour? Caymus or Kosta Browne? Mollydooker or Merry Edwards? If you’re like most Grand Tour attendees, you’ll try them all, and you’ll find nothing but top-notch wines to coo about.

No plonk here, you’ll see higher-than-usual ratings in this tasting report because all the junk had largely been filtered out by Wine Spectator before the event.

While I am hard pressed to name anything “bad” from this event, I reserve my highest rating for a collection of five wines, two from California, two Bordeaux, and one vintage Port. They are:

  • 2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection
  • 2007 Dow Vintage Port
  • 2004 Ch. Lafite Rothschild Pauillac
  • 2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Klopp Ranch Methode a l’Ancienne
  • 2006 Ch. Pontet-Canet Pauillac

All A+ in my book, classic wines that express everything about their varietal and terroir that they should. Notes can be found below, alphabetized by producer.

Complete Tasting Report – Wine Spectator Grand Tour Las Vegas 2010

2004 Allegrini Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico / B / raisiny, funky

2006 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour / B / bizarre finish, a massive disappointment

2006 Bennett Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve / B / too jammy

2004 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Annata / A / earthy and tart

2006 Il Borro Toscana / A / surprisingly big fruit, light body

2007 Casa Brancaia Maremma Toscana Ilatraia / A / lovely

2000 Ch. Brane-Cantenac Margaux / A- / intense earth with a mellow body

2004 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto / A- / textbook Brunello

2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection / A+ / awesome cocoa and raspberry, huge wine, gorgeous

2006 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages Sonoma County / A- / jammy, spicy

2004 Ch. Cos d’Estournel St. Estephe / A- / raisins, chocolate, plums

2006 d’Arenberg Shiraz McLaren Vale The Dead Arm / B- / almost bitter

2000 Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos / A / top tier Tokaji

2006 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Laurene / B+ / skunky nose, but a tart, tasty body

2006 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Evenstad Reserve / A

2007 Dow Vintage Port / A+ / hard not to love (100 points by Wine Spectator, by the way)

2008 Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch The FMC / B+

2006 Marchesi de’Frescobaldi Mormoreto / A- / young and tannic but braced with fruit

2007 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive / A- / licorice, fun raciness

2007 Ch. Haut-Bailly Pessac-Leognan / A- / on the thin side

1999 Ch. Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan / A / a different Bordeaux, mild and subtle, a rarity

2008 King Estate Pinot Gris Oregon Signature Collection / B / ultra fruity, apple-filled

2008 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley / A-

2004 Ch. Lafite Rothschild Pauillac / A+ / gorgeous, chocolate and earth intermingling perfectly

2004 Peter Lehmann Shiraz Barossa Stonewell / B+ / deeply Port-like

2007 Fred Loimer Riesling Qualitatswein Trocken Kamptal Langenlois Terrassen / A-

2000 Luce della Vite Toscana Luce / A / spot on, light and crisp

2001 Ch. Margaux Margaux / A / lush and velvety, real sense of terroir

2003 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Campolongo di Torbe / A- / still young, needs time

1999 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Centotrenta Riserva / B+ / olives, rich

2007 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Klopp Ranch Methode a l’Ancienne / A+ / outstanding in this incarnation

1999 Ch. La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Leognan / A- / big earth, but some bite on the finish

2007 Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love / A- / big and jammy, a huge wine

2003 Ch. Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac / A- / intense earth bomb

2006 Bodegas Muga Rioja Torre Muga / B- / heavy

2001 Ch. Palmer Margaux / A- / good but not fully balanced

2006 Penfolds Shiraz Barossa Valley RWT / A- / spicy, with an odd finish

2006 Ch. Pichon-Longueville-Baron Pauillac / A- / tannic but friendly

2006 Planeta Nero d’Avola Sicilia Santa Cecilia / A- / blueberry, with a unique slightly sweet finish

2004 La Poderina Brunello di Montalcino / A- / cherries, a lighter style Brunello

1999 Champagne Pommery Brut Champagne Cuvee Louise / A- / lush

2006 Ch. Pontet-Canet Pauillac / A+ / a real surprise, ready right now with a mountain of fruit

2006 Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia / B

1999 Prunotto Barolo Bussia Prunotto / A / incredibly dense for a wine of this age

2006 St. Clement Cabernet Sauvignon Oroppas / A- / Oroppas is back in form after some off years, juicy

2008 Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Garys’ Vineyard / B+ / earthy, but a sweeter style

2007 Two Hands Shiraz McLaren Vale Lily’s Garden / B- / green finish

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast / A / menthol nose, but balanced body, nice

2005 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico / A / great balance

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Thomas Matthews on May 6, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for a good resume of Wine Spectator’s 2010 Grand Tour. I’m sorry you missed Kathryn Hall’s 2006 Cabernet; the 2007 rose from Chateau d’Esclans, and a few of the other Spanish wines. But it looks like you hit about 50 wines — not bad!

    Thomas Matthews
    Executive editor
    Wine Spectator

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