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2011 Gloria, St-Julien

Every true wine connoisseur is attracted to Chateau Gloria for that little 'unclassified' and 'mysterious' temperament. And Chateau Gloria's excellent quality, which may have exceeded the more prestigious class growths in St. Julien, attracted some of them even more learned. But, of course, the character of the understated 2011 bottle as an age-worthy claret always shows those classy cassis notes with a secondary bouquet of pencil shavings, herbs and a cigar box on the nose. The structure is the defining character, as well as the peculiar cola tones. It may lack the floral dimension one may expect from outstanding wines; on entry, it tastes a bit saline, backward with a tannic structure, but it will serve correctly as a food wine. The palate is well balanced, and the wine will load with Asian spices and black pepper that gain consistent support.

Owner Henri Martin, a cooper by upbringing, took over the property in 1942 and began purchasing vineyards from classed growth properties such as Gruaud-Larose, Talbot, Lagrange and Léoville-Barton. By the mid-1960s, he had 50 hectares spread across the appellation. In 1982 he purchased Château St-Pierre and thus realized his lifetime ambition of owning a Grand Cru Classé property. Henri Martin died in 1991, and Gloria, operated by his son-in-law Jean-Louis Triaud is a blend of 69% Cabernet, 22% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It aged in a combination of large oak foudres and small oak barrels (50% new). The vines are ancient.

The score is RP91. Other scores are also very high, such as:

95 points Wine Enthusiast

A powerful wine—its concentrated tannins contrast its underlying juicy fruit. This is a flavorful medley of prunes, dark plums and blackberries; the finish is marked with juiciness. (4/2012). Edited.

92 points Wine Spectator

Mouthfilling and gutsy, a fun, rustic style with chewy plum, fig and blackberry backed by a very briary finish. (4/2012).

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

This estate continues to go from strength to strength. Another sleeper of the vintage, 2011, is excellent, possibly outstanding. Its dense ruby/purple colour is followed by abundant aromas of cassis, forest floor, tobacco leaf and a vague hint of oak. Ripe for the vintage with excellent texture, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and a delicious, savoury, broad appeal, this wine should drink well for at least a decade. (4/2012). Edited.


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