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Gloria 2011

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. It may lack the floral dimension one may expect from outstanding wines; on entry, it tastes a bit saline, backward with even more structure than 2013, but its tannins are well-blende wit, which will serve correctly more than a food wine. The palate is well balanced, and the wine will load with Asian spices and black pepper that gain consistent support. It may need 2+ hours for breathing in bott;e.

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 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25%Merlot, 5% 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.

Tim Atkins, one of my tasting teachers on the MW course, gives 94 for 2011 Gloria. GG also awarded 92, who wrote on the bottle, 'Dark hue tinged with crimson. Extremely young nose revealing racy ageing and roasted coffee accents. On the palate, wonderful stuffing, full, rich wine with generous aromas. The oak is still very upfront, although the fruit is beginning to show.' Other scores include:

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). Edited.

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. Abundant aromas of cassis, forest floor, tobacco leaf and a vague hint of oak follow its dense ruby/purple colour. 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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