They have called it the vintage of the decade, even the vintage of the century so far. Whatever your exact take, 2009 has already gone down as one of Bordeaux's greatest years.
Why? The summer was very warm but nights remained cool, allowing for a long, evenly paced growing season and nigh-on perfect ripeness. The very best châteaux typically make excellent wines every year these days, but it is in great vintages like 2009 when you can find truly great wines at every level.
Château La Cardonne appears in Cassini's first general map of France in 1769 and was included in the first Cru Bourgeois classification of 1932. Then in 1973 it was acquired by Domaines Barons de Rothschild (of Lafite fame), soon becoming one of the most sought-after cru bourgeois bottlings in the world. Subsequently bought and modernised by Guy Charloux in 1990 it remains at the apex of cru bourgeois, elevated to Cru Bourgeois Supérieur in 2016.
Their vineyards in the northern Médoc, planted on the typical gravelly soils of the left bank, are sustainably farmed and certified for high environmental value (HVE).
The 2009 blend is dominated by Merlot (50%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) with a small amount of Cabernet Franc (5%). Here is their take on the vintage:
"We previously thought the 2005 vintage was the vintage of our lifetime, as the 2009 was simply astonishing as a young wine. It has the fullness of 2005 and the softness of 1990. The 2009 in bottle possesses extraordinary aromatic intensity, freshness and precision. Rich, ripe and mineral, with a very long, lingering finish."
And here is Jancis Robinson's review:
"Very dark crimson. Very ripe, meaty and savoury on the nose and then super-voluptuous and silky on the palate but with sufficient refreshment value. Pretty smart stuff! Though built for the longish term." (drink 2017-25)