The new cellar at Corbin since July 2016
I met the present owner, Anabelle Cruse Bardinet, for the first time in May 1996 at Chateau Grand Corbin. According to my appointment, I waited there and drove with Anabelle to Chateau Certan Giraud, owned like Corbin by Domaines Giraud.
Anabelle had just landed at Certan Giraud after finishing complete oenology studies at wine university in Talence (Michel Rolland's class), working at several wineries worldwide and helping famous Mother Theresa for one year. At Certan Giraud, she took care of the vineyard and promoting things while her nephew Emmanuel made wine. Two years later (1998), Certan Giraud was sold to Christian Mouiex.
Giraud family acquired Corbin in the 1920s. In 1999, her uncle, Philippe Giraud, put it for sale. Anabelle Cruse Bardinet had allied her with her two sisters, and the trio bought the property. Several years after purchase, she's become the sole owner. She finished vinifying the 1998 vintage and started cleaning and replanting the vineyard, modernising chateau and cellars. In July 2016, a new vinification cellar with stainless steel vats was revealed.
Corbin is situated in Corbin's hamlet (lieu-dit), some 2 km west for Catusseau, and borders Pomerol. The nearest neighbours to Corbin are Grand Corbin Despagne, Corbin Michotte and Grand Corbin. There are 13 has of vines, planted with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, vines are on average 30 years old. Soil is both sand on a layer of clay and iron clay.
Anabelle Cruse Bardinet makes very stylish wine at Corbin, true St.Emilion one, pretty wine with a lot of elegance, finesse and precision. Never overblown wines, over-extracted and overpowered with tannin. Since 2006 she's worked with oenologist Jean-Philippe Fort, associated with Michel Rolland. This cooperation's pushed Corbin higher up in quality levelIt's worth mentioning that Corbin is very reasonably priced too! Imho she's started to steer Corbin in the direction she wanted with vintage 200o!
2020 Corbin (barrel sample) 96+p
Tasted in June 2021. 95% Merlot + 5% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol. Vinified in new oak, vats and glass jars/wine globes. Corbin's owner, Anabelle Cruse Bardinet, said in an interview a few months ago: "… I've never had such pleasure making Corbin as I've had to make the 2020 vintage." She didn't use an external consulting oenologist for the first time. It was sublime stuff with a distinct nose of fragrant raspberries, liquorice, pure elegance, finesse, and high-quality grained tannin. The focus and precision in this wine were just genuinely remarkable. Imho, 2020 is the best vintage ever for the present owner.
2019 Corbin (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted in June 2020. 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. A distinctive and classy nose of sweet black cherries and blueberries with dazzling elegance and finesse, vibrant, many layers, sophisticated with high complexity. Silky and velvety. It's such a riveting and stylish effort! Will it pass 2018 on the finish line? I believe so!
2018 Corbin 95+p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2021. Consistent notes. 90% Merlot + 10% Cabernet Franc. This was fleshy and corpulent wine with more concentration than usual for this property, seductive nose of dark berries, elegant and sublime, splendid complexity and long aftertaste. Labelled with 15% alcohol, but these percents were absorbed by creamy fruit! Among the best vintages Anabelle Cruse Bardinet has produced. As impressive from bottle as from barrel!
2017 Corbin wasn't produced due to the whole vineyard being hit by frost in April 2017.
2016 Corbin 94+p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. This wine was an excellent thrill! A new cellar with vats for each parcel was ready for the 2016 harvest and allowed much more precise and individual vinification in that vintage. This wine had great aromas of violets and blueberries, very subtle and distinguished, great complexity and balance, excellent precision, elegance and finesse.
2015 Corbin 93-94p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2019. Not consistent notes. Grand Vin represents 90% of the whole production. It was powerful and concentrated with silky fruit and tannin, aromatic and well-balanced, distinguished and complex. Terrific effort for the vintage.
2014 Corbin 92p
Tasted three times - last time in March 2017. It impressed with seductive sweetness and elegance, finesse and splendid acidity. It was a fresh and well-defined wine. Precise winemaking.
2013 Corbin (barrel sample) 89p
Tasted in April 2014. Anabelle Cruse Bardinet was satisfied with her 2013 but said the making of this vintage wasn't for faint-hearted. This wine had a fruity nose of cherries and raspberries, freshness, some minerality, silky tannin, good balance and a soft finish. Terrific effort.
2012 Corbin 90-91p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2015. Consistent notes. This wine seduces the audience with violets and black fruit, elegance, well-integrated tannins and a silky finish. It's light-footed but a fine effort for the vintage.
2011 Corbin 91p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2015. Consistent notes. Deeper and more concentrated than 2012, longer on the palate. Tannin is a bit coarse here, but it will integrate with fruit later on.
2010 Corbin 93p
Tasted three times - last time in March 2014. Consistent notes. It had a deep aromatic nose of black fruit, fatty and velvety tannin, a very long and concentrated palate with fatness and a very long finish. Great class and style here, and this wine fully mirrors its owner's personality.
2009 Corbin 92-93p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2012. Consistent notes. Great aroma of chocolate, sweet fruit, superb balance and velvety tannins, all dressed up with great elegance, finesse and kind of sophisticated touch. Heartbreaker wine.
2008 Corbin 90-91p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2012. Consistent notes. It displayed a powerful aroma of black cherries, lovely concentration, superb balance and was well-structured. Smooth aftertaste.
2007 Corbin 87p
Tasted in October 2009. Attractive on the nose, round with ripe (!) fruit, well-balanced with good concentration and depth. Very enjoyable, but I don't think it will pass ten years mark.
2006 Corbin 87p
Tasted in October 2009. Similar to 2007, slightly more concentrated and with a slightly longer finish.
2005 Corbin 93p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2013. Consistent notes. This wine was an excellent thrill to taste and closely connected to its five years younger sister. It'd a very aromatic black cherries and blackberries/blueberries, very complex, fat and ripe tannin, powerful and full of finesse at the same time. It was an imposing effort indeed.
2004 Corbin 87p
Tasted in October 2009. Spicy fruit here, elegant and aromatic, good concentration and length.
2003 Corbin 88p
Tasted in October 2009. Slightly warm fruit on the nose, but the wine is just fine. Elegant stuff with bite and round aftertaste.
2002 Corbin 86p
Tasted in October 2009. Not perfectly ripe fruit but terrific intensity, depth and length.
2001 Corbin 87p
Tasted in October 2009. The lovely intensity of raspberries and cherries, pretty wine, elegant, charming and round.
2000 Corbin 88-89p
Tasted in October 2009. Very intense on the nose, tasty black fruit, meaty with lovely balance and smooth aftertaste.
1998 Corbin 85p
Tasted five times - last time in April 2011. Consistent notes. Relatively light, soft, round and charming. Past its prime.
1979 Corbin 90p
Tasted in September 2021. For a 42-year-old wine, it was a very decent performance. Very much alive one with silky fruit and tannin, tasty raspberry fruit, juicy and well-balanced. Soft and lingering aftertaste.
1964 Corbin 93p
Tasted in October 2020. It was a very elegant wine with great finesse and style. Delicate. Great complexity and silky fruit/tannin. A true delicacy to taste! I've tasted 1945 and 1959 from this property in the last five months, and I can easily find the same terroir characteristics and style of wine in 1964.
1959 Corbin 92p
Tasted in July 2020. Not chateau bottled. Very elegant, gracious, finesse, delicate fruit with sweetness, very much alive, balanced. Smooth fruity finish. Fine effort.
1955 Corbin 91p
Tasted in July 2021. Half bottle and bottled by a famous English wine merchant, Averys of Bristol. Still much alive, silky fruit with sweetness, very mature, truffles, elegant and tasty. This wine's been kept well for 66 years in a bottle. A rarity.
1945 Corbin 96p
Tasted in May 2020. A blast from the past! You don't come across such a fabulous and well-stored bottle too often. Young in colour and appearance, unbelievable! Dignified cherry nose and sleek on the palate, sophisticated with perfect balance and sheer elegance. Great intensity of flavours. Smooth and lingering finish.