At a time when the Bordeaux 2009 is grabbing all the attention – this week Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ‘09 was released at a cool £8000 a case – it almost feels like that previous superstar vintage 2005 is being overlooked, certainly if prices are anything to go by. In fact 2005 is almost looking a bit undervalued, amazing considering the records broken in 2006 when those wines were first released. With that in mind I had a look at some of the wines that I bought back then just to see how that vintage is faring and to fill in some gaps in my tastings of them. All the wines were from the left bank and there was remarkable harmony and finesse to them all.
Well, we are waiting with baited breath for the releases of the first growths in 2009. I’ve read that London’s Farr Vintners report that Chateau Lafite-Rothschild is already ‘pre-trading’ at £10,000 [$15000] a case. Blimey. I guess when you’ve got a worldwide army of wine investors chasing your wine that’s what happens. If Lafite is releasing anything near these prices you can bet Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour will be up there too.
Here’s is a brief summary of the top Bordeaux 2009 wines I tasted in late March and early April. Big caveats here in the selection. Although I did taste 160 plus 2009s, I didn’t get to all the Chateaux I wanted to in the trip. The most notable omissions in the Médoc were, Cos d’Estournel, Montrose, Latour, Pontet Canet, Ducru, Las Cases and Palmer, in Pessac-Léognan Haut-Brion and La Mission, in St Emilion Cheval Blanc and Ausone and the JP Moueix properties in Pomerol, obviously Pétrus, Lafleur-Pétrus and Trotanoy. I tasted most of the Sauternes with the exception of d’Yqyem and Climens. These taken together are clearly an important bunch! I hope to visit these properties in the coming months so news on them will follow when I do. Anyway, here are the scores of my best so far. Hope it’s useful.
2009 is a wonderful vintage for Sauternes and Barsac. It is not that common that the conditions for a great red wine year provide the same conditions for a great sweet wine year but this does look to be the case in this vintage. Although it is early days the wines in general have a wonderful delicacy and balance and the warm year produced ripe fruit, high in flavour and with high potential alcohol.
For me St Emilion was the trickiest commune to judge in 2009. The year had some problems. Hail the size of golf balls did much damage to the vineyards in May [damage was also reported in the Médoc at the time] and a few days of rain in mid September may have cause problems for some vintners who harvested shortly afterwards. My tasting was limited to those wines on show at the Union des Grands Crus tasting at Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot. So clearly there are a few caveats to the St Emilion review here.
In 2009 the red wines of Pessac-Léognan and Graves are characterised by a lot of colour, fruit and tannin. Generally they are very good to excellent in quality with lots of fresh fruits and richness, some more layered on the palate than others, and the tannins, while pretty big, are not generally over extracted and are very ripe.