Keen watchers and traders on the fine wine market will be familiar with the rise in price of Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild over the past year. Part of the Lafite stable, Duhart-Milon has been an extremely fine Pauillac for the past twenty years or so and up until recently it was reasonably inexpensive. The 2005 could be had for £300 [$500] a case when it was released in 2006 – now you won’t get much change from £1500 [$2400] for the very same wine. Much of this increase has been in the past twelve months since arrival of the 2009 vintage.
Posts Tagged ‘Margaux’
One sunny afternoon twenty-two years ago I pulled into the pebbled drive of Chateau Palmer in a silver VW Golf. I remember the mouth watering excitement of passing famous chateaux on the way up from Bordeaux on the D2 before arriving in the sleepy little hamlet of Issan. I headed off to fine Yves Chardon, then Palmer’s cellar master, having arrived to work the vendange, the harvest due to start in the next few days. It was late September 1988.
Overall Bordeaux 2006 reds can be summed up as firm, quite strong, structured wines, but for me often a bit joyless. This was certainly my immediate impression having tasted ninety or so wines from the vintage at the Master of Wine Institute’s Annual Claret tasting that took place in the wonderfully oak panelled, if rather gloomy, Vintners Hall last week. The best wines had good structure, acid and enough flesh to make complex wine eventually but the best do need time in bottle. Even mature these will always be firm wines I reckon as in this vintage there is plenty of tannin, albeit it ripe and fine enough. There were also quite a few disappointments and the vintage is not consistent across all the appellations.
You might have imagined that a commune like Margaux, tending to have lighter, famously more gravelly soils, would struggle in a hot year like 2009. It is clear that heat stress on the vines did lead to some difficulties with grape ripening getting blocked, but this so-called ‘hydric stress’ did also act to slow down a harvest that otherwise may have completely runaway in alcohol, conditions that would have led to a corresponding evaporation of acidity. Denis Lurton of Chateau Desmirail believes that water stress was key in the vintage, ‘It kept the ripeness in check in the warm weather. The conditions gave us so much control to make different choices and it’s all about the choices. That helped us make a lovely wine. ’