The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux held its annual horizontal tasting of the most recently bottled vintage, in this case the 2008 vintage, on Tuesday at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. It’s a great event where you have a hundred plus Chateaux proprietors all under one roof showing their wares – although there is never quite enough time to taste them all. More detailed notes will follow and the vintage profiles will be updated. Sadly I missed out on Sauternes and Barsac, despite skipping lunch to continue tasting, the end of session bell being rung just as I arrived at Bastor Lamontagne…I don’t know how I quite managed that error. Nevertheless overall tasting the 2008s reds was a far more enjoyable experience than working through last year’s austere, tricky 2007 vintage. The few whites from Pessac-Léognan I tasted looked very racy and attractive with more zip than 2009.
Despite generally pretty mixed weather during the 2008 harvest, the wines, saved by a warm and sunny autumn, appeared to have good flesh and fruit. Classic is a term that springs to mind and was much bandied about. This is a not a vintage with the flamboyance or opulence [or alcohol] of 2009, but many good wines have been made in all the red wine appellations and they are still a fraction of the price of 2009. A brief word too on the 2010 Bordeaux harvest. It’s a bit tricky for Bordeaux to sell another ‘Vintage of the Century’ when the last one is just twelve months old but the general consensus of the chateaux proprietors assembled in Covent Garden [some only just coming to the end of picking in this current harvest] was that 2010 looks to be another very good, possibly great vintage. It may even be a repeat of 2009. More on this later [I’m off to Bordeaux in November] but no matter how good it turns out to be, surely we can’t afford to fork out all over again at the same 2009 prices for this new vintage?