I was fortunate enough to have bought a reasonable spread of Bordeaux en primeur in 2005. At the time of purchase in 2006 there was a lot of hype surrounding the vintage. At that stage it was being compared to legendary vintages, like 1961. In many ways, it had been the first vintage since 2000 to really shout about in Bordeaux. The 2003 had its admirers of course, Parker amongst them, and that heatwave year made some thrilling wines – but it was also very inconsistent. I didn’t get the chance to taste the 2005s during primeurs, but those that did told me that, whilst it was evidently very promising, it was also somewhat tricky to judge with all the fruit, tannin, oak and acidity. Over the intervening years, I wonder if the vintage has lost some of its lustre, certainly relative to 2009 & 2010? There is an interesting piece from Jancis Robinson here worth a read from a few years back. So now that the vintage is sweet sixteen, just how are some of the wines faring?
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Batailley’
The debate between the relative merits of Bordeaux 2009 and 2010 continue. Although it didn’t quite generate a twitter spat, Jamie Goode’s recent suggestion on the platform that people sell their 2009s before the vintage is rumbled, did provoke a number of other tweeters to stick the boot into the vintage. ‘Mushy’, over-rated, lacking focus and fast maturing were just some of the less positive comments. Many, it seems, are now devotees of 2010 and wouldn’t go near 2009 with a barge pole. Personally, this seems a bit of an overcorrection. Of course, 2009 was always controversial, both for the easy pleasures it offered during primeurs and in bottle, but also for Robert Parker’s huge early praise as the best young Bordeaux vintage he had ever tasted. The subsequent hefty price hikes by the châteaux themselves, who cashed in during one of the longest primeurs campaigns, also alienated the market, especially after those who invested never saw much of an appreciation on their assets. It is worth noting that prices haven’t shifted up much in a decade and Lafite remains almost half its release price. So, as the wines enter their twelfth year, what should we really make of Bordeaux 2009 now?
Alongside St Julien, Pauillac is one of the most consistent appellations in Bordeaux. On the basis of the eleven shown by the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux [UGCB] in October, 2018 is an exciting vintage for Pauillac. The fruit is sweet; the tannins ripe and super soft. Oodles of blackcurrant fruit and cassis gives the taster the classic stamp of the commune but also obviously of a super ripe year. In some ways these 2018s reminded me of the 2009s at a similar stage. Ultimately I think the Pauillac 2019s that follow will pip this vintage in terms of freshness and overall sophistication but, nevertheless, the 2018s are excellent. The vintage has produced enjoyable wines here that will provide pleasure early on yet importantly have the fruit to last. No surprises in the top wines. For me Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Lynch Bages lead the field, with Batailley up there too, continuing its excellent run of fine vintages in this past decade.
A baker’s dozen from Pauillac feels a sufficiently good cross section from which to draw conclusions. And on the basis of these, Pauillac has had a pretty sensational year in 2019. Stylistically the very top wines feel like a combination of 2009 and 2010, with a fraction less extraction and even greater emphasis on purity. I’ve already posted individually on remarkable wines from Château Pichon Lalande and Château Pichon Baron but exceptional Pauillacs have also been made at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Batailley. These are real crowd pleasers in 2019. Both châteaux have extremely popular followings and have been well priced too in this release campaign. Batailley continues its run of great form across the decade. It has finesse, sophistication and purity. Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a real treat. It has wonderful fruit and texture. Surely ‘GPL’ remains the best value fine wine in all Bordeaux? Talking of value, do consider Château Fonbadet and Château Pibran in 2019. Both have produced impressive wine. Other successes include Château Lynch-Moussas and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. 2019 is also a good vintage to consider so called ‘second wines’ by the looks of it. Lacoste Borie from Grand-Puy-Lacoste is wonderful, Pichon Lalande’s Reserve was knockout and Les Tourelles de Longueville and Les Griffions from Pichon Baron also impressed.