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Posts Tagged ‘Chateau La Commanderie’

Bordeaux 2011 Primeurs: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The vagaries of the 2011 season effected St Emilion in pretty much the same way as it did the rest of Bordeaux. A precocious start in spring got the vineyards off to a flying start. Extremely high temperatures at the end of June, recorded at 44C in the shade at Chateau Figeac, caused problems and would have stalled vine growth. Cooler and wetter weather in July and August helped spur things along but clearly the fluctuating climatic conditions necessitated a huge investment of labour in the vineyards in terms of canopy management and the like to maintain a healthy crop. There was also some localised rain at harvest which would have proved problematic although here, as elsewhere, September was generally sunny and warm.

Bordeaux 2011 Primeurs: St-Estèphe

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Twenty-minutes isn’t a long time, but it’s a lifetime if, on the eve of harvest, your vineyard is sat beneath a storm producing hail the size of golf balls. As extreme vineyard events go the St Estèphe hail storm that struck on September 1st 2011 was a dramatic as they come. Not every producer was mind you. It was highly localised, passing some vineyards, clipping others but decimating quite a few. Basil Tesseron, owner of Chateau Lafon-Rochet, who made good wine in the end, described it as the viticultural equivalent of falling off the Empire State Building – a microscopically short event ending in oblivion. The immediate fear, apart from the reduction in yield and damage to those vines physically stripped of their leaves, branches and fruit, would have then been the secondary threat of rot on the remaining bunches. This fear would have been made more complex by the fact that the vineyards were approaching maturity but not quite ready to pick. Do you wait and get proper phenolic ripeness or risk losing the lot to rot? Or do you pick quickly but end up with green wines and unripe tannins? Add all this to a vintage that had seen conditions see-saw and which overall was pitifully dry. Pouring over meteorological charts at that few days of harvest was probably all you could do – that and having a stiff gin and tonic and go with your instinct. Close your eyes and feel the force Luke.

Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: St Emilion

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

This appellation has had a fantastic vintage in 2010. Yes some wines have too much alcohol but in most cases the wines have incredible balance because of the freshness of the vintage. Also over-extraction is seemingly less problematic here than usual, although again that is a relative thing. There are a host of terrific wines this year but it seems that those that have a high proportion of Cabernet Franc, and even Cabernet Sauvignon as in the case of Chateau Figeac, have made the very finest wines. Amongst these, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Angélus, Chateau Figeac and Chateau Trottevielle have made truly extraordinary wines which are approaching perfection in my book.

Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: St Estèphe

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

St Estèphe has done well in 2010 and has produced big, strong and dense wines. Certainly this isn’t a vintage for early drinking and there is not the succulence of 2009 in the best wines this year. There is richness but it’s shown more in strength rather than in opulence. There is also noticeable grip on the palates amongst the wines along with plenty of dense tannin and high-ish alcohols. The wines will be long lived and will need time in bottle. This reflects the overall vintage conditions and partly Merlot’s  reduced yield. The variety was affected by coulure because of unsettled weather during flowering, a problem that hasn’t so much affected quality but has reduced the quantity of Merlot in some blends.

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