The clues were there. Fewer big gun proprietors stood behind the tables at this year’s Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting. Some château regulars to Covent Garden were missing completely. And the braying roar of excitement from the trade that accompanied the 2009 and 2010 in-bottle tastings was missing here, replaced by a low, gentle, pinstriped murmur, ‘What on earth are we going to do with this vintage?’ I’m exaggerating a little because there were some good Bordeaux reds from 2011 on offer at the tasting, though relatively few set the pulse really racing. The real joy in this vintage is amongst the whites, particularly the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, and the dry whites from Pessac-Léognan, though that’s not much consolation for a region mostly concerned with red wine production.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Léoville Poyferré’
I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly knocked over by the showing of the wines of St Julien in 2012 despite two detailed passes of the commune on separate days. Yes the best are correct enough and will make decent wine, but many don’t set the pulse racing, or offer the immediate charm of the best properties in the Margaux or Pessac-Léognan appellations or the potential of the even better wines on the right bank. Overall they feel a bit joyless, like the vintage rain has dampened their spirits. Unless they are released at prices less than available vintages now, few make sense as an en primeur purchase today.
Château Léoville Poyferré looks very mannered and polished in 2012. The fact that they have managed to wrestle something as refined as they have in this challenging year reflects their exceptional terroir, clearly a huge amount of effort in the vineyard and great attention to detail in the cellar. The results are what Didier Cuvelier describes as 1999 ‘plus, plus’, a wine of surprising concentration and style.
St Julien has made an extremely serious fist of 2010. It’s the polar opposite of 2009 and possesses a weight, density and integrity all of its own. It feels like a hypothetical blend here of 2005 and 2000 with a bit of 1986 thrown in, though far better handled in the vineyard and in the cellar than ’86 was in those days. Now in bottle, these wines mean business, and you’ll be keeping them there a while. They need ten years age minimum, twenty at the top level, but at maturity they have the potential to be remarkable. If 2009 is considered a latter day 1959, then, in time, could 2010 be the 1961 of its generation?