The MW Institute’s Annual Claret Tasting is almost too much of a good thing. Tasting all one hundred and twenty wines from Bordeaux’s finest districts requires steely determination, nifty footwork and a healthy dollop of over-ambition. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your watch as you’ve only a few hours. Then, just as you think you’ve licked it, tasting St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien, Margaux, Haut-Médoc and Pessac-Léognan back-to-back in the grand Vintners Hall, up come the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, lying in wait in an adjoining room. Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Fortunately, since last year, you can perk up with some fine Sauternes and Barsac at the very end before hailing a taxi cab and finding somewhere to lie down.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Mouton-Rothschild’
There’s no doubt that 2011 is an inconsistent vintage in Bordeaux. The same problems that affected the region generally also had a big impact in Pauillac. Here, as elsewhere, a combination of drought, a warm, dry spring, followed by a cool autumnal summer, with occasional severe heat spikes, knocked the growth cycle out kilter. Pauillac has some of the greatest terroir on earth of course. It makes it naturally well insured against the most meagre and challenging of years. Given too the extraordinary level of investment in the vineyards and the cellars over the past decade, plus obsessive attention to detail and daily micromanagement at the finest properties, it’s hardly surprising, then, that the best estates here deliver an extremely decent glass of 2011. So much so in fact you almost forget what a tricky harvest this was to grow and vinify. Almost….
Only four wines were shown from the St Estèphe appellation at the MW Institute tasting but Chateau Cos d’Estournel has turned in an excellent effort in 2007. Chateau Montrose meanwhile felt much more backward and Chateau Cos Labory and Chateau Lafon Rochet both felt light and lacking in depth. It’s really worth searching out their 2006s, 2008s and 2009s instead.
Plodding on, minding the pennies, paying off the debts…oh ‘Sod it!’, there comes a point when you have to say that this will all count for nowt when you’re six feet under, pushing up the daisies. A tasting organised by a friend this weekend, reminded me of the importance of doing something exhilarating.