Four 2008 Cru Classé from the Haut-Médoc felt less fleshy, firmer and with greater grip and acid than I remember two years back at the UGCB. Once again these wines seem in retreat. Chateau La Tour Carnet was the best and worked really nicely, not overdone at all. Chateau de Camensac and Chateau Cantemerle were pretty structured and grippy and both at the ugly duckling stage at present. Chateau Belgrave was a reasonably effort, if a little loose, and lacked a bit of depth. I’d have liked to have seen Chateau La Lagune but it was’t presented. 2009 and 2010 look better bets in the Haut-Médoc than 2008 for my palate – the price differential isn’t great but the wines are much better in those vintages.
Posts Tagged ‘cru classe’
Well that was an interesting primeurs week. Bordeaux 2011 is a fascinating vintage, though not for the reasons most of the producers would have liked. It’s a tricky, difficult year for the reds, because of the topsy-turvy nature of the growing season and a series of extreme events. First was the heat of the spring, more like summer, which led to rapid and precocious development in the vines. It pointed to the earliest ever harvest in Bordeaux’s history. Continuing drought followed by rain led the vines on a stop/start cycle and bunch ripeness became irregular. Searing days of heat in June [40C] also burnt the grapes in some places. Violent hail at the very beginning of September threatened to destroy a year’s crop inside half an hour in St Estèphe and rain in Bordeaux then, and in mid-September, also threatened a spread of rot, the fear of which may have led some producers to harvest grapes lacking in phenolic ripeness. Those who waited profited. Anyone working from a recipe book in this vintage was destined for trouble. It’s being described by many as a ‘technical’ vintage. It is certainly one that seems to separate the men from the boys.
Less joy for me in this appellation in 2010 than in 2009s. The latter look more seductive and wondrous by comparison. Only a few estates have produced wines of comparable quality in my mind, Chateau Belgrave and especially Chateau Cantemerle spring to mind. Chateau La Lagune is also very good. I expected more from Chateau La Tour Carnet but there is just too much Magrez make-up [ie new oak] and the pedal feels pushed right to the floor. Overall there is a lot of dry tannin and grip dominating the fruit in a great many cases. They will settle of course but I’d opt for any remaining 2009s still on the market now. You could be taking delivery of these next year and be drinking them from the off. As good as some are in 2010 you’ll be waiting an age for them to settle. It’s a case of chalk and cheese.
Well that time is nearly upon us. Next week Bordeaux officially unveils the 2010 vintage in the primeur tastings for the wine trade and press. It’s a wonderfully crazy time as the Bordelais open their doors to thousands of men and women from across the world, each in a gigantic hurry to taste the hundreds of infant wines on offer. The crush last year at some of the events resembled the January sales, not ideal circumstances in which to taste wines maybe but it certainly reflects the insatiable worldwide demand for Bordeaux. [A glass of Chateau Léoville Poyferré’s 2010 left].