Well after tasting hundreds of wines across all of Bordeaux’s major appellations last week, generally 2013 faired a bit better than expected. That may not seem much of an achievement given how subterranean expectations were at the outset. Truly miserable weather during flowering, and rain and humidity at the end of the growing season, meant it was a battle between rot and ripeness for almost all growers regardless of appellation. These conditions only benefited Bordeaux’s sweet wine producers in Sauternes and Barsac, who qualitatively have produced the best wines of the vintage.
Posts Tagged ‘en primeur’
Five years ago Bordeaux’s top chateaux were rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of releasing their precocious, and delicious, 2009s to an expectant trade and press. The wines were an assault on the senses, and, as it turned out, the pocket. Released in dribs and drabs to stoke demand, many big guns didn’t name their prices until months later, seemingly waiting for each other to make the next move to see who could double their prices. The accompanying en primeur campaign was a feeding frenzy. Next week Bordeaux offers us the 2013 vintage for the first time. Things couldn’t be more different. I expect you’ll be able to hear the sound of a pin drop.
It is tempting to put the boot into Bordeaux 2009. The expectations were so high at the outset, as were the prices, that after all the perfect Parker points there was really only one way for sentiment to go. For me it remains a case of sentiment. Only the most curmudgeonly of tasters would surely find fault with a generally thrilling set of wines shown at the MW Institute’s 2009 claret tasting last November.
If anything 2012 Sauternes and Barsac is a little better than expected in what was an extremely difficult harvest in the region, spoiled by vintage rain. The very best wines are light yet with enough depth to make appetizing sweet wine that will be comparatively early maturing. A few are in a strange sort of purgatory, a half-way house position, between sweet styles and the off-dry, emphasizing the kind of all-or-nothing risk taking that Bordeaux’s bravest winemakers undertake here each vintage. There’s always the danger that you might get left high and dry in Sauternes [no pun intended] and some brave souls clearly have.