Don’t panic, rest easy. For those who invested heavily en primeur in Bordeaux 2009, either for their drinking pleasure, or to make a bob or two, I think your money’s safe. In Octover 2001 130 of Bordeaux’s finest chateaux, members of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, turned up as they do each year at London’s Royal Opera House showing their most recently bottled vintage. I don’t know about you but with all the hype and price controversy that surrounded this vintage on release it seems 2009 has been around for ages, certainly a lot longer than 24 months. Widely praised by many as one of the finest ever Bordeaux vintages, now that it’s finally in bottle, this vintage is still a delight. Never has there been such joy drinking young red Bordeaux at this age, nor for that matter its fabulous sweet Sauternes and Barsac. The whites from Pessac-Léognan and Graves, whilst maybe not having the freshness and delicacy of say 2010 or especially 2007, have generally developed well into big, full, spicy whites.
Posts Tagged ‘Pessac-Léognan’
So we have a week to collect ourselves during Vinexpo, Bordeaux’s wine trade fair that runs this week, to assess just where we are with the controversial release prices of the 2010 Bordeaux vintage. If you thought prices for 2009 were a bit heady then so far the prices of some 2010s have been eye-watering. In certain notable cases prices are up 40% year on year and that on top of similar increases last year. You wonder why Bank of England chief Mervyn King is losing sleep about the UK’s paltry 4.5% inflation rate. Small beer Merv, get with it. Bordeaux’s up ten times as much.
Out of all the Bordeaux appellations Pessac-Léognan’s wines are probably the most immediately appealing in 2010. The vintage has given richness and plushness to the reds but grip and acidity that makes the wines feel fresh, lively and complete. The whites have power and concentration as well as more acidity than in 2009. They should age well and yet provide attractive, positive drinking in their youth. Overall hardly anyone put a foot wrong here that I could see, white or red. In that sense it is probably the most complete and satisfying of all the appellations tasted in the primeurs week. Yes St Emilion and Pomerol [which I’ll post my notes on soon] have produced terrific wines in 2010, with St Emilion looking better than 2009 for me, but the consistence in Pessac-Léognan is quite amazing.
I tasted the Domaine Clarence Dillon wines last Monday at Chateau Haut-Brion without knowing their vital statistics. Nevertheless I did spot some warmth on Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, but it didn’t worry me particularly. If I hadn’t been sitting down I would have fallen over when I was told at the end that it was over 15 degrees. I’m glad I didn’t know that before because, other than the warmth, La Mission looks really good. Nearly everywhere I went during the rest of the week everyone was saying, ‘Oh but what about La Mission? Fifteen degrees – too much surely?’ Well on paper and maybe if you’ve got a bottle to yourself [though I think I could manage one alone] but I had to say that I didn’t notice La Mission was too alcoholic when I tasted it. That’s the problem with statistics, you don’t judge a wine looking at charts. Nor do you judge a feature film by its running time. If it’s engaging enough even two and a half hours flies by. Acidity is the narrative drama of a wine and it’s what is making 2010 such an interesting vintage. It is yielding wines that defy your expectations. You taste La Mission at fifteen degrees and it works.