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 ‘primeurs’
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.
This appellation covers a vast amount of ground and very differing terroirs. It’s always a bit odd to lump together say Château La Lagune and Château Cantermerle who border [and resemble] the wines of Margaux, with that of Château Belgrave, Château de Camensac and Château La Tour Carnet just to the west of St Julien, alongside Château Coufran, the northernmost Haut-Médoc château, past St Estèphe in St Seurin, but there we are. Overall the best Haut-Médoc 2012s have gone for elegance and balance. Some are quite attractive, others vigorous with plenty of bounce and freshness. Quite a few are a stalky and angular with a fair amount of grip, a bit reminiscent of 2011, so you do need to tread carefully. Again generally I don’t quite see the urgency in picking these up en primeur when there are still lots of 2009 and 2010s on the market for a fraction more.
As you’d imagine Moulis and Listrac are fairly tight, tannic bunch in 2012. There is not the gloss here of the really great years like 2009 and 2010 when these properties provide real value. Most should settle ok. The real bright spot, as ever, is Château Poujeaux, which has crafted a very fine effort in this tricky, rain-affected vintage. Listrac has produced a chewy set of wines, but Château Fourcas-Dupré and Château Fourcas-Hosten should prove gutsy drinking. Still, with so much 2009, 2010, and even 2005, still widely available and drinking nicely, it doesn’t seem to make much sense tying up your cash in these right now.