A week ahead of Bordeaux’s 2012 primeurs week, just what have proprietors on the Left Bank been saying about the vintage? The consensus seems to be that, despite a very tricky spring and early summer, the vintage was saved by dry and hot conditions in late July and August and some useful rain at the end of September which helped the final ripening of the grapes. Things might actually have turned out very well indeed – a vintage similar to 2000 was being touted by some at the end of September – had it not been for more considerable and progressive rain that came in mid October onwards.
Posts Tagged ‘primeurs’
Great vintages are consistent from cask, to bottle, to glass, and so it is proving with Bordeaux 2010. Tasting this vintage at the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux’s annual horizontal at Covent Garden last November there is no doubt that 2010, now in bottle, is delivering on the exceptional promise it showed during the Bordeaux primeurs week in April 2011. It remains a fascinating vintage and a wonderful partner to 2009. If the precocious and deceptively easy charms of the extraordinary 2009 vintage appeal to the heart, then 2010 is definitely a vintage for the head.
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.
I’m a great fan of Moulis and Listrac. In these straightened economic times real value Bordeaux can be had here and the 2009 vintage, alongside some nicely judged winemaking, has enabled the properties here to make some of their best wines in a generation. The wines of Moulis tend to be more polished than those of Listrac, the latter usually a bit tougher and great for a fan of Madiran. Yet with the extra ripeness in 2009, the vintage has tamed the ferociousness of Listrac in particular.