Brooding skies, torrential rain, leaky roofs gave Vinexpo 2013, Bordeaux’s biannual wine fair, a distinctly wet vibe the week before last. The dreadful weather further pointed up the difficulties that vignerons are already facing this year in Bordeaux. Vineyards are three weeks to a month behind usual growth cycles, with the gossip from some that these early season conditions have been the worst since 1984. Despite the brave faces worn by chateaux owners at the various dinners coinciding with Vinexpo, there is no doubt that the forthcoming vintage will be a late one, whatever the outcome. Fine weather in July, August and September may turn things around, so it’s far too early to pronounce on the vintage yet. Still the Bordelais must have been hoping for a much better start to the year than they’ve had. They could do without another mediocre vintage to try and flog.
Despite the weather and the road works – thankfully to extend the city’s tram line to the Parc des Expositions rather than stop a mile short of the venue as presently – there were lots of good tastings at Vinexpo. Three 2010 horizontals of Bordeaux Médoc, Haut-Médoc and St Estèphe showed just how strong this year is in these appellations. There was an interesting tasting of Chabls Grand Cru from 2011, though it was the older bottles shown that sole that particular show. I also had a great run through the wines made at Chateau de Beauregard led by Frédéric Marc Burrier, tasting his terrific St Véran, Pouilly Fuissé and the top Beaujolais crus they also produce.
Turkey’s been in the news a lot lately and Tim Atkin MW held a tasting of Turkish wines at one of the sidebar events. With eight hundred odd grape varieties, perhaps the highlight of which was the red Bogazkere variety [rough translation ‘throat scraper’], a right mouthful in more than one sense. For those with more modern tastes, there was an excellent Cab/Merlot blend from Suvla which showed the promise Turkey can achieve at the top end. Still the industry faces some sizeable domestic hurdles and it seems that there’s much current political pressure in the country to curtail wine production. I’ll post in more detail on Turkey and the tasting soon.
The Italians were out in strength at Vinexpo too. The Tuscany stand was great. You could work your way through dozens and dozens of wines from Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. I managed forty Brunellos in one fascinating sitting. I stopped by Angelo Gaja’s stand and had a quick peep at his Barbaresco as well as his other Piedmonte wines and those from Bolgheri. I’ll post on all these tastings soon, and on a couple of dinners I attended at Vinexpo, which were worth the price of the air ticket alone….but first up will be a couple of posts on a great Napa Valley Vintners tasting in London held just before Vinexpo…
Tags: Angelo Gaja, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Brunello di Montalcino, Chabls Grand Cru, Chateau de Beauregard, Chianti Classico, Frédéric Marc Burrier, Haut Médoc, Italy, Médoc, Pouilly Fuissé, St Estèphe, St Véran, Tim Atkin MW, Turkey, Vinexpo