Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bordeaux 2009-The Hype?

Bordeaux opens doors to journalists and merchants next week to taste and evaluate the 2009 vintage already touted as one of the best vintage in decades. The main point of interest isthe pricing which if increased from the last year, might be counter-productive especially due to the slow US market, despite the growing Hong Kong aka China thirst for Bordeaux wines. (Altough my Bordeaux negotiants told me this year Primeur campagin already flooded with merchants from US that did not turn up for the last two years)

During my last September visits to France. I met a couple of winemakers. They shared their Bordeaux expert’s view that 2009 is the best vintage in decades.
Even my best Friends Bruno Macarez from St Emilion who runs 5 family vinyards at the right bank of Bordeaux claims it is the best vintage in 27 years.

A similar buzz was in the air wherever the En Primeur came up for discussion. It seemed that few doubted the excellent quality of the vintage- the main point of discussion being whether it was better than 2005. This motivated many of us plan to be there for the exceptional vintage at month-end although there was a minority who would rather wait for the prices to be announced, the ‘last mile’ in the Bordeaux En Primeur tastings.

Well, I will find out soon as I will be in Bordeaux from 26th March till 4th April for the 2009 Primeur tasting. But before that, i have sort out a few interview of few prestiges chateaux done by other media and journalist.

Château Cheval Blanc is the Premier Grand Cru Classé Class ‘A’ property in Saint Emilion and is managed by Pierre Lurton who divides his time also at Chateau d’Yquem. He formed a team to look after the details at Cheval recently. Pierre Olivier Clouet is a member of the team and was responsible for four wines. He says, ‘Cheval is always a balanced wine but this year it is
richer and has added natural concentration, not more extraction. It has been good beyond our expectation and I am sure it will surprise the visitors. I am well aware that Bordeaux often hypes its new vintages. But I can assure them that the Cheval Blanc is one of the all timegreats.’

‘Awesome,’ exclaims Pauline Vauthier Technical Director of the only other Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’, Chateau Ausone owned by her family for 400 years, about the vintage. She adds, ‘it is showing very well right now; it has an excellent backbone, it’s powerful with a long ageing potential, it’s complete with very well balance with layers of ripe fruit and great aromatic length.’

Gildas d’Ollone, Director of the Second Growth Pauillac producer Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande says this ‘sumptuous’ vintage is less angular than 2005 and has more acid and alcohol than ’05. He expects the visitors to be surprised by the immediate appeal and charm of this wine in which Pichon has used 75% Cabernet Sauvignon as it was a great year for Cabernets.
‘Out of the ordinary but not classic,’ says Stéphane Derenoncourt of the 2009 vintage. The French enologist who, like Michel Rolland , works as an international consultant to several wineries including Château Pavie-Macquin, Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Château Brown and Château Prieuré-Lichine, says this vintage will offer a wonderful opportunity for Bordeaux to improve its reputation which has seen a considerable damage in the recent times. He will be present again with the producers he works with, in Chateau Gaffelière in Saint Emilion under the group name of ‘La Grappe.’

Peter Sisseck of the Spanish top winery Pingus warns against raising the prices as he has heard some people talk about. He feels it may be a bit too adventurous although the 2009 is a complete vintage with ripe tannins and could be a ‘once in a lifetime’ vintage.

Bernard Magrez, owner of Chateau Pape-Clement in Pessac Léognan feels that the producers should not get carried away with the pricing for 2009 although the quality is better than 2005. He expects to keep his Chateau wine less than €75.

Chateau Angelus the Premier Grand Cru
Classé of Saint Emilion expects the price between €130 and €50, those of 2005 and 2008.

Do check out our blog again for update on the hype of Bordeaux 2009.

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