My Blog: Thoughts about Bordeaux’s Good News Vintage
January 30th, 2011
(LOS ANGELES, JAN. 30, 2011) It’s been a week since I spoke at my 2008 Bordeaux tasting in the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Calif. About 150 people showed up for the event, which was before the massive Union de Grand Crus tasting. Organized in conjunction with Wally’s, the wine merchant in Westwood, Calif., about 1,100 people attended that walk-around tasting.
I am impressed with the interest in Bordeaux, as well as what is perceived to be a weak vintage in the marketplace by many. The more I taste 2008 Bordeaux, the more I like them. They are so wonderfully aromatic and fresh, with fine palates of ripe silky tannins and subtle ripe fruit. They are wines for people who love drinking elegant reds instead of in-your-face blockbusters. As I have written before, 2008 is a Bordeaux-lover’s vintage.
I was slightly hard on the vintage at the beginning when I tasted it in barrel. The fact that most of the wines were released, yet remain reasonably priced, makes them even more attractive. It is one of the best values for Bordeaux on the market at the moment.
It’s still impressive to taste the wines of this vintage from some of Bordeaux’s top estates. I remember being in the region during the harvest, and the faces of many of the winemakers looked distraught. They were worried that the cold and gray August was just too much, and that the grapes they were harvesting were barely ripe enough to make outstanding wines. They were even a little apologetic when I tasted the wines from barrel in spring 2009. “Be nice to the wines,” said one chateau owner. “It’s not the 2005 vintage.”
Nonetheless, the wines ended up very good to outstanding quality for most of the top names. Please check out my tasting notes that were posted in mid-December. I found the wines that I tasted with the group of chateau owners on January 22 were even slightly better than when I tasted them in Bordeaux. The chateaux at the tasting included Troplong-Mondot, Canon La Gaffeliere, Pavie-Macquin, La Conseillante, Smith Haut Lafitte, Malescot St. Exupery, Langoa Barton, and Pichon-Lalande. Either the owner or winemakers attended the sit-down tasting and spoke, as well as tasted with the participants, over one and a half hours.
I talked to dozens of people after the tasting and they all seemed to say the same thing: The 2008 vintage has some excellent wines at very good prices, and they are very drinkable already. It’s good news for all of us who love buying and drinking delicious Bordeaux.Comments