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Bordeaux 2009 Update 3

Yesterday was a long day, beginning with a drive over to the right bank appellations of Pomerol and St Emilion. The first problem on arriving in Libourne was caused by the river which runs through the town which had broken its banks; the expanse of water to the left of the cars in the image below (my apologies for the blurred foreground – it was shot from a moving car, as we whizzed along the bridge over the river) is in fact the road which would normally take us directly to the Moueix tasting on the quayside, in the buildings further along the road.

Once we had circumnavigated this obstacle a fascinating day of tasting began. Many wines at the Moueix tasting were showing very well, a contrast to some wines later in the day a number of which really disappointed; extracted, thick, tannic, alcoholic and hot were some of the adjectives found in the worst examples at the UGC Pomerol tasting. Back to Moueix though; when we left, less than an hour after arriving, the river level had subsided a little, and the water on the road outside had already drained away. And so we continued on to our next appointment.

In St Emilion there was also variability, with some showing extreme levels of extraction; this is of course always the case in this appellation. Whereas I overheard others complain about this particular St Emilion affliction, however, in this vintage I thought a number of the wines showed very well, including some of the more tannic and extracted styles. Whereas these wines always possess a lot of structure, this year I felt they had the fruit, the texture and the acidity to stand up to the tannin. Others though, didn’t like them. The same can be said for Pavie, another polarising wine. But here I think we have to look to Pavie’s now-established track record, after all Perse has been in control here for more than a decade. I have tasted a number of vintage of Pavie, although never at such an early phase in its life. The young Pavie today was difficult to taste, but so are many young wines. Looking at how more mature vintages are reported, this is a wine with potential.

Otherwise the usual suspects performed well, although not all as well as others; Cheval-Blanc, Eglise-Clinet, Petrus, Pavie, Ausone, La Conseillante and others were all tasted and assessed. Yquem though was fantastic, the best Yquem I have tasted at this stage I think, eclipsing the 2008 and 2007. Fans of this wine should ready their wallets. Formal notes will appear next week.

Today, Palmer, a bevy of other Sauternes, also more Margaux, and another look at Haut-Bailly (already tasted earlier this week).

2 Responses to “Bordeaux 2009 Update 3”

  1. Chris,

    As I suspected from comments that have been made for months that this was not going to be a “universally” successful vintage. You have mentioned what I was concerned about from the early descriptions of potentially high alcohol, over extracted wines, sound familiar? It seems for the most part to be a left bank vintage because of the CS/CF obtaining full ripeness, but still being able to control the overall alcohol content, and balance. Of course I didn’t mention the Sauternes.

    I’m eager to see your full write-up of the wines and the EP pricing.

    I’m sure that I’ll stay away, unless there are a few wines that turn out to be a really good value, but that remains to be seen. Always lesser wines (CB, BS, etc…) after release to be gotten a good prices and having the ability to buy a bottle and taste or after retailers taste bottled wines earleir.

  2. Merlot, alcohol, inconsistency. All words likely to be included in my Bordeaux 2009 report. Not a “great vintage”, by my definition at least.

    Interestingly though, some wines with very high alcohol levels showed well. Including one at 15.6%…..it beggars belief. Good wine, I liked it in fact, but it is not what you would describe as “typical” claret!