Academic Achievement: First Growths, 2010 – 1990

The Académie du Vin de Bordeaux was created in 1948 by some of the leading figures in the Bordeaux wine trade, including château proprietors, courtiers and négociants, its stated purpose to communicate the history and culture of Bordeaux and its wines to the wider world. More than sixty years on the Academy is still going strong. And while it now admits academics and honoured individuals to its ranks, the core of its membership remains the leading châteaux of the region including – as the title of this report might suggest – the region’s famed first growth properties.

Arguably the highlight of the Academy’s annual schedule is the primeurs dinner, which is always themed around a vintage number. The last time I attended was in 2019, so the theme was vintages ending in ‘9’. from 2009 all the way back to 1929. You can read more about it in my Bordeaux Nines report. Inevitably, the pandemic prevented any similar dinner from taking place in 2020 and 2021, so when 2022 arrived the academy faced a dilemma. What should be the year’s theme? Vintages ending in ‘2’, as per the traditional system? Then what about all the vintages ending in ‘0’ and ‘1’? Clearly both would have merit (1990 or 1961, anyone?).

Six First Growths, 2010 - 1990

The solution was to split the dinner into two parts featuring the ‘0’ and ‘2’ vintages respectively. And so this is the first of two reports on this event, which was held during in May 2022, in which I report on the wines from the ‘0’ vintages. I will come to the ‘2’ vintages in the second report. I’m sorry to say fans of vintages ending in ‘1’ – which of course have given us some truly great wines such as 1961 Château Palmer and 2001 Château Climens – will have to wait another nine years for that tasting. That’s provided we aren’t in the middle of our next pandemic by then, of course.

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