Bordeaux 2009: an introduction

A barrel at Château LatourThe inescapable Bordeaux PR machine has been rolling since the summer of 2009, when we first started to hear whispers about the potential of the vintage that was currently hanging on the vines. With the autumn, as the fruit was brought in, came more confident proclamations, which grew in strength over the following months. Now, as we are within touching-distance of the official press tastings, the buzz surrounding this vintage is all but inescapable.  Naturally, there is an element of hype in all this, but just how much still remains to be seen.

It seems that the conditions were right for the production of great Bordeaux; hot and dry at the right times, with cool nights and occasional rain, giving balance and aiding maturation. The resultant wines are said to be extremely concentrated, with huge, yet soft, tannins, giving them a plump, attractive nature, even when very young.

A joint team of Majestic and Lay & Wheeler buyers and wine consultants will be heading out to Bordeaux this week to taste and assess the vintage and we are very much looking forward to finding out if this vintage is as great as it is supposed to be.

The tastings in Bordeaux are an exciting and busy few days, when the entirety of the world’s interested wine-trade arrives in the region in a flurry of hire cars and notebooks. Exhausting, but exhilarating, this week offers the wine trade often its first opportunity to really get to grips with the vintage and draw their own conclusions about the wines they wish to recommend to their clients.

The Union des Grand Crus (the society whose membership includes most of the top châteaux in Bordeaux) run tastings of the wines from individual communes, hosted at selected Châteaux in those areas. These events are frequently absolutely packed, with wine experts and journalists jostling for elbow room to write their notes.

In addition, the châteaux themselves are open to visitors (by appointment), who wish to taste their wines in a somewhat calmer and more collected environment. These more private tastings often offer the opportunity to gain valuable insight from the proprietors and managers concerning the vintage and how they feel their wines have fared.

The team will be blogging from the tastings in Bordeaux, updating us about the wines they have tasted and their views on the vintage. Make sure you follow our blog if you want to keep up-to-date with the latest information directly from Bordeaux.

(This is a précis of more detailed information over at Lay & Wheeler’s new blog.)

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