Day 4 – Sauternes and more

It’s a hard life – today we began the day with an appointment at Château Latour. Latour have done a good job of managing the vintage conditions (as you’d expect) and made a soft and stylish Latour. The wine has been beefed up with around 15% press wine to give it tannic structure and backbone, which shows both how light the vintage is but also how well managed the tannins were in the free run juice. It’s not a classic in the manner of 2005, but is good for the vintage – the château compared it to 1999 and 2004, not a bad benchmark for the Médoc overall.

Forts de Latour contains most of the property’s Merlot, and so is unusual – more like a Margaux in style, very open and silky. Actually, in a difficult vintage in the southern Médoc it’s probably a better bet for fans of Margaux than most of that commune’s wines.

Finally we headed off to taste the much-hyped Sauternes. I really like the Sauternes tasting each year, coming as a welcome change from the massed ranks of red wines, but this year it was particularly enjoyable. Château d’Yquem claim to have made their best wine since 1937, which is saying something given their astonishing 100+ Parker point effort in 2001.

Just below this stellar level we tasted a lot of wines, and the standard was universally high. There was an interesting array of styles, from exceptionally pure, intense wines with real finesse to complex, spicy wines taking on plenty of new oak. Regular favourites Rieussec and Suduiraut stood out, but there were some smaller properties that also excelled and we hope to offer a good range en primeur.

That’s it; we’ve finished and I’m sitting in Bordeaux airport waiting to fly home. It’s back to the office tomorrow to prepare for the sales campaign, but there is a lot more to blog about once we’ve collected our thoughts in the next week or two.

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