Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bordeaux 2008

In the soft spring light on the plane trees and willows, the Médoc doesn’t seem a place for hissy fits. The British, though, like to show their love for claret by sounding off about the price. One of the biggest London importers said in March that he wasn’t even jolly well going to taste the 2008s unless the proprietors of the châteaux pretty much halved their prices from the year before.

More fool him, I thought. How is he going to know what they are like, or what a fair price would be? He had an answer to that: he would wait to see Robert Parker’s scores. I have to admit I rubbed my eyes when I read that. So the London wine trade, pretty much the creators of claret, hands over its independence to the …….. I’d better not go on. Thank goodness only one merchant said that. I’m not sure how many did turn up in Bordeaux, but I gather it was a pretty full house Anyway, much more important, the wines are lovely and the price is considerably lower than last year.

In justification of the hissy-fitters, it must be said that in 2007 Bordeaux charged far too much for an indifferent vintage. There is apparently an awful lot of stock hanging around. The First Growth prices were seriously speculative.

This week I was delighted to hear that Château Latour was the first to announce its price for 2008 (usually it’s one of the last) at over 40% less than the 2007 – a straightforward acknowledgement that its clientele of bankers and suchlike have had a glimpse of ruin. I went to Latour to taste: 2008 is absolutely for me: deep, firm, very ripe and wonderfully austere, linear, structured, classic – the sort of wine that will last 30 years. I wasn’t so keen on the second wine, Les Forts, which was uncharacteristically plump, as though overdosed with Merlot. But the third, the Château’s Pauillac, was every Pauillac-lover’s dream.

My judgement of what I tasted (which was fairly restricted; not the great circuit which is the fashion these days) was overwhelmingly positive. The summer may have been mediocre, but spring last year got the wines off to a flying start. The grapes spent much longer than usual hanging on the vines slowly building up their flavours. By October they were in the beautiful state of balance between sugars and acid, and flavoursome compounds, that makes good Bordeaux the world’s greatest drink with food. This year my name is down for buckets of it.


Eric b said...


I'd like to contact you by mail because I'm co-writing a revolutionary book about Medoc, and i would be happy if you could write his preface.

My email is

Jhon said...

sherry wine is a fortified wine, produced in southwest Spain's "Sherry Triangle."The Palomino and Pedro Ximénez grapes are the primary grapes used to make Sherry.

DENICE said...

Have you guys tasted wine clubs .…. Please…they have great varieties. I tasted Red wine for the first time & now I am crazy. I really recommend that if you really like wine. Try wine clubs & you will know what that is…