Monday, April 7, 2008

Bordeaux 2007 and Orléans 2007 (just an alternative)

It is really a mental switch from thinking about the pure, mostly small-scale, straightforward Loire wines, to thinking about the highly professionalised, somewhat highbrow world of Bordeaux. As written earlier, I haven't tasted the 2007 primeurs myself - I instead visited the Loire valley last week - and from what I read it seems that I didn't really miss anything. An 'average vintage' is what I read most, and since euphemisms are common when denoting vintages, this can't be a very good sign. This at least accounts for the reds, the whites are supposedly quite good or even very good in 2007. So I think I know what I should buy for my daughter who was born in 2007: Sauternes.

For red the climatic conditions just weren't very good. The year started off good with early flowering, and ended nice and sunny around harvest. The summer in between however was rather wet. Favouring the grand terroirs with the best drainage, and that's where the most expensive wines come from. A classic situation. If you want to read an excellent summary of the 2007 vintage check out what Jane Anson writes on her blog.

Another discussion that will never end is that of the prices. I always learnt that one shouldn't talk about money. But when people talk about Bordeaux and the new wines, if the subject isn't quality, it is money. Prices in Bordeaux have risen a lot over the last years, and with the 'average' 2007 vintage buyers are urging the châteaux to lower their prices, while the majority of châteaux are saying they simply follow the law of demand and supply. If you want to read more about the money-issue, be sure to check out Guy Woodward's news item on the Decanter website.

Orleans, Clos Saint-FiacreONE OF THE VINEYARDS OF CLOS SAINT-FIACRE, APPELLATION ORLEANS.

And then to experience the superb wines of the Loire, for prices at which you couldn't even buy a cork in Bordeaux. No money talk, just quality is what we talk about. For example of the wines from Clos Saint-Fiacre from the young appellation Orléans. Bénédicte and Hubert Piel create the most elegant, sappy and pure wines on their northerly terroir, of which I especially found the red outrageously delicious. The perfect example of a 'drinking wine', and the perfect answer to the doubtful and widespread habit of over-extraction. Piel's aim is to make a light structured wine yet with intense healthy fruit.

The ultimate routine: lots of work in the - natural - vineyard, perfect fruit at harvest, and then hardly any work during winemaking. Nature will transform the healthy berries into healthy wine. But in real life, there will still be plenty of work after harvest. If only it were to get people introduced to these unknown beauties.

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