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Showing posts from November, 2007

Cru Bourgeois classification: good news!

After the recent sighs of relief in St Emilion (see my posting from 17 November) there is also good news from the Médoc region. Not that the 2003 Cru Bourgeois classification will be restored (that is not going to happen), but an important step is made towards a renewed use of the term Cru Bourgeois. The Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc, beaten by the storm that blew away their new classification last February (it was annulled by the Bordeaux Administrative Appeals Court), is clearly scrambling to its feet, and presenting yet another milestone for their New Plan.

SCREENSHOT FROM THE BEAUTIFUL ALLIANCE'S WEBSITE, IT WILL JUST NEED SOME UPDATING

Not being able to use the words Cru Bourgeois was very bad news for many winemakers in the Médoc, and for the Bordeaux wine trade in general. So after having nursed its wounds, the Alliance presented its resurrection. In short: Cru Bourgeois will stand for measurable quality, and anyone can apply for the new qualification. The idea was alr…

Wine energy, biodynamics, Nossiter and Bridget Jones

Having read Jonathan Nossiter's new book Le Gout et Le Pouvoir, and realised that he, like Bridget Jones, is a great believer in wine energy, I am ever more energetically seeking out biodynamic wines.

Nossiter likes energy in his wines, and, is also an advocate of finding new ways of talking about wine, one that is inclusive rather than exclusive.

CHATEAU FONROQUE 2002, BIODYNAMIC GRAND CRU CLASSE OF SAINT-EMILION, PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLAS PATTE

What could be more inclusive, in vocabulary terms, than talking about a wine having energy or not? We all understand energy and the lack of it. I think he might like to know, however, that it was Bridget Jones who first mentioned the concept of wine energy, when using chardonnay to 'get energy back' due to being shagged out and tired by work and life.

So now, in my latest tasting notes - the ones I speak out loud more often than actually write down - gone are the searches for hints of liquorice, or cinnamon notes, and in are words like en…

Clos Badon Thunevin 2001

It is good to present a cherished wine to your tasting club friends. And it can be confronting also. For example: someone smelling your favourite wine and saying "Mm, a little chemical". What?? But you keep smiling - everyone at the tasting can have his or her say, whatever that is.

At a tasting that I threw yesterday I opened one of my favourite clarets. Not without any risk, having invited a number of unscrupulous tasters - some even with a more or less critical attitude towards the expensive blah-blah wines from Bordeaux. They tried: Clos Badon Thunevin 2001. They knew: it's a Bordeaux, c'est tous.


To my relief - to be honest - most people gave the wine a warm welcome. Maybe especially after the 1988 Vieux Château Certan that didn't come out very well - I think it was some time past its apogée. The Clos Badon was convincingly characterised as a very complete wine, and a wine that is both powerful and unctuous. True, and also true is that this wine combines the m…

St Emilion classification 2006 reconsidered

Without doubt, many St Emilion châteaux will have heaved a deep sigh of relief: earlier this week the Conseil d'Etat abolished the temporary suspension of the 2006 St Emilion classification. It doesn't mean that all problems are solved now, but at least the classification can be used again, and the words (Premier) Grand Cru Classé can be printed on the labels of the 2006 vintage, as usual. This decision from France's highest administrative court in Paris came right in time for the Bordelais.


But the complaints about the new classification - surprisingly all from demoted châteaux - will later still be dealt with by the Bordeaux court. And just to be helpful to all parties involved, and to make things less complicated, Bordoverview hereby presents its own subjective reconsideration of the classification.

The revised list below takes as a starting point the new 2006 classification. And dear reader, please do not hesitate to formulate your reaction to this alternative list.

Premi…

René Gabriel added to Bordoverview

Since today the Swiss wine pope René Gabriel has his own column on Bordoverview. At this moment only on the 2006 left bank page (view with Internet Explorer), but later this week also on the right bank page. And when I have some time left, I will also update the 2005 information with Gabriel's ratings.

As a matter of fact Gabriel should have already been part of Bordoverview, as he is one of the most important European tasters, and the most important taster of the German speaking part of Europe. I have also received a number of e-mails from visitors who were wondering why Gabriel was missing.


Now that his ratings are entered, and can easily be sorted, a number of things directly stand out:

1. For Gabriel, top ratings aren't the exclusive terrain reserved for top wines. A 'smaller' wine can even have a higher rating than a First Growth (Lafite, Margaux etc.). In the eyes of Gabriel Phélan Ségur 2006 (19/20!) outperforms almost all Médoc First Growths.
2. Gabriel's left …

2006 campaign fails, prices likely to come down

Talking to several Dutch wine merchants reveals what was already apparent: the Bordeaux 2006 primeurs campaign has been a failure. Reason number one is that the prices were too high for this 'average' year. The sales volume has sometimes plummeted to only a fraction of what was sold the previous year. Reason two: people have already emptied there wallets for the 2005 primeurs, everyone wanted to get hold of at least some wines of this declared super-vintage. And a year following a great year is naturally overshadowed by its predecessor - this has happened for example to the good 1983 vintage and more recently to 2001 and 2004, both interesting classic vintages. Fact is that most buyers are reluctant to empty their wallet for a second time.

THINKING ABOUT BORDEAUX 2006 IN FRONT OF CHATEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL (5 APRIL 2007)

If we look at the price development of a more or less comparable vintage like 2004 we see that the majority of the wines can later, at the French Foire-Aux-Vin…

Chateau Carteau Cotes Daugay 1999

After just having tasted some acceptable 1996s - Pibran (7+/10), Labégorce-Zédé (7+/10) and Lilian Ladouys (7,5/10) - I came across two splendid 1999's: Château Arnauld (8+/10) and Château Carteau Côtes Daugay (8,5/10). Realising once again the Relativity of good years, lesser years etcetera. But also: for many 1999s I think it is now the perfect time to be opened. The mentioned 1996s aren't very accessible, they are somewhat tough, and some are even a little bit dusty. They do share a pleasant autumnal bouquet, giving - say - the romantic impression of a forest after rain. But the 1999s offer more. This posting focusses on a not so well-known wine: Château Carteau Côtes Daugay.


During the Primeur tastings from last April I noticed that - other than the wines from the left bank - many Saint-Emilions suffer from the same defect: they're overextracted. Unfortunately I did not taste Carteau Côtes Daugay 2006, but I truly hope that the Bertrand family did not alter the style of…

Statistics prove: Parker did not favour his winemaker friends

While yet another fire rages around the head of Robert Parker, lit this time by rebel filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter (Mondovino), French wine geek Bertrand Le Guern presents his proof that one of the main assertions in Hanna Agostini's Anatomie d'un Mythe (published last week) is wrong.


Le Guern dove into the historic data and shows us that there is no correlation between Parker's friendship with a winemaker at the one hand, and the rating he has given for this befriended winemaker's wine at the other hand. He looked at the ratings that Parker and many other wine critics gave for the wines from Jean-François Moueix, Alain Raynaud and Michel Rolland, as compared to the ratings that were given for the wines from other winemakers; the same analysis is conducted for four subsequent years. Le Guern's statistics show that in the 'bigger' years 2003 and 2005 Parker is more enthusiastic about his friends' wines, and with a little hope one might think to find a vagu…