Showing posts from April, 2008

Lightening Up

Life, which maintained a reasonably civilized tone for most of the start of this year, regained a bit of imbalance this weekend with the arrival of my sister and her boyfriend from Dublin to check out alpaca farms around Bordeaux.

I know, for many, the connection between alpacas – a lama like creature with three stomachs that hums or whistles when happy or worried – and Bordeaux – the world's best known wine region – might be zero. But believe me, it exists. I have seen them, and heard their little hums and whistles.

The weekend before the sister arrived, I ended up in Spain, at a conference* on the increasing quality of wines being the enemy of their diversity. Lucky I did, partly in terms of it being a total eye-opener into extreme winemaking, and partly because I got my liver slightly back to abnormal by closing a bar in the tiny but picturesque town of Ronda. If I hadn't I think my sister might have caught me unawares.

But to go back to extreme winemaking, am I the only one t…

Bordeaux 2007 influencing Bordeaux 2006

Almost half a year ago I wrote that the Bordeaux 2006 prices might come down in the future (see posting from 10 November 2007). But if I take the omnipresent complaining about the 2007 vintage into account, it is very well possible that people start diverting to Bordeaux 2006, which is still widely available at primeur price level.

A somewhat comparable effect could be seen with 2005 and 2004, but for a different reason: confronted with the incredible prices of the 2005 primeurs, people went back to the - still available - 2004 primeurs. Prices for the 2004 primeurs had seemed quite normal until then, but could - in the light of the new 2005's - be redefined as low. And today people might revisit the 2006 primeurs for their relatively interesting quality. Which of course might have an effect on its future price trend. Average 2006's we will still see as bargains in the near future, I think, but the most interesting wines of that vintage have just become a little bit more intere…

Bordeaux 2007: Wine Spectator and Jancis Robinson on Bordoverview

This week two reviewers published their ratings: James Suckling (in Wine Spectator) and Jancis Robinson. Personally I am quite inclined to follow Robinson's observations. For example it was through her that I 'discovered' Clos Badon Thunevin, just one of the wines that I really like.

It is clear that both Suckling and Robinson intend to give a clear sign about the vintage. None of the wines received a top rating. The scores of both tasters are remarkably low when compared to 2006 and especially 2005. Coming across as an explicit signal in the direction of the châteaux: bring down your prices. One of my contacts in Bordeaux however just told me that this is not something to expect from happening. It will become a hard to sell vintage.

Are there any remarkable results? Maybe the high rating which Jancis Robinson gave to Château Lascombes, a somewhat troubled estate - no steady ownership, and being accused of bringing forth modern wines that lack the typicality of a Margaux. Bu…

Funky Bordeaux 2007 primeur words

One of the best conversations I had during the primeurs, apart from the one about some of the Margaux 2007's smelling of old socks, was about wine words.

This year I tasted blind for the second time, and decided somewhere about half way through the first tasting that I would, in revolutionary manner, write down what the wine actually tasted like to me.

I could, I decided in a blinding flash, do this because, a) no one has so far checked my notes from any of the four previous primeur tastings I've done, or given me a telling off for using the wrong words. And b) I do not actually write about the taste of wine, so my words, are in fact, only for me.

Please try to overlook the fact it has taken me four primeurs, i.e. four years, to actually realise this, but until now I was searching faithfully for those flavours that everyone seems to talk about, thinking that if I didn't find them it 'my bad' as the rappers say.

You know the flavours I mean, 'dark fruits', '…

Bordeaux 2007 live on Bordoverview

Since this week the Bordoverview website opens with the 2007 vintage, instead of 2006. With the ratings from the Decanter team, one the first sources to present its scores. On Bordoverview you only find the numerical scores (which can be sorted and filtered in every desired way), to see the tasting notes behind these scores be sure to check out the Decanter website.

A striking score again for Le Dôme, the St-Emilion Grand Cru 2.85 hectares garage wine from Jonathan Maltus. Steven Spurrier must love this wine: for all four vintages presented on Bordoverview this wine is granted five stars, the only other wines who received four five stars in row are the 1st classed growths Haut-Brion, Lafite and Margaux. Also Maltus' other St-Emilion wines are very well received by Spurrier: especially the micro-cuvées Les Astéries (1 hectare) and Le Carré (1.6 ha), and also the slightly bigger Château Laforge (5.7 ha).

The consulting oenologist hired by Maltus is Gilles Pauquet. This week the data f…

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 c…