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Showing posts from May, 2009

Comet Vintages

Dwayne Perreault − I'm fascinated by comet vintages. That doesn't make me any more cuckoo than a vintner who buries a cow horn filled with compost in his vineyard, right? Both ideas seem to me to be biodynamical in nature. Steiner in fact did write about comets, but what he had to say does not concern us here. But in a biodynamical world where the phases of the moon and alignment of the stars and planets play a role in viticulture, the idea of a celestial body like a comet having an influence on the grape harvest seems not so strange at all.


What is a comet vintage? Basically, it is a vintage in which a comet which is visible to the naked eye appears during the grape growing season, especially directly before or during the harvest. This is supposed to have a propitious, perhaps even a mystical effect on the quality of the harvest. This may be folklore passed on by generations of winemakers, but in fact it is backed up by examples of outstanding and yes even mystical vintages li…

Bordeaux 2008: greed returns in tilting market

This year’s futures campaign started off so hopeful, with prices drastically lower than in the previous years. Latour released at 45% below 2007, Mouton at -50% (for more details see my previous postings).

But things started to change when Robert Parker decides that 2008 is a Grand Year. From that moment on the price drops are less spectacular, and the best wines even release at 2007 price level, e.g. Buy-of-the-Year Pontet-Canet. The wine sells out immediately and a second tranche follows, of course at a higher price.

This more or less marked the end of the truly spectacular releases. Especially the Right Bank wines start releasing now at relatively high price levels.

But since this - short - week it seems that we are returning to Business As Usual, I’m afraid. The first sign is the release of Ducru-Beaucaillou at the end of last week, with good ratings, priced 20% above the 2007. A striking release, well-timed close to the end of the campaign, when everybody is waiting for those few Un…

Bordeaux 2009 suffering from hail storms

*** NOTE - added later *** Below you find the first posting about the subject Bordeaux 2009. If you are looking for information about this subject in general, this link will give you all postings on this blog written about Bordeaux 2009 (from the newest to the oldest). ***

Early in 2008 Paul Pontallier spoke the following words: "We are so fortunate with global warming. Look at the number of great vintages we have had in the last 12 or 13 years. It is absolutely amazing."

Since he said this Bordeaux has suffered from a series of devastating hail storms. The first one hit the 2008 crop in the south of the Médoc, around Cantenac, causing losses at Du Tertre, Cantenac-Brown and Prieuré-Lichine, among others. The second series took place this week, unusually early in the growing season: two storms, severely damaging extensive areas in the Bordeaux region. Normally these kind of storms occur in September, just before or around harvest time.

Of course it is hard to say whether these …

Bordeaux 2008 in tasting notes

There has been much excitement, and/or agitation about Parker's publication on Bordeaux 2008. An interesting reaction came from Simon Staples from Berry Bros. & Rudd, who was "utterly bewildered" when he saw Parker's judgement.

Staples' clearest statement: "In 2003 he [Parker] rated this huge, hot vintage as astonishing as the rest were perplexed to find finesse. In 2005, where the entire wine world hailed it as legendary he was initially lukewarm. Now it's the turn for 2008 and we see another electric review in the face of all other wine professionals and even the Chateaux themselves."

But besides Parker there is another critic who is quite thrilled about the 2008 vintage, and that is René Gabriel. In this month's WeinWisser Gabriel talks about a "recht stattlichen Zahl grosser und exzellenter Primeurs" and rates 25 wines 19/20 and 94 wines 18/20. With these numbers he rates structurally higher than the other writers of importance (…