Skip to main content

Bordeaux 2009 - tasting the new vintage part 1: Graves

Bordeaux 2009. Last week Jan van Roekel and I visited Bordeaux, running from the one château to the other to taste the young 2009 vintage. After the many signs of an unparalleled vintage our expectations were... high.

And yes, it was a joy to discover Bordeaux 2009. At the same time it was good to taste all these wines, because quality varied. We have tasted some breathtaking 2009s, but also some lesser gods. And even some unpleasant wines. I cannot point out a winning bank or sub-region: in every part of Bordeaux we encountered beauties as well as less special examples of the new vintage.

What did I look for? Not just joy. As most readers will know all these wines are too young to be drunk, and also too young to be fully judged. But it is definitely possible to say something about these wines, as long as you take into account that they shouldn't in the first place be pleasing you.

So again, what did I look for? Things like... does a wine display healthy (ripe) fruit or is there perhaps a lack of fruit? What is the quality of the tannins and how does the overall structure of the wine show? Does the wine come across lively and energetic, does it have freshness and good acidity? Am I tasting something pure, or something that seems more or less... assembled? What type of style is it, and do we look at something balanced or not?

For me these are basic questions when tasting a primeur wine. Especially important for primeurs is the aspect of structure. When a wine lacks a proper structure it means the ageing potential will not be there. So it can happen that a primeur is quite pleasant, yet it will not be one of my recommendations. For ready-to-drink wines we do not have to look at primeurs.

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-LéognanChâteau Smith-Haut-Lafitte (Pessac-Léognan) on the dark and rainy Wednesday 31 March 2010. Here is where we tasted most Pessacs.

In this posting I will first focus on the wines from the Graves region. The Médocs, Saint-Emilions and Pomerols will be described later. What follows below is a short list of the red Pessacs that I liked the most.

1. Château Haut-Bailly 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). One of my favourite 2009s. A classic style wine with a very pure character, energetic fruit and lovely freshness. Plenty of matière and good ripe tannins. Precise, delicate and inviting (9/10).

2. Château Haut-Brion 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Full-ripe, powerful and broad-shouldered. Attractive minerality. Lots of colour, very complete wine for the long term (but did I miss some refinement here?) (8,5/10). The 2nd wine Le Clarence de Haut-Brion 2009 is a lovely wine. Very purple, and compared to the 2nd wine of La Mission (see below) it just has a bit more of everything (colour, structure, intensity, acidity). A very complete wine and a beautiful 2nd wine. Just as its bigger brother, this wine needs some cellar time (8++/10).

3. Domaine de Chevalier 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Chalky and lively fruit, good acidity, slender yet masculine structure (like Michelangelo's David). Modern classic (8,5/10).

4. Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Ripe fruit and a mineral touch. Style comparable to Haut-Brion but less round, say a little bit square. Quite prominent acidity also. Definitely for the long term (8++/10). Also liked the 2nd wine, La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion 2009. Healthy hearty fruit, ripe, round and quite smooth. Chewable texture, good grip (8+/10).

5. Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Quite ripe. Round and powerful fruit. This is a rather seducing wine. There's also a nice chalky (fresh) touch. Style: towards modern (8+/10).

6. Château de Fieuzal 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Svelte & vivid Pessac. Balanced, hearty texture, this is a good classic Bordeaux (8/10).

7. Château Couhins 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Sweetish perfume. This wine has very attractive fruit. Chalky. Substantial structure, good stuff (8/10).

8. Château Le Thil 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Wet stones... stony fruit. Pleasant freshness. Surprising wine for the medium-long term (8-/10).

9. Château Bouscaut 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). A modern Pessac, ripe and round, and with a good grip. This is an attractive wine for the medium-long term (8-/10).

10. Château Brown 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Fresh, quite tight and pure. Very nice Bordeaux for the medium-long term (7,5/10).

11. Château Rahoul 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Pleasant discovery but my tasting note is too limited to be very useful. Nevertheless this wine needs to be mentioned here (7,5/10).

12. Château Rouillac 2009 (Pessac-Léognan). Another discovery. New domain, wine made by Jean-Christophe Barron with Eric Boissenot. For the medium long term. Balanced wine with good structure yet supple mouth-feel. Lovely juice actually (7,5/10).

Other reds that I rated 7,5 out of 10: Carmes Haut-Brion, La Louvière, Latour-Martillac, Olivier, Malartic-Lagravière, Pape-Clément and Picque-Caillou.

From the white Pessacs that I tasted I picked out the following: Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion, Latour-Martillac, Couhins, Chevalier, Brown, Carbonnieux, Fonréaud and Fieuzal.

In the next postings I will look at the primeurs from the Médoc, and from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. To be continued.


Christine said…
We are planning to go to bourdeaux too. Thanks for sharing this. You gave me idea for our itinerary.
JD said…
Just a short question: Were you tasting the Chateau Couhins from the French Agrarian Institute INRA or the one from the Lurton group, so Couhins-Lurton. Just curious, as we have been drinking the INRA wine regularly in the past.
David said…
Thanks for your comment JD, we were tasting the Couhins from the INRA, so not the C-Lurton. Best, David
Lindsay said…
Hi David, just curious what you thought about the white Ch. Pape Clement---I liked Chevalier the best for the whites, but Pape Clement also scored well for me.

Otherwise, definately agree w/ you regarding the reds, esp. w/ Haut-Bailly (that was hands-down the team favorite for red Graves!)
David said…
Hi Lindsay, I think the white Pape Clément is a good wine, rich and broad, but personally I prefer a bit more tension, acidity... For the reds, the Haut-Bailly was indeed outstanding. What a great wine!

Popular posts from this blog

Bordeaux 2017 aanraders - de grootste wijnen

Evenals vorig jaar geven we met plezier onze volstrekt subjectieve lijst met gaafste rode wijnen van het jaar. We hebben bijna alles geproefd van Bordeaux 2017, maar geen Petrus en Lafleur. Binnenkomen bij Petrus is zo'n gedoe dat we dat na jaren proeven maar laten voor wat het is. Lafleur pakken we volgend jaar graag weer mee. Maar zoals is te zien hebben we toch wel weer ons best gedaan.

Cheval Blanc 2017
Latour 2017
Léoville-las-Cases 2017
Palmer 2017
Vieux Château Certan 2017

Ausone 2017
Canon 2017
Haut-Bailly 2017
Lafite Rothschild 2017
l’Eglise-Clinet 2017
La Conseillante 2017
Le Pin 2017
Léoville Barton 2017
Margaux 2017
Montrose 2017
Pontet-Canet 2017

Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse 2017
Clos Fourtet 2017
Cos d’Estournel 2017
Domaine de Chevalier rouge 2017
Grand Puy Lacoste 2017
Haut-Brion 2017
l’Evangile 2017
l’If 2017
La Mission Haut-Brion 2017
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2017
Lynch Bages 2017
Mouton Rothschild 2017
Pavie Macquin 2017
Rauzan-Ségla 2017

Calon Ségur 20…

Bordeaux 2017 - het herrezen jaar

We zijn terug van vijf dagen proeven, een dikke 8 uur per dag Bordeaux 2017's proeven. Een ervaring rijker, zeker als je de wijnen meetelt die we in de avonden proefden, en dronken. Het meest bijzonder waren wel de Poujeaux 1928 en de Domaine de Chevalier rouge 1928. Ongelofelijke wijnen en een ongekende tijdreis van 90 jaar. Een bijkans mystieke ervaring.

Of wat te denken van de witte Latour Martillac 1948. Toen we een paar dagen later op het château de 2017's proefden hoorden we van de keldermeester dat er die week 2 van de 6 nog aanwezige flessen Blanc 1948 uit de kelder waren gehaald - zelf had hij deze jaargang nooit geproefd. De avond waar al deze bijzondere flessen werden ontkurkt was het jaarlijkse diner van de Académie du Vin de Bordeaux.

Het thema die avond: wijnen uit jaren eindigend op 8. Dus dronken we bij het eten achtereenvolgens Latour 1978, Mouton 1988, Lafite 1998, Haut-Brion 2008 en Yquem 2008, deels uit magnums en dubbele magnums. Het was een leerzame avond…

Bordeaux 2017 vorst slachtoffers

Het Bordeaux 2017 verslag komt eraan. Er wordt aan gewerkt. In de vorige posting noemde ik al de vorst die eind april 2017 heeft toegeslagen. Bij de volgende domeinen was de schade zo groot dat de wijnen niet en-primeur zullen worden aangeboden.

• Côte de Baleau 2017 • Dassault 2017 • Larmande 2017 • La Tour Figeac 2017 • Montviel 2017 • Siaurac & Plaisir de Siaurac 2017 • Doisy Védrines 2017 • Nairac 2017 • Brun 2017 • Clos du Jaugueyron 2017 • Chantegrive Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fieuzal Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fleur de Boüard 2017 • Fugue de Nénin 2017 • La Pointe 2017 • Mauvesin Barton 2017 • Retout Blanc 2017 • Bolaire 2017 • Arsac 2017 • Camensac 2017 • Climens 2017 • Fleur Cardinale 2017 • Fonbel 2017 • Haut Bergey Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Laroze 2017 • Chauvin 2017 • Marjosse Rouge 2017 • Mille Roses 2017 • Arums de Lagrange 2017 • Corbin 2017 • Gironville 2017 • Grand Corbin 2017 • Grand Corbin Despagne 2017 • Chante Alouette 2017 • Des Annereaux 2017
Van sommige wijnen …