The annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting is a much anticipated event in every wine merchant’s calendar. On Tuesday the 2007 vintage was put under the spotlight at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Firstly, let me explain what the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, or UGC for short, is. As many of you are aware Bordeaux is a vast wine region made up of several sub regions and divided up into a myriad of estates that all need to be able to sell their wines. In the 1970s a small group of classed growth owners pioneered the idea to unite together in order to make marketing their wines more effective. By 1973 the UGC was created and has over the years helped to improve the image of the Bordeaux regions as a whole. There are now over 130 members all over the region who group together to hold tastings both in France and abroad.
This year’s event was as busy as ever. For myself and my colleague Mark it was the whites and sweet wines that stood out in particular in this vintage. There was good concentration and freshness for most of the wines on show. For the whites Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Ch Pape Clément, Ch Smith Haut Lafitte and Malartic-Lagravière impressed us.
The 2007 sweet wines were concentrated and with great balance. Most agree that the Sauternes and Barsac wines were the wines of the vintage. Our particular favourites were Ch Doisy Vedrines, Ch Climens and Ch Suduiraut.
As for the reds, the general consensus is that the 2007 vintage is an early-drinking vintage. You have to pick carefully in 2007 with certain communes showing better than others. Saint-Julien’s Langoa Barton is almost drinking well now with juicy blackcurrant fruit, tobacco and yet with grippy tannins. The Léoville Barton was also a great wines with delicious black fruit flavours, fresh acidity, good structure and a long finish.
Also worth mentioning was Ch Pontet Canet of Pauillac. This 2007 was sturdy with sweet cherry fruit and brown sugar notes. Seductive.
It is also a brilliant occasion for a bit of networking – the trade and press are out in force. Among others, we saw Stuart George, a freelance journalist who writes a really enjoyable blog. He concentrated mainly on Graves/Pessac and commented:
“I thought the wines were quite “classic” in their style, firmly structured and built to last. The tannins are quite pronounced but generally not over-extracted.”
2007 has not been an unqualified success from an investment perspective but there is no doubt that it is a vintage for drinking with many delicious wines worth putting away in your cellars.