The comments and feedback from Bordeaux over the past few days has in general been rather sombre and negative. In contrast I love wine, enjoy it and always like to look at the positives and there certainly are some…..
There is no denying 2013 produced some of the most testing weather conditions of the last 25 years and the fact that there was a vintage at all is a reflection to the huge advances made in both the vineyards and the wineries throughout the region. The secret to any form of success was careful selection of those bunches which were ripe and very careful, gentle handling during the fermentations and vinifications.
The best wines for me were the most delicate and sometimes in a large room of 30 wines, the least obvious to many. The wines hark back to the days of lower alcohol between 12.5% and 13% and don’t have a naturally big tannic content. The fruit character tends to be crisp rather than sweet and their progress in cask will be hugely important.
As I head back to the UK it seems appropriate to list some of my favourites.
The wines of Francois-Xavier Borie require a special mention as I really believe his stable of wines, Lacoste Borie, Haut Batailley and Grand Puy Lacoste, are the most complete of any in the Medoc.
It was lovely to see Pichon Lalande back on form despite unusually excluding all its famed Merlot from the blend.
In St Julien there is a fine range with Léoville Barton my favourite.
Rauzan-Segla is a real success in the more difficult appellation of Margaux.
In St Emilion, Ch Canon and Clos Fourtet are classy and Ausone was sensationally good for the vintage.
With no Le Pin en primeur, the gong for the best Pomerol is rightly shared between Vieux Château Certan and Pétrus.
An evening in Sauternes highlighted the appellation’s success. I loved Climens for its extraordinary purity of botrytis in contrast to the more powerfully weighted wines of Yquem, Rieussec and Suduiraut.
My week finished in Pessac with some lovely whites including the stunning Domaine de Chevalier . My final stop was Haut Brion. I always have a soft spot for La Mission Rouge and it most certainly stole the show for me this time.
So to conclude, there are some positives, all we can do is wait. Prices do need to come down substantially for any form of campaign at all. If they don’t, we will just have to wait and look forward to tasting again in bottle and making our final decisions at a later date.