On the lunchtime BA flight to Bordeaux the day before the start of the UGC it is impossible not to wonder if there is a collective noun for wine merchants. “Spittoon” someone hazards, which seems a little negative to me. Bunch is perhaps too obvious, so shall we settle on crate?
There is no denying the great and good of the UK wine trade are on this flight. I am a mere two rows behind Jancis herself, next to the guys from Bordeaux Index, with Farr, Justerinis and Lea & Sandeman all present and correct. Anybody not mentioned is here too; I just haven’t seen them yet.
Other flights from the States, Asia and elsewhere in Europe will be similarly packed and heading inexorably for Bordeaux, the indisputable capital of the world of wine. We are about to “enjoy” our first glimpse of the new vintage of Bordeaux. In five days we will head home – teeth dirtily tannin-stained, senses overloaded, tired out and possibly a little hung-over – but, more importantly, full of opinions and recommendations about the wines we have tasted – red, white and sweet.
2009 has already been massively hyped. As Johnny commented in our recent newsletter there is generally a basis for such pre-release excitement. JM Quarin, France’s answer to Robert Parker, has already awarded Haut-Brion 99 points. There is little doubt that there will be many excellent and some truly outstanding wines.
There is also a real concern that the prices will be on the ferocious side. So as well as assessing the crus classes and established names, our mission is to find the rising stars and smaller chateaux who are punching above their weight but not necessarily charging accordingly.
A brief introduction to the party. The Goedhuis team are Robin our fantastic American wine buyer, Julian our Sales Director and trip fashion consultant, James Low sales powerhouse and David Roberts our new Buying Director. We are travelling with Matthew Jukes and Quentin Johnson of expertwine.com, Amelia Pinsent of Country Life and Elizabeth Ferguson, MW student and Mentzendorff’s marketing guru.
Dinner tonight is at Ch Labegorce in Margaux. A beautifully maintained property – we arrive as the sun is going down bathing the soft stone in a golden light.
This was our first taste of the 2009s and it certainly whet our apetites for what was to come over the next few days. The Perrodo family actually live in this exquisite chateau when in Bordeaux and it was a very spoiling dinner. Highlights were a delicious Ch de Fieuzal 2007 and Labegorce 1989. No rest for the wicked….