Very clever who manages to identify a trend in the vintage 2011 ! We knew it difficult, marked by extreme weather conditions : new diseases in the vine in some, hail everywhere, unusually cold temperatures at critical flowering for everyone. Primeur tastings have confirmed : 2011 is indeed a vintage heterogeneous, more than ever for growers technical. And, oh so difficult to taste. In our traditional marathon day, we wanted, like every year, we get a first impression. Spotlight on some appellations tasted.
First stage of our day with Margaux wines, sampled at Château Marquis de Terme. As every year, the’Union des Grands Crus does things : coffee and pastries greet tasters sometimes not given the feasts held each evening in the high places of the vineyard ... A there are several lots of Margaux more than elsewhere, but we will not know until, heterogeneity is at its worst. Some wines are characterized by elegance, classical, and a silky texture, like the Chateau Brane Cantenac (recently equipped with optical sorting machine, a wise investment for the difficult years !) and Château Siran. We stop on the nose of the seducer Château Prieuré Lichine. We welcome the flexibility and the smooth pattern of castles Malescot Saint-Exupery and Marquis de Terme. In our small group opinions are more divided on the Castle Giscours, well-rounded, in ripe fruit (rare à Margaux) but slightly drying tannins. We also appreciate Dauzac, the Chateau du Tertre, Labégorce and Lascombes. On the variety of the wine , very difficult to taste (especially after the flamboyant 2009 and 2010) are puzzling. For some, the tannins immature. For other persistence medium. It is obviously too early to assess, we remain long, but failed to reach an overall impression of this appellation.
Cap on Médoc wines then, at Chateau Lagrange hosting the tasting Wine Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien. First observation : absent castles tasting are more numerous. It will be difficult, almost impossible to make a judgment from the only discovery of the wines presented in the framework of the Union. Second observation : little (or not) owners present behind the bottles. Damage, we appreciate the direct contact and do not have time to meet them, one by one, behind the gates of their property. Saint-Julien stands with soft wines, a generous fruit, elegant tannins. Heart for the Chateau Gruaud Larose, the Chateau Leoville Barton and the Chateau Leoville Poyferre. We always appreciate the classic elegance and concentration of Chateau Ducru Branaire. Finesse the castle Beychevelle, a nice balance to Chateau Gloria. A Pauillac, the palm of elegance and balance back to wine chateaux Grand Puy Lacoste and Pichon Longueville Baron. Château Lynch Bages,, Batailley and Grand Puy Ducasse produced classic Pauillac, releasing beautiful flavors of cassis and black fruits. Clerc Milon se distingue par sa finesse. A Saint-Estèphe, the Chateau Phelan Segur stands out with a 2011 particularly greedy, end and exuberant.
Why so much wood ?
UNo duck later (delicious, pink wish, thank you Union !), we take the road towards the right bank. It is a Castle Soutard brand new (at least, side yard of less) hosting for tasting wines of Saint Emilion. And there, exercise becomes really difficult : it is a veritable wall of wood and tannins (often drying) must be overcome before receiving anything in the glass. The potential is real for many of them, of course, but it will have to be patient ! And hope that the tannins – not always very ripe – blend with the time. Some particularly seductive nose (Clos Fourtet, Larcis Ducasse, Larmande) then leave the room for a set behind wood. How to make, safely, a judgment at this stage ? The Canon Gaffelière is distinguished by a smooth pattern, tight, great length and perfect balance. The fineness also for wine castles The Gaffelière, Figeac and Franc Mayne. The castle Troplong Mondot is required by its power and, despite a marked woody, its velvety texture, powerful aromas and a nice spicy finish. A Pomerol, to finish, return for greater flexibility and fruit more readily perceptible. The Conseillante and Gazin, two great achievements of vintages 2009 and 2010, appear at slightly, more conventional, less exuberant. A heart for the wine Chateau Petit Village which offers a smooth pattern, tight, silky texture and wonderful persistence. Castles Clinet, the Cabin vintages Cross Gay to show, at this stage, less seductive.
Despite the well-oiled organization of the Union des Grands Crus, the day has flown, faster than ever. The influx reasonable (fewer people, Asian but also many Englishmen and Americans) and excellent tasting conditions helped soften a year which had begun to forget the austerity (the sumptuous vintage 2009, followed by the flamboyant 2010 were indeed hard to spit ... !). Back to the rigor required, the technicality of vintage forced us to spend more time on each wine, preventing us to evaluate as much as we would have liked. Can not taste or the Sauternes wines (to regret, because the rumor looks very successful), or those of Pessac-Léognan. Let alone those, not least, that the field tasted. See you in a few days in this blog with Veronique Raisin which, it, spent more time to enjoy, in august company, in the vineyard Bordeaux.
This day is still a point confirmed : in a difficult year, without relief evident in terms of quality, the price, more than ever, or not will the success of this campaign. To follow in a future article will be devoted, precisely setting rates ....
Also read the Blog :
Futures 2010 in Bordeaux : First impressions of the vintage (08/04/2011)
Futures 2009 : a day of tasting in Bordeaux (01/04/2010)