Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bordeaux 2010 Revisited

The benefit of penning down one's thoughts is the ability to view snapshots of the past. Looking back at my notes written two years back during the Bordeaux 2010 en primeur, I wondered then if prices would rise or fall coming on the back of another stellar vintage. Those who had the stomach to ride the fine wine roller coaster would be heartened by a report in The Business Times indicating a rally as interest returned after a steep decline during the financial crisis. The price of a case of Château Latour 2010 traded for £10,994 on Liv-ex in late February according to the report, still down slightly from the £12,500 at which it traded soon after release in 2011. Latour of course has also made headlines by pulling out of the en primeur market altogether. 

The Union des Grand Crus was in Singapore on the 23rd of February to present the 2010 vintage. The organisation was flawlessly handled by Ch'ng Poh Tiong and his team from The Wine Review - no small feat given the number of visitors and chateau representatives present. There was a good cross section of Bordeaux appellations among the 80 participating chateaux, including Graves, Pessac-Léognan, St-Émilion, Pomerol, Margaux, St-Julien, Pauillac, St-Estèphe and the somewhat less prestigious Médoc, Haut-Médoc and Moulis appellations (although these last three do offer excellent value for money). Barsac and Sauternes were present as well, the wines from these appellations being barrel samples still as they had not completed their aging in oak. 

Many members of the trade were there; distributors, sommeliers, writers, as well as a fair number of non-trade visitors. For the chateau representatives, black and red seemed to be the colours of the day... were they cashing in on the Chinese New Year spirit? Spittoons and bread were liberally spread throughout the room, efficiently emptied or filled as necessary.

My general impression of the vintage is that it is still extremely young. While the 2009s are already charming, plump and full of juicy fruit, the 2010s are still tannic with many of them displaying noticeable alcohol (especially the wines from St-Émilion). There is plenty of power and concentration though. The sweet wines from Barsac and Sauternes on the other hand were lovely to drink due to the lush tropical fruit character, fresh acids and plenty of residual sugar. Clinton Ang, Managing Director of Hock Tong Bee Pte Ltd commented on the wines, "Some are approachable, some are too early to drink but they show potential, with good fruit concentration. A classic style."

A selection of my personal favourites as follows:

Château Carbonnieux (Pessac-Léognan) - 65% Sauvignon Blanc and remainder Semillon. Citrus, starfruit and guava notes with lovely minerality underpinned by a slightly oaky note. Well structured with high acidity supporting balanced fruit. 

Château Climens (Barsac) - A really classic Sauternes. Pure and unctuous yet maintains incredible freshness. Pronounced intensity both on nose and palate with barley sugar, apricots and honey. A superbly long finish.

Château La Tour Figeac (St-Émilion) - Loads of ripe black fruit. Warm and fleshy but wears the alcohol well. Approachable now. 

Château Le Bon Pasteur (Pomerol) - Quite unique... lots of expensive oak character. Toasty with clay and mint notes.  Not a hint of green here. 

Château La Lagune (Haut-Médoc) - Winemaker Caroline Frey continues to work her magic. Elegant and complex, with ripe dark fruit, cedar, underbrush and dark chocolate notes. Hint of blueberry. Oak is well-integrated.

No comments:

Post a Comment