2011 Bordeaux – Leoville Barton, Pichon Lalande, and lots and lots of others

by Charles Lea

Another morning when many Chateau owners seem to have decided not to much to launch their wine onto the market as to rush them all out at once and hope no one notices them in the crowd.

It is very difficult to know what to make of many of the top wines which were pushed up to extremely high levels over the 2009 and 2010 campaigns – is 30% or so off enough? Probably not.

One wine which stands out is Leoville Barton, which never went as high as many of its peers, but which has come down 40% from last year’s £840 to a price at which it looks the kind of ‘banker’ en primeur buy it always was. Recommended as an allocation to keep or get in on at £480.

Other wines out this morning include a really excellent Pichon Comtesse, showing a return to form, and its neighbour Pichon Baron. Jonathan Maltus has chosen today to release his single vineyard wines which is perhaps a mistake – they deserve their moment in the sun when you look at their ratings versus prices. Oh, and at the very bottom there’s Smith Haut Lafitte white (‘one of the best three vintages we’ve ever made’ according to owner Florence Cathiard. …and Petit Mouton at a final topping-off of the morning’s outings…