Bordeaux Primeurs 15/4/2014

by Charles Lea

A mini deluge of wines on the market this morning, starting with Canon (£365), the 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion in the same ownership as Rauzan Ségla (also £365) which has already been released at a perfectly sensible price, and Canon has followed suit. I somehow contrived to lose my note for this, but Neal Martin’s description “This is a finely tuned, elegant Canon in the making. Nothing new there” chimes exactly with my own memory of it, so recommended.

The most important release is that of Calon Ségur (£420). Recently sold after the death of owner Mme de Gasqueton, there has in fact been little change with the new team backing winemaker Vincent Millet. Under him recent vintages have seen the Cabernet Sauvignon content of the Grand Vin increased in proportion, and the elegance of this wine has increased with it. Vincent told us that Saint Éstephe had less rain at the end of September than most of the Médoc. He had been driving though a huge rainstorm which had brought Bordeaux’s rocade (ring road) to a standstill, with 4cm and more rain falling in a short space of time, and he feared the worst, but when he got back to Calon he found they had had only 4mm of water, and the clay soils they have there sucked it up. The result was that the ensuing ‘tropical’ spell of weather did not produce quite such high humidity here, and they had no real problem with botrytis. The price may only be a whisper down on last year, but this is a wine worth following and there are not masses of earlier vintages available for less. Recommended, as is its stablemate Capbern Gasqueton (£125) as a cheapie drinker to put away in volume.

With Doisy Védrines (£225) yesterday and Doisy Daëne (£295) today, two of our favourite Sauternes (or rather Barsacs, because we think Barsac has had the better of it this year over the actual Sauternes) are out and at prices which, while they may not soar away, are perfectly reasonable at worst and are extraordinary bargains in terms of pleasure for £. We preferred these two to many more expensive wines and so both are highly recommended. NB L&S offer all Sauternes in halves at the same price as bottles as well as cases of six bottles and 12 halves at the same unit price.

Antonio Galloni has remarked “If I was going to buy only one moderately-priced Sauternes in 2013, Doisy-Daëne would be it.”, while for us the very shapely Doisy Vedrines pipped it on the day – how can you go wrong?

Also out today Haut Bailly (£430), Lagrange (Saint Julien) (£250), and just now Giscours at £275.

(All prices are per case in bond as per the TERMS of the 2013 Bordeaux Primeur offer)