Almost our last visit of primeurs week in Bordeaux was back to see Stéphane Dief up in the northern Médoc at Saint Christoly. Stéphane has made his usual success of his two wines, Clos Manou and Petit Manou. The Clos Manou has, unsurprisingly, the majority of the Cabernet, (69%) while the second wine is 88% Merlot.
Well it's (nearly) that time of year again. Early news suggests that this really is a top-drawer vintage, but there are also reasons to believe that it may not be quite such a homogeneous success as either 2009 or 2010. In essence the issue is that some rain fell in September and early October before the harvest.
With the release today of Château Montrose at the wacky price of £850/12 the show is pretty much over. It has been a long haul – with many disappointingly priced wines – but there are some good buys too, which we feel are really worth considering.
This afternoon we have the release of Bruno Borie’s much praised Ducru Beaucaillou 2014 (£750/12). Like Léoville las Cases (£895/12, released on Friday) Ducru has been said by critics to be close to, or even equal to the quality of the First Growths, but at less than half the price.
We have a very limited quantity of Vieux Chateau Certan 2014 (£995/12IB) to allocate to buyers supporting us on other wines (sorry, but that’s how it works to us too). Please get your requests in quickly.
Yesterday was also surprisingly quiet day on the primeur front, (maybe it was all for us as we had a press tasting all day), though goodness knows what they are all waiting for…
This afternoon has seen the release of another of the 'Super Second' Saint Julien Chateaux - Léoville Poyferré. At £430/12 - this comes out at the same price as Léoville Barton. Jancis describes Poyferré as 'Rather glorious really' and Antonio Galloni notes 'This is without question one of the stars of the vintage.
Today's releases include Branaire Ducru (285/12IB). This property has been extremely consistent for many years and fans of this lifted elegant style of Saint Julien (among which we count ourselves) will not be disappointed - it is supple, fine and long. But earlier vintages are available for less, and the 2008 is barely more.
This morning sees the release of one of Britain’s favourite clarets, Léoville Barton (£430). A second growth from one of the great terroirs of Saint Julien, Barton offers quality that vies with many much more expensive ‘super-second’ wines
Although we have championed some of the lesser wines as value for the drinker who does not mind tying up some cash now, we are increasingly thinking that the best thing that can be said about this campaign is that it is nearly over.
After 4 days off, the Bordeaux releases have started early today and in great quantity. Amongst those throwing their hats in the ring are some big names like Château Figeac and Château La Conseillante and also some of our perennial favourites, the superb value wines from Château Ferrière in Margaux, and the hugely appealing Pauillac - Château Haut-Bages Liberal.