Asked how the harvest has gone, one négociant replied that he felt that Bordeaux has got away with frost losses much better than some other parts of France, with frosts that were -3C to -4C, the kind that the great Châteaux are able to deal with by using very expensive things like helicopters or candles in the vineyard.
When someone around you decides to change for the better, it’s usually a lovely thing to watch. Maybe they start eating more healthily, correct an annoying trait or start doing charity work. Even if you really liked them before, the idea of them becoming even more lovely is always a positive thing.
We had a brilliant, quite intimate conversation with Basile Tesseron of Lafon Rochet as we tasted together his fabulous 2020 release over the airwaves. This is a special year for him and the estate as they celebrate 60 years since his grandfather bought it.
The 2020 vintage is beginning to reach us, with the first major sample arriving yesterday. These blog entries will keep track of my thoughts on the samples that I am able to taste, along with a few comments regarding the market and what pricing might be considered favourable.
The short answer is, from a first hand perspective, not a lot. Written reports compare the weather to that of 2016, 2018 and 2019 – mild and wet in the spring, which followed through to a hot, dry summer and an even more clement picking season.
I look at wine prices constantly. Partly, because it’s my living, but it also goes far, far beyond that – I’m one of those people who can’t stand getting over-charged for anything, whether it’s a holiday, a new coat or in this instance, a case of wine.
There have been a fair number of ‘ifs’ about the 2019 Bordeaux En Primeur. The first and perhaps biggest was the ‘if it would happen’. With most of the world in various states of lockdown, Primeur week cancelled and critics unable to taste, the situation in April looked pretty bleak.
Wednesday was quite a day as we headed to the Rothschild family’s English home, Waddesdon Manor, for an impressive Rothschild double header – the 5 wines from the Lafite Rothschilds and 5 wines from the Mouton Rothschilds. It was a strange feeling – very reminiscent of our usual primeur pilgrimage to the great Châeaux of Bordeaux.
Château Latour 2012 is released today – for the first time, as this was the first vintage in which Latour was not offered en primeur.
I am still reeling from the news of the death last week of Denis Durantou, owner and winemaker of Chateau l'Église Clinet, La Petite Église (its second wine) Cruzelles, Montlandrie, La Chenade and Saintayme. He was only 62. I've been so disengaged (delegation) from the last two Bordeaux primeur campaigns, that I didn't even know he was ill.