The dismal day here in London yesterday was somewhat mirrored by the dispiriting news from Bordeaux that they are not really getting the message on pricing! There were several releases that we would like to get excited about - some good wines - but they are as ever, only interesting en primeur at the right price.
There are various people in Bordeaux (or rather in the vineyards around Bordeaux) who are prepared to be intelligently honest in their appraisals of vintages, and that can really help sort out what one's thoughts about a vintage are.
The Left bank of the Gironde - the Médoc, encompassing the villages of Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estèphe as well as the actual Médoc and Haut Médoc appellations, mostly had a very different experience of the 2015 vintage to the Right bank.
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.
Château Latour continues its process of releasing older stock from the château as it approaches maturity. As previously the prices are above the current market, but come with the assurance of perfect provenance, complete with proof tags.
With eager anticipation we gathered. On the day that marked Back to the Future Day, we were jouneying back before Marty McFly to a time when the height of sophistication was a cheese and wine party. But there were to be no cubes of supermarket cheddar and pineapple on cocktail sticks for us, we were going to do cheese properly.
Chateau Haut Brion (Red) is a fabulous wine, but with older vintages available for very little more it begs the question we were asked this morning “Which major name is going to make their 2014 truly compelling?”
This morning – where France is not on holiday – the 2014 releases continue. The big one is Château Talbot 2014 (£290). We liked the wine, although the balance of all notes suggests a wine that maybe quite a firm style.
Allow us to tempt you with a perfect selection to see you over the Easter break. Of course, you'll be chomping away on a joint of Spring lamb with the family on Sunday, something that'll be washed down luxuriantly by the Château Paloumey 2009 Haut-Médoc - classic Bordeaux, superb vintage, great balance, ripe fruit and class.
This is delicious drinking – made from old vine Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Sémillon (30%). A beautifully crafted white Bordeaux which will appeal to drinkers of even the best wines from the Graves.
Behold a fine trio of French red wines to warm the spirit, all of which will yield the faintest hint of change from a twenty and also make an ideal accompaniment to autumnal cooking:
International Wine Challenge (IWC) Merchant Awards Strictly Come Wine Tasting? On the 18th of July, at the 30th anniversary of the IWC awards, Lea & Sandeman was awarded 'En Primeur Merchant of the Year', All the L&S team are absolutely delighted to have been given this award by such a high-calibre panel, (Tim Atkin MW, Oz Clarke, Sam Harrop MW, Peter McCombie MW, Charles Metcalfe and Derek Smedley MW) and judged against such formidable competition.