May Day, it's raining again and with forecasters predicting yet another wet month ahead of us, surely this must already the wettest drought on record? It certainly feels like it.
Bordeaux 2011 - Climens - and the wait for Robert Parker Its been a busy week for releases, although you might not know it because a lot of 'filtration' has been going on at our end so that we offer on only the wines which look interesting.
Rieussec has been offered and is causing a few ruffles in the market. I did not think it was one of the great Rieussecs, but others have rated it very highly and James Suckling has questioned whether it wil be better than Yquem.
Out this morning is our perennial value buy Les Ormes de Pez, produced by the same team as Lynch Bages and consistently punching above its Cru Bourgeois status - buy this and not Chasse Spleen, please. As I say every year, stick it away in magnums for dinner parties or weddings or whatever in ten+ years time.
Sociando Mallet coming out this morning, critically at a price below any other vintage on the market. This afternoon we have Chasse Speen, normally a popular primeur buy, but it is barely below the price of the 2010.
Today sees the release of Château Cos d'Estournel and Pagodes, it's second wine, Goulée, the Médoc made by the Cos team, as well as the Pomerol, Château Gazin. Jean-Guillaume Prats has made a substantial effort on the price of Cos, which is down from €190 last year to €108 - to UK merchants.
Bordeaux 2011 - around a £tenner, and one a bit more Below is a short list of wines selected from those so far on the market which seem to me to offer the 'no-brainer' bit of this (and any other) vintage.
Pierre Taïx of La Mauriane in Puisseguin Saint Emilion told us that after the rain at the end of August the vines started to grow again, and that this growth resulted in dry sap tannins in the grapes. Harvest had to be left for at least another ten days for the tannins to polymerize and the grapes re-concentrate.
For once I think it really helps an understanding of the weather to understand the variation and style of the wines of Bordeaux in 2011 - although nothing is ever completely deterministic and odd surprises still exist. The story of the the 2011 harvest began with the dry Indian summer of 2010, which stayed fine long after this fine harvest was in the cellars.
I made this simple Vin de France wine of the week after glugging almost an entire bottle of it on my own one evening this week! One of Charles' new finds in the Rhône valley, from a relatively unknown and very small producer in Châteaneuf (although they do make it into Bob Parker's Wine Advocate), 'Le Petit Roy' is simply a Vin de France because it is made up of eveything that does not make it into the Châteaneuf cuvées, and as such carries no vintage on the label, only '11eme année' which is a clue I guess.
Tricky vintage. Singed or scorched (cramé or échaudé, take your pick) grapes. Rotten grapes. Grapes which had failed to turn colour properly. All needed to be sorted out. In Bordeaux there has been much experimentation with sorting in different ways, and all the properties do it - to a greater or lesser extent.
Selection, Selection, Selection, seems to be the new mantra on Bordeaux in recent vintages, not only in terms of grapes before the fermentations, but also in terms of the wines that 'make the grade' into each of the different cuvées that the property produces.