Lots of wines hitting the market today, we need to know who wants what so get you orders in please. Lafite and Carruades first tranche is out, but the Bordeaux trade is having a bit of a think about thent one - many will sit on it a bit longer, probably, and offer funny deals linked to Rieussec.
This afternoon has seen the release of Vieux Château Certan 2010, in such limited volumes that we will struggle to fulfil existing orders. L'Evangile is also now sold out. However its release was swiftly followed by that of another wine which all the critics rated incredibly highly, namely La Conseillante.
Château Troplong Mondot's 2010 is definitely a wine which reflects the extreme ripeness of the vintage, but also befits from the rigour and balance of the year too. Robert Parker has described it as 'An amazing wine' and 'Just prodigious! ', while Tim Atkin descibes 'a big wine with surprising elegance and finesse'.
This morning has seen the release of another of the two big names, one from each side of the river. Stephan von Neipperg's super-cuvée Saint Emilion La Mondotte, which I was unsure about, while recognising its impressiveness. As predicted this was much loved by the American critics but also by Brits Neal Martin ('Mellifluous on the finish.
Bruno Borie has decided to wait until virtually all the Bordeaux offices are shut before releasing Château Ducru Beaucaillou (£1750) and its 'definitely not the second wine but another good Saint Julien of cru classé quality'. Like Clos du Marquis (offered last week) Croix de Beaucaillou (£395) is a wine from a distinct vineyard rather than a 'second wine'.
With Vinexpo over, this look like it will be the week of the big guns. This morning we have had the first tranche of Château Margaux, and at the end of Friday (by which time I, and most of the négociants in Bordeaux, had left the office), we had the release of l'Évangile.
To 'mark the exceptional vintage of 2009', Château Rauzan Ségla's owners the Wertheimers, who also own Chanel, have commissioned Karl Lagerfeld to design the label. He has come up with a sketch of the Château, which is 350 years old this year.
Rauzan Ségla has released its 2010 at a price which is comfortably 20% higher than any other vintage of this wine is trading at on the market. I really like Rauzan, so this just makes me sad as I’d like my customers to be able to enjoy drinking it. It is said that it has been forced into doing this following some kind of hierarchy between the properties and the high release prices of some other wines, but it really might have been better for a group as powerful as Chanel to have shown a bit of leadership. Ah well, if you are that powerful perhaps you don’t need customers, don’t need to sell your wine. It’s there if you want it – no sale refused!
Nénin, the Pomerol owned by the Delons of Las Cases, has put its excellent 2010 out at a price which while high is not dotty. And although it is always a challenge to taste this in the same line-up as Clos du Marquis and Las Cases, (and on a day when one tastes nothing but Cabernet-based wines), I really liked it.
We still have small volumes of Haut Bailly at £1035 and Pavie Macquin at £920 but these will not last long
This probably puts a wrap on the campaign until after Vinexpo, which goes on over the weekend and half-way through next week, so now is a time for quiet reflection and a bit of hoovering up of some of the better value wines!
Pichon Lalande has responded to Pichon Baron with a fractionally higher price. Parker may score the latter marginally lower, but to most buyers I spoke to, it is Pichon Lalande which is the more exciting wine, seemingly right back on the very top form of the eighties in all its glorious finesse. As I said in my introduction to the Pauillac page, "Another fantastic year for Pauillac Cabernet. Best news is that Pichon Lalande is really back to the best ever form."
Haut Bailly, under the elegant Véronique Sanders, has produced another wine in a fabulous run from this property. I love the unforced, ‘real’ style of this wine.
We have been championing Saint Pierre for some years now, along with its stablemate Gloria, and the 2009 is the best ever from this property. As Robert Parker puts it "This cuvee reminded me somewhat of a St.-Julien version of another of the superstars of the vintage, the 2010 Pichon Longueville Baron. The 2010 Saint-Pierre should drink well for 30-40 years. 2011-2051 95 – 97+"
We also have the great and again very highly-rated Pavie Macquin available in tiny quantities. Robert Parker 96 – 98+. Quick answers needed here please
This afternoon has seen a continued flow of releases. The big name, and a pair for Montrose, in that it also has a 97-99+ score from Robert Parker, is Pichon Baron. Under the leadership of Christian Seely Pichon Baron has been limited back to the old historic property, which has significantly cut the volume produced, but also moved it up a big notch in quality. This looks to be the finest Pichon Baron in a run of good vintages.
One I really, really like and recommend is Clos du Marquis. As you can read in Robert Parker’s note, Clos du Marquis is now treated as a separate property to Léoville las Cases, which is under the same ownership. The second wine of Las Cases is now ‘Le Petit Lion’. This is a wine of good Cru Classé standard, ranking alongside the likes of Lagrange and Branaire and co, at a price which makes it affordable for the drinker. One of the few recent releases to make it into my ‘recommended Médocs’ list.
I also really like Brane Cantenac. I do wish it were not the price it is, but in terms of some of the pricing we have seen in Margaux this year, this is almost a bargain. Especially considering it carries a 93-96 Parker rating. Staying in Margaux, we now have Alter Ego de Chateau Palmer – does this mean the release of Palmer itself is in the offing? Not so much a second wine really, "This tastes like a very smart wine off its own bat." says Jancis Robinson.
Late this afternoon we had the release of Bernard Magrez’s Chateau Pape Clément, which Steven Spurrier rates 18.5. The white is fractionally more and could be available if anyone wants.
Finally a wine which actually came out yesterday but got lost in the rush, La Pointe. This represents a bit of a rarity – good value in Pomerol. Recommended.
This morning’s releases have continued to pile up.
The big news is the release of Lynch Bages. This is a really superb wine, and a great pair to Pontet Canet. "The 2010 blew me away on each occasion I tasted it" says Robert Parker, who gave it 95-97 points.
Chateau Montrose, another property on a remarkable roll of great vintages, has released its 2010 which again is highly acclaimed and was certainly one of my wines of the vintage. Also on offer is its second wine Dame de Montrose.
Branaire Ducru is another of the fabulous wines produced in Saint Julien this year , a really taut, fine, beautifully-defined wine this year.
Chateau d’Issan has been making better and better wines in recent year, and this would be my choice rather than some the rather soupier Margaux.
Finally for this morning it is back to the right bank with Chateau Canon. This Chanel-owned property makes lovely pure wines but I can’t get my head round the price level for this.
On the market this morning is heavy hitter and Parker superstar Clinet at £995. Pomerol has has a very good vintage in 2010, and this is massively highly-rated.
We also have an attractive vintage of Chateau Rouget in Pomerol, and Beauséjour Bécot, La Gomerie and Soutard.
At the final tasting during ‘primeurs’ week’, Charles Metcalfe said he thought that 2010 is the ‘damson vodka’ vintage. I laughed in recognition, having already included the simile in my note on Clos Fourtet. This 95-97 Parker-point wine is available in tiny quantities at £849.
Also out yesterday but almost lost in the rush was Stephan von Neipperg’s flagship, Canon la Gaffeliere. This has the massive concentration of the vintage alright, but it is off a great terroir and that does help it ‘maintain its shape’. ‘A beauty in the making’ says the James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator’, and ‘one of my favourite Saint Emilions’ for Tim Atkin, who gave it 95 points.
Chateau Bellevue, now owned by Angélus, was also out yesterday afternoon at £519, as was La Dominique,(£355) a wine I thought significantly better than this estate’s 2009, and if you are a fan this is a vintage not to miss.
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur, home to Dany and Michel Rolland, is out this morning at £520