Early releases include Lynch Bages, following on from the success last week for its Pauillac 'rival', Pontet Canet. At £750 per case this is cheaper than any other vintage on the market except the 2007, and while it's not perhaps the steal we have all hoped it might be, the strength of the brand here means this too must come recommended.
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.
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.
2011 Bordeaux - Too many to mention It seems that Bordeaux have decided that it's simpler just to dump all the wines on the market and let everyone sort it out for themselves, so here we go - not much we can say about each one individually, there simply is not time.
Away from the drama of whether the big names will double overnight, the 'trading' side of the market, there remains solid value to be had in amongst the lesser names, and frankly we do rather enjoy the process of unearthing gems at the right price.
Latour, of course, stole a good deal of publicity at the beginning of the the 2011 campaign by announcing that it was going to withdraw from the primeur system from next year. (In future the wine will be released by the Chateau at ten years old or later).
Montrose, Lagrange and their seconds This afternoon has see the release of Montrose (£780) and Lagrange (£300), and their second wines Fiefs de Lagrange (£155) and Dame de Montrose (£250). Montrose rated for me as one of the wines of the vintage. Lagrange I rated (a rare circumstance for the vintage) the same as I rated the 2010 en primeur (93/100).
Lots of hyperbole out on the market this morning, following the release of one of the 'shooting stars' of recent Bordeaux vintages, Château Pontet Canet.
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.
France has a day off tomorrow, so we may have seen the last releases before next Monday. This afternoon saw the two junior wines from the Cheval Blanc stable take the the track. I liked both La Tour du Pin and Quinault l'Enclos, and the prices are not mad for the quality they are achieving here.
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.
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.