Friday, 3 April 2009

Postcard from Bordeaux en Primeur - Part 2

A new day and my spirits are still high. The weather has held, still lovely tasting conditions, and I'm closer to home today, covering Pomerol and Saint Emilion; Merlot and Cabernet Franc country, both of which were harvested very late (last few days of October in many cases).

Difficult to follow yesterday’s highs and given the lateness of the harvest over on this side, actually rather difficult to taste the wines which are much more closed and 'brut'-ish than their Left Bank sisters at this stage.

Nevertheless, there are some beauties hiding under layers of tight tannins. I started in Pomerol at La Conseillante, hosts this year, and emerged teeth-stained and rather dry-mouthed, but very convinced by Clinet, Gazin, La Conseillante and Petit Village. These are real 'terroir' wines, stoney, pure-fruited and extremely elegant if a little cold and stand-offish at the moment.

I moved on to Christian Moueix's offices in Libourne and obediently worked my way through their range of family-owned and/or managed properties with my eye on the bottle of Petrus placed temptingly at the end of the table ....

Puy Blanquet (St Em GC) and Belair-Monange (1GCC) were lovely, succulent, more-ish, everything you could want from a classic St Emilion.

Plince, Bourgneuf, Certan Marzelle, La Fleur Petrus and Certan de May stood out for me in their Pomerol line-up. Pure, vibrant, taught .. Super classy.

And then came Petrus ....

I'll leave Hugh Johnson to use his magic with words to describe the wine, I'm sure he could do it justice. I simply can't!

Suffice to say that I found it extremely special, extremely concentrated and just perfectly balanced. Magic in a bottle.

Through the sunshine, on to Chateau Figeac to the Saint Emilions. Perhaps the supreme elegance of the last wine I tasted threw the Saint Emilions into relief. There were some winners for me though; Balestard la Tonnelle, Beau-Sejour Becot, Figeac, La Gaffeliere, Pavie Macquin and most especially Larcis Ducasse (sexy wine). My usual favourites, Troplong Mondot and Clos Fourtet were just not showing well today, perhaps too early for them.

The current rumours circulating are that prices will be released very quickly – within the next couple of weeks, although probably after the Easter weekend. Rumour also has it that the First Growths have plotted behind closed doors (as they always do) and might release at a significantly reduced price.

IF this happens, chances are the rest will stampede to release their prices and wines on to the market. The guesswork is of course all part of the excitement ..

Clare Tooley, Bordeaux Buyer

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