Vintage update

I have just visited Bordeaux for the bi-annual world wine exhibition and it appears to have been less frequented by the international wine trade than in recent years.
Also, the cool springtime of 2013 has not only been evident in England !  It has been extremely wet and cool in Bordeaux and the flowering of the vines has only just taken place.

Late flowering in cool, humid conditions in mid-June suggests a low volume, late harvest this year.So unless the weather takes a distinct turn for the better in August, September and the first half of October, the current signs do not bode well for the 2013 Bordeaux vintage.

Talking with some of the older established Bordeaux negociants I also learnt that it has not been an easy period for sales of the Bordeaux 2012 Primeurs. Sales of the Grand Crus Classes were sluggish and only happened when the margins were reduced by the negociants. Sluggish sales and low margins hmmmmm , doesn’t sound too healthy …… so is it now only the chateaux owners who are making any profits from this and the previous two vintages? After all, if they could make profits from the 2008 Bordeaux vintage when prices were significantly lower, they must have made sizeable gains from the expensive vintages which followed.  The enthusiastic wine consumer who bought En Primeur Bordeaux wines from the various importers around the world, would not have made any gains by buying En primeur from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. Indeed they have probably not made any money from the 2009 vintage either, apart from a select few chateaux, which rather defeats the idea of buying En primeur, doesn’t it ?  I mean why part with your money now when you can buy for the same price in 18 months time ?

On a footnote, I tasted some delicious  burgundian wines at Vinexpo from the 2010 and 2011 vintages, most of which will be available this autumn. The 2011 white burgundies are less complex than 2010 but have elegant, ripe fruit, freshness and balance and I would suggest drinking these before the profound 2010’s,which really need a little ageing to fully maximise their immense potential.

I have to mention one wine which was utterly compelling and majestic. Maison Lucien Le Moine (Mounir & Rotem Saouma)   CHAMBERTIN CLOS DE BEZE 2010. I tasted this with my experienced `froggy’  friend and former leading Sommelier, Jean-Marc Heuiliere and we both agreed that this was a truly outstanding wine.

My colleagues at the champagne houses associated with LES FAMILLES CHAMPENOISES are also rather excited about their 2008 harvest. More to follow. You heard it from me !