Friday, January 28, 2011

UGC Bordeaux, final thoughts

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left to right: Ms. Aline Baly, Owner of Château Coutet and Ms. Virginie Achou-Legape, Marketing & Communication of Château Climens

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DF and Mr. Pierre Montégut, Director of Château Suduiraut

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DF and the peerless Comte Stephan von Neipperg, Director of Château Canon-La-Gaffelière

This year's UGC Bordeaux tasting was once again, an invaluable look into the 2008 vintage. It's also fascinating to see how different a vintage can be for each producer, and meeting the people behind all the wines is always wonderful. I made a conscientious effort to speak with a few of the owners and directors of each estate . . . and was very glad I did. These people are so passionate, so eloquent about their wines - very inspiring.

The 2008 vintage, overall, is consistent. If one is to make generalizations, which are very unfair at this stage, one would have to say that the vintage is good, not great. Above all though, I feel like this is the wrong time to be tasting these wines. Having just been bottled for a few months at most, so many of the wines were either closed or at a very awkward stage - I can't help but feel that these wines would show much better in 12 months. In any case, some kind of judgement has to be made. The dry whites don't have the energy or the sheer sex appeal of the 2007's. The Sauternes are good, some with wonderful minerality, but not as focused as 2007. The red wines were more successful, riper than 2007. However, this is still a fairly lean, tight year. Oak management is a big issue, with many of the wines seeming clunky, with the oak sitting on top of everything. The majority of the wines remain elegant in structure, but a few showed hard, almost greenish tannins.

Good, not great vintage. This was a strange year all around, with the substantial price decreases initiated by the Bordelais. At the time of the campaign, it was said that this was a very good vintage, better than 2006 and just sitting beneath 2005. This tasting showed maybe otherwise. We'll see in 10 years.

DF

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