The infamous, one-off Karl Lagerfeld labels for Château Rauzan-Ségla 2009
DF and Aline Baly, Marketing & Communication Manager for Château Coutet
DF and Jean-Pierre Foubet, Managing Director of Château Chasse-Spleen
DF and Count Stephan Von Neipperg, Director of Château Canon-La Gaffelière
DF with Anne and Olivier Bernard, Managers of Domaine de Chevalier
DF with friends
So, what did we learn from this tasting? A lot, actually. The reds for one, are as good as advertised. Just sheer excitement and sex appeal. Fresh and pure, with the best ones remaining elegant and finely structured, showing enormous potential. The usual culprits (new oak and over-extraction) still lurk, but in such a ripe vintage, most of it is well contained.
The whites, both dry and sweet, clearly don't have the energy or excitement of the 2007's, or even the 2008's. I wouldn't go as far as saying they're flabby, but they do lack a certain acidic lift and dry extract. Good for early drinking though.
The wines feature fantastically high prices, almost shockingly so. One of the representatives of a more modestly-priced wine (and if you follow Bordeaux closely, you'll know who they are) had a rather interesting take on why some of them choose not to price higher. I was tasting his wine - fabulous, just exceptional in its purity and style. I commented that although he's always maintained a sane pricing strategy every vintage, the same could not be said about some of his colleagues. Was there any pressure to increase the price? His answer was that they were happy with their current customers, and had no trouble selling their wines. If they were to increase their prices, they would have to attract a completely different customer base, who may not be familiar with their wines. Essentially, they would have to prove, all over again, why their wines were worth a higher price.
An interesting explanation of pricing strategy. Although I doubt they'd have trouble selling their wines at a 25-30% premium. Don't tell them that though. On a whole, a great, great tasting. A chance to catch up with some old friends, both in the tasting circle as well as some of the estate directors and managers. Met a lot of new people - not providing spit cups does allow one to loosen up over the course of the evening and talk to more people. I'm looking forward to making good on that promise, Monsieur, Madame . . . I'll see you in Bordeaux!
Above all, this tasting reaffirmed that when the vintage is right, Bordeaux still creates some of the most exciting, dazzling wines in the world.
Please find all the tasting notes for the evening here: