Monday, January 28, 2013

UGC Bordeaux - tasting the 2010's

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

When we go to these tastings, we need to wrap our heads around exactly what we want to get out of the evening. Is it to actually taste and evaluate the wines? Or is it to hang out with friends and have a good time? I've generally gone in guns blazing, looking to taste everything. But Friday night, at the UGC tasting of 2010 Bordeaux in Toronto, all I wanted to do was to blow off some steam, talk to some familiar faces, and drink a lot of expensive wines. As one does when in the same room as Bordeaux nobility.

So no, I didn't get to taste all the wine; not even most of them. But I did taste all the white wines, dry and sweet, and they are extraordinary. Lithe and tensile, with all the energy and structure I'm looking for in white Bordeaux. Some of the better dry whites have a lovely dry extract, giving a distinct chewiness on the palate - certainly candidates for aging. Vibrant, racy wines that remain linear and elegant. And Sauternes, getting back to that botrytis spice and apricot character we're looking for, showing a beautiful balance already. Delicious wines of great finesse.

I came into the tasting with a murky impression of the red wines. So much print has been published about how the 2010's are shaping up to be yet another grand vintage. A contrast with the flamboyant 2009's - a return to classicism. And after tasting (a limited number) of wines in each commune, I've gotten a clearer picture of the vintage. The wines showed a lot of purity and minerality. Dark fruits, with a lot of the wines slightly closed off. Lean at the moment, with evident tannin and acidity - they're structured wines, but the tannins remain quite fine and in many cases, delicately balanced. It's not a knock-out vintage that's instantly charming, but the quality is apparent. All the elements just need time - a lot of time - to really come together. Temper your expectations for the next few years, because this vintage will (in this wino's humble opinion) require a lot of patience. A vintage for those who love classic Bordeaux, as the wines will need age for the acidity (more so than the tannin) to integrate. Chiseled, well-defined wines that will take time to fill out. 

Overall, a fantastic tasting. The quality of the wines are just so high - really, winemaking at its highest level. Detailed tasting notes of the wines I tasted tomorrow. We (well, I) stumbled back uptown for a late dinner, more than a little tipsy, more than a little happy, and more than a little inspired.

DF

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