Wednesday, 20 October 2010

2008 Bordeaux

Wine maturing in the barrel cellar at Chateau Lynch Bages, 5th Growth Pauillac.

Earlier this week I was fortunate to taste 100+ wines from the 2008 Bordeaux vintage. The tasting was held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London by the Union de Grands Crus de Bordeaux.
It was a great opportunity to assess and discuss the wines, which I had previously tasted in Bordeaux as barrel samples in April 2009. These are now finished wines in bottle and ready for the market.
Overview: The 2008 vintage has been generally acclaimed to be of good to very good quality. The yields were severely reduced due to coulure and millerandage, which effect the vines at flowering. These two factors reduce the quantities and size of the eventual grapes on the bunches, but not necessarily the quality. There was also mildew, which is not un common in the humid Bordeaux area. The crucial time of September and October were exceptionnally good in 2008, which really saved the vintage. The yields are the lowest since the frost effected 1991 vintage.
The Markets:The wines were received by the international buyers and journalists in Spring 2009. The initial response was surprisingly positive after the doubts over the 2007 quality.
The only issue at the time was the fragility of the financial ca change! And whether anyone would buy them after so many people had filled up with 2005 and 2006 wines.

Here are my personal views of a selection of the wines tasted:

The Wines:
Chateau Lynch Bages 2008....incredible classic cassis Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark cedar character with a very fresh vibrant pure fruit style.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse 2008....very elegant lifted fruit style. Freshness. A bold style with excellent balance and oaky wrap.
Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron 2008....a rich dense brute. Full power and depth but also layered fruit and finesse. Seems like a long ageing wine.
Saint Julien
Chateau Leoville Barton 2008....Velvet smooth harmony between fruit and oak. Dark brooding fruit. Great texture and firm assertive tannins. Graphite, pencil shaving in mid palate.
Chateau Lagrange 2008....a full rounded style. Slightly creamy wrap of oak around the fruit. Good dense style, but also fresh.
Chateau Rauzan Segla 2008....Very bright fresh fruit. Clean spicey and powerful cassis/cedar.
Chateau du Tertre 2008....Rich bold style, but elegant too.
Chateau Poujeaux 2008...Good deep plummy style. Richness and balance, dry tannins after. A big mouthful!
Chateau Fourcas Hosten 2008....Light fragrant elegant style. Good balance and finesse.
Pessac Leognan
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2008....Wow. Absolute class. Broad Sauv Blanc structures, not at all like commercial Gooseberry, nettles. This has a harder backbone of stone fruit and balanced oak ageing. Zippy acidity but evolving tropical fruits. Mango, green apples, pineapple. Would love to see this wine evolve.
Chateau Haut Bailly 2008...Superb balance of fine elegant plum/damson fruits and rich ripe tannin wrap. Classy.
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere 2008....A modern style of deep spicey fruit, but balanced with a velvet texture and good oak.
Saint Emilion
Chateau Canon-La-Gaffeliere 2008....Very good dark spice and fruit. A powerful style.
Chateau Petit Village 2008....Very lifted fesh dark damson, plum spice. Excellent texture and a deep layered palate. Velvet smooth finish.
Chateau Clinet 2008...Excellent deep cassis/plum style.
Chateau Climens 2008...almost hints of toffee on the nose, but also tropical fresh fruits.
Chateau Coutet 2008...excellent fresh zip from Coutet. Clean defined ginger spice.
Chateau Doisy Vedrines 2008.....Fresh bright almost flinty initially but with a great even depth of sweet fruit and long finish.

I tasted many many more wines! But these were the wines that grabbed my attention.

Impressions: The vintage is generally looking very good. The Saint Emilions were slightly disappointing...having shown so well in Spring 2009. Maybe the merlot has just tightened up. The Lynch Bages was spectacular, when it was less opulent than the Pontet Canet at the Primeur tastings (April 09). Pauillac and Saint Julien seemed to have the best consistency. The under rated (in the UK at least) Pessac Leognan area had some stellar wines...Haut Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier.

If I had two wines to choose.......

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2008
Chateau Lynch Bages 2008

1 comment:

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