A selection of Chateau La Gaffeliere, Premier Grand Cru Classe Saint Emilion tasted at the Chateau in August
This year has been truly remarkable. When I read Jancis Robinson's small article about 2009 growing and harvest conditions back in October last year I could sense that something was happening in Bordeaux.
The last 10 vintages of Bordeaux have all been of good quality. Perhaps the peaks have been 2000,2005 and 2009. But the troughs have not been disastrous either. The 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2007 will offer very good drinking wines, whilst the 2006 and 2008 are exceptional. The 2003 was the heatwave vintage, which has slightly more variability....but selectively there are some fantastic wines...mainly from the Left Bank.
But the real long term 'Great' wines will come from the 2000, 2005 and 2009 vintages.
I have been lucky enough to taste many of the top wines at the Chateaux from 2005 and 2009. In fact I have been in Bordeaux tasting and guiding with Bella Wine Tours almost 20 times this year.
The global wine trade has witnessed some extreme price increases for the 2009 Bordeaux wines, but sales have continued at great pace.
Here are some interesting stats for volume and value from Farr Vintners, who trade a lot of wine!
2009 £53m (30,000+ cases)
2008 £10.7m (12,000 cases)
2007 £5.5m (5,400 cases)
2006 £10.6m (9,000 cases)
2005 £24.7m (29,600 cases)
The figures are not precise. However the marked difference in value (for roughly the same volume) between the 2005 and 2009 vintages gives an indication of the price increases for the 2009 wines.
There are still wines available to buy from the 2009 vintage. The purchase is still Primeur, which means that the wine is in barrel and will be released in bottle from 2012. In fact I have been tasting some really interesting 2009 wines at the lower levels...ie early bottled wines from Entre Deux Mers and the 'satellite' appellations rather than the big boys from the Cru Classe areas. The quality of ripe dense fruit and class is exceptional. Even at the lower levels (and more affordable levels) there will be some delicious wines available.