I read this comment from David Hamshere on my blog a few days ago and I continue to go back to it. I think that it puts it in a perspective that we can all appreciate. There are so many other businesses in the world that are being affected in the same way as the small wine growers of Bordeaux.
One of my last stops in my 2005 Bordeaux wine tour today was L’Eglise Clinet, the highly rated Pomerol estate. The owner, Denis Durantou, was standing just inside the door of his small winery waiting for me.
I was tasting some great wines from the Right Bank yesterday, including Pétrus, Cheval-Blanc, Le Pin, Vieux Château Certan and Ausone, and I ran into a grower I know from Graves, and he reminded me of some sad truths about Bordeaux at the moment.
Me at lunch with Fabien Teitgen, technical director of Smith-Haut-Lafitte, discussing why some people seem to be upset that I am writing so positively about the 2005 vintage – especially after all the positive words for 2000 and 2003.
Before you all start crying about prices, two things. First, no one has released prices yet. Second, even if they are very high, you don’t have to buy the high-priced wines. There are going to be hundreds of good-value Bordeaux with very good to excellent prices.
I am leaving the hotel this moment to taste the heavy hitters in Pomerol and St. Emilion – Pétrus, Le Pin, Ausone, Cheval Blanc…you get the idea. The word is that the wines are amazing. Can’t wait to dip my nose into them! Yesterday was a solid day of tasting Right Bankers, not to mention a detour to Haut-Brion.
I am in the process of tasting a range of Right Bank wines--from unknown names to stars--in a blind tasting this morning in my hotel, and the quality level is incredibly high. Everything seems to be starting at 89 to 91 points--very good to outstanding.
I am looking at my hands this morning after blind tasting about 40 wines from the Right Bank at my hotel Les Sources de Caudalie. My fingers on my right hand, with which I hold my Riedel tasting glass, are stained purple.
I just tasted 10 Sauternes. And I nearly fell out of my chair. It looks like something very good. I have heard the 2005 vintage compared with 1988, which was excellent. I have heard 2001, which was the bomb.
Tasting barrel samples can be a bitch. I started off today tasting dozens of Right Bank wines, and they all didn’t taste right. It’s wasn’t that they tasted bad, but they tasted a bit flat. They were sort of like listening to some great music on a bad stereo.
Me at 9:30 a.m. at Calon-Segur with Denise Capbern-Gasqueton, the 70ish owner of the well-known St.-Estèphe estate. Jo Cooke, my colleague, said she reminded him of his grandmother! “It is really balanced,” she said, tasting the 2005 Calon herself.
One point that all Bordeaux wine producers have been emphasizing to me is that the great 2005 vintage is a year when all the appellations show their distinct style, or character. The reds from St.-Estèphe have racy tannins and spicy character.
Me talking with Jean-Michel Cazes, the owner of Lynch-Bages and a number of other châteaus, about the quality of 2005. He has been making excellent wines for decades now. “Everyone is talking about 2005 as if it is another 1982,” I said.
Just got back from restasting the three first growths in Pauillac, and I noticed that I have a big spot of purple wine on my beige cords. Good lucking getting that out in the wash! I may as well throw them out now! It was sloppy spitting in the cellar of Mouton.
I am sitting here tasting a range of 2005s from crus bourgeois to crus classés in a blind tasting at my hotel in Pauillac, and it makes me think about what I do. This is what makes being a wine critic a joy – tasting great wines.
Me having lunch with Bruno Borie, owner of Ducru-Beaucaillou, in his kitchen and discussing the potentially outrageous demand and high prices for 2005 Bordeaux. “I guess prices are going to be high for 2005,” I said.
I am feeling slightly hazy this morning. I tasted 60 wines yesterday, and I have another 60 to face this morning in blind tastings at my hotel Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac. I also feel like I ate a ton of lead last night at dinner with Michel Rolland.
Great beauty is so obvious—women, art, and wine, whatever. You know when you find it, and I certainly found it today in Bordeaux. I just tasted the 2005 Margaux, and it took my breath away. This is a wine that could be 100 points when it is finally bottled.
Me yesterday at Léoville Barton while tasting the 2005 with owner Anthony Barton: “Anthony. What have you changed? This 2005 is very impressive. It reminds me of the 2003,” I said. “I have done nothing different,” he said, looking rather perplexed.
Great wines, great prices. And I don’t mean cheap. I am already hearing rumors about pricing, and it makes me turn white in fear. How’s 180 to 200 euros a bottle to the wine trade for futures for the first growths? That means the wines would be selling very close to $500 a bottle in the states to consumers.
First impressions mean just about everything—especially in wines. And I can say that what I tasted today made a very big impression on me. I visited and tasted at Montrose, Cos, Lafite, Pontet-Canet, Latour, Pichon-Lalande, Léoville Barton, Gruaud-Larose, Léoville Las Cases and Mouton.
Dinner in Bordeaux at négociant Pierre Lawton’s house was full of excitement. About a dozen vintners were there, from Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos-d’Estournel to Jean-Hubert Delon of Léoville Las Cases.
I just arrived in Bordeaux a few hours ago. And as I was flying into the Mérignac airport from Nice and looking over the landscape of Bordeaux with thousands of acres of vineyards, I couldn’t help but think that most people in the world don’t give a damn about most of wines of the region.
It was about 3:30 a.m. when I woke up this morning. It was freezing outside and my bedroom didn’t feel much warmer. Tuscany is cold in the winter, even in early March. I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about 2005 Bordeaux.
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