It’s a long road to Bordeaux from Basel, Switzerland. I made two wrong turns near Beaune, even with my GPS system going strong. Perhaps the Burgundy producers didn’t want me to get to Bordeaux?
It could have also been that my mind was not completely on the driving. I kept thinking about getting to Bordeaux and putting my nose in a glass of 2009. I spoke to a top winemaker in the region over the car phone as we sped down the A 71 and he said that “people in Bordeaux say that you are going to be drinking the barrel samples because they are so good.”
I pulled over the Porsche, and decided to let my friend drive. I wrote this as he was speeding down the freeway at about 100 miles per hour.
The Bordeaux winemaker is alluding to how supposedly great and balanced the wines are, with wonderful, ripe fruit and round and fine tannins. I am hearing now that 2009 is a “modern 1982.” This means that wines will be fresh, opulent and very delicious to taste.
I will have to spit the wines because I have to get through 30 or 40 each day in various blind tastings. But that doesn’t mean that many of the wines won’t make me want to drink them!
I have long believed that a truly great wine is always great, from the moment you taste it from barrel to the day decades later that you drink it from bottle. The 1982s were like that. So were the 1989s, and 1990s, as well as the modern greats of 2000 and 2005.
During my first tastings tomorrow, I wonder if I am going to have flashbacks to my first experiences of tasting from barrel in Bordeaux. That was the summer of 1983. I was just a punk from L.A., who had had some great Bordeaux with his old man from Beverly Hills. I had spent more time as a daily journalist than a wine taster back then. But I couldn’t believe how wonderful the 1982 barrel samples were that summer.
I tasted with the late Alexis Lichine, Bruno Prats, Anthony Barton and others. “We need to teach this young American about tasting barrel samples, and about the great wines of our region,” Lichine said.
He did his job well. I certainly loved the wines when I tasted them from barrel that summer. But I had neither the knowledge, nor the clout, to make any proclamations about the vintage. It’s almost 30 years since then, and I am older and wiser now. I will know more tomorrow.
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — March 22, 2010 10:30pm ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — March 22, 2010 11:14pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento, CA — March 23, 2010 1:15am ET
Jo Cooke — Tuscany — March 23, 2010 3:18am ET
Koen Masschelein — Beijing, China — March 23, 2010 4:00am ET
Jordan Horoschak — Houston, TX — March 23, 2010 7:10am ET
Marchello Chacchia — Connecticut — March 23, 2010 8:23am ET
Steve Phelis — Montreal,Canada — March 23, 2010 9:50am ET
James Suckling — — March 23, 2010 1:52pm ET
James Suckling — — March 23, 2010 1:55pm ET
James Suckling — — March 23, 2010 1:56pm ET
James Suckling — — March 23, 2010 1:58pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento, CA — March 23, 2010 2:37pm ET
ERIK GORDON — Kirkland, WA — March 23, 2010 4:26pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions