Archive for April, 2010

2009 Sauternes – Parker En Primeur Scores Confirm Great Vintage!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The 2009 Sauternes En Primeur campaign doesn’t really start until Parker scores are out.

Well Robert Parker’s notes on 2009 Bordeaux are finally out alongside Neal Martin’s review of the 2009 Sauternes vintage.  Full notes are available from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate online (a paid subscription) – here are a few quotes and highlights:

The result is a clutch of exceptionally rich Sauternes wines with more botrytis than many know what to do with, thankfully counterpoised by the acidity to prevent them from becoming cloying and maintain freshness.  At best, the result is a clutch of mellifluous, intense rather than powerful Sauternes, as honeyed as Johnny Mathis’s  croon but pirouetting across the palate like Margot Fonteyn.

These are just some of Neal’s recommendations:

Check out names such as: Domaine de l’Alliance (a name for Sauternes-lovers to watch out for), Château Partarrieu and Château Thuyttens for small growers who took advantage of the favourable growing season and offer wines that reach the full potential of their respective vineyards.

From Suduiraut and Rieussec I expect greatness given their pedigree, and neither disappoint, the former daring to challenge Yquem and the latter fashioning their best since 2001.  In addition, the likes of Château Coutet, Rabaud-Promis, Sigalas-Rabaud, Rayne-Vigneau, and La Tour Blanche all produced astonishing wines that will become benchmarks for these estates.

We totally agree with Neal that the overall quality of the vintage is outstanding:

After tasting through the wines both blind and then again with identities revealed, I felt a sense of elation with respect to the regularity of quality from top to well “bottom” is an inappropriate word in the case of the 2009s.

So my advice to those who have just completed their 2009 shopping list: just add a case of Sauternes, especially if you have never done so before. Never has there been such a consistent vintage and nothing brightens up or completes a cellar like Sauternes.

Prices for the wines released so far are at our new 2009 Sauternes Price List  and full tasting notes and scores from all the experts are available from the links below.  Guess which one of these wines scores 100pts!

Domaine de l’Alliance, Ch d’Arche, Ch Bastor Lamontagne, Ch Broustet, Ch Caillou, Ch Cantegril, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Ch Doisy Daene, Ch Doisy-Vedrines, L’Extravagant de Doisy DaeneCh Filhot, Ch Guiraud, Ch Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Ch Lamothe-Guignard, Ch Liot, Ch de Malle, Ch de Myrat, Ch Partarrieu, Ch Sigalas-Rabaud, Ch Suduiraut


Chateau Climens 2009 as shown to the wine trade

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

 For certain events, such as this presentation of the 2009 Chateau Climens to the Bordeaux Wine Trade, you will catch me in a suit!  Well as Berenice Lurton graciously treated us to some sumptuous older vintages as well as another look round the barrels at the 2009 it seemed appropriate, certainly the 90 year old 1920 Climens deserved respect!  Tasting a Barsac wine this old is a rare event even for me and the other Bordeaux negociants and courtiers in this video.  We were all struggling for words to describe the flavours!

Other vintages tasted were the 2008, 2007 (100 Wine Advocate points), 2006, 2005, 2004, 2000 and 1990 (the last two from magnificent double magnums.  Bill Blatch

2009 Sauternes – Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Our first visit to Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey to taste the excellent 2009 Sauternes vintage with Eric Larramona.  This video highlights just how difficult it is at this early stage to compare the different wines of Sauternes.  While his neighbours at Chateau Rayne-Vigneau have finished blending their wine in January, Eric’s lots are still in barrel and still on the lees – racking won’t begin until June!

Incidently both wines scored 97 points with The Wine Enthusiast Magazine so there is more than one way to make good Sauternes – ‘Vive la Difference!’  Bill Blatch

2009 Chateau Climens coming on very nicely

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Another catch up visit – this time to visit Berenice Lurton, owner of Chateau Climens, Barsac to see how the 2009 vintage is behaving itself in barrel!  We hope to have another video up shortly showing what the negociants thought of the wine when it was officially presented to the Bordeaux Wine Trade recently.

2009 d’Yquem – more impressive by the day

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I’ve been checking up again on Chateau d’Yquem to see how the 2009 vintage is developing.  This time we were hosted by the winemaker herself Sandrine Garbay who describes in this video how over just a few weeks the wine is developing rapidly and gaining in complexity.  I agree – 2009 d’Yquem is more impressive every time I taste it and is certain in my mind to be one of the great d’Yquems!

Average 2009 Sauternes En Primeur scoring so far

Monday, April 12th, 2010

In advance of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate scores from Neal Martin We thought it would be useful to summarise how the 2009 Sauternes and Barsac vintage was being received by critics so far.  There has been almost universal acceptance that this is an outstanding year – we totally agree with this assessment and the scores back this up.

Scoring to Parker’s 100 point scale around 20 wines have acheived an average mark of over 90 points – making them ‘outstanding wines of exceptional complexity and character’.   Of these 3 wines are currently averaging at over 96 points making them ‘extraordinary wines of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety’.

And these are average marks! An incredible 15 wines have judged by at least one critic as potentially scoring 96 points – maybe we should offer a mixed 2009 En Primeur case of these extraordinary wines!  We now await the Wine Advocate scores with interest.   Bill Blatch

PS The top twenty wines so far are (in alphabetical order): Climens, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Coutet, Doisy Daene, Doisy-Vedrines, l’Extravagant de Doisy Daene, de Fargues, Guiraud, les Justices, Lafaurie-Peyraguey, de Malle, de Myrat, Nairac, Rabaud-Promis, Raymond Lafon, de Rayne-Vigneau, Rieussec, Suduiraut, La Tour Blanche and d’Yquem. 

Hovering only just below the cut off mark and likely to rise into the ‘outstanding’ category as more marks come in are: d’Arche, Caillou, Filhot, Lamoth, Lamoth-Guignard and Romer du Hayot.  Also ‘outstanding’ in our opinion are some wines that we know about but that are not normally placed in front of most tasters – these include: Domaine de l’Alliance, Bastor-Lamontagne, Cantegril, La Clotte-Cazalis, Latrezotte and Partarrieu.  In a vintage of such universal high quality some of these wines may represent the best value when prices are released later this month.

Jancis Robinson publishes 2009 Sauternes tasting notes

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Jancis Robinson MW has joined the praise for the 2009 Sauternes vintage and published her tasting notes  in her Purple Pages at  We are grateful again for a mention of this site – thank you!  Snippets from the notes I found particularly pleasing amongst many were:

Climens – Great blend of richness, raciness and life. This should be very special indeed and I may be under-scoring it.  18.5+ points

Doisy Daene – Very big and bold, like pear juice fermented by a wizard. Lovely stuff.  18 points

Guiraud – I failed to spit this one – always a good sign. Very long and a good combination of structure, acidity and very ripe fruit.  18 points

Raymond Lafon – Great stuff! Unspittable, dried apricots (though so much richer than a Tokaji) and great acidity.  19 points

Suduiraut – Big and rich and bold and overwhelming almost. A bit of spice and so much sugar!  18.5 points

Don’t forget to compare her comments to mine!  To get a copy of my full notes just enter your name and email at the top right hand corner of this screen.  Bill Blatch

Decanter praises 2009 Sauternes

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Well the praise for 2009 Sauternes just gets better and better!  Decanter magazine’s, Michel Bettane has this to say about the vintage as a whole:

The wines are reminiscent of the 1990 vintage with more body and definition, or for older growers, 1949 and 1921. The overall level of my tasting marks is unmatched.

Comments for individual wines are positively glowing and include:

Raymond Lafon – Glorious wine, as great as any first growth.

d’Yquem – For me the most formally perfect Sauternes of the vintage and a glorious affirmation of the property’s new style.

Sigalas-Rabaud – An absolute classical Haut-Bommes wine.

Suduiraut – Is it the best since 1899 or 1928? I say yes.

And that’s just a small sample!  For Michel’s full notes visit and don’t forget to compare his comments to mine!  To get a copy of my full notes just enter your name and email at the top right hand corner of this screen.  Bill Blatch

Wine Spectator gives 2009 Sauternes an enthusiastic welcome!

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

James Suckling has published his tasting notes and scores for the 2009 Sauternes and Barsac wines at   Broadly we agree that this is a fantastic vintage and special congratulations to Chateau d’Yquem (97-100), Coutet, Guiraud, l’Extravagant de Doisy Daene (95-98), de Myrat, Suduiraut (94-97) and Clos Haut-Peyraguey (93-96).

Why not compare them to my notes and to our videos on these wines – just use the name and email sign up boxes and the tag cloud (both in the right hand column of the blog) to locate vidoe reports on the wines you are interested in!  Bill Blatch

Jancis Robinson recommends Bordeaux Gold for 2009 Sauternes

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

A big thank you to Jancis Robinson for generously mentioning this blog today in her Purple Pages under the headline of ‘Bordeaux 2009 – reflections’. The full article can be viewed at (subscription required but thoroughly recommended) – here is the important bit!

“There are some truly stupendous wines, notably but not exclusively among the acknowledged first growths. In Sauternes this extraordinary quality is mainly the result of the exceptional natural conditions of the 2009 growing season, the details of which are so exhaustively chronicled in the Blatch report on this site (see also Bill Blatch’s new Sauternes-specific site”