Archive for April, 2011

Hail hits 2011 Sauternes Vintage

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I feel bad about reporting people’s misfortunes especially as they just keep smiling, but it’s our duty to inform you about anything that happens in Sauternes.

Hail is a nightmare for all wine growers and there is little that can be done.  On Monday a large storm travelled slowly across the region from the village of Budos just west of Sauternes (across the River Ciron) in an east south easterly direction up and over the plateau towards Chateau Guiraud.  Damage was very localised but severe (50-80% in places) as can be seen in this video taken at Chateau Lamothe Guignard:

2010 Sauternes Top 40 Chart (now includes
Jancis Robinson scores)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

There are some big movers this week after scores from Jancis Robinson (log in required), Rene Gabriel (the renowned Swiss German critic) and others.  The chart is settling down a little but there are quite big variations in scores from critic to critic (just click on a wine name to see for yourself).

Why?  Well, different tastes and different samples may account for the variance but I do feel that some just don’t understand Sauternes as well as others and I suspect that for a few Sauternes is a bit of an afterthought when compared to the red wines as it can be with wine merchants and consumers as well.  I hope I am wrong but fear not!

For our part we remain of the opinion that the 2010 vintage is another great vintage – different in style but equally as fine in quality as its predecessor, 2009.  Some of these properties have produced their best wines ever in the last two years and they are still getting indifferent marks – the record seems to be stuck!  Quite why de Fargues, Raymond Lafon and Sigalas Rabaud are being scored so low I cannot understand and no one has recognised, for example, the fantastic progress made by de Malle this year!

See all the scores and tasting notes for yourself by clicking on a wine name –  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

1. d’Yquem (3) – Up to No. 1!
2. L’Extravagant de Doisy Daene (2) – Down from Number 1 but based on only 3 scores so far (most wines have 6-11 scores averaged out)!
3. Suduiraut (4) – Up One Place!
4. La Tour Blanche (6=) – Up Two Places!
5=. Climens (2),  Guiraud (8) & Rieussec (6=) – Down Three for Climens but still just 2 scores as the wine has to be tasted from barrel – Guiraud & Rieussec Both Up!
8. Coutet (5) – A Faller in the Top Ten – Down 3!
9. Lafaurie-Peyraguey (13) – Up 4 Places – a Big Mover!
10. Doisy-Vedrines (11) – Into the Top Ten!
11. de Rayne Vigneau (10) – Down One Place!
12. Clos Haut-Peyraguey (9) – Out of the Top Ten!
13. Doisy Daene (12) – Down 1 Place!
14. Sigalas Rabaud (16) – Up 2 Places!
15. Nairac (14) – Down One Place!
16. de Fargues (15) – Moving Down – why this isn’t higher up the charts we can’t understand!
17. Raymond Lafon (20=) – Deservedly Moving Up!
18. Rabaud-Promis (17) – Down 1 Place!
19. Caillou (18) – Down 1 after Last Week’s Big Rise!
20. de Myrat (22) – Moving Up!
21. de Malle (24=) – Up 3 Places!
22. d’Arche (24=) – Progress This Week!
23. Romer du Hayot (23) – No Change!  PRICE RELEASED – £140/£156 bottles/halves
24. Broustet (26=) – Up 2 Places!
25. Filhot (19) – A Big Faller!
26. Les Justices (20=) – Another Big Faller (but only 3 scores so far)!
27. Bastor-Lamontagne (26=) – Just Down 1 Place!
28. Lamothe Guignard (28=) – A Non-Mover!
29. Cantegril (-) – Straight into the Charts  – but based on just 2 scores!
30. Romer (-) – Another New Entry!
31=. Haut-Bergeron(-) & Tuyttens (-) – 2 More New Entries!
33. Lamothe Despujols (30) – Down 3 Places!
34. Suau (28=) – Down 6 Places!
35=. La Clotte-Cazalis (-) & de Veyres (-) – Another 2 New Entries!
37.  Partarrieu (-) – Straight into the Charts!
38=. Liot (-) & Domaine de L’Alliance (-) – More New Entries This Week!
40. Saint-Marc (-) – This Week’s Final New Entry!

2010 Bordeaux or Older?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

There is no doubt 2010 and 2009 are exceptional vintages – 10 cylinder turbocharged ones compared to the 6 cylinders of the last great pair in 1989 and 1990 according to Alexandre Thienpont of Vieux Chateau Certan.  I wouldn’t disagree – I certainly haven’t seen anything like them in my 35+ years in Bordeaux.

But do they represent value?  Some would not put a price on greatness but when, as in Sauternes, you add 2007, 2005 and 2001 into the picture the situation becomes complicated.  Others just want good value drinking and there are plenty of recent Sauternes vintages for that.

I think it is worth taking a last look at the 100 Top Sauternes Spring Offer (just click on the Big Blue Box to the right of this post) before the 2010s are released.  Be quick though as this offer closes at the end of the month!  The video and prices below might help you to make up your mind.

1998 Doisy Daene £256.79 Ex VAT (2009 was £312 EX Duty and VAT, the 2010 will be £???) – over 17.5% cheaper for a good drinking vintage!
1995 La Tour Blanche – half bottles £386.02 (2009 was £486, the 2010???) – over 20% cheaper for an underestimated vintage!
1999 Nairac £330.63 (2009 was £505, the 2010???) – 35% cheaper for this forgotten vintage!
1997 de Fargues – half bottles £502.94 (2009 was £1,121, the 2010???) – a staggering 55% cheaper for a great vintage!
1997 d’Yquem – half bottles £2,472.17 (2009 was £6,329, the 2010???) – a bewildering 61% cheaper for great drinking d’Yquem!

My personal top 5 wines from the offer are: 2001 de Rayne Vigneau, 2003 La Clotte-Cazalis, 2003 d’Arche, 2004 Liot – half bottles and 2007 Clos Haut-Peyraguey – half bottles Bill Blatch

2010 Sauternes – Top of the Pops

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

As you know we don’t score wines but, just for fun, here’s an interim Top 30 of how the 2010 Sauternes are impressing the critics so far (2009 positions are in brackets).  We’ll update this every week until the Wine Advocate scores are published and we’ll give final chart positions.  Just click on a link for more about each wine including my tasting videos.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

1. L’Extravagant de Doisy Daene (2) – Straight in at Number 1 but based on only 1 score so far!
2. Climens (3) – Another New Entry but again just 1 score!
3. d’Yquem (1) – Down from Number 1 – Let’s Wait and See!
4. Suduiraut (4) – A Non-Mover!
5. Coutet (7) – Can this stay in the Top 5?
6=. La Tour Blanche (5) & Rieussec (6) – Non-Movers
8. Guiraud (10) – Moving Up the Charts!
9. Clos Haut-Peyraguey (16) – A Big Mover!
10. de Rayne Vigneau (15) – Into the Top Ten!
11. Doisy-Vedrines (22) – One of 2010’s Biggest Movers?
12. Doisy Daene (21) – Another Big Mover from Barsac!
13. Lafaurie-Peyraguey (11) – A Slight Faller?
14. Nairac (14) – A Non-Mover this Year?
15. de Fargues (12) – Moving Down in 2010?
16. Sigalas Rabaud (13) – Can this Climb Again?
17. Rabaud-Promis (17) – Another Non-Mover?
18. Caillou (30=) – A Rapid Rise up the Chart!
19. Filhot (29) – Another Big Move up the Charts!
20=. Raymond Lafon (8=) & Les Justices (20) – Last Year’s Big Hit and a Non-Mover (but 1 score only for both so far)!
22. de Myrat (23=) – Progress Up the Chart?
23. Romer du Hayot (39) – This Year’s Biggest Mover? PRICE RELEASED – £140/£156 bottles/halves
24=. de Malle (25=) & d’Arche (30=) – Both on the Up?
26=. Broustet (36) & Bastor-Lamontagne (38) – Two Big Movers!
28=. Lamothe Guignard (30=) & Suau (37) – Upward Movement Again?
30. Lamothe Despujols (30=) – A Non-Mover?

Bubbling Under – Domaine de L’AllianceCantegril, La Clotte-Cazalis, Haut-Bergeron, Latrezotte, Liot, Partarrieu, Saint-Marc, Tuyttens & de Veyres

First 2010 Sauternes Release En Primeur

Monday, April 18th, 2011

There has been no time wasting in Bordeaux with the release of several smaller red wines and the first Sauternes – Chateau Romer du Hayot from Barsac.  Released at the same price as the 2009 vintage we are able to offer this at £8 per case less because of more favourable exchange rates.  Follow the links below for my tasting video and our 2010 Bordeaux En Primeur Offer.  Bill Blatch

2010 Chateau Romer du Hayot Video

2010 Sauternes En Primeur Offer

2010 Sauternes better than 2009?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I feared that many critics would not appreciate the special qualities of the 2010 Sauternes but I am thankfully wrong so far.  Michel Bettane in Decanter has got it spot on in his assessment at:

Decanter on 2010 Sauternes – better than 2009?

Five wines scored 19/20 and a further six 18.5/20 – compared to only seven wines scoring over 18.5/20 in 2009.  Total points for the top 27 wines in 2010 was 475/540 against 466.6/540 for the 2009.  As you know we don’t score here at Bordeaux Gold but it is more than clear that these are two great but contrasting vintages – the rich, monumental and opulent 2009s followed by the pure and fresh 2010s.

“Masterpeices of Modern Sweet Winemaking” just about sums it up – 2010 Bordeaux is turning out to be quite a special year!

As a contrast to Michel’s comments take a look at the video below that I shot last week with Steve – it’s my attempt at an update on the 2010’s after tasting them several times and in relation to my vintage report which you should have already received.  Bill Blatch

2010 Bordeaux – A Day if the Life of Bill Blatch

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Thanks for this Steve – my secrets are out!  Not every day is as packed or glamourous as in this video but it does give a good flavour of the craziness of En Primeur week and of the 2010 Bordeaux vintage as well.  There is a great Sauternes ending too as there should be to every feast!

On a serious note this video shows both chateau and UGC (Union de Grands Crus) tastings.  It is only through doing regular chateau and barrel tastings and talking to the winemakers, vineyard managers, owners and technical directors that you can get a real feel for a vintage or a particular wine – everything else is just a snapshot!  I am incredibly lucky to be in a position to do chateau visits regularly, both in Sauternes and across the Medoc, as my increasingly slow brain needs this regular stimulation!  Bill Blatch

2010 Bordeaux – Chateau d’Yquem tastings

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Just to make sure we tasted Chateau d’Yquem four times last week – we really do go the extra mile on your behalf!  One of the tastings was at official reception for the wine at the Bordeaux Opera where Steve and I had to put our suits on (more of that later)! 

You will see in the two clips below, one taken after tasting at the chateau and one with winemaker, Sandrine Garbay, why I was a bit chuffed that they also served the 1988 d’Yquem alongside the canapes. Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2010 Bordeaux – Chateau Climens, Barsac

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

We didn’t taste the 2010 Climens alongside the other First Growths because owner Bérénice Lurton and technical director  Frédéric Nivelle don’t blend their barrels yet.  This highlights why it is so important to taste every wine over a sustained period of time to get the full picture – tasting a wine once, as many critics do, will only ever give you a snapshot.

And what barrels they were!  There were 23 lots to get through but here is a summary video for you.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2010 First Growth Sauternes Tasting Videos

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Here are my thoughts on most of the 2010 Sauternes First Growth Sauternes – everything except Climens and d’Yquem which will follow later (NB now included via the links below). Take a look at the video below for a summary and then click on the individual links for tasting videos of the individual chateaux. Bill Blatch

Chateau d’Yquem

Chateau Climens, Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Chateau Coutet, Chateau de Fargues, Chateau Guiraud, Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Chateau Rabaud-Promis, Chateau Raymond-LafonChateau de Rayne Vigneau, Chateau Rieussec, Chateau Sigalas Rabaud, Chateau SuduirautChateau La Tour Blanche