Archive for June, 2011

2010 Sauternes Slips Under the Radar

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Well it isn’t all over until the fat lady sings but most of the audience has left already!  As I write the Medoc 1st Growths, the Super 2nds and the the top Right Bank chateaux are finally releasing their wines onto the market after what has been one of the most criticised and extraordinary En Primeur campaigns.  It has been one of the longest campaigns ever with long lulls followed by intense spurts of activity, not to mention the record prices (for the red wines).

The ‘Embarrasingly Good Vintage that I wrote about in my 2010 Vintage Report has been followed by an ‘Embarrassingly Poor En Primeur Campaign’!

In Sauternes we only await the price for Chateau d’Yquem, which will probably follow those for the 1st Growths Reds.

Sauternes and Barsac have, yet again, suffered in the confusion!  These are amongst the very best wines in the world (see Sauternes – the Best Bordeaux Wine) and yet they are selling for a fraction of the price of the top red wines (see Sauternes – Best Value in Bordeaux).  Despite having the only reasonable pricing policy in Bordeaux the attention has been firmly on the red wines and Sauternes sales have been affected – the apathetic reaction to some of the red wine pricing seems to have rubbed off.

This is such a shame as the wines themselves deserve much, much better.  2010 in Sauternes, and especially Barsac, is utterly irresistible and gets better every time I taste it.  I urge you to take another look at my 2010 Tasting Notes and if you’ve been put off buying reds this year, focus on Sauternes instead!  All the prices are here:

Cases Prices – Bottles or Half Bottles

Individual Bottle or Half Bottle Prices

Out of interest our Top 10 best selling 2010 wines are as follows:

  1. Ch Raymond Lafon – top for the 2nd year running with fantastic quality at a ultra-reasonable price
  2. Ch Doisy-Vedrines – a big success in 2010
  3. Ch de Myrat – another great value Barsac doing well
  4. Ch Doisy Daene – completing a trio of Barsac wines at reasonable prices
  5. Ch Suduiraut – fantastic quality, one of the wines of the vintage
  6. Ch Coutet – a much more reasonable price in 2010
  7. Ch Guiraud – another high quality wine
  8. Domaine de L’Alliance – we are delighted that this wine is attracting an enthusiastic following
  9. Ch Climens – possibly the wine of the vintage
  10. Ch La Tour Blanche – again a top quality wine

There is a great mix of value and quality in this list – why not put together a mixed case with some or all of these wines included?  Bill Blatch

Sauternes and Chinese Food

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Amidst the madness 2010 En Primeur it was a real pleasure to sit down with some of my Sauternais friends at Vinexpo and taste some great Sauternes alongside some Chinese food.  Below is some video proof that I was there and, I think, appreciated, as are our efforts at Bordeaux Gold to promote their wines.

The Chan brothers, Tommy and André, of the Bordeaux Chinese Restaurant “Le Bonheur du Palais” made a dish for every wine:

  • Marinated Hong You salmon with Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2007, presented by Eric Larramona
  • Yu-Xiang gambas prawn with the Clos Haut-Peyraguey 2005, presented by Martine Langlais-Pauly
  • Caramelised Tchasui pork with Sichuan pepper with the Coutet 2004, presented by Aline Baly
  • Half-cooked beef in red pimiento oil with Guiraud 2003, presented by Xavier Planty
  • Tea-smoked duck with La Tour Blanche 2002, presented by Didier Fréchinet
  • Garlic and ginger chicken with Suduiraut 2001, presented by Pierre Montégut
  • “Folded arms” pork and shrimp (kind of sweet and sour) with Climens 1975, presented by Bérénice Lurton

There were a lot of Chinese-food experts there and the debate quickly became one of the challenge of food pairing in China because all the food is served at the same time.  Tommy had put the spicier dishes with the younger wines, which was thought not necessarily any better.

Frankly, everything went with everything which actually makes it easier to serve Sauternes with Chinese food than other wines – a result!  Bill Blatch

2010 Chateau Latrezotte

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Bernard Magrez, of Pape Clement, La Tour Carnet and Fombrauge fame and French wine producer of the year in 2009, has finally given us a price for his delightful Barsac property, Chateau Latrezotte.  Delightfully placed on the same plateau that includes the Climens and Doisy vineyards, this property produces increasingly excellent Sauternes as Bernard improves the vinification.

He waited for 18 years to buy the vineyard and has wasted no time in installing the very best equipment and processes, aiming to produce a light, airy and ethereal Sauternes.  This style is totally suited to the 2010 vintage but there is some weight there too.  Bill Blatch

Chateau Latrezotte – Tasting Notes and Video

Cases (Bottles)Cases (Halves)BottlesHalves

2010 Climens Released

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Ch Climens has released today at the same price as in 2009 – Bravo Berenice!  On the same day Ch Leoville-Barton released at the same price (up 15.2% on 2009) and Ch Smith-Haut-Lafitte at 5 Euros more Ex-Chateau (up 48.1% on 2009) – both these wines are very good but frankly not quite in the same league as Climens.  I have said it many times now but there is real value in Sauternes in 2010!

2010 Climens (12 x 75cl) – £839
2010 Climens (24 x 37.5cl) – £847
2010 Climens (1 x 75cl) – £70.92
2010 Climens (1 x 37.5cl) – £36.04

That value is across the whole spectrum from Climens at the top to humbler wines such as Domaine de L’Alliance.  2010 Sauternes is a vintage of consistent high quality that has been priced realistically.  Bill Blatch

2010 Bordeaux Prices

Friday, June 10th, 2011

A word on 2010 Bordeaux prices – the like of which I have never seen in my 30 odd years working in Bordeaux.

Red wine prices are increasing this year at anywhere between zero and 40% (with only Sociando-Mallet going down on 2009).  For a vintage which, while undoubtedly great in parts, is less ‘obviously’ attractive this, at first sight seems insane.  The market is not, however, driven solely by sentiment or indeed the quality of the wine (although this obviously plays a big part).

The new Far Eastern markets are effectively driving prices upwards with many negociants in Bordeaux selling up to half their allocations to China and Hong Kong.  The best article I have seen that explains this in detail is by Jane Anson at Bordeaux and China.  As Jane says these markets have been growing since 2000 for the red wines and it seems like there may still be room for more growth.

For Sauternes things are a little different as it only became legal in September last year to import sweet wines into China (see Decanter article Sauternes legal for the Chinese market).  Ch d’Yquem, Ch Guiraud and others are investing heavily in marketing and distribution to these markets and I expect prices for future vintages to rise.

For now though Sauternes is the best value in Bordeaux by some distance (see my recent articles at Sauternes – Best Value in Bordeaux and Sauternes – the Best Bordeaux Wine).  For those of you who haven’t taken advantage of this yet then do take another look at my 2010 Sauternes Tasting Notes and visit our Online Store.

For those of you who are interested in 2010 Red Bordeaux we do have stock of a few select wines – just email Steve at and he will advise you on what is available.

As for the future – who can tell?  We are in uncharted territory but that has been the case before following the 1982, 1989/1990, 2000, 2005 and 2009 vintages.  Essentially production of the top wines is limited and more and more people worldwide are interested in buying them (there are still large untapped markets beyond China such as Brazil and India waiting in the wings).

Prices do seem crazy but we are talking about luxury goods now and just as a supercar costs 200 times as much as a family saloon it shouldn’t really be surprising that the top wines are selling at 200 times the price of an average bottle from your local supermarket.  Bill Blatch