Archive for May, 2012

Francois Hollande and Sauternes

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

The feeling in the Bordeaux wine world is fairly positive about our dear new President, hereafter termed ODNP (by the way I am not French and don’t have the right to vote so I am not responsible for any of all this, my sole civic right being to say whatever I like in the café on Sunday morning).  Here are some serious and some irreverent thoughts

Sarko was so virulently anti-alcohol that we thought he was in the Temperance Movement.  Hollande seems to be more of a cheerful old soul who probably doesn’t mind a glass of wine every now and then.

It certainly looks as though he likes Sauternes!! Maybe this is a return to Mitterand’s  “la gauche caviar”: if so, not all that bad for the Sauternais! 

The less positive news is that anyone with any money (which of course excludes Sauternes people) is going to have to hang on to his wallet, as ODNP increases the civil service, decreases retirement eligibility etc and then has to pay for it all by applying election promises like supertaxing salaries and company profits, all magically bolstered up by growth rather than austerity.  No wonder the papers here are full of pictures of Sarko wearing a huge grin on his face. 

The effect mid-term will of course be that extra social charges and increased worker protection, plus the already agreed VAT increase, will need to be passed on to wine prices.  But maybe that won’t come to more than a percent or two. 

It remains to be seen if and how ODNP will integrate the National Front as part of the government after next month’s parliamentary elections – this might mean alcohol limits for drivers would be abolished and the English could drive over to their favourite French restaurant in Calais and drink lots of Sauternes! 

Meanwhile ODNP has to face the music from the Germans who may well include conditions like insisting that the Sauternais plant Riesling instead of Sémillon and we all know that Riesling doesn’t go with crisps as well as good traditional Sauternes does!

So my conclusion is that ODNP is good for Sauternes on all counts, possibly… maybe?  I’m off to the café tomorrow to seek out more opinions! Bill Blatch

2011 Sauternes Chart

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

The 2011 Sauternes Chart has been updated to include a few new wines released this week!  Below are the top wines according to the average scores from a ‘shrivel’ of 15 famous critics (an appropriate collective noun!).

The first thing to point out is that, by everyone’s reckoning, Château d’Yquem is the best 2011 wine across Bordeaux (reds and whites) and that the top 10 Sauternes wines would all make the top 30 overall Bordeaux wines on average scores – again demonstrating that 2011 is a superb vintage in Sauternes compared to the rest of Bordeaux (as detailed in my 2011 Sauternes Report).

Secondly, the wines nearly all score much higher than they did in 2010 and are all, so far, less expensive.  This makes them all good buys in my opinion with some exceptional value wines throughout the chart!  Prices for the remaining wines will be out soon.

For a full list click here – 2011 Sauternes En Primeur or click on any of the wine names or prices below for full tasting notes or to buy.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

1.      Château d’Yquem, average score = 96.5 (2010 = 95.5)
2.      Château Climens = 94.9 (2010 = 92.6) – released at £64.15/bt
3.      L’Extravagant de Doisy Daëne = 94.2 (2010 = 95.6) – £255.00/bt
4.      Château Suduiraut = 93.6 (2010 = 92.1) – £40.85/bt
5=.   Château Guiraud = 92.9 (2010 = 91.2) – £27.90/bt
5=.   Château Rieussec = 92.9 (2010 = 91.2) – £40.40/bt
5=.   Château Coutet = 92.9 (2010 = 91.3) – £38.90/bt
8.      Château Doisy Daëne = 92.8 (2010 = 90.6) – £24.50/bt
9=.   Château Raymond Lafon = 92.6 (2010 = 90.6) – £22.10/bt
9=.   Château de Fargues = 92.6 (2010 = 90.0) – £68.25/bt
11.   Château Doisy-Védrines = 92.5 (2010 = 90.2) – £19.15/bt
12.    Château de Rayne-Vigneau = 92.2 (2010 = 88.7) – £24.55/bt
13.    Clos Haut-Peyraguey = 92.0 (2010 = 89.4) – £27.45/bt
14.    Château La Tour-Blanche = 91.9 (2010 = 90.3) – £32.50/bt
15.    Château Nairac= 91.8 (2010 = 89.5) – £31.25/bt
16.    Château Sigalas-Rabaud = 91.6 (2010 = 88.7) – £26.50/bt
17.    Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey = 91.5 (2010 = 90.0) – £23.45/bt
18.    Château Rabaud-Promis = 91.1 (2010 = 89.4) – N/A*
19.    Château de Myrat = 90.8 (2010 = 88.0) – £17.50/bt
20.    Château Caillou = 90.6 (2010 = 86.4) – £17.50/bt
21.    Château de Malle = 90.3 (2010 = 87.5) – £21.10/bt
22.    Château Filhot = 90.0 (2010 = 86.2) – £14.15/bt
23.    Château d’Arche = 89.8 (2010 = 85.7) – £16.30/bt
24.    Château Romer du Hayot = 89.5 (2010 = 84.8) – £11.25/bt
25=. Château Lamothe-Guignard = 89.3 (2010 = 85.1) – £13.50/bt
25=. Château Haut-Bergeron = 89.3 (2010 = 86.4) – £14.55/bt
27=. Château Bastor Lamontagne = 89.2 (2010 = 86.6) – £13.30/bt
27=. Château Broustet = 89.2 (2010 = 85.2) – £12.75/bt
29.    Domaine de l’Alliance = 89.0 (2010 = 84.5)
30.    Château Cantegril = 88.9 (2010 = 85.0) – £12.50/bt
31.    Château Liot = 88.5 (2010 = 80.7) – £11.25/bt
32.    Château Lamothe-Despujols = 88.1 (2010 = 84.5) – £15.50/bt
33.    Château de Veyres = 87.7 (2010 = 85.0) – £11.20/bt
34=. Château Partarrieu = 87.5 (2010 = 78.8) – £9.55/bt
34=.  Château La Clotte-Cazalis = 87.5 (2010 = 84.5) – £13.35/bt
36.    Château Latrezotte = 87.0 (2010 N/A)

* Either price or low availability means that we will not be offering these wines in 2011 – they are good though!
The ‘shrivel’ of critics whose scores go towards the averages above are: Jane Anson, Tim Atkin, Michel Bettane, Jeannie Cho Lee, Julia Harding, Matthew Jukes, Panos Kakaviatos, Chris Kissack, Izak Litwar, Nea
l Martin, Philippe Maurange, James Molesworth, Jean-Marc Quarin, James Suckling and Roger Voss.

More Super Value 2011 Sauternes

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

These three super value 2011 Sauternes released this morning sum up the 2011 En Primeur campaign very well – Chateau Haut-Bergeron, Chateau Partarrieu and Chateau de Veyres.

At 21-24 Gold Stars and between £9.55 and £14.55 per bottle they represent quality drinking at a very affordable price.  All of the Sauternes releases so far have been cheaper than last year making this the least expensive of a fantastic trio of superb vintages – Bravo le Sauternais!

Contrast the red Bordeaux campaign where the wines, as judged by Robert Parker, are below the quality of the 2008s and are being released at prices more consistent with the great 2010 and 2009 vintages.  It’s no wonder sales are slow.

Many thanks for the very positive feedback on my 2011 Sauternes Report – it’s even being translated into Chinese as I speak!  For a look at all of the wines that have released so far here’s the link:

2011 Sauternes En Primeur

Enjoy!  Bill Blatch