Posts Tagged ‘Bill Blatch’

Bill Blatch 2011 Sauternes Report

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I hope you enjoy my full 2011 Sauternes Report published today.  Here is a direct link:

2011 Sauternes Report

I apologise that it has taken longer this year but I have now officially retired (that sounds very odd) from my negociant life at Vintex and saying goodbye has taken up a lot of my time.  The good news is that there should be more time for Sauternes and Bordeaux Gold from now on!

Once you have read the report don’t forget to take a look at the wines here:

2011 Sauternes En Primeur

Just by clicking on a wine label you can get tasting notes from myself, Neal Martin (writing for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate), Jeannie Cho Lee (writing for Decanter), Julia Harding (writing for Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages), James Suckling, Michel Bettane, James Molesworth (writing for The Wine Spectator), Chris Kissack and many more.  For alternative views on the vintage I’d point you towards Neal Martin, Jancis Robinson (both require subscription) or the remarkable Wine Doctor,  Chris Kissack, for an in depth free assessment.

Everyone has something in common though – they all love the incredibly fresh 2011 Sauternes.  Enjoy!  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 Bordeaux En Primeur – Half Time Report

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

What strange times we are in! You will have already seen my article on Sauternes v Red Bordeaux chateaux prices which can be neatly summed up by this graph:

And chateaux prices for Red Bordeaux show no sign of slowing down.  Most winemakers are convinced they have made as good if not better wines in 2010 than in 2009 and their belief in the Chinese market is strong.

But, here we are half way through the 2010 En Primeur campaign and I can’t help feeling that a tipping point of some type is approaching.  All my gut instinct is telling me that there will be a significant closing between Sauternes and Red Bordeaux prices over the next few years.

Firstly, the Chinese are beginning to discover Sauternes.  It was actually illegal to import Sauternes into China until earlier this year because of the higher than normal Sulphate levels in botrytised sweet white wine.  Big efforts are being made by Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Guiraud to break into the Chinese market and, as Sauternes is such a natural partner to Chinese cuisine, I see no reason why these shouldn’t work.

More importantly though is the fact that Sauternes is better than Red Bordeaux!  Who says so?  Bill Blatch?  No actually – YOU!

We have been looking at what wine drinkers actually think of Sauternes compared to Red Bordeaux and the results are fascinating – take a look at this new article:

Sauternes – the Best Bordeaux Wine

If you are confused by the current market then you are not alone.  The only certainty in my mind is that Sauternes is both great wine and great value in 2010.  Prices have generally remained at 2009 levels from the chateaux with slight increases from a few balanced by some significant reductions from others.    Bill Blatch

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 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 Sauternes 2nd Growth Tasting Videos

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

There are some serious second growth Sauternes in 2010 with many chateau now really producing top quality wines at what we all hope will be very reasonable prices En Primeur. 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’Arche, Chateau Caillou, Chateau Doisy Daene, Chateau Doisy-Vedrines, Chateau Filhot, Chateau Lamothe Guignard, Chateau Lamothe DespujolsChateau de Malle,Chateau Nairac, Chateau Romer du Hayot, Chateau de Myrat

2010 Sauternes Tasting Tomorrow!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Well Steve has arrived in Bordeaux and our 2010 adventure has begun!  Tomorrow morning we are tasting all of the top 2010 and 2008 Sauternes alongside Neal Martin courtesy of Laure de Lambert des Granges at Chateau Sigalas Rabaud (see video preview below).  After that we have a lightning trip around Sauternes and Barsac taking in Chateau d’Yquem, Domaine de l’Alliance, Chateau Climens and finally Chateau Cantegril where we will taste a verticle selection of Denis Dubourdieu’s fantastic L’Extravagant de Doisy Daene – it’s a hard life!

We have already sneeked in small tastings at Clos Haut-Peyraguey, Sigalas Rabaud and Raymond Lafon which are very illuminating.  Videos for these and all the events tomorrow will go up on Saturday for your weekend viewing – Enjoy! Bill Blatch

2007 Sauternes revisited

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I spoke about the 2007 Sauternes during the 2009 Primeur campaign as we tasted both vintages alongside each other. With hindsight that was a little unfair as most of the 2007s had only just been bottled. It was clear then that they were beautiful wines but, put alongside the ebullient style of the 2009s, they were overshadowed a little.

How things can change in just under a year! Last month I revisited all the 2007 Bordeaux wines, red, dry white and Sauternes/Barsac alongside a number of top journalists and wine merchants at Southwold. This is an annual event that has been going on now for more years than I care to remember.

Collectively we agreed that the 2007 Sauternes and Barsac wines represented the best ‘flight’ of wines that we could remember tasting, superior to the reds from 2005 and on a par with the 2001 Sauternes but more consistent. I kept a few bottles to share with Steve and we shot this video covering the best of the wines.

We are looking at what stock there is available in Bordeaux of these wines and hope to make some available later this month – watch this space. Bill Blatch