Monday, 31 March 2014

Bordeaux day one - UGC Week, Bordeaux 2013

Posted by Justerini & Brooks

If we started our stay in Saint Emilion with a sense of pessimism, this was soon replaced by more sanguine thoughts after a day tasting at the very best estates on the right bank. This was indeed a challenging vintage, but no-one said otherwise. A spring with average temperatures three degrees below the norm meant that flowering was severely delayed. Merlot was affected by coulure and Edouard Moueix explained that Providence and Hosanna were both the victims of millerandage and consequently won’t be produced in 2013. The poor and late flowering has reduced yields to levels we normally associate with Burgundy and the Rhone. July was scorching and greatly helped the evolution of the vines, but this was always destined to be a late harvest. 

As one would expect from the likes of the Guinaudeaus, Denis Durantou, Alexandre Thienpont, Alain Vauthier and all the other superstars that we visited yesterday, they quickly understood the nature of the vintage and vinified gently, respecting the fruits' limitations. The results are a revelation. One word that keeps being mentioned is ‘soyeux’, and these are silky, pure, precise, elegant, fragrant wines. They are feminine and charming and will provide so much enjoyment over the medium term. No-one is pretending that they are blockbusters in the mould of the 2000s, 2005s, 2009s and 2010s, but I’d wager that these will give far more pleasure in the first 20 years of their evolution than many of their more illustrious counterparts. It’s hard to pick favourites amongst such company, but Pensees and Lafleur were both otherworldly and although this is a vintage where terroir is vital, there will be some inexpensive wines that shine: Les Cruzelles, La Chenade, Saintayme and Montlandrie from Denis Durantou were all spectacular. Next stop on the bus - Graves.

- Tom Jenkins, Bordeaux Buyer