Now back in the UK and reflecting on the Saint Emilion trip last week, two things are foremost on my mind. Firstly, watching the harvest activity and the first tasting of the embryonic 2015, it seems to me that the wine makers of St Emilion have very high hopes for this vintage.
As mentioned in my earlier blogs, the weather has been near perfect in the region with seemingly the right amount of periodic rainfall with good stretches of warm sunshine, keeping the vines in prime condition. The result is that the Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and the small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, have all produced excellent ripe berries. I will ensure that members of my team attend the En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux at the end of March next year and will keep you informed as this potentially excellent vintage develops.
The second deliberation, having enjoyed a number of vertical tastings in the key chateaux of St Emilion, is the 2011 vintage. Bordeaux had two of its best ever vintages in 2009 and 2010 and as a consequence it seems to me that there was some cautiousness about declaring a third consecutive good vintage. Perhaps when it was bottled 2011 may have been of lesser quality, but wow, has it improved! As a consequence I have been comparing 2011 with 2010 with some surprising and interesting results, particularly with an investment perspective in mind.
When Geoffrey Dean and I spoke with Pierre-Oliver Clouet at Cheval Blanc last week he told us two things: 1. He believed that 2011 was looking like a very interesting vintage and 2. reknowned critic, Jancis Robinson had recently done a vertical tasting of 2009, 2010 and 2011 at the chateau and we look forward reading her thoughts on this soon. Notably, as Parker’s grasp on Bordeaux diminishes, Jancis’ influence is set to rise.
A visit to Chateau Pichon Longueville with Geoffrey after we left Saint Emilion, where we enjoyed a vertical tasting of the 2008 – 2012 vintages, further affirmed these thoughts. Their 2011 also stood up very well, and when questioned for a view on this and the current vintage potential, Christian Seely concurred with a similar view.
So whilst I certainly believe 2015 has the hallmarks of being an outstanding vintage for the Right Bank at this stage, I will be very intrigued to see, at the En Primeur tastings next Spring, how the Left Bank has fared.