28 March 2010 07:12
I’m about to set off on my annual journey to Bordeaux, during which I, along with my buying team, taste from cask at many of the chateaux to assess the quality of last year's wine. If what the winemakers, our climate advisers and many others are saying is true, then it is set to be a very special vintage.
Just today, before most of us prepare to commence this marathon week of tasting, my learned friend Jim Suckling from Wine Spectator Magazine has already released his first notes. It’s hardly surprising to find that, having only tasted the left bank wines so far, this frontrunner of the awaited critics has awarded no less than seven wines the 100 points potential level, only the third time we’ve seen this in the past fifteen vintages.
There are also some surprises. Chateau Malescot St Exupery, situated right next to Chateau Margaux is one example. The château enjoys a history from the 16th century and its been under the same ownership for the past fifty years. However it has yet to produce a wine that shines amongst its neighbours, apparently until now!
One of the frustrations of a winemaker must be that in difficult years, those with climatic challenges, it’s really hard work to make good wine, but today it’s possible. In the dry years with little climatic threat life is so much easier, and this shows in the wine. The impact of mother nature is spread far more generously between all the players than the capital required for technology or even oenological study.
I am therefore expecting this to be a vintage that offers great value at all levels of the classification hierarchy. We all know that that the 1er cru will have produced something exceptional, and they will be heavily in demand. However the smart money will be seeking exceptional value, and that's where my attention, and that of our buyers will be focussed.
I will be updating this blog on a daily basis as we go through this important week in the business of fine wine.