2009 En Primeur Report
Bordeaux 2009 En Primeur Report: 'The best in sixty years'
It is difficult to forget the furore surrounding the near-perfect 2005 vintage and yet tongues are again wagging across the Bordeaux and, if the rumours are to be believed, it seems that 2009’s batch of clarets are set to be even better.
Of course, the merchants and winemakers of Bordeaux are (unsurprisingly) known for their eagerness to prematurely laud vintages; it is easy to see why some wine enthusiasts might be a little jaded when faced with yet another “best vintage ever”. Bristling scepticism aside, it seems that 2009’s weather conditions lend objectivity to the wild speculations.
“Nature has been extremely generous, it is sumptuous”, said Denis Dubourdieu, director of the Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences and a renowned winemaker. “It’s difficult to find comparisons, you have to go back to the climatology of the 40s to find, perhaps, comparable conditions”, he added.
Cool nights prevented over-ripening and added sophistication. July and August were optimally hot, dry and sunny and, just when drought reared its ugly head, the quenching rain poured down.
“It came like the answer to a prayer, exactly at the right time, and the vines continued maturing,” said Pierre Lurton, General Manager of Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion. “Such a fall after such a summer, it’s rather extraordinary, one can’t dream of anything better.”
The result? Grapes have all the sugar content, colour and fruitiness founded in the greatest of all vintages. Alcohol content is expected to be unusually high too, at around 14 percent.
It is unsurprising then that Bordeaux growers are rubbing their hands together with glee, even so many months before the release of en primeur. “In terms of sheer quality and volume we are in the best position since 2005”, said owner Jonathan Malthus. Berry Brothers & Rudd’s Bordeaux buyer, Max Lalondrelle, was similarly optimistic: “The weather in Bordeaux (and the rest of France) has been textbook, with the fruits being the healthiest I have ever seen. All the ingredients of a good vintage look to be in place.”
“I just tasted the wines on Monday morning and they are rich and powerful yet smooth and refined at the same time,” reported an enthused Jean-Charles Cazes, whose family owns top chateaus such as Lynch-Bages and Les Ormes-de-Pez. “The acidity is very good as well.”
“My father says that the vintage reminds him of 1982”, added Cazes, whose first vintage as the head of Lynch-Bages was in 2006. “I just like to say it is a smiling vintage. Everyone is very, very happy about 2009.”
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