April 26th 2013, by Gavin
This article was posted today on Livex, the fine wine exchange.
I’ve tasted over 500 Bordeaux wines from the 2012 vintage in April.
Key points about Bordeaux 2012
1. 2012 is a good to very good vintage, but not a great one.
2. It’s certainly a vintage for drinking, not investment. Many wines will be good to drink in the short to medium term.
3. 2012 was a late harvest which tended to favour the earlier ripening Merlot over the Cabernets, partly because drizzle, humidity and finally heavy rain set in from the second week of October onwards.
4. It’s an uneven vintage but hundreds of reds have lovely colour, supple fruit, crowd-pleasing texture and no hard edges.
5. Happily, very few wines show any green, unripe character. The fruit is ripe (thanks to ten weeks of sunshine from mid-July onwards) even if many wines lack real depth, complexity and length.
March 19th 2013, by Gavin
Chris Evans, host of BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show, came to Bordeaux earlier this month with his lovely wife Natasha for an extensive wine tour. We were honoured to be asked to show them around, via a friend of a friend, and here’s what we got up to, along with some holiday snaps. (To enlarge any picture, click on it.)
“I beg you, if you like wine, take a plane, hire a car and go to Bordeaux,” Chris wrote in his weekly column for The Mail on Sunday, tapped into his Blackberry at his hotel in St-Emilion after just a couple of days here. “It’s a dream trip.”
On their ’kids-free wine tour’, we visited Chateau Clinet and Le Pin in Pomerol, Chateau Haut-Brion in Pessac, Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron in Pauillac and Cos d’Estournel in St-Estephe. We also tried a few wines from around the region over dinner here at Chateau Bauduc, at restaurant La Tupina in Bordeaux and in the two restaurants at Les Sources de Caudalie, the hotel set amongst vines to the south of the city.
“Twas fanbloodytastic” he texted when he got home, before appearing on Friday evening’s The One Show on the beeb. He looked fine. I was bloody exhausted.
Then, on Monday, the reality check. “Just been to gym. Nearly died. Holidays not worth the relapse,” he announced on Twitter. (Apparently, he’d put on half a stone.) The trouble with an excursion to this corner of France is that the wine and food can be a little too tempting.
May 10th 2012, by Gavin
Toot toot. We’re chuffed that an article from this blog has been shortlisted in the 2012 Born Digital Wine Awards, in the Best Winery Content section.
The piece in question was a rant about a pet hate of mine: the excessive and unfair tax on wine in the UK. It was called ‘13 Unpalatable Truths about UK Wine Duty‘. That was from last year – the follow-up post, with updated numbers and charts, is called ‘UK Duty on Wine up 46% in 4 years.’
The winners will be announced at the London International Wine Fair on 23 May. Fingers crossed.
Congratulations on reaching the shortlist to fellow dribblers and scribblers Ryan O’Connell, Chris Kissack, Louise Hurren, Quentin Sadler and Jim Budd.
— Gavin Quinney (@GavinQuinney) May 10, 2012
July 28th 2011, by Gavin
A warning: this brilliant online quiz can be quite addictive, more so if you’re into the geography of French wine regions. It’s in French but the language isn’t a barrier as you simply have to pin the tail on the donkey, as it were.
The trick, other than having an encyclopedic knowledge of French wine, is to be lightening fast to gain extra points. If you get hooked, the upside is that you’ll probably learn about the location of previously unheard-of (and some might say pointless) appellations. Added to which, you’ll see in the menu – top left – that there are questions on French cheeses, towns and rivers: a whole summer’s worth of trivia.
As is often the case, I found the link through Twitter via wine writer @jamiegoode although it seems (according to @hamishwm in his Bella Wines blog) that Jamie Hutchinson got there first on the forum on Tom Cannavan’s wine-pages.com. Whatever, my thanks to these guys for getting me hooked. Let me know how you get on.
October 28th 2010, by Gavin
We harvested our red grapes in perfect condition during October. Whether other Châteaux in Bordeaux are making wines as good as or even better than last year remains to be seen, but after frost here at Bauduc in April 2008 and hail in May 2009, it’s a welcome change for us to bring in such quality, and quantity.
2010 has been a remarkable year for us in so many ways.
1. No major natural disasters: no Spring frost to decimate the yield by nipping the shoots in the bud. No late Spring hail to destroy the young shoots and baby bunches. Even the drought conditions this Summer didn’t dry up our hopes for a splendid crop. Let’s pray that there’ll be no repeat of any damaging storms this Winter.
2. No man-made catestrophes: no tractors catching fire during the harvest (above right, in 2009), and no trailors full of grapes tipping over: our former employee, Sebastien, pictured right, was probably wishing he’d taken a sicky the day I took this shot in late September, 2005. I’ve not published this photo before as it wasn’t exactly our finest hour. We ended up selling the tank of wine that these grapes went into, in ‘bulk’ and at a loss.
June 28th 2010, by Gavin
All over now bar the shouting.
Here, in my humble opinion, are the Best Buys – at the opening prices – of Bordeaux 2009, broken down as follows:
10 Expensive wines – but sound investments.
£400 to £1000 – 17 Fabulous quality, blue chip names.
£200 – £300 – This is where the values of 2009 lie: 20 cracking wines.
Under £200 - 12 lovely wines from the Left Bank.
June 28th 2010, by Gavin
For those who like lists: with the massive ‘en primeur’ price increases from 30 of the famous Bordeaux Châteaux last week – 196% up on average on 2008 – I thought it would be useful to compare points and prices of the top 2009s with both the 2008s and the last great vintage, 2005.
The table below shows my scores (GQ) and Robert Parker’s (RP) for the 2009s and 2008s from barrel, and the price in British pounds En Primeur (EP) from UK merchants. On the right hand side, I tasted all the top 2005s in bottle for Wine & Spirit magazine for the Dec 2007 issue, five months before Robert Parker released his final scores. Buyers are dipping back into the market for the 2005s and 2008s against the more expensive 2009s: there’s a lot of sense in that.
2008 was a very good vintage, even if, in many people’s view, Robert Parker was a little generous with some of his scores. It makes for some bizarre comparisons: Ducru Beaucaillou 2008 was rated 96-98 and the 2009 96-98+, yet the the latter is three times the price of the ’08. I’ll be re-tasting the 2008s from bottle in the autumn – follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/GavinQuinney for updates.
Meanwhile, the better deals on 2009s were to be found on wines released earlier in the campaign, so it’s worth searching them out as many are still available. See also my separate post to follow for my ‘Best Buys of Bordeaux 2009′ and my summary of tweets throughout the campaign.
May 27th 2010, by Gavin
Updated 8th June. Here are my (GQ) scores for my Top 200 Bordeaux 2009 alongside those of US guru Robert Parker (RP), using the 100 point system, plus Jancis Robinson’s scores out of 20. I tasted all the top wines, except Château Ausone and a few garage/boutique wines from St-Emilion, and Le Gay and Le Bon Pasteur from Pomerol.
BUY: as prices are released in June 2010, I have noted down the left hand side the wines I would BUY (or BUY* for best buys). Follow me on Twitter for daily Deal or No Deal tips as wines are released.
R: Recommended but the prices are as yet unknown. Many will have to be pre-ordered. Prices in £ are for the UK buyer In Bond (ex-duty and Vat).
V: Value, for affordable drinking. L is for Left Bank, R is for Right.
May 24th 2010, by Gavin
Updated 8th June. Look away now if you think wine and points don’t go. Here is a top down list of my (GQ) scores alongside those of US guru Robert Parker (RP) – both using the 100 point scale – and Jancis Robinson’s scores out of 20, plus my estimate of anticipated maturity. There are 130 90+ point wines in my book, with 90 meaning outstanding. I tasted all the top wines, except Château Ausone and a few garage/boutique wines from St-Emilion, and Le Gay and Le Bon Pasteur from Pomerol.
It’s fair to say that RP and I agree on many of the top dogs, only he’s given higher points, with a stash of potential 100s (in 2005, he awarded just two wines 100 pts). I think he’s slightly underrated the 2009s from Palmer and Pichon Baron but that’s splitting hairs.
April 27th 2010, by Gavin
Here’s hoping that prices for these 2009 red wines will remain reasonable when they are released in May and June. Is there a use for Twitter here – ‘Deal or No Deal’ as each price is released?
Most of the Châteaux below have a track record for being fairly priced, year in year out, so 2009 is a vintage to buy, despite exchange rate woes, as each have made lovely wines. You may not be familiar with some of the names – which is why they are better value. And just because old names like de Fieuzal, Labégorce (now merged with Labégorce Zédé) and Poujeaux are not as fashionable as some these days, they are estates that are certainly on the way up.