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.
October 5th 2012, by Gavin
This is the second of my 2012 Bordeaux harvest updates for Jancis Robinson, the first one being here on this site or you can find it here on JancisRobinson.com. (I’ve backdated the publication date above to match the date it appeared on Jancis’s site.)
The red-wine harvest finally got under way in Bordeaux this week. Merlot is being brought into the increasingly high-tech sorting areas at a leisurely pace, as leading châteaux take advantage of the clear skies and wait for optimum maturity of their precious grapes.
Incredibly, it’s still too early to call. ’We have the potential for a very good vintage but the weather over the next two weeks will be crucial’ said Christian Seely, MD of Ch Pichon Longueville Baron in Pauillac, where Cabernet Sauvignon is king.
His winemaker, Jean-René Martignon, confirmed that they won’t start the later-ripening cabernet until the week of the 15th October. They, along with most of the top estates of the Left Bank, were picking merlot this week.
Hervé Berland, the new CEO at Ch Montrose in St-Estèphe, agreed. ’I’m asking for God’s help with the Cabernet Sauvignon as this is my first vintage’. He chalked up more than 30 years with Mouton Rothschild. ’I am hopeful because we had a lovely August and, as we say, August makes the must.
’We can move quickly if we need to. You know, and this is a lovely story, we have had pickers at Montrose from the same village in Spain for the last 50 years – can you believe that? – and we now put them up in our newly-restored cottages at the end of the drive by the Gironde.’ (Harvest workers’ cottages are not the only investments being made at Montrose, that’s for sure.)
September 29th 2011, by Gavin
It has been a few years since the Barton family of Château Langoa-Barton bought a château. Not since the 1820s, in fact, when Hugh Barton, having first acquired Langoa in 1821, purchased part of the Léoville estate in 1826 that would later become Château Léoville-Barton. Both Langoa and Léoville were included in the famous 1855 classification and, along with Château Mouton-Rothschild, are the only Châteaux since 1855 to remain under the same family ownership. Anthony Barton and his daughter Lilian run the two Saint-Julien estates today.
So when Lilian told me last Friday, on the final day of their harvest, that they had just purchased a property called Château Mauvesin in Moulis, I was quite surprised.
September 28th 2011, by Gavin
Our personalised labels have been going down well, so we’ve tightened up on the process and can price them attractively at £1.50 a bottle surcharge. A minimum order applies and advance planning is recommended to avoid high shipping bills.
The cost is £1.50 per bottle surcharge, with a minimum one-off fee of £180 – which covers the first ten cases of 12 (120 x £1.50). The ten cases can be made up of different wines – white, red and rosé. For more on the wines, which cost between £7.95 and £9.75 per bottle in the UK for the regular labels, see here.
Essentially, we use the classic Bauduc label, with our special raised print, and can add 3 lines of personal text below the drawing on our label.
September 5th 2011, by Gavin
Gavin Quinney reports from Bordeaux on an unscheduled start to the harvest for one of the world’s most famous estates, and the severe misfortune that fell on an illustrious neighbour.
‘It’s an early vintage, and not an easy one,’ said Charles Chevallier, the Director of Château Lafite-Rothschild, as he checked the Cabernet Sauvignon from their parcel in St-Estèphe in his new harvest reception area. He certainly never thought that he’d be bringing in this late-ripening variety exactly one week before the Médoc Marathon, when over 8,000 runners in fancy dress pass through the vineyards on the second Saturday of September. (In 2010, they started picking their Cabernet on 4th October.)
Unlike this coming Saturday, this is no laughing matter – even if the locals can’t resist a bit of black humour. “They can start the pruning at Cos d’Estournel, because there aren’t any leaves left on the vines,” was the gag made separately by two tractor drivers – one at Lafite, the other at Château Montrose to the north. Neighbours, as well as nature, can be cruel.
May 26th 2011, by Gavin
An early start to the growing season, then lovely weather for the all important-flowering in the vines – three weeks ahead of usual – seems a little too much of a good thing.
Now what we need is a little divine intervention for some much-needed rain and, with any luck, no natural disasters. We have, after all, had one or two catastrophes strike in May (hail, 2009) and June (hail, 2003).
Budburst kicked off early this year, towards the end of March.
May 24th 2011, by Gavin
It’s five years since Oz Clarke and James May came to Bauduc at the start of their Big Wine Adventure – the video of the day is on the home page of our main Bauduc website and on the blog here. Oz has been back a few times since, the most recent visit being in March.
Here are his thoughts following his visit, with his kind permission. A slightly shorter version appeared in our Gazette, the newsletter we printed and posted to UK customers in May. You can view La Gazette online here.
‘Right, I thought – time to hit the 2010s. So I stopped off at my old mate Gavin’s place, Château Bauduc, and tasted at least 10 barrels of rather fine Merlot before we hit the real business of the evening which was to actually drink as much Bauduc as he could possibly afford without bankrupting him. Which we did – we bankrupted him. We drank the lot.
April 26th 2011, by Gavin
We like weddings. Especially big ones.
It’s the time of year when we get asked to quote for many special occasions. Thankfully our wines often seem to fit the bill, as far as quality, versatility, prestige, provenance, a smart label and price is concerned. And you won’t see it everywhere.
Receiving this sort of feedback too is encouraging for any wine grower:
“The Bauduc wines drew a remarkable number of positive compliments, way outside the usual drunkard expletive. Really, so many people came up to me to say how good they were… My purpose in writing is merely to say thank you for a) the Bauduc which you must never be complacent about – it is seriously good b) the sound advice on bubbles.”
(Mark Johnstone, 25 June 2010)
Another advantage is that buyers can collect the wine from our Calais collection point, saving £25 duty per case in the process. As long as the wine is for your own use, such as for a wedding, there’s no limit to the amount you can take home from France.
So we’ve decided to go one step further for a trial period, following an idea from a customer who wanted to buy a barrel (all 25 cases) of wine. For a substantial order, we’ll print the names of the happy couple and the date on our Château Bauduc label. We are, after all, known for putting the names of famous chefs on our label, not least Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay. The same applies for anniversaries, birthdays, special events, and so on.
February 18th 2011, by Gavin
There’s an embarrassment of riches in the best barrel cellars of Bordeaux right now. The relatively inexpensive 2008s are being shipped out (the first tranche offer of 100€ ex-cellars for First Growths in April 2009 seems a long time ago), leaving row upon row of French oak barriques bearing the precious, pre-paid 2009 vintage. And, currently being assembled in the ‘first year’ cellars, there’s another great vintage waiting in line.
Time will tell if Lilian Barton Sartorius was right when she said at the start of the harvest, “However well the 2010s turn out, they are going to be cheaper than the 2009s.” At the time I nodded sagely in agreement but now, following an outstanding harvest and with more names being touted as the next big thing in China, I’m not so sure. Meanwhile, a few wise old heads are keeping shtum about 2010 as they want their wines to do the talking in the spring. Nobody wants to hear about another vintage of the century. At least, not just yet.
Robert Parker, after concerns that he would be unable to travel following knee surgery, has indicated that he will be coming to taste the new vintage next month. Significantly, his friend Michel Rolland, the renowned consultant oenologist, believes that most estates that he works with have made, er, better wines in 2010 than in 2009, and for those who prefer wines at the other end of the structure spectrum, Denis Dubourdieu quietly agrees – at least, for reds and dry whites.
January 26th 2011, by Gavin
We’ve had an incredible response to our recent ’30-Second Survey’. As I mentioned in 10 Questions about Corks v Screwcaps, we’ve considered whether we should continue with corks for our white and rosé, and possibly for our reds. With the bottling of over 10,000 cases due to take place next month, we wanted to know what everyone thinks. The easiest thing to do would be not to change anything – after all, we get few complaints.
On 14 January, we emailed all our customers (or rather, all those who are on our email list), with a link to a simple survey, which closed a week later. The question was:
What closures should we use to bottle our wines?
There were three choices – cork, screwcap or don’t mind – for each category of white, rosé and red. Over 1100 responded within a week, leaving their full name and email address (which wasn’t obligatory). Around 700 left a comment. This was the result (1148 entries):