Well, 2010 certainly looks ready to become a worthy follow-up to 2009. With the under-rated '08's, that makes three in row ... those fortunate Bordelais! Given the almost "Burgundian-length" ferments this year, tasting after the UGC throngs had decamped proved an unscripted and lucky break. Every taster I encountered who had the capacity to sample over the consecutive weeks in April indicated a clear preference for the second. Some times it pays to show up late!
Much has already been chronicled about the 2011 weather cycle. One key moment occurred when an October hurricane stalled out off the Spanish coat. This in turn nudged a high pressure system towards Bordeaux during the crucial wind-down to the harvest. In the words of eminence gris, Bill Blatch, "We should build a monument in the Place des Quinconces for (hurricane) Otto".
The reds are generally round and fruity with impressive delineation. Except for the Graves, there did seem to be a prominent and palpable vein of acidity. This fact would distinguish them from the '09's. It could also be cause for mild concern. The whites were positively sumptuous. I have never enjoyed young Pessac's so much. There does appear to be a trend whereby the wines are being made in a "fresher", crisper style. They show well from the gate. Not quite New Zealand-esque, but at least a nod in that direction. In Sauternes, no surprise here. Another golden - and sappy - harvest.
Our merry gang didn't taste many petits chateaux. Instead we visited 65 chateaux over the five days. Favored efforts include the celestial Margaux and a brilliant Haut Brion Blanc. Lafite, Vieux Chateau Certan, Angelus, Ausone, Chevalier, Clementin (Pape Clement), Pontet Canet, Fargues, Latour Martillac & Leoville Barton should also be considered amongst the elites.
On a tourism note, as much as I enjoy (the city of ) Bordeaux's reclaimed central area and accompanying old quarter, the country-side location of Les Sources de Caudalie at Smith-Haut-Lafitte is a darned nice place to recharge between degustations....