The 2011 vintage sorted the men from the boys. There are some lovely wines made at the top of the ranking but also by many petit châteaux. The key was to be reactive during the harvest and sort the grapes well. For those who were able to pick when ripe (despite the risk of rot) they were able to produce wines with freshness and creamy ripeness found on both sides of the Gironde. Classic smooth wines with reasonable alcohol levels and lots of fresh ‘croquante’ fruit. Not 2009 or 2010 but for the best producers better than 2008 (by far). For me generally I think the Merlot grape is the star in 2011 so my votes go to St Emilion and Pomerol, Merlot at its best with rich black cherry and blackcurrant flavours counterbalanced by wonderful freshness.
Sauternes and white bordeaux are oustanding this year with its hot autumn and cool summer. Notes to follow….
Numbers visiting the primeurs were apparently not below last year’s primeurs at around 4000 trade professionals. Definitely more people from America and less Asian visitors. The next question are the prices. See Angludet who has already released.
Also I generally liked very much the wines of Margaux in 2011, althouogh as it is such a big and varying region there is a lot of disparity of style. Volume of fruit and a lovely freshness for the best. Here are my favorites;
MARGAUX (UGC tasting at Marquis de Terme)
Château Angludet; Price already released (20% down on last year but still more expensive than 2008 which everyone is comparing 2011. I think the wines in general are better for those who did what they should ie pick ripe and sort well).
Brane-Cantenac; elegant, complex aromas of black fruit, spere of ripe fruit.
Cantenac Brown; highly perfumed, integrated wine, lovely sphere of ripe fruit
Dauzac; Vanilla, fresh fruit and cream, good length.
Ferrière; good balanced wine, good structure, well-made.
Giscours; Blackcurrant rich nose, complex, freshness, firm finish
Marquis de Terme; Concentrated nose, complex flavours, firm finish
Monbrison; spice and cream, nice and elegant, light
ST JULIEN, PAUILLAC, ST ESTEPHE (UGC tasting at Château Lagrange)
Branaire-Ducru; Nose of rich black fruit, lmond stones and vanilla. Beautiful perfume. fresh and complex. Austere finish.
Lagrange; perfumed nose of black fruits, wonderful freshness and purity
Leoville Poyferré; Nose of soil and; coffee with good structure and fruit
Sant Pierre; mineral, black cherry, very dark with very present sphere of dark dense fruit.
Talbot; spice and almond stones, good frut, lacks middle slightly
Batailley; vanilla fine nose, freshness, harsh finish
Haut Bages Liberal; well-balanced slightly animal nose, thick sphere, concentrated, nice balance
Lynch Bages; Very dark, rich blackcurratn, very ripe, volumous
Pichon Longueville Baron; pefumed black fruit, very thick with lots of freshness and final length
Pichon Comtesse; blackcurrant, fresh, elegant, light slight lack of concentration in the middle
Cos Labory; Very dark perfumed, bit lacking in volume
De Pez; fresh and integrated, spice blackcurrant, harsh finish
Lafon Rochet; cream and spice, thick and fresh, harsh finish
Phelan Segur; spice, big structure, lack the sphere of Margaux