Best to follow a slam session with a side of optimism. A lot of hype is coming about for the 2009 Bordeaux. Are people blowing it out of proportion, taking a decent vintage to another level simply to up the prices and gain back all that was hindered in the last few years?
Well, the thing is, you can’t fudge what the weatherman decides to bring. And in 2009, he decided to give Bordeaux the wink they’ve been waiting on for possibly decades. Everything went just right. For many winemakers, it was a vintage to kick back and just let the vineyards do their thing. A bounty of sunshine poured over the fields day in and day out, there was just enough rain, no drought, no mold. It never got too hot, and the evenings were cool, allowing for intense ripening followed by fantastic diurnal conditions for acid strengthening in the grapes. Winemakers could actually bask in the knowledge that they could pick when the grapes were peaking with optimal ripeness. It is the most terroir-driven vintage in ages according to many sources—really outlining and defining each individual block appellation from one another. Hearty, big reds from Bordeaux with stellar acidity means one important thing: buy up and enjoy.
And not just the reds. The whites, which I have been able to sample, are stunning! The inexpensive 09 Chateau Beauregard ($14) from Graves has a bit of a punch—more youthful, grassy and gabby with grapefruit. Complexity goes up from there with the third label Carbonnieux from Pessac-Leognan: the 09 Chateau Tour-Leognan ($26). This had an exquisite expression, not stopping at herbs and minerals but expanding upon aromas less traveled, such as almond, mascarpone and cherry—it was faint but it was there! Those I tasted it with were stupefied with delight. Plus, come on, the label is classic. Loved it.
Finally, Sauternes. All the sunshine plus late season showers were just what these Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Semillon grapes needed in order to achieve near perfect botrytis.
It’s not a lie. This truly is a vintage to grab up when you can. Sure, some will wear prohibitive price tags, but in vintages like these, you have to try desperately to make crappy juice, so even the inexpensive ones tend upon excellent values. You can find some of the whites already peppering the shelves, but the reds are still sleeping for another year or so…