Categorized | France, General

Bordeaux Futures

 

 Bordeaux Futures

April 7th, 2010

We returned to NYC from Bordeaux on Saturday, April 3rd, exhausted from the prior week’s marathon en primeur tastings and chateaux appointments.  Justin Christoph and I basically tasted the entire vintage, interviewed countless winemakers and industry insiders, and we are more excited than ever to assist you in acquiring wines from this monumental vintage.  We write today to follow up on our initial email concerning our 2009 futures campaign.  Now with first-hand knowledge of the wines, we can honestly say that 2009 is a special vintage in Bordeaux.  Today’s email gives you a brief glimpse into our full report on the vintage which will be published and updated in the coming weeks and is an opportunity for you to give us a more accurate idea of what, in an ideal world and at the right prices, you would specifically be interested in acquiring in this special 2009 vintage.

One way to accomplish this is to reply to this email and request a confidential "wish list." We will send you an excel document so that you can indicate how many cases of each wine you are interested in acquiring if the price was right. Once completed, please email us back the document as soon as possible.  The best way for us to communicate our needs to the negociants is to give them a general sense of what our client base will be collectively interested in purchasing.  By doing so, it will help the negociant understand our needs and give us positioning to hopefully acquire most of the wines you want.  To assist you in putting together your initial list, below we reveal our top 31 wines from this vintage. MWC senior consultant & former Christie’s specialist, Justin Christoph has put together our initial report to focus your attention on the vintage and the wines we feel are special. 

 Bordeaux Futures
Nice line-up at La Mission Haut Brion

Believe it or not, it is extremely hard work tasting wine every day all day.  This was especially true during the marathon of the blue tongues last week in Bordeaux where Matt and I tasted over 300 barrel samples, talked to numerous chateaux owners and met with various negociants.  I can honestly say that 2009 is proving to be an exceptional vintage with some sensational wines, the likes of which have never been seen with alcohol and phenolic ripeness levels off the charts.

The best wines have the balance of just enough acidity and a creamy, almost velvety mid-palate with a fine long finish of fruit coated tannins.  Like the old cliché, they fit like a glove, the material was heavy but you forgot that you were wearing it and certainly did not want to spit.  Eccentrically styled wines, indeed; but fitting proportionally as a bespoke suit would.  The lovely texture of the best wines was a wonderful combination of concentration with finesse and ripeness without alcoholic heat.  It was not a consistent vintage however, testing vintners in all appellations with the unusual character of the wines and was particularly trying for vintners in the Haut Medoc, Margaux and Graves due to massive hail in May. 

Thankfully, there were some very good to excellent wines in every commune though, due in large part to the technology and financing of the 21st century wine business.  Notably, two of the best wines were from the otherwise hail plagued Pessac Leognan; La Mission Haut Brion and Haut Brion, which form their own micro-enclave in the suburbs of Bordeaux.  On the right bank, Cabernet Franc excelled particularly in St. Emilion and in many cases was a larger percentage of the final blend than usual.  Ausone and Cheval Blanc were sublime and made overachieving second wines as Canon and Figeac made their best wines ever.  There are many lesser known chateaux in St. Emilion not to be missed.  For the left bank, Merlot had a lot of trouble with the growing conditions and consequently a much lower percentage found its way into the final blend, particularly for the Grand Vins.  Lafite and Latour were at the top of their game with an exotic Cos d’Estournel, plush Leoville Poyferre, flashy Lynch Bages and profound Malescot St. Exupery rounding out the roost. 

The key seemed to be in picking the grapes at exactly the right time, with each individual bunch having a narrow band of optimal ripeness.  Pick too early when the grapes had enough alcoholic ripeness but not enough phenolic ripeness, and the wine has a cloyingly pleasant entry but hollow mid-palate with a bitter finish.  On the other hand, picking too late, resulted in fat, syrupy wine with not enough acidity and supporting structure.  If one randomly buys 2009 across the vintage, irrespective of the names on the label, points or accolades, there will be some disappointments in the cellar down the road as out of balance wines fall further off their axis and crack up.  Conversely, if one purchases with precision keeping an ear to the ground and nose in the glass, there will be many additions to the cellar you will be proud to have that are truly incomparable to any prior great vintage: those that drink wel l old tasted good young. The following is our list of the top 31 wines from the 2009 vintage. Enjoy!


Justin Christoph

Senior Consultant

Manhattan Wine Company

Email: justin@mwcwine.com

 Bordeaux Futures
Gnarly old vines at Chateau Latour

Vintage
Chateau
Appellation
Justin Christoph Score

2009
Cheval Blanc
St. Emilion
100

2009
La Mission Haut Brion
Pessac Leognan
100

2009
Lafite Rothschild
Pauillac
100

2009
Ausone
St. Emilion
99

2009

Haut Brion
Pessac Leognan
99

2009
Vieux Chateau Certan
Pomerol
99

2009
Latour
Pauillac
98

2009
Cos d’Estournel
St. Estephe
98

2009

L’Eglise Clinet
Pomerol
98

2009

Le Gay
Pomerol
98

2009
Le Tertre Roteboeuf
St. Emilion
98

2009
Lynch Bages
Pauillac
97

2009

Figeac
St. Emilion
97

2009

Gruaud Larose
St. Julien
97

2009

La Conseillante
Pomerol
97

2009

Leoville Poyferre
St. Julien
97

2009

Malescot-St.-Exupery
Margaux
97

2009

Calon Segur
St. Estephe
96

2009

Canon
St. Emilion
96

2009

Chapelle D’Ausone
St. Emilion
96

2009

Clos L’Eglise
Pomerol
96

2009

Leoville Las Cases
St. Julien
96

2009

Palmer
Margaux
96

2009
Angelus
St. Emilion
95

2009

Haut Bailly
Pessac Leognan
95

2009

La Violette
Pomerol
95

2009

Laroze
St. Emilion
95

2009

Leoville Barton
St. Julien
95

2009

Mouton Rothschild
Pauillac
95

2009

Pichon Baron
Pauillac
95

2009

Petit Cheval
St. Emilion
95

 Bordeaux Futures
Iconic image from Chateau Ausone

Now that you have had a chance to read through our initial findings and take note of our initial scores for the top 31 wines, please inform us of your specific interests in the vintage by requesting and completing your wish list as detailed above. For those of you who have already expressed your general interests, we thank you for your response to our previous email, and we will be in touch soon to finalize your wish list.  Note that your wish list is non binding and does not serve as your order form. 

The ’09 campaign is just around the corner.  Thanks for taking the time to read this report, and please feel free to call us to discuss the vintage and our futures campaign.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best Regards,

Matt Tornabene

President

Manhattan Wine Company

Phone: 973-574-8701

www.mwcwine.com

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