Comprehensive 2009 EP notes (V. Long)

Sorry my first post is such a beast, but I hope people find it useful.

I was fortunate to have tasted 2005 EP in Bordeaux and was absolutely floored by the consistency in excellence, at every price point and in every commune – this was not the case last week tasting 09’s. In stark contrast to my experience with 2005 and disagreeing with a few of the other reports (though there is some overlap on case-by-case basis) I feel 2009 has been massively over-hyped. Quality is highly variable on both banks, leaving much to be desired at some surprising chateaux. There are a lot of good but flawed wines, translated loosely to a lot of 85-87 pointers if I used a numerical system. There’s lots of fruit and lots of structure and lots of impressive characteristics to dispute – but very few chateaux made wines that were powerful and finessed and balanced and true to bordeaux. In short, buyers should be very selective – a conclusion shared by my tasting group which included an MW and three London brokers. Readers should be aware that samples were highly variable, particularly at UGC tastings. Wines like Leoville Poyferre and Pichon Lalande were an absolute failure the first two times tasted, but were very pretty at the chateaux.

General Note: The hallmark of this vintage is alcohol, which was more a problem for merlot-heavy wines. One winemaker in Pomerol admitted that a bit of his Merlot come back at a natural 16 degrees of alcohol; which he sold in bulk because it was impossible to blend into balance. Some folks did better keeping the heat in check than others, and almost without exception, those are the chateaux that sit on top of the other reports I’ve read. Anyone who didn’t pay close attention to alcohol levels, acidity and ph made raw, aggressive wines that are unlikely to come into balance. All that said, fruit is competing with massive structure across both banks, but tannins are long, fine and ripe. The dry whites, with a few exceptions, were perfectly drinkable and would have presented categorically good value – for $15-20 Sancerre. The sweet wines, which I will not judge in this thread, were incredibly rich (not necessarily to good result) and also very variable in quality. Whereas it was important for the reds to keep alcohol in check, the question has to be asked for acidity levels on the sweets. More than a few came across as flabby and lacking in high notes.

Good news: There are some stellar wines, with some top names producing wines that will rival the historical greats, and in some cases, surpassing them. The vintage did provide excellent raw materials and attentive winemakers did very well. A few chateau overachieved to tremendous results.

Bad news: This was a vintage for extracted alcoholic wines. Those who prefer such wines will have an easier time overlooking the natural flaws intrinsic to the vintage. Admittedly, these wines are largely unfinished, but if the components are SO far out of balance now, its hard to imagine they will ever come into balance, in a classic sense. You just hope to drink the wine on a day the fruit is opulent enough to hold back the aggression.

The Wines:
Rather than providing full-on tasting notes, I’ve categorized the wines into levels of quality and will make brief notes on general behavior of the wine. Not all wines within a category are of equal quality. For example, an alcohol-tainted La Mission is falling from phenomenal, whereas a fantastic Grand Murailles is over-achieving – both are “very good” wines.

Ducru Beaucaillou: I really wanted to dislike the wine because it’s just too extracted and new-worldy; but it’s also too damn sexy to hate. Deep, expressive, massive with real sex appeal, the palate delivers on the promise of the nose. Not overbearing, this is well displayed with fresh acidity, long ripe tannin and a great sense of overall balance. Ducru knocked this one out of the park

Haut Brion: Woof! Superb poise and complexity with an ooh-la-la palate. Not quite WOTV quality, but terrific in length, balance with it’s long integrated finish. Pleases every part of the mouth. 2nd sample was extremely dusty, a little thinner and hollow but had not been long opened

Haut Brion Blanc: Superlative! A nose that wants to be perpetually inhaled and loved - without argument the most perfect white bordeaux I’ve tasted. Exceptionally rich, but not heavy with outstanding purity and balance. Crisp, fresh acidity keeps the palate awake for what is the essence of this great terroir.

Latour: Surreal quality here. Ultra tight, but phenomenally powerful. Better assembled than the 05 at this stage, finish goes on for ages. The wine has an equilibrium that should stand for 50+ years if only by accident, while stored upright on a kitchen counter in Death Valley. Staggering mass and ripeness and depth. WOTV candidate.

L’Evangile: Reticent nose over an explosive palate that is a thorough treatment of what merlot should be. Loads of fruit with lovely coffee and mocha. Awesome wine with ultra velvety tannins in the finessed, powerful but poised wine. Rich and ripe enough to carry the alcohol in the finish

Chateau Margaux: I imagine this is going to rival every great Margaux in the history of the estate. Nose is an ultra-dense version of the purity found in the 1990, with some of the additional nuance 2005 delivered from barrel. Tightly knit but should delineate into something spectacular. You get the feeling the sheer mass of this wine would dwarf any previous vintage though the wine is never heavy or overextracted. Marvelous! WOTV candidate

Mouton Rothschild: Though I’m not a fan of Mouton, this is a monumental effort. Massive weight and intensity, sound balance and an elaborate, flawless finish. There is the potential for this to turn TOO masculine with time, but this is promising

Petrus: WOW! Touches of dust in the fragrant, perfumed nose. Incredibly profound chocolate covered cherry is everywhere in this Hercules-was-a-wimp, massive wine. HUUUUGE, but sexy as hell with the definition excellent acid/tannin balance provides. Stunning, despite healthy dose of alcohol (14%). WOTV candidate

Vieux Chateau Certan: This is just wicked stuff. Ultra-hedonistic from the get-go with incredibly ripe black cherries and a hint of licorice. No heat, you just want to breath and swallow and breath and swallow. Finnesse incarnate, though that precision disguises a wealth of underlying power. Pure, sweet and beautiful – stellar juice.

Very Good:
Aisle d’Argent: Absolutely delicious. Precocious, rich, lush and sexy to drink

Ausone: Only the alcohol prevents this from being stellar. More masculine than recent vintages, this is a large-scaled Ausone to keep for ages, but don’t expect heat to dissipate.

Barde Haut: Delish new-worldy wine, but needs more acid. Velvety tannin, long and lively finish

Blaison de L’Evangile: Pretty chocolate, cherry and orange nose with a classic, delightful, balanced Pomerol palate. Gives a little heat to the sinus’ but not the rich, ripe body and finish

Calon Segur: With just a little more ripeness this would be a top-tier wine. Wicked aromatics and a very complete palate. Outstanding balance, just lacking a touch of concentration, but a very complete wine with power and finesse

Canon La Gaffeliere: sweet, powerful but not explosive. Well balanced with touch of cab franc green-ness in the long, sweet finish

Chauvin: Round, lush and full, well-integrated tannin and velvety long finish of ample fruit

Cheval Blanc: This is a wine that only just missed “phenomenal” as a result of obnoxious alcohol. Wine just barely pulls off a very good balance but this could have been a candidate for WOTV, if not legend status

Clerc Milon: Playful candy nose, nice balance and lengthy finish. Tastes like ultra-extracted beaujolais. 2nd sample was more alluring on the nose, richer and even better balanced. Very good!

Clinet: “Wow” nose, lots of classic Clinet here but still more complex. Alcohol is evident but well integrated, tannins are soft and long with pretty though astringent finish

Clos des Jacobins: Rich nose with great cab franc fruit and a bit of blood orange. Touch extracted, but ample acid, long finish. 2nd sample was a touch more extracted with less finesse but still very pretty

Clos Fourtet: Muted aromatics with loads of sweet dark fruit on the rewarding palate, but a little over-extracted for this taster. Nice acid keeps it fresh

Cos d’Estournel: I didn’t like this but not because it was bad. Controversial in style, but undeniably well-made. Spice and wood-dominated nose with beautiful attack and body, nearly over the top. Excellent finish with long, sweet tannin that is nicely integrated

De Fieuzal Rouge: With more richness this would be stellar. Sweet fruit, velvety tannin, long flowing finish. Ripe cab, through and through

Giscours: Pretty beastly Giscours that will be outstanding if the ripe, concentrated fruit fleshes up into the massive structure.

Grand Murailles: Classic St. Emilion balance and fruit. Tannin is a touch grippy but well integrated. Nice.

Gruaud Larose: Excellent nose, adequate acidity. Classic Gruaud with balance, ripeness and velvety tannin. Touch alcoholic finish, but not offensively so

L’Angelus: Spicy nose, backwards but delish palate. Long gorgeous finish with just a little angular tannin that should integrate. Slightly hot but tolerable

L’Arrosee: Lively and expansive, touch astringent. Should flesh out to be a very good l’Arrosee

L’Eglise Clinet: Had doubts from the nose, but wine is just fine. Tends towards more firm and masculine, but has good stuffing and decent balance

La Conseillante: 1st sample appeared cab franc heavy in nose and palate but was still ripe, sexy and full bodied with chocolate and coffee supporting. Finsihed long and velvety with just a hint of alcohol. 2nd sample (at chateau) was extraordinary, perhaps because it was served cooler. Blueberry/cassis/cherry nose was excellently laid out with fine balance and finesse. Long merlot finish with a load of ultra-ripe tannin

La Croix de Beaucaillou: Note: This is a 2nd vineyard, not a 2nd wine. Pretty but extracted nose is layered and very alluring. Palate is softer and lighter but is neither soft nor light. Very pretty

La Mission Haut Brion: racy fruit, hints of profundity to come. Nice acids lend freshness to concentrated classic La Miss palate. Pity to find so much heat but unsurprising at 14.7% - this was nearly outstanding

La Mission Haut Brion Blanc (was Laville HB): Rich, sweet, gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc nose with a ton of fruit and a lot of nuance. Also very good on the palate with lush fruit and excellent structure. Wonderful effort that is just a little tainted by alcohol or would have been outstanding.

La Pointe: Very pretty, solid merlot. More chocolate than fruit at the moment, but intensity says it will fill out. Finish is long, tannic and astringent but alcohol is in control and balance should level out to make this a very good wine

Lalande Borie: Light-hearted and playful with obvious fruit. Very classic cab franc profile with decent intensity. Finishes short but excellent for what it is. Fresh and clean

Larrivet Haut Brion Blanc: Awesome nose, classy and full but very well balanced despite a touch of alcohol in the finish

Leoville Las Cases: Very pretty, super organized fruit and mineral, but ripe tannin is a little chunky and out of place in this long, richly-textured, finessed wine. Still very good, but maybe lacking in acidity

Les Forts de Latour: Concentrated and focused, most alcohol has been absorbed. Precise, full and complete

Malarctic La Graviere: Monster structure supported by awesome fruit and velvety ripe tannin. Excellent balance

Montlandrie: Remember this name. Small estate on the wrong side of the Castillon/St. Emilion border. Pretty nose with bright cherry and chocolate nose. Palate is solid merlot character with perfect acid/tannin/alcohol balance and a very sexy merlot finish. This isn’t the most serious wine but will be HUGE bang for the buck. Great juice

Pagodes de Cos: Classic bordeaux fruit, tobacco and granite. Exceptionally balanced if a touch alcoholic. Complex and delicious. Fabulous effort

Palmer: Ripe alcoholic merlot-esque nose. Backwards with alcohol featuring before full texture, tightly knit fruit. Full palate of fruit finishes a little dry but long and concentrated

Pauillac de Latour: What a damn shame we don’t get much of this in the US. Very Latour, if a touch simple. Awesome value

Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux: Beauty of a nose, open and nearly perfect. Palate is fresh and big, concentrated and consistent through long gorgeous finish. Very dense, very fine

Pichon Baron: Delish, touch red in profile but with excellent concentration and depth. Substantial tannin but well balanced and integrated. An excellent Baron

Reserve de la Comtesse: Ripe Pichon character – a proper 2nd wine. Pichon-lite in a ripe, lush lingering package.

Rol Valentin: Touch of heat but excellent ripeness and purity. An overachiever?

Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge: Ripe primary nose, fresh, forward, pretty body with nicely integrated sweet tannin and long finish

Ok/Good-ish (but):
Alter Ego du Palmer: Dusty but pretty cab nose of cherries and alcohol. Palate is tart red fruit, astringent with long alcohol in the finish

Batailley: Classic cab, touch astringent with excess tannin, but sweet enough to not offend

Bouscaut Blanc: Light, fresh but thin in character, easy pool drinking

Branaire Ducru: Firm, minerally palate. Lots of alcohol, but should flesh out

Brane Cantenac: Something almost unripe in tart red nose and palate with touches of green. Wine is essentially pleasant but far from perfect.

Brown Blanc: Solid Pessac, but back-heavy. Balance leans too far to alcohol in the finish

Canon: Alcohol stops just short of being a problem because the finish is so rich. Low acid leaves palate flabby, though full and lush

Cantelys – 2nd wine Smith Haut Lafitte: Quite a bit of heat, clumsy but pretty full. Fresh, sweet finish

Cap de Faugeres: Neither complex nor concentrated, but good drink

Carbonnieux Blanc: Classy but acid-dominated

Carillon de L’Angelus: Lovely St. Emilion character but alcohol is overwhelming. Woulda been great but now requires food. Very full for a 2nd wine

Carruades de Lafite: Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol – spoils what would have been a great Carruades

De Fieuzal Blanc: Floral, precise and dry, but intense, balanced and fresh

De Pez: Pretty good, but finish is astringent and hollow with gritty tannin

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc: Lacks intensity but otherwise ok

Domaine de Chevalier Rouge: Touch simple, but balanced and ripe with nice oak

Duhart Milon: Very masculine, astringent and alcoholic. Promising intensity on the palate but finishes very well, giving hope that fruit will fill out but alcohol will probably not come into balance

Faugeres: Massive extraction and fruit. Will score high with another taster

Fuque de Nenin: Light red merlot fruit is playful, palate is richer than expected. Wine is simple but fun drinking in fresh balance

Gazin: Controversial, but my sample was better than most. Somewhat one-dimensional, but lovely fruit, fresh feeling with dark pretty finish

Goulee: Almost a grenache-cherry nose w/dusty notes. Finishes slightly green but well-integrated with tannin and dusty cabernet fruit

Grand Puy Lacoste: Masculine, complete nose, ripe cab fruit but lacking density. Not poorly balanced but feels to be missing something

Haut Bages Liberal: Sweet cassis and green nose literally translated to palate. Good acid, fresh though a touch tart and grippy in tannic finish.

Haut Bailly: Concentrated nose but simple palate w/dark fruit & grippy ripe tannin

Haut Batailley: Dusty Napa cab, touch astringent with tart red fruit but darkens up in the finish which is long, spirited and pleasant

La Chapelle d’Ausone: Airy, hot nose expresses little but has hints of merlot promise. Concentrated palate has ample fruit, red and dark berries, well-meshed. Balance is tolerable despite heat.

La Chapelle de la Mission: Alcohol is just barely held in check by bright red and dark fruits. Light-medium body but soft and tasty

La Chapelle de Potensac: Simple but pleasant cabernet fruit in a solid effort. Balance is a touch firm and alcoholic but tannins are fine and sweet

La Couspade: Light on acid so feels flabby but otherwise impressive, pretty and rich

La Garde Blanc: Typical SB, but sweeter on the nose than palate. Deceptively light

La Garde Rouge: Built for American palate. Affable but very Cali

La Fleur de Bouard: Massive extraction and fruit. Will score high with another taster

La Fleur de Gay: Good acid and fleshy fruit, but not quite lush. Soft on the palate but shortish finish dominated by alcohol. 2nd sample was loaded with chocolate and better balanced than first with richer presence

La Tour du Pin: Tart red fruit with nice acid and very pretty, round palate. Finish falls apart leaving tannin and spirit

Larrivet Haut Brion Rouge: Airy, flowers and fruit nose. Open and fresh palate finishes with too much oak, super tannic

Lascombes: Muted nose, but sweet lush palate. Alcohol and tannin just a little out of place

Leoville Barton: Sports the new “classic Barton”, new-world and oak nose. Long, balanced with ample tannin and alcohol nicely wrapped up in oak and fruit

Lynch Bages: Showed the most hope and offered the biggest let-down. The most perfect nose which is unfulfilled on the palate. Lacks richness to fill out flawless balance of acid, texture, alcohol and tannin. Coulda been

Malescot St. Exupery: Dense cab nose is literal on palate but finish is more red fruits and a touch floral. Alcohol in check till the very end of the long tannic finish

Nenin: One dimensional, dark fruit is tasty but not serious. Finish is short on fruit, long on alcohol. Just for chugging.

Olivier Blanc: Silex-style nose, but lacks richness to be a great Pouilly Fume J

Olivier Rouge: V. good on palate but lacks acidity to bolster fruit and tannin balance

Pape Clement Blanc: Easy drink, fresh and light but could be better. Lacks richness, shows far too much alcohol

Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux: Very good but not great. Acid is a little low so palate is soft. Just a little unremarkable in the latter half of the mid-palate and finish. Good drinking, but not serious compared to the marvelous 2005.

Peby Faugeres: Massive extraction and fruit. Will score high with another taster

Petite Cheval Blanc: Good acid, nice fruit, but focused on high notes. Medium body, long chocolate cab franc finish. Ample tannin is soaked up by the fruit but alcohol is a problem when the wine finishes, though there was no sense of heat on the nose or palate

Pontet Canet: Dark, alcoholic cherry nose. Very middle-heavy and explosive after a slow start and quick transfer to the finish. Similarly the core of the finish is good but lacks a start and end

Potensac: Pretty, classic cab nose is ironic for the 40% merlot content. Grippy tannins held in check by expansive palate, back-heavy experience though

Rauzan Segla: “OOF”nose is awesome but palate is overwhelmed by massive structure. Lots of fruit here, but just not enough to believe wine will come into balance.

Rouget: Promising sweetness, richness, good balance but alcohol dominated

Simard: Orange peel and red fruit nose, zesty acidity. Innocuous, bordering on unripe

Smith Haut Lafite: Proper white bdx character, but dominated by heat

Talbot: Red fruit, playful. With more richness would have been excellent

Tronquoy Lalande: Woody nose w/ hint of alcohol. Fine poise, good balance but just a touch thin in character. If that fleshes out this will be very good

Tronquoy de Ste. Anne: Medicinal, alcoholic nose but decent palate is lush and pretty. Soft feel, round through respectable finish

Not good:
Beauregard: alcoholic nose, palate and finish. Pretty merlot clues, but not a good drink. Bitter tannins

Beychevelle: Ripe cab nose, good acid but stunted palate. Finishes short and alcoholic

Bouscaut Rouge: Almost unripe, red-fruit character. Lots of zip but bitter tannins

Brown Rouge: Very good fruit on the nose but hints of herbaceous character, not enough fruit on the palate, gritty tannin

Clos St. Martin: Extracted tannin-bomb. Low acid, would be good for blending

Dassault: I really wanted to like this but too short on fruit. Excellent structure is wasted. 2nd effort was better than first but still had holes in the middle. Not quite unpleasant, but falls apart in a ball of tannin

Dame de Montrose: Excellent build quality but thoroughly unexciting content

Domaine L’Eglise: Ripe nose but thin and dilute through the finish. 2nd sample did offer excellent merlot fruit in the nose but was simplistic and still didn’t fill up the structure

Figeac: Ultra herbaceous around sweet, full fruit. Wants to give hope but dominated by vegetal nature through the finish. Feels like someone chose finesse over power and did a really bad job

Fonbel: Attractive red fruits on the nose with alcohol but tart on the palate and not quite bitter through the finish

Haut Simard: Exceedingly astringent, tannic and alcoholic. Not recommended

La Cabanne: Dull nose, soft, pleasant but uninteresting palate. Flabby and hollow finish

La Croix: Firm, flat palate with good acid but lacks fruit or intensity to believe will emerge in time

La Dominique: Failed conclusively in two tastings. Can’t imagine what went wrong

La Petite Lion: Nose of stone and crushed aspirin. Nothing to like here

Lacoste Borie: Light on the palate, lacks low notes. Tart alcoholic finish

Larmande: Jammy/over the top. Rich, hot palate lacks acid, long on tannin. May never come into balance

Le Crock: Unusual, difficult to describe nose. Simple, tobacco and leather-heavy palate

Montrose: Overbearing alcoholic nose, minerally palate doesn’t deliver enough fruit to fulfill massive acid/tannin/alcohol

Moulin Riche: Almost respectable, but not quite. Steel and plastic nose, dirty (as in dirt) palate. Ultra grippy tannin

Moulin St. Georges: Nose screams quality but dark fruit palate is loaded down with alcohol. Structure and booze are too overbearing for simplistic fruit

Pavie/Pavie Macquin: P.O.S. zin-based bordojunk. Flabby and nasty. What was he thinking!?

Quinault L’Enclos: Alcoholic nose, light/tart palate not quite unripe. Missing low notes, thin finish

Troplong Mondot: Grey Poupon nose, palate starts off nicely but becomes the most tannic bastid ever. No 3 wines have enough combined fruit to match this level of tannin and alcohol

Judgement Reserved:
Carbonnieux Rouge: Too shut-down to assess

Clos du Marquis: Appears too simple for it’s mass. Clean, attractive and fresh – surely there has to be more to it on another day

D’Armailhac: 1st sample was back heavy, poorly balanced. 2nd example was floral, perfumed, fresh and lively with a nice, dark cabernet palate. Very lovely in fact

Franc Mayne: gobs of undeveloped, unfinished fruit, but still manages to be astringent. Hoped for 2nd sample but didn’t get there

La Chenade: was in unrecognizable, unassessable condition

La Petite L’Eglise: was in unrecognizable, unassessable condition

Lafite Rotschild: Certainly alcoholic, but difficult to otherwise assess. Poised structure, full-body but very difficult to score. Impossible to assess depth or quality of fruit but Lafite deserves the benefit of the doubt. Want to put this in the phenomenal category but just couldn’t get enough out of it.

Larcis Ducasse: Synthetic quality to nose and palate, difficult to figure

Le Bon Pasteur: Hints of VA? Light, tart palate completely dominated by alcohol. 2nd bottle saw classic merlot emerge in nose and palate but was still too thin. Still very alcoholic on the nose and finish, but fleshier than “not good” example. Fun drink if this is the representative sample, but thin

Leoville Poyferre: Metalic nose, overly structured. Tannin heavy, short on fruit. 2 samples like this. 3rd sample was dumb on the nose but everything Poyferre can be on the palate. Still tannin and structure heavy, the fruit emerged as a core of silky cabernet fruit, dark berries and chocolate. Though I doubt the tannin will ever fully integrate, am relieved to have found a decent sample of 3. Judgement reserved

Les Cruzelles: was in unrecognizable, unassessable condition

Pape Clement Rouge: Ripe nose but generic muted palate. Has presence to suggest more may be coming

Petite Village: Irony metallic nose, chocolate covered cherry core is light on the palate and nasty on the finish. This can’t be correct

Pichon Lalande: 1st sample was ostentatious on the nose but lighter on the palate than should be and finished very short. 2nd sample was vastly improved with ripe cherry and better balance. Was powerful without a trace of alcohol on the nose or seamless palate, but it was also served cooler and still finished short with a lot of alcohol and disjointed tannin

Santayme was in unrecognizable, unassessable condition

Again, surprised by the poor showing by Pontet Canet. I was hoping with their recent success and the greatness of the vintage on the L. Bank (based on everyone’s notes from EP) that this was the year they really hit it out of the ballpark, but maybe not.

I have heard that Alfred is alluding to premiering this wine close to the $125 mark which would be WAY up there for a 5th Growth. I’m not making an argument the wine isn’t worth it, but in that hierarchical scheme, it seems to be pushing the limits. We’ll see.


It’s true, Pontet showed very poorly. That said, everything has to remain in the frame of reference for this stage of development. There was a lot of natural resource/raw material there, if you like highly extracted, low-acid, big-alcohol, fruit bombs… but it didn’t mesh during my visit.

As for the price, I think there should be little doubt that this estate will continue pushing so long as ratings stay high and the wine continues to sell. Pontet Canet’s recent history of stylistic change, improved quality and price increases are not likely to slow down in light of the hype 2009 is generating, even if I think this particular wine is a miss.

Huge thanks for the quality of your comments and many thanks for your presentation in alphabetical order : it helps a lot for finding a wine.

Also, this is a very comprehensive presentation and I like verymuch your commitment to explain why somewines did not find an agreement with yourown taste.

Some surprise for me :

Ausone : IMO, a clear WOTV (if we accept 10 wines inside this category). As usual, this wine is always too early (cabernet franc share) at the primeur period.
Cheval Blanc : will be clearly inside the WOTV later, not now
VCC : you are so right ! Should be also inside WOTV
Angelus : to be tasted again, I did not get this impression
Valandraud : not tasted ? A real Mogul, in the sense of Palmer and Cos d’Estournel
Pavie : as usual, this wine in primeurs is quite difficult to evaluate. remember what was said about him in 2001 and now, if you do a blind tasting of all FG from 2001 with Pavie, , he is a clear winner. This tasting was done by some owners of FG and they had to recognize that.
Pape-Clément : the style of the wine (like Pavie) has changed sensibly this year towards more finesse. We will wait quietly to taste it later.

If we have absolutly to find “THE” ones from left and right bank, IMO, Haut-Brion and VCC are the 2 names which will grow magically in the future.

Great job ! Bravo !

flirtysmile flirtysmile flirtysmile flirtysmile flirtysmile flirtysmile

Thanks for the great notes and comprehensive post. This will be very useful. Am still wondering whether I should wade in on the 2009 EP. I skipped 2006 and 2007 (save for Sauternes), only got one case of Hosanna in 2008 because it was my wedding year and I like the wine. Am a big fan of VCC, wondering if I should bite the bullet in 2009.

Paul : if you know a distributor who is close to the “first tranche” price, jump on VCC. A pure stellar finesse.

Maybe not under the Parker’ radar : an additionnal opportunity to jump on it ! Will see.

Francois: I believe it is ok for us to disagree on the overall merit of Ausone. I think it has potential to be a great wine, but I didn’t feel it would be in company with my other WOTV selections. Cheval Blanc on the other hand, I very much WANTED to include in that group, as this is undoubtedly my favorite chateau. I reluctantly left it out because when elevated alcohol is the problem, there is no reason to believe it will improve within the composition of the wine. Acidity may relax with time, tannins integrate and soften, fruit opens up and shuts down - but alcohol remains unchanged, there is no place for it to go. If the wine shows heat now, why should that change? But, of course, for the days when the fruit is showing so sweet the taster doesn’t mind…

Pavie seemed a charicature. I haven’t honestly tasted one which I felt held real quality since Perse took over. I can appreciate that the wine becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts, but this is not a wine for me. I am completely with you on Pape Clement though… I hope in time this proves to be a wonderful wine.

I regret missing Valandraud as well as Lafleur. I also missed Le Pin, but Alexandre said in his own admission that this is not a great Le Pin. I was surprised to hear him say that VCC held higher quality, until I tasted the wine. I wouldn’t fault anyone for suggesting VCC as a WOTV candidate. I did not place this in the top 3 myself, but the wine is so beautiful I can see how a taster would. If I had the requisite checking account I would not hesitate a moment to put as many as 5 cases away, knowing that too many of them will meet an untimely end in my impatience.

Many thanks for these valuable updates.

Just one point : Cheval-Blanc 1947 wasn’t also at a high ° alcool ?

Whatever, you give here a top professional point of view while I remain a basic amateur with spontaneous reactions, lacking the analysis spirit which is your top tool : bravo again !

+1…Ditto. Too bad I can buy all the high octane wine I want for much less than Bordeaux will ask. [stirthepothal.gif]

On Ebob there were questions as to the frame of reference from which I have written my notes. I have tendered the following and so offer them here for the purpose of making my thoughts more clear:

2005 was a vintage that really changed my perspective because though some were more powerful than others, so many found an equilibrium I appreciated. EVERYONE made fantastic wines, and so I view such a vintage with greater admiration than one that produces the top 6 wines in history along with a lot of mediocre, or merely “good” wine. In that vein I’ve expressed an opinion on 2009 which can only be accurate and representative of my experience. My experience showed a few superlative wines that really must be tasted again and again until I die. It also showed a lot of wines I will spend my days avoiding and even more wines that had some really impressive components that didn’t add up to a balanced sum for me.

For the purpose of putting these notes in perspective, I will admit that alcohol is usually the first flaw I find, not just in California’s wines, but in all wines. Sine Qua Non, Martinelli, Turley - all produce wines that don’t suit my palate. As much as they can be well made or delicious, that kind of evident alcohol will always fall short of excellence. Tasty and excellent are not equivalents in my mind. Bonny Doon’s Vin de Glacier is super drinkable and consistent, but it never rates 100 points. On the other hand, '97 Bryant has a pretty beastly alcohol content but it doesn’t put me off because there is no sense of it on the nose or palate.

Before I am a California guy, or a Bordeaux guy or a (gasp) Burgundy guy - I’m a symmetry and balance guy. 2009 was unable to provide that for me.

Very good, level headed notes. Much appreciated.

Much appreciated, Frank. Your notes are well written and you communicate your impressions very well. The lack of hype is especially welcome.

These are great notes and in combination with others help paint a picture of the wines for the rest of us.
I like this one: zin-based bordojunk

Here’s another source of notes from a UK merchant, Nick Stephens:" onclick=";return false;

don’t know anything about him outside of what’s up on the blog, but his comments seem thoughtful

His blog also leads you to Jane Anson whose notes will run in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong):" onclick=";return false;