I’m armchair quarterbacking my most recent blog and felt the urge to postscript. As I alluded to last time, I was on-hand at this year’s UGC en primeur event in Bordeaux earlier this month to sample the 2013 vintage, a very fickle year for red wines. I knew ahead of time of the vintage’s heralded shortcomings and I actually envisioned the whole exercise might be a bit of a daunting task; tasting through so many young, unfinished wines in succession. I wasn’t quite sure how my palate would hold up.
Unfounded fears of tasting too many mediocre reds never completely materialized (and my taste buds did just fine). And aside from my performance anxiety (and lost luggage), the week was hardly a proverbial tour of duty through the salt mines. Did I mention the food in Bordeaux was seriously good?
(Especially the oysters!)
Even in the midst of a stormy vintage, many clouds had a silver lining. As previously noted, 2013 is a potential success for the dry whites of region, especially in Pessac-Leognan, where La Mission Haut Brion, Carbonnieux, Pape Clement and Domaine de Chevalier presented balanced, finely tuned, and minerally wines with plenty of upside.
2013 could also prove to be an excellent vintage for the dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac. I relished tasting through these lusciously sweet, fleshy young wines including stellar samples of d’Yquem, Rieussec, Coutet and Guiraud. Indeed almost seemed like a guilty pleasure tasting these precocious Sauternes, they offered so much richness and depth up front.
And last but not least, there were the occasions when bottles of great vintage Bordeaux red made a welcome appearance during lunch, dinner, at a party or other private gathering. The most memorable old bottles I encountered (in a week of memorable bottles) included a sublime magnum of ’83 Margaux, a perfect ’89 Haut Brion, a sleek, sexy ’82 Ducru Beaucaillou, and a regal, timeless ’49 Cheval Blanc (two magnums actually!). Add to this wine lover’s dream a ’47 Chateau Rabaud Sauternes, sporting an almost mahogany hue but still remarkably youthful for its age.
Jim Greeley, Southwest Florida wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineJimG
P.S. Oops! I forgot to wax poetic about those oysters! Guess I’ll save the fantastic foodie portion of the trip for my next posting ;)