Rooftop Buying Guide for 2010 LDB Bordeaux Release

The LDB is releasing its 2010 Bordeaux purchases this Saturday (September 28th).Details on the release (including the stores where the wines will be available) can be found here.

2010 is probably the most celebrated vintage we have had in a long time and the wines will be in hot demand.  So, to help you shop-  I have put together a quick guide of my recommended purchases from the LDB Bordeaux catalogue (which you can find here).

I tasted most of the wines in barrel at en primeur in 2011 and, in many cases, again out of bottle over the last couple of years.  I have identified the ‘big boys’ I think you should buy – which are what I believe to be the best wines of the vintage.  I have also identified some ‘value selections’ that will out-perform for the money you will spend on them.  I have left  1st growths off the list – you do not need me to tell you that Lafite, Latour, Margaux, etc. are great in a vintage like 2010. This year I have also added a few ‘caution’ wines – these are wines that the scores would lead you to believe are good or great – and which I felt were not. Buy these wines with caution and in 10 years when they are dissappoint – don’t tell me I did not warn you!

Also, please note that my strong personal recommendation is that you do not purchase current vintage Bordeaux.  My recommendation is to purchase Bordeaux wines that are already mature (~10 years old).  This is because many of the wines recommended below will probably be enjoyed by your children – given how long they will need to age before they are at their peak (20+ years). . .  If you are interested in mature wines contact me and I can help you acquire some at prices not much more than (or much cheaper than) the 2010?s are being offered at. . .  But if you must buy wines from the 2010 vintage now – here is what I recommend.

The ‘Big Boys’

*Ch. Pontet-CanetPaulliac – $388:  The metoric rise of this Chateau is unprecedented but well deserved. Bio-dynamics is just a part of it.  This wine is unbelieveable. If you can get a bottle – rush to the cash and laugh as you escape the store.  You just made $130.  It now trades for about $520 a bottle.

*Ch. Haut-BaillyPessac-Leognan – $259:  I always love Haut Bailly – and this is maybe the best one they ever made.

*Ch. Rauzan-SeglaMargaux – $200: This year the wine was made in a softer style – if it is possible to say that about Rauzan-Segla.  Rauzan-Segla is a very tannic wine that is built for long aging.  The wine-making team’s toughest task each year is to tame the tannins and keep them soft and silky.  In this vintage, with the huge natural tannic structure of the grapes – it is stunning how soft and elegant this wine is.  Hats off to the wine making team.

*Ch. Branaire-Ducru St. Julien – $150:  Had multiple chances to taste this wine and came away more impressed every time.  This will not disappoint.  Better than the Leoville Barton in 2010.

Ch. Leoville-Barton St. Julien – $195: Always an over-performer and the family keeps the price down so that (some) people can still buy it – although the LDB price seems to keep creeping up.

Ch. Lagrange St. Julien – $100:  This wine is a great value.  I felt it was in the same quality level as the Beychevelle but at a much more reasonable price.  Grab a few bottles if you can.

Ch. Beychevelle St. Julien – $168: One of the stars of the appellation – right in there in quality with Lagrange and just a step below Branaire Ducru and Leoville Barton.

Ch. de Fargues Sauternes – $100: Excellent again this year. It had an intense nose of beautiful aromatic botrytis with tropical fruit and vanilla.  On the palette it had refreshing acidity with with sweet fruit that was in almost perfect balance.  I love this wine.  I tasted it twice.

Ch. SuduirautSauternes – $50: Just a notch below de Fargues with intense tropical fruit and the longest finish of the wines.  Great price this year.

Value Wines

*Ch. Sociando Mallet -Moulis – $68:  The value wine of the vintage for me.  This is the most bang you will get for your buck.

*Ch. Malartic-Lagraviere Pessac – $100:  This wine has been getting better and better every year.  This year it is astonishingly good.  Reaching towards the top of the appellation.  Price is up but the quality exceeds it.  Great value for your money.
*Ch. de Fieuzal Pessac – $75: I love this wine.  Surprisingly good – its never been this good.  Wished the price had stayed a little lower – but the Chateau knows they have a good wine this year.  Buy a bunch of these.
Ch. d’Armailhac – Paulliac – $88:  The world has gone a little crazy when we start to classify an $88 a bottle wine as a value.  But, such as it is, that is the case in the 2010 vintage.
Caution Wines

Here is a list of wines I would buy with caution: Ch. Talbot, Ch. Faugeres, Peby-Faugeres, Ch. Angelus, Ch. Lafon-Rochet, Ch. Brane-Cantenac.

 

Missed Out on Wines?  Looking for Something not in the LDB Release?

There were a number of amazing 2010 wines that were surprisingly not purchased by the LDB.  They included: Ch. Ausone, Ch. Le Pin, Ch. Lafleur, Ch. de Valandraud, Ch. Malescot-Exupery, Ch. Carmes Haut Brion, Ch. La Tour Carnet, Alter Ego de Palmer, and Clos Les Lunelles, among others. If you are interested in getting any of those wines I have them.  You can view my offer here.

Also, if you miss out on any 2010s you wanted to get – be sure to contact me and I will be happy to special order them for you.  Here is my latest offer of the LDB Allocated Wines – ‘De-Allocated’.

To see my full notes from the 2010 tastings follow the links below:

Right Bank tastings: Here and Here.

Left Bank Tasting: Here.

Bordeaux Superieur Tasting: Here.

Sauternes tasting: Here.

Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux – Wine-Making: Jean-Michel Garcion

Jean-Michel Garcion is the wine-maker at Demour – a family owned negociant that owns a number of Bordeaux estates including Ch. La Croizille (St. Emilion), Ch. Haut Breton Larigaudiere (Margaux), Ch. La Tour Baladoz (St. Emilion), and Ch. Tayet (Bordeaux Superier).

Jean-Michel Garcion is a driven man. He did his studies in viticulture and oenology and later on a specialization in commercial business. He worked in a vine nursery (the choice of an adapted vine plant is primordial for the wine’s quality) and different French wineries making red, white (dry and sweet), sparkling wine (champenois and charmat methods) and distillation of wine and fruits for spirits. For a period of 10 years he followed practical training in different wine countries like Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zeland, USA and Spain to acquire his expertise and know-how.

With an open mind and a lot of experience, he became Jacques De Schepper’s right-hand man at Demour in 1991.

Today we interviewed him about his thoughts on Bordeaux vintages. Note: this interview was translated from French.

1. Which young wine-maker (or wine-makers) in Bordeaux will we be hearing about a lot about over the next 10-15 years?
It is difficult to know, I honestly do not know because it is not enough to discover a good grower you must also take into account the fashion trends.2. What are your thoughts on the oak / no-oak Motions Motions for Bordeaux wines?There are great wines that are oaked and great wines that are not. It is again a matter of personal taste.3. What are your thoughts on the worldwide impact of consultants wine from Bordeaux and the wines That They create? Do you think there is an emerging international style of wine?

Unfortunately, yes. There is actually a standardization of wines and we are strongly opposed to it. We want to give free expression of terroir of our properties through authentic varieties.

4. What changes in wine-making do you think we will see in Bordeaux in the next 10 years? What important trends, processes, etc. we should expect to see?

I think we will see two main phenomena: a return on fruit wines and a tendency for less alcoholic wines. The return on fruit involves breeding with very little heat, but this is opposed to the marketing of vegetables. The decrease in alcoholic involves a rebalancing in the proportion of grapes during assembly, such as an increase of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and Merlot reduction. My hope is to keep our originality in the future, terroir and grape authentic

5. What effect do you think the organic, biodynamic, and natural wine movements will be Have Bordeaux wines, if any?

This is a trend that the duration of and intensity of we can not predict. Winemakers who convert to organic farming are not always convinced of the values of it but are doing it for economic reasons. Even if it is possible to produce an organic wine, this represents great difficulties in some vineyards, with serious consequences for the harvest.
I’m all for rational control, it is done in all our vineyards. We use the minimum dose and thoughtful treatment, we preserve the agricultural environment, we soil maintenance and fertilization, we treat effluents and waste management clients.
We would like to thank Mr. Garcion for his time and generous answers.  If there is a wine mentioned in this interview that you would like to try – please contact me at cody@rooftopcellars.com and I will try and find it for you.

The Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux – Wine-Making: Richard Curty

This is an installment of our Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux.  It is a series of interviews of people who live in Bordeaux providing their thoughts and tips on the wines, the city, and the food.

This interview was with Mr. Richard Curty the Wine Director of Ch. Parenchere.  He is a graduated oenologist and the wine-maker at Ch. Parenchere. You can visit him on facebook.

We interviewed him about his thoughts on wine-making in Bordeaux.

1. Which young wine-maker (or wine-makers) in Bordeaux will we be hearing about a lot about over the next 10-15 years?

Beside me I don’t know ! 😉

No, honestly I don’t like highlighting someone as I am very well placed to know that the quality of a wine does not rely on just one person. I have been consultant for 15 years in various estates and I have never known if the wines of my customers were good because they were listening to me or on the opposite because they didn’t follow my directions!

2. What are your thoughts on the oak / no-oak debate for Bordeaux wines?

For me, a barrel is for sure is the best container to age a great wine.  Therefore, I think that small, light wines shouldn’t be placed in barrels but rather bottled quickly to drink it young and fruity.

For some wines aged in barrels, some abuse has been made because at a certain time it was a fashionable. Some have unfortunately developed wines that expressed more wood than grapes and it’s really unfortunate because a well-controlled wood aging reveals the wine. For our Cuvée Raphaël we use only 20 to 30% new wood every year. The rest is older barrels.

3. What are your thoughts on the worldwide influence of wine consultants from Bordeaux and the wines that they create?  Do you think there is an international style of wine emerging?

There are strong personalities in Bordeaux, now world-famous, who have indeed created styles of wines but have also allowed by their researches to find technical and oenological ways to express the best of each variety.  But yes fashion is for sure toward powerful fruity wines, with a little sweetness.

4. What changes in wine-making do you think we will see in Bordeaux in the next 10 years? What important trends, processes, etc. we should expect to see?

After the standardization trend, now the move is going to authenticity. Too many wine look alike in Bordeaux, but in the world in general. Now, the tendency is going to revealing the identity and personality of each Terroir.

It is not so much a question of techniques as wine-making techniques today are most of the time directed to correct a fault in the quality the grapes. It is more a focus of the work on the vineyard itself.

5. What influence do you think the organic, biodynamic, and natural wine movements will have on Bordeaux wines, if any?

Agricuture in general has made a big progress as the world discovered the abuses that were done in the 70’s and 80’s because of a total lack of information on the products used.  A consciousness has emerged. Now the rules of production are getting more and more strict and the legislation is forcing people which are not very aware to be much more cautious in what they use in their soils and how they run their estates.

Those organic/biodynamic/natural wines reflects this and more and more estates look in this direction now. Moreover, this is now viewed as a way to more identity/ authenticity – the trend we were describing before.

At Parenchère, we are in “Agriculture Raisonnée” (Sustainable). We have just received the Certification “ High Environmental Value” – Level 3 (the highest level). We are one of the first estates to receive this qualification as we believe that we have a responsability in our environment and what is good for the soils is good for the wine.

Thanks to Mr. Curty for his time and generous answers.  If there was a wine mentioned in this post that you want to try – be sure to contact me at cody@rooftopcellars.com and I will try and find it for you.