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Fiasco Spared

May 2009

some optimism is appearing about the 2008 vintage, notably in Bordeaux. The Rhône is mercifully spared the annual fiasco of pubescent wines being assessed by the great and the good when some of the wines have not even finished their malolactic fermentation - or if they have, they may well have been in heated cellars to get to that stage. Nor have final blends been decided upon. It is interesting that the wines flying off broker`s lists in London are the Premier Grand Crus, plus the usual Lynch Bages, Léoville Barton very reliable wines. The Merlot wines of the Right Bank are also starting to hot up.

I have posted the notes from a Chapoutier 2008 tasting held in London at the end of April in the next days. See Recent Tastings. This was all the parcellaire or single plot wines, the reds 100% Syrah, the whites 100% Marsanne. I would always prefer to taste in the cellar of the grower rather than from a sample shipped away from its region, but the results were quietly encouraging, with terroir coming through in some instances from this cool vintage: a really hot year like 2003 of course suppressed terroir in its first years. Here and there on the site are a few 2008 notes from the odd vat of Grenache or Syrah that I have included for interest`s sake, rather than a formal assessment.

Recent additions: a full report on 2006 Northern Rhône has been posted, and a host of Northern Rhône domaines from the last 5 months - see Recent Additions in Goings-On. Also, the top 4 2005 Côte-Rôtie wines from Guigal, which were bottled at the end of January, tasted in mid-March in Ampuis. Also, the latest from Domaines Bernard and the organic, counter culture Jean-Michel Stéphan at Côte-Rôtie - both have vineyards mainly in the southern sector there. The Domaine Guy Farge at Saint-Joseph has also been added - Guy being an ex-Co-operateur (Tain) who now makes Saint-Joseph from good vineyards at St-Jean-de-Muzols and also Cornas (allez!)

I note that the Meteorological Office in England is now forecasting a long, hot summer, something this website was on about at least two months ago. Listen to les anciens, the veterans, and get out more is my comment to them.