Bordeaux 2009 Is Thirsty Work
Post by Chuck Hayward
The first day of tastings in Bordeaux saw the JJBuckley wine staff dodging in and out of typical March rains as we made our first visits to wineries and negociants. We had a great opportunity to get familiar with our surroundings by spending some time in Pomerol and St. Emilion but also to begin to familiarize ourselves with the young 2009 vintage, the reason for our trip!
We've tried a smorgasbord of Bordeaux at various quality levels and price points and it quickly becomes apparent what's what, even at this young stage in a wine's evolution.
- Do we get an "I Survived T-Shirt" if we taste them all?
What we're looking for at this point is not so much specific flavors or textures, but an overall impression of a wine's aromas and palate. Some of the wines have displayed very rough tannins or overripe fruit flavors while the best have been very complex, almost ready to drink, thanks to more stringent fruit selection and meticulous care of the wine in the cellar. Favorable assessments are given to those wines that display multiple layers of fruit, a softer finish and more integrated acids while chunky and/or bitter tannins on the finish are assessed less favorably.
As much as we are here to listen and learn, the Bordelaises are also curious about our take on the current state of the wine industry in America. There have been many changes in the channels by which Bordeaux is coming to market in the U.S. (see my post entitled "JJ Buckley Lands In Bordeaux!" for more info.) and JJ Buckley owner Shaun Bishop was the subject of an intensive interview by Decanter regarding the current market conditions in the US for Bordeaux.
What clearly is exciting for me is the opportunity to taste many of these wines two or three times during the course of the week, which will give us all the opportunity to reassess and/or confirm first impressions. Those tastings will be coming up midweek - can't wait for that!