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Bordeaux 2009 by Armin Diel / Pekka Nuikki

Bordeaux – mid-March

The spring sunshine is beginning to break through the dark clouds covering Bordeaux. We are travelling towards the Château Lafite estate. The traffic is quiet and there is little congestion in the car parks of the vineyards we pass. The same is true of Lafite. The apparent peace and quiet are only on the surface, however, for under it is all hustle and bustle. This is due to the upcoming launch and market release of the 2009 vintage. The year is turning out to be perfect; according to the producers, it is the best so far in the twenty-first century. Two more weeks, and we can ascertain if that is the case, with the beginning of Bordeaux’s most keenly awaited annual event, en primeur.

We are visiting some of the top estates to survey the situation a few weeks before the en primeur period begins. The atmosphere at the wineries is impatient. The representatives’ faces reveal their great expectations of the vintage. They appear to have on their hands what is every wine producer’s dream. The boldest comments come from Mouton-Rothschild’s director Philippe Dhalluin, who would compare the vintage to 2005: “This kind of vintage will sell out in two hours,” he reckons.

Vineyard director George Chevallier of neighbouring Lafite is a bit more cautious with his words, but still full of praise: “It is a super vintage. The grapes reached the top maturity, and the picking occurred under ideal circumstances. We are now at the end of the blending process and in a few weeks there are people coming from around the world to taste the wines en primeur. It is not a secret to say that it is a really great vintage. Very well balanced, good fruit – everything is just at the right level. However, I don’t want to compare it to any other vintage because it is difficult. I prefer to do that after 10 years.” 

At Château Margaux, expectations are also running high. The quality of grapes picked from various vineyards clearly exceeded any quality achieved previously. Pierre Lurton, director of Cheval Blanc in Saint-Émilion, admits that the year’s quality was a surprise even there. In tasting the wine, they found that its crisp fruity nature and exceptionally fine silky tannins, combined with a multilayered and strong character, make it a superb vintage.

The polestar of Sauternes, Yquem, also agrees that this was an exceptional crop year. The crop was harvested in one and a half months instead of the usual three. There were temperatures of up to 30 °C still in October. The harvest was two and a half times the average size. The grapes achieved a degree of ripeness that is being compared to the exceptional years of 1989 and 1947.

In two weeks’ time, the producers’ forecasts will be put to the test when more than two thousand journalists arrive at the en primeur event to taste the 2009 wines. Among them will be FINE’s Bordeaux expert, Armin Diel.

 

Bordeaux, the end of March.

Drawn by the news that the wine barons of the Gironde undoubtedly had the best vintage of all time in their casks, some six thousand expert visitors from the retail and gastronomy sectors, not to mention around two hundred journalists from all over the world, were making their way towards southwestern France. Of this number, no less than half had succeeded in being accredited with the Union des Grands Crus, the Association of Bordeaux Winegrowers, for the ‘Semaine de Presse’. This guarantees the privilege of separate tastings and accommodation in the chateaux themselves.

 

With thirty wine connoisseurs, or noses, the French formed the largest single contingent, followed by sixteen from England and eleven Americans. Conspicuous was the large number of journalists from China, ten in total, evidence of the growing interest in fine reds in the Far East. After three days of extensive tastings in the ‘Grands Jours de Bourgogne’, I set off from Dijon on the Saturday morning en route to Bordeaux. Awaiting me there were the wines of the 2009 vintage – already garlanded with advance praise. Amid the fatigue that accompanies such tastings, I sense something like happy anticipation and expectant interest – will these wines really be better than the legendary vintages of 1982, 2000 and 2005?

 

Full of expectation, this journey – diagonally across France – lasts seven hours; sufficient time to mull over the impressions of the past days and slowly reset one’s taste buds from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. And time is of the essence; I have to arrive in Saint-Emilion by six o’clock to pick up the key for La Mondotte where I will be staying for the first three nights.

With a pullover casually knotted round his shoulders, Stephan Neipperg opens the door for me. The count, from Schwaigern in Swabia, is someone I got to know twenty-five years ago, when he first awoke the Château Canon-La-Gaffelière estate – acquired by his father – from its slumbers. We greet one another cordially, drink a glass of champagne and chat about this and that. As the conversation turns to the effects of the worldwide economic crisis, he is clear about one thing,“Anyone who claims that it has not had an impact is simply lying!” In the UK and the USA in particular business has fallen away, he asserts. “Thank goodness that Asia has compensated for some of this downturn.” His wife Sigweis discreetly looks at the clock, it is high time we set off.

 

For supper my path leads to the door of ‘L’ Envers du Décor’ in Saint-Emilion, a first class wine bistro with hearty regional dishes and a superb wine list. At the neighbouring table a cheerful wine-imbibing group is in full flow, in whose midst I recognise François Mauss. Some fifteen years ago now this go-getting Luxembourger, now settled in Bordeaux, established an international tasting company with the imposing name of ‘Grand Jury Européen’ whose members include the two Germans Markus del Monego and Otto Geisel. Since we know one another from many joint wine tastings, François Mauss asks with an understanding wink, “What are you doing tomorrow? Would you like to come along with us to Ausone, Pavie, Angélus and to Michel Rolland and Stéphane Derenoncourt?”

 

The enticing prospect of a glass of some of the best wines before the actual tasting week has even started causes my vague plans for a relaxing Sunday to be rapidly cast into oblivion. I accept.

Sunday morning begins by exercising the palate at Château Haut- Carles in Saillans above Fronsac. It is here that the ‘Cercle de Rive Droite’ has set up quarters for the presentation to the press of some eighty red wines from the right bank of the Garonne river, i.e. from Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and other localities in the area. The cold function suite is divided into two halves by curtains. On the left-hand side sit those who – for whatever reason – wish to carry out a blind tasting, on the right everyone else.

Although, to all intents and purposes, only the second division of the respective appellation is represented here, it is soon evident that the 2009 vintage certainly includes wines of exceptional quality. Never before have I tasted anything matching the concentrated red wine of Château Barde-Haut from Saint Emilion. Excellent too are the wines of the host Château Haut-Carles and of Moulin-Pey-Labrie from the neighbouring Appellation Canon-Fronsac. Not to mention Silvio Denz of Switzerland, whose wonderful, sandalwood fragrant Peby-Faugères would be one of my greatest discoveries of the week. After modest refreshment from a cold buffet it is on to the appointment with the Grand Jury at Château Ausone. It is indeed astonishing that François Mauss has managed to induce proprietor Alain Vauthier to welcome his assorted tasting troop on the Sabbath, moreover to an enormous building site where hardly a stone has been left standing.

 

The 2009 wine is pretty damned good. It is true that black cherry and cranberries still predominate in the bouquet, but on the palate the wine does indeed reveal structure and great finesse.

The next port of call is Château Pavie, where proprietor Gérard Perse greets the guests. In the first years following its acquisition by this Parisian businessman the wines, which tend to have an opulent character, aroused a lively controversy in international wine circles. On the one hand, for the American Robert Parker, whose opinion is keenly echoed, he has prompted a change of style amongst a whole generation of winemakers with his fondness for the all too sumptuous droplets – out with elegance and restraint, in with opulence! This stylistic preference does not meet with requited love everywhere however, particularly amongst his British counterparts who for many years have favoured the more elegant Bordeaux type.

Respected English wine writer Jancis Robinson countered the tide boldly when she gave the 2003 vintage of Château Pavie, one of Parker’s favourite wines, a real dressing down, conceding only 12 of 20 possible points. Two years later, she raised the heat even further. The 2005 Château Pavie she characterised as “over-concentrated beefcake”, sardonically asking who would want to drink a second glass of it.

 

The 2009 Pavie is once again a very impressive wine whose full-bodied taste and silky tannins will quite possibly be united one day in a superb symbiosis. “It can ripen happily for fifty years and more”, says Gérard Perse. What will Jancis Robinson make of this?

The Château Angélus is only a few kilometres away. Today, co-owner Hubert de Boüard awaits an expanded group of thirty members of the Grand Jury. As is customary, the tasting begins in the sampling room on the principal floor of the property with the constantly high quality of Lafleur de Boüard, a fifty-acre estate at Lalande de Pomerol. From the 2009 vintage the more powerful Prestige Cuvée Le Plus de Boüard stands out. Practically all the tasters are agreed that this 2009 wine from Château Angélus has a splendid career ahead of it. Admittedly, this very dark wine loaded with black cherry and abundant, new wood will demand a few years of patience before it has attained its optimal maturity.

 

The visit to Michel Rolland, incidentally a long-term friend of Robert Parker, can only be regarded as a noteworthy event. Not far from his spacious laboratory operation in Maillet, the most influential oenologist in the world grants us a private audience at his vineyard of Château Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol. Flanked by his wife Dan, the jovial Rolland is in excellent form and introduces his dapper son-in-law as the Dirécteur-Général of the Rolland Collection. The 2009 wines are from reliable vineyards indeed! But why does the master not take steps to elicit any more interesting drops from his own vines?

Soon afterwards we meet Stéphane Derenoncourt, who embodies the new school of oenological wine consulting in Bordeaux. Unlike Rolland, he constantly strives to carve out a more elegant style of wine; certain estates of which he is in charge work their vineyards in accordance with ecological principles. On the occasion of the En Primeur Week he gathers his customers for a joint presentation at Château La Gaffelière in Saint-Emilion.

Three wines stand out this afternoon: Château Larcis-Ducasse has a highly concentrated fragrance, yet seems very invigorating and reveals an almost dance-like elegance. While the bouquet of the Pavie-Macquin highlights a fine sandalwood sweetness and the fruit forms a perfect equilibrium with the tannins, the Clos-Fourtet wine is a true bundle of joy when it comes to Cabernet Bouquet and black cherry.

 

Monday morning begins in radiant sunshine with one of the most important tastings of the En Primeur Week, and is held at the home of Jean-Pierre Moueix who controls a large part of the trade on the right bank, which, since 1964 has included the distribution of Château Pétrus.Escorted by his son Edouard, the elegantly attired Christian Moueix welcomes the guests in a highly personal style. Although not every inquiry was covered in the appointed period, the wine tasters now crowd into the wood-panelled room. But where is the Château Pétrus? Hitherto it always stood at the end of the Moueix wine collection, this year for the first time one had to arrange a separate appointment in the winery, something by no means all of the wine noses had realised. Oh dear! At Pétrus the visitors are expertly enlightened on the merits of the 2009 produce by Jean-Claude Berrouet, the long-haired cellar master of the estate, and Olivier, his son and successor. “Yes, it is really a great vintage”, says Papa Berrouet, who after forty five years is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement and has taken on a more advisory role to his son.

 

The wine itself is really superb! – how indeed could it be anything else? The smooth sweetness forms a pleasurable counterpoint to the fine aromatic tannins. A wine for the treasure chamber!

 

Just a couple of hundred metres from Pétrus I run into Jacques Thienpont and we partake of a sample of Le Pin 2009. Twenty years ago the Belgian owner was only seldom to be seen during the En Primeur Week. Even afterwards one had the feeling that he was ready to welcome only a handful of selected tasters. This time, however everything is different. Right at the start of the narrow track a small signs points us in an unfamiliar direction to ‘Degustation Le Pin’ and not to the former simple farmhouse that for three decades was home to the most famous old wines or vieilles vignes and which has now been pulled down to be replaced by a spectacular new building. Instead, the tasting occurs in an improvised little building housing the wine press that Jacques Thienpont, two years earlier, had prepared as alternative accommodation for the vinification of his extremely expensive red wines. The 2009 Le Pin is the prime example of a perfect Merlot, wherein the invigorating freshness is married with the exotic fruit components in a most exquisite way.

 

Monday evening sees the Dîner d’Acceuil at Château La Dominique, the first event for the selected journalist corps. This function is a true Vanity Fair and almost always follows the same pattern. The wine growers attempt to direct the supposedly most important writers to their own tables, where they then surprisingly proffer their own wine from the multitude of available bottles.

The dinner is of the finest quality: Scallop Carpaccio, Millefeuille of Veal with Mushroom Tapenade and, alongside the obligatory cheeses, also a lavish dessert. As if on command, the company rises just after ten in the evening as the tasting is to continue early the following day.

 

Tuesday morning is overcast with scudding rain clouds. The group of journalists has the opportunity to taste Château Cheval-Blanc of 2009 –the Union des Grands Crus presents the wines of their one hundred and thirty-two members in regional tastings. Since, however, the most famous estates are missing, it is also necessary to take the trouble to arrange individual tasting appointments at the chateaux outside the official programme.

Three renowned estates – Mouton-Rothschild, Yquem and Cheval-Blanc – nevertheless, assume a special status in the Union as honorary members and consequently offer the journalists a co-ordinated form of tasting. For me, the Cheval Blanc is unquestionably one of the best wines of the 2009 vintage. This gem of a red wine reveals silky tannins and an extract sweetness that one recognises only from the very best years. The legendary 1947 Cheval-Blanc automatically comes to mind!

Now, however, it’s time for the real work to start! During the following days the one hundred and twenty journalists, divided into five groups of twenty-four tasters each, work through the different Bordeaux regions in accordance with an ingenious system.

 

I end up in group three, together with some old acquaintances such as the influential and intelligent Peter Moser, editor-in-chief of the Austrian Falstaff Magazine, and Didier Ters, the former wine expert of the newspaper Sud-Ouest, who every morning turns up last and struts through the tasting halls in his checked jacket. Also here is Reva Singh, the elegant publisher of a wine magazine from New Delhi, together with her son Shiv who lives in New York, as well as Niko Dukan, a gangling good-humoured character from Zagreb.

 

Enveloped in light rain, Wednesday morning finds us in the Médoc, where the Cabernet-Sauvignon-Traube is predominant. And 2009 is set to be a very great Cabernet year, as Denis Dubourdieu confirms at the press conference of the University of Bordeaux at Château La Lagune. Five preconditions are necessary, the Professor proclaims, in order to produce really great red wines in the Bordeaux region: an early and swift flowering, dry weather up to the end of the fruit, sunny days to accelerate the change of colour of the grapes, warm and dry weeks in August and – last but not least – fine autumn weather during the gathering of the harvest.

 

While all these parameters were supplied in an almost ideal way in 2009, this is no quality guarantee however, according to Dubourdieu. “The risk in years of good weather is indeed somewhat greater, as one is tempted to prolong the harvest far too long, particularly if your neighbour still has not harvested”, he states roguishly. The fruit characteristics are dependent on the time of the harvest, and in 2009 it was also possible to harvest cooked fruits throughout. Spontaneously, these words recall to my mind certain excessively rich Merlots from the right bank, whose alcohol content should not be much above fifteen per cent by volume. Furthermore, the character of the tannins is very much influenced by the making of the wines, says Dubourdieu, who himself owns two vineyards and, at the same time, advises numerous Châteaux.

For the white grapes and in particular Sauvignon Blanc, by contrast, it has been almost a little too hot to retain the aromas and above all the freshness. The perfect quality of many Sémillon grapes in the Sauternes region has, however, enabled the production of exceptionally good sweet wines. Of this fact one could satisfy oneself immediately following the press conference.

In the setting of the Opéra of Bordeaux, Château d’Yquem had extended an invitation for the presentation of the new vintage, to be attended in Tenue de Ville (business dress) befitting the occasion. On the parquet circle of the Grand Théatre guests are welcomed by attractive young ladies, whose black suits are entwined by a golden ribbon. They accompany the guests into the Salle Boireau on the first floor of this imposing building. The anticipation grows!

 

In the midst of the large ceremonial room illuminated by four giant chandeliers, on whose ceiling great composers such as Beethoven, Gluck and Mozart are immortalised, sommeliers with white gloves serve the new vintage: “what a silky richness, coupled with noble rot (Botrytis), almost as elegant as your Rieslings in Germany”, rhapsodises Michel Bettane, the most famous wine critic in France. And what a difference to the similarly served 1989 Yquem, a wine dominated by the wood and alcohol that lies rather mournfully in the glass.

In almost endless waves small delicacies are served up from the repertoire of the Parisian three-star chef Yannick Aléno (Le Meurice), who acknowledges the honour in person: Gelée de Boeuf au Caviar, Mascarpone à la Truffe, lobster ravioli with seafood sauce, crab roulettes and much more. Le Tout Bordeaux luxuriates in sheer enjoyment!

 

On Thursday the sun is shining again at last. Besides the tastings of the Union, the spotlight is today on the Premiers Crus des Médoc as well as certain Super Seconds des Médoc. And after Dubourdieu’s lecture, expectations are now running particularly high. In the case of Château Mouton Rothschild it is an established tradition that the journalists are conveyed the four hundred metres from the vinothèque to the tasting room by golf carts, and this somewhat impromptu performance was readily enacted.

 

For the first time in twenty years both the Cinquièmes Crus of Château d’Armailhac appeal to me far more than the Clerc Milon, which is a hint too alcoholic. Nothing of the sort can be alleged against the Mouton Rothschild. With its broad aroma palette ranging from black cherry to Cabernet Bouquet together with a well-structured body, this wine demonstrates considerable development potential.

 

Owing to building work under way in the Château, on this occasion the En Primeur tasting of the Lafite Rothschild takes place at the neighbouring Duhart Milon Rothschild estate in the heart of Pauillac. The 2009 Lafite immediately discloses a very robust tannic structure, which, then dissolves on the palate in radiant fruit.

Nowhere else in the Bordelais is a greater fuss made of admittance to the Holy of Holies as at Château Latour. At the approach to the estate terrain there is a small attendant’s hut in which a poor fellow bides his time. He may only open the barrier when he has checked the number of occupants of the car against those of the original registration. Next time I would not be at all surprised if we had to present our ID papers! Thank  goodness all this jumping through hoops has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the wine.

As far as the 2009 Château Latour is concerned, the ripe tannins and almost exuberant fruit results in a symbiosis that in Bordeaux is readily characterised as “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. This is the just the wine that Professor Dubourdieu may have been thinking about when he spoke of a gorgeous vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

From Pauillac it is a mere stone’s throw to Château Cos d’Estournel, which lies on a small hill above Lafite. After a two-year conversion phase, for the first time Cos now presents its new tasting room from which there is a spectacular view of the cubic tanks of the new fermentation cellar. Seldom before have I tasted a better wine here than that of 2009. Apart from bursting with strength it imparts, above all, great finesse. Like many other wine estates in the Bordelais, at Château Montrose too the silhouette of a construction crane dominates the landscape, in this case marking the emergence of a new barrique cellar. This is urgently needed; only a few days previously the acquisition of 52 acres (21 hectares) from Château Phélan-Ségur for almost twenty million euros was signed and sealed. As a result, the total vineyard area now extends to 223 (90 hectares)! The 2009 Montrose remains absolutely faithful to its style as a robust red wine of the Médoc: a long-lasting classic through and through.

 

As in 2000, Château Margaux must once more be Primus inter Pares of the Premiers Crus in the Médoc. Courtesy of the otherwise so level-headed estate manager, Paul Pontallier, we entice a hymn of praise for the 2009 vintage: “Since 1982 I have been responsible for Château Margaux, however I have never, ever had such a perfect wine in the cask!” Could this indeed be the wine of the year? That remains to be seen.

 

On Friday the party finally reaches the Graves, the only Bordelais region where both white and red Grands Crus Classés are to be found. In both categories three vineyards stand out at the Union tasting: Domaine de Chevalier, Pape Clément and Smith-Haut-Lafitte, and I have a weakness for the latter in both disciplines. Whereas the red scores with its great full-bodied character and perfectly integrated tannins and extract sweetness, the white, together with its note of opulence, also displays an astonishing elegance.

A visit to Château Haut Brion is essential to draw matters to a satisfactory conclusion. Since building work is in progress there too, this year’s tasting takes place in the neighbouring estate of La Mission Haut Brion. While the wine merchants and sommeliers sample the wines in a large dégustoir on the ground floor, managing director Jean-Philippe Delmas, who has managed both estates since taking over from his father in 2004, receives the journalists in a somewhat discreet setting on the first floor.

 

Major changes have occurred for La Mission Haut-Brion and the associated labels. The red wine that until 2005 was sold under the independent label of Château La Tour Haut-Brion is now a fully integrated component of La Mission and its second wine La Chapelle de La Mission. Since 2009, the white Laville Haut-Brion has traded as La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc, a label that incidentally was used between 1925 and 1930. The third novelty is a white second wine under the name of La Clarté, in which selected quantities of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion are married. Whereas the sweetish 2009 Haut Brion Blanc is an ideal wine for power drinkers, the white wine from La Mission is considerably more elegant. Both red counterparts are incredibly dense and complex. Owing to their tremendous tannin structure they certainly require quite a few years before they can be drunk with pleasure.

My inquisitive question as to how the quality of this exceptional wine will affect the anticipated En Primeur price, remains unanswered here, as in all the wine estates around the Gironde. Prices were a subject on which nobody wished to comment at all during the week.

Let it be said that any forecast is laden with risk. Many more obscure chateaux, that in 2009 have produced their best wines for a long while, will have to settle for price mark-ups of between ten and twenty per cent on the previous year. Thereby they confer their wines with an exceptionally attractive price-enjoyment ratio. At the forthcoming Vinexpo in Hong Kong, the more famous estates will attempt to raise their prices to at least the level of 2005. And despite the persistent economic crisis nobody should cherish the slightest illusion that in the case of cult wines such as Lafite, Latour or indeed Pétrus, it is possible to pick up any kind of bargain.

 

Bordeaux – end of June

The temperature surpasses 30 °C. Bordeaux has recovered quickly from the previous day’s thunderstorm, and from a record en primeur period. The event proved to be a success in terms of sales and quality alike: record scores and prices will be seen and everyone agrees on the vintage. The biggest factor affecting prices, Mr. Parker, has published his scores, and we are left to await the final selling prices of the wines.

Parker’s verdict was a relief: “It may turn out to be the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux,” he said. Eighteen wines received scores of 98 to 100, which is remarkable even in a great vintage. Out of the first growths, Parker rates Haut-Brion, Lafite-Rothschild, Latour and Margaux from 98 to 100. Mouton-Rothschild received lower scores of 96–98, although this is naturally still very good. And Robert Parker is not the only one to praise the vintage.

 

Jancis Robinson was also highly positive: “In all my years of immersion in tasting Bordeaux en primeur, I have never written the word ‘Napa’ so often in my tasting notes. Come to think of it, I had never written the word ‘Napa’ at all when trying to describe the latest vintage shown off to wine media and trade in Bordeaux every spring. Nor have I ever had so much fun tasting young Bordeaux as I did the week before last. Perhaps these two phenomena are related.” It appears that after a few highly eventful years, the most important critics of Europe and the U.S. agree on the quality of the ’09 vintage.

There is also accord as to prices. Despite the highest prices on record, the world is clamouring for 2009 futures. In the last week, all five first growths have released their first tranche or allocation, at prices that many experts call crazy. Traditionally, chateaux release their en primeur wine in tranches. The first tranche is a toe in the water. They want to see how the market behaves and price the following tranches accordingly. Château Haut-Brion released its first tranche at 500 euros per bottle from the cellar, before négociants and retailers add their mark-up. That matched the price of Latour’s first tranche.

Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Mouton-Rothschild released their wines at 450 euros a bottle. In Sauternes, Château d’Yquem came out at 440 euros.

Négociants – the middlemen to whom the chateaux sell the wine – announced they would sell Château Lafite to merchants at 550 euros. It should reach the market at around 8,000 euros per case. In fact, as négociants did not receive a lot of wines in the first tranche of their 2009 en primeur, they will have to wait for the second and perhaps the third tranche, by which time the idea of buying a Lafite at 550 euros per bottle will be history.

This represents a jump of over 300% from the price of the 2008 vintage, and over 50% from the release price of the previous legendary vintage, 2005.

Comparing the prices of the 2009 vintage to the record price tags of 2005, most other classified estates have also raised their prices by a staggering 20–50%, and Château La Mission by a huge 146%, Montrose by 69%, Pontet-Canet by 61%, Canon by 55% and Lynch-Bages by 42%.

When we visited Bordeaux before the en primeur sale, several top estate directors openly admitted to us that they “now have a lot of money”, and many are undertaking expansion projects requiring major investments. They can now complete the work without worry, as the 2009 vintage will provide enough funds to cover the bill. By now, if not before, the wines produced by these very wealthy wineries have become luxury products that the whole world thirsts after, regardless of the price. We will go into that in more detail in our next issue, where we look in depth at “wines as luxury items”.

 

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Vintage Report

Reports from Australia, New Zealand, Bordeaux and Champagne

 

Australia by Penfolds

Near-optimum rainfall over winter, followed by dry, mild conditions over spring provided a good environment for budburst and an ideal start to the growing season with canopies developing well. Climatic conditions favoured flowering and set with mild and calm weather, however there was some shatter in Shiraz across parts of the state resulting in small crops for many regions. Some early to mid-December summer rainfall was followed by conditions drying up very quickly and continuing until the end of February. Summer was hot with some extreme heat but cool conditions returned in February and March, allowing the fruit to ripen across a long harvest with balanced acidities and excellent tannin ripeness. An elegant, yet still powerful follow up to the conditions brought about in the preceding 2008 vintage

 

New Zealand Vintage Report by Avery's:

After the much written about 2008 vintage followed by a fantastic 2009 the industry entered 2010 with some trepidation, both with quality and volume of the harvest. However on both fronts I’m pleased to say that New Zealand is back to dong what it does best – producing fantastic wines.


Marlborough experienced less typical weather conditions than usual with a cold Spring and relatively cool and wet Christmas giving us all a bit of a scare but as so often happens the vines catch up in February packing in two months worth of ripening in one. 
Little summer rain meant that for the majority there was very little disease pressure and the actual harvest was extremely settled. The cool start to the year however made things interesting with acid balance and flavours. I think this year we’ll see much greater variation in flavours from very green but fully ripe to intensely tropical. INVIVO’s principal Sauvignon vineyard has produced an amazing spectrum of flavours, from tight, razor sharp grapefruit and bell pepper to big, ripe rock melon and passion fruit. For a winemaker this is fantastic as I have lots of different raw material to create exciting blends. Volume on the whole was down comparative to last year which is a positive sign showing the region focussing on lower crops and quality.

 

Vintage 2009 in Bordeaux 

by Lafite

The beginning of the growth cycle was a tricky period due to a rather warm, very wet spring. The teams had to be particularly vigilant in order to protect the vines. 
Fine, stable weather returned in June and continued throughout the summer. In fact conditions became drought like, interspersed in July, August and September with welcome periods of light rain. Plenty of sunshine, with temperatures that were high without becoming scorching, and fairly cool nights enabled slow ripening that pushed the start of the harvests back to the end of September. Exceptionally favourable weather conditions, crowned by harvests in the sun, made for a vintage that was certain to be outstanding. 

 

Champagne Vintage Report: 

Warmest conditions since 2003, optimal maturity, healthy fruit. Balanced wines with average sugars, lower acidities. High overall maturity. Vintage year for some, principally récoltants-manipulants (individual growers). In ’09, new EU rules reduced dosage for Brut to 12 g/l.

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Vintage Report

The 2009 Vintage by Domaine de La Romanée-Conti

In exceptionally sunny years it often happens that the sun continues to accompany the grapes, which it took such care to ripen, from the end of fermentations to the birth of the wine. Such is the case this year -- a year ending in “9” that once again links this figure to the star of life. Indian summer settled in at the end of the harvest, and the radiant vineyards, relieved of their fruit, are changing their “daytime dress,” becoming more and more golden every day. It is as if their nostalgia for the days of summer is expressed in the gold hue that adorns the leaves before they fall to the ground, giving themselves up to the soil that is, in its turn, nourished by them.

The wineries are buzzing with activity along the village streets that stretch out under the sun. The vignerons are smiling as they inhale the fragrances emanating from the fermentation vats, reminding them at every moment what a blessing from the gods is a beautiful vintage in Burgundy.

 

Not that everything was easy. On the contrary, in the annual struggle of the Burgundian vigneron with the irregular and unpredictable weather — without whose caprices he will not make great wines — victory often appears very late in the season, as in 2008, when it was necessary to wait until mid-September for the window of beautiful weather to open, permitting the vintage to be successful. At other times, more rare, as in 1999, in 2005 or in this year of 2009, victory is won much earlier, even at the beginning of the month of August. But of course, we did not know this at that moment, we were so preoccupied in protecting the vineyards against brutal attacks of oïdium, mildew especially, and even botrytis during the entire spring right up until the end of July.

After an early budbreak, as has been the case for the most part in recent years, these diseases were in fact facilitated during the months of April, May, June and even July by recurrent rain storms that gave no respite to the vigneron. Even though the sun did not cease to activate the metabolism in the vineyards, the heat brought thunderstorms nearly every week. Fortunately these were not too violent, except where there was hail, as in Gevrey-Chambertin, for instance, but each time the storms obliged us to renew our biological treatments to safeguard the vines.

 

On the other hand, it was precisely these spring rains that allowed the vineyards to build up sufficient reserves of water that they could overcome without excessive stress the drought that we experienced during the entire month of August — with the exception of a rainstorm on August 15 — until harvest began. This hydrous balance permitted the leaf canopy to fully perform its role of “sugar factory,” and the grapes attained an exceptional ripeness.

The natural near-perfection of this harvest was totally respected by our harvest team, thanks to their now-consummate experience in selective picking. Moreover, we left aside for a second passage the vines that were overloaded or too young, in order to maintain the fine quality that we sought.

As a result, the grapes that filed past on the sorting table were among the most beautiful we have ever seen. As we had seen in 1999 and 2005, there were many small clusters, many "millerandages," or "mixed size," berries, and as a sign of a great year, the old vines, that are in general not very productive, this year yielded a generous harvest of small berries, sumptuous examples of the finest Pinot Noir.

We also observed a phenomenon typical of great vintages: The berries that were most exposed to the sun had roasted and contained an almost concentrated sugar that was not released until the end of fermentation. As a result of this occurrence, the wine experienced a veritable enrichment, natural and progressive, ending with a richness even higher in degrees than those we had ascertained at the beginning of fermentation.

In regards to quantity, it is also satisfactory. Due to the generous flowering, in addition to the beautiful bunch setting that was the same on all the fruit this year, the size of the harvest was on the order of those we had seen in 1999 and 2005.

 

The vineyards were harvested in the following order in 2009:

Corton: September 10 (The Corton’s maturity was well in advance of Vosne-Romanée.)
Richebourg: September 13
Romanée-Conti: September 14
La Tâche: September 14 and 15 (The grapes on the young, 8-year-old vines of La Tâche were so ripe and fine that we decided to include them in the grand cuvée.)
Romanée-St.-Vivant: September 15-16
Grands Échézeaux: September 17-18
Échézeaux: September 18-19
Montrachet: September 15 (Over the course of the year the evolution of the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays was curious and quite different from the normal maturation process. The Chardonnay flowering was at least one week later than that of the Pinots. However, there was such an extreme reactive response of the Chardonnays in the last hot weeks of the summer that the delay in maturity we had first noticed with flowering — which was sustained over the course of the growing season — was nearly cancelled out. We harvested the Montrachet vineyard on September 15, before having finished the harvest of the reds. We have high hopes of producing one of our most exceptional Montrachet vintages, the fruit was so glorious, golden, ultra-ripe, in a word, sumptuous, and at the same time, of a beauty defying all description).

 

At the time of this writing — October 7, 2009 — fermentations are slow, regular and reaching high temperatures naturally. The quality of the grapes and the richness of the material enables us to aspire to long "cuvaisons," or "fermenting in cuves or vats." Colors are garnet red, almost black. It is a vintage of high lineage, reflecting the elevated level of the magnificent grapes we harvested, that seems to be coming into the world in the cuves.

 

Vintage Report by Domaine Moillard: Winter 2008-2009 was very cold and dry. Spring came slowly with a yo-yoing thermometer. Summer started with radiant sunshine and summer temperatures lasted up to September. The vintage is characterised by exceptional sunshine, particularly in January, May and August.
The grape harvest started in the second week in September. The yield was high; the grapes were rich and concentrated. The white wines are lip-smacking, with great alcohol/acidity balance; for the reds, the tannins are concentrated with lots of flesh. This magnificent vintage shows that quantity can rhyme with quality!

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Napa 2009 Vintage Report by Tb  “I consider the vintage 2009 was the start of a three year cooling cycle (2009, 2010, 2011) that ended with the 2012 vintage.  If I look at the big picture of the decade I see warming each year from 2006, 2007 and then 2008.  2009 then started a cooling cycle where the vintages were progressively cooler and wetter. Out of these vintages the 2011 was the coolest and wettest. I am pleased to see the vintage 2012 is breaking this cycle.”

“The budbreaks were almost 15 days later than the previous warmer vintages. The summer was generally cool with only two heat spikes above 100 degrees, one in June and one in July. Fruit matured slowly and relatively evenly, with wonderful purity. This is one of the reasons why Dana Estates Cabernets from the 2009 vintage show such finesse and approachability at a young age. However, the near perfect growing season ended suddenly with unseasonably powerful rain in early October. With rare exception, the fruit that came in after the rain was declassified. Fortunately, the fruit that came in before this rain was of the highest quality.” Cameron Vawter, Winemaker – Dana Estates

 

May-Britt & Denis Malbec, prorietors of Notre Vin and consultants for Blankiet, Kapscandy, xxx

“The growing season from bud break, mid-March to early May, was extremely dry. This pattern changed in early May with a rainfall that ended up putting over three inches on Howell Mountain. This late rain gave the vines ample moisture to allow for very good growth with minimal inputs from us. The pre-set cluster numbers looked very good heading into bloom. The bloom period was cool and extended which resulted in a limited set in numerous Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. The veraison was expected to be extended as well due to the bloom experience, but surprisingly, the change of color was actually compact, which will create very uniform ripening, as the Cabernet Sauvignon moved along remarkably fast during this period, particularly on the mountain. With little to no frost, very few heat spikes and beautiful moderate temperatures during the summer it looked like the perfect scenario for harvest. The end of August into early September saw the most significant heat spike with the lowest humidity of the season. Sugars moved up nicely through this period, anywhere from two to four Brix. Through the month of September, very short and mild heat spikes occurred about every seven to ten days and humidity levels fell a few times below 20%, further increasing the risk of berry dehydration. Managing irrigation before and after these spikes was critical to avoid dehydration. October began with mild high-temperatures and, more importantly, low-temperatures moving down into the mid thirties. A significant rain event happened on October 13th with about three inches rainfall. Another lighter rain occurred on the 19th of October. The effect of this rain could be measured in the uptake of moisture to the plants which caused some swelling to the berries and in many cases helped to limit brix readings. Also of concern after the rain was the onset of rot, Penicillium spp. and possibly Aspergillus. Fortunately this rot was seen on sunburned berries only, usually on the afternoon side of the vine and was pretty limited on Howell Mountain, so a quick pass to remove these infected berries prior to harvest prevented the rot to be delivered to the wineries. In general, the harvest was on average a week later than normal. All in all a relatively uneventful growing season until the harvest period.

 

Cory Empting, Winemaker – Harlan & Bond Estates:

“This was a vintage that yielded wines with great layers and nuances thanks to prolonged harvest period. The fruit material was very ripe, but showed as well a lot of freshness and lively acidity. For me it is reminiscent of the 2005 but with a greater degree of concentration.”

“We witnessed lower than average rainfall and the growing season was long with very even temperatures during most of the year. After the first week in September the weather cooled off significantly which lead to moderate to long periods between veraison and harvest for all of our properties. Yields were slightly elevated as we had an excellent fruit set due to good weather during bloom. We did a green harvest at veraison reducing the fruit by 15-25%. At harvest the differences in rootstock, topography and exposition were exaggerated so we had to do many passes and segregate a little more in some properties. Luckily we had almost a solid month to harvest without pressure. We were able to get 94% of the vineyards harvested before the heavy – almost 5 inches – rainfall in October 12. After the rain we let the remaining blocks dry out a bit and then we went in and harvested almost a week later. It is noteworthy to mention that many of those wines turned out to be much better than expected.”

 

Nick Gislason, Winemaker – Screaming Eagle:

“The 2009 reminds me most of 1997, where we also had a nice dry spring with less vigorous vines on vineyards, a moderate summer with few heat spikes, and good crop set as well that allowed for long hang-time during the mild autumn. The vintage was nearly picture perfect in the vineyard for our characteristic, fresh wine style.” 

”The spring began with very few frosts (unlike 2008 which had many), and warm conditions, leading to healthy, balanced crop loads.  Then, as the spring went on, conditions continued to be warm and dry, which served to naturally down-regulate the vine canopy vigor and bring the vineyard into a great balance between leaf and fruit development, requiring very little additional shoot training.  As the summer came, and transitioned into the fall, we had warm conditions with far fewer high heat spikes (100+F) than in 2008, leading to great retention of freshness in the fruit, and floral, spicy, vibrant flavors very characteristic of a classic Screaming Eagle vintage. We harvested the Merlot during September 9-17, Cabernet Sauvignon from September 18 to October 10 and Cabernet Franc on October 1. The total amount of production was 750 cases.”

 

Allison Tauziet, Winemaker – Colgin Cellars:

“Our wines from this vintage are inky in color, fresh in flavor, and have incredibly silky and approachable tannins. The quality of the fruit was uncompromised, and the wines reflect that purity of fruit and elegance of tannin.”

“The 2009 vintage was a vintage that was characterized by balance. The budbreak started right on schedule in mid March. Though we had only received about two thirds of our normal rainfall over the winter, we were fortunate to have a few minor rains in April and May which would tide the vines over through the beginning of summer. The summer showed as a fairly classic with its weather patterns. We experienced only a few days of heat over 100 degrees, which was followed by our traditional fog pattern coming in from the bay. The fog continued through much of August which lengthened the early maturation stage of the fruit, giving ample time for the vines to create fruit deep in pigment, and complex in flavor.  Several small heat events in September rounded out the flavor and tannin development, allowing us to begin picking the Merlot and Syrah.  Gorgeous mild weather the first week of October provided perfect conditions for ripening the Cabernet, which we picked steadily through the middle of the month. We finished harvest just before the cold and wet weather hit the vineyards on October 13.”

 

Fred Schrader, Proprietor – Schrader Cellars

”The 2009 vintage was more promising than 2008, significantly more fruit forward. While not as spectacular as 2007, the 2009 vintage was on par with the fantastic 2005 vintage.”

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Germany Vintage report by Wilhelm Weil: Vintage report 2009 / The winter of 2008/2009 was the coldest since well over a decade. Particularly in the early weeks of January, thermometer readings seldom reached above freezing and temperatures dropped to as low as -15°C/5°F. The weather remained cold even well into March, and included a late snowfall on the 25th of the month – all of which boded for a late bud burst.

Yet April exceeded all expectations. Almost without exception the weather was as warm and sunny as one would expect in early summer, and it was the second warmest April on record since 1884, when weather findings were first documented at the research institute in Geisenheim/Rheingau. This led to explosive growth. By the end of the month, vegetation was some two weeks ahead of schedule and generally proceeded thereafter under relatively balanced weather conditions. Unfortunately, a cold spell during blossoming resulted in damage due to coulure and poor fruit set, leaving very loose clusters and a slight reduction in yield, which, however, also set the stage for clusters that would be able to remain on the vine for a long time.

The 12th of August marked the start of the ripening phase of development, i.e. about two weeks ahead of schedule. Ideal weather conditions enabled must weights to steadily rise. By early October, must weights of at least 90° Oechsle were measured in all sites – coupled with an extraordinarily healthy crop of optimal physiological ripeness. One could truly say that the grapes looked very tempting and tasted just as good. The grape harvest for our Estate Rieslings began on 5 October. Because blossoming was relatively early, grapes had been on the vine for at least 115 days by then. We have great expectations for these wines, thanks to the exceptionally high quality of the crop. The next phase of the harvest was devoted to bringing in golden yellow, fully ripened and healthy crop with must weights of ca. 100° Oechsle – destined for the production of our finest dry wines from the Erste Lage (Premier Cru) Klosterberg, Turmberg and Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Gräfenberg sites.

The weather in October was somewhat variable, yet the crop remained healthy, thanks to reduced cluster density and cool temperatures. As such, we were also able to harvest grapes well suited for the production of grandiose wines with naturally ripe sweetness in the Prädikat category Spätlese. In the later stages of the harvest, a very fine “noble rot” (Botrytis) set in that enabled us to harvest grapes suitable for all other Prädikat levels, from Auslese to Trockenbeerenauslese. By harvesting selectively, we could pick grapes with must weights of up to 241° Oechsle. As such, we remain in the remarkable position of being able to produce wines of every quality category, up to and including Trockenbeerenauslese, for the 21st year in a row.

Vintage 2009: our steep sites, Kiedricher Kosterberg, Kiedrich Turmberg and Kiedrich Gräfenberg, and their extraordinarily physiological ripe grapes yielded truly great crops that promise wines of great extract (substance) and perceptible mineral tones that reflect their appellations of origin. We can thank Mother Nature for this.

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The best wines of the 2009 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Pétrus 98.3 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
2 Château Margaux 97.9 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
3 Le Pin 97.9 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
4 Lafite-Rothschild 97.6 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
5 Cheval Blanc 97.6 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
6 Château Latour 97.5 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
7 Montrose 97.5 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
8 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 97.2 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou Bordeaux, France
9 Château Haut-Brion 97.2 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
10 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 97.2 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
11 Lafleur 97.1 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
12 d'Yquem 97.0 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
13 Chateau Clos L' Eglise 97.0 Château Clos L' Eglise Bordeaux, France
14 Steinberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel 97.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
15 L'Eglise-Clinet 97.0 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Bordeaux, France
16 Vieux Chateau Certan 97.0 Vieux Château Certan Bordeaux, France
17 La Mission Haut Brion 96.9 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
18 Château Cos d'Estournel 96.8 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
19 Château Mouton-Rothschild 96.8 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
20 La Mondotte 96.8 La Mondotte Bordeaux, France
21 Château Pontet Canet 96.7 Château Pontet Canet Bordeaux, France
22 Château Ausone 96.7 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
23 Montrachet 96.7 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
24 Pavie 96.6 Château Pavie Bordeaux, France
25 Château Angelus 96.6 Château Angelus Bordeaux, France
26 Le Dôme 96.5 Le Dome Bordeaux, France
27 Romanée Conti 96.5 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
28 Ermitage le Pavillon 96.4 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
29 Léoville-Las Cases 96.3 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
30 Steinberger Riesling Tba Goldkapsel 96.3 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
31 Chateau Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse 96.3 Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse Bordeaux, France
32 Chambertin 96.3 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
33 Château Hosanna 96.3 Château Hosanna Bordeaux, France
34 Hill of Grace 96.2 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
35 Clos Fourtet 96.2 Clos Fourtet Bordeaux, France
36 La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 96.0 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
37 Château Léoville Poyferré 96.0 Château Léoville Poyferré Bordeaux, France
38 Château Branaire 96.0 Château Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien, France
39 Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Spatlese 96.0 Weingut Josef Leitz Rheingau, Germany
40 Merlot 96.0 Blaxsta Vineyard Flen, Sweden
41 Chambolle Musigny Amoureuses 96.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
42 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 UPTick Vineyards Sonoma Valley, United States
43 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 96.0 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
44 Montrachet 96.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
45 Quinta dos Malvedos 96.0 Graham's Douro, Portugal
46 Hermannshöhle Großes Gewächs Riesling 96.0 Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff Nahe, Germany
47 Shiraz 96.0 Wynns Coonawarra Estate South Australia, Australia
48 La Romanée 96.0 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Burgundy, France
49 Château Clinet 96.0 Château Clinet Bordeaux, France
50 Chateau Bellevue-Mondotte 96.0 Château Bellevue-Mondotte Bordeaux, France
51 Le Montrachet 96.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
52 Château Violette 96.0 Château La Violette Bordeaux, France
53 Le Corton Grand Cru 96.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
54 "Pièce de Résistance" 96.0 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley, United States
55 Château Palmer 96.0 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
56 Clos des Papes 95.9 Paul Avril Rhône, France
57 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 95.9 E.Guigal Rhône, France
58 Trotanoy 95.9 Château Trotanoy Pomerol, France
59 La Tâche 95.9 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
60 Château L´Evangile 95.8 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
61 Riesling G-Max 95.7 Weingut Keller Rheinhessen, Germany
62 Tychson Hill 95.5 Colgin Cellars Napa Valley, United States
63 Barolo Cannubi Boschis 95.5 Luciano Sandrone Piedmont, Italy
64 Riesling Selection Hochrain 95.5 Franz Hirtzberger Wachau, Austria
65 Château Gracia 95.5 Château Gracia Bordeaux, France
66 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 95.5 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
67 Barolo Cerretta Vigna Bricco 95.5 Elio Altare Piedmont, Italy
68 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Perrieres 1er Cru 95.5 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
69 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 95.4 E.Guigal Rhône, France
70 Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 95.4 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
71 Les Astéries 95.3 Château Teyssier Bordeaux, France
72 Corton-Charlemagne 95.3 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
73 Hommage à Jacques Perrin 95.3 Château de Beaucastel Rhône, France
74 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 95.1 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Bordeaux, France
75 La Turque 95.0 E.Guigal Rhône, France
76 Riesling Smaragd Achleiten 95.0 Weingut Prager Wachau, Austria
77 Chevalier-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
78 Barolo 95.0 Aurelio Settimo Piedmont, Italy
79 Pinot Noir “Les Dijonnais” 95.0 Brick House Vineyards Oregon, United States
80 Château La Conseillante 95.0 Château La Conseillante Bordeaux, France
81 Richebourg 95.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
82 Clos-Vougeot Le Grand Maupertui 95.0 Anne Gros Burgundy, France
83 Achaval-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza 95.0 Achaval-Ferrer Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
84 Clos de Vougeot 95.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
85 Bâtard-Montrachet 95.0 Blain-Gagnard Burgundy, France
86 Château Raymond-Lafon 95.0 Château Raymond-Lafon Bordeaux, France
87 Clos Vougeot 95.0 Anne Gros Burgundy, France
88 Château de Valandraud 95.0 Château Valandraud St.Emilion, France
89 Château de Fargues 95.0 Château de Fargues Sauternes, France
90 Meursault les Gouttes d'Or 95.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
91 Echezeaux du Dessus 95.0 Jayer-Gilles Burgundy, France
92 Marojallia 95.0 Domaines Philippe Porcheron Bordeaux, France
93 Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard 95.0 Rhys Vineyards California, United States
94 Château Calon Ségur 95.0 Château Calon-Ségur Bordeaux, France
95 Marcobrunn Riesling Erstes Gewächs 95.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
96 Confidence(s) du Chateau Seguin 95.0 Chateau Seguin Bordeaux, France
97 Mount Edelstone 95.0 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
98 Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto 95.0 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, Italy
99 Pinot Noir "Justice" Vineyard 95.0 St Innocent Winery Oregon, United States
100 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Wynns Coonawarra Estate South Australia, Australia

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