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Bordeaux 2011 - Day Two: Tuesday 3rd April
- 3rd April 2012
first day we heard three different proprietors
compare 2011 to the 2001 vintage. This news made our
morning visit to sauternes even more exciting,
considering that ’01 is one of the great vintages
for sweet white wine, so what better place to start
than the world’s greatest. For 2011, Château d’Yquem
is a blend of 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc and it was quickly apparent that Semillon
in particular has really excelled in this vintage.
The Sauternes and Barsac estates were blessed in
2011 by the Indian Summer and fast developing ‘Noble
Rot’ (Botrytis). Most of the estates, as is the case
for Yquem, had a short harvest during the month of
September picking a fair share of ‘gold’ grapes in order
to provide freshness and balance – and boy is that
evident in the 2011! It might have only been 10am
but it was a wonderful start to the morning. It had
the opulence of 2009, but balanced with a crisp
freshness from the acidity. It’s early to suggest
this will be as good as 2001 – but there is no
doubting this will be a great wine.
Afternoon ‘Titannic’: UGC Pessac-Leognan, Domaine Clarence Dillon, UGC Saint Emilion & Pomerol:
wasn’t just the sweet whites, which were garnering
attention pre-primeurs, but the dry whites were also
getting heavily mentioned as star performers. So it
was a welcome trip north from Sauternes, to the
region most closely located to Bordeaux city centre.
The short trip would have been a whole lot smoother
if our car – which on first impressions looked good
– wasn’t slowly falling apart and our map reading
skills and ability to drive on ‘slick’ tyres on
narrow vineyards roads wasn’t being put to the test.
The wines at this UGC typified the vintage, in that
it is particularly difficult to generalize. With the
whites there were some very fresh, expressive and
balanced wines but not across the board. The reds,
it was definitely a battle of the tannins (a theme
for 2011) and weren’t showing as impressively as the
whites. Those that came out on top were Domaine de
Chevalier and Haut Bailly, but the clearest
indication of the quality at this tasting was the
inability of any of our team to remember a standout
without checking their notes.
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