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Bordeaux 2011 – En Primeur week 2nd-6th April - 29th March 2012
By Tom Gearing (Director) - Cult Wines Ltd -

After what has been both a positive and hectic start to the year, we already find ourselves at the end of March. Next Monday we are making our annual trip across the channel to Bordeaux for the En Primeur 2011 tastings. Having seen such widespread acclaim cast over both the 2009 and 2010 vintages, early murmurs surrounding the 2011 offering suggest a more difficult year for the winemakers.

Please find attached a copy of our schedule for the week, as you can see there will be no rest for the wicked. We have arranged private tastings at 24 Chateaux as well as 5 UGC visits. It all looks set to be another fantastic trip and a big thank you in advance to Tom Turner, who having done such a sterling job last year will once again be designated driver for the week.

Critics Corner 2011:

Whilst the Bordeaux Chateaux will be welcoming wine professionals from all over the world with open arms next week, the vintage has already been placed under the microscopic noses & palates of the vast majority of prominent critics. Some critic scores for Bordeaux’s newest vintage are expected to be released next week, but a handful of world’s most highly acclaimed critics have already summarised their initial thoughts on the vintage.

Robert Parker Jnr:

After initially tweeting that he ‘had no interest in the 2011 vintage’ prior to tasting in Bordeaux, Parker returned stating that ‘2011 was better than expected…close to 2001 & 2008 in overall quality’.

Parker confirmed what is best described as a ‘winemakers’ vintage, affirming that the vintage was ‘very rewarding for those that got it right’, paying particular reference to Pomerol and Medoc’s biggest luminaries.

There is no doubt that this has been an uncomfortable vintage for the wine makers and Parker fears that the vintage could be another rollercoaster ride for consumers and trade.

James Suckling:

Even with an ‘upside down growing season’, Suckling seems surprisingly impressed by the 2011s, stating that whilst there will be very few 100 pointers he envisages ‘a handful of wines will be 95pts or more’. Suckling also lavished praise on the Bordeaux winemakers, crediting ‘meticulous vineyard management and precise harvesting’ for producing ‘racy reds with pretty perfumes’ and ‘exceptional’ whites both dry and sweet, with noteworthy admiration of La Mission Haut Brion Blanc, d’Yquem & Rieussec.

The main concern for Suckling and many other market commentators is pricing & he feels that releases at 20/30% of current 2008 prices could potentially ensure that the 2011s sell through.

James Molesworth:

Molesworth like Suckling has indicated that some Chateaux owners will potentially release their wines at 40/50% of 2010 prices which would revive U.S. interest in Bordeaux, whilst other Chateaux could rely on Asian demand to stabilise rather than reduce prices.





Jeannie Cho Lee: 

Jeannie’s full tasting notes and scores will not be published until 1st April but her initial impressions of the ‘challenging’ vintage seem to echo those of Suckling and Parker. Jeannie like Parker was particularly impressed by the consistency of the Pomerol wines and ‘even the 2nd wines of the Grand Vin’, and seems equally impressed as Suckling by the whites of Bordeaux 2011 vintage.




As always, you can follow our daily movements and initial thoughts via twitter @CultwinesUK and by using the #bdx11 keep up to date with the latest news.

You can also expect a full report to be published upon our return as well as our unique vintage comparison chart and expert advice.

If you have any specific requests or would like to submit a wish list then please do so.



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