First thoughts on the Bordeaux 2011 vintage



Like the wildebeest at the beginning of the rainy season wine buyers from around the world will migrate to new pastures very shortly. The Bordeaux Châteaux will open their doors to wine professionals in order to present the new 2011 vintage. I, along with 6 of my colleagues will be travelling to Bordeaux the 1st week of April to taste the 2011.

Very little has been written about this vintage so far and the main reason is mainly because we cannot generalise about it… This is not the hottest nor the driest nor the coldest and maybe not even the cheapest vintage ever. Bordeaux is a very big area and just about everything has been thrown at it during the growing season, all in different places and at different times. Cold in early summer, wet in august and a long ripening season intertwined with some hail storms have made it very difficult for the media and the merchant to speculate.

For what we know so far it is going to be not only a “winemaker’s” vintage but as far as the consumers are concerned a “merchant’s” vintage. Consumers will have to heavily rely on the relation they have with their merchants in order to secure the right advice and the right wines.

Ch. Pichon-Longueville-Baron

Some of the Châteaux have produced real gems, along the lines of 1996 while others have not and this is our job to find out for you. Because of advances in winemaking technology these days, there won’t be any very bad wines and if the prices are correct this could be a great opportunity to fill up the cellars with some great drinking Bordeaux. Those who have bought ’02/’04 and ’08 will be well aware what great value these wines can be and how delicious they are now. But, with 35% less yield, the Châteaux’s cellars empty and 2 successful previous vintages it will be hard for the properties to justify a real drop in prices… Hopefully the lack of business from the Asian market will see some sense in the pricing and a one-off opportunity to reconnect with the traditional consumer.