Drinking Well Episode 1: Bordeaux
Author: Hannah Crosbie
Introducing Drinking Well, the podcast designed to help you enjoy and shape your wine collection. In our first series, you’ll hear from our expert Buyers and Account Managers as they discuss which vintages to withdraw from your cellar this year. We also explore the most exciting developments in key fine wine regions, as well as revealing our team’s favourite wines and producers.
For our first episode, we delve into Bordeaux – our most-collected fine wine region. Buyer Max Lalondrelle and Account Manager Henrietta Gullifer sit down with host Hannah Crosbie to share their tips and advice on which vintages to open, producers to look out for and more. Read on for a taste of what you can expect from the episode:
Which bottle sparked your passion for Bordeaux?
Max It was a 1987 bottle of Ch. Haut-Brion. My uncle poured it; I was 17 and it was one of the most extraordinary things I’d ever tasted. It was intellectual; something you start to think about. It made me realise there is something more than a simple beverage; there is a story here.
Henrietta I was helping at a Long Room dinner. Before every event, we check the wines to see if they are corked; I opened a bottle of 2000 Ch. Conseillante. I’d never tasted anything like it; it really was an extraordinary revelation. And now, having since been to Pomerol and knowing how rare it is to have a bottle to try, it makes it even more special.
Which Bordeaux vintages should I drink in 2022?
Max At the lower end, the 2008 and 2011 vintages are drinking very well. At home, I’m drinking my 2008 Ch. Chasse-Spleen, which at the time I paid around £13 or £14 a bottle for; it’s fantastic. For the big boys, you should look to 2005 – and anything older than that. At the top end the 2005s are showing extremely well.
This year, I’ll be opening few vintages from Ch. Les Carmes Haut-Brion – a new kid on the block, but fast becoming some of the most sought-after wines in Bordeaux. I’m looking forward to seeing the evolution since we started working with them in 2011. I have a few vintages such as the 2015 I haven’t tried since we tasted En Primeur.
I had a special birthday for my wife recently; we had a few bottles of 1996 Ch. Palmer – which was absolutely delicious, and I was lucky enough to have bought that at the right time. The 1996s are drinking extremely well, especially for the First and Second Growths. It’s one of those vintages that’s classic and any 1996s at that level are fantastic – very reminiscent of the 2016 vintage.
Henrietta I’m seeing a lot of people starting to bring out their 2009s, particularly from middle- or lower-rated châteaux. For some, you can go a bit later – the 2011s and 2012s – there are just certain producers that are more approachable in a younger age. We’re also seeing people pull out their 2000s and 2005s and at the very top level. Going from wines from 2000 is a good bet
Recently, I’ve tried the 2007 Ch. Haut-Bailly and 2004 Clos de Marquis, which were really delicious. They’re not from lauded vintages, but are drinking very well at the moment. The last really special bottle – 1996 Ch. Léoville Las Cases – it had that really nice balance: a hint of pure fruit, and that lovely, savoury edge that you get in mature Bordeaux.
For more tips and insights from Max and Henrietta, you can listen to the complete episode of Drinking Well here.