To be completely honest, Bordeaux is not a region that I instantly fell in love with. More a region that I’ve grown to understand and, in doing so, now adore. I had the opportunity to be there again this year to taste the latest vintage, 2016, something that I’ve now done for many years. As well as looking at these very young wines with En Primeur (selling the wines in barrel before release) in mind, I tasted extensively through vintages that are in bottle and available for sale now.
The 2009 and 2010 vintages were ones that I was naturally interested in, being the greatest quality pair of vintages in recent times, if not ever. Not one to limit options, I also tried numerous other vintages and found that, in fact, it was the 2012 and 2014 vintages that were perfect. While 2009 and 2010 are exceptional, there’s no going past the fact that they are vintages that need a significant amount of time in the bottle. 2012 and 2014 were vintages that were considered classic; not exceptional, not poor, rather a very classic vintage for Bordeaux. Exceptional Bordeaux vintages are the ones that you want for the cellar, the great wines that will live for a long time. These classic vintages are generally earlier drinking and, as such, a great proposition for short term cellaring and enjoying young.
We have just landed a container from Bordeaux which includes many of the wines that were selected from these tastings. These wines have been shipped to New Zealand in temperature controlled containers; sadly, not something that is afforded to all wine that is imported into New Zealand. You can rest assured that all wine that Glengarry imports is shipped with temperature control. There are many new wines in this container, including this selection below.
Château Kirwan Petit Kirwan 2014
Château Kirwan is a classified growth situated in Margaux on the left bank. Petit Kirwan is the little brother of the third growth Château Kirwan, the fruit for this wine coming off the same site as the fruit for the grand vin, though from younger vines. The resulting wine thus has lively fragrant fruits. This year is 45% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. Discussing this wine with Philippe, the technical director at Kirwan, he clarified that he is not a winemaker, rather a wine helper; that all the work happens in the vineyard; his job is to help the grapes into wine and in to the bottle. This is a brilliant wine, it’s approachable, ready to enjoy now and with fantastic fruit.
Château Saint-Paul 2014
Saint-Paul is a 21-hectare vineyard in the left bank, sitting on a mix of clay and gravel soil. The 21 hectares cover one parcel of land; the plantings are dominated by Merlot and average 25 years. Saint-Paul sits in a prime location between Sociando-Mallet and Charmail. The wine is classified as a Cru Bourgeois and is Merlot dominant; there’s a very good core of concentrated juicy red fruit, with a tight yet generous nature to the leathery tannins. The length is long, persistent and concentrated to the finish. A very smart Cru Bourgeois that currently has Stéphane Derenoncourt as its consultant, following a direction change in 2009 that saw Saint-Paul head for quality. In doing so there’s been a move to organic and far better selection, all of which you can see very clearly in the glass. Annual production is 7,500 cases. This was a real find; RRP is $29.99. Excellent value for money from a lovely elegant vintage.
Glengarry – Devonport and Takapuna. www.glengarry.co.nz