Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Archive for the ‘Bordeaux’ Category

Bordeaux Excels Itself in 2016 Vintage

Posted by Frank Ward on November 27, 2018

November 2018. A splendid range of clarets from the 2016 vintage was recently presented in London by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. What follows are my descriptions of some forty of the numerous wines on show. Colours were universally dark and lustrous; few wines were over-oaked or over-extracted. Harmony and refinement were the keynotes. [….].

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Tasting of Classed Growth Clarets 2014-2017

Posted by Frank Ward on July 31, 2018

July 2018. An illuminating tasting of three vintages from several leading Bordeaux Châteaux was recently held in London. What it showed – or rather furnished further proof of – is that a majority of such estates are now making better wines than in their entire history. Why? Because (1) greater demand has pushed up prices, thus financing all manner of improvements and expansions; and (2) because of colossal advances in oenology and viticulture over the past few decades [….].

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2013 Clarets – A Variable Vintage Part II

Posted by Frank Ward on February 26, 2018

February 2018. PART II : SAINT ESTÈPHE, SAINT JULIEN, PAUILLAC [….].

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2013 Clarets – A Variable Vintage Part I

Posted by Frank Ward on January 12, 2018

January 2018. The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was a difficult one, with few wines below Cru Classe level able to generate any excitement. Charles Taylor M.W. reports that the flowering was “catastrophic”, the weather generally freakish, while the harvest was marked by heavy rains, high temperatures, and – in some cases – the onset of rot. All the same, many Châteaux managed to come up with good to excellent wines, a few even verging on greatness – the latter at properties that managed to achieve optimum ripeness without the onset of rot. As one wise vigneron said to me years ago, “when you concentrate a wine, you concentrate the bad elements as well as the good.”[….].

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An Array of 2015 Clarets Part II : The Médoc

Posted by Frank Ward on November 25, 2017

November 2017. THE MÉDOC. I leave behind me Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Émilion, and Pomerol and within – literally – seconds find myself in the Médoc. Normally that journey takes an hour or two but this time only a few instants. That’s the advantage of attending group tastings, where several scores of wines are presented under one single roof. All within a few tables away of one another. And all to be sampled at will. [….]

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An Array of 2015 Clarets Part I

Posted by Frank Ward on October 15, 2017

October 2017. GRAVES, PESSAC-LEOGNAN, SAINT EMILION, & POMEROL. A big tasting of 2015 clarets was recently presented in London by the Union of Grands Crus of Bordeaux. This was my first sniff of that well-reputed year. My overall impression? A very good rather than great vintage – but with a number of really outstanding wines. Nonetheless, claret probably lasts better than any other table wine on earth (a 1978 Château Palmer recently opened by me was utterly magnificent and continued to improve after 24 hours, an 1870 Rauzan Segla was magnificent only two years [….]

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MAJOR TASTING OF 2012 CLARETS PART II : PESSAC-LÉOGNAN, SAINT ÉMILION, POMEROL, FIRST GROWTHS

Posted by Frank Ward on January 23, 2017

January 2017. PESSAC-LÉOGNAN. Both châteaux BOUSCAUT and DE FIEUZAL were light, elegant, and approachable, with good balance and will drink well in the coming years. HAUT–BAILLY was in a reticent mood, with an elegant aroma reminiscent of freshly sharpened pencil and autumn berries. It too will evolve smoothly if unlikely to generate great excitement. However, such top estates can be very closed up when young and all three may well surprise us. Made of sterner stuff was [….]

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BIG LONDON TASTING OF 2012 CLARETS PART I : Haut Médoc, Margaux, Saint Estèphe, Saint Julien, Pauillac

Posted by Frank Ward on January 10, 2017

January 2017. Over eighty clarets from the 2012 vintage were recently shown in London by the Institute of Masters of Wine. It was a challenging year, with fluctuating weather, a tardy summer, and some rain at harvest time. Needless to say, the best-run properties came out best. As Charles Taylor M.W. commented: “in a difficult year, producers with commitment and resources achieved much better results than those with limited opportunities or modest ambition”.[….]

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Tasting of Classed Growth Clarets from 2014

Posted by Frank Ward on December 5, 2016

December 2016. A big tasting of classed-growth clarets from the 2014 vintage was recently held in London under the auspices of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB). The following are tasting notes on some 30 of the 100 or so wines on show. I spent an average of 4 minutes per wine. Why that long? The actual sampling takes only a minute or two. But the crucial aftertaste, often the most illuminating element of all, doesn’t reveal its full complexity (or lack of it) in less than 3-4 minutes.[….].

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Four Quartets : Four Vintages of Four Top Clarets

Posted by Frank Ward on May 27, 2016

AvatarMay 2016. A grouping of leading Bordeaux châteaux got together in London recently, each showing four recent vintages – 2012, ’13, ’14, and ’15 – of their grand vin. A most illuminating exercise: every sample showed how each of the châteaux responded to the complex, and unique, set of problems and opportunities presented by each vintage. Here are my impressions from four of the properties […].

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