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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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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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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A Look at some 2013 Clarets, white Graves & Sauternes

Posted by Frank Ward on October 31, 2015

AvatarOctober 2015. Everybody knows that the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was an extremely difficult one. Nonetheless, some of the greatest estates managed to fashion creditable wines, wines which would, in some cases, give more pleasure over the next few years than many much greater wines from greater vintages, that are completely closed up now and require decades of further storage. That being said, some 2013s at the top end will live for 20-30 years. Cool rainy years impose serious limitations on most properties.[….]

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Château Margaux and the City of Bordeaux

Posted by Frank Ward on August 30, 2015

AvatarAugust 2015. On my way to attend a banquet at Château Margaux, given “in honour of the international press”, I got to thinking about how to make the very best of the trip down to Bordeaux, over and above the pleasure afforded by the convivial gathering that awaited me – and several hundred others – at that renowned First Growth. After all, international travel is time-consuming, even if inside Europe, so you should extract as much as you can from each and every single trip. Every hour of our short life is precious; and every hour of boredom erodes the quality of that life. [….]

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Calon Ségur Tasting & Visit to Manoir des Quat’Saisons

Posted by Frank Ward on July 14, 2015

AvatarJuly 2015. I’ve twice been to Lutyens restaurant on Fleet Street in the last year, in both instances for a dinner combined with a vertical tasting of wines from Bordeaux estates. On this second occasion the Château in question was Calon Ségur – a property I’ve always respected, and even had a kind of nostalgia for, since drinking a quite wonderful 1947 with the late owner, Philippe Gasqueton, at his dinner table at the Château many years ago. Lutyens is a restaurant I might never have visited had I not chosen to attend those two dinners. [….]

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