Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

Posts Tagged ‘Bordeaux’

A Further Tasting of 2015 Clarets – Part I

Posted by Frank Ward on March 22, 2020

March 2020. A tasting of 2015 clarets was recently held in London under the auspices of the Institute of Masters of Wine. It included all of the five First Growths of the Médoc and two of the four Premiers Grands Crus Classés of Saint Émilion. It confirmed that 2015 is an exceptional vintage for claret. Herewith a selection (about one-third) of the ninety-eight wines on show […].

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1986 Château Lafite: My Choice as Wine of the Year – for 1988!

Posted by Frank Ward on March 15, 2020

March 2020. A wine-loving friend, the composer David Matthews, told me last week that he had just tasted 1986 Château Lafite at the home of a friend and found it absolutely outstanding, a miracle of subtlety, depth, and harmony. This reminded of the fact that, when living in Sweden in the 1980s, I’d picked out that very wine as Wine of the Year in my monthly wine column in the Swedish trade magazine, “Restauranger & Storkök”. I’d actually tasted the wine at the Château, in 1987, and been immensely impressed by it. […].

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GRANDS CRUS CLASSES CLARETS SHOW WINES FROM 2015-2018

Posted by Frank Ward on September 1, 2019

July 2019. It’s not news that Bordeaux no longer has bad vintages. They’re all good in their myriad ways. Not, at least, when it concerns châteaux that are either (1) well-financed and well-run; or (2) simply well-run even when not well-financed. The great Emile Peynaud taught them how to make the best possible wines; then a new generation of oenologists, many trained by him, carried on the good work. The results of that work showed at a recent tasting in London of a number of classed growth clarets from different parts of Bordeaux. Most showed three, even four of the last few vintages – a rare chance [….].

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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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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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