You will already have read plenty about the 2009 Bordeaux vintage: always enthusiastic, often hyped, and generally encouraging you to buy at every level regardless of price. Private Cellar’s take is a little more restrained.
Four of us visited Bordeaux for the traditional ‘Union des Grands Crus’ tasting week, just before Easter, reputedly joined by a record 5,000 other wine traders from every corner of the globe. Much of what we tasted we loved. There are some brilliant wines this year. However the vintage is not as homogenous as 2005: the highs are higher and the lows very much lower.
We loved the freshness, elegance, and seductive textures of the best wines and we loathed the raw over extracted efforts from the heavy-handed performers. The best wines offer two very different styles: those fresh wines crafted with a subtle hand, often from older vines; and the richly fruited more modern wines that managed to control and balance fruit with alcohol. For full in-depth details I would encourage you to read Nicola’s Bordeaux 2009 Report. Nicola is our Master of Wine, has been buying Primeurs for twenty years, and is a buyer rather than a salesperson so the report contains no hype, just solid background information.
- Pauillac, St Julien, St Estèphe and Pomerol performed best
- Margaux, Pessac-Léognan and St Emilion were less consistent but there are some great wines
- Smaller communes such as Fronsac, Haut Médoc, Listrac and Moulis have made excellent drinking wines which should offer terrific value
- A number of wines are over extracted. Watch out!
- The alcohol needs to be balanced by fruit (see Bordeaux 2009 Report)
- The sweet whites are utterly delicious – 2009 was the greatest young Yquem we have ever tasted
- The top end will be painfully expensive and in very short supply
- We will release the wines by email as the châteaux make their offerings (likely to start in earnest at the end of May)
- Priority will be given to customers who have supported us in the past
- Balanced orders from across the offer are more likely to be successful
- If you have a “wants” list please send it to us by e-mail (click here)
- Nothing beats actually speaking to us - we are well placed to advise and we don't bite! Our direct telephone numbers are below.
‘2009 is an incredibly exciting vintage of opulence, power, and richness…’ - Robert Parker
‘I have never given so many really high scores when tasting en primeur anywhere’ Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com
Tim Atkin MW warns not to buy 'a single bottle from anyone who tells you it's the vintage of the century. It isn’t', adding that potential purchasers should 'trust journos, not merchants'. (We endorse the first statement and refute the second!). We also wholeheartedly agree with his comment in the Times: ‘The great thing about the  vintage is that you don't have to buy at the very top end to drink well.’
‘The point about wine isn't to have the best all the time and to be dismissive of, and take little interest in, the rest … If we dismiss anything that's not in the top drawer, we miss out on the qualities and character of individual wines and vintages, making our experience of wine narrower and duller.’ Joanna Simon, the Wine Gang
The campaign promises to fast, fun, exciting and inevitably frustrating. We hope that you will allow us to help you on the journey.