For several years a blind tasting of all the great Bordeaux takes place in England where some of the biggest English buyers (in other words in the world), a few English journalists participate. This year for the 2003 tasting, were included: Andrew Jefford, Sebastian Payne, Steven Spurrier and even the courageous Neal Martin.
I never participated as a taster, but I always read, with interest, the tasting notes, for this group has a pretty good palate and can especially identify wines with defects (corks, TCA).
Yes, it is a blind tasting!
Each wine is tasted within its own appellation which could be seen as an advantage. In fact, in 2003 it is not difficult to overate Saint Estèphe and Pauillac and underrate Pomerol, or the category Médoc-Haut Médoc-Moulis. Well, we are in the kind of tastings similar to those organized by Jacques Luxey and of course (even if I don’t totally agree), the 1st growths are all tasted together.
In the end, the successes and failures are identified.
I looked closely at these last notes, and noticed that what was already known is being confirmed. For instance, the high standing of Pape Clément in the Graves, which would have been more useful to taste side-by-side with Haut-Brion, better rated for it is noted with its peers. The nice success of Sociando Mallet, Lascombes in Margaux (even though it is not the “English” style). The nice notes of Ducru Beaucaillou, Pontet Canet, Léoville Barton, Las Cases and Poyferré, as well as those of Pichon Baron and Comtesse. The well known success of Cos, Montrose and the nice success of my wine which was rated right after Ausone and Cheval Blanc (both tasted with the 1st). All the 1st growths were, of course, well rated, with Latour and Ausone in front of all the others.
I checked out the sites of English wholesalers, and especially my friends’ (who rarely give me good notes during the primeur) where the notes are posted.
In any case, Valandraud had better luck here than during the last tastings of the Grand Jury Européen where my 2001 vintage played yoyo between the 3 different classifications…