Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The horse is the winegrowers best friend

We tasted Les 5 – who are now only 4 – at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte which, also uses horses to plow the vineyards. Besides being beautiful to see, it creates jobs and in addition, is environmentally friendly. I long to see teams of oxen working in clay soils and all we will have to do is recreate dorms where male and female pickers can fool around (before marriage)

With 3 vintages tasted side by side you understand the original style of each vintage, (relative) austerity for 2008, except for Smith and Canon La Gaffelière, the opulence of 2009 and the complexity of 2010 with noticeable tannins and acidity, fortunately well balanced with the best by a nice feeling of sweetness due to the ripeness.

Once more, these stupid words like “all the wines taste the same” come back to my ears as well as the globalization of wine, Parker, Rollan, the Wine Spectator, the Revue du Vin de France, Bettane or Burtschy, Desseauve, Quarin and even James Suckling. They are not out of a job for all the wines are becoming less and less similar and vintages in Bordeaux are different.

The improvement of sorting techniques, selections are bringing out more and more styles of wines, terroirs and producers. The proof could be seen this weekend with the 2003 vintages of 3 fine wines from Saint Emilion, each different and so good in their own style despite the dilemma of that time, or the obvious difference between these 3 wines in such different vintages as 2005, 2008 and 2007 and which could have been so similar (on paper): same consultant with Michel Rollan and clayey limestone terroir (already so different if you look closely even without a technician).

I felt sad – and happy, when I tasted, with a famous American wine critic, how high the quality of Bordeaux 2010 is: fruity, with a precision rarely found in Bordeaux; I felt sad due to the accumulated stress, allergies, exhaustion, and the idea that these wines are still hard to sell and that I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of a critic and comment wines sold for 1200/1400 Euros for 900 liters which are of such quality!

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