The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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Page 120 of 124

CELLAR FOCUS A Vintage Redeemed T he early word on the 2008 vintage was not good. Much of the growing season had been cool and rainy and most vintners expected the worst. But much to the delight and surprise of the Bordelais, a warm and sunny harvest time performed a miraculous rescue and the end result is a vintage that is, as a whole, quite good. The wines are classic and balanced with some good flesh. Unlike the 2007 wines, which tend to be a bit thin and under- ripe, this year pro- duced many lovely wines. And there’s good news on prices: 2008 Bordeaux wines, because they were initially offered in the depths of the recession and weren’t expected to be particularly good, are going to arrive in the market at what can only be described as “rea- sonable” prices. In addition, the much-anticipated 2009 vintage is looming ahead and the first wines from 2010 seem to be just as good. Figure the 2008s to be about half the price of equivalent 2009s. For restaurants, retailers and consumers, this vintage may offer a unique buying opportunity. Here are some of my favorite bottlings from the 2008 Bordeaux vintage, which was presented to press and trade at the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in New York in January. Château Angélus 2008 Saint-Emilion Smooth and lush; dense and ripe; intense and layered; complex. 91 Château Beychevelle 2008 Saint-Julien Mellow and balanced with supple, classy flavors and a lingering finsih. 90 Château Brane-Cantenac 2008 Margaux Bright plum and lovely berry; long and graceful. 90 Château Canon 2008 Saint-Emilion Spicy tobacco and plum tones with freshness and balance. 90 Château Cantenac-Brown 2008 Margaux Bright and juicy with black raspberry and nice acidity; long. 89 Château Figeac 2008 Saint-Emilion Brisk plum fruit on a lively structure with a keen finish. 89 Château Grand-Mayne 2008 Saint-Emilion Fresh and feisty with plum tones and poised structure. 90 Château Gruaud-Larose 2008 Saint- Julien Lush and dense with lovely plum and spice; supple and lovely. 90 Château Haut-Bages-Libéral 2008 Pauillac Ripe and alive with lively black raspberry; fresh and snappy. 89 Château Kirwan 2008 Margaux Juicy and dense, with long plum and a solid core of acidity. 91 Château Lafon-Rochet 2008 Saint- Estéphe Forward and expressive; long and racy with classic structure. 91 Château Lagrange 2008 Saint-Julien Minerally tones with fresh, balanced flavors; long and bright. 89 Château Lascombes 2008 Margaux Packing ripe plum, lively fruit and keen acidity; elegant and bright. 89 Château Léoville-Barton 2008 Saint- Julien Lush and deep with minerals, plum and spice; charming flavors. 89 Château Malescot-Saint-Exupéry 2008 Margaux Concentrated fruit on a plush texture; quite charming. 89 Château Pape-Clément 2008 Pessac- Léognan Full of ripe plum fruit with lovely depth; rich, meaty and complex. 91 Château de Pez 2008 Saint-Estéphe Fruity and fresh with a racy backbone of firm acid and nice balance. 90 Château Phélan Ségur 2008 Saint-Estéphe Supple strength wihtin a juicy yet structured body; long and lively at the end. 90 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse 2008 Pauillac Elegant, complex, and balanced with lively plum and blackberry; lush, layered and classic. 93 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2008 Pauillac Smooth and lush; balanced, long, rich. 89 Château Rauzan-Segla 2008 Margaux Dense and powerful yet elegant and rich with plum notes and lovely texture; strong on the finish. 92 Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2008 Pessac-Léognan Warm, ripe nose; smooth, long and elegant with balanced flavor; a long, rich finish. 90 Château Talbot 2008 Saint-Julien Bright, firm and compact with ripe plum and spice; fleshy and long. 89 Château Troplong-Mondot 2008 Saint- Emilion Smooth and rich; dense, complex and balanced with a long, elegant finish. 90 118 / the tasting panel / april 201 1 2008 BORDEAUX ARE CLASSIC, BALANCED—AND A SURPRISING VALUE by Anthony Dias Blue

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