There is still considerable excitement surrounding the quality of the 2009 Bordeaux vintage. American wine guru Robert Parker has pronounced and every serious broadsheet newspaper has carried articles celebrating the glories of what is undoubtedly a very fine year. Long warm days over the vital ripening period of July and August combined with cooler nights prevented the grapes from over-ripening and brought a sophistication and elegance to the vintage not seen for many decades. Denis Dubourdieu, director of the Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences and a renowned winemaker, reckons that you’d need to go back as far as the 1940s to find comparable climatic conditions where a perfect summer gave way to a glorious autumn resulting in a harvest that retained all the colour, body and fruit of a truly great vintage. These wines are now arriving in the UK following bottling and we have stocks of several 2009 Bordeaux available for sale in the shop, either in whole case, mixed case or single bottle quantities.
There is a minor downside to all this. Beyond the glowing reports of balance and ripeness, harmony and power - all the aesthetic miracles that combine in such a favoured year - the only cloud that might spoil the show is price. At the top end, in the wines made by millionaires for millionaires bracket, where the first growths, super seconds and other privileged estates shine resplendent, opening prices were up to 80% more than the 2008s and 50% more than the most excellent 2005s. Furthermore, prices are continuing to climb.
The good news for you though is that, like 2005, quality appears to be evenly shared across the spectrum which means that there are delicious wines to be had among the less well-reputed ranks and at prices which actually reflect good value. Our modest selection is for wine lovers rather than investors; a concise collection of cracking wines from good estates, all known to us, all with excellent track records and all with a sensible approach to pricing. These are wines with heart which will provide joyful drinking for the next 2 to 10 years and beyond, wines to bring smiles to the dinner table, wines that should not be treated with silent reverence but consumed with gusto and pleasure. Stocks are limited
Under the same ownership as Château Haut-Chatain and made with all the same care and attention by the experienced and canny team at the senior château. Merlot dominant, fruit-filled and big in body, this shows just what a minor property can achieve in the right hands. Super value. Drink 2013-2017
Owned and run by Martine Rivière-Junquas, who has been joined in the business by her son, this is a property we have followed for years. It has been constantly upgraded and it shows in the wine which is better than ever: generous and fleshy with plummy depths and a note of spice. Drink 2014-2020
A terrific estate which consistently boxes above its weight. The Revue du Vin de France marked it as “an exceptional success”. Dominique Haverlan bought this in 1988 and has renovated and replanted ever since; it is now one of the rising stars of the Graves. Drink 2014-2022
José Bueno, one time cellarmaster at Mouton and winemaker at other Rothschild properties, created this vineyard by stitching together little parcels of mature, prime St. Estèphe real estate into a single vineyard. It has a little less of the St. Estèphe iron and rather more ripe black fruit and does it in beautifully balanced, full-bodied style. This property is destined for fame - buy now before it gets out of reach. Packed in wooden cases of 12 bottles. Drink 2015-2025
One of the smallest estates in Margaux at just 11 hectares, but compared to the great names of the commune, this is tremendous value. Eric Léglise makes fragrant wine with Margaux’ celebrated femininity, expressing its fruit in prettier, silkier style than the firmer Pauillacs or grippy St. Estèphe. Drink 2015-2025
Although we do not drink much Sauternes these days, no serious diner should overlook the opportunity to put a few bottles of this to one side. The Revue du Vin de France reckons this to be one of the top wines of the vintage, ranking it above Rieussec, La Tour Blanche and Rayne Vigneau. Decadently rich but in fine balance with correct acidity, it will live for decades. Drink 2015-2050