The 2009 en primeur campaign has begun in Bordeaux. Indications are that this is a fine vintage, especially on the Left Bank. St Estephe and Paulliac, especially, are looking well fruited and structured, while St Julien is also showing ripe tannins and fruit.
Some tasters have reported that things are not quite so uniform for the Right Bank, where merlot predominates. Parts of the area got very hot during the 2009 growing season and alcohol levels seem high, with lots of burly, richly fruited wines. This will appeal to some buyers but not to all. Top estates seemed to have managed the ripeness well- for example, Figeac is said to be very good indeed.
The debate now is whether 2009 is better than 2005 and the jury is still out on that one. Early reports are that though the best wines are as good as 2005, the more modest bottlings won’t be as ripe – but, there again, that will actually be preferred by many drinkers. We shall see.
Meantime, there seems to be a high level of interest from Asian buyers and the Bordelais are hoping they will pick up some of the slack left by the financially battered UK and American trade. Prices will be released through the early summer; at the time of writing Latour seems to be the chateau that everyone’s talking about and prices for top classed growths could be as high as 2005.