Update on recent Bordeaux vintages 2008 and 2009

Here is my feeling about few recent vintages from some of the tastings I've attended in the past few months.

2008 Bordeaux - This is the third time I am writing about 2008 Bordeaux. The previous article was here, when I was quite enthusiastic about the vintage. 2008's are a good value compared to 2009 and 2010, but in my latest tasting, the wines appeared lighter than 2005's and 2009's (I haven't tasted 2010 yet) and I recommend you taste before you buy. At yesterday's tasting at Beltramo's, three big names from the Left Bank seemed a bit light and thin (but still nice), especially when tasted next to the 2005 Palmer (which tasted like classic 2005, firm, dense, balanced). Even though the prices are attractive compared to 2009's and 2010's, I wouldn't buy any of the 2008's below (nor would I turn them down if someone offered them as a gift either :)).

2005 Palmer Margaux, $349.99 - good wine, full of stuffing (reminds me of borscht), but not worth the $$ IMO
2008 Rauzan-Segla Margaux, $79.99 - slight mint and noticeable toast
2008 Leoville Barton St. Julien, $79.99 - a bit light but classically balanced with nothing sticking out
2008 Pontet-Canet Pauillac, $99.99 - a bit light, but nicely savory and fresh

2009 Bordeaux - many attractive wines. I've attended several tastings of the 2009's now. Most of the usual suspects that I've tried from the Grand Cru Classe hierarchy on the Left Bank are showing well. I liked Chateau Kirwan, Cantenac Brown, Leoville Barton, and Duhart-Milon, although given the prices well over $100/btl, the one that I thought was good value (well under $100) was Kirwan (also consider Margaux neighbors Chateaux d'Issan and Cantenac Brown). Additionally, there are many solid wines outside of the Grand Cru Classe classification, and at the Cru Bourgeois levels that punch above their weight in this prodigious vintage, but I wouldn't call them "great".


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