Bordeaux 2017 | Impressions From A Challenged Vintage
While my affinity for the wines from picturesque Northern California has been well-documented, it was actually Bordeaux that first stirred the soul of the budding oenophile within me. I devoured the pages of books like Noble Rot and Billionaires Vinegar, which shed a glimmer of light on this prominent yet mysterious region that’s been cloaked in tradition for hundreds of years.
Despite being a geographic challenge for a young wine lover, it was one of the first wine regions I visited. When my spouse and I took the opportunity to tour Europe, Bordeaux was an absolute must – and our short stay there, consisting of just a few days, was one of the highlights of our trip.
We explored the unexpectedly cosmopolitan city center and booked a tour which afforded us visits to Château Lynch-Bages, Château Ferrière and a stellar lunch at Château Camensac, paired with beautiful, mature wines from their cellar. I quickly realized we should have budgeted more time, but the visit still managed to cement my appreciation for Bordeaux’s compelling, age-worthy wines.
And so after ten long years, I write this having just returned from attending en primeur in Bordeaux as the recipient of the Millésima Wine Reporting Award for 2018. I am deeply grateful to Millesima for the nomination, and to my incredible readers who rallied behind it in support of me. It was incredible to get back to this region that I love so much, and I want to share some impressions from the challenging 2017 vintage.
Tasting through Marguax at Chateau Siran | Photo Credit: Frederic Lot
Chateau Cantenac Brown | Making It’s Mark in Margaux
A Grand Tasting in The Big Apple
Recently I had the incredible honor of being invited to attend the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2012 vintage release tasting at Cipriani’s in New York. The weather outside was frightful – they were calling for 3 feet of snow on that 26th day of January, and it was quickly accumulating outside.
But inside members of the wine media, restauranteurs and wine buyers from all over were warm with excitement. Why? Over 100 of the most prestigious Chateau in Bordeaux were on site to showcase their newly released 2012 vintage wines, either represented by their Chateau owners themselves or their representatives. Amongst the representatives in attendance was Mr. Jose Sanfins, the accomplished and passionate Technical Director of Chateau Cantenac Brown.
I’m surprised I’m just now trying the Chateau Hanteillan 2010. Considering it received a solid 92 point score from Wine Enthusiast and is frequently touted by one of my favorite wine wholesalers: Wines Til Sold Out. They offer it for half of it’s $30 retail and have marketed it as a ‘very impressive “stock your cellar” wine.’ But when I happened upon the Chateau Hanteillan 2010 in the Costco Wine section at under $12, I couldn’t resist any further!
In this edition of “Great Wines with Great Friends” we take a look at a nice mature Bordeaux from an interesting Right Bank producer. With 40 hectares of vineyards, Chateau Figeac is the largest producer in Saint-Émilion and one of the most well known estates. It is not to be confused with the other 151 Chateau throughout France whose name includes “Figeac”. It’s wine carries the Premier Grand Cru Classé (Class B) classification within the Saint-Émilion ranking system.