Bordeaux EP 2011
En Primeur Bordeaux 2011 Vintage
The 2011 Bordeaux vintage was a challenging one that started with the driest winter on record, only half the normal level of rain fell between December and April (with the exception of February).
In Bordeaux, they had a very early warm spring, flowering in some places was 3 – 4 weeks earlier than normal followed by a cool, dry summer with a very hot period at the end of June which caused a lot of damage and added to the stress on the vines. Extreme temperatures of over 40C on the 27th / 28th June in some areas caused a loss of up to 25-30% of the yields.
Hail storms also hit Sauternes on 25th April, causing damage in Guiraud and La Tour Blanche. Hail hit parts of Palmer and Margaux and surrounding Chateaux on the 5th June. There was a hail storm that hit the Pauillac North and St Estephe Border on the 3rd September. Difficult to know who it hit, some claimed heavier rain, however it wasn’t good.
The wet weather that hit Bordeaux on the 3rd September forced a few properties to pick slightly earlier than they wished, (Probably one week early) which is evident in some slightly green tannins. The grapes were very small due to the dry conditions, too much rain at this stage can swell the grapes causing the skins to spit and starting a natural fermentation on the vines. Fortunately this did not occur.
Terroir has played a big part in the 2011 vintage. The clay soils in Pomerol definitely helped retaining moisture for the vines, resulting in greater consistency in Pomerol compared to St Emilion. However there are exceptions and this is categorically a vintage to “do your homework and know your winemaker/Chateau” some of them have got it right and others have struggled.
The grape that seems to have shone the most in 2011 is the Cabernet Franc with higher proportions used in the blends than normal, however it slightly depends on the soils.
In terms of quality it’s a mid-table vintage. If I have to place it over the last decade it’s without doubt behind 2009, 2010, 2005, 2000, 2003 and above 2007, 2002, 2006 and 2004 and on par with the 2001 and 2008 vintage. It will probably turnout to be a modern version of the 1988 vintage.
If you need any advice please contact me. See below for a full list of 2010 Bordeaux wines still available.
James Goodhart, Managing Director, Bon Coeur Fine Wines
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