What Jancis Robinson is saying about the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux:As usual I went to Bordeaux last month to taste the new vintage. As usual the Bordelais said we tasters would be surprised by the quality. Most unusually, they were right. Although the summer of 2008 was pretty miserable in Bordeaux - having been cool and damp for much of August and the first half of September - a dry July, fine weather from mid September and rigorous selection seem somehow to have produced reds with a really appetizing balance of sappy fruit, refreshing acidity and reassuring tannins. The 2008 vintage looks hugely more successful than 2007, yet is being released at considerably lower prices. I was particularly impressed by the quality of some wines from more modest addresses.
A sneak peak at four of her top picks from the Haut Medoc.As Jancis has written "The Haut Medoc, which includes four of the most famous communes of Bordeaux, is home to some of the Bordeaux's best values. The best wines share the deep colour, concentration, tannins and aging potential of the classed growths. The key to identifying them is finding that finely etched personality, that clean transparency of flavour, that will go on developing in bottle. They are 'Tres Bordeaux.'"
While we have yet to see pricing for these Chateaux we expect them to be available for well under $30 per bottle.
Ch Belle-Vue 2008 Haut-Medoc
This comes in a naughty, heavy, unecological bottle but the contents should appeal to those who appreciate sweet fruit and oaky spice. Not subtle or elegant but all that fruit is balanced by attractive freshness. Drink 2011-15.
Ch Bernadotte 2008 Haut-Medoc
Made by the Ch Pichon Comtesse de Lalande team and you can see some top quality oak has been passed on here. Lots of pleasure and density but great energy too. Drink 2011-17.
Ch Camensac 2008 Haut-Medoc
Ripe and spicy, not unlike a mini Lynch Bages. Lots of vigour and fine tannins. Racy and vibrant. Dry, impressively persistent. Drink 2014-20.
Ch Senejac 2008 Haut-Medoc
Most impressive. I'd love to taste this alongside some classed growths. Tea leaf flavours and both depth and elegance. Definitely goes the extra mile. Bravo. Drink 2012-18.
As a "lapsed" consumer of Bordeaux I am excited by the news coming from this year's en primeur tasting. I value the elegant, layered classic style of Bordeaux, as does Jancis, and 2008 seems to represent not only a return to the pricing of the past but, in many cases, a return to the more restrained style typical of days gone by. If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to visit JancisRobinson.com for a refreshingly honest take on the world of wine from one of the pre-eminent wine writers of our time.