Best Value 2009 Claret under £60 a bottle
I recently tasted around 150 2009 clarets in bottle. The year confirms its early promise as a great, important vintage. There are wide variations in style, due to both winemaking fads and the weather pattern - I entitled my original en primeur report "Bordeaux Magic - Bordeaux Muscle". But at their best, at every level, these are exhilarating clarets, with most properties having produced their greatest wines for over fifty years. They are in complete contrast to, and at the other end of the style spectrum from, 2008, whose best values we tasted in March 2013.
Stylistically the most obvious recent comparisons are 1989 and 1990. The wines have the ripe fruit of both these hot years, with the tannic structure and substance of the best 1989's, and the juicy, fleshy richness of the best endowed 1990's. But what marks them out as different from both these fine years is their distinctive, freshly defining acidity. The top wines are exquisitely textured ... as well as astronomically priced. But there are still delicious 2009's on the market, that remain really good value for eventual drinking. I have selected ten of my favourites which, at the time of writing in November 2013, were available to buy at an in-bond price range of around £250 to £550 per case, or around £30 to £60 a bottle all duties paid. These are what we will taste.
There are wines from each of the principal communes, so it is also an opportunity to look at differences of style across the region.
In roughly rising price order:
Ch. Cantemerle; Haut-Médoc
Ch. Sociando-Mallet; Haut-Médoc
Ch. d'Angludet; Margaux
Ch. Malartic-Lagravière; Pessac-Léognan
Ch. Lafon-Rochet; St Estèphe
Ch. Langoa-Barton; St Julien
Ch. Petit Village; Pomerol
Ch. d'Issan; Margaux
Ch. Beauséjour-Bécot; St Emilion
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste; Pauillac
10 Wines, with cheese ...... £85