I am always intrigued by the seemingly calm and agreable approach of my 8,500 producer colleagues in Bordeaux who seem content to abdicate the reporting of our annual progress direct to the media. With one notable exception (that I can see thus far) I should add – thank you Gavin Quinney at Chateau Bauduc from Créons in Entre-Deux-Mers region for writing it all as he sees it happen on the ground from a Director / Vigneron’s point of view.
I find this a very interesting but bewildering model! Why would we allow third parties to create our media for our brands and us? Please don’t misunderstand me; I like the wine media! Overall they seem to do a passionate interested positive factual job of reporting Bordeaux wine, which is rare in today’s world of headline grabbing and bad news story selling. But to be fair, the media’s job is to create good selling commercial media, which could just be a different objective to our own? They will mainly always write about what interests them and their perspective. It’s perfectly natural.
Maybe this process seemingly works (for the moment) because of Bordeaux’s size, top flight quality and current position in the wine world rankings?
I didn’t really mean to get onto this subject but I have already observed a small early trend in reporting the 2015 Bordeaux vintage.
2015 appears to follow the Bordeaux “Rule of 5”! Blank faces – laugh out loud? That is that vintages which divide by five (or particularly end in 5) are usually very good. This sort of means that mother nature, who ultimately creates the good vintages, operates to a decimal system. Maybe the Romans were smarter than we thought? In my short love affair, life and history with Bordeaux, I can recall good 1995, 2005 vintages and now add, I think, 2015 to the list. With pleasure!
Paradise Rescued only has a tiny (but growing) block of Merlot. And our history in Bordeaux is equally small. The last really good Merlot vintage has to be 2010. All agreed? So yes 2015 is an opportunity for Merlot lovers to get excited about. For us, 2015 is the first vintage that, after considerable work in the vineyard in rejuvenating the Hourcat Sud “Old Vine block” Merlot, we can say we have had any real success. After fermentation, run off and pressing the young wine has real heart and fruit. And I think it will produce an excellent big fullish-bodied taste.
But here it is the trick – I think! As a wine varietal, Merlot is all body. No frills with the nose or length. But that’s where Bordeaux’s greatest asset comes into play. It’s rarely talked about, even in the vintages when it is the star grape. It’s reliable, has an exquisite fragrance and endless length of finesse. It is the perfect partner for lifting Merlot beyond excellence.
Her name is Cabernet Franc – the princess of red wine grape varietals. Often overlooked, carefully hidden and forgotten. But she is a taste winning blend and difference maker as well as amazing single varietal grape. Particularly in Bordeaux!
My (biased?) view is that excellent Bordeaux Merlot has been produced in this wonderful 2015 vintage. The very best will need a 10 – 20% partnership from Cabernet Franc to showcase their full potential. The press may talk all about our Merlots, but right “on form” again was our princess, Cabernet Franc.