Whew! What a day yesterday was. I got up at 5:30 AM in order to prepare for a drive to the airport and a flight down to Los Angeles in order to participate in the Unions des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting of the newly bottled 2009 vintage. I’m sure I wasn’t alone holding high expectations for the wines from a vintage that was overwhelmingly impressive when I tasted them out of barrel two years ago. In a word, the wines shined. Shined. Like Soul Shine. Better than sunshine. Better than moonshine. Way better than rain (more on that later). The energy that filled the large room at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica was electric. Some of my overhears: “Classic Margaux. Note the subtlety, yet the expression.” “Psst. The wines aren’t normally this good so young, are they?” “I’m not wasting this glass.” I could go on and on, but the collective euphoria I experienced just means to me that the vintage will be a popular one for all of us who love wine, especially those of us who love Bordeaux. We will be getting our Cru Classé 2009 Bordeaux in different shipments throughout the calendar year, look out for emails alerting you to the in-stock availability as they come in. Some of the more well known names will begin to arrive in late March. In the meantime, we just reloaded on a 2009 Red Bordeaux that has shown so well that it sold out quicker than you can say 2009 Château Couronneau!
It is always with great pleasure when I visit Christophe and Bénédicte Piat in Ligueux around the time of the En Primeur tastings in Bordeaux each spring. They have a lovely Château and a lovely family, but that just makes sense as they are truly wonderful people. Proudly displaying the banner sporting the “Agricole Biologique” logo in front of their property, they believe in the methodology and the proof’s in the juice. My visit this past April was met with outstanding weather, and we decided to eat our dinner al fresco. Seeing that I had a long drive back to Bordeaux after dinner, I had to spit all of the wine that was served (so professional), assuring a clear head for the return leg. The toughest wine to spit? The 2009 Château Couronneau Rouge, of course. All of that 2009 goodness, the wine showed expressive dark red fruit, herbs, and earthy mineral. The tannins were smooth allowing for a sensational finish of high toned fruit, hints of autumn leaves, and a just-used shovel. This is not the first time I’ve written about this wine, but seeing that it sold out so quickly, many of you may not know that it’s back in stock. Ding! Ding! It’s baaaaack: 2009 Château Couronneau is here at TWH, back in stock! So we wait. The heavy hitters from the 2009 vintage will be arriving soon enough, many of them will benefit from short/medium term aging (though many will be highly enjoyable upon release). The 2009 Château Couronneau is one of those “highly enjoyable now” wines (though a few years in the cellar couldn’t hurt). To borrow from Meursault’s Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau’s list of quotes, “If pleasure is here for the taking, why not take it?”
So yes, an amazing tasting, an amazing day. I had a moment in that room. Time stood still. The sounds around me faded and I just looked around the room. I was tasting the best of the best. I had many friends around the room that I saw enjoying the occasion. I felt so perfectly placed that I snapped out of it and proceeded with my duties. Then the lights flickered and it was time to go. The final tally? 94 wines. Not bad. Please contact me should you want to discuss any particular wine in detail.
During the tasting, I overheard a rumor that ALL flights back to SF were delayed (and this was at 4:00 PM). I dismissed it, as my flight wasn’t until 9:40 PM. After dinner, I called the airline just to see where we stood, and gulp, the flight was delayed until 12:20 AM!!! Not good, not good, so not good. Waiting at the airport, by some stroke of good fortune, I happened to notice a fairly large group of people moving from the gates in the direction of ground transport/baggage claim, so I got up to investigate. Good thing I did. They stuffed all passengers (and checked luggage) from all 3 delayed SF bound flights into 1 and off we went at approximately 11:00 PM. With a significant rain storm pounding the California coast, I must say that I experienced the most turbulent flight in all my airplane experiences last night. All’s well that ends well and when I turned the lock on the treehouse door at 1:55 AM, I was relieved. What a day, indeed. – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on 2009 Bordeaux, the upcoming Wilco shows, or of course, English Football: firstname.lastname@example.org