Having compared this vintage with 2007, 2002 and 2001 there are a few wines whose quality has stood out from the mediocrity available this year. By choosing your wines wisely there are a few great wines to be had which not only offer great quality but also great value.
Pricing so far in the 2011 En Primeur campaign has not been what wine merchants and Bordeaux enthusiasts were hoping for with some chateaux being obviously over priced for the scores they have achieved by leading wine critics. However there are 2 gems so far that have beaten their peers hands down – and not just with their sensible pricing. Wines I would highly recommend you should consider buying because I think there is only one way their prices are going!
My first recommendation is a wine that not only scored higher than Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2011 andPetrus 2011 (both scored 90 – 93 points by Parker) but is also a fraction of the price at £33.25 a bottle. (Lafite currently on offer at £416 a bottle) The wine is Chateau La Fleur Morange 2011. A St.Emilion estate which Parker scored 92 – 94+ My blog entry for when I tasted it back in April was my comparison of the 2011 vintage was somewhere between the 2009 and 2010 vintage and I was pleased to see Parker agreed with me– his notes are quoted below:
“A more classic cuvee, the 2011 La Fleur Morange (cropped at 20 hectoliters per hectare) is a blend of equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot that may have the highest natural alcohol of any wine in this vintage, 15%. Stunningly pure notes of black cherries and black currant liqueur intermixed with licorice, incense and acacia flowers are followed by a dense, full-bodied, unctuously-textured wine that seems to have more in common with a vintage such as 2009 or 2010 than most 2011s. The wine’s acidity is lower than in most of its peers, but the levels of concentration and intensity are very high. This beauty should drink well for 15-20 years.”
My second recommendation is Mathilde de La Fleur Morange 2011. This achieved a Parker score of 90 – 92 – on a par with likes of Lafite, Petrus, Cos (£90 a bottle) and Forts de Latour and at £2 a glass (£12 a bottle) represents fantastic value. I cannot think of any other wine being released during this campaign, which will offer you better value for your money than this which comes with a Parker rating of 90-92 points!
Parker noted “Gros is a notorious late harvester and naturalist, and his 2011 La Fleur Morange Mathilde (100% Merlot) is bottled early in order to give consumers a joyous, fruit-driven, hedonistic wine with a whopping 14.5% natural alcohol. A sleeper of the vintage, it offers copious notes of blueberry confiture interwoven with kirsch, spring flowers and subtle oak. This medium to full-bodied, full-throttle, delicious, silky smooth, palate-filling wine can be enjoyed over the next 6-8 years.”
So why is it that this Chateau has succeeded in 2011 where better known labels have failed you may ask? There is no easy answer to this question but what i do know is that the Chateaux not only has a unique terroir (the only one of its kind in the St.Emilion appellation) but the owner Jean-Francois Julien, pruned the foliage back on the vines very late this year protecting the fruit from the intense heat that Bordeaux experienced during the summer. Therefore the grapes did not fry as many property’s experienced but remained opulent, juicy and full. Grapes must have exposure to the sun to ripen but too much sun or too little protection shrivels them up and when that happens the fruit produces little juice to make wine which is invariably of inferior quality.
Jean-Francois and his wife Veronique are not only making excellent wines but they also keep their pricing at a realistic levels as they remain not only in touch with their vines but also the market place. Parker has followed La Fleur Morange for some time now and the wines are becoming renowned on the world stage. Both wines have won a string of awards and as he says: “I have enjoyed these two offerings in just about every vintage I have tasted. Well-known oenologist Claude Gros appears to be building a decent portfolio of clients in Bordeaux, even though he is from Narbonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon corridor.”
If like many you have been following the same labels for a number of years and finding that their prices are now getting beyond your reach or do not offer you what they once did perhaps it may be a time for a change. A change that will give you better value for your money without sacrificing the quality you once associated with Bordeaux. Perhaps Parker points are not the be all but it’s a great indication of quality and at £12 or £33 a bottle with the ratings these wines have achieved what have you got to lose?
As the En Primeur campaign progresses I will bring other wines to your attention should the quality and price represent good value.
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