The 2008 Vintage Re-Evaluated by Robert Parker – and a List of Wines to Look Out For!

Robert Parker has published his scores for the 2008 vintage wines, having re-tasted them now that they are in bottle rather than in barrel 2 years ago. He has released his scores and tasting notes for the 2010 vintage at the same time. Unlike Parker I am going to deal with the vintages separately and will be writing about his judgements on the 2010s tomorrow.

The 2008 vintage represents good wine at a good price, despite the rise in value of some of the wines since their release. It is impossible to compare the 2008 vintage with that of 2010 as the drinking quality of the wines is totally different.

We should also remember that the 2008s are now in bottle and of course the 2010s are still in barrel, ie with some way to go in their development.

Jumping back in time to the 2008 barrel tastings Parker said:

“The 2008 vintage turned out to be excellent, with a number of superb wines that are close to, if not equal to the prodigious 2005 or 2000 vintages (two years with many of the best wines I have ever tasted from top to bottom).”

Having tasted them again he has written:

“This vintage came out at low prices and the top wines have soared in value. However, most 2008s remain somewhat forgotten and under-valued vis à vis the two subsequent vintages. These are classic and outstanding wines that represent excellent value. 2008 is an exceptionally strong vintage in Pomerol and St.-Emilion as well as Graves. The Médocs are more mixed, but as the following tasting notes indicate, there are some top wines in this vintage even though they may not hit the high marks of the sumptuous 2009s or massive 2010s.”

Parker has released 2008 Bordeaux Charts which divide the vintage into 3 categories: The Vintage’s Greatest Wines, The Vintage’s Top Performers and Sleepers of the Vintage (Where the correlation between high quality and reasonable pricing favours the consumer).

Having had time to read through his scores I can tell you that some of the First Growths have been downgraded (Parker’s Scoring System is as follows: 96 – 100 points Extraordinary and 90 – 95 points Outstanding) and these are:

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 94 points, Chateau Margaux 94 points and Chateau Latour 95 points. Interestingly this has placed several wines en par with the First Growths – the most notable of which, in my opinion, is Chateau La Fleur Morange (94 points). I am delighted for Jean Francois and Veronique Julien, who are the owners of this estate.

I have always said that I prefer to let others tell you about the vintage as I feel that I may be too close to the estate to be unbiased so I will repeat Parker’s tasting notes here:

“2008 La Fleur Morange: A remarkable achievement, from vines cropped at very low yields, the 2008 La Fleur Morange is also sensational. According to Claude Gros, this wine hit 14% natural alcohol, in a vintage where the average was around 13% to 13.5%.

Dense purple in colour, it possesses intense blueberry and dark raspberry jam notes intermixed with camphor, crushed rock, and spring flowers. Full-bodied, unctuously textured, long and stunningly pure, this wine should drink well for at least 10-15 years.”

I have created a list of some of Parker’s top wines of the vintage that have scored 94 points and above, and included some of his notes where appropriate. The stars of the vintage are Chateaux Ausone and Lafite which both scored 98 points.

Ausone (possibly “the” wine of the vintage)
EP 96 – 100 In Bottle 98
Lafite (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 98 – 100 In Bottle 98
Haut Brion (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 95 – 97 In Bottle 96
Haut Bailly (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 95 – 97 In Bottle 96
Pontet Canet (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 96 – 98+ In Bottle 96
Troplong Mondot (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 95 – 97 In Bottle 96
La Mondotte (candidate for wine of the vintage)
EP 93 – 95+ In Bottle 96
Montrose (One of the superstars of the vintage)
EP 95 – 97 In Bottle 95
Pichon Baron
EP 92 – 94 In Bottle 95
Pape Clement Rouge (One of the top successes of the vintage)
EP 96 In Bottle 95
Fleur Petrus
EP 92 – 94+ In Bottle 95
L’Eglise Clinet (A remarkable wine in this vintage)
EP 94 – 96+ In Bottle 95
La Conseillante
EP 92 – 94+ In Bottle 95
Ducru Beaucaillou (One of the stars of the vintage . . .
This is a wine to buy)
EP 96 – 98 In Bottle 95
Bellevue Mondotte (An extraordinary effort in this vintage)
EP 96 – 98+ In Bottle 95
La Fleur Morange (A remarkable achievement . . . sensational)
EP 92 – 94 In Bottle 94
Leoville Poyferre (One of the finest over-achieving efforts in this vintage as well as a “best buy” for a top-flight St.-Julien)
EP 92 – 94 In Bottle 94
Duhart Milon
EP 93 – 95 In Bottle 94
La Mission Haut Brion
EP 94 – 96+ In Bottle 94
EP 94 – 96 In Bottle 94
EP 93 – 95 In Bottle 94
Pavie Decesse
EP 94 – 96 In Bottle 94
Pavie Macquin
EP 93 – 95 In Bottle 94

If you are interested in reading my coverage of the 2008 vintage at En Primeur plus my personal choices of top wines you can find them here on my blog.

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