UK / Europe

The Top Drop

The Bordelais have been making wine for a while, since at least AD48 when the Romans began planting grapes there to be turned into wine, which would then be lapped up by thirsty legionnaires. There was a close call when the Moors moved in around AD700, but they had their posteriors handed to them a while later at Tours and the rest is history.

In the grand scheme of things Bordeaux is the most important wine in the world along with Burgundy. It also has the most pedigree as it was officially classified in 1855 into an index to sort all the wheat from the chaff, driven largely by the British need to know which claret they were tipping down their necks.

For the past 150 years the greatest wines have been Bordeaux and these days they sell out incredibly quickly with wealthy Chinese now drinking the region dry as each new vintage comes out.

A lot of young buyers who let’s face it are not so young now bought the stellar 1982 vintage and are not reaping the benefits.

That vintage has now been usurped by 2005 and now 2009, with every drop of the latter now pretty well sold out worldwide despite the fact it still remains in barrels until 2012.

2009 has been called the ‘solar year’ because of the extraordinary growing conditions especially in Sauternes where the greatest stickies in the world originate and on the Left Bank where all the cabernet dominant reds are grown.

Most of its sweet ripe tannins went to slake the thirst of China, Hong Kong and Singapore, mainly as status symbols. For instance, 95% of the 1st Growth Chateau Lafite Rothchild has been rumored to have been sold to wealthy.

It has been the greatest vintage in the history of wine until the next great vintage, and let’s hope global warming keeps up the job.

These benchmark wines will be drinking well in 25 years but some of them have cellaring potential for 50-70+ years making them more fodder for our grand kids than for yourselves…lucky buggers.

Pontet Canet would have to be one of the poster boys of the 2009 vintage, gleaning comparable ratings as the first growths worth $1000s. I managed to get my hands on three for $234 each, but after I made my purchase I sat down at my desk and had to start breathing into a paper bag I was so excited.

If you can’t get your hands on any 2009 Bordeaux try Bindi in the meantime, a tiny boutique producers in the Macedon Ranges 50km northwest of Melbourne.

I recently shared 2 bottles of his 2009 Pyrette Heathcote Shiraz  with my girlfriend and it’s overall texture was like sex in a 1980s waterbed covered in satin sheets.

If you don’t have a glass of wine in your hand you should be on your way back from your cellar or indeed on your way to a bottle shop!

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