• Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    by L. J. Johnson-Bell
  • Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Home Cellar Guide Hb
    Home Cellar Guide Hb
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    Quel vin pour quel plat ?
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  • Great Wine Tours of the World
    Great Wine Tours of the World
    Barnes and Noble Books
  • The Wine Collector's Handbook
    The Wine Collector's Handbook
    by Linda Johnson
  • De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    by Johnson-Bell Linda

  • Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match


2008 Bordeaux ... the last of the recognisable classics?

2008 BORDEAUX at the 2012 London Wine Trade Fair

This event was moved from last year’s room into a smaller space up in the
South Gallery … a space much resembling a decaying Hilton… dull, lifeless,
non-descript. One could not imagine a less inspiring back-drop.

There were only 30 or so of the producers present and those who were, were
complaining (and rightly so) about the pointlessness of Excel and the poor
organisation of the fair overall. Was the poor turn-out due to their
fatigue of Excel, or the fact that 2008 has turned out to be a hugely
successful campaign and most have sold all their wine?

For 2008 is what I fear may become to be known as one of the last recognisable Bordeaux
vintages due to the increasingly higher alcohol levels, which erase any
varietal character, terroir-influences, subtlety or complexity. My more
recent trips to Bordeaux have proven that this is going to be the demise of
the Bordeaux wines that seduced and enticed me into this profession over
two decades ago. At first, the Bordelais actually sought the high alcohol,
in-your-face, up-front fruit and new oak American style to try to emulate
the inferiour New World versions (Californian, principally) and to garner
praise from the immature and commercially-driven palate of Mr. Parker.
Then, perversely, Mother Nature started to do the job for them and now they
are hit with a double-whammy.  But, more on this later.

I have been following this vintage and was saddened to see so few châteaux
present, as I was looking forward to comparing my notes from the last
tasting. But I was pleased to see how well they were tasting ... most of
the wines hovered around the 13% mark and I found many examples of fresh
and enjoyable wines. As I overheard Steven Spurrier say to a taster
standing next to me ..."Charm. If they are not charming, then what is the
point?". How beautifully put. So, yes, I too, as always, was on the hunt for a bit of
charm. Here are a few scanty notes.

Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
The white was over-oaked anda t 14.5%, clumsy and lacking focus. The red was dominated by new oak but may find some balance as the extracts were good, but the tannins were green … so perhaps not.

Carbonnieux, Pessac-Léognan
A solid example of this appellation’s typicity: very terroir-driven. Hints of lead pencil and good acidity, although a touch lean and green.

La Tour Carnet, Haut-Médoc

Fresh and clean on the nose. Nicely structured, robustly elegant … if that is not an oxymoron.

de Fieuzal, Pessac-Léognan
Very well done. A feminine, fleshly and textured wine with bright movement and charm.

Maucaillou, Moulis-en-Médoc
This is fresh and lively with good minerality and balance.

Chasse-Spleen, Moulis-en Médoc

Again, lively, highly expressive and fresh with lovely perfumes.

Greysac, Médoc

Dur et amer …flat, lacking dimension or texture ... boring.


Cantenac Brown, Margaux

Gorgeous. Perfumed, feminine, and charming. A well-structured and focused wine.

Dauzac, Margaux

Another charming, violet-perfumed wine … freshly acidic and lively, feminine. Perfect.

Prieuré- Lichine, Margaux

She served me the last of a bottle and it was off – not bouchonné, but there was a problem. So how many people tasted it before and had not noticed?! She opened another and it was much, much better. Fresh, clean, well-made, the wine we know and love.

Monbrison, Margaux
Really lovely. Again, great acidity and freshness with a strong, clean minerality. Very focused and well-structured with a nice finish.


Du Tertre, Margaux

Huge first attack with upfront noisy extracts …falls apart mid-palate. Too New World in style.

Giscours, Margaux

A bit clumsy and unfocused. Oddly textured … disappointing. Will have to come back to this.

Labégorce, Margaux

Not drinking well - green tannins and acetate tones dominated.

Lascombes, Margaux

Not too much to like here … it is well-made, but unexpressive and with a dry finish.

Marquis de Terme, Margaux

A very grown-up and elegant wine but too thin and lean. Lax: it isn’t trying very hard to please.

Gruaud Larose, Saint-Julien

Sec et serré … dry and tight and lacking flexibility. Not drinking well today – too severe. One of my favourite wines …so give it time.

Lagrange, Saint-Julien

Another from this appellation that is not drinking well today. Dry and green on the nose with a hard, unforgiving palate. Not what one normally gets with this wine.

Cos Labory, Saint-Estèphe
A clean, fresh nose, appealing. But lacking corpulence or real body and thin on the finish … stationary, one-dimensional.


Lafon-Rocher, Saint-Estéphe

Simply stunning. My favourite of the day. Very elegant nose. The rich palate is so refreshing it is almost cool on the tongue. Incredible body and structure and most of all, movement … it dances across the palate. Such personality and seduction.

Phélan Ségur, Saint-Estephe

Daring and brooding, almost savoury… lifted and complimented by fresh acidity and structure.



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