Tasted & Recommended - Bordeaux

I have had an intimate association with the wines of Bordeaux during my time as an importer and, recently, while I managed the U.S. affiliate of Millesima, the Bordeaux-based leader in direct sales of fine wines to consumers in Europe. They are the fifth largest buyer of classified growths and specialize in future or en primeur sales. Not surprisingly, the years I spent in partnership with Millesima immersed me in the rarified world of elite Bordeaux wines, allowing me to taste a large number of celebrated properties, starting at the beginning stage of their lives when they are presented early in the year after vintage at the annual primeur tastings in Bordeaux.

Click on the file icon below to read my tasting notes from the Union des Grands Crus event in February 2014


And here are my tasting notes for


Compare assessments from the April 2011 Primeur tastings in Bordeaux

with those for finished wines tasted in January 2013!

Bordeaux is arguably the most famous of all French wine regions and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of wine. Bordeaux has been an active wine exporter since the early 14th century. No other region can match this French icon in terms of commercial longevity and influence. The wines of Bordeaux have had such allure for centuries that grape varieties of Bordeaux origin—led by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot—have been planted in countless places, and the “Bordeaux blend” is a universal concept.

But leaders rarely remain unchallenged; at some point, they face new competitors and suffer internal stresses. General Motors was once unassailable but European, Japanese and, now, Korean, carmakers

present strong competitive threats even in GM’s home market. Challengers may develop and perfect products consumers find more appealing or simply easier to understand. So it is with soft, well-endowed New World wines bearing the straightforward language of grape variety rather than one of 60 appellations of Bordeaux. Evolving consumption patterns can as well undermine a seemingly unshakeable franchise. For Bordeaux, this includes a dramatic decline in wine drinking in France over several decades.

Critics say Bordeaux tends to be insular and skeptical of criticism from the outside. Complacency and rigidity, they argue, present barriers to needed change. Fortunately, there is another side to Bordeaux: one that is dynamic, energetic and relatively open-minded. The region is more susceptible to change than most outsiders are inclined to believe. Even if the will exists, however, adjusting to new market conditions is liable to confront structural obstacles. Try as it may, Bordeaux cannot control larger market forces, and disruptive changes are being imposed on the region. Many small growers in modest appellations will have to adapt or perish; in fact, this process has already begun.

From my article "BORDEAUX: An iconic region battles to sustain market share" which appeared on WineBusiness.com in January 2014


Tasting notes and analysis about an exceptional tasting of trials and components of the famous First Growth including conventional vs. organic & biodynamic

Evaluating the new vintage at the annual Primeur tastings in Bordeaux