In the spring time as the saying goes, a young man’s fancy turns to amour, but in Bordeaux, the amour is en primeur. What is en primeur? To put it in easy-to-understand language, because I am not an authority, it is the futures market of Bordeaux. Wines that may only be six to eight months in the barrel, and not even close to being matured, are blended by Master Vignerons to create what the hope will be a close approximation of what the finished wine will taste like. It is the season that will actually predetermine what wines of that vintage will be selling for. The major buyers and reviewers and other very fortunate people are invited for this event, and it is an event that people end up telling their grandchildren about, because they are wined and dined, sometimes at the most fabled chateaus in Bordeaux. The chateaus also hope that they will receive orders with a prepayment, and cases of wine will be placed in “bond” or “hold” until the wine is properly aged and bottled. It is a great incentive to raise capital for the chateau, as there could be another year before some wines will actually be ready for retail. The other benefit, is that from the en primeur, an actually pricing structure starts developing for that vintage year, and the pecking order of all the communes and rated wines are adjusted from the season.
The last two years, you may have noticed that traveling was rather hindered, and the en primeur season was reinvented. Instead of people drinking wine from the barrels and making their educated guesses, the wine was bottled and shipped to key buyers, distributors, etc. My local wine shop The Fine Wine Source was scheduled to attend en primeur, that did not happen. He was invited to taste the freshly drawn wines, which were in small dram bottles, and he actually attempted to get me an invite to the local tasting, but that idea was declined, but he was given sixteen assorted dram bottles, so that his help (and me) could taste the wines at the shop. There were a couple of false starts, but it happened, and I was as giddy as a young man going on his first date.
In the Bordeaux Blanc wines there were three white wines, to taste and then after all the reds we tasted one dessert wine:
Clos de Lunes “Lune d’Argent” 2020, Famille Bernard Bordeaux Blanc. A blend of seventy percent Semillon and thirty percent Sauvignon Blanc. James Suckling 92-93. My thoughts were dry, with notes of banana and a nice long finish.
Chateau Malartic Lagraviere Blanc 2020, Pessac-Leognan region of Graves, both the red and white wines of the Chateau were Classified in 1959. A blend of seventy-two percent Sauvignon Blanc and twenty-eight percent Semillon. James Suckling 95-96. My thoughts were that this was very creamy with notes of dried apples and green melon with a nice flinty finish.
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2020, Famille Bernard Pessac-Leognan region of Graves Bordeaux Blanc. This wine is also a Classified wine in 1959. A Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend. James Suckling 96-97. A very pretty wine with notes of cloves and Briar fruits and a nice flinty finish.
Clos Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes First Growth 2020 owned by Bernard Magrez. A Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend. This was a big rich Sauternes with pineapple and stone fruit notes and a very long finish, really a wine to enjoy.