Greetings from what is being heralded as ‘The Signature Business Event’ for the wine world. Bordeaux is teeming with visitors from all around the world. Over 41,000 square metres have been allocated to exhibitors representing 48 different countries. Harshal Shah reports.
The international press was welcomed last night – Sunday 21st June – at the beautiful Chateau Lafite Rothschild for a grand dinner in the underground cellars (all candle-lit for the event) of the great Bordeaux house. The mood amongst the Bordelais remains up-beat, yet tempered by caution and even a bit of uncertainty.
They continue to promote their wines and talk about them with charismatic “humility and modesty” (this brought a bit of a snigger from the crowd). Perhaps now, more than ever, they appear to be taking the wine drinker into account and are making wines that will sell immediately and be an instant pleasure to drink. Of course, the wines can still age, as we saw in the 20-year-olds that were poured for the dinner, but with the push for more awareness of the En Primeur system and even the gradual, dare I say, ‘normalisation’ of Bordeaux prices, there does seem to be a nod towards more accessible cru classé Bordeaux. Time will tell.
Wine highlights so far have been 2001 and 1989 Château Prieure-Lichine from Margaux (which is the wine poured in Air India First Class), 2001 and 1989 Château Leoville-Poyferre from St Julien (wonderful cassis fruit intermingled with typical Bordeaux ‘sea-salt’ aromas and gravelly minerality typical of St Julien) and the 1978 Château Lafite Rothschild (from magnum). The ’78 is over 30 years old and still looking fresh and ready to go. It probably won’t taste as good in another 5-8 years.
There is no doubt that this promises to be a hectic but fun week!