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Tasty '13s Asking Small Sums

Smudges of expensive liquid: samples of the three 2013 Château Latour cuvées, along with the newly released 2008 Pauillac, 2006 Forts de Latour and 2004 grand vin

I hosted a tasting in a restaurant in Exmouth Market in London the other evening and great fun it was too. Over a sample of one or other of the delicious fluids I was showing to the assembled tasters I was asked if I might publish some thoughts about where the values lie in the 2013 Bordeaux campaign.

And I am sorry to say that, suffering from extreme Bordeaux fatigue as I am (along with the rest of the world, it seems), the thought of spending yet more fruitless time penning my impressions of these wines is almost more than I can stand.

So I have spent some time in a rain shower in the garden flagellating myself with some wild hawthorn twigs and I now just about feel able/ready to proceed.

Largely, this is a vintage from which one should look to get relatively immediate pleasure. For me, the best wines were those I tasted (talking red here) and thought wow, as soon as my case arrives I am going to get medieval on a bottle cos it's going to be all pre-raphaelite back. Supple and delicious is all I am going to ask of many of these wines.

So, here are some Left Bank reds that will, IMO, offer good value in '13:

Lalande Borie and La Croix de Beaucaillou - seem like modest prices for really toothsome wines

Capbern Gasqueton - buy this every year just to see what happens. Amazing vfm

Lacoste Borie - The other Borie, this from the GPL stable. Proper minor Pauillac.

That Issan crowd: second wine Blason d'Issan and its stable-mates Pedesclaux and Lillian Ladouys. The latter wine would make a fine thing to collect year-on-year and it's cheap enough to be a lighthearted project.

Labegorce - more of it now that they've swallowed up Zédé. Tastes like proper claret, just in a rather lighter style.

The Crédit Agricole bunch - these are under the same ownership, made by the same team: La Tour de Mons and Meyney. Both are excellent in '13 and have been each vintage for some time. The range also includes Grand Puy Ducasse (also good in '13) and Rayne Vigneau, that over-achieving neighbour of Yquem. This latter is utterly brilliant in 2013.

Darn sarf - Pessac-Léognan 
Quite a high rate of success down here. Of course, the whites were superb, but I was pleasantly surprised by the reds too. Go here for value:

Carbonnieux - I have long loved the white, but thought the red also very good in '13.

De France - both colours good. Top qpr here.

Picque Caillou - the white was brilliant; the red less successful.

Bouscaut - red seemed pretty good, but was quite tough. The white on the other hand was stunning; toasty-oaky, as ever.

Minor Médocs
Quite a few really delicious wines at the Médoc tasting. Things like:

Clarke - Cool, dark and pure

Fourcas Dupré - ready to drink and will be delicious.

Fourcas Hosten - More intense this, with an apple-pippy quality now. Will be excellent.

Poujeaux - that red Poujeaux fruit. A beautiful example.

Beaumont - a delight.

Camensac - very successful in the vintage.

Cantemerle - Lovely is:

La Tour de By.

These are too much: too delicious, more-ish, lace-like, floral. Just stunning. Value here:

Châteaux Bastor Lamontagne, de Malle, Nairac, Broustet, d'Arche, Doisys Védrine and Daëne, de Myrat, Sigalas Rabaud.

Of course, many other sweet wines I could recommend, but this is supposed to be about the value end of the spectrum.

The Other Side
On the Merlot-dominated Right Bank there were the usual suspects. The Vautier and Durantou wines were excellent: Châteaux Simards, de Fonbel, Moulin St Georges, Saintem, Montlandrie, Chenade, Cruzelles.

Some Other Stuff

Cambon La Pelouse
- dependable Haut-Médoc, very good in '13.
Clos La Madeleine - fabulous '13 from this gorgeous little vineyard
Clos Marsalette - Stefan von Niepperg's Pessac-Léognan is always fabulous value and doesn't disappoint this year.
Siaurac - This is fine Lalande-de-Pomerol: a real eye-opener from a property where Stéphane Derononcourt consults.

That's it. My pocket snapshot of some high notes with low tickets. I hope we get to drink some of these together at some stage...

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