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Annual Claret tasting (2013 vintage) – London

It must be admitted that there was a touch of apprehension in advance as to whether there was an appetite to taste the 2013 Bordeaux vintage, but our doubts were unfounded. We had an excellent attendance, bolstered by a healthy crop of new MW’s in London for their awards that evening. Indeed it became clear that every year there seems to be a good reason to taste the vintage of the day – in this case probably that 2013 is the least expensive (as opposed to cheap…..) vintage on the market and so might present some interesting buys. Mind you, there is apparently very little stock of 2013 left on La Place and it was noticeable that, unusually, hardly any of the London brokers attended the event.

As for the wines, there were mixed feelings. Some felt that the wines lacked the intensity and energy expected at this level but on the plus side at least they were relatively easy to taste. Others certainly found some good things and it sounds as if there was approval for Pessac-Léognan, Saint-Julien, Saint Emilion and Pomerol in particular. There was also an excellent representation of Sauternes and Barsac, and these showed especially well. With many thanks as ever to the Châteaux and to the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés for their help in assembling such a wonderful range of wines to taste, to Dourthe for their help in collating and shipping the wines, to the MW’s and MW students who helped on the day and to those MW’s who kindly offered to write up the wines so that we can offer full feedback to the producers.

Richard Bampfield MW