At the Tesco press tasting on Friday we were presented with three rather smart Bordeaux wines from the 2009 vintage. They’re available from Tesco’s online operation, and they were (I suspect) included as a sort of reward for slugging round 140 or so wines from the regular range (although if you want to preserve your palate, you try not to taste everything).
It was a great chance to look at these wines, which have now been in bottle for a while, and which are all very highly rated. It’s kind of hard to be objective with such famous names on the label, and when it comes to scoring there’s the phenomenon of anchoring that you need to be wary of. Anchoring is when you sort of have an idea of a score in your mind before you taste the wine, and then it’s hard to deviate too much from this, whatever the wine is like. 2009 is also a slightly contoversial vintage – adored by many critics, but which can sometimes have a character that overpowers the terroir. It was a ripe, rich, fruit-forward year. But these wines show the vintage in a very good light. Prices are per bottle equivalent; on Tesco’s website you need to buy by the half-case.
Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande 2009 Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
75% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alcohol. I tried two bottles of this, which differed, on the insistence of Oz Clarke (I hadn’t cared much for the first bottle, but the second was fabulous). It’s a really pretty, elegant wine with sweet ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit nose with a subtle green edge. The palate is supple, bright and fruity with real finesse and elegance. Lovely compact blackcurrant fruit with a beguiling purity and elegance. 95/100 (£140 Tesco online)
Chateau Pontet Canet 2009 Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 14% alcohol. Supple, smooth and pure with sweet black fruits. Textured and silky with lovely purity and elegance. But there’s good structure hiding under the pure fruit, and this is seamless and quite fine. I think it will develop beautifully in time; at the moment, it’s still quite primary. 95/100 (£150 Tesco Online)
Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2009 St Julien, Bordeaux, France
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 13.5% alcohol. Rich, dense, powerful and structured, with focused blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, as well as some spicy notes. The plate is dense and has a cedary, mineral edge adding savouriness to the sweet fruit. This is a big wine that’s still youthful and tannic, and it’s very impressive indeed. 94/100 (£225 Tesco Online)
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com