There is no better way to really appreciate and understand a wine than to enjoy it in the company of the winemaker who made it, and when that winemaker is Kevin Judd, the man who did more than any other to firmly put Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the map, the opportunity is one certainly not to be missed.
Day three of my 2017 Bordeaux tastings was met with a bright and sunny start as we escaped Bordeaux city for the rolling hillside of the region’s Right Bank. St Emilion and Pomerol lay in wait and most importantly for my palate, a break in play from the tannic impact of young Cabernet Sauvignon led wines!
Day two in Bordeaux’s Left Bank and our attention turned to the classic communes of St Julien, Margaux and Pauillac. Pessac-Leognan had already provided a delicious range of wines, where the very best examples displayed delicious candied notions of redcurrant, with vibrant freshness and well integrated tannins. La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion itself led the way as the star wines of the campaign so far, for both red and dry whites.
Following the excellent preceding twin vintages of 2015 and 2016, it was never going to be the easiest task for 2017 Bordeaux to fire the imagination of buyers. Quality across those two vintages had been brilliantly received by critics and private customers alike. Many wines ticked all the boxes for both high quality drinkability, whilst also delivering strong investment credentials for those buyers who were so inclined.
This time last year, Burgundy was a source of great excitement, and it was difficult to imagine anything from the region matching the exuberance and irresistible charm of the 2015 vintage. But 2016 has now arrived, and brought us a fascinating and delicious counterpoint - at its best, the equal of 2015 – and in some cases maybe even better. 2016 has an altogether different, but no less irresistible appeal, shining with elegance, purity, classical refinement and a great sense of place.