2009 Bordeaux UGC tasting

Bordeaux 2009, Royal Opera House, UCG Tasting, London 2011


The stunning décor of the Paul Hamlyn Hall at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden was the setting for one of our most exciting days in recent weeks, an opportunity for the UK Wine Trade to check up on the superlative 2009 Bordeaux, courtesy of the Union des Grands Crus Classés. Nearly a year and a half after the Primeurs tasting, it is always fascinating to see how the wines have evolved.
As our 5-strong contingent took to the tasting floor and knuckled down, it soon became obvious that these wines very much deserve their reputation for ripe, seductive, juicy fruit with fantastic intensity and length. We tried every cru classé present on the day, and below are our personal favourites. You can see our current list of 2009 reds here, and whites here.

Ludo’s favourite: Château Figeac, St Emilion
I have always loved the style of Château Figeac, and the 2009 is no exception. For me, it really exudes class and breed and proves that St Emilion does not have to be exceedingly extracted to impress. The restrained yet intriguing nose is dominated by a slightly floral character, with spicy and herbal notes in the background. On the palate it is juicy, rich and very impressively long, but the most outstanding aspect is the layers of complexity that are already developing: the plummy fruit backbone is peppered with a multitude of flavours, scorched earth, tobacco, camphor and winter spice that succeed to one another. Given the perfectly integrated, fine tannic structure that keeps everything firmly but silkily in check, this is a very fine St Emilion indeed!  

 Will’s favourite: Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
For a wine that will age better than many a Grand Cru Côte d’Or, there is a delightful precociousness to the nose, showing an aromatic intensity of great balance between herbaceous, citrus and a lick of toasty oak. This follows on to a tight, zippy palate dominated by lime fruit and a subtle creaminess. Superb length too, this can only get better with time.


Al’s favourite: Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac (Sold Out)
2009 Pichon Baron displays a plethora of rich dark fruit notes, with a touch of Asian spice and classic Pauillac cedar. Incredible deep in color, this brooding beauty has the most amazing texture and wonderfully pure fruit. Loaded with cassis and blackberry flavors, wrapped in sumptuously smooth tannins, there is a fine backbone of acidity, which retains freshness and provides real lift. Only hinting at its potential; but what potential.

Kat’s favourite: Château La Conseillante, Pomerol (Sold Out)
Immediately violet-scented on the nose; fragrant and appealing. Supremely well balanced on the palate, with finely expressed tannins, beautifully pure dark berry fruit and layers of floral tones. A vein of minerality runs throughout and there is a dart of acidity that gives this a lovely sense of poise and freshness. A wine to bring a smile to your face. 

Paula’s favourite: Château Branaire-Ducru, St Julien
A vibrant nose, very fruit forward and attractive. Lovely Velvety rich palette, well integrated flavours dark fruits, chocolate, mocha and hints of vanilla. Wonderful sweet spice lingering on the end! For me this wine was quite approachable now, as were a number of the 2009’s. What a stunning vintage!

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