Place Your Bets: Primeurs Week has Begun

Primeurs week has officially kicked off in Bordeaux.  The world of buyer, critics and journalists has descended upon Bordeaux to taste the 2011 vintage.

Although many regions held early events in late March En Primeurs week began last night with several tastings including an intimate tasting of Côtes de Bourg at Le Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

The event placed a spotlight on the entire region, “ Primeurs week is very important for Côtes de Bourg,” explains Didier Gontier, Director of the right bank wine region, “Our appellation has a very homogenous character among the different Chateaus.  Primeurs week allows us to show our particular terroir to wine professionals around the world.”  The tasting also shows that Primeurs week is not just about Grand Crus, buyers and journalists are able to taste wines like those from Côtes de Bourg who focus on value for money.

The 2011 Vintage

Jean Mallet of the Château Grand-Maison

“ In forty years of harvests I have never seen a vintage like this one,” explains Jean Mallet of the Château Grand-Maison.  The unusual combination of a hot spring, and humid summer with heat waves reaching 40° C (over 100° F) led to early flowering.  Harvests on the white grapes began the 1st of August in Côtes de Bourg while the reds began to come off the vine the 28th of August. The last reds were picked the 10th of October- leaving a six-week span during the harvest. As a result many wineries choose to pick at different times. “This vintage will be very different from one producer to another,”  points out Mallet “Many people waited too long to harvest in my opinion, hoping for added maturity.”

Overall the producers are happy with the 2011 vintage.  Although the vintage will not be an exceptional vintage with the aging potential of 2009 and 2010, it does offer something new from recent vintages.  “This is a wine that can be enjoyed young,” highlights David Arnaud from Château Tour des Graves, “it has good concentration, freshness and is more fruit forward.”

The white wines offered by the producers of Côtes de Bourg are excellent in the 2011 vintage, some feel it is more a vintage for whites wines than the red.  I personally enjoyed the white blends using grapes such as Semillion and Sauvignon Gris that add additional volume and texture, balancing well with the aromas of Sauvignon Blanc.

En Primeurs tastings will be held in and around the Bordeux area for professionals and press until the 6th of April

Last night was only a beginning. To see a full list of events that will be taking place in Bordeaux this week visit the website of Communication Group Agence Fleurie.