Subskription 2011
Letzte Einträge - Bordeaux Subskription 2011
Donnerstag, 29.09.2009 - Auch Pierre Lurton vergleicht 2009 mit 1947
Vor einer Woche führte der britische Weinhändler Andrew Black ein ausführliches Gespräch mit Pierre Lurton, dem Manager von Château Cheval blanc in Saint Emilion, das er heute in seinem Pressedienst veröffentlicht hat. Darin schildert Lurton seine Einschätzung des Jahrgangs 2009, den er potentiell für noch besser hält als 2005 und für den er gewisse Parallelen sieht zum legendären Jahrgang 1947, dem nach Ansicht vieler Kenner und Experten besten Cheval blanc aller Zeiten. Sollte er recht behalten, dann wäre da tatsächlich ein Wein unterwegs, dem man das Prädikat „Jahrhundert“ verleihen könnte. Ich drucke hier das komplette Interview im englischen Original nach.

FRAGE: Today is September 23rd, the picking is underway at Cheval Blanc. After that gorgeous summer weather you must be dreaming about a legendary Cheval Blanc vintage...

LURTON: It was indeed a legendary summer! Dream weather! If only we could have a summer like that every year! Though I suppose that would deprive us of the diversity we have in each vintage.

FRAGE: Then why are growers in Bordeaux chopping and changing their minds about when to pick?

LURTON: The summer was ideal. It brought the grapes gently towards full ripeness. The weather was dry, which meant the bunches remained in a perfect state of health. So what’s going on now exactly? Well, since the beginning of September the dry weather has created a certain water deficit stress in the vines, which has concentrated the juice and the sugar but at the same time held back the ripening of the tannins. That was the situation leading up to last weekend before it rained, and that was why people were waiting.

FRAGE: Wanting it to rain, actually...

LURTON: Yes, and this past weekend it did. Some people actually got more than they wanted, but it was very welcome for most growers, although actual rainfall varied enormously from vineyard to vineyard. Here at Cheval we got 70mm.

FRAGE: That must have been quite a downpour. Was it a problem for your harvest?

LURTON: No, because it rained hard and for quite a short time, and much of the water disappeared down the ditches, so the vineyard soils didn’t absorb excessive amounts. It did the vines a lot of good though; they started to come alive a bit more, and the skins suddenly became a lot thinner, which was exactly what we wanted.

FRAGE: Had you already started the picking?

LURTON: Yes, we’d already brought in some superb Merlot the Tuesday before (on September 15th) –you had to see the colour of the juice, it was just amazing. Then after the rain, we re-started. The aromas of the Merlot in this vintage are incredible: blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries –there’s a real intensity of aroma.

FRAGE: When can you last recall a vintage with those characteristics during the harvest?

LURTON: The 1998! But this 2009 growing season was a bit hotter and I’m sure it will bring a more exotic touch. I think the reason why we have this combination of intensely aromatic fresh ripe black fruit and exoticism is that the 2009 summer had hot days and also cool nights. Those low night temperatures have helped preserve that aromatic intensity.

FRAGE: Cheval Blanc has an early-ripening terroir, which is why you started picking in advance of most others. But have you been tempted to delay the picking to get some extra silky tannins?

LURTON: 009 has been a relatively early, if slightly stressed, vintage, and now that we have had that rain, the ripening process will suddenly be going into overdrive. Growers will have to be careful not to make the mistake of waiting too long and missing out on the fantastic potential of this vintage.

FRAGE: Is there a real danger already of producing over-ripe grapes?

LURTON: Yes, and there will be some who are very content with that over-ripeness and the jammy, confit wines that they get from it. There are also, of course, consumers who are fond of that style of wine. But, as far as we are concerned, we will be aiming for fresh-tasting wines.

FRAGE: And to do that you will need to pick without delay...

LURTON: Yes, but we are not rushing it –we’re still picking the Merlot and will continue until Friday and maybe through to the beginning of next week (28th September). When you add up the number of days we’ve spent picking the Merlot it makes over ten, which proves that we haven’t been in a mad rush.

FRAGE: How closely have you been paying attention to your lab analyses before deciding when to pick?

LURTON: Quite frankly, I don’t really care about them. As far as I’m concerned you can leave them with the university professors. In a year like this, if you know your vineyard, you know that the results are good. It’s more important to go out in the vines and taste the berries. When the skins start softening up and really releasing what they contain, when the health of the vines is nearing its limits, then is the ideal time to send out the pickers and bring in the grapes quickly.

FRAGE: Just how good is the potential of this 2009 vintage?

LURTON: One thing I’m sure of is that everyone will make a good wine this year. However, the potential is there for some to make extraordinary wines. To achieve them, in my opinion, wine-makers will have to respect the freshness of the vintage and not allow over-ripe characters to creep into the wine.

FRAGE: The potential alcohol levels are very high. Do you think it is possible to make great Bordeaux wine at such high levels of alcohol?

LURTON: We have some Merlot vats at over 14°, but I don’t s ee that as a problem. You know, our 1947 vintage had an average of 14.3° and nobody would dispute that it was a great Cheval Blanc, if not the greatest. What is important in powerful vintages like this one is having the tannic structure to contain the alcohol. There are sometimes exceptional vintages like this one that can appear excessive not just in terms of degree, but also in structure, density, colour and so on, but they have the overall balance they need to taste harmonious. The problem with high degrees comes when you have a wine with excessive alcohol and not much body or structure.

FRAGE: Do you think the 2009 will have something in common with 2003?

LURTON: No, not at all. 2009 is much closer to the 2005 vintage, and I would even say that our 2009 is going to be superior to the 2005. We still have the Cabernet Franc to bring in, but it’s looking very, very promising. The key to this vintage is the harmony we will have between ripeness and freshness, thanks to the warmth of the days and the coolness of the nights, which we are still getting every day..... 27° by day and 12° by night –this is giving us incredible results. It’s Bordeaux’s magic equation! If you have a lot of heat, a lot of ripeness, the style of your wine gets more and more New World. Great Bordeaux wines benefit from a more subtle ripening, helped by the influence of the Atlantic climate.

FRAGE: You’ve mentioned that this vintage will have a certain similarity to 1998, maybe 2005, even 1947...

LURTON: It’s true that some are mentioning 47. What’s sure is that it’s going to be a great one. 47 maybe, or it could well have the velvety texture of the 1990, the freshness of the 98. Many Cheval vintages tend to be classed as either classic or exotic ones. I’ve got a strong feeling that the 09 will be a combination of both. Ripeness and freshness, opulence and purity.

FRAGE: Sounds like you have found the holy grail of wine –power and elegance all wrapped in one...

LURTON: Aha! The magic combination...It may sound like I’m going a bit over the top; maybe I am. What I tasted this morning though leaves me in no doubt that we have the makings of something very special.
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