Our view on the 2011 vintage
In Bordeaux, the year 2011 forced the winegrowers to be very careful and methodical in their grape sorting because of the heterogeneity of the grapes. Chateau Margaux produced only 29 hl of wine per hectare (which is very small) and in Saint Emilion, the Merlot grape was slightly diluted due to the weather hazards (Cabernet Franc on the other hand was very successful). The 2011 vintage is therefore lower than the exceptional years 2009 and 2010 . However, the bottles of wine from 2011 offer easier fruitiness, making them less deep, but enjoyable quicker (before 10 years). In Sauternes, 2011 is of superior average quality. In 2011 Burgundy, the vintage was early, and the wines turned out to be gourmet and supple, but with a light structure. They will therefore keep for less time in the cellar. The tannins of the red Burgundy wines of 2011 (in Cote de Nuits) are light, and the oaky notes subtle, so the red wines should be drunk quickly. As for the 2011 white Burgundy wines from the Cote de Beaune, these offer a light and fruity style that can sometimes lack of a bit of intensity. In Champagne, the 2011 vintage is qualified as early and the Chardonnay (blanc de blancs) dominates in quality. The big houses release their wines 6 to 10 years after the vintage, so beautiful bottles will probably soon be offered for sale. In the Rhone Valley, the 2011 summer weather was rough, the harvest spread out over time and the bottles of red wines from 2011 will be drunk earlier on a fruity profile. If the wines of Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Chateauneuf du Pape are traditionally to be kept, in 2011, they will be more pleasant in their youth. The 2011 white wine from the Rhone Valley will be less powerful than usual. In 2011, Alsace produced a slightly weaker vintage, the summer weather having favoured the development of grey rot outbreaks. The 2011 Rieslings deserve the interest, but on the other hand, very low volume of sweet wines in late harvest and SGN due to the unfavourable autumn weather conditions for Botrytis development. In Loire wine, the 2011 red wines that have been harvested later have been able to recover from the delicate summer thanks to a good beginning of autumn (Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur Champigny). The 2011 Loire white wines suffered from a contrasting summer, and they will be more tender than those of 2010 and should be drunk in their youth.
Which 2011 wine to buy? Our 2011 best buying advices
If you wish to buy a bottle of 2011 wine, in Bordeaux we advise you to choose the great classified growths of the Medoc and other renowned chtaeaux from the Right Bank: 2011 Ducru Beaucaillou, 2011 Lafite Rothschild, 2011 Latour, 2011 Leoville Las Cases, 2011 Chateau Margaux, 2011 Montrose, 2011 Mouton Rothschild, 2011 Pontet Canet, 2011 Haut Brion, 2011 Ausone, 2011 Cheval Blanc (very successful), 2011 Lafleur, 2011 Tertre Roteboeuf… In Sauternes: 2011 Climens and 2011 Yquem…. In red Burgundy: the 2011 Gevrey Chambertin (and Grands Crus) from Rousseau or a 2011 Echezeaux from Dujac, and in white Burgundy: a 2011 Meursault 1 er cru or 2011 Chassagne Montrachet 1 er cru. In the Rhone Valley, a 2011 Cornas by Clape or Thierry Allemand, or a 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape, light bodied and already accessible.
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