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2011 campaign en primeur: a heterogeneous vintage

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Having just returned from the en primeur tastings in Bordeaux, the general impressions of the La Bergère team are that this difficult 2011 vintage presents markedly different levels of quality from one production zone to another.

Chateau Soutard

The unusually hot and dry spring followed by a cold and wet summer put the Bordeaux winegrowers to the test. Many estates have been able to cope with this and produce perfectly balanced wines, very fruity and endowed with elegant tannins. But municipalities have suffered, in particular those whose soil had low water retention capacities or those very affected by spring droughts. In these cases, the maximum extraction of a lower than usual production produced dry wines, with very marked tannin and lacking in fruit.

Our team was particularly impressed by the Château Margaux which confirms its reputation thanks to subtle tannins and a refined length. The White Pavilion stood out for its freshness and vitality, the cold summer of 2011 having been fertile ground for the production of good, very acidic white wines.

Among the wines of the left bank, we will also note the castles Gruaud Larose, Armailhac, Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru and Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.

The wines from the right bank seem of a more homogeneous quality. Château Cheval Blanc has produced excellent first and second wines. We should also mention the Figeac, Canon La Gaffelière and Troplong Mondot castles, which also caught our attention.

In conclusion, 2011 produced exceptional wines, but this vintage requires very careful selection.

Despite the general optimism about this vintage, the topic of pricing was at the center of much anxious conversation, with merchants expressing their desire for an affordable campaign. We believe that correctly set prices are the key to success for this vintage. There is no doubt that its quality is not comparable to that of the exceptional vintages of 2009 and 2010. Consequently, the prices must be particularly attractive to attract consumers.

No indication was given on this subject but the representatives of the domains agree that the en primeur prices for the 2011 vintage should soon be made public (contrary to the suspense practiced last year). We expect to receive them in the coming weeks.

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Katie Heriot Maitland
April 6, 2012 

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