Let us start by saying that, without doubt, 2011 has produced some very fine wines. While some wines are, we feel, over extracted, excessively tannic efforts, many growers have nonetheless managed to work the fruit intelligently. As always James Nicholson travelled to Bordeaux for the En Primeur week in April and has tasted all the wines we have on offer. The Primeurs week produced a mixed bag of notes! It was a case of tasting and assessing every wine on its individual merits as there was huge variation even at commune level. So our concise, enclosed list is a summary of those wines we are confident and happy to endorse. Pricing is crucial: Cos opened 50% down and with yields of 36 hectolitres per hectare, that was judged to be a brave, but wise, decision. Lafite opened just 25% down so we took the decision not to accept our allocation. We feel it is simply not worth the £5,000 per case price tag.

The good news is that 2011 vintage definitely suited Sauternes and Barsac producers, giving them ideal conditions for the development of the botrytis that gives these wines their distinctive character. Fresh and pure, yet enticingly complex, these are not to be missed in this vintage.

JANE BOYCE MW

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