London wine merchant the Sampler is to offer Bordeaux 2009 en primeur as tasting samples direct from the chateaux.
Jamie Hutchinson, owner of the shop in Islington, north London, told decanter.com that around 12 chateaux have already agreed to participate, including classified growths such as Chateau Batailley in Pauillac.
This will be the first time that samples of wines that are still 18 months from bottling would be available for public tasting.
The first time a Bordeaux vintage is seen by the press and wine merchants is at en primeur in the Spring following the vintage. The 2009 vintage will be shown to the press at the end of March this year.
Hutchinson said he thought it would take a while for chateaux to get comfortable with the idea of consumers tasting the wines so early.
‘We probably won’t have a complete list until after the en primeur week in March. We will collect samples in late April or early May for a one or two week public tasting in the shop.’
Estelle Tehan of Chateau Fonplegade, a classified growth in Saint Emilion, said, ‘2009 is a wonderful vintage where the wines are already supple and fruit-filled. We are putting our wines back on the Place de Bordeaux through negociants this year, after four years of selling only through our own network, and this would be a good way to make this known.’
Hutchinson agreed that this is a good vintage to taste barrel samples, as the 09 vintage is ‘rich and ripe with very good tannins’.
He added, ‘I think the 2009 campaign is likely to be a success – despite the continuing economic gloom in the US. Demand is still excellent here and frighteningly high in Asia.
‘Getting allocations remains difficult, but we hope that by offering something different to the public, chateaux will be keen to work with us.’
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Written by Jane Anson