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Broadbent and Clarke: Bordeaux all tastes the same

Veteran wine critics Oz Clarke and Michael Broadbent have accused top Bordeaux producers of making wines that are indistinguishable from one region to the next.

In an interview that appears in the January 2008 issue of Decanter, Broadbent expresses concern at the current state of winemaking in general, and Bordeaux in particular.

Decrying wine that fails to express its terroir, he says, ‘they’re all being made in the same style now – you can’t tell the difference between a St-Estèphe, St-Julien or Margaux. They’re making Pomerol wines in the Médoc.’

Clarke agrees, adding ‘and they’re not as good at it.’

Clarke claims he ‘weeps’ at the homogenisation of Bordeaux, a result of ‘alcohol, new oak and consultants’, and is ‘enormously worried’ by the trend.

But their criticism isn’t reserved for the old world alone. Clarke and Broadbent also lament new world producers’ over-dependence on consultants and ratings from international wine critics, excessive levels of oak and alcohol, and prices.

‘I’m not very popular in California because I’ve been so critical of these 15% wines at such huge prices,’ said Broadbent.

‘Join the club,’ said Clarke. ‘Why do we have to have 15/16/16.5% wine, watered back to 14.5%? It doesn’t fool anyone.

‘I could save them all money by setting myself up as a consultant and halving their oak bill… But they won’t do it because they won’t get more than 89 points in what I call the “major international wine press”.’

‘What I’d spend most of my money on in the next 10-20 years would be trying to find Bordeaux which spoke of its place,’ Clarke adds. ‘And that’s certainly not a wine made by a highly paid consultant.’

Written by Maggie Rosen

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