When Robert Parker’s early vintage report hit the web, the race was on. Parker wrote: “First, and most importantly, for some Médocs and Graves, 2009 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux. From top to bottom, 2009 is not as consistent as 2005, but the peaks of quality in 2009 may turn out to be historic.”
But it would be some time later, on the eve of the vintage release, that Professor Denis Dubourdieu — the internationally renowned enology professor at l’Université de Bordeaux — who provided the details of the growing-season drama that would give birth to Jean-Michel Cazes’ iconic 2009 Château Lynch-Bages.
In front of an audience of about 300 in Bordeaux, Dubourdieu spoke of the conditions that could make for a perfect Bordeaux vintage. First, flowering should come early, in the first week of June. Second, the fruit set should be uniform, a byproduct of a hot, dry spring. Next, the veraison (when the bunches change color from green to red) must also come early, in the last week of July or first days of August. Each variety, Dubourdieu told the crowd, must ripen fully, requiring just enough rainfall (but not TOO much) in August and September to alleviate hydric stress. Finally, the last weeks before harvest must be warm and dry, but absent sudden heat spikes.
Dubourdieu concluded by saying that in 2009, ALL five conditions were met!
In the heart of Pauillac, at Château Lynch-Bages, when the call to harvest came in October 2009, a miracle took place.
We first tasted the 2009 Lynch-Bages out of cask in the fall of 2010. If it hadn’t been for the wine’s mesmerizing underlying complexity and its refined minerality, had we closed our eyes, we would have imagined ourselves on the Oakville Grade. Typically, Lynch-Bages and its Pauillac neighbors — including First Growths Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, and Latour — are far less flamboyant than their Napa Valley counterparts. Not so in 2009. The 2009 Lynch-Bages measured a hearty 13.5% alcohol, but even more astonishingly, while total acidity was a hair lower than the norm, Cazes’ 2009 showed incredible length, persistence, and vitality — a baby born to run marathons.
98 points from Robert Parker, Jr. who called the 2009 “the finest Lynch-Bages since the 2000, 1990 and 1989,” before suggesting this gargantuan Pauillac will “drink well for the next 30+ years.” $239/bottle — as always with WineAccess, drawn directly from the cellar in Bordeaux and shipped with PERFECT PROVENANCE.
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