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Gavin Quinney: day one of en primeur blogs

Published:  05 April, 2011

Gavin Quinney, owner of Chateau Bauduc in Bordeaux, kicks off our en primeur blogs

The American wine critics - the best known ones, at least - have been and gone, the rain over the weekend has cleared and the sun is now shining on Primeurs week in Bordeaux. Cool mornings, bright blue skies and heaving tasting rooms await.

More than 5,000 trade and press professionals will attend the Union des Grands Crus tastings of barrel samples in the next few days, with talk of 2010 being another great vintage. Although some critics would have us 'believe the hype' before any of the Riedel glasses have come out of the crates, it's clear that those in the trade are as sceptical as ever and keen to form their own opinions. Quite right too.

It's a far cry from just two years ago. Way back then, even the First Growths  were worried about the market for their wines en primeur. This year, however, the fiche techniques in French and English are also available in Chinese: Château Margaux are expecting to receive over 2,000 visitors in one week, a new record.

So tasting the First Growths, however fabulous they may be, might seem almost academic. They'll sell at whatever price, along with a few other leading brands (for that is what they are). Then there's the happy group of top Growths from the Left Bank which will fly out the door if Parker confirms what most of us will find (some stunning Cabernet Sauvignon) plus some expensive gems from Pomerol. Don't rule out some delicious St-Emilions amongst some very powerful wines.

It is, though, a super vintage from which to unearth some real values. The problem facing tasters this week is that with such massive colour, high tannins, racy acidity and a fair dollop of alcohol, will anyone have the stamina to work their way through to them?