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Published:  23 July, 2008

The top Bordeaux chteaux should delay the annual en primeur tastings by six months, according to May Eliane de Lencquesaing. Speaking at The Great Cabernet Conundrum - a seminar and tasting organised by Harpers in conjunction with Warren Winiarski of Stag's Leap - the proprietor of the super second'-growth Chteau Pichon-Lalande said: The press comes to Bordeaux to taste wines that are still newborn babies. There is a lot of pressure on us to release the wines, but Bordeaux should refuse to have those early tastings.' De Lencquesaing also argued that the chteaux should release their wines to the market before certain powerful critics have judged them and, just as important, given them scores out of 100. Her comments were made during a debate on the effectiveness of the 100 point system between Jeff Morgan, contributing editor of The Wine Enthusiast and Tim Atkin MW, editorial director of Harpers and wine correspondent of The Observer. The afternoon session, entitled Appellationhelp or hindrance?', was also a source of controversy. Paul Pontallier of Chteau Margaux said that: In France we have the most terrible administration in the world; it's like a Kafka nightmare. But we also have the most efficient administration in the world, and that can be a nightmare too.' Nonetheless, Pontallier said he was broadly in favour of the appellation system. Carlos Falc of Marqus de Grion, who has worked outside the DO system' for most of his life, argued that appellations were less and less relevant to modern consumers. In Europe, we're still discussing whether appellations are good, when the Australians have already achieved the objectives they set themselves for 2025.' A full report on both sessions and the blind tasting of 35 Cabernet-based wines from around the world will appear in future editions of Harpers.