You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

It is above all the small wine estates that are suffering from the crisis in the Bordelais. Even an outstanding vintage is of little use to the producers of the peripheral appellations at the moment.

"It is expensive to make a good wine". Armand Schuster de Ballwil sighs. "Now of all times, when there is more and more progress, we get problems." The winegrower, who speaks fluent German, represents the Syndicat Viticole Régional des AOC Bordeaux et Bordeaux Supérieur on this tasting day. Almost a hundred bottles of the so-called "little Bordeaux" are set up here for the journalists who have travelled from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But the mood of those in charge is depressed. Among those winegrowers who can rely neither on prestigious titles nor on top Parker ratings, worries currently prevail, and there is talk of steadily falling barrel prices and emergency distillations. And this despite the fact that many estates have produced the best wine in their history: 2005 is an exceptional vintage, and not only at the top.

The 2005 vintage - there are few ephemera

Petit Verdot and more

When comparing barrel samples with mature wines, however, it becomes clear that those estates are at an advantage that also bottled good wines in 2004, 2003 or 2000. There are few one-day flies in 2005, but some wineries have indeed managed to press liquids with unripe tannins and tart tannins against the natural guidelines. With the Petit Crus, it seems that the word has not yet spread everywhere that must weight and physiological ripeness are not identical. At Château Micalet in the Haut-Médoc, however, they have mastered their craft in exemplary fashion. Owner Denis Fédieu, who makes part of his wine as an organic cuvée, presented rarities dating back to 1975 at the déjeuner and proved that a Cru Artisan can also mature excellently. This was especially true for a single-varietal Petit Verdot from 1998. The wine, which was completely aged in new wood, was enormously fresh, juicy, highly elegant and animating. It was only surpassed by a fabulous 1982 Micalet, which did not show the slightest signs of fatigue.

Barrel cellar of Château Citran

Concentration or Saignée

Even the Crus Artisans have no patent solutions for the crisis, especially not as far as the German market is concerned. "Very difficult" is all they say, "a lot goes through prices". Only the Crus Bourgeois, at least the most renowned ones, can afford to raise prices significantly. "The fact is," says Christian Schätzle, production director of Château Citran, "there is too much wine in Bordeaux. A short but severe crisis with a rapid shortage of supply is the be-all and end-all for the Kaiserstühl native. "At Château Citran they openly admit - unusually for the region - that sometimes the must concentrator is used. "But not in 2005," says Schätzle, "when the alcohol was already at the upper limit. The alternative was called Saignée and led, almost incidentally, to a rosé with unusual class: briefly matured in barriques, partially subjected to malolactic fermentation, powerful and juicy. The future of the Bordelais could also look like this.

Almost 300 wines were tasted on site at the end of April. However, some of the samples had already been filled for up to four weeks, which explains all the more why the following are only cautious estimates. The best tasted wines of the respective appellations are mentioned, there is no claim to completeness.

AOC Bordeaux/Bordeaux Supérieur
Domaine de CourteillacChâteau
Darzac (?)

Penin (!)


Pey la Tour (!)Châ


Séguin (!)



AOC Médoc
Château Béjac-Romelys (!)Château
Garance Haut-GrénatChâteau

AOC Haut Médoc
Château Micalet, Cuvée Bio (!)Château
Moutte Blanc

Haut BrégaChâteau

AOC Margaux
Château des Trois Chardons

AOC Pauillac
Château Béhèré

AOC Saint-Estèphe
Château La Peyre

AOC Blaye/Premières Côtes de Blaye
Château Dubraud, Grand Vin (!)Château
La Raz CamanChâteau
Cap Saint-MartinChâteau
des Bertrands, Nectar (!)

AOC Côtes de Bourg
Clos Alphonse DubreuilChâteau
Fougas MaldororChâteau
Martinat, Cuvée Epicuréa

AOC Canon-Fronsac
Château Cassagne Haut-Canon La Truffière (!)
Château Canon Précresse

AOC Fronsac
Château Les Trois Croix

AOC Lalande de Pomerol
Château La Croix Bellevue

AOC Saint-Géorges
Château Saint-André Corbin (?)

AOC Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion
Château Lanbersac, Cuvée Louisa Lecoester

AOC Montagne Saint-Émilion
Vieux Château Palon (!)

AOC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Château Vieux Larmande (!
)Château Pontet-Fumet (!)

Mangot (!)


La Rose Côtes Rol

and finally the Crus Bourgeois
Château Citran (!
)Château PicardChâteau
Moulin à VentChâteau
Liversan (!)


du Moulin RougeChâteau
Bessan-Ségur (


Le PeyChâteau
Lalande (


des Cabans


Tronquoy-Lalande (!)

and finally the sweet wines
:Château du Cros (Loupiac) (!

La Rame (Sainte-Croix du Mont) (!)


Laville (Sauternes) (!)Châ


Majoureau (Côtes de Bordeaux)

Related Magazine Articles

View All