As someone who writes about wine, I often have conflicted feelings about the wine press. Writing about wine, like writing about food, is very subjective, but there are some wine writers whose opinions are given so much credence that they can make or break a vintage. Note that I said "opinions." Wine writers who offer expertise are incredibly important to helping average people like you and me understand wine better, and to get a fuller understanding of what we like, but "opinions" vary. The 2007 vintage Bordeaux are a case in point. Yes, the vintage was challenging weather-wise. But great Bordeaux have been made in challenging vintages for centuries. The problem for 2007 Bordeaux, really, was that it followed the epic 2005 and the classic 2006 vintages. In a word, it was overshadowed. Opening prices for the vintage were initially quite high, too, which rubbed lots of people the wrong way. But prices have come down significantly in the year since the vintage was released to the public, and there are now some incredible deals to be had, even on the top wines.
Today's wine, the Second Growth 2007 Léoville-Poyferré from St-Julien is a STEAL at just $39.99 (the 2009 is going for $174.99 pre-arrival and the 2005 is $99.99, for some context). Made by Didier Cuvelier, who has been managing the château since 1979 and whose family has owned Léoville-Poyferré since 1920. We recently opened a bottle of the 2007 for a staff tasting, and it was astonishingly good. Mineral, tobacco and coffee scents wrapped around black currant aromas like a glove, continuing onto a bright, forward palate that can best be characterized as pretty. This isn't a Bridgette Bardot-like Bordeaux, it's more like Audrey Hepburn, striking but understated. The finish is a little astringent right now, so either give this a few more years to integrate or at least a couple of hours in a decanter. There isn't much left of this wine--at this price there shouldn't be--and it's written about again in our January newsletter. So if you like Bordeaux or know someone who does, snag a bottle or two before this ethereal little beauty is gone.