On the Trail

2009 Bordeaux Hits Reemerge

David Driscoll
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For my own personal drinking preferences, I think 2009 and 2015 are the two best vintages of Bordeaux of the last twenty years. I like ripeness, but I also like finesse. I'll choose elegance over power every day of the week and ultimately I value charm more than I do depth or supreme complexity. I know plenty of people who think 2010 was better than 2009 and just about all of my colleagues think 2016 might be the best vintage they've ever tasted. But this is America and while it may not always seem like it when I watch the news today, I think it's OK to disagree. After re-tasting a number of 2009's greatest hits again this week with my co-workers, I looked at them and asked: "How can you argue with these wines? The proof is in the bottle!" There were a few folks who quickly dismissed 2009 as too ripe and not classic enough in its character upon release, but I think we can put that summation to bed with the evolution of wines like the 2009 Malartic Lagraviere, a wine that showcases incredible terroir-driven, secondary flavors like pine, exotic spice, and earth alongside all the lush, pretty, soft-textured fruit. The wine is elegance defined. It's absolutely gorgeous. If the 2010 version drinks like Sofia Vergara, the 2009 has turned into Audrey Hepburn. 

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Not only is the grace and grandeur of 2009 on display in the Malartic, it's apparent in the values like the 2009 Lalande Borie as well. I hadn't tasted this wine since the Spring of 2016 until this week and I can't believe the difference another year and a half in the bottle has made. The dark and rich flavors of cassis and black fruit are still present, but they've now made way for more of the secondary flavors to come out and the tannins are a bit finer and less dusty than last time around. There's more earth, but the ripeness still guides the wine from the first sip to the final finish. I love the wines of the Ducru Beaucaillou, and this second label from the Borie family drinks like a more affordable version of the bigger gun, and a more approachable version at this stage in the game. While most of the 2009's I've tasted recently could age further, they're tasting soooooo good right now. For example, I love how the 2009 Latour Martillac is beginning to show some of that textbook Gravesian minerality now that it's had some time to shed the baby fat of that ripe 2009 fruit. When we tasted this wine recently you could finally get deep into the iron, graphite, and flinty notes that make the wine one of the best expressions of true terroir in all of Bordeaux. The fruit is still there to round out the edges, but the evolution on display here is what makes this wine worth buying. You can let it go another decade if you want, but there's no need if you don't want to.

-David Driscoll