2011 Bordeaux

Last year we attended the 2010 Bordeaux tasting at the Rosen Shingle Creek, and it was a terrific event, so we were looking forward to this year’s version. Quite a few of our friends also attended, so there were 15 of us in all. That was actually a fairly large percentage of the total attendance of 150-200, which seemed to be down from last year, perhaps because ABC provided no way to buy the tickets online.

The event was held in one of the large conference spaces at the Rosen. We’d planned to have some sushi before hand, but a large sales convention had taken over nearly all the restaurants. We ended up at the bar of A Land Remembered for a tuna appetizer.

At the event we quickly learned why 2011 is not regarded as a great year in Bordeaux. The wines were mostly tannic but green, short, off balance, and thin. Certainly nothing like the 2009s and 2010s. Interestingly, though, the better producers managed to make significantly better wines than the lesser ones. While this isn’t surprising, the stratification was noteworthy, with almost no wines in the middle. Each wine seemed to be either completely unappealing or very good, with almost none falling in between.

It only took about an hour to try most of the promising wines, although we skipped a few whites and the Sauternes. As was the case last year, the obscure Château St. Pierre was probably the best buy.

The food last year was plentiful, but this year is seemed either more limited or simply delayed, and the attendees fell on it like hungry wolves. With long lines for the hot food we decided to leave and go to Calla Bella, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. We had a fairly uninspired meal there last year, but this year, sitting at the presentation bar that faces the kitchen we had excellent food and service. The Marguerita flatbread was authentically Italian, the Chilean sea bass was done with a deft touch, and the mushroom side was great.

If they do the event again next year I will definitely go, but I suspect similar results for the 2012 vintage.

Here are my notes on the wines:


Château d’Aiguilhe

Tight 88


Château Branaire Ducru

Tannic, some potential 89


Château Brane Cantenac

Really tannic 88


Brane Baron

Balanced 90


Château Camensac

Drinkable vanilla 88


Château Canon La Gaffelière

Green 89


Château Cantemerle

Very green 86


Château Cantenac Brown

Tannic 88


Château Carbonnieux

White: SB nose, astringent 85

Red: balanced 88


Château Chasse Spleen

Very rough 86


Château Clinet

Great structure 95



Smooth but short 89


Clos de L’Oratoire

Tight, thin 87



Short 86



Tannic 87


Château Gloria

Great coffee nose 91


Château Grand Puy Lacoste

Balanced 90


Lacoste Borie

Tannin mint 87


Château Haut Batailley

Very drinkable 92


Château Haut Bages Libéral

Green bitter 84


Château Lafon Rochet

Tannic green 85


Château LaPointe

Varietal balanced 94


De LaPointe

Merlot 89


La Tour Carnet

Good structure 90


Château Langoa Barton

Rough 85


Château Léoville Barton

Smooth 87


Château Léoville Poyferré

Mint, nice balance 95


Château Lynch Bages

Tannic 89


Echo de Lynch Bages

Drinkable 85


Clos Marsalette

Smooth 89


Phelan Segur

Awkward 87


Château Pichon Longueville Baron

Good structure 94


Château Suduiraut


Pape Clement

Great structure 95



Dense, chocolate, coffee, Pauillac 93


Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Coffee gravel smooth 95


Château St. Pierre

Beautiful coffee nose, great structure 94


Château Talbot

Great balance 95