Monsieur ‘Blanc’ of The Lion in Teddington gave me a quizzical look when I discussed ordering the 2007 Sénéjac, as we both knew the Bordeaux 2007 vintage didn’t have the greatest reputation, and I’m sure he was wondering in the back of his French mind if I really knew anything about wine at all. “I know 2007 is a weak vintage, but they’re tasting really well right now” I say, not even in French. “D’accord Monsieur BuduVin, I’ll bring a bottle – you can try it” he replied sceptically.
The truth is, having actively committed to each Bordeaux en primeur campaign since 2003, I completely ignored the 2007 reds, (the whites were a different story). The vintage was unfortunately difficult, and its reputation even worse. A damp summer, high manpower cost to select what grapes were passable, and silly pricing levels still pervading since 2005 – the most expensive vintage in history to date, made it a difficult sell, especially since Robert Parker refused to even taste it.
Six years later, summer 2014, in a buzzing Bistro on the Boulevard du Montparnasse, having spent the previous three days cycling to Paris from London, not at a leisurely pace, I found myself trying to dissuade my friend from ordering a Château Talbot 2007 from the wine list. I’m glad I failed, because two bottles later I found myself converted to the 2007’s. Well, actually I found myself very drunk and very happy, after a testing three days, wandering around my hotel room necking the remaining Comtes de Champagne 2000 we opened earlier from the bottle like there was no tomorrow, which I wished there wasn’t when it eventually came.
I’ve had a few 2007’s since then and every one I’ve been impressed with. It may be as Chef Barry says that only the good ones have survived, but I also think the better Château’s produced wines that were never quite as bad as everyone believed. Ok, it’s still a little earlier than you would usually expect to be drinking a usual Bordeaux vintage, which suggests a certain inferiority, but right now they are a very nice drink, and we found the Sénéjac to be no exception.
Château Sénéjac, a Cru Bourgeois from the Haut-Medoc, with a reputation for making quality wines, particularly since being bought in 1999 by Lorraine Cordier‡ – coincidentally from the same family who own Château Talbot (you see, I do know what I’m doing Monsieur Blanc). Worthy when it arrived at our table for an initial taste not to send it straight back, it developed like a good bottle should to give us smooth, rich balanced drinking with some unexpected but highly appreciated florality† developing as the bottle aired.
27 Wick Road, Teddington TW11 9DN
†I know it’s not a real word – yet!
‡To be completely accurate and up-to-date Ch. Sénéjac has recently been purchased by Monsieur Rutsman and is now made with technical advice from Ch. Pontet-Canet no less.