Robert Parker, Bordeaux Primeurs and the New Decade: To be Graceful or not to be

(This executive summary is part of an exclusive VitaBella report)(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr).
At the time when Robert Parker is in Bordeaux to evaluate the quality of the 2009s, this new decade may send a strong signal to the world of luxury wines: dark, concentrated, full of tannins and strong in alcohol are outdated criteria.
In the past, some producers followed these strict criteria in order to make their wines fit into a special premium niche. If they had full points in each of these criteria then they could have expected top international ratings and priced their wines very high. 2010 just started and the new decade will certainly change this point of view on luxury wines: Elegance and Grace will be key in the future. And to start with, let's be clear on the message: less alcohol doen't mean only lower alcohol but a better integrated alcohol and less tannins does not mean a lower level of tannins but elegant tannins. In this new decade, it may be less about analytical figures and more about how elegant and graceful the wines are.
This new approach of Luxury wines is not particular to Bordeaux but it seems that the Bordeaux Primeurs' tasting week, at the beginning of a new exciting decade, will make it recognized globally. All over the world, a new way of understanding luxury wines was already progressing in the last few years. Some great winemakers are saying it loud after having made experimentations, tasted their old vintage wines and discussed with some great european winemakers. A good example is Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards who is making elegant wines in California. Not only does it please the delicate palate of the japanese owners of this beautiful estate but Paul Draper's wines age beautifully and do not need to be "big monsters" at release time. Many other great winemakers in the world share this position. Randall Grahm, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard wrote: “In the new world, quality is generally associated with saturated color, soft tannins, new oak and overall power . . . sort of like evaluating music on how loud it is played and how big a horn section one is able to deploy . . . someone has to stop this madness.”
Bordeaux Primeurs, at the turn of a new decade, may be the time when the world will hear this message loud. Journalists, wine critics and buyers will have the chance to taste, at an early stage, a vintage where Mother Nature has given the best of itself. In terms of natural conditions, Châteaux mention that 2009 was exceptional. But during Bordeaux Primeurs' tasting, two worlds may oppose; the old approach of Luxury wines and the new approach of Luxury wines. Some Bordeaux 2009 may be powerful and strong in alcohol and some may be elegant and balanced. After the last two decades of "body-builded wines" attracting international eyeballs, momentum may have come that a majority of professionnals would favour a more "balanced and graceful" approach. Then terroir and men's work will come back on the front scene. Tools of science and technology from adjusting tannins or darkening the color to technics to lower alcohol will be of minor interest and the capacity of winemakers to get adapted to their environment will be privileged. That will make the difference between luxury wines and others. In 2010, Bordeaux Primeurs' tasting week may be the time when this signal will be sent to the world.(More wine news on www.vitabella.fr).