The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) is an organization formed in 1973 by a group of Bordeaux wineries that is something of a marketing program that puts on tasting and educational events in France and abroad. The organization now represents 133 wineries, both classified and non-classified producers. Every year, winery representatives tour the U.S. with their wines, but usually only visit New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Last year was the first time the tour found its way to Colorado.
This year, half of the group will be in Denver on Thursday, January 29 (the the other half is in Las Vegas that night). The Châteaux owners and winemakers from over 60 of the most prestigious Bordeaux producers (sadly, no First Growths...) will pour and discuss their wines. I can't think of another opportunity in Colorado to taste such a collection of historic and respected wines. As an added benefit (and because of Colorado liquor law) the event is a fundraiser for the Denver Public Schools Foundation, but hosted by Applejack Wine & Spirits. For a full list of the participating producers and to buy tickets, click here.
The 2012 vintage will be featured at the tasting, though I would hope some producers bring some examples properly aged Bordeaux wine. 2012 is the second in a trio of less-than-ideal vintages for Bordeaux. The vintage started cool and wet, and finished with heavy rains around harvest time. Though I haven't tasted much 2012 Bordeaux, I've read that merlot from the Right Bank produced more favorable wines when compared to the later-ripening cabernet sauvignon from the Left Bank. Many of the top sweet-wine producers even declared that they would not produce any wine in 2012, but instead sell-off their wine in bulk to less prominent producers.
I don't drink much Bordeaux, frankly because the price of admission is so steep. Many of the wines that will be poured at the UGCB tasting cost between $50 and $300 per bottle. The First Growth producers, who will not be in attendance, sell their wines for around $1000 per bottle. Prices have come down some since consumer demand (especially in China) of the heralded 2009 and 2010 vintages caused prices to skyrocket. Still, with three lower-quality vintages currently languishing in the market since the critically acclaimed 2010, supply and demand are still out of sync when it comes to general pricing for the region. Nevertheless, I will be quite interested to see what is in the glass on Thursday night to see if there is some value to be had. I hope to see you there!