If I had believed the doom mongers this year I probably wouldn’t have got on the plane to Bordeaux for the 2011 en primeur preview tastings, but I am very pleased that I did. 2011 was touted as a disaster, but in fact, the top wines are very impressive indeed. This is not a 2009, nor indeed is it a 2010 vintage, but the wines are, to my mind, more exciting and more engaging than the 2008s. It was a topsy-turvy vintage though – imagine a warm start and a warm finish, with a cool and rainy middle, it was very strange indeed. Combating both rot and heat stress needs highly trained vineyard staff and those estate with deep pockets, who could labour long in the vineyard, and also sacrifice substandard fruit on the sorting table made delicious wines. These are low yielding, intense, but remarkably fresh red wines with true charm and a classical demeanour and the dry and sweet whites are superb. Prices should come out earlier than usual and if the Châteaux make an effort to redress the balance from the last few years’ sky high price tags we might buy the wines. The goodwill, and not the power for once, is in their hands, because there will be no campaign if they are too greedy. For a complete list of scores, notes and my Top 40 and Best Value lists see matthewjukes.com.