This is probably the question that I get asked the most often.
Since we have just sent our Wine Club Members a mixed case of reds (instead of the 2014 vintage, which we are not releasing), I thought it would be good idea to conduct a vertical tasting of all of the wines that we have ever made, and then to update our drinking recommendations.
First of all, the most important thing is to understand your own personal taste.
Do you like bright, juicy, deeply coloured, powerful and fruit-forward wines?
Or do you prefer mellow, smooth, full-bodied and richly flavourful reds?
(Sorry, we normally don’t make light reds here – if you like your reds delicate and refreshing, then you should try ‘The Bee-side’ – that’s the closest we get!)
If the former, then drink our wines 0-2 years after they are bottled, and if the latter, then you may prefer to wait until 3-6 years.
Or if you are in both camps, like me, you might want to mix it up a bit.
And trust your own opinion. The views suggested here are not ‘facts’. (Nor are the views suggested in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine book, Hugh would be the first to admit….)
So, here’s our notes on all of our wines – maybe it is time to pop down to your wine rack and remind yourself of what you have left. Or perhaps to order up some of the older wines where we are running short of stock?
The Bee-side 2014 – just delicious now, and certainly good for a couple more years, but this is not a wine designed for long ageing, so enjoy it now!
Domaine of the Bee 2013 – One of the lightest vintages to date, this is still brightly fruity, and quite a bit bigger and punchier than The Bee-side. Drinking very well now, and will soften and round out more for couple of years –
Domaine of the Bee 2012 – Just coming out of a slightly awkward phase, and starting to display some delicious, seductive red fruits. Simpler than the 2011, but very enjoyable to drink. And still has legs to age a couple more years
Domaine of the Bee 2011 – One of the best wines we have made, and while this tasted great from the outset (and still tastes great now!), it will still age very gracefully for several more years. No need to delay drinking it though!
Domaine of the Bee 2010 – This was the star of the recent tasting, and illustrates what a great year 2010 was across France, as well as a good guideline that in a normal vintage, Domaine of the Bee takes about 3-4 years in the bottle to show its best.
Domaine of the Bee 2009 – Another great vintage for lovers of really BIG reds, that is in its absolute prime, and while it probably won’t necessarily get better, it should remain on top form for a good couple more years
Domaine of the Bee 2008 – One of my favourite years from the outset, with a high level of acidity and plenty of tannins, this has always been a keeper, and has tasted great pretty much every year since it was released. It will be interesting to see how this ages over the next 5 years. LAST BOTTLES LEFT –
Domaine of the Bee 2007 – Perhaps not the greatest wine we ever made, with rather tough tannins that took a while to come round, this is still tasting good, but shouldn’t be kept more than a year or two. SOLD OUT –
Les Genoux 2013 – Tasting delightfully fresh and delicate (in spite of nearly 14.5% alc), this has plenty of life left ahead of it, and will evolve and develop over several years. But with 30 mins in a decanter, it is already hedonistically delicious….
Les Genoux 2011 – A highly impressive red. The charm of the young red fruit is less evident, but there is a core of ripeness, weight and power, and an enormous length of flavour. Lush and sexy raspberry fruit, and slatey minerality. LAST BOTTLES LEFT
Les Genoux 2010 – Showing less of the fruit, and more of the slatey power. Pretty close to the 2011 in quality, and they all share the almost salty minerality that this vineyard gives us. Surprised and impressed by this. NONE IN WAREHOUSE – SOME BOTTLES AVAILABLE FOR PICK-UP from SW14 8EQ.
Les Genoux 2009 – We only made 267 bottles of this, so there are very unlikely to be many still out there (we only have about 5 bottles left). This is very open-textured and lush, and starting to develop a slightly animal edge that may result from the lack of filtration. For those of you who like your bottles in the funky side, you’ll love this – if you are lucky enough still to have a bottle. But I’d recommend drinking it in the next couple of years. SOLD OUT
Field of the Bee 2013 – We keep back 6 bottles of everything for research purposes, and we cracked open one of these for this tasting, as we sold out of this over a year ago. This was definitely nicer a year ago – while still OK, it was a bit neutral and dull. Not a wine for long ageing, I think. SOLD OUT
Field of the Bee 2014 – Just delicious right now, if you have any left! Don’t leave it past Christmas – our style is probably at its best within 2 years of the vintage. SOLD OUT.
By end 2016
Field of the Bee 2015 – Really starting to open out now. This is a bit richer than the 2014, and will be a great autumn / winter white, adding rich, soft pineapple and peach fruit flavours to whatever you pair it with.
By Autumn 2017
Bee Pink 2015 – Designed to be drunk within 1 year of bottling, this will still be lovely in early 2017, but may not make it to next summer tasting quite as fresh as it was – and why wait! SOLD OUT (except a few bottles put aside for mixed cases)
By May 2017