Our plans to taste the latest releases from Chateau Margaux face to face (at a safe distance!) with the team from the Chateau were thwarted last week by complications with travel for the Bordeaux contingent. We had been heading into London to the Mentzelopoulos family's Marylebone outpost - Clarette (the wine bar owned by Alexandra Petit Mentzelopoulos).
There have been a fair number of ‘ifs’ about the 2019 Bordeaux En Primeur. The first and perhaps biggest was the ‘if it would happen’. With most of the world in various states of lockdown, Primeur week cancelled and critics unable to taste, the situation in April looked pretty bleak.
Wednesday was quite a day as we headed to the Rothschild family’s English home, Waddesdon Manor, for an impressive Rothschild double header – the 5 wines from the Lafite Rothschilds and 5 wines from the Mouton Rothschilds. It was a strange feeling – very reminiscent of our usual primeur pilgrimage to the great Châeaux of Bordeaux.
Although a hotly anticipated release, Cos d’Estournel, with its position next to Lafite, is arguably St Estèphe’s answer to a first growth. The 2019 was offered to us this morning with a score of 97-99 points from The Wine Advocate and sitting at £684 per 6 bottles IB.
Vintage good to outstanding. Timing poor to appalling. Pricing might be interesting We have already expressed our sympathy with the view that the interruption of the primeur tastings in Bordeaux should really have resulted in a radical rethink of the whole en primeur circus, which, in the last ten years, has become a selling opportunity for the Chateaux rather than a buying opportunity for the consumer.
We’ve already said that the UK trade is not terribly enthusiastic about the prospect of a primeur campaign over this summer, and we are not the only ones. “This horrible virus could have been the excuse that the region needed to kick this outdated and increasingly irrelevant ‘buying opportunity’ into the long grass, once and for all.” (Matthew Jukes)
Word has been seeping out that the 2019 vintage in Bordeaux is a good one. Not ‘the vintage of the century’ again, but better than 2018, and continuing the long run of successful vintage that Bordeaux has enjoyed, both in terms of quantity and quality.