On Wednesday we published our immediate thoughts on the wines of the Right Bank (see 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur: Right Bank Roundup). Here are our first impressions from the other side of the river and a list of wines we felt were outstanding within their quality level or commune.
We will touch down at Mérignac airport early on Sunday morning and fly straight into the 2018 Bordeaux en primeur tastings. Judgement will be reserved until all the barrels have been sampled but here are some early impressions of the vintage and thoughts on the upcoming campaign.
“…an astonishing Yquem that will rank alongside the 2001 and 2009.” If you want some of this gorgeous nectar in your cellar, the time to stash it away is now.
At the beginning of the 2015 campaign, we advised those who thought we'd Leave to pile in before the pound plummeted, and those who thought we'd Remain to hold their fire until after the referendum as the subsequent bounce in sterling might result in the remaining primeurs looking cheaper now.
'Time to wake up to the joys of Pessac-Léognan, because this appellation nailed it in 2015. Forever playing the bridesmaid to Pauillac or Saint Julien, but never the bride, Pessac-Léognan should be one of the first areas of Bordeaux at which you look.' Neal Martin, www.
Bordeaux can be a rather confusing and confounding market and never more so than at 'primeur' time. It is very easy to switch off, and many of us do, with just some of the big names and wild prices making the headlines.
There are various people in Bordeaux (or rather in the vineyards around Bordeaux) who are prepared to be intelligently honest in their appraisals of vintages, and that can really help sort out what one's thoughts about a vintage are.
The Left bank of the Gironde - the Médoc, encompassing the villages of Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estèphe as well as the actual Médoc and Haut Médoc appellations, mostly had a very different experience of the 2015 vintage to the Right bank.
Well it's (nearly) that time of year again. Early news suggests that this really is a top-drawer vintage, but there are also reasons to believe that it may not be quite such a homogeneous success as either 2009 or 2010. In essence the issue is that some rain fell in September and early October before the harvest.
Château Latour continues its process of releasing older stock from the château as it approaches maturity. As previously the prices are above the current market, but come with the assurance of perfect provenance, complete with proof tags.
With eager anticipation we gathered. On the day that marked Back to the Future Day, we were jouneying back before Marty McFly to a time when the height of sophistication was a cheese and wine party. But there were to be no cubes of supermarket cheddar and pineapple on cocktail sticks for us, we were going to do cheese properly.