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.
Château Latour 2012 is released today – for the first time, as this was the first vintage in which Latour was not offered en primeur.
I am still reeling from the news of the death last week of Denis Durantou, owner and winemaker of Chateau l'Église Clinet, La Petite Église (its second wine) Cruzelles, Montlandrie, La Chenade and Saintayme. He was only 62. I've been so disengaged (delegation) from the last two Bordeaux primeur campaigns, that I didn't even know he was ill.
It’s the busiest moment of the year for our team as we try to help everyone get the right wines into their glasses as well as the perfect presents into people's stockings for Christmas.
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.