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.
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.
Quite a few releases this morning as Bordeaux gets back from a very long weekend. There is no real sense that there is any urgency to sell this vintage. Coming out at the same price as mature vintages are trading on the market is not going to make for a long-term future for this way of selling wine.
The realisation that tomorrow is a holiday in France seems to have prompted a raft of releases this morning. Lafon Rochet (£245) offers value and consistently good tasting notes from the major critics. It is down around 12% on the 2011 price, but Lafon Rochet has never been about silly pricing so this represents solid value and comes recommended.
In a last minute panic to beat the hordes not to mention the school holiday prices – the Porter family made a hasty decision to escape the grey and have a week on a beach – but where to go? With two little people under three – anything too ‘long haul’ was off-limits – and the UK’s summer so far meant we did not dare risk the all too hip ‘staycation’.
It is turning out to be a busy morning, after a slow start with a raft of inconsequential right-bank wines, we have the release of the first of the top-performing Médoc Crus Classés in the shape of Lafon Rochet, which has by general concensus, made it’s best wine ever in 2010. Also on the market two remarkable wines from Didier Cuvelier, owner of Léoville Poyferré, Moulin Riche and Le Crock and Goulée, the top-performing Médoc owned by Cos d’Estournel, in what is also its best performance to date. Finally just released is Château Belgrave, a ‘lesser’ 5th growth, but one which is making better and better wines and which Robert Parker has, like Goulée, called a ‘sleeper of the vintage’, by which he means a lesser-known but good value offering.
Just when we were thinking that 2010 Bordeaux was all over, the Delmas-Montrose team decide to release the 2010 Chateau Tronquoy Lalande. This was a favourite 'hit-list' contender at the outset of the campaign, as all tasters were impressed by this even better follow up to the fantastic 2009.
Today sees the release of Château Cos d'Estournel and Pagodes, it's second wine, Goulée, the Médoc made by the Cos team, as well as the Pomerol, Château Gazin. Jean-Guillaume Prats has made a substantial effort on the price of Cos, which is down from €190 last year to €108 - to UK merchants.