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.
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.
This morning – where France is not on holiday – the 2014 releases continue. The big one is Château Talbot 2014 (£290). We liked the wine, although the balance of all notes suggests a wine that maybe quite a firm style.
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.
With Robert Parker's scores out, and in particular his headline 'Train Wreck Coming?' one might have hoped for a bit of realism, but instead we got three wines today trying to capitalise on pretty good notes. Parker warns: 'Bordeaux is at a crossroads.
We had too many good wines to choose from when voting up the wine of the week, so we decided to draw up a short list of 4 our best value and affordable drinking Bordeaux between at £11.95 and £37.