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 “This horrible virus could have been the excuse that the region needed to kick this outdated and increasingly irrelevant ‘buying opportunity’ into the long grass, once and for all.”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.
Is there anything that beats a good Dinner Party? Coming together to share delicious food, exciting wines, and lively conversation with friends now seems more essential than ever before – but how to have that experience now? In recent weeks, technology has really stepped up to the plate, changing the way we work, play, and socialise.
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.
Fine wine has long been a popular choice for christening presents. As the wine matures, so too does the recipient and eventually, many years down the line, a choice will be made whether to drink the contents or sell. Every year we are asked by godparents about purchasing wine and laying it down on the child’s behalf.
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.