The Whites The whites, produced from a welcome large harvest, are good to very good, a vintage which will be welcome in the market as much for the volume as for the quality. The grapes were in perfect condition at the harvest and it was possible to press hard and long.
2018 was a very hot vintage – the growing season only beaten by 2003 for overall heat. However the wines are very different from 2003, for even where they are ripe there is much more freshness than one could have dreamed possible.
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.
With most of our Right Bank tastings now complete, we thought it would be timely to offer some initial thoughts on the 2018s we’ve tasted. Below is a quick summary of our key Right Bank impressions, including which wines we think are contenders for ‘wine of the vintage’, as well as a few more down to earth picks that really impressed us.
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.
We have only just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Burgundy but the en primeur campaign is already looming large. Our visits in October and November were an absolute delight. Many vignerons were wearing broad smiles again and as well they might, this is clearly a vintage that will give enormous early drinking pleasure for both red and white.
As we mentioned in our initial post on the vintage, it was the frost that hit Bordeaux for several nights at the end of April which dominated the early headlines on the 2017 vintage. The frost was undoubtedly catastrophic for some but the more we chatted to winemakers across every appellation, we realised there was a subtler story to tell.
Yesterday began with a 9am tasting at Cheval Blanc (you have to start somewhere!). Sadly, it didn’t begin well. First came the news that there would be no Yquem tasting in the Orangery this year (quel désastre!), next came the unwelcome revelation that the Château was quite badly hit by frost in 2017.
Next week is primeurs week in Bordeaux and our tasting squad will be scurrying up and down the Gironde assessing the new vintage. Follow us on instagram and twitter if that's your thing, or check back here on the blog for our latest reports.
On Monday, we welcomed members of the trade and press to our 2015 Burgundy En Primeur Tasting at 67 Pall Mall. Those who braved the appalling weather and tube strike were welcomed by a room of joyous wines. 2015 was a fantastic vintage across the board.