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.
2015 Brunello di Montalcino - A Tuscan Triumph As each week passes, it’s hard to avoid the hype and noise around 2015 Brunello. There have been some really good vintages in the last few years like 2007 and 2010, but there is a strong feeling that 2015 trumps them all – and from our early tastings it is easy to understand the excitement.
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.