More than any other vintage in the last decade this is one in which you have to put your trust not in vintage reports and critics feedback but in individual Château. Those who picked in one of the few ideal ‘rain windows’ and those who went through meticulous selection at harvest time managed to produce quite beautiful wines, those who didn’t, didn’t. These are wines for the mid-term although certain Château have made very structured wines that look like they will have staying power.
What will make this vintage hopefully very attractive is the wines should be relatively affordable. After the very expensive ’09s and ’10s and the ‘big drop’ in 2011 – that never really materialised – Bordeaux have now realised that prices need to come down if they want to move any volume. Already some serious reductions have been seen, others have not been so wise.
We are about to launch our offers and we are only offering wines we believe are genuinely very good for this vintage. Four days of heavy duty tasting in April has given us a very clear view of which wines are really worth getting behind.
St. Estèphe for example was largely disappointing but I would happily stand over the following Châteaux: Ormes de Pez, Lafon Rochet and Phélan Ségur. Moving down the Médoc and there were some very good Pauillacs: Pontet Canet is sublime, Lynch-Bages & it’s baby brother Echo were excellent as were both the Pichons - avoid anything with Grand Puy in the name and Haut-Bages Liberal fell somewhat short of the mark.
St. Julien was again very good, maybe not as homogenous as recent years but the blue bloods showed their class here: The Léovilles and Langoa were serious, accomplished wines that will age well; Gruaud Larose was ripe and plush where Talbot and St. Pierre were found lacking. Gloria - considering its price point - was one of the best wines in the appellation.
Margaux which is normally a bit ‘all over the place’ was surprisingly consistent this year and there was a raft of exceptionally good wines for mid-term ageing. Château Margaux itself was a beauty but was followed closely by Palmer and Rauzan Segla. Kirwan, Brane Cantenac, Cantenac Brown, d’Issan, Lascombes, du Tertre and Siran were all very successful.
On the right bank Pomerol was one of the real successes, many great wines were made; La Conseillante, Clinet, Le Gay were all powerful, concentrated wines while La Pointe and Petit-Village had a lighter more floral nature but equally attractive.
St. Émilion had some what can only be called challenging wines and here Château selection is most important. The wines I have the greatest faith in after tasting are: Pavie-Macquin, Troplong Mondot, Canon-la-Gaffelière and for sheer approachability and hopefully value La Tour Figeac.
Other wines which showed particularly well at the tastings and are worth looking out for from mixed appellations were: Chasse-Spleen, Sociando Mallet, Cambon La Pelouse, Sénéjac, Bellegrave and Poujeaux.
We release our offers on Monday but here is a sneak preview, if you spot anything you want to reserve then contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.