Bordeaux En Primeur 2013
Every year the fine wine trade descend on Bordeaux, the world’s greatest producer of fine wine. We visited with low expectations and came away pleasantly surprised with a wish list of wines we consider of good to excellent quality.
Hundreds of newly produced wines were made available to members of the wine trade, wine writers and critics for tasting and assessment. This April the 2013 vintage was released and we were there to select the wines we will offer. During this period each of the communes (St-Estèphe, Pauillac, St-Julien, Margaux, Péssac-Leognan, St-Emilion, Pomerol and Sauternes) show their best wines offering buyers and critics the opportunity to compare the best of the world’s greatest geographical contributor of fine wine.
A lot of unsubstantiated claims were made about 2013 way before the grapes had even been picked off the vines. The journalist looking for his scoop was quick to criticise a difficult growing season based on weather reports in turn writing off the vintage as a whole. The reality is something quite different.
There was more rain than usual but still less than in 2006 and 2008 in many regions. The temperatures on average were cooler, but July recorded the highest temperature for the past 30 years. In brief, due to the dry and warm July and August allowing ripening of the grapes, there are a number of very well made wines.
A challenging vintage for red wine makers, requiring skill in the vineyards and chais to produce small quantities of quality wine with modest alcohol levels and good levels of freshness. Cabernet on Left Bank and Merlot wines on the Right Bank were the best performers.
The northern Médoc communes generally faired better than those in the south but there are good wines to be found in all four of the top left bank communes.
Saint Emilion was relatively homogenous with some pretty juicy and lush wines. Pomerol was patchier with the great terroirs performing well.
WHITE & DESSERT WINES
A very good to great year for dry and sweet white wines across the Graves region and also in the Médoc
WHAT IS 2013 COMPARABLE TO?
This is a difficult question to answer but if you look back over the past two decades 2013 resembles mostly 2007 and 2008. Skill and a little luck were required to produce world class wines and not all châteaux were fortunate enough or took advantage. The result is patchy.
IS 2013 A GOOD VINTAGE TO BUY NOW?
Without doubt white wines will be a good buy this year. Many of the reds will be price dependent. With some châteaux already reducing prices versus last year it is looking like there will be some very good purchases of top brands at a fraction of the price they normally sell for.
There are few cases where châteaux have produced their best efforts for some time but many decent wines worthy of long term cellaring that will surprise drinkers in years to come given the reputation 2013 has gathered already.
There are a number of vintage defying efforts in 2013. The wines of Nicholas Thienpont, JP Moueix and Denis Durantou are all excellent and defy much of the critics’ harsh words around 2013. Coupled with small production in many cases make good arguments for collectors of particular wines. There simply will not be any wine to buy for most people. Luckily Le Clos is afforded good allocations of many of these wines.
Please click here to view and order the wines.
Posted in heard it on the grapevine
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