BORDEAUX EN PRIMEUR 2019
‘There is cautious optimism for an excellent vintage with serious quality in the bottle. From my tastings so far, I would say the wines are going to make it worth your while.’
Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine
The early rumours are of a very good vintage, as good as 2018, if not better – full ripe fruit, a weightless power balanced by beautiful freshness. Provided there is confidence in the wines, from both the market and our customers, alongside prices which reflect the difficult climate we’re in, there will undoubtedly be a place for many of these wines in the cellar.
2019 has produced wines that combine richness with precision and balance, along the lines of 2016 or 2010. It promises to be an excellent vintage, especially where the pricing takes note of the current market situation. Eric Boissenot, who consults to most of the major Left Bank properties, says ‘the magic of this vintage is the play of delicacy and power with an impressive natural length’ while at Pichon Lalande they say it has ‘the opulence of 2009, combined to precision and tension of 2010’. The wines show superb depth of fruit combined with good freshness and ripe tannins, the product of a year that had heat but also rain at just the right time. They are full of life with a balance and elegance that is very appealing. It is a year where Cabernet Sauvignon again seems to be dominant, with Petit Verdot also very impressive, due to a long ripening season and a harvest which lasted into October after some beneficial rain in late September. The Right Bank has also been successful with proprietors pointing to the small berries leading to concentrated wines with good aromas and tannins.
The dry whites are promising good depth of flavour combined with freshness while Sauternes looks very exciting due to rain at the right time to promote botrytis.
2019 Bordeaux vintage summary.
- Top line: An excellent, classic vintage.
- Freshness of 2010, framework of 2016 with fruit of 2018.
- Excellent high quality in good quantity.
- Raised alcohol levels as with other current vintages.
- Right Bank: Lots of plump berry fruits and lots of tannins, though high alcohols. Excellent acidity suggests an extra timeless design than in 2018.
- Left bank: The berries were smaller than in 2018 with at least as much sugar but more acid, more colour and more tannins. There is great aromatic intensity, and pips achieved better ripeness than in 2018, even if they took their time
- Flowering in some areas affected by cooler weather condition and rainfall brought by the tail end of Hurricane Miguel in June.
- Has caused some coulure - where grapes don't develop and millerandage - where grapes establish unevenly in size.
- Not a huge concern for those that are at the sorting table.
- Intense heat and drought (it hit the 40s at the end of July).
- Extreme heat fortunately mitigated by moderating weather later in the season.
- Risk of sunburn and hydric stress to grapes and vines – older vines and those on clay do best
- Excellent weather all through harvest - no stress and all picked at best perfection with somewhat longer (though once considered normal) 'hangtime' than current years.
- Similar to 2018, attention to detail was vital.
- Numerous Chx reporting wines of equivalent or far better quality than 2018.
- Ripe yet sophisticated with outstanding quality.
Ultimately, as with every year, the success of the campaign will certainly rely on the trust in the wines, trust in the pricing and the worth of you making the additions to your cellar.
If you're new to En Primeur you'll can find some information in this article - ‘What is En Primeur?’