2015 was always going to be a hard act to follow, but Bordeaux has responded with another show-stopping vintage, which in many cases surpasses its predecessor.
2016 is undoubtedly a very good vintage indeed for Bordeaux, with exceptional wines from left to right, and top to bottom. It hits the same heights as 2015, and in many cases, tops it. We can comfortably consider it in the same bracket as 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000. A number of experts have compared wines to the great vintage of the 50s and 60s, and certainly some Châteaux have made their greatest wine for half a century.
This is a year of freshness and purity, with precision and suppleness of texture. The wines are very classically styled, with velvety ripe tannins and exceptional balance. There is perhaps a greater homogenity than in 2015 – whereas the wines of St Julien and St Estephe were hindered by rain in 2015, in 2016 they have made some of the best wines of the vintage. Pauillac is superb as well – this is a very strong cabernet vintage on the left bank.
Across the river, there are some stunning wines to be found in Pomerol and St-Emilion – and Pomerol in particular looks exceptional.
Many commentators have compared this vintage to 2010, echoing the 2009/2015 comparison, but although there is a similar level of tannin – and consequent longevity – the tannic structure seems softer and better integrated. These wines seem to have a great sense of place, of terroir, and of harmony.
What is without doubt, is this is an excellent vintage, which deserves its place amongst the very best.