The superb 2018 vintage in Bordeaux was very much the result of two diametrically opposed periods – a very wet first half of the season, with just enough dry weather to allow flowering to happen smoothly, which on the one hand lead to the loss of part of the crop through mildew but, crucially, replenished water tables. This proved very useful indeed in the second half of the growing season when an interrupted spell of dry, hot (but not as hot as 2003, for example) weather from mid-July until October yielded one of the most relaxed harvesting period in living memory. Growers were able to pick their fruit at what they judged to be the optimal point, without the fear of rot or dilution that comes with wetter Autumns.
The Châteaux agree that the ripeness and health of grapes was incredible across the region and it is exciting to be offering a vintage that, for once, isn’t polarised as a “Left Bank” or “Right Bank” vintage. From lowly Bordeaux Supérieur through the excellent value Crus Bourgeois and all the way to the first growths, all the communes have produced wines of superb ripeness and structure. The wines are much more opulent and seductive than, say, 2005 or 2010 at the same stage, however with a spine of acidity and ripe but firm tannins that will ensure their age-worthiness.
This is a year where buying up and down the quality scale will pay dividends, and indeed, it will be hard to find a wine that doesn’t deliver immense drinking pleasure. It should be noted however, that while it is hard to find a “bad” wine in 2018, it is far from being as homogeneous a vintage as 2005 or 2010. Our genuine message here is that the estates that performed best are worth seeking out – they are exceptional in 2018. It is also particularly encouraging to see that the first few “early” releases have been offered at prices representing a discount on the past couple of vintages.
Our team was in Bordeaux a couple of weeks ago and we very studiously made our way through the tastings, putting together our selection of wines that really deserve your attention this year. As always our team of wine aficionados is on hand to discuss the vintage with you and help you prepare your own “wish list”. Do give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be delighted to explain more.
Contact [email protected] or call 01206 713560.