At the sub-£10 per bottle price level there are lots of very good clarets coming on stream this year from the 2018 vintage. The great news is that I have bought widely in 2018, so we will have plenty of delicious, ripe and very appealing ‘drinking clarets’ to offer over the next couple of years. And because 2018 was a large crop, prices are reasonable.
I have recently blind tasted over 250 clarets from the 2016 vintage and 150 from the 2010 vintage. The 2016s are absolutely super and I think that the vintage will go down as one of the true greats of the last 50 years. The wines have beautiful balance, with freshness and impressive fruit density. Tannins are ripe and the wines have lovely drinkability at all price levels. The top-end wines are too young to drink for the moment, but under £15 per bottle the wines are showing very well indeed. The 2010 vintage is also excellent, but the wines are taking a while to come around. They are more concentrated and tannic than the 2016s so will require patience.
In terms of drinking vintages over £20 per bottle, as a general rule all of the following are now approachable: 2012, 2011 (with the exception of the top wines), 2009, 2007, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001.
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