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A fine vintage of ripe, fleshy wines with the best exhibiting freshness and real depth.
Halves & Magnums
Unusual circumstances. Unusual solutions. My visits to Bordeaux at harvest time last year showed me the potential of 2019 clarets, which carefully organised tastings over the past few weeks have fully borne out. There are some wonderful wines. What’s more, the current situation has made some châteaux offer much reduced prices. Two compelling reasons for us to make an en primeur offer and for members to buy.
The 2019 Bordeaux vintage is unquestionably very good indeed, and for châteaux with their vines in the best terroirs, potentially excellent. Weather conditions overall were hot and dry, but the remarkable characteristic of the vintage is that the wines (both red and white) have maintained freshness, with lovely cool, lifted fruit character. And whilst alcohol levels are above average for the past few years there is little evidence of this in the glass, thanks to a seam of fresh acidity running through the wines. Balance is the key to a great wine and the 2019s are harmoniously balanced.
I made two trips to Bordeaux last year during the harvest, once towards the end of September to visit the right bank appellations of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, and then again during the second week of October for the Médoc, Graves and Sauternes. Both visits revealed an abundance of small, healthy grapes arriving at the cellar doors.
In normal years I do two subsequent week-long trips to Bordeaux in April to taste the new vintage, but as we all know this is not a normal year. Having been forced to cancel my trips I, like Bordeaux buyers around the world, have been unable to visit individual châteaux to taste barrel samples of the 2019 vintage in the normal way, so instead I have been sent, and have tasted, dozens of samples here in the UK. Whilst this is not the same as tasting ‘sur place’, it has enabled me to form an opinion of the individual wines and develop a clear overall picture of the style and quality of the vintage.
Barrel samples of very young wines are fragile and transporting them any distance means that there is an increased chance of them deteriorating in transit. I requested that all samples be drawn from barrel at the beginning of the week so that I could taste towards the end of the same week, thus minimising the risk of oxidation.
The 2019 growing season was not straightforward, and vineyard managers needed to be vigilant, but those who kept on top of things were rewarded with a fine and sizeable crop. In the winery, low-temperature fermentations and gentle extractions were the keys to producing attractively balanced wines.
The dry whites are also excellent this year, with an almost exotic edge, but underscored with the hallmark freshness of the vintage, and good aromatic expression. Sauternes and Barsac faced particularly challenging weather conditions, and strict selection was essential. But the best wines have an appealing peachy, luscious character.
Buyer for Bordeaux
A note about alcohols: we are including indicative alcohol levels for all the wines in this offer. Please note however that these are intended as a guideline and may differ once the wine is in bottle.
This offer will close at 8pm, Thursday 6th August, 2020