Good afternoon good people.
I hope you are enjoying this sunny weekend. As you know, this is that time of the year when everyone is talking about Bordeaux; how great it is, how wonderful the wines are, how, even if you need a second mortgage just to buy a case, it is definitely worth it and so on. Woops, sorry……. Actually, this year, no one is talking about Bordeaux and well, there isn’t really much to talk about.
2013 was as close to a disaster as a vintage could be for a vine grower. There are in principle 5 different problems that any vigneron can have in a year. Normally, if any 2 of them hit the vineyard, that is considered to be as close to a nightmare as anyone would want to have. In 2013 however, all 5 disasters were raging all around the place throughout the year and for some, hail came in the spring and then again in the Autumn. All of the producers are unanimous that it is the worst since 1991, and the mere fact that they have produced any wine at all is only due to the technological advances in wine making. If it was down to nature, there should have been no wine in 2013 in Bordeaux.
Some sceptics could say that perhaps they deserve it after the way in which they behaved in 2009 and 2010 vintage, but we will not dwell on that issue now. Moving swiftly on to the wines and the inevitable question: Is there anything good over there, and is it worth buying any of it en primeur? Weeeeeeelllllll, those Chateaux that managed to produce something “half-decent” (read: clean; not green; not unpleasant and woody) have produced the wines that are more akin to red Burgundy than Bordeaux. Personally, I will actually take a few of them for my own drinking cellar as a very reliable substitute for red Burgundy.
Essentially, if you were to buy any well made 2013 Bordeaux, you would get a Grand or Premier Cru Burgundy quality and style for a fraction of the price that it would cost you to buy Burgundy itself. I would also say that their development and drinking window will be more reliable than Burgundy. I would say that some of them (emphasis on some) will actually deliver great drinking in 3- 5 years time as long as you don’t mind that your Burgundy comes in a Bordeaux bottle.
As a rule for this vintage, I would advise against buying any 1st growths. The prices are just way too high for the quality and unless some miracle happens they will not move from there in a hurry. The only reason to buy any of them would be if you want to keep the vertical going or, if you are worried that any mature vintages might be a bit dodgy with all the fakes and badly stored stock coming back from the Far East and flooding the market. I would also advise against buying the wines in the sub £200 mark. Some of them are not bad, but they really have nowhere to go and you might as well wait until they are bottled.
I will not bore you with the individual tasting notes but, most of the well made wines (and there are very few of them) tend to display aromas of red summer berries, very fresh and pleasant albeit high acidity, and quite soft, fine tannins. Looking over my notes, phrases like elegant, light, crisp, polished tannins, strawberries and cherries seem to be prominent but, again, only for the few well made. And so, what is worth buying? Most of the wines have by now been released and the only 2 wines that I can recommend as a decent buy are Ch. Lynch Bages in Pauillac at £550.00 and Ch. Clinet in Pomerol at £420.00 per case of 12 bott. I have taken my allocations for these 2 properties and should any of you be interested, please let me know as there is very little of it available – production is about 30% of the normal production level. The only other property that might be of interest is Pichon Comtesse. It has not been released yet on to the market but, if it comes anywhere near the price of Lynch Bages, it will be worth a buy. In 2013, Pichon made just around 10% of their regular production so, if you are interested, please let me know by return and I will confirm the stock to you once it gets released. Looking over my notes, few other wines were very attractive, such as Vieux Chateau Certan, Montrose, Palmer, Grand Puy Lacoste etc., but the pricing is all wrong. Subsequently, I could not recommend them at this point in time. Please note that there will be no further updates for this vintage, as I can’t see anything else that would be of interest there. As ever, please feel free should you wish to discuss any of the wines in more detail. And so, I wish you all the best for the rest of this fine Bank Holiday and promise to send you couple of exciting offers over the coming weeks. There is, after all, a (wine) life outside Bordeaux.
All the best