2016 Bordeaux En Primeur Vintage Update

2016 Bordeaux En Primeur Vintage Update

2016 Bordeaux En Primeur Vintage Update

As the En Primeur campaign is now underway, here is a report from our wine buyer, Stuart McCloskey.

(headline photo – Pontet Canet)

We will not curb our enthusiasm – we have a very good vintage on our hands. A miracle according to some, when you bear in mind the adverse conditions at the beginning of the year. A special alchemy of incredible levels of sunshine and rain arriving just when required. The vinification ran its course without complication. It is true that when the raw materials are so good, the less interference there is, the fewer the errors made. All that was needed was to keep an eye on the temperatures during fermentation and to ensure that pumping over and pushing down of the marc was done as softly as possible. There was no need either to prolong the time in the vats since the extraction was straightforward and rapid.

The Critics’

Believe the hype is the voice sung by all the world’s leading critics with many reporting that 2016 is a vintage of a lifetime, which is difficult to accept following the hyper-campaigns of 2009 and 2010.

James Suckling: James released his scores early following a tasting of over 1,000 wines and simply confirmed 2016 as both an “excellent year” and very much a “Left Bank vintage” with preferences to the appellations of Pauillac and St. Estephe.  Suckling notes the differences between the 2016 and 2015 vintages but concludes that “2015 may be better overall than 2016, though it [2016] remains one of the best years for fine wines in the last two decades. He awards three wines the perfect 100 points (Châteaux Haut Brion, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild) with 7 sevens scoring 99-100 points. Interestingly, and baring Château Palmer, the remaining six wines were produced on the Right Bank. A further 16 wines received 98-99 points, which clearly highlights the quality of the vintage in his eyes.

Antonio Galloni: Antonio’s aptly titled his 2016 Bordeaux report with “It’s Now or Never, Baby”. And enthused about how “absolutely remarkable” the 2016 wine are. However, Antonio warned against drawing parallels with the great vintages of 2009 and 2010 as he feared that comparisons are, “mostly an attempt to recreate the hype of those two highly speculative vintages.” He scored seven wines a potential 100 points (current rating being 97-100) for Châteaux Lafleur, Le Pin, Pavie, VCC, Latour (not available En-Primeur), Margaux and Pichon Lalande. There are a raft of wines scoring 96-99 including Château Pontet Canet and Pavie Macquin.

Neal Martin: Neal’s report is quite simply encyclopaedic in terms of sheer volume. Neal is clearly incredibly excited with the 2016 vintage and the following statement sums up his sentiment succinctly “Let’s cut to the chase: 2016 is unequivocally a great vintage in Bordeaux. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise…” Neal has awarded eight wines a potential perfect score with three from the Right Bank (Ausone, Figeac and Pavie) and five from the Left Bank (Cos d’Estournel, Mission Haut Brion Leoville Las Cases, Mouton Rothschild and Latour, which is no longer available to purchase En-Primeur).

Jancis Robinson MW: Jancis wrote “Now that I have tasted as many lesser reds as I have, I am increasingly aware of how good many of these are, as I wrote in last Saturday’s free article. I think 2016 will be a vintage in which there is no absolute need to buy too high up the quality scale, on either right or left bank, in order to benefit from this vintage’s qualities of ripeness, freshness and structure” which we entirely echo as this is a great year to purchase some great (less expensive) wines for the home cellar.

Jancis MW ‘top’ scores – 18.5 points or higher

  • Latour
  • Mouton Rothschild
  • Leoville Las Cases
  • La Mission Haut Brion
  • Haut Brion
  • Pichon Baron
  • Calon Ségur
  • Vieux Château Certan
  • Figeac
  • Lafleur
  • Cheval Blanc
  • Canon
  • Ausone
  • Yquem
  • Climens
  • Suduiraut

Decanter: Unlike previous vintages, Decanter gave the entire En-Primeur mantle over to the highly respected Jane Anson however, it is disappointing not to see Steven Spurrier’s views / tasting notes… You are able to view all of Jane’s scores/ notes here

Jane Anson’s ‘top’ scores – 98 points or higher

  • Ausone
  • Lafite
  • Lafleur
  • Leoville Las Cases
  • Trotanoy
  • Canon
  • Cheval Blanc
  • Figeac
  • Haut Brion
  • La Fleur Pétrus
  • La Mission Haut Brion
  • Latour
  • Le Pin
  • L’Eglise Clinet
  • Mouton Rothschild
  • Palmer
  • Pichon Lalande

Should We Buy? In short, yes as there are many great wines available from the very ‘top’ to great drinking petite Châteaux, which we all should be buying for less than £250.00 IB per case… Demand for 2016 is very high and concerns with Brexit are evidently nonexistent. Key wines have already sold-out including the early release from one of the ‘wines of the vintage – Château Cos d’Estournel, which was sensibly released at last year’s opening price (plus FX difference).  Bordeaux are also reporting a sell-out for the Margaux property, Labegorce (£240.00 IB per case) which received an enormous score of 94-96 from Neal Martin. This clearly demonstrates a return from buyers looking for value and for drinking, which is great to see…

An exciting campaign lies ahead – and we hope for the successes we have had with 2014 and 2015.