Bordeaux 2016 and the UK tax on wine – March review

The B-word we’re limiting ourselves to this month is B for Bordeaux 2016. It’s a terrific vintage that the trade and press are about to taste in situ, and our fascinating analysis of how the weather made it is linked to below. What made 2016 particularly unusual was that many French regions were far less fortunate for both quantity and quality.

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How the weather shaped Bordeaux 2016

The wine trade and press descend on Bordeaux next week for the official En Primeur tastings of the latest vintage. There’s little doubt, to my mind, that they’ll find a great many exciting wines, both in the Royal Circle and in the more affordable stalls. At the top end, the wines will not be cheap when prices emerge later on but there’ll be scores of others that offer terrific bang for your buck – or even for your pound. Here, as a precursor to these tastings of young wines from barrel, is a graphical look at how the weather made the vintage.

Here’s how the vintage panned out. I’ll start with a few graphs and tables, and then show a few photos to give you an idea of what was happening in the vineyard. Keep reading

17 unpalatable truths about UK wine duty

UK duty on wine went up by 10p a bottle to £2.60 (£2.16 plus Vat) in the Budget this month. You’d be forgiven for not picking up on that, as it’s customary for the Chancellor of the day to confuse the media with a short burst of twaddle. “I will make no changes to previously planned upratings of duties on alcohol” is what he said. What he meant was that all alcohol duties were to increase by the chunky rate of inflation (RPI) of 3.9%.

The rise of 8p plus VAT, which came into effect on 13 March, is actually a significant whack on the cost price of your average bottle in a supermarket or in a pub. And completely out of line with what you pay on the continent; here are some facts: Keep reading

The new vintage – February review

We’re delighted and a little relieved that the bottling of our 2016 whites and rosé seemed to pass by without a hitch and that the wines are now live on our website for UK delivery at an introductory price.

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Bottling White and Rosé – in pictures

February is bottling month at Château Bauduc for the previous vintage’s whites and rosé. It’s the culmination of 16 months’ work when you take into account the pruning of the vines the winter before. It’s yet another time when we’re nervous about the weather – in previous years the machine has frozen up – but we were lucky this time. We bottled our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Les Trois Hectares Blanc and our Rosé. Keep reading