The Bordeaux 2016 ’en primeur’ machine marches relentlessly on. (Lordy, I’ve been to nine Chelsea matches since the official week of tastings began in Bordeaux at the start of April, and there’s still no end in sight.) Here’s a link to a copy of my Bordeaux 2016 report for Harpers, the UK trade magazine, including my favourite 100 red wines. You can find many of my scores tabled alongside other critics on Liv-ex, the London International Vintners exchange, here.
I can’t repeat the whole article here but here are some highlights.
Bordeaux 2016 – 10 things to know
- A wet first half of the year, a bone-dry summer, topped off by a cool, dry harvest refreshed by timely rain.
- An outstanding vintage for the best red wines, rivalling 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015.
- Delicious, balanced reds marked by gorgeous fruit, dense structure, ripe tannins and – what sets the vintage apart – a core of refreshing acidity.
- Alcohol levels are happily in line with ’classic’ vintages: 13% – 13.5% for Cabernet dominated blends, and 13.5% – 14.5% for Merlot-based wines.
- 2016 is the last in a sequence of three very good Bordeaux vintages.
- Hugely successful in St-Julien, Pauillac and St-Estèphe – more so than 2015 despite the hype last year – home to many of the biggest and best known châteaux.
- The biggest crop overall since 2006, and the largest yield per hectare since 2004. Some top chateaux cropped at more modest levels.
- The top wines will no doubt be expensive, especially for sterling buyers, but there is strength in depth.
- Terrific values to be had on both banks at modest price points – from St-Estèphe, Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Fronsac, the Côtes de Bordeaux and so on.
- A good year for dry whites and good to very good for sweet whites.
Also, here are some wines to look out for:
Relative values, hopefully
Grand Puy Lacoste
La Dame de Montrose
Canon la Gaffeliere
Left Bank on a budget
La Tour Carnet
Tour de By
Right bank values