Here’s my article for Harpers Wine & Spirit magazine, May 2014 issue.
2013 is turning out to be the vintage that nobody wanted.
Certainly not the growers, who experienced the most difficult growing season in years and the most fraught of harvests. Yields too were well down.
The Bordeaux negociants and wine merchants around the world aren’t too happy either. At the bottom end, they’re paying 25% more for bulk wine for their brands and own-label lines because of the small crop, and at the top of the pyramid, the majority of leading chateaux have failed to breathe life into another subdued en primeur campaign by not reducing prices enough. Consumers, meanwhile, haven’t shown much interest from the day the grapes were picked.
There is, however, some good news. The dry whites are very good and many sweet whites are excellent. White vines, though, only make up 11% of the vineyard area, so the real money is on red. There’s some good news here too, as most professional tasters discovered during the en primeur barrel tastings in late March and early April. While the wines are relatively light, they’re not let down by green, unripe tannins (thanks to good weather in July and August) and a great many will provide attractive drinking over the next decade. Keep reading