Bordeaux En Primeur 2019

It’s that time of year again and Bordeaux buzz is very much in the air. The last decade has seen several benchmark vintages and as we look ahead to next month there is undeniably a palpable sense of optimism about Bordeaux 2019 En Primeur. Put simply, things are looking very promising for the vintage and we’ll be able to give you the full low-down in a matter of weeks when critics and the trade flock to the region for the tastings at the end of March (providing everything goes ahead).

In the meantime, let’s run through what we know so far. While not entirely perfect (it rarely is), conditions during the growing season were about as good as one can hope. By all accounts another solar vintage, the season was dry with significantly less rainfall than average. Winter and spring were relatively mild – there was some frost and hail but nothing too serious, especially compared to 2017. Mildew was not a problem this year unlike 2018. There was a chilly wet spell during flowering in early June where some vines were affected by coulure and millerandage – variously sized and underdeveloped grapes respectively – but there are plenty of workarounds for this in the winemaker’s repertoire. The summer was long, hot and dry. When heatwaves threatened to dry out the vines in late June and July the gods replied with a shower of heavy rain.

The harvest started in late August with the dry whites. Merlot harvest in Pomerol began in the second week of September, with most of the reds well under way in in the latter half of September and Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc into October. Yields are ever so slightly down from last year but much more consistent across the board. Even more promising are the top appellations which have produced a real bumper crop. Pauillac for example recorded its highest yields since 2006. The geeks among us might want to check out Gavin Quinney’s ever-informative article (link) on this year’s season, with more graphs and tables than you’ll find in your old maths books.

All the wines are now closely guarded in their vats and barrels patiently waiting for the En Primeur tastings at the end of the month. Our personal eyes and ears in the region, 100-point winemaker Jonathan Maltus of Pontet Labrie, Chateau Teyssier and Le Dôme (among other top labels), thinks that 2019 is “a very interesting vintage. The wines versus 2018 are more persistent, less fleshy, but have a ‘Bordeaux’ quality. Whereas 2018 is quite ‘American’ savvy the 2019 is much more European.”

Tom Harrown and Jonathan Maltus

Our Wine Director Tom Harrow also hosted a private tasting with the first ex-Chateau samples of 2019 Canon and Rauzan Segla, top growths from the right and left banks and very much on form this year. Here are his tasting notes:

rauzan wines, cannon wines, rauzan segla, chateau cannon

Canon 2019

“Impressive balance of rich, but supple and fresh red and black fruits, cassis, anise, and garrigue notes, decidedly hedonistic but not over-ripe, as still upright with a good backbone of acidity and precise tannins.”

Rauzan Segla 2019

“Nose is floral and cedary, with violets and cassis, baking spices, black truffle and ripe berries.  Good tension and grip on the deep fruited palate, there is a slightly surprising but welcome coolness here.”

We expect much more information to become available in the coming weeks. Be first in line to receive all the latest updates and offers as they come in hot off the press. Sign up now.