2016; what makes a great Bordeaux vintage

As the futures week approaches in Bordeaux we cast our minds back to last year 2016, its climatic pattern and the deep red wine already in barrel about to be judged for the rest of its life.


*very wet Spring which filled water tables to the brim

*successful flowering period across the varieties although slow

*a very hot and dry year, just what Bordeaux needs to make a great year with concentrated grapes (the vine stresses and super concentrates its grapes by stopping to grow leaves) – young vines (without the root development) particularly suffered

Merlot here at St Estephe 2016 26 Sept Phelan Segur

*yields quite high

*big difference in as harvest approached between night and day temperatures developed complexity

2016 pumping over at Leoville Poyferré

*better than 2015? – already many producers are saying it is at least as good if not better (a bit like 2009 and 2010!). 2016 “Balance – power but freshness in the best wines”.

For more detail 2016 harvest

I will report back when I try some of the different wines from the different appellations during the futures week (first week April). All the varieties seemed to have done well across the appellations but as they say “the proof is in the pudding…”

What makes a great vintage?

There are five criteria for what makes a great year in Bordeaux: i) early and rapid flowering ii) water stress at berry set iii) water stress to check vine growth before véraison (the changing of the colour of the grapes) iv) lots of sunshine in August along with a little rain v) dry and sunny conditions at harvest time with cool nights.  Winemaker, researcher and wine consultant, Denis Dubourdieu


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