2018 Bordeaux here we come

2018. Nature has made it good, perhaps very good. It is still in the barrel, aging, developing, sleeping, growing in density, becoming smoother more refined. Its elements of tannin, fruit, acidity beginning to mesh together in harmony due to the gradual micro-oxygenation that is taking place through the wood’s grain. But it is still a baby and wont be grown up enough to be bottled until 2020. But it is next week that the baby gets judged for the rest of its life.

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Barrels at Château Montrose Grand Cru Classé St Estephe

It was a wet cloudy Spring and early summer which meant mildew was very prevalent and spraying had to be perfectly timed.

Not only did the humidity cause problems but the lack of sunshine meant that vines were weaker than normal. It was not until September, after a very sunny and hot July and August that the number of sunshine hours reached the norm.

So what happened in mid July when the sun started to shine and create a humid glasshouse effect on vines that were already feeble from the lack of sun. The combination of a final mildew attack plus a sudden surge of strong heat and light was too much for some of the vines.

Some plots took the full blow, others previously resilient, succumbed in drastic proportions. It seemed to be linked with terroir with vines in cooler clay and limestone able to resist better but the phenomenon that occurred in some vineyards is hard to understand at this point.

It is soon the time for the world to come to Bordeaux and taste this new wine that is still in full development. This called ‘the primeurs’ and it takes place in Bordeaux during the first week of April every year. It is for the world’s wine press and wine buyers to taste and judge the new vintage.

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Some producers lost quantity due to the prevalence of Mildew this year. Pioneer biodynamic producers, Pontet Canet in Pauillac only produced one third of their usual production. All was well whenworkers left for the holiday weekend on 14th July, only to return the Monday to destruction in some plots of the 80 hectare vineyard. What they have produced is said to be the best they have ever made. I will be tasting the 2018 (a little of what there is) which has been made with minimal intervention; no electricity and in the new concrete vats for the first time.

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New bonbon shaped vats at Pontet Canet with no temperature control
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new minimal and silent sorting system at pontet canet using no electricity

 

I will be tasting a range of other left and right bank wines along with 5000 other tasters to pass our judgement next week. I will be posting my findings.

 

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