Bordeaux 2018 En Primeur
Having been in Bordeaux in the first week of April to taste the new vintage, we are delighted to report that 2018 is a VERY GOOD to OUTSTANDING vintage. Whilst not perhaps as homogenous as some of the really great recent vintages, the better wines are at least their equals in terms of ripeness, power and potential longevity.
2018 was a ‘game of two halves’, the first of which had record amounts of rain leading to severe problems with mildew at many properties. While this drastically reduced the crop the unaffected grapes were perfectly healthy, and on the day (coincidentally?) that France won the world cup the weather changed and the region experienced a long and glorious summer with above average temperatures. In many places drought conditions resulted in thick-skinned, tiny berries, that further reduced the yield. Across the piece production was approximately 30% below average but the quality of the vintage had been transformed from disaster to potential triumph.
In 2018 great wines are to be found in all areas and communes across Bordeaux. On the Left Bank we found the quality to be most consistent in the northern Médoc, particularly in Pauillac and St Estèphe, with a number of great wines in St Julien, and a few further south in Margaux. On the Right Bank the properties in and around the Pomerol plain made exceptional wines, as did many of the top châteaux on the côtes of Saint Emilion. The low yields in 2018 have resulted in big powerful wines with concentrated fruit and strong tannins. In addition, crucially, the early season rainfall and cool summer nights have given the wines wonderful fresh acidities. They are hard to compare with those of previous vintages, but for us, if anything, the best have a combination of the depth and richness of the 2010s and the silky fresh tannins of the 2016s.
Whilst we do admit to having slight reservations about the heterogeneity of the vintage, critic James Suckling is unequivocal when he writes: “Most people agree that it is a great year and can be compared in quality to recent excellent years such as 2016 and 2015. I think it could turn out to be an all-time great, similar to 2010, 2009 and 1989 or even such classics as 1982 or 1959.”
Please e-mail your advance expressions of interest for particular wines, or the vintage in general to email@example.com.
You can read a report on the 2018 growing season on our blog here.
FULL LIST OF WINES OFFERED TO DATE BELOW
Prices are ex-VAT per case of 12 bottles, unless otherwise advised. DP = duty-paid ex-London. IB = under bond ex-London.
|Red||2018||Château Labegorce||75cl||£255 per case of 12||IB|
Deep, dark black cassis and blueberry fruits on the nose which are confirmed on ... Read more
Deep, dark black cassis and blueberry fruits on the nose which are confirmed on the palate, open and approachable but with a structure which seems pleasingly classical, powerful tannins and already beginning to show signs of integrated cedary oak influence. RKL "2018 is the first year for eight vintages that this wine is back to being 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, after replantings have come on line. That helps, perhaps, with the lift it shows even in this extremely concentrated year. It's a lovely Labégorce, with some bouncy, chewy tannins alongside blue and bramble fruits and some spice. As it opens up, a more floral character comes out. 93 points." Jane Anson, Decanter April 2019 "This is a plump and rich Labégorce with a full body, juicy tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Lots of pure and intense fruit. 93-94 points." James Suckling, jamessuckling.com April 2019 Close
|Red||2018||Château Lafite||75cl||£1,550 per case of 3||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Lafite - Carruades de Lafite||75cl||£2,195 per case of 12||IB|
"This is an extremely fine-grained Carraudes with a complex character of chocola... Read more
"This is an extremely fine-grained Carraudes with a complex character of chocolate, walnut, cedar and a hint of graphite. Medium-to full-bodied, tight and chewy but, at the same time, agile and light. Savory finish. Special. 95-96 points." James Suckling "The second wine of Lafite is the 2018 Carruades De Lafite (56.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc). This ruby/purple colored effort offers classic Lafite elegance and purity as well as lead pencil, red and black currants, and tobacco. Elegant, silky, ultra-fine and beautifully balanced, with ripe tannins, it's a smoking second wine that's going to keep for 2-3 decades. 94-96 points." Jeb Dunnuck Close
|Red||2018||Château Lafon Rochet||75cl||£384 per case of 12||IB|
Lots of freshness, energy and life here. Supple and forward, the blackcurrant a... Read more
Lots of freshness, energy and life here. Supple and forward, the blackcurrant and cassis fruit is very accessible, but under-pinned by a great structure. RKL "I presume Basile Tesseron is feeling pretty relieved that he decided not to continue with organics in February 2018, as the ability to be more flexible with treatments proved pretty important during the rest of the season. The result is very good, full of juice and life, with crunchy blackberry and cassis fruits that are up there in expression with the 2016. It has clear quality, but is also pretty austere, with good slate minerality and touches of hedgerow. It feels like a wine with good life ahead and something to say. 4% Cabernet Franc makes up the blend. Harvested 24 September to 11 October. 3.7pH. Drinking Window 2026 - 2038. 94 points." Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019 A wine of lovely finesse the 2018 Lafon-Rochet offers a striking combination of fruit density and nuance, all in an understated style that is quite appealing. Dark cherry, sweet tobacco, menthol, dried flowers and mint all run through this silky, supple Saint-Estèphe. As always, Lafon-Rochet is one of the more laid back, elegant wines of the appellation. Even so, the 2018 has lovely mid-palate sweetness and silky tannins, both of which add to its considerable appeal. The blend is 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Yields were a healthy 50 hectoliters per hectare, higher than the average, which is closer to 42-45. 92-95 points." Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019 Close
|Red||2018||Château Lagrange||75cl||£420 per case of 12||IB|
Dense on the nose but the dark black cassis fruit is evident, in massive concent... Read more
Dense on the nose but the dark black cassis fruit is evident, in massive concentration without giving the impression of being over-extracted. Lots of spicy intensity on the palate too, whilst still being balanced. A bit of a bruiser...in a good way. Given time this should be a very impressive Lagrange indeed. RKL "The 2018 Lagrange is off the charts. Bold, plush and beautifully resonant in the glass, the 2018 possesses tremendous richness and textural intensity. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, espresso, mint and licorice build in a racy, sumptuous Lagrange loaded with personality. The 2018 is one of the best recent vintages I have tasted. Tasted two times. 92-95 points." Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com April "This rivals the 2016 for sure, although the sense of gravity is perhaps just a little less effortless as it was in that incredible vintage. It's closed in and tight on the nose with slightly reductive notes, but it opens up after a few minutes to reveal another good quality St-Julien. A serious wine, it has well structured walls and a moat around the cassis fruit. It's not quite at the level of 2010 but is halfway there, making you stop and think before its gentle power takes over. Drinking Window 2027 - 2040. 94 points." Jane Anson, Decanter April 2019. Close
|Red||2018||Château Langoa Barton||75cl||£435 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château L'Eglise Clinet||75cl||£1,300 per case of 6||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Léoville Barton||75cl||£755 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Léoville Las Cases||75cl||£1,086 per case of 6||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Léoville Poyferré||75cl||£815 per case of 12||IB|
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot. Amazingly... Read more
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot. Amazingly perfumed with floral and peppery spice notes from the outset, complimented by deep kirsch and cassis fruit. Great depth of cassis fruit but very pure and with not a hint of over-extraction, perfectly balanced. Texture on the palate is superb with silky but powerful tannins. RKL "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Léoville Poyferré begins sporting a veil of cedar, opening out to reveal profound notions of crème de cassis, warm kirsch, Black Forest cake and Indian spices plus hints of chargrilled meats and Sichuan pepper. Full-bodied and built like a brick house, the taut, muscular black fruit has a solid frame of firm, ripe tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with loads of savory nuances....94-96+ points" Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert.Parker.com "The 2018 Léoville-Poyferré is a stunning wine that shows a very distinct shift in style under the leadership of Sara Lecompte Cuvelier towards greater energy and vibrancy. The 2018 soars out of the glass with stunning aromatic presence. In its latest incarnation, Léoville-Poyferré is marked by a distinct emphasis on freshness and less extraction than in the past, with sweeter, riper tannins than is the norm. It will be interesting to see if that is an expression of the vintage, or a move toward a gentler approach to winemaking, but I suspect much of it is the latter. Dark red cherry, menthol, pine and wild flowers abound in a stunning, vibrant Saint-Julien that will leave readers weak at the knees. Tasted three times. 94-97 points" Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com "Deep, silky, and satiny in texture, you can practically stroke this in the glass! The round mouthfeel tells of ripe fruit and generous alcohol but there's not a trace of heat, and the balance is gorgeous. Tannins match you step for step, stopping for breath in all the right places. They keep the luscious black cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate all in place. The 2016 vintage was almost one degree less in alcohol, and certainly this is a little less architectural in its construction, but that extra percent has clearly gone a long way to covering the tannins in silk. 3.7pH. IPT90. Tasted several times. Drinking Window 2028-2042. 97 points" Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine "This is so powerful and dense with amazing tannin quality that reminds me of dense clouds, because they are agile and light. Multilayered. Extremely long, too. Punchy! One of the best wines I have ever had from here. 97-98 points" jamessuckling.com "One of the gems in the vintage will be the 2018 Château Léoville Poyferré, which is a powerful, incredibly sexy wine...In the same ballpark as the 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2010, its deep purple color is followed by a rich, opulent bouquet of sweet black and blue fruits, tobacco, and graphite. Both intellectually and hedonistically satisfying, it fills the mouth with fruit, has remarkable purity and precision for such a powerful wine, sweet tannins, and a finish that goes on for nearly a minute. It's similar in character to the 2009 and will keep for three decades or more. This wine checks in at 14.4% alcohol, with a pH of 3.7, and a massive (one of the highest in the vintage) IPT value of 90. Tasted twice. 96-99 points" Jebdunnuck.com Close
|Red||2018||Château Les Cruzelles||75cl||£210 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Les Gravières||75cl||£165 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château L'Evangile||75cl||£1,100 per case of 6||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Lilian Ladouys||75cl||£180 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Lynch Bages||75cl||£534 per case of 6||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Lynch Bages||75cl||£1,068 per case of 12||IB|
|Red||2018||Château Malescot St Exupery||75cl||£490 per case of 12||IB|
Such intense, dark black fruits on the nose and palate, and yet this manages sti... Read more
Such intense, dark black fruits on the nose and palate, and yet this manages still to be balanced and recognisably Margaux. If Malescot have gone all out for fruit this year it is entirely forgivable and has worked out brilliantly for them. RKL "The 2018 Malescot Saint Exupéry is fabulous. Powerful and explosive in the glass, and yet remarkably polished, the 2018 is impressive. Graphite, smoke, gravel, spice and leather infuse a potent, full-bodied Margaux built on structure. Even so, in this vintage, Malescot shows unusually supple tannins and a softer feel than is usually the case....93-96 points" Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com "The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Malescot St. Exupery comes prancing out of the glass with flamboyant raspberry coulis, kirsch and redcurrant jelly scents over a fresh blackcurrant and boysenberry core with wafts of red roses, cinnamon stick and forest floor. Full-bodied, rich and opulent in the mouth, the palate delivers stacks of red fruit, cassis and floral layers with a firm, finely grained frame and plenty of freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Just lovely. 94-96+ points" Lisa Perotti-Brown, Robert.Parker.com "A structured and muscular Malescot with blackberry and blackcurrant aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Big wine for this producer. 97-98 points" jamessuckling.com Close
|Red||2018||Château Margaux||75cl||£2,550 per case of 6||IB|
|White||2018||Château Margaux - Pavillon Blanc du Margaux||75cl||£965 per case of 6||IB|
"The 2018 Pavillon Blanc is made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc that was picked in Augu... Read more
"The 2018 Pavillon Blanc is made of 100% Sauvignon Blanc that was picked in August—there was no water stress on the vines at this stage. The wine has a pH of 3.1 and 13.5% alcohol. It leaps from the glass with exuberant green guava, fresh pineapple and apricot scents with hints of mandarin peel, honeysuckle and fresh ginger. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant and very fresh with wonderful, intense tropical layers, finishing very exotic. 93-95 points." Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, April 2019 "One of the whites of the vintage is the 2018 Château Margaux Pavillon Blanc, which is all Sauvignon Blanc brought up in barrel. This racy, medium to full-bodied beauty offers a terrific sense of freshness and tension as well as complex notes of lemon curd, white grapefruit, white flowers, and salty minerality. Vibrant, racy, yet also textured and beautifully concentrated, it's unquestionably in the top handful of whites in the vintage. 95-97 points." Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019 "A very powerful and dense white with loads of dried lemons and cooked peaches. Full-bodied with chewy phenolic tension and texture. Extremely long. Lasts for minutes. Layered! 97-98 points." James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019 Close
|Red||2018||Château Margaux - Pavillon Rouge du Margaux||75cl||£895 per case of 6||IB|
"The 2018 Pavillon Rouge accounts for 30% of the crop this year. It is composed ... Read more
"The 2018 Pavillon Rouge accounts for 30% of the crop this year. It is composed of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, with 14.5% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple in color, it sings of crushed black and red currants, warm black berries and plum pudding with touches of fungi, cedar chest, truffles and smoked meats plus a fragrant undercurrent of fallen leaves and potpourri. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a solid backbone of fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness supporting the vibrant red and black fruits, finishing long. 93-95 points." Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, April 2019 "Representing roughly 30% of the total production and a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2018 Château Margaux Pavillon Rouge is an incredibly elegant, juicy, and medium to full-bodied second wine that has fabulous purity in its cassis, violets, and floral aromas and flavors. It's silky, vibrant, and has sweet tannins, and just glides over the palate. This beautiful wine is already hard to resist and will keep for 15+ years. 93-95 points." Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019 "Fantastic depth of ripe fruit with currant and dark-berry aromas. Hints of citrus and dry earth. Full body and round, velvety tannins that are melted into the wine. Very intense and fruity. 95-96 points." James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019 Close