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  


You can read a report on the 2018 growing season on our blog here.




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Prices are ex-VAT per case of 12 bottles, unless otherwise advised.  DP = duty-paid ex-London.  IB = under bond ex-London.

Red 2018 11 cases Domaine de Chevalier 75cl £650 per case of 12 IB
"This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot... Read more
"This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot to be aged for approximately 18 months in oak barriques, 35% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Domaine de Chevalier starts a little closed before bounding out of the glass with bold expressions of fresh blackcurrants, kirsch, black raspberries and fragrant earth plus nuances of lilacs, Sichuan pepper and menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the palate maintains elegance and sophistication, with a lovely ripe, finely grained frame and plenty of freshness to back up the floral and black fruit layers, finishing long and perfumed. 94-96+ points" Lisa Perotti-Brown, "These guys clearly know what they are doing, and they keep doing it. This wine is consistent even in difficult years but in years like this, where they have the room to manoeuvre, it really shines. This is great stuff, with lovely freshness to the deep fruit flavours. There is persistency and plenty of slate and freshly cut herbs to stack up against the juicy, concentrated fruit. It's a powerful, well handled and confident wine but doesn't push too hard. One-third new oak. Drinking Window 2027-2040. 96 points" Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine "The 2018 Domaine de Chevalier is magnificent. Bright, lifted and wonderfully nuanced, the 2018 has so much to offer. Olivier Bernard turned out a dazzling Domaine de Chevalier in 2018 that speaks to precision and nuance above all else. Rose petal, mint, savory herbs and crushed rocks add striking aromatic top notes to this stunning, breathtakingly beautiful wine. The tannins need time to soften, but I doubt readers will be in a rush. The 2018 is simply majestic - that's all there is to it. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Tasted three times. 94-97 points" Antonio Galloni, "Possibly one of the finest wines ever to come from the Bernard family's flagship estate near Léognan, the 2018 Domaine de Chevalier checks in as a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot that hit 13.5% alcohol and will spend 18 months in just 35% new French oak. Its saturated purple/plum color is followed by a mammoth bouquet of cassis, black currants, gravelly earth, smoked herbs, and tobacco. Full-bodied, deep, brilliantly balanced, and seriously concentrated, it has polished tannins, no hard edges, and a finish that won't quit. It's a heavenly Graves that will keep for 30+ years. 96-98 points" "Wow. I can't get over the pureness of fruit in this wine with so much currant, tar and wet-earth character. Flowers, too. So aromatic. Full body, yet pureness and brightness of fruit. Layered. Incredible depth and beauty. 65 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 30 per cent merlot and 5 per cent petit verdot. Greatest ever? 99-100 points" Close

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