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En Primeur
Bordeaux

Justerini & Brooks
En Primeur Bordeaux

It is a tale of two river banks. Although only separated by some thirty miles; the Medoc and the Right Bank are very different stylistically, historically and culturally.

The left bank is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, largely due to the fast draining gravel soils found close to the Garonne estuary. St Emilion and Pomerol are predominantly planted with Merlot and a small smattering of Cabernet Franc. These varieties thrive on the limestone slopes and clay plateau found around St Emilion and Pomerol. In the Medoc one encounters fairy tale Chateaux surrounded by vast vineyards with little gradient. By contrast, the Right Bank has a much more varied topography, and the architecture and scale of winemaking are rather more modest. There is certainly a more ‘Burgundian’ approach here, contrasted with the more corporate and high tech ideology of the Medoc.

Generalisations are difficult to make in Bordeaux, however, given the dominance of Cabernet on the left bank, wines tend to be more structured, cool and age-worthy, whereas the Merlot based wines from the right bank demonstrate a fleshy, approachable character, which affords earlier drinking. As with most generalisations, there are many exceptions; wines like Lafleur, Petrus, Cheval Blanc and Ausone are amongst the more cellar worthy wines produced anywhere in the world.

Bordeaux 2018

A Roller Coaster Vintage

There were no magic micro-climates in 2018. This simple analysis of the vintage is the same from St Estephe to Castillon. This is one of the great turn-around stories, from despair to elation, but it was anything but straightforward. Nicolas Audebert from Rauzan Segla and Canon coined it the ‘Grand Huit’, or a rollercoaster. Even when summer arrived, this brought its own challenges. Water stress is necessary to make great red wines, however, those without clay subsoils were at risk of hydric stress and the dangers of blocked maturity.

After a natural crop thinning by virtue of mildew, the vines were not carrying an abundance of fruit. Most vignerons didn’t do much in the way of green harvests and many did minimal canopy thinning. What was on the vine was very healthy with thick skins and wonderful potential.

Bordeaux 2017

A Darwinian Vintage

In 2017 there’s no avoiding the ‘F’ word. It has been more than a quarter of a century since frost last devastated a Bordeaux crop, so it is inevitable that this was a major talking point. However, cruel as the frost was on some, it doesn’t really determine the quality of the vintage.

Life isn’t fair and neither is nature. As the earth gets warmer, flowering gets earlier, and the risk of frost damage becomes greater. Not many winemakers can recall the frosts of 1991 first hand, but their legacy is still haunting. When the meteorologists predicted a cold blast on the nights of the 27th and 28th of April, there was a genuine sense of panic. Most with the means deployed bougies, wind turbines, helicopters, lit hay, took whatever measures they could - the rest left it to chance.

Bordeaux at Justerinis

The UK has a special affection for the wines of Bordeaux. Clarets became the popular choice of British consumers following the marriage of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Since the 1700s, Justerini & Brooks has developed relationships with the negociants and Chateaux of the region. We pride ourselves at looking after the needs of discerning collectors including every reigning monarch since George III, seeking out the finest quality wines and offering our expertise and personal service.

How We Buy Bordeux

Every April our Buying and Sales teams travel to Bordeaux to taste the previous year’s crop. We sample hundreds of unfinished wines full of fruit, tannin and acidity. This punishing regime gives Justerini & Brooks an invaluable insight into the quality of the upcoming vintage. We are led by our Chairman, who alone has over forty years’ experience tasting primeurs. It is this expertise that allows us to form our buying decisions and provide the detailed advice our customers require. We also conduct regular tastings of maturing and mature vintages of Bordeaux to assess their development and keep abreast of trends. We also travel to Bordeaux ahead of the primeur tastings to meet with key chateaux and get an early glimpse at the forthcoming releases.

Our relationships in Bordeaux

Over a couple of centuries Justerini & Brooks has developed strong relationships with Chateaux owners and negociants, collectively known at the ‘Place de Bordeaux’, who distribute their wines.

In addition to this, we are privileged to be one of the select few official distributors of two of Pomerol’s greatest names: Petrus and Chateau Lafleur. The wines of Pomerol are something of a speciality of ours. We have developed an unrivalled portfolio from this commune that includes: Le Pin, L’Eglise Clinet, Vieux Chateau Certan, L’Evangile, La Fleur Petrus, Hosanna and many more.

How you can buy from Justerinis

If you are interested in learning more about how to start buying with Justerini & Brooks please contact our team at finewine@justerinis.com or +44 (0)20 7484 6400 who will be able to offer personal advise and guide you through your purchasing decision in the coming campaigns.

Why not register with a Personal Cellar and start managing your portfolio today.

Purchasing large formats

When the wine is still in barrel you can choose how you would like your wine bottled. We typically offer halves, magnums, double magnums and imperials for a small surcharge. Some Chateaux offer Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors (price and availability on request).

Large formats are wonderful party pieces for entertaining and special occasions, and usually command a large premium after bottling.

Provenance

When it comes to purchasing fine wine, its provenance is of utmost importance, and can have an enormous influence on the eventual enjoyment it gives. The wine you buy from Justerini & Brooks will have come from the Chateau and supplier straight to our cellars in Octavian, Wiltshire. Almost uniquely among all of our competitors, every single case in our warehouse is then landed individually so that the precise case you buy from us is labelled and will be the exact one you will later have delivered out. Each case is uniquely identified and labelled with the customer’s name, the full details of the wine, and a rotation code that identifies the date that specific case arrived in the warehouse. In a marketplace increasingly exploited by counterfeit wines, buying primeur from Justerini & Brooks is one of the very best safeguards.

Are there risks in buying en primeur?

We recommend that any customer interested in en primeur be vigilant and research the company they are buying from. Primeurs are usually shipped two years after the original campaign and companies can run into trouble in the interim period. One should only buy primeurs from financially secure merchants with a long track record of delivery. We like to think that customers can be reassured that purchasing from Justerini & Brooks is as secure as it gets.

Enquire Now

To speak to one of our experts and schedule a consultation please submit an enquiry or contact us directly via:

  finewine@justerinis.com

  +44 (0)20 7484 6430

     

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