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Bordeaux 2016

Vintage Report Bordeaux 2016

Back to the future

Tasting back to back vintages like 2015 and 2016 is fascinating. These are both exceptional years, although polar opposite in style. It is perhaps hard to be as loquacious about the 2016s as we were about the sumptuous 2015s. This is in no way a barometer for the vintage – 2016 is certainly as good as 2015, probably better, but the wines are generally less expressive and generous at this early stage. The 2015s were a sheer joy to taste - 2016s are more cerebral, introverted, structured, serious and profound. In most cases, and particularly on the Left Bank, there is a reserve and classicism that makes one think of ancient vintages with huge tannic profiles and long-term aging potential. Certainly, the best Chateaux have flexed their technical know-how and have produced wines with stunning purity of fruit and precision, but there’s no getting away from the fact that 2016s are real vins de garde.

Bordeaux 2016 Wine List

Bordeaux 2016 Producers

The great classified growths of the Medoc are famed for their impressive chateaux and sprawling vineyards. Although they can sometimes appear more corporate than artisanal, there is usually a passionate and knowledgeable winemaking team behind the scenes calling all the shots. Rock-star Gérants are charged with managing these estates and investing in the future. On the Right Bank there are some prominent chateaux farming on a grand scale as well as many family owned domaines, most notably in Pomerol, which are more akin in size and philosophy to the estates of Burgundy.

Other Producers

Appellations of Bordeaux

The ‘Appellations’ or ‘Communes’ of Bordeaux are split into large geographical areas, the most famous being: St Estephe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux in the Medoc, St Emilion and Pomerol on the Right Bank and Pessac Leognan in the Graves. There are also many ‘satellite’ appellations such as: Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol and Fronsac that are capable of producing excellent wines and offer value-for-money.

Grape Types of Bordeaux

The two major varietals grown in Bordeaux are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is synonymous with the Right Bank communes of Pomerol and St Emilion, while the latter is the grape of choice in the Medoc. Blending is integral to the wines of Bordeaux, helping to provide balance and complexity. Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are also important varietals that can provide perfume and spice to the blender’s palette of flavours.

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