Posts with the label "en primeur"


Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2021

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2021

Tuesday 3rd May 2022
by Tom Jenkins

Vingt-et-un… the luck of the draw


After two years tasting in gardens and via zoom, our recent primeurs trip marked a welcome return to Bordeaux. In truth, we had no expectations about this vintage. Unusually, chateaux have been playing their cards close to their chests, so we approached with no preconceptions.

A few points on the tastings themselves. The UGC calendar was delayed by about three weeks. This move has been welcomed. The extra time in barrel (even a couple of weeks) makes the wines much easier to assess. Our whole UK Private Client Team, as well as five Buyers, spent four days tasting barrel samples. Some might consider this overkill; however, for an advice-based business like Justerinis, we feel that this is essential. We believe salespeople need first-hand tasting experience in order to inform and advise. This is particularly valuable in vintages like 2021. 

2021 threw just about everything at winemakers: frost, mildew, lack of sunshine and the threat of rain at harvest; yet those who manged the conditions and held their nerve have been rewarded with something quite ravishing and unique. It would be easy to write off a vintage like 2021 based on meteorological data, but that would be a disservice. While it requires some attention, there are undoubtedly many wines collectors will want in their cellars.

Vintage Report: Germany 2019 - Riesling’s Reign

Vintage Report: Germany 2019 - Riesling’s Reign

Friday 21st August 2020
by Julian Campbell

Riesling’s Reign 

Germany’s 2019 vintage is clearly rather special and has even been described as a potential “vintage of the century” by one commentator. However, had this label been bandied about at harvest time you’ve have been hard pressed to find a grower to confirm that view – over repeated zoom calls during the summer I was met with surprise and delight at how the vintage has turned out. From best-ever estate wines to aristocratic Grosses Gewächs, and many a luscious-yet-lively sweetie, there are some truly thrilling wines in this years’ 2019 offer. Stylistically it is a hard year to pigeonhole as overall the wines present a wonderfully complex and somewhat rare blend of intense minerality married to ripeness. As Frank Schönleber noted, the wines have “the flavours of a cool vintage allied to the structure of a warm one” - a decidedly delicious combination and one that is guaranteed to win many friends in the years to come. 

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2018

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2018

Tuesday 10th December 2019
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

 An extraordinary, record-breaking vintage that was as fascinating and enjoyable to taste as it was confounding.

The first thing to know about 2018 in Burgundy is that while it was the warmest year on record, when measured across the whole year, it was not extreme during the summer in the way that 2003 was. The second key to the vintage was the size of the crop -  2018 goes down as one of the biggest on record; a key mitigating factor to the summer warmth and drought. Finally, the winter of 2017/2018 was very wet and served to ensure that deep-lying water reserves were adequately filled at the start of the growing season.

Rhone 2017 - A tale of the unexpected

Rhone 2017 - A tale of the unexpected

Thursday 25th October 2018
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

During a week of bounding up and down the Rhone valley I have tasted some truly delicious wines. My focus has been on 2017s from barrel but I have also been tasting 2016s and 2015s from bottle. 

Before I launch into the many surprises 2017 sprung on me, a word on 2015 Chateauneufs. These are in a very good place right now and it is clearly a superbly-balanced vintage, they may well go into the shut-down phase that most Chateauneufs do but right now they are a joy and what’s more they show the harmony to suggest excellent ageing potential, it can genuinely be considered a great year in the South. People may remember France being bathed  in sunshine throughout 2015 but in the Southern Rhône it was not too much of a heat-wave vintage, there was a little more rain and ensuing cooler temperatures than further north.  The results were wines of great allure, roundness and charm. For sure richer than a “cool” style vintage but less alcoholic than other hallowed years like 2016 and 2007, for example. If you missed these at the time, then don’t hesitate to snap up 2015 Southern Rhônes. 

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2013,

Vintage Report: Burgundy 2013, "Hang time"

Thursday 11th December 2014
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

“Hang time" is the catchphrase that kept coming up in my tastings with more than 50 producers up and down the Côte d'Or earlier this month. It has become clear over the last decade or so that it is this and well-controlled yields that are two of the vital factors for making great Red Burgundy, certainly more so than hot and sunny weather.

Etienne Grivot sums it up better than anyone: “A difficult but incredible year.”

It was not an easy growing season: The weather was poor during flowering which greatly affected yields, summer was difficult and although end of season weather improved and aided ripening the very late harvest was interrupted by a storm in early October. In fact it was one of the latest harvests ever, certainly for Frederic Mugnier - the last time grapes were picked that late was 1984, the same goes for Marquis d’Angerville. However, despite all of this, the reds at top addresses have turned out brilliantly, something that could not have happened without the tiny crop the vines were carrying and the enormous amount of selection work that the top domaines undertook at harvest time. Acidities, though high, tend not to stick out anything like as much as other high-acid vintages such as 2008 and 1993, in fact they blend beautifully into the wines, adding nothing more than an appetising verve. The fruit, though it took a while, reached full maturity. Unusually in this day and age of global warming, grape skins and pips ripened at low alcohol levels, between 11.5 to 12.5%. But perhaps the most intriguing feature of this red vintage of all are the wonderfully suave tannic structures, a result of the long hang time on the vine (120 days instead of the usual 100 from flowering to ripening.) 
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