From 22nd to 27th June: FINAL STRETCH
The latest releases take place this week:
• Bordeaux dry white : SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE
• Graves / Pessac-Léognan : SMITH-HAUT-LAFITTE
• Saint-Julien : MOULIN DE LA ROSE
• Pauillac : LA RÉSERVE DE PICHON-COMTESSE, PICHON-COMTESSE
• Saint-Estèphe : SEGUR DE CABANAC, MARQUIS DE CALON
Largest price reductions (compared to 2018) : Pichon-Comtesse (-21%), Vieux-Château-Certan (-20%), Troplong-Mondot (-19%)
From 15th to 20th June: SECOND WAVE
It's a week just like the previous one that is coming to an end: the same hustle and bustle with again nearly 200 castles in the greatest disorder, from the most modest (organic Peyrou) to the most prestigious (Ausone), on all the appellations, and always significant price drops (most often between -20% and -30%).
Here is our harvest of the week, with about sixty new vintages:
• Bordeaux dry white : ARUMS DE LAGRANGE, CAILLOU BLANC DE TALBOT, CLÉMENTIN DE PAPE-CLÉMENT, PAPE-CLÉMENT
• Graves / Pessac-Léognan : CLÉMENTIN DE PAPE-CLÉMENT, HAUT-BAILLY II (new), PAPE-CLÉMENT, HAUT-BAILLY
• Medoc / Left Bank : MAUVESIN-BARTON, MADAME DE BEAUCAILLOU (new), POTENSAC, SOCIANDO-MALLET
• Margaux : TOUR DE MONS, BARON DE BRANE, SIRAN, PRIEURÉ-LICHINE, D'ISSAN, DURFORT-VIVENS organic, BRANE-CANTENAC, PAVILLON ROUGE, PALMER organic, MARGAUX
• Saint-Julien : FIEFS DE LAGRANGE, CONNÉTABLE DE TALBOT, SARGET DE GRUAUD, GLORIA, CROIX DE DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU, LANGOA-BARTON, LAGRANGE, CLOS DU MARQUIS, TALBOT, SAINT-PIERRE, LÉOVILLE-BARTON, GRUAUD-LAROSE, DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU, LÉOVILLE-LAS-CASES
• Pauillac : LACOSTE BORIE, GRAND PUY LACOSTE, PICHON-BARON
• Saint-Estèphe : MEYNEY, MONTROSE organic
• Right Bank / Libournais
: PEYROU organic
), LA DAUPHINE organic
: MAZEYRES organic
, BELLEGRAVE organic
, ROUGET, FEYTIT-CLINET, NÉNIN, PETIT-VILLAGE, CLOS L'ÉGLISE, CLINET, LA CONSEILLANTE, L'ÉGLISE-CLINET
: GRAND-PONTET, POESIA, FONROQUE organic
, BARDE-HAUT, CLOS DE L'ORATOIRE, PETIT GRAVET AÎNÉ organic
, LA MARZELLE, CLOS SAINT JULIEN organic
, LA DOMINIQUE, LARCIS-DUCASSE, PAVIE-MACQUIN, CANON LA GAFFELIÈRE organic
, ROCHEYRON, LA MONDOTTE organic
, CHAPELLE D'AUSONE, AUSONE
Largest price reductions (compared to 2018) : La Mondotte (-35%), Palmer (-33%), La Conseillante (-26%), Montrose (-24%), D'Issan (-24%), Durfort-Vivens (-24%)
While some vintages have postponed the sale of their 2019 (next year after bottling?), such as Rieussec, Mille-Roses, Moulin de la Rose..., several vintages or labels appear (or come back) this year in our lists:
• Haut-Bailly II: it is the new name of the second wine of Haut-Bailly (previously La Parde de Haut-Bailly). Still as recommendable.
• Madame de Beaucaillou: total overhaul of the range of Ducru-Beaucaillou wines, with Madame de Beaucaillou a Haut-Médoc made with their vines in Listrac (ex Fourcas-Borie), Le Petit Ducru as third wine in Saint-Julien (ex Lalande-Borie), and unchanged La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou the second wine and Château Ducru-Beaucaillou the grand cru classé.
• Palmer: launched at the end of May (just after Pontet-Canet) but which we had not yet offered. While Palmer's price/quality ratio is not always ideal, the -33% drop this year is an effort we applaud.
• Peyrou: excellent organic Côtes de Castillon from Mrs Papon-Nouvel (Clos Saint-Julien and Petit Gravet Aîné). Very small vineyard (6 ha), very small price (9 € HT), great talent.
• La Dauphine: we add in our selections this new Fronsac, certainly the Bordeaux appellation that has progressed the most in the last 10 years. La Dauphine is one of the 12 best Fronsacs grouped in the association "Expression de Fronsac".
For two grands crus of Pomerol, 2019 marks the end of an era:
• Petit-Village : 2019 is the last vintage under the leadership of AXA Vignobles (Pichon-Baron, Suduiraut, Quinta do Noval, Domaine de l'Arlot...) who sold it last March to the Moulin family (Galeries Lafayette), already owners of Beauregard in Pomerol.
• L'Église-Clinet : 2019 is the last vintage of Denis Durantou, who passed away (cancer) much too early on May 14th. One of the most sensitive and gifted Bordeaux winegrowers, whose wines we have been selecting (with La Petite Eglise, Cruzelles, Chenade, Montlandrie) without interruption since... 1985.
From 8th to 12th June: HUSTLE
Whites or reds, grands crus or second wines, left or right bank, nearly 200 (!) châteaux have just launched their 2019.
Here are the 60 châteaux selected during this crazy week:
• Bordeaux dry white : LATOUR-MARTILLAC, CARBONNIEUX, LARRIVET HAUT-BRION, BLANC DE LYNCH, MALARTIC-LAGRAVIÈRE, AILE D'ARGENT
• Bordeaux sweet white : COUTET, GUIRAUD organic (new), LAFAURIE-PEYRAGUEY, SUDUIRAUT
• Graves / Pessac-Léognan : LATOUR-MARTILLAC, CARBONNIEUX, LARRIVET HAUT-BRION, MALARTIC-LAGRAVIÈRE, LA CHAPELLE DE MISSION HAUT-BRION, LE CLARENCE DE HAUT-BRION, LA MISSION HAUT-BRION, HAUT-BRION
• Medoc / Left Bank : LOUSTEAUNEUF (new), CHARMAIL, PETIT VERDOT by Belle-Vue, POUJEAUX, CHASSE-SPLEEN, LA TOUR CARNET
• Margaux : LA GURGUE organic, DU TERTRE, FERRIÈRE organic, CANTENAC-BROWN, GISCOURS
• Saint-Julien : LE PETIT DUCRU, BRANAIRE-DUCRU, LÉOVILLE-POYFERRÉ, BEYCHEVELLE
• Pauillac : HAUT-BAGES-LIBÉRAL organic, D'ARMAILHAC, CLERC MILON, LYNCH-BAGES, PETIT MOUTON, CARRUADES DE LAFITE, MOUTON ROTHSCHILD
• Saint-Estèphe : DE CÔME organic (new), ORMES DE PEZ
• Right Bank / Libournais
: LA CHENADE, MONTLANDRIE, LES CRUZELLES, LA FLEUR DE BOÜARD, CLOS PUY ARNAUD organic
), DOMAINE DE L'A
: LA PETITE ÉGLISE, GAZIN
: CÔTE DE BALEAU, DRAGON DE QUINTUS, MOULIN SAINT GEORGES, LA GAFFELIÈRE, CARILLON D'ANGÉLUS, CLOS FOURTET, QUINTUS, ANGÉLUS, CHEVAL BLANC
: PSI, FLOR DE PINGUS, PINGUS organic
Largest price reductions (compared to 2018) : Cheval Blanc (-32%), Haut-Brion (-31%), Mouton Rothschild (-31%)
New feature. The Château de Côme in Saint-Estèphe is a small cru bourgeois (superior) acquired in 1997 by Baron Velge who considers it his jewel (7 ha). Very few of the northern Medoc's growths have for the moment embarked on organic conversion due to a higher humidity than anywhere else in the Gironde. However, after 7 years of efforts (and the loss of 2/3 of the 2018 harvest), and under the leadership of its technical director José Bueno (23 years at Mouton-Rothschild), de Côme has become the first Saint-Estèphe cru to be certified organic. Excellent 2019 offering a supple and silky expression of the appellation, which we are delighted to include in our selections.
Three axioms about 2019 red Bordeaux wines. If 2019 brought together on paper all the characteristics (drought, sunshine, heat) to obtain great wines, their interpretation by the producers induced an immense variability in the results of each one. In 2019, it is men who have shaped the vintage, much more than Nature.
For this reason, it is impossible this year to distinguish more specifically a region, a type of soil or a precise grape variety. Crus that usually produce elegant wines have a distinguished 2019, those that seek density have a powerful 2019, those that opt for tannic wines have a 2019 with long ageing potential, etc.
In 2019, it is the customary style of the cru, as desired by the team in place (owner, oenologist, vineyard manager, cellar master...), which expresses itself without exception.
As there is a clear meteorological similarity between 2018 and 2019 (a wet spring followed by a long, hot and dry summer), we have noticed during the tasting that the best 2019s come from the châteaux that had already fully succeeded in their 2018 last year, not necessarily the greatest vintages, but all those that were able, thanks to their terroir and their know-how, to draw the quintessence of the vintage.
In 2019 and in each appellation, the best of the year are those who were already on the podium in 2018.
From 2nd to 6th June : IMMEDIATE START
Lacking time since it started a month and a half late, the "Primeurs 2019" season has barely got off the ground when some of Bordeaux's biggest names are already appearing:
: DEYREM VALENTIN, MALESCOT SAINT-EXUPÉRY
: PÉDESCLAUX, DUHART-MILON, LAFITE-ROTHSCHILD
: TOUR DES TERMES, HAUT-MARBUZET, PAGODES DE COS, COS D'ESTOURNEL
: FOMBRAUGE, VIRGINIE DE VALANDRAUD, BELLEFONT-BELCIER, VALANDRAUD
Largest price reductions (compared to 2018) : Valandraud (-29%), Malescot Saint-Exupéry (-27%), Domaine de Chevalier red (-25%)
Novelty. The great white wine of Valandraud, with a sparkling sap and balance, a major success that will be marvellous on the table in 5 years (we might as well enjoy its youthful brilliance). Offered at the right price of 50,00 € HT per bottle, despite only 4000 bottles produced.
Lower prices in the grands crus. The trend initiated last week by Pontet-Canet (-31% compared to 2018) is confirmed, with significant decreases at Valandraud (-29%), Malescot Saint-Exupéry (-27%), L'Évangile (-25%), Domaine de Chevalier rouge (-25%), Cos d'Estournel (-24%)...
Lower prices in the others. Even vintages that we did not necessarily expect to see a drop in prices are making a real effort in terms of pricing this year given the circumstances:
- 17% for Domaine de Chevalier white wine, while 2019 is a very great vintage for dry whites.
- 20% in Pédesclaux, bringing the price of its 2019 below that of its 2014 5 years ago. At €28.00 excluding VAT for a bottle of a Pauillac grand cru classé that is on the rise, this is an unbeatable price/quality ratio.
- 11% in Deyrem-Valentin, a small (12 ha) cru bourgeois de Margaux, cared for and vinified with passion since 1999 by Christelle Sorge (5th generation), rightly cited as one of the "hidden nuggets of the Médoc" by the Revue du Vin de France and as "a great success this year" by Mr. Quarin. At 16.00 € HT per bottle.
From 25th to 30th May : KICK-OFF
The Bordeaux châteaux started this week the Primeurs 2019 season, with :
• Right Bank / Libournais
: REYNON, LA MAURIANE organic
, LOUISON ET LÉOPOLDINE organic
), MOULIN HAUT LAROQUE (new
), CLOS LOUIE organic
Largest price reductions (compared to 2018) : Pontet-Canet (-31%), Haut-Bergey red (-22%)
In terms of price, these first growths to offer their 2019 have the merit of setting a trend:
• for the crus bourgeois or equivalent, which sell their wine almost at cost price given the cost of their work worthy of a grand cru (organic or equivalent cultivation, reasonable yields, manual harvesting, maturing in quality barrels, etc.), the rule is to continue last year's prices for the 2018 vintage. But we even note price reductions such as HAUT-BERGEY organic red (-22%), CLOS FLORIDÈNE white (-6%), DU RETOUT (-5%).
• for the classified growths, PONTET-CANET organic is the first and for the moment the only one to take the plunge, with a remarkable drop of -31%. At €68.00 per bottle in 2019 (compared to €98.00 for the 2018 vintage), its 2019 vintage is offered at the price of the vintage ... 2013 (€67.30 ex-VAT in Futures)! We congratulate him for this welcome initiative, and for the strong signal sent to all the other great growths to come.
From 18th to 23rd May: OUTSIDE BORDEAUX
As life gradually resumes a (almost) normal course, we are delighted to start this "Primeurs 2019" season with two producers that we have been following since their beginnings (Jean-Michel Chartron in 2004 and Michel Tardieu in 1994), with the good fortune that, everywhere in France as well as in Bordeaux, the weather in 2019 was qualitatively benevolent for the winegrowers.
Domaine Jean Chartron
However, 2019 had got off to a bad start in Burgundy: a heavy frost on April 5th destroying 30% of the buds of the chardonnays, followed by a dusty flowering causing coulure and millerandage in proportions rarely seen.
In the end, with 50% less production, 2019 is half a harvest for the whole of the Côte de Beaune, with the lower slopes having been the most affected. Fortunately, the warmth and sunshine of the beautiful summer of 2019 warmed the hearts of the winegrowers.
The Chartron estate harvested from the 5th to the 19th of September and, after vinification, was surprised to find that the drought of the summer and the low yields had concentrated in the grapes both the richness in sugar and acidity. His 2019s are at once ample and firm, powerful and tense, great structured white wines that should be kept for at least 5 years (10 years for the greatest).
Jean-Michel Chartron has passed on the impact of the 2019 half-harvest in his prices with a wise average increase of 10% (from +5% for the Chevalier to +16% for the Folatières). We offer a selection of 9 wines:
Red and white Rhône wines
After the peak of June 28 (42.8°C in Avignon), the Rhône Valley also experienced a summer 2019 that was significantly hotter and drier than normal. The white wines, when they survived the hail of 15 June between Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage, were brilliant, in impeccable health, great maturity and freshness preserved. For the red wines, the results are surprisingly reversed between the northern and southern vineyards.
In the north, with Syrah as the sole grape variety, 2019 produced solar wines, very aromatic, powerful, captivating, with high degrees (sometimes above 14.5°), in a perfectly southern style. We are confident that the critics will succumb to the depth and immediate voluptuousness of these wines and place 2019 on a par with 2015, ahead of 2018, 2017 and 2016.
In the south, two beneficial rains (11mm then 12mm on the 10th and 22nd September) came just at the right time to relax the vines which had been under water stress until then (0mm of rain in Avignon from the 28th July to the 9th September), restore juice to the grapes, lower the sugar content and refine both physiological and phenolic ripeness.
These miraculous rains allowed the grenaches and mourvèdres to ideally complete their vegetative cycles. The wines have lower than usual degrees of alcohol (rarely exceeding 14°5), good levels of acidity and ripe tannins without any harshness. The freshness and energy of the 2019s make them more northern than usual.
2019 makes Michel Tardieu, usually measured in his remarks, say that 2019 is a " legendary vintage " in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and its surroundings. We are happy to add Bandol, the favourite terroir of the Mourvèdres.
Prices are identical to those of last year, with even a slight decrease at Rasteau (-4%) and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes (-9%).
We offer you a selection of 18 wines, almost all in Vieilles Vignes cuvées :