Editorial 18th October 2023

New vintage 2021 in Bordeaux

The arrival of the first Bordeaux 2021s in our cellars represents a large proportion of the new wines from Gironde in the "Autumn-Winter 2023/2024" selection that we have just put online.

After 6 vintages, from 2015 to 2020, all marked by summers that were much hotter and drier than the norm, Bordeaux has returned to more usual weather conditions in 2021, with no heatwave or pronounced drought, the kind that prevailed in the last century but which we fear will disappear in the (short) term.

As a result, the best red wines are displaying a classic Bordeaux profile:

• a fresh, complex range of aromas (thanks to a long growing season), dominated by floral nuances (peony, violet, wallflower, etc.) and red fruit (redcurrant, morello cherry, raspberry, etc.),

• slender, medium-bodied structures with fine, silky tannins, wines with more length than breadth, with good ageing potential (while their natural acidity softens),

• moderate alcohol levels, usually between 12°5 and 13°5. A few examples from among the 2021 wines on offer this autumn: Clos Floridène and Gruaud-Larose at 12°5, du Retout, Malartic-Lagravière and Talbot at 12°8, Peyrou, Duhart-Milon, Pichon-Comtesse de Lalande, Cos Labory and Calon-Ségur at 12°9...

Even before location or grape variety, it is above all the quality of the teams that explains the successes in 2021:

- constant attention (from March to October),
- seasoned expertise (judiciously interpreting a vintage that is at odds with previous ones),
- a good dose of cool-headedness (wise choice of harvest dates),
- substantial financial resources (sorting the harvest and drastically selecting the batches).

For the grands crus, the challenge in 2021 was to make the most of the vintage's natural qualities of elegance and refinement, and to complement them with mellowness, depth and silky tannins thanks to the achievements of modern oenology (gentle vinification, infusion rather than extraction, low-temperature fermentation, etc.).

Under these conditions, 2021 will resemble the last classic vintages, 2014 and 2008, only more precise, velvety and seductive.

Tasting Offers

This season's traditional Tasting Offers feature wines from 4 of Bordeaux's best-known châteaux, one white and 3 reds, each at a discounted price:

Clos Floridène blanc 2021, the most famous and reputed white Graves (for 30 years!) in this 2021 vintage, ideal for dry whites, at €16.70 a bottle.

Château Potensac 2011 et 2014, an exemplary cru bourgeois from the Médoc, always great for ageing, in two vintages that have reached their peak, at €25.50 and €22.50 a bottle respectively.

• Château Fonroque 2020 organic, perhaps the most elegant and charming of Saint-Émilion's grands crus classés, at €36.00 a bottle.

Domaine de Chevalier 2016 rouge, the archetypal great Bordeaux, at once fine and complex, refined and powerful, delicate and rich, overseen by the Derenoncourt team, at €77.50 a bottle.

New Estates

In Bordeaux, 6 new wines are appearing for the first time in our half-yearly catalogue:

• the first vintage of Grand blanc sec de Rayne-Vigneau, vintage 2022, a rare and unprecedented wine, the result of 10 years of research and improvement on a 2 hectare parcel of the estate,
Cos d'Estournel dry white wine, vintage 2021, admirable for its elegance and intensity, proof that Bordeaux can also produce some of the finest dry white wines in France,
La Dauphine, vintage 2021, a remarkable organic Fronsac, as delicate as it is distinguished,
Marquis d'Alesme, vintage 2021, a grand cru classé from Margaux, the leading wine of the Perrodo family (also La Tour de Mons and Labégorce),
Haut-Simard, millésimes 2016, 2018 et 2020, a Saint-Émilion at the foot of the slope next to La Gaffelière, owned by the Vauthier family (Ausone, La Clotte, Moulin Saint-Georges...),
L'If, vintage 2021, the St-Émilion counterpart to the famous Château Le Pin in Pomerol (same owner).

Outside Bordeaux, 2 new estates have been added to the catalogue,

Famille Moussé, with pure, fine, rich champagnes based on Pinot Meunier. A young and very talented winemaker, Cédric Moussé is certainly a future big name in Champagne,
Domaine d'Aupilhac organic, an emblematic Languedoc estate (Aniane sector),

but also the comeback of 5 estates previously absent (insufficient volumes on their estates due to the vagaries of the weather and/or because of their success):

• Champagne : Égly-Ouriet,
• Bourgogne : Domaine Arlaud organic, Clos des Lambrays, Domaine de l'Arlot, Domaine Jean Chartron.

Finally, in a tribute to the Armenian people who have suffered so much at the hands of history, we've chosen the cuvée Karasi du domaine Zorah. This excellent red wine, made from 100% black areni vines (one of the oldest known grape varieties), is the heir to the long Armenian wine-growing tradition, whose origins go back more than 6,000 years.