The lowdown on Bordeaux’s 2019 vintage

Could the 2019 be Bordeaux’s best vintage since the superb 2010? This is what Le Figaro affirms in its article on the hot topic, and at iDealwine we couldn’t agree more.

Capricious weather that turned

2019 brought a dry but mild winter to Bordeaux, whilst the spring that followed was quite cool. A couple of frosty spells might have been cause for concern, but these didn’t cause any great damage on the whole. From June to August, things really heated up, though this wave was punctuated by welcome showers before the return to a cooler climate in September. Despite some breath-holding moments of tension for winemakers, the weather for the 2019 vintage was nothing to complain about overall, and it was well-suited to the crafting of fine wines.

Not one area left behind

Between the right and left banks, Sauternes and Pessac-Léognan, the vast region of Bordeaux contains quite an array of terroirs that don’t all respond in the same way to weather conditions. Yet the 2019 vintage appears to have been a crowd-pleaser, with success to note in every area and for each kind of wine produced.

The reds

Thanks to a warm summer, the sun-kissed grapes ripened beautifully. Médoc wines have turned out round, and silky with a fresh, fruity side. Right bank cuvées are as charming as they can be, boasting voluptuous and elegant profiles. The balanced and graceful nature of this vintage is bolstered by its alcohol level, which is far from excessive.

The dry whites

Results for Bordeaux’s 2019 whites are just as good, if not better, than its reds. In this case, a gorgeously acidic feel underscores a vintage ripe with pleasant density.

The sweet whites

As you can imagine, the freshness found in the dry whites translates superbly into the sweet ones. The fine Sauternes of 2019 are streamlined and fruit-leaning, with no heaviness to speak of.

Tasting favourites

The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux held a tasting in Paris on 21st  March, where we got to taste samples from a huge range of the region’s 2019 vintage. Here are some of our favourites.

White

*Château Carbonnieux

Notes of lemon and white fruit on the nose, freshness on the palate, elegantly aromatic with a lingering finish.

*Domaine de Chevalier

Floral and vanilla notes on the nose with a touch of lemon. Balance on the palate between acidity and roundness, ending on a pleasant bitterness.

*Château Haut-Bergey

Discreet on the nose (the wine was a bit too cool). Elegant and gentle on the palate with a pleasant bitterness.

*Château Smith Haut Lafitte

This wine was an instant hit. On the nose, it had a floral bouquet with a fruity side. It leads with a gentle attack on the palate, giving rise to a delicate texture and some ‘baby fat’ that will undoubtedly disappear in time. Alongside this, a certain freshness flows through the glass. Its finish is long and powerful.

*Château Bouscaut

Subtle in this vintage and having avoided disease, the 2019 Bouscaut was produced in a higher volume than usual without losing any of its quality; this is thanks to the grapes’ optimal ripeness in good conditions. The vines at this Château grow in chalk and clay-rich soil, a little higher up than average, hence their excellent exposure to the sun.

The wine is matured in 400L casks, a third of which are new, which brings a light oakiness to the cuvée. It is fresh on the nose, carrying aromas of white-flesh fruit. There is a slight tautness on the palate, nicely lifted by a good acidity.

Red

*Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Matured in 60% new cask on fine lees (to keep its finesse and freshness). A frank but supple attack, lightly spicy, with notes of blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry, and plum. The Château’s first organic vintage.

*Château Haut-Bailly

Aromas of ripe dark fruit on the nose, highly delicate on the palate. It carries many noticeable tannins though they are soft ones, and it has a tender texture to enjoy.

*Château Canon La Gaffelière

Matured in a mixture of new oak (40%), concrete and stainless steel vats (25%) and a small amount of amphora (3-4%). Its characterful nose is both fruity and floral, with an interesting hint of graphite. Its palate is silky and cool with a sharp fruity side and a delectable mouthfeel. A lovely wine.

*Château La Lagune

Matured for 18 months in 50% new wood, this wine exudes a fruity fragrance and oaky notes. The palate brings a dignified bitterness to the whole, as part of a structured profile that reveals itself little by little.

*Château Siran

To inhale, this is a wine infused with black fruit and smoky notes. Dense and well-structured on the palate, its tannins are fine and well-blended. Flavourful and fresh, this is a good Margaux!

*Château Suduiraut

This wine exudes the smells of summer, carrying aromas of apricot, pineapple and quince, alongside a hint of honey. On the palate, this is a rich and syrup-like wine that lingers nicely.

*Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande

Off the bat, this cuvée fills the air with its delectable aromas of blueberry, blackberry, and floral notes. A supple attack gives rise to a velvet-like texture, underscored by a welcome freshness and hints of mint. A lovely vintage for the château!

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