February 25th 2019
I have just read (twice) quite the most thrilling endorsement of a Bordeaux vintage I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This is an article that made me genuinely excited, brilliantly written by Neal Martin of vinous.com.
Having previously worked with Robert Parker at The Wine Advocate since 2006, including eventual responsibility for Bordeaux and Burgundy, Neal Martin joined Antonio Galloni in 2018. Vinous was already required reading for the Fine Wine trade and Martin’s move further consolidated its position as one of, if not the, most important fine wine publication.
When I had the opportunity of tasting the 2016s in bottle in November last year in London, my initial (considerable) enthusiasm was further reinforced. It is Martin’s view that the hype which surrounded this Bordeaux vintage is well and truly justified.
Martin puts 2016 in the context of the great modern vintages, 1998 on the right bank, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015 on the Left Bank. He considers 2016 to be first among equals, a vintage that Bordeaux has been working towards since the 1990s. Many of the wines are pure, precise and elegant with fabulous intensity of fruit, perfectly harmonious with silky tannins and balanced alcohol. It is the quality of the tannins and purity of the fruit, due to an extremely fortuitous growing season, that sets the 2016s apart.
His comparison of the pairs 2009/2010 and the 2015/2016 is particularly inspired:
‘’All are great Bordeaux vintages, yet the former exert more weight and grip and perhaps a more forceful style, whereas the latter convey greater tension and elegance. If I may recycle (no pun intended) the analogy I offered with respect to the 2017 Burgundies, it is like upgrading a bicycle frame to one lighter and yet equally strong. Bordeaux tannins are now made of carbon fibre instead of steel.’’
The full article, which I urge you to read, can be found on the vinous.com. There is a subscription, however, this is one of the most informative wine sites and well worth the annual fee.
To see a list of all available Bordeaux 2016s click here.