A Landmark Vintage Heralds a New Era in Bordeaux
There were a lot of new descriptors on people’s lips in Bordeaux this spring. Precise. Energetic. Transparent. Miraculous. Revolutionary.
But if there is one word that I think sums up the vintage it is: Unprecedented.
Overall the 2016s are intensely aromatic wines of great precision, crackling energy, and understated power marked by excellent ripeness perfectly balanced with fresh acidity and abundant, ripe, silky tannins.
Most exciting is the fact that there is a level of clarity and transparency of terroir in the 2016s that we have never seen before. Over the past several years we have seen a move by many of the chateau toward a more classically balanced style of Bordeaux with less oak influence, less extraction, and lower alcohol. This is the first truly great vintage where we are getting to see this new school of Bordeaux on display and the results are truly outstanding.
We asked many vignerons for comparisons and not one could come up with one single vintage with which 2016 can be compared. In terms of general quality 2016 there is broad agreement that 2016 is on par with top vintages such as 2005, 2009 and 2010. But the combination of classical styling, beautiful ripeness and exuberant energetic freshness are truly unique. This is a modern benchmark vintage heralding a new style of Bordeaux.
The press is out on 2016 Bordeaux and the top critics’ scores are staggering. James Molesworth of Wine Spectator, Antonio Galloni of Vinous and Neal Martin of The Wine Advocate have all given the vintage glowing reviews and between the three of them, there are FIFTEEN potentially perfect wines in 2016. Below are the top scoring wines from their reports. Note these are just the wines with a floor of 95 points or more and include nearly fifty producers. We have not seen such consistently high scores for a Bordeaux vintage since 2009 and 2010
"2016 is unequivocally a great vintage in Bordeaux... Over twenty years of tasting Bordeaux from barrel at en primeur,
this was my most pleasurable tasting experience alongside the 2009."
-Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
While the chateaux have still yet to release their pricing, U.S. consumers are in a very strong position this year. The Euro is currently at the lowest point against the Dollar of any futures campaign in history. At the same time, the Euro has grown roughly 15% stronger against the Pound Sterling post-Brexit. As the UK is the other major en Primeur market, this exerts considerable pressure on the chateaux to keep prices close in line with last year. In short, if pricing remains close to last year, there will be a plethora of great values out there for U.S. consumers on futures in this historic vintage.