20 Apr Bordeaux Primeurs 2019 – Great vintage in an unprecedented context
BORDEAUX PRIMEURS 2019
All new Primeurs 2019 tastings
A GREAT YEAR IS IN THE AIR
In Bordeaux, the En Primeurs tastings are usually quite congruent. There is a regularity to the quality, year after year, even if there are differences owed to each vintage’s own accounts and constraints. However, it is safe to say that succeeding the 2018 vintage is no easy feat for the 2019 vintage. There is no escaping the comparison; the climate and the difficulties encountered during these two years were quite different.
The 2019 vintage also faces new players trying to level the field… in full confinement. But the most important thing to remember is the title of this article: A great year is in the air—for the 2019 Bordeaux wines. How so? Because all the wines I tasted ranged from good to great, whether they were red or white, dry or sweet. Make no mistake, I am not using the adjective “exceptional”, I am talking about “merely” a great year and that is already a very, very good mark. So there is something to rejoice… at least that!
The market and the customers demand fresh, drinkable, balanced, thirst-quenching, classy wines. Well, they will get what they ask for!
THE CLIMATE IN 2019 – TEXT BY JACQUES GUINAUDEAU
Jacques Guinaudeau – owner of Lafleur, in Pomerol.
“A few years ago, we would have spoken of an atypical climate for the 2019 vintage. We have to face the facts: Today it is a climate that has become the new normal! The climate conditions of the last four years are quite similar and characterized by
- practically no winter,
- a very early maturity in spring,
- and hot and very dry summers.
We are sensitive to this strong climate change. Our common sense as winemakers helps us and our teams to adapt our cultural practices.
The climate of the year 2019 developed around marked climatic sequences. Winter and February being particularly mild; the soils warm and buds burst early. May a little cooler, with homogenous flowering. The months of June and July very hot with a double heat wave, at the end of June and then at the end of July. Water stress settled permanently.
Although the month of August was a little cooler, we lived and dealt with the 2019 vintage, and with the hottest summer. in the past 30 years.”
NO “EN PRIMEURS” TASTINGS?
Before talking about the specifics of the vintage (which I will elaborate on in a future post), it is necessary to talk about the En Primeur tastings regarding the Bordeaux 2019 vintage. In short? There will be no tastings! Well, not quite. The consequences of this terrible pandemic are manifold and it was to be expected that all the events related to the tastings would be cancelled.
WHY TASTE THE 2019 PRIMEURS AT ALL?
Trust me, I have asked myself this question many times. Is it essential to taste the 2019 vintage, despite the current situation? Nope. Will the world stop turning if we don’t enjoy the 2019ers? Nope. Should we therefore, against all opposition, still taste them? You will find my answer in the 600 wines I tasted. If several hundred estates are getting organized to present their 2019 vintage to me, should we really be asking ourselves the question of whether we really need to taste them?
TURN OF EVENTS IN LIFE
I am not trying to make this about me. I would just like to open a parenthesis and then close it again quickly. Opening parenthesis. My wife and I had to endure enormous sorrow on February 21, 2020, in the intimate circle of our family. Closing parenthesis. On March 2, 2020, I organized a 4-day visit with passionate oenophiles together with a business partner. On March 6, 2020, I had my first tastings, without interruption until March 17, the first day of the confinement.
Once again, I am not trying to make this about myself, but explain some of the many reasons why I decided to continue my tastings: I wanted to move forward, not plunge into sadness or disarray. More than ever, I wanted to remember that while we are here, life wants to be lived, it goes on, immutably. The mundane phrase “life goes on” has taken on truer dimensions than ever. So if I spent my time from March 6 to April 14 tasting so many samples, it was to keep life going, for the love of life itself, and for the love of wine.
GREAT SURGE OF SOLIDARITY AND FRIENDSHIPS
Until March 16, everything was almost normal. I was able to visit estates and taste the wines at the hands of the oenological artistes. Then confined to the home of my friend Gaetan Moreau of Château La Voûte, I was able to observe a very touching reaction coming from people who were aware of my private situation and who decided together, in an extraordinary surge of solidarity, to collect as many samples as humanly, logistically and hygienically possible, respecting the rules of confinement. Tasting yes, but not at any cost.
STORING THE SAMPLES
All samples sent to Château La Voûte were stored in the cellar at a temperature between 12 and 13 degrees, for at least 24 hours before being tasted. Thanks to the involvement of several laboratories, I was able to work serenely, in optimal conditions. I sincerely thank them for their solidarity and, above all, for their support to their clients.
VISIBILITY? I ALREADY HAVE IT!
Again, receiving close to 700 samples comes with expectations. And if I can answer the call, I do it with passion and respect. I am not looking to gain visibility. yvesbeck.wine has subscribers, organizes trips to Bordeaux and tastings in several European countries (Germany, France and Switzerland), which allows me to live serenely, simply doing my job and following my passion.
Beckustator has over 48,000 subscribers across various social networks and sometimes reaches up to 400,000 impressions per month. The visibility I should be tempted to look for? I already have it… and I am not one to always want more. Unless we are talking about a respectable wine.
DO NOT MISS THE REPORT “BORDEAUX PRIMEURS 2019” AT YVESBECK.WINE
All this to tell you that a selection of my tasting notes “Bordeaux Primeurs 2019” will be released on April 22, 2020 and that it will be available for the modest amount of 15 euros. (Free download for subscribers to the site.)