Having recently returned from 8 grueling days in Bordeaux, tasting the 2016 Bordeaux during en primeur week – most days beginning at 7am, ending after even the pigeons had gone to sleep, usually close to 11pm – I can personally attest that the name of the game this year is “selectivity.”
Two thousand sixteen is NOT an across the board, knock it out the park home-run vintage.
Peaks and valleys – extreme highs, pitiful lows – exist practically everywhere when discussing 2016 Bordeaux.
The top producers – Premier Cru estates – performed very well, generally speaking. Pavie outdid themselves.
But as I made my way through some of the finest wines, tasting approximately 400 samples at various locations to include top negociants, the finest Chateaux, multiple UGC events (some visibly under-attended), certain aspects of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage became clear.
This was a vintage that challenged winemakers; many spoke of their fears – a repeat of 2013, troubles with mildew, uncontrolled yields – while others rightfully proclaimed they had made their finest wines ever.
I’ve tasted in Bordeaux for many years, and I concur with the assessment shared by Justine Tesseron at Pontet Canet when asked which vintage 2016 most closely resembles.
She looked me dead in the eye and said,
“2016; there’s never been anything else to compare.”