Bordeaux 2016: early insight to the soon-to-be-launched Bordeaux vintage

With two weeks to go, Bordeaux will be gearing up for the arrival of the world’s merchants, press and critics to have the first opportunity to taste the soon-to-be released 2016 vintage. Those who have dared to put their heads above the parapet are making positive noises, most notably Philippe Dhalluin, MD Chateau Mouton Rothschild, is quoted as saying of 2016 – “is clearly an excellent vintage”.

Early commentary has noted that a high proportion of yield has been allocated to a number of First wines, for example Chateau Palmer is reputed to have used 65% of its 2016 production in its first wine blend – the highest ever for the estate.

Others have stated that whilst percentage of yield allocated to the Grand Vin is way up on 2013, it is not dissimilar to 2014 and ’15, both of which were relatively good vintages. Smith Haut Lafitte will use between 40 to 50 % of their grapes to produce their first wine compared to 30% in 2013.

The Petit Verdot varietal has done particularly well in this vintage with exceptional concentration in the grape. Chateaux with a higher proportion of Petit Verdot vines, such as Leoville Poyferre will be feeling very positive. Notably, Margaux is the first growth with the highest proportion of the grape.

Strategically, on the marketing side, an increasing number of top chateaux are choosing not to join the official UGC cavalcade of tasting events, and are managing their own. These include Leoville Poyferre, Haut Bailly, Pontet-Canet, L’Eglise Clinet, Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Angelus, Pavie, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion, Latour, Margaux, Calon Segur, Montrose, Cos d’Estournel and Ducru Beaucaillou.

Expectations are positive for 2016. Those vineyards with clay components in their terroir will be seen to have fared well with the climate challenges of the year, having the ability to store moisture from the early spring rains to offset the long summer drought last year. With this in mind we will have the magnifying glass on some of the key wines of St Emilion, St Julien, and St Estephe.

Angelus owner, Hubert de Bouard, who has likened the vintage to 2010, is quoted as saying about 2016, that “young vines are difficult on any soils but older vines have resisted well across the board.”

As ever we will keep you posted on all developments in the build up to one of the most exciting periods in the wine calendar. Make sure you download our free monthly market report to get the latest updates and register for our En Primeur news feed via our website