Bordeaux 2018 is shaping up to be one of the best vintages in recent history. The Vinfolio team had the opportunity to try some of these fantastic wines straight from the barrel during en primeur week and we’re tremendously excited to share our Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes with you. Vinfolio CEO Don St. Pierre, Chief Wine Officer Adam Lapierre, and Chief Marketing Officer Cristina Hall recently traveled to some of the most iconic Bordeaux estates, including Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild, and Château Haut-Brion. Over the course of three days, we sampled dozens of delicious wines that we think will make great investments for collectors and wine enthusiasts of all kinds. Read on to find out which wines we enjoyed most.
2018 Pauillac Tasting Notes
In Pauillac, a warm, dry summer last year produced wines of immense depth and concentration. Because conditions were drier than usual, the best wines were made in terroirs with rich clay or deep gravel soils. In these terroirs, the vines had access to water that had collected underground. With some water access, the vines grew just enough leaves to shield the fruit from sunburn.
The 2018 vintage is already showing greater freshness and finer tannins than the 2009.
On our recent visit to Pauillac, the wines we tried were very high in quality and perfectly balanced. The hot weather produced wines that were dark in color and intense, but also elegant and fresh. We expect these wines to be quite similar to the 2009 vintage, which was also very powerful. However, the 2018 vintage is already showing greater freshness and finer tannins than the 2009, giving us reason to think that 2018 Pauillac may be even higher in quality than the 2009 vintage.
To find out which Pauillac producers had the most success, take a look at our Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes below:
- 2018 Château Latour: Very intense and powerful, this shows deep aromas of black fruits, cedar, brown spices, and spring flowers. Concentrated, yet balanced on the palate, it is brimming with ripe, dark fruit, bittersweet cocoa, and graphite. The young wine is displaying high levels of ripe tannin with fresh acidity and a very long, mineral finish.
- 2018 Château Lafite Rothschild: Understated in classic Lafite style, the youthful 2018 is already a “vin de meditation” in the making, encouraging the taster to come back to the glass time and time again. It shows classic black fruit accented by tobacco and floral aromas, with subtle notes of pencil lead and Asian spices. This wine is powerful, with tremendous concentration, yet the structure of the wine is so harmonious on the palate that it seems almost weightless at the same time. The mineral-tinged finish is very persistent.
- 2018 Château Pichon Lalande: A simply gorgeous wine, with an enticing perfume of black currant, plum, cherry, clove, and graphite. Very fine and mineral on the palate, with elegant, ultra-fine tannins and an overall great sense of harmony and freshness.
- 2018 Château Mouton-Rothschild: With its dense purple color, this is very intense, with deep aromas of black cherries, plums, espresso bean, violets, and cedar. It is full-bodied and firm, with an incredible framework of ripe, sturdy tannins, and finishes long and satisfying.
- 2018 Château Lynch-Bages: Very pure nose of cassis, black cherry, cocoa, and camphor. Medium-bodied with firm, ripe tannins and fresh acidity. Notes of brown spices (cinnamon and cloves) linger on the finish.
We expect all of these wines to be age-worthy, so if you’re looking for a high-quality wine to lay down, consider investing in 2018 Pauillac futures.
2018 Pomerol Tasting Notes
Jane Anson of Decanter says that 2018 is a signature year for Pomerol, a vintage “where Pomerol just seems to have it all together.” We couldn’t agree more. We recently visited Château Lafleur in Pomerol and were extremely impressed with the intense flavors and long finish of the wine we tasted. In fact, it was one of the best wines we tried during en primeur week.
If you’re looking to invest in Pomerol futures, we recommend looking carefully at Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes in advance.
Here’s what we thought of this exceptional wine:
- 2018 Château Lafleur: Very lifted and floral on the nose, with notes of sandalwood, black cherry, violets, and wood smoke. Intensely flavored and impeccably balanced, with firm tannins, fresh acidity, and an incredibly long finish. This is a wine of incredible pedigree, subtle power, and remarkable refinement.
However, not all Pomerol producers were quite as successful as Château Lafleur. Wet conditions early in the season promoted the growth of mildew. While top producers were able to combat this problem and cull infected fruit quickly, mildew issues affected yields, which are slightly lower than usual in much of Pomerol. Additionally, some of these wines are a little too concentrated and alcoholic due to warm, dry weather conditions later in the season. If you’re looking to invest in Pomerol futures, we recommend looking carefully at Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes in advance.
2018 Margaux Tasting Notes
Like Pomerol, Margaux also faced difficult growing conditions. In the spring, rain led to the growth of mildew, and in the summer, hot weather threatened to scorch the fruit. The best Margaux producers overcame these challenges, producing potentially legendary wines of immense value and aging potential.
Here are two of our favorite Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes from Margaux:
- 2018 Château Margaux: Very layered and complex on the nose, with notes of currants, graphite, cedar, coffee grounds, and spring flowers. Supple and mouth-filling, without sacrificing elegance on the palate, the 2018 Margaux has ultra-fine tannins and an incredibly long finish.
- 2018 Château Palmer: Absolutely brilliant, with layers of ripe dark fruit, pipe tobacco, and exotic spices. Very full-bodied and concentrated, yet incredibly precise, with lots of fine-grained, plush tannins and a long, mineral finish.
In Margeaux, yields varied from estate to estate. While the quality of 2018 Margaux is very high, there may be less wine available on the market than usual. For this reason, it’s a good idea to invest in Margaux wine futures as soon as possible, as demand for these wines may be greater than the supply.
2018 Saint-Émilion Tasting Notes
The 2018 vintage was a difficult one for many Saint-Émilion producers. The region experienced one of the wettest springs on record, which delayed grape growth and led to mildew problems. However, despite these setbacks, producers like Château Cheval Blanc and Château Quintus managed to make wines of amazing quality.
We found the Saint-Émilion wines we tasted to be slightly more approachable in their youth than usual.
Here are our Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes for the Saint-Émilion region:
- 2018 Château Cheval Blanc: An exceptional effort, the 2018 Cheval Blanc is complex and bright, with enticing aromas of black cherry, blueberry, anise, and cocoa powder. Dense and concentrated on the palate, the wine skillfully balances its layers of tannins with warm but well-integrated alcohol and fresh acidity. It’s incredibly spicy, with a long finish. Our host Arnaud described the wine as “smiling” due to its amazing approachability at such an early stage, and we wholeheartedly agree.
- 2018 Château Quintus: A brooding wine, with layers of sweet black fruits and dark chocolate. Very full-bodied and ripe on the palate, with slightly chewy tannins and persistent flavors of ripe dark fruit and dried herbs carrying through on the finish.
We found the Saint-Émilion wines we tasted to be slightly more approachable in their youth than usual. However, they still have aging potential, making them great longer-term investments for Bordeaux collectors.
2018 Pessac-Léognan Tasting Notes
Like other regions of Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan experienced a wet spring and a hot, dry summer; however, this region’s producers also had to cope with hail in May, which damaged much of the budding fruit and–coupled with damage from mildew–significantly reduced the size of the crop. All was not lost, though. The vines put all of their energy into the few remaining grapes, resulting in better concentration and flavor complexity. In short, there’s less wine from Pessac-Léognan than usual, but the wine that is available is excellent.
The 2018 Haut-Brion is brooding, with deep aromas of black cherry, blueberry, cedar, and subtle spices.
Two producers that were especially successful in 2018 were Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion. Take a look at our detailed Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes to learn more:
- 2018 Château Haut-Brion: Notable for its structure and power, this wine has a higher percentage of Cabernet Franc than wine from its sister property La Mission Haut-Brion’s 2018. Both wineries utilize an in-house cooperage that produces five barrels per day, working nine months out of the year. This practice is emblematic of the level of precision and control the two châteaux exercise over the smallest details. The 2018 Haut-Brion is brooding, with deep aromas of black cherry, blueberry, cedar, and subtle spices. It is very mouth-filling, with ample layers of fully ripe, plush tannins. For such a young wine, it is incredibly approachable and delicious. While it has achieved an impressive level of ripeness, all of the wine’s structural components are harmonious and balanced. An exciting wine!
- 2018 Château La Mission Haut-Brion: Elegance is the hallmark of the 2018 Mission Haut-Brion. The wine displays a lovely, elegant perfume of cedar, earth, and red currants. Though it is broad on the palate, it displays very fine, elegant tannins. Exquisitely detailed, it shows a vivid thread of minerality throughout. While it is fully ripe, it is balanced by bright, fresh acidity and a long, energetic finish.
If you’re looking to invest in Bordeaux that already tastes perfectly balanced and layered, either of these wines is an excellent choice.
What You Can Learn from Our Bordeaux 2018 Tasting Notes
While it’s still far too early to rate these wines definitively, we’re already very impressed with the 2018 Bordeaux vintage. The intense, concentrated flavors remind us of other fantastic Bordeaux vintages like the 2010, 2009, 1989, and 1982. If you enjoyed wines from any of those years, then you should consider adding a few 2018 bottles to your collection. We personally recommend wine from any of the producers we tasted and mentioned above.
Of course, many other Bordeaux producers also made top-quality wines in 2018. To discover even more incredible wines to add to your collection, including exclusive Bordeaux 2018 futures offers, sign up for our newsletter.
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