To say first-growth Bordeaux wine is high in quality is an understatement. There are only five first-growth estates in Bordeaux, and each of them crafts some of the most elegant, prestigious, and valuable wines in the world. Wines with official first-growth classifications are often worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more than their lesser-ranked peers and are considered by many to be the cornerstone of any serious French wine collection.
The 2019 Bordeaux harvest is complete, the last of the grapes have been plucked from the vine, and winemakers and professional critics are very optimistic about the quality of 2019 Bordeaux. Although it’s still very early, they’re seeing firm tannins, rich coloration, and high sugar content balanced by high acidity. The fruit is also strongly aromatic (much like it was during the successful 2018 Bordeaux harvest). In other words, this vintage will be powerful and concentrated—a vintage worth laying down. In this guide to the 2019 Bordeaux harvest, we’ll discuss which grape varieties and areas of Bordeaux had the most success this year so that you can prepare your investments when en primeur season rolls around.
Master of Wine Jancis Robinson says, “I am always banging on about how price is no absolute guide to quality and I believe this is particularly true of Bordeaux.” She goes on to say that although most first growths sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars per bottle, there are plenty of high-quality petits châteaux wines available for a fraction of that price. In fact, it’s possible to find many top-quality and age-worthy wines for less than $200 per bottle. This guide to the best Bordeaux under $200 will help you discover fine red and white wines that have some of the highest quality-to-price ratios on the market.
The best vintages of Château Latour are among the longest-lived wines in the world. While certain wines like fine port and Tokaji are known to age for 100 years or more, it’s rare to find a red Bordeaux blend with the same aging potential. Château Latour is one of these extraordinary wines. For instance, the 1961 vintage—considered one of the greatest in the estate’s history—continues to develop in complexity even to this day. When Master of Wine Jancis Robinson tried the 1961 vintage a few years ago, she said, “I can hardly believe the drinking dates I am suggesting for this wine! Drink through 2040.”
A great symbol of the Médoc and the Saint-Julien appellation, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a majestic Victorian-style château and a classified Second Growth. The Borie family, who took ownership in 1941, is the fifth family to helm the estate, and Bruno Borie is the third generation of Bories to run it, which he has done now…
If you compare Pomerol vs. Saint-Émilion in a blind tasting, can you tell the difference? Even many well-educated Bordeaux connoisseurs can’t tell these wines apart. Because these appellations are neighbors located in the northwestern region of the Right Bank, their climates are very similar and both areas produce rich, complex Merlot-based blends with great aging potential.
The iconic Château Margaux estate is nicknamed the “Versailles of the Médoc.” From its stunning neo-Palladian architecture to its rows of carefully-planted vines, it’s a picturesque estate that’s fit for royalty. The wines themselves are equally alluring. President Thomas Jefferson famously adored these wines, saying, “There couldn’t be a better Bordeaux bottle.” The moody dark berry flavors and heady violet aroma generally present in the grand vin have earned this estate a reputation as one of the world’s greatest wine producers.
The best vintages of Pétrus have the power to move people. A commenter on the Wine Berserkers forum claimed that after trying 488 wines from 1990, he found that Château Pétrus was his absolute favorite of that year, even over the first-growth wines he tried. In average years, these wines are still unbelievably decadent, but in great years, they are otherworldly. When it comes to investing in Pétrus wine, it’s almost impossible to make a poor decision. As always, though, there are still some vintages that wine enthusiasts consider to be a cut above the rest. This guide will help you find the most legendary Château Pétrus wines for your collection.
Wine drinkers often get confused when they shop for Left Bank Bordeaux, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience reading wine labels from this region. Even some experienced wine enthusiasts aren’t sure exactly what differentiates Médoc vs. Haut-Médoc wines. Some bottles are labeled “Appellation Médoc Contrôlée” (AOC) or have the word “Médoc” in large letters. Other bottles are labeled just “Haut-Médoc.” This guide will help make sense of the incredible wines made in both the Médoc and the Haut-Médoc AOCs, providing all of the information you need to find the best bottles from each region.
When the Vinfolio team visited Pomerol during en primeur week this past spring, we stopped at Château Lafleur to taste some of their incredible wines. During our tasting of the 2018 vintage, we had an enlightening discussion with a representative from the estate about what makes Pomerol special. Here, terroir is king. Château Lafleur and other Pomerol wine producers know just how unique the soil and climate are in this region, so they take a hands-off approach. The quality of the area’s terroir and the grapes it produces really do speak for themselves and this is a large part of what makes Pomerol so distinctive. In most other regions of Bordeaux, the winemaker’s signature style is very apparent in the wine; in Pomerol, most producers prefer not to interfere with the terroir’s natural characteristics at all.
Whether you’re a seasoned Bordeaux collector or you want to start a collection from scratch, the 2018 vintage makes an excellent addition to a cellar. These wines are rich, concentrated, finessed, and elegant. While it’s still a very young vintage that has a long way to go, it’s already showing great promise. In this guide, we’ll offer you tips on which 2018 wines we think are worth collecting and provide you with some useful market projections that you can use to make investment decisions.
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 during en primeur week and we’re tremendously excited to share our Bordeaux 2018 tasting notes with you. Over the course of three days, Vinfolio CEO Don St. Pierre, Chief Wine Officer Adam Lapierre, and Chief Marketing Officer Cristina Hall 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.