In such a peculiar and world-wide context, the classic week-long and crowded way the Futures were presented had to be cancelled. But like other businesses, Bordeaux got creative and reinvented its ways to allow the industry to render its verdict. And this year, all were in favour. There is talk of a vintage reminiscent of the Médoc profile, presenting restrained strength and plenty of refinement. The aromatic expression is superb; the wines are both pure and complex. And while an almost flawless quality stretches across all vineyards, a bit more ink has been spilled about the Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Saint-Esthèphe and Saint-Émilion appellations.
"A vintage that flirts with perfection"
Bruno Borie, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
A future wine is a wine sold during a preview, en primeur, before being bottled. This special sale method typical to Bordeaux is launched each spring with a week-long tasting event where journalists, critics and buyers gather to taste the young cuvees, still in barrels, to assess quality and potential. The verdicts of the specialised press, favourable or not, will greatly influence the prices set by the châteaux. Then one by one, estates announce prices for the vintage and international buyers secure rare wines for their markets.
A lot of these great wines are often exclusively sold during the Bordeaux Futures because of very small production. This preview sale is therefore a chance for customers to acquire rare bottles. Buying wines before they hit the market is also a way for customers to save on the price increase that naturally occurs during the two years before wines are released for sale, once the barrel aging is complete.
Characterised by a soil predominantly clay-limestone, this vineyard is well-suited to Merlot, the main grape planted, and creates wines with seductive roundness in which are combined strength, finesse and elegance. And in this exceptional vintage, surprises will abound!
Hub of the most prestigious vineyards of the right bank, Libournais presents an impressive number of masterful cuvées this year.
Saint-Émilion delivers wines where Merlot is just so flamboyant and aromatic, while Cabernet Franc expresses precision through scents of juicy black fruits and a touch of spices. Unmistakably, the acidity and suppleness of the tannins create a perfect symbiosis in an always delightful and exquisite ensemble. When asked about Angélus in the 2019 vintage, Hubert de Boüard de Laforêt said “Personally, I think it might be greater than our 2018.”.
The wines in Pomerol are more coated and powerful. Their bright bouquets are full of intertwining notes of cassis, morello cherry, violet, cedar, sometimes truffle, all in a tannic structure both dense and silky. Refines, complex and seductive crus are in the works.
Vineyard characterised by more gravely soils, this environment favourable to Cabernet Sauvignon allows the wines to acquire an imposing frame. On top of their complexity and moving aromatic persistence, the distinguished and seductive crus reveal obvious aging potential. Plenty of reasons to stock up!
Vincent Millet, operations manager at Calon Ségur, confirms the elegance of the St-Estèphe terroir: “What makes the 2019 vintage so original, its main distinction, is that saline touch on the finale, which makes you want to have a second sip… in our we call it palatability, and it is the mark of a great vintage.”
Always among the most coveted, the Pauillac vineyard is home to three of the five Premiers Grands Crus classés of 1855. Here as well, the terroir has spoken in this grandiose vintage. Ampleness, nobleness and balance create a winning combination.
And Margaux? For Thomas Duroux, general manager at Château Palmer, “Merlots benefitted until the end from dry and sunny weather, creating wines full of power, exuberance and flesh. Cabernets, harvested after sparse rain in late September, showcase more restraint, producing wines of rare distinction”. Quite promising, considering the appellation is known for wines full of finesse and length, along with the velvety character the region is famous for.
And finally, in Saint-Julien, general manager at Château Lagrange Mattieu Bordes says: “the 2019 vintage is made with the smallest grape berries ever seen at the estate in 36 years. The wine is rich, powerful, but what surprises is its freshness and drinkability, very suave, very unctuous.”
Cradle of the greatest dry whites in Bordeaux, Pessac-Léognan wines are very expressive. A true aromatic palette of yellow fruits, acacia flower, grapefruit and fresh mango defines them. Both unctuous and thirst quenching in this vintage, some even displaying beautiful mineral expressions.
For red wines, balance also resonates. They are just dashing, juicy and concentrated, revealing scents of cassis, licorice and wild strawberry, sometimes even a smoky nuance. Just right, without exuberance and graced with a nicely round tannic structure.
While amazing summer weather endured until late September, noble rot appeared in early October on these truly unique terroirs. Grapes were already bursting with fruit, so the phenomenon only accentuated the purity and frankness of the harvest to produce vibrant, mouth-filling wines of undeniable aromatic persistence. To rediscover without hesitation!