Bordeaux en Primeur 2014

Bordeaux Wine
Bordeaux Wine
With the “Bordeaux en primeur” event just concluded on Thursday here are some highlights of the opinions of the professionals that participated:

Bloomberg’s Guy Collins writes today:
“Wine prices for the Bordeaux 2013 vintage are set to be underpinned by declining yields amid pressure from merchants and investment consultants in the U.K. and U.S. for price cuts of 20 percent or more.”
“Yields, following damage to Merlot grapes from coulure, which causes berries to fall off the vine, slumped below 30 hectoliters per hectare (320 gallons per acre) in 2013, compared with more normal yields for the region of 40 hectoliters to 45 hectoliters per hectare, according to producers. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were also affected by millerandage, which results in uneven berry size.”

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In Wine Magazine quotes Paul Pontallier, managing director of the famous Château Margaux, describing the 2013 grape harvest:
“It was worse than I could have imagined,”… “We had to start harvesting fast. I sent text messages and we had 250 people picking immediately.” These efforts to salvage the Merlot harvest afected by “coulure” or shatter – a condition that means that the berries do not fully develop after flowering – were more or less futile since “2013 is the first Château Margaux that does not include any Merlot. And you’ll be hard pressed to find other producers who used the variety.”
So, if you’re looking to buy good Bordeaux at a reasonable price—and considering the top-rated Margaux—2013 just may be your year. But don’t look to buy these as futures,rather purchase them when they’re released in 2015–2016.”

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The French “La Depeche” newspaper describes the Bordeaux 2013 vintage as following:
Since the “exceptional” 2009 and 2010 vintages, the Bordeaux vineyard is preparing to market a third “heterogeneous” row crop chastely qualified. Because the climatic conditions of 2013 with a thwarted flowering and harvest in the middle of a rainy autumn seem up this vintage in the tradition of his predecessors, in 2011 and 2012, of uneven quality and drink young.
Production was down by as much as 50 percent this year, resulting in even smaller quantities of top wines. Severe selection means as much as 40 percent of the wine will be declassified into generic Bordeaux. Storms that hit during flowering cut yields dramatically, rainfall during harvest was unrelenting and rot hit the vineyards, attacking ripe grapes over one weekend. Picking went as fast as possible. On a single day, for example, Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac had 695 people picking grapes in their three-estate vineyards. But sometimes these too-early pickings resulted in unripe grapes.
For consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt “the 2013 is interesting because it has no vegetative character, taste pepper or grass clippings. It is very aromatic and has only a structural problem”. He believes that some clay soils in Pomerol, Saint-Emilion, Pessac-Léognan and Northern Medoc were “privileged” and the luck factor has been important during storms watered unevenly vineyard.
However, “it will be difficult for properties to significantly lower prices due to the poor harvest and sorting performed during the harvest,” said a broker. “We have had the volume, prices have fallen more easily,” but “there will be 30% less wine on the market compared to 2012.”

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