Our buying team quartet, with a combined experience in excess of a hundred vintages, has never tasted a vintage like 2018. Certain Châteaux, we believe, have produced their greatest ever wines.
Winter of 2017-2018 was cold and wet, swelling the water tables which had been a little low. Rain continued to fall throughout spring, and great vigilance was needed to prevent disease. Fortunately the sun greeted the flowering, allowing for an even fruit set. However, the threat of mildew in particular had not disappeared, the rain continued and the already wet soils made working conditions tricky. Many vineyards were hit, losing, in extreme cases, up to 80% of their potential crop.
Fortunately the sun broke through in mid-July and never left the scene. Indeed, 2018 is the sunniest vintage of the last 50 years (1990 coming in second). Those who had successfully fought or had escaped the mildew could breathe a sigh of relief and watch their grapes ripen to perfect maturity. There was little or no rain, but the high water tables broadly prevented vine stress. Although the days were warm, nights remained cool, keeping the acidity balance at correct levels. The berries, when harvested, were perfectly ripe and small, with thick skins. Some growers were so enthusiastic they told us that even the pips were delicious to eat.
What is certain is that the resulting wines have naturally deep, impressive colours. The aromas are ripe and complex, often floral and beautifully scented, ranging from fresh red fruits, cherries and raspberries, to more classic blackcurrants. 2018 is a magnificent year, rich in alcohol, with super fleshiness and excellent structures. Thick skins have given ripe, supple, powerful tannins, the best having admirable freshness and superb length. We are hopeful that prices will be reasonable, as key growers are aware of the need for sensible opening offers. Alongside classic properties, we will have some new discoveries, and look forward to revealing them to you. 2018 is a sumptuously attractive vintage, with a great future.
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