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Birthday vintage challenge – ask Decanter

I want to buy a wine to commemorate my daughter's birth from the difficult 2013 vintage. What St-Emilion should I buy? James Lawther MW gives Decanter an answer.

Leon Rye, via email, asks: I would like to buy some St-Emilion from my two daughters’ birth years, for their wedding days. My eldest was born in 2009, but her sister was born in 2013 – not the best vintage in Bordeaux! Can you suggest a 2013 St-Emilion (apart from Cheval Blanc) that will easily last until 2040?

James Lawther MW, for Decanter, replies: 2013 was the most difficult vintage in Bordeaux since 1993.

This late, low-yielding year has at its best produced wines that have balancing fruit and freshness but are generally lightly structured.

In other words there are few, if any, that will ‘easily’ last 25 years. However, I see your dilemma and put forward the following suggestions, with the caution that ideal storage will be obligatory.

St-Emilion’s clay-limestone soils produced the most serious offerings, particularly from top estates where good vineyard management and selection are guaranteed.

Ausone would be my automatic choice, but the price-tag is perhaps a tad heavy.

Thereafter, I would take a gamble on Pavie (my pick of 2013 during en primeur), La Mondotte or Valandraud.

What’s you birthday vintage? And have you bought a specific wine to mark a big year, or a special occasion in your family?

James Lawther MW is DWWA Regional Chair for Bordeaux.

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