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Bordeaux 2018 wines: Our en primeur verdict

Barrel samples were full of surprises in a ripe vintage that has pockets of brilliance but also some inconsistencies, says Jane Anson in this 3,000-word report on Bordeaux 2018 styles and influences.

Look out for Jane Anson’s full tasting notes, scores and appellation overviews, published this week. 

I was cynical before I began tasting the Bordeaux 2018 wines in-barrel this year, I admit it. But it’s a very good vintage – maybe even great – albeit a little atypical for some appellations.


See also: Top scoring Bordeaux 2018 wines


Summary

Scores: Several in-barrel wines make the 98-100 points bracket. 

Ageing: Has the qualities to age, but ‘the high alcohols have in many cases wrapped the tannins up in silk, and the wines feel approachable [now].’ 

Issues: Watch out for overripe fruit. The bold style is not typical of some appellations in Médoc. Mildew hit hard early in the season, although good summer weather and a sunny September led to a wide harvest window.

Comparisons: ‘Perhaps the closest we can come to a definition is 2009 meets 2016 on the Left Bank, and 1998 meets 2015 for the Right Bank.’ 

Overall red wine rating: Pockets of brilliance but not fully consistent. 4.5/5


Left Bank wine of the vintage: Lafite RothschildRight Bank wine of the vintage: Cheval Blanc