Overall, this is a great-to-excellent vintage. This does come on the back of many, very good vintages in Bordeaux. This is a vintage to explore, one that will benefit those who put it in the cellar and one that demands serious attention. The purity and seductive nature of the best wines from this vintage will ensure that.
The winter prior to this vintage was unusually wet, the rain continuing through spring. Mildew and hail were an issue for a number of properties this year. These factors combined to see many properties have very low yields. A number who are organically or biodynamically farmed yielded as low as 11hl/ha. Though the low yields don’t sit only with these farming practices.
What followed was a very warm summer, with the heat continuing month after month and creating drought like conditions. In fact, this was the hottest summer in the 20th century for the region. Vineyard health, and water retention in it, playing an important role through the heat.
A little rain at the right time provided the freshness required, though was short lived. The conditions around the harvest were then ideal.
Alcohol levels in the 2018 wines are generally quite high, with many well over 14%. This in itself is not an issue as long as the wines did not ‘taste hot’ and that the overall wine still showed balance, which, for the most part for the wines we tasted did. The level of abv is not prominent as these are big wines, there’s an abundance of fruit, very silky rich tannins and a seductive nature to the wines. Wines with good acidity then have a freshness to them that results in a gorgeous charming wine. This acidity and resulting freshness will be the key to longevity from this vintage.
When tasting a new vintage of Bordeaux, there is often discussion about which vintage this closely relates to - is this the warmth of the 2003 vintage, ripeness of the 2009 or freshness of the 2010? The answer of course is - it’s the 2018 vintage, its own character. However, comparisons do provide us with a frame of reference,