2018 Bordeaux is a great success, with some excellent wines produced across the whole region. However it's not a vintage to buy blindly and some care is required in selection.
As ever it came down to the weather and 2018 was very much a vintage of two halves. From January until July, it was a wet and tricky start, challenging those in particular who practise organic or biodynamic viticulture with mildew reducing their crops significantly (so Pontet Canet is worth avoiding this year!). Then a few Chateaux were hit hard by hail, including Ch. Angelus again....
However, those who had intact and healthy vineyards, enjoyed magnificent weather from mid July and lasting until mid October. Unlike 2003, due to the heavy rainfall earlier in the year, severe heat stress was avoided. This ensured that excellent quality grapes were produced that were even said to be some of the healthiest and ripest grapes ever seen by the thrilled growers.
For me, the very best of the 2018's combine the richness, ripeness and charm of 2009's but tempered with the fabulous balance of the 2016's, so quite a unique vintage and one that really deserves to find a place in your cellars.
Of course the top Châteaux have made wonderfully fine wines but, for each case of classic Cru Classé, I would suggest that for the pleasure of having some great wines to enjoy drinking (without nervously looking at their current values), do take on some of the brilliant wines made from in often over looked regions.
So, keep your minds open towards some Cru Bourgeois and "Petit Châteaux" from those regions such as Graves, Côtes de Bordeaux, Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol etc. - this is where some real value is to be found....
A Buying Strategy?
Could I suggest when looking at the various releases, have in mind a buying strategy. Allocate a budget depending if you are buying with an eye for investment, or if your focus is on the simple pleasure of putting together a cellar of fab wines to drink and enjoy yourself, or a combination of both - which is what I would recommend.
Want to discuss this in more detail?
You can talk to all my guys in the shops who really know their Bordeaux but sometime it's not always easy to chat in a busy store. If you would like to arrange a one-to-one meeting with myself or one of the guys, to run through your strategy and cellar plans, do please email me and we can arrange a time.
All the wines are offered priced as being In Bond at LCB, London. Interestingly, some are offered as 12 packs and some as 6 packs. I much prefer buying as 6 packs but do sometimes fear that when you do drink that final bottle, you usually wish you had bought more......!?
Below is our online request form.
With En Primeur the way to order is to send us your requests, we will then try to secure your request and when we have, we will send you an invoice.
2018 Ch. Lanessan, Haut Medoc
£65/6 Pack In Bond
Inky black cherry colour. Sweetly aromatic with black fruit and a hint of vanilla. Open and expressive on the nose. Firm velvet for texture and fresh on the finish. A balanced and complete wine and attractively fine-boned and dry on the finsih. (JH) Drink 2025-2033
2018 Ch. de Sales, Pomerol
£235/12 Pack In Bond
91-92 James Suckling, 93 Markus Del Monego, 92 Decanter, 91-93 Lisa Perrotti, 15-15.5 RVF
2018 Ch. de Pressac, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
£255/12 Pack In Bond
93-94 James Suckling, 16.25 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Markus Del Monego, 93 Decanter, 18+ Wein Wisser
2018 Ch. la Louvière, Pessac Léognan blanc
£240/12 Pack In Bond
94-95 James Suckling, 15.5 Jean-Marc Quarin, 91 Markus Del Monego, 90 Decanter, 16 Jancis Robinson, 91-93 Lisa Perrotti, 17 Wein Wisser
2018 Ch. Couhins Lurton, Pessac Léognan rouge
£255/12 Pack In Bond
88-91 Wine Spectator, 92-93 James Suckling, 15 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Decanter, 89-91 Lisa Perrotti, 16-16.5 RVF
2018 Ch. Marquis d’Alesme, 3ème Cru Classé Margaux
£385/12 Pack In Bond
93-96 Wine Spectator, 94-95 James Suckling, 93 Jean-Marc Quarin, 94 Markus Del Monego, 94 Decanter, 94-96 Lisa Perrotti, 18.5 Wein Wisser
2018 Ch. Laroque, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé
£216/12 Pack In Bond
92-95 Wine Spectator, 93-94 James Suckling, 17 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Markus Del Monego, 93 Decanter, 95-97 Lisa Perrotti, 94-95 Bettane et Desseauve, 18.5 Wein Wisser, 15.5-16 RVF
2018 Ch. Chauvin, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé
£350/12 Pack In Bond
91-92 James Suckling, 16.5 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Markus Del Monego, 92-94 Lisa Perrotti
2018 Ch. Boyd Cantenac 3ème Cru Classé Margaux
£388/12 Pack In Bond
93-94 James Suckling, 15.5 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Decanter, 89-91 Lisa Perrotti, 94 Bettane et Desseauve, 17-18 RVF
2018 Ch. de Ferrand, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
£240/12 Pack In Bond.
92-95 Wine Spectator, 89-90 James Suckling, 15.75 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Markus Del Monego, 91 Decanter, 87-89 Lisa Perrotti, 94 Bettane et Desseauve, 15.5-16 RVF
2018 Ch. Larmande, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé
£268/12 Pack In Bond.
92-93 James Suckling, 92-94 Wine Enthusiast, 16.25 Jean-Marc Quarin, 93 Markus Del Monego, 92 Decanter, 92-94 Lisa Perrotti, 17 Wein Wisser, 15-16 RVF
2018 Ch. Pontensac, Médoc
£225/12 Pack In Bond.
89-92 Wine Spectator, 93-94 James Suckling, 15.75 Jean-Marc Quarin, 91 Markus Del Monego, 17 Jancis Robinson, 90-92 Lisa Perrotti, 16-16.5 RVF
2018 Ch. Langoa Barton, Saint Julien 3rd Growth
£442/12 Pack In Bond.
"The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Langoa Barton is slightly shy at this nascent stage, revealing wonderfully pure, warm red and black currant scents with nuances of blueberry preserves, chocolate mint, smoked meat and a waft of bouquet garni. Full-bodied, rich and sporting a lot of vibrant, juicy fruit in the mouth, it has firm, rounded tannins and a lively backbone lifting the fruit to a good, long finish." (Wine Advocate)
92-94 Lisa Perrotti, 93-94 James Suckling, 92-94 Wine Enthusiast, 16.5 Jancis Robinson, 93-96 Wine Spectator
2018 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, Saint Julien 4th Growth
£471/12 Pack In Bond.
"The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Branaire-Ducru begins just a tad reduced with broody tar, rubber and fried herbs scents giving way to a fragrant core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry coulis with touches of smoked meats and tobacco. Full-bodied, firm and rugged in the mouth with brawny, muscular fruit and a sturdy frame of grainy tannins, it finishes long and savory." (Wine Advocate)
94-97 Wine Spectator, 95-96 James Suckling, 94-96 Wine Enthusiast, 92-94 Lisa Perrotti
2018 Carmes de Rieussec, Sauternes
£180/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling: 90-91
Awaiting further reviews
2018 Ch. Doisy-Daene, Sauternes
£296/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling 93-94
Wine Spectator 89-92
Awaiting further reviews
2018 Haut-Bages Liberal
£366/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling 96-97 A fantastic wine with lovely depth of ripe fruit and transparency and beauty. Full bodied. Succulent and rich tannins to the gorgeous fruit. From biodynamically grown grapes.
Ch. Sociando-Mallet, Haut-Medoc
£296/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling 94-95/100 There is fantastic purity of black fruit with blackberries and ripe ra
2018 Cap de Faugeres
£107/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling 91-92/100 Attractive blackberry and blueberry character with hints of spice and white pepper. Medium-to full-bodied. Quite tannic. One of best Cap de Faugères I have had.
2018 Ch. Faugeres
£362/12 Pack In Bond.
James Suckling 95-96/100 The blackberry and blueberry character is impressive on the nose with some licorice and graphite. Salty. Full-bodied, tannic and velvety. Powerful finish. Chewy. Best Faugères ever?
2018 Ch. Gazin
£762/12 Pack In Bond.
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Gazin has quite an earthy/broody nose to begin, with subtle black soil, tar and chargrill notes giving way to a core of prunes, baked blueberries and sautéed herbs. Full, muscular and chewy in the mouth, it has loads of earthy layers and a dried herbs lift on the finish."
93-96 Wine Spectator, 94-95 James Suckling,
94-96 Wine Enthusiast, 15.5 Jancis Robinson, 91-93 Lisa Perrotti
2018 Ch. Quinault l'Enclos
£296/12 Pack In Bond.
"This a very gravelly soil with great drainage, but not a lot of water during dry periods. Adeptly produced by the team of Cheval Blanc (who purchased the estate in 2008), the wine nonetheless maintained its poise under the dry, warm ripening conditions of 2018.... Deep purple-black in color, it slips seductively out of the glass with notions of warm plums, blueberry preserves and mulberries with touches of spice box, tilled soil, black olives and licorice plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with muscular black fruit and licorice sparks, framed by rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with a peppery kick.
93-94 James Suckling, 92-94 Wine Enthusiast, 92-94 Lisa Perrotti
2018 Ch. Fonroque
£293/12 Pack In Bond.
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Fonroque gives up notions of preserved plums, baked blackberries and dried herbs with hints of raspberry pie, underbrush and black tea. Full-bodied and laden with black fruit, it has loads of red fruit brightness in the mouth with soft, rounded tannins and a refreshing finish."
93-96 Wine Spectator, 92-93 James Suckling, 92 Decanter, 16 Jancis Robinson, 91-93 Lisa Perrotti
2018 Ch. Mazeyres
£246/12 Pack In Bond.
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Mazeyres offers up bright redcurrant jelly and kirsch scents over a core of preserved plums, blackberry pie and mincemeat plus a touch of woodsmoke. Full-bodied with a velvety texture supporting the generous black fruit preserves, it has loads of spicy sparks on the finish."
92-95 Wine Spectator, 91-92 James Suckling, 15 Jean-Marc Quarin, 92 Markus Del Monego, 90 Decanter, 17 Jancis Robinson, 88-90 Lisa Perrotti, 15.5-16 RVF