2013 Bordeaux Vintage Assessment

UGC New York City

Sotheby’s 1/25/2016

Map credit:
Map credit:

Across the board wines from all appellations and villages in Bordeaux felt the effects of a difficult 2013 year of weather. The wines are at best echoes of a great vintage as the concentration, length and structure are all down a few levels.

Does this mean they are not good?

Far from it as they offer earlier drinking pleasure in the style of the Chateau in the best examples. Drink these while you wait for 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 to come around.

Why?  Strict selection!

The wines show well in comparison to what it could have been had the Bordelaise taken the same approach to a good vintage.  Instead, strict selection of already lower yields meant that only the best fruit was used to make wine.  Production was down anywhere between 40-60% of a normal vintage for most producers I surveyed.

Any standout regions?

Yes, Saint-Julien had the most consistent in quality terms to me at good to very good quality for every wine I tasted.  Margaux had some bright spots, as did Pauillac, but was drastically underrepresented.  The top reds from Pessac-Leognon were good to very good as well. 

The whites from Pessac-Leognon were also very good across the board.  It’s a linear vintage and the Sauvignon Blanc stood out with its bright acidity and fruit.  The oak was judicious in almost all cases, likely because of the atypically elegant persona of the wines so kudos to the Pessac-Leognon white producers.

Saint-Emilion and Pomerol were underrepresented but a few of the big names were there and showed rather similar to the last few years, awkwardly ripe and somewhat searing in heat.  Gazin in Pomerol did a great job I thought.

Any standout wines?

Yes, though some not surprising as technical and financial means were a huge asset in this vintage.  However a few under the radar names in Pessac-Leognon nailed both the red and whites.  My assessment mentioned is not necessarily my exact opinion but what I think the wine was like in comparison to a better vintage.  In short, who was able to maintain quality and typicity best.  For example Pape Clemant is typically too oaky for me, especially in its youth, but for fans of this wine they will find pleasure in both of their 2013s.

Smith Haut Lafitte (red and white)
Pape Clemant (red and white)
Domaine de Chevalier (red and white)
Malartic Lagraviere (white)
Latour-Martillac (white)
Chateau de France (red and white)
Chateau de Fieuzal (red and white)
Chateau Olivier (white)
Leoville Barton
Langoa Barton
Leoville Poyferre
Phelan Segur
Pichon Baron

For more details on each have wine follow me on Instagram!

A bientot!




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