‘En Primeur’ claret – the end of the line? – The Property Chronicle
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‘En Primeur’ claret – the end of the line? There’s no doubt that Bordeaux still remains at the vinous summit


If the title looks vaguely familiar…well, yes, it is indeed exactly the same ‘headline’ as the last article, where we set the scene for the launch of the latest vintage from our friends in the Gironde. One had been prepared to unleash various clichés, gems such as “2017 Bordeaux, the votes are in”, or “2017 Claret, the scores on the doors”. However, since the UK trade has just experienced one of the quietest, least successful, ‘primeur’ sales campaigns of recent years, it means that a title re-cycle now suits rather well. The verdict could not be clearer.

So, what happened, how did it all play out? When merchants returned to their desks in late April, the mood was buoyant. The 2017s had shown excellently: not quite as good a year as the preceding 2016 and 2015, but very much on a par with the much under-rated 2014s, probably a notch higher. Sure, there were vineyards that had been affected by frost, some severely (Château d’Angludet in Margaux will not produce a ’17, and over in Saint-Emilion, Château Figeac’s crop was down 55%); but there were plenty of properties that escaped that blow, and the results were subtle, elegant and sophisticated. Words such as ‘poise’ and ‘breed’ peppered the tasting-notes of the finest examples. They were charm personified.


About Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts joined the wine trade as a graduate trainee for John Harvey & Sons in 1986. However, rather than piling into the Bristol Cream, he instead found himself based in the wine merchant division’s London office in Pall Mall. From there, he swapped SW1 for NW1, joining Laytons, and then skulked south of the Thames to SE1, Charles Taylor Wines, in 1996. He now works for Decorum Vintners Ltd, which he helped set up in 1999, and where the focus is very much on the offerings of small wine-growers, specialising in France and Italy.

Articles by Mark Roberts

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