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Bordeaux, which year is the best?

with 4 great vintages at all different price points which year is the best to buy? 2014, 2015,2016 or 2017?


Tour Saint Christophe 2014 - 92 points

With 2014 Bordeaux already in stores, 2015 arriving in the next few weeks, 2016 still available 'En Primeur' and 2017 fully 'En Primeur'. There are lots of options out there. So which vintage is 'the best'? Well it depends....


Each vintage performed well for different appellations, so saying 2015 or 2016 was the best, would be like saying Bordeaux has the best wine in the world. Bordeaux does have some of the best, it also has some average wine, so we cannot generalize. Urgh, this is complicated I know! Stay with me.


Without writing an essay about this, I need to split this into a couple of different categories without loosing you. So I am going to 'try' and 'generalize' each vintage.


2014 Vintage


Advantages

  • Cheapest out of the 4 vintages

  • Ready to drink the soonest with little or no cellaring required (First/Second growths require 5ish years or so)

  • Excellent availability

  • Fruit forward, easy style

  • Left/Right banks similar, sweet wines did well

Disadvantages

  • Lacks the depth and concentration of 2015, 2016

  • Will never reach the quality of other vintages

2015 Vintage


Advantages:

  • Pomerol and Margaux had phenomenal vintages

  • St-Emilion, Pauillac, St-Estephe, Pessac-Léognan and St-Julien had very good years

  • Prices are at a discount compared to 2016

  • Fresh, concentrated and exciting vintage, this is New Bordeaux, long gone of the over extracted, high alcohol 'Parker Years'

  • Certain Chateaux produced some of their best wines: Clinet, La Mission Haut-Brion, Margaux, Le Pin, Petrus, Lafleur, Trotanoy, Vieux Chateau Certan, Cheval Blanc.

  • Long ageing potential


Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than 2014

  • Availability not as good as 2014 or 2017


2016 Vintage


Advantages

  • Pauillac, St-Emilion were stand out vintages

  • Pomerol, Pessac-Léognan, St-Estephe and St-Julien had very good years

  • More concentration and less fruit driven than 2015

  • Most age worthy

  • Availability better than 2015


Disadvantages

  • Most expensive vintage

  • Less fresh than 2015 (very subjective)


2017 Vintage


Advantages

  • Discount compared to 2016

  • Pessac-Léognan whites and Saint-Julien had a strong vintage


Disadvantages

  • A lot of vines were lost to frost

  • Summer less consistent and so ripening was less consistent

  • Very much a terroir year, hence difficult to generalize

  • Similar prices and/or little discount to 2015

So what do I recommend?


Again, depends on your favourite Chateaux. I believe 2014 and 2015 should be where to look first. 2014 for early drinking, while you wait for your 2015's to mature. 2017 should only be for Pessac-Léognan whites and maybe St-Julien. I think 2016's are too highly priced compared to 2015's.


What am I doing?


2015 is my big highlight and so I am stocking up with that vintage, I have picked up some of the Chateaux which did better in 2016 compared to 2015. For 2017, I am only selecting those I keep a vertical of, and a couple of Pessac-Léognans. I am now focusing on 2014 for my early drinking pleasure :)


What are you doing?

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