Every year, when the vintage is hailed as good or top quality, prices rise. As 2016 is very good, the trend is recurring once again in Bordeaux. In fact, it seems that it will never stop – as long as buyers follow.
The En Primeur season starts with the tastings at the start of April when wines that have spent just a few months in casks can be tried – it’s a pretty tall order. Then the chateaux release their prices, usually starting with the lesser-known properties, those the farthest down the pecking order, right through to the Médoc nobility, the first growths and a clutch of star estates that may or may not be classified. For the 2016 vintage, this process is now over.
But let’s take a look back over the conditions in which the vintage was born. The season began almost disastrously – heavy rainfall caused very strong disease pressure on the vines. Then the weather turned fine at the start of the summer and stayed that way. Nevertheless, the sum of temperatures recorded shows that 2016 was a fairly cold vintage. Consequently, the wines are not only ripe but have also stored up remarkable acidity and therefore freshness. So yes, 2016 is a very good vintage. 2015 was described in the same way but is actually more inconsistent. Perhaps this explains the overall price increase. Although it is more limited than for some recent vintages, the rise is still significant for the top Médoc classified growths. Mouton-Rothschild, for instance, rose by 10% - that’s an extra 45 euros!