The 2018 vintage in Bordeaux is 2022’s belle of the ball. Last year, much was to be done about the 2016 vintage, with the wines hitting the market during tough financial times, and with excellent press. It was the chance to snag some of the best red wine values in the world for prices that haven’t been so approachable in many years. The good news for buyers is that conditions haven’t budged.
And with 2016s all but gone combined with the awful frost in the 2017 vintage which tarnished the reputation of Bordeaux’s 2017 reds, and all the sudden, a major onus will be on the 2018s that are just hitting the market. Luckily for Bordeaux lovers, they’re fantastic.
James Suckling called 2018, “a vintage of superlatives” and then didn’t hold back unleashing a few of his own. He called the vintage surprisingly exceptional with “beautiful wines produced”. Some in Bordeaux are calling it a miracle.
With one of the coolest, wettest springs in years, many winemakers on both the Right and Left Banks had to grapple with mildew and lost fruit. That’s when the miracle came. Sunshine. Lots of it. Buckets of it. Sunshine all summer long, which gave winemakers the luxury of picking when they wanted and watching their fruit mature without rushing anything in. As Suckling said in his review, “most of the winemakers knew they had an excellent quality vintage by the end of the summer.”
One of those winemakers is the Right Bank dark horse, Stephane Donze, whose big, silky Bordeaux blends I’ve been dialing up for years, as it’s hard to match the brilliance in the bottle for anywhere near the price. In good vintages, his wines shine. But when conditions are excellent, Donze’s Martinat simply cannot be ignored.
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