Following the 2017 vintage, whose style emphasised freshness and delicacy, the 2018 primeurs have confirmed the revival of a style that is truly in keeping with Bordeaux's identity: powerful and balanced wines with silky textures, along with a remarkably promising potential for age.
Although the 2018 vintage presented significant challenges to Bordeaux winemakers in the beginning of the season, with high levels of humidity, hailstorms and drought in certain appellations, the 4 months before harvest saw exceptional climatic conditions. In fact, the conditions absolutely necessary for the production of a great Bordeaux vintage were all met in the spring and summer of 2018: successful flowering and fruit set, some water stress during the hotter summer months, a gradual and complete ripening of the fruit, and moderate temperatures with plenty of sunshine during the harvest. The choice of when to pick the reds was left largely up to each estate, with the fruit having reached the optimal level of ripeness and a great balance between power and freshness, in time for the harvest season.
The 2018 En Primeur tastings confirmed the character of this vintage. There is no doubt that this is a superb vintage for Bordeaux. The 2018 reds are developing very elegant aromatic expressions, while also staying true to their terroirs and appellations of origin. There is also strength and power here, but the balance is so precise, that this power does not come through as aggressive. On the contrary, it contributes an indisputable depth to these young 2018's. Moreover, the cool nights at the end of the season endowed these Bordeaux wines with a gorgeous backbone of acidity, keeping the vintage from becoming too solar. Precision is key in the wines of 2018, which achieve a purity and balance rarely seen at such a high level. Another particularity of the 2018 vintage is that all of Bordeaux's appellations have managed to produce fantastic En Primeur wines. This consistency in quality will mean that Bordeaux 2018 will have something in store for everyone, wines guaranteed to satisfy a wide range of preferences. And for wine lovers who are just now getting into the wines of Bordeaux, this is an ideal vintage with which to learn about and understand the identity of each Bordeaux terroir, since the 2018 Primeurs so clearly display the specific characteristics of each terroir, each appellation.
In regard to the whites, it is clear that the cool nights left a great impression on the acidity and the resulting freshness of the wines. The 2018 whites are very fragrant, with the right intensity to stimulate the palate.
For the sweet wines, the beautiful autumn weather meant a late arrival of the famous Botrytis (Noble Rot), and the harvest was often very selective. The profile of the 2018 En Primeur for sweet wines reveals great aromas and freshness. A testament to quality: Château d'Yquem has announced a release for 2018, which they only do in vintages deemed highly complex and excellent!
"2018 is certainly the greatest vintage of the decade [...] and I would even venture to call it the most beautiful wine of my life, since the 1983."
Olivier Bernard, Domaine de Chevalier