Bordeaux 2019 Primeurs: Primeur Picks
And so it is over for another year. Usually the end of primeurs is signified by my handing over the keys to my hire car and milling around the Billi Terminal at Bordeaux’s airport for an hour or two before catching my return flight to Edinburgh. This year was, of course, very different. Last Saturday the last few samples, the stragglers of the vintage, were lined up on the kitchen table and dispatched one by one. Then I packed up the laptop, deposited my spittoon and glasses in the dishwasher rack, and washed down the kitchen table, now festooned with fractured claret and crimson circles. And I turned my thoughts to dinner; I settled on mildly spiced chicken fajitas with an unexpectedly sur-mature Savennières Roche-aux-Moines from Château Pierre-Bise. Primeurs, done.
Despite not being able to travel to Bordeaux the 2019 vintage primeurs have provided me with a fascinating experience. I have already written some thoughts on tasting barrel samples at home on my blog, highlighting some of the positive features of the process, and well as some of the negative aspects, so I don’t intend to revisit them here. I will make one brief comment though; when I (hopefully) head out to Bordeaux in March 2021 to check out the 2020 vintage I will at least be able to mentally balance the negative environmental impact of my flights there and back against the harm avoided by not having a truckload of sample bottles, cushioned in unrecyclable polystyrene foam, delivered to my home in Scotland. And I mean a truckload. So far I have made six trips to the recycling centre, my car crammed full each time, and I have only moved about half of the tasting detritus.
What I will focus on in this final report is not the tasting experience, but the overall character and quality of the vintage, which – it has to be said – is excellent for the red wines of the region. It is, despite my account of how the rains split the harvest on the right bank, neither a left-bank nor a right bank vintage.