Bordeaux 2021 Primeurs: Pauillac
During my time in Pauillac I called in on pretty much all the top châteaux of the appellation. Having spent even longer in Bordeaux for the primeurs than I have done in other previous vintages (obviously I am talking about pre-pandemic times – I was unable to travel to the region at all for the 2019 and 2020 primeurs) I was able to ensure I called in not only on those properties I visit regularly, but also one or two where I sometimes struggle to find the time. At the end of one day, finding myself with a little spare time on my hands (an unexpected phenomenon during the primeurs) I even managed to make one or two unscheduled visits (making use of all my blagging skills to bypass the your-name’s-not-on-the-list doormen).
As a consequence there is a lot of information to relay in this relatively small but very significant appellation, so let’s get started.
Many of the top châteaux in this appellation are located close to the waters of the Gironde, offering a natural protection against frost, and this came through in the reports and in the yields. “We had no frost”, said Eric Kohler of Château Lafite-Rothschild, a message that was repeated across the appellation, from the likes of Hélène Génin at Château Latour and Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy at Château Mouton-Rothschild. “We had no frost at all at Mouton”, the latter told me, “but we did need to work to protect our white vines, which are further inland”. Hélène described exactly the same, the historic Latour vines near the Gironde untouched by frost, but those parcels further inland undeniably damaged.