Bordeaux Vintage 2016

The top wines from this year have just arrived in New Zealand. Included in the containers we have imported are several excellent second wines of the top Chateaux and Petits Chateaux.

So, what was the 2016 vintage like?

The answer is quite simply, very good indeed. In fact, this is a vintage to make a song and dance about and to ensure you have in your cellar. Before saying this, I do find myself taking a deep breath and considering the number of times I have written, or said, similar things about recent Bordeaux vintages. The challenge is (in a good way) that there has been a string of exceptional vintages from Bordeaux. 2009 and 2010 went down in history as being the greatest pair - 2009 the generous, ripe year of the pair and 2010 the fresh, lively, bold fruited year. A few ‘lesser years’ followed, though 2012 and 2014 are now showing they are anything but ‘lesser’, rather they are early drinking years that are super right now. 2011 also a great approachable young vintage. With this backdrop, 2016 another excellent year it is and together 2015 and 2016 make a very strong pair of vintages.

The weather in 2016 was not kind to the vignerons as the winter was wet and cold. The summer was then very dry, an Indian Summer. Fortunately the weather at the key times was kind, and particularly around veraison a warm and relatively dry period. The grape skins in 2016 were very thick, with the resulting wines showing bold tannins and plenty of colour.

You would expect then that the overarching character in these wines would be tannins and power, anticipating bold, structured wines that are unapproachable for many years. These are not, and instead the supple nature of the wines, with the structure from the tannins, is a key character. The balance in these wines combining the power and the finesse which is what makes the vintage unique. This is a very special vintage. It’s also a year that continues to drive the return to classic, more restrained Bordeaux, the kind of wines that those who have known and adored this region for years love.  

2016 Vintage Bordeaux definitely has its fans. Highly regarded critic James Suckling has scored more than just one wine from this vintage 100 points. His 100/100  list includes: Château Cos-d’Estournel, Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Le Pin, Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Pavie and Château Pétrus.

Glengarry has been importing Bordeaux for many years, so you could say we know a thing or two about it. Not happy to rest on our laurels, or to rely on the reviews of others, I travel to Bordeaux to taste the wines and was fortunate enough to taste the 2016 vintage whilst still in barrel. With the wines now here in New Zealand, I have already opened a selection and am happy to report the quality is every bit as good as it promised from the early barrel tastings.

All the Bordeaux we import comes to us direct from Bordeaux - we do not purchase on the secondary market - giving you confidence in the wines you buy. Furthermore, we ship our wines in refrigerated containers and store them in New Zealand in our cellars.

Petit Château – Top Pick

Château Nicot 2016 - $18.99

A Cabernet-dominant blend off an estate that has been in family hands for over two centuries. Situated on the east bank of the Garonne, Nicot is part of the Dubourg family’s 73 ha of land in the Bordeaux region. Mineral-edged aromas of blackcurrant and raspberry embellish a supple and rounded palate of concentrated plummy flavours. Traditional Bordeaux with a great price tag.

By: , Wine with Liz Wheadon, Glengarry

Issue 109 May 2020