January 2019

Bordeaux 2016

En route to Barbados for a few days’ sun (picture below), I stopped by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2016 tasting in Miami. The annual UGC tour is always a great opportunity not only to catch up with all the producers, but also to see how the latest bottled vintage is shaping up.

2016 is clearly an outstanding vintage in Bordeaux, particularly on the Left Bank (2015 is superior on the Right Bank). The Left Bank 2016s are glorious: perfumed, terroir expressive, precise and above all, showing their Cabernet Sauvignon class in their sheer aristocratic breed. Ultimately, whether you prefer the 2016s to the 2010s (the most recent comparable vintage) is a stylistic choice: the featherweight tannins of the 2016s are quite the contrast to the huge tannic charge of the 2010s.

While the first growths and some others were not available to taste, below are my picks of the most compelling 2016s from bottle. As for the whites: this is a good but not great vintage for the dry wines, and as usual, there are some excellent sweet whites. One final note: almost every producer said that their 2018 would be an even better wine than their 2016…watch this space!

Best 2016 Bordeaux from bottle: Pichon Lalande, Pichon Baron, Leoville Barton, Giscours, Rauzan Segla, Clerc Milon, Grand Puy Lacoste, Lynch Bages, Beychevelle, Haut Bailly, Brane Cantenac

And a mature Bordeaux vintage to drink now…

While you’re waiting for those delicious 2016s to come round, one vintage that is wonderful at present from both Left and Right Banks is the 2001.

A recent tasting showed that virtually all the 2001s - with the exception of the First Growths and Leoville Las Cases - are drinking beautifully today. These are classic Bordeaux wines, but with a little more fruit and flair than that term sometimes denotes. Crack a few open and see for yourself.

Dining notes: New York City

A favourite spot of the wine industry in Manhattan, but surprisingly little known outside it, is Vini e Fritti in the Flatiron District, on East 30th Street.

Part of the Danny Meyer Union Square Hospitality Group empire, Vini e Fritti serves Roman style fried snacks (fritti) and bucketloads of champagne, most of it from smaller, grower producers and priced extremely fairly. And if you’re still feeling hungry, you can walk down the corridor inside the Redbury hotel to Marta, for some of New York’s best pizza.

This month we enjoyed a bottle of excellent Chartogne-Taillet Chemin de Reims 2011 and a half bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée for a giveaway price. Great stuff!

And finally…

At the end of this month I had the pleasure of partnering with the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino to present the newly released 2014 vintage to the New York press and trade.

2014 was one of the most difficult vintages in decades in Montalcino, but nonetheless there were some lovely (if not profound) wines. For drinking now and over the next five years, seek out 2014 Brunello from: Musico, Belpoggio, Beatesca, La Magia, Le Chiuse, Col d’Orcia and Uccelliera.