19th March, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
Bordeaux-based wine consultant Denis Dubourdieu has described the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux as one of the hardest in his career and “like sailing through a storm.”
Speaking to the drinks business this week at a tutored tasting at the Zonin-owned Castello d’Albola in Chianti, for whom he consults, Dubourdieu said: “If I had to compare the difficulty of the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux, I would have to go as far back as 1984.
“We really don’t want another year like that this year – the 2013 vintage was one of the hardest in my professional career.”
In terms of character, Dubourdieu compared the 2013 reds to the 2007 vintage, admitting that he preferred the wines from 2011 and 2012, despite both vintages being met with lukewarm praise from the press.
“The 2013 vintage is not for laying down for 20 years – they will be ready to drink soon,” he said.
While yields were down in the region dramatically last year, Dubourdieu is confident that all of the top estates will decide to bottle a 2013 grand vin.
“There isn’t a lot of wine to sell this year – many estates are bottling half of their usual amount, and prices will go down for sure, so it could be a good year to bring consumers back to Bordeaux,” Dubourdieu told db.
Specialising in white wine consultancy, Dubourdieu described the Bordeaux whites as being better than the reds this year, with sweet wines also putting in a good performance due to the presence of noble rot.
“The reds had soft tannins and good fruit structure but are not built to last,” he said.
“Those who waited for their grapes to ripen in mid-October got punished – even the sweet wine grapes had to be picked quickly,” he added.
In terms of how much the top estates will drop their prices by, Dubourdieu was loath to give a figure, but said it would be “in the region of 20-30%”. As for this year’s en primeur campaign, Dubourdieu predicts it will be “short and quick.”