Bordeaux 2016: Suckling hails ‘Left Bank year’

US wine critic James Suckling has released his last batch of notes for the 2016 barrel samples, hailing the year as decidedly a Left Bank one.

‘I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.’ The 2016 Haut-Brion wants to tell you how great it is says Suckling.

Suckling released a first tranche of notes last week in which he declared the wines “exceptional” and gave Mouton Rothschild and Lafite undisputed 100-point scores.

With the latest batch of notes Haut-Brion joins the two Pauillac first growths with a straight 100 score, with Suckling saying it’s a wine that “grabs you by the shoulder and tells you it’s great.”

The Muhammad Ali-like proclamations of first growths aside, Suckling’s bestowing of three ‘perfect’ scores on first growths ties in neatly with his own view that the 2016 vintage is “a Left Bank year” and that “vineyards in the Médoc and Graves – particularly in the north such as St. Estèphe and Pauillac – capitalised on swings in the weather.”

It is an opinion that seems to be building among merchants who are currently in Bordeaux for the official primeurs week (Suckling always goes early), Berry Bros & Rudd’s Will Lyons has written a piece on the merchant’s blog about the “Burgundian elegance” of the samples tasted in Margaux.

It also reinforces the view of Picon Comtesse’s CEO, Nicholas Glumineau, who told the drinks business this January that he felt it was “definitely a Cabernet year”.

On the other hand it is clear that the Right Bank is no slouch either. In the 99-100 point bracket Suckling added: Le Pin, Petrus, Lafleur, Pavie, Angélus and Conseillante (and Margaux third growth Palmer too).

Although his initial scores when averaged out seemed to suggest a slight preference for the 2016s over the 2015s, Suckling said that the 2015s “may be better overall than 2016, though it [2016] remains one of the best years for fine wines in the last two decades.”

It now remains to be seen what the rest of the trade makes of that.

One Response to “Bordeaux 2016: Suckling hails ‘Left Bank year’”

  1. Going to Bordeaux next week so will try as many of the 2016 s as possible

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