Reflections & Scores from 2013 Bordeaux En Primeur

Bordeaux was incredibly calm during this year's en primeur campaign. Winemakers and châteaux owners seemed more doting and a few almost seemed to be pleading for the thinned crowds of visitors to give the vintage a chance.

Certainly there is no reason to dismiss the vintage, but it is definitely a year to skip en primeur buying unless one is collecting series of vintages of specific wines made in minute quantities. Most of the wines will be around in two years when they are released into the market. Better to keep your money in the bank - or the rising stock market - for more in-demand vintages.

As Gavin Quinney, owner of Château Bauduc, joked, "It's a great year for rosé!" Naturally, the world's largest wine region managed to do better than that in many cases, but running a fine-tooth comb through the options behooves the buyer. Many whites provide proper density and refreshment, especially those picked before the rain. Sweet wines are being hailed as the vintage's success, but I found many to be less than pristine clean in their botrytized fruit. Reds often taste a bit hollow and their tannins can be quite grainy. On the positive side, however, the signficant extract and heavy-handed oak typical in better vintages make no showing. Despite Gavin's optimism, I am afraid I didn't see a single rosé all week.

Whatever the color, the wines will be early- to mid-term drinkers. If you are looking to invest now, here are my scores - sorted by score as well as by producer - of 435 wines tasted in late March. Remember these assessments are not based on the final wines; I even noted one red that has not yet completed malo-lactic fermentation. Such is the nature of en primeur tasting.

Wines by Score

Wines by Alphabetical Order of Producer