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Allegrini 2018

ONE WEEK BEFORE BORDEAUX EN PRIMEUR, EXPECTATIONS AND HOPES FOR THE 2015 VINTAGE THAT IS VERY GOOD BUT NOT GREAT, DUE TO UNUSUAL WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE USUAL ANXIETY ABOUT PRICES

One of the most eagerly awaited events by wine critics around the world, following the previews of new vintages on the market of the great Italian wine territories, is Bordeaux En Primeur, which reveals the latest and highly anticipated production of 2015. It will, however, have to face a rather negative trend, at least in terms of price because five of the last eight years have proved to be bad investments, as the value of Bordeaux wines over the years has done nothing but fall on the secondary market. That's why, beyond quality, which promises to be very good, there is a lot of tension about prices. If some Châteaux decide to significantly cut prices, it could cut down the entire vintage.
It seems that it should be a very good year, even though the weather was unusual for Bordeaux. The flowering period was followed by several weeks of sun, heat and drought interrupted by heavy rains in August that let up only in September, and denominations north of Haut Médoc, such as Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe, had to deal with a few more humid days than those in the South.
“It was an extraordinary year”, the négociant Edouard Moueix told the UK magazine "Decanter" (www.decanter.com), “there were even tornadoes in Charents”. The morale is high, especially on the right bank. “I've been here for 15 years”, Emmanuel de Saint Salvy, General Manager of Bellefont-Belcier told "Decanter", “and this is the best year we've ever had”.
One of the biggest unknowns was linked precisely to the drought that also troubled Pauline Vauthier of Château Ausone, Premier Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion: “I was worried about the lack of water, then the rains of August proved a godsend, the harvest went smoothly and in perfect conditions. Blending was easy too, because each barrel had an optimal evolution; but, as some say, it will not be the vintage of the century”. It was a different story in Saint-Estèphe, because it rained just before the harvest, and as Laurent Dufau, Calon Segur said, “it weakened Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but was great for Cabernet Sauvignon. Everything went well, finally, but not on the same level of 2009 or 2010”.
From the technical point of view, the consultant Stephane Derenoncourt said, “it was an easy vintage, which I really liked because it allowed me to be especially creative with a particularly long harvest. 2010 was characterized by maturity and acidity, 2015 can be summarized as ripe and fresh and we won’t have to wait 10 years before we reap the results”.
Freshness also highlighted the white wines and the producers of Sauternes, were particularly worried, at first, about the excessive early summer drought. The first tastings, however, suggest great characterization and differentiation dictated by different soils and positions; i.e. different terroirs, that “are very easy to identify”, at least according to Stephane Derenoncourt, who works with more than 50 companies in Bordeaux, mostly on the right bank, but also some on the left bank, which is the variety Olivier Bernard, head of Domaine de Chevalier and dell'Unions des Grands Crus especially appreciates.
Going back to prices, many small producers are bringing out the mantra of the opportunity of a great year, but it is also true that there will be, in all likelihood, excellent wines at 10 euros or slightly more. As for the big names, however, the wine merchants expect at least the same level as 2014, “ but it is more likely to be higher, although much depends on what emerges from the sample tastings now”, remarked President Olivier Bernard. We will know more in due time, but not before May, although the Vinexpo Asia Pacific, taking place in Hong Kong May 24th to 26th could anticipate some information.

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