On the Trail

Value in Bordeaux's 2016 Bonanza

Jason Marwedel

Learning I was to join Team K&L for the annual En Primeur tasting in Bordeaux this year was a great thrill. Little did I know what a truly magical experience it would be. Simply put: it was the trip of a lifetime—perfect weather conditions, tremendous hospitality, and what looks to be one of the great vintages in the region's history. In general, 2016 is the type of vintage we all crave. The wines are expressive, approachable, and showcase terroir above all else. This was a common thread across both banks and at all price points with the wines we tasted during our visit. 2016 displays all the hallmarks of a successful vintage, one I am confident will be well received by our customers and should provide quality and value across the board if you know where to look. As I'm prone to value selections, here were some of the highlights I felt were not to be missed:

St-Estèphe really shines in this vintage with the 2016 Lilian Ladouys, St-Estèphe (Pre-Arrival) $20.99 standing out as a top value. Lifted aromatics lead to a lively palate of black fruit, cinnamon, and sweet herbs. I love how the intensity and silky mouth-feel persist throughout. Traveling southwest to the Haut-Médoc, another great value is the 2016 Château Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc (Pre-Arrival) $14.99. This wine has quietly become a customer (and staff) favorite in recent years with lovely aromatics of red and black fruits that are entwined with notes of flowers and exotic spice. This fragrant nose leads to a dense palate of sweet and savory currant fruit and perfectly placed tannins. Heading further south, one of the great surprises of the Left Bank is the 2016 Château Senejac, Haut-Médoc (Pre-Arrival) $14.99. This wine is so elegant especially for the price! Bright red fruit, flowers, and spice grace this stylish nose. The palate offers purity and depth while maintaining perfectly polished edges. Not to be forgotten, the Right Bank offers a host of amazing wines in 2016. My top value has to be the 2016 Château Puy-Blanquet, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (Pre-Arrival) $23.99Deep dark color with notes of cherry, vanilla, bay leaf and black olive fill the glass. The palate is decadent, sweet and round with supple tannins and mouth-watering acidity.

I highly encourage everyone to explore the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux, especially some of the lesser-known properties because the value is here in almost every expression. The wines will be incredibly enjoyable upon release, but also offer enormous pleasure to those who can wait. And, of course, ordering in advance will get you the best possible price!

-Jason Marwedel