2016 Bordeaux: The Sweet Spot 


The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux is being heralded as one of the greats. Not only for the sheer quality of the wines - but for the breadth of excellence across tiers. In the upper ranges, you’ll find some truly stunning wines worthy of their expensive prices, but what is more exciting is how many mid-tier wines, in the $20 to $40 range, are equally as impressive. And while you have to wait for some of these more exclusive wines, many of the mid-priced 2016s are arriving and ready to enjoy now.

This week, Clyde led us through a series of new wines hitting our shelves. The bottles stretched from one end of our tasting bar to the other, ranging from $14 to $120. What became immediately apparent was how many great 2016 Bordeauxs there are, no matter your budget. But even more noticeable was this “sweet spot,” where quality and reasonable price converge, that allows for accessible exploration this remarkable vintage. 

The first wine that really wowed me in the lineup was the 2016 Capbern from St. Estephe. Made by the team at Calon Ségur, the wine immediately impressed me with its dark purple color (a teeth stainer for sure!) and its fragrant aromas. The wine unfolded in layers of blackberry, cassis, tobacco leaf and anise. It was balanced on the palate and long through the finish - and for under $25, a complete steal.

Following the Capbern, a procession of really delicious, drinkable wines followed - the 2016 La Tour de Mons from Margaux, 2016 d’aiguilhe from Castillion and 2016 Dalem, all which hovered in a similar price range, and all of which showed the depth, precision and drinkability that this vintage is gaining a reputation for. In the mix, the 2016 Cantemerle from Haut Medoc was another one that stood out, with a delicious combination of fruit and savory herbal tones. The palate was incredibly balanced and perfectly constructed, with a good lift on the finish. To complete the series of moderately priced beauties, the really enjoyable 2016 Reserve de Léoville Barton from St. Julien showed great depth and balance, making this a stunning second wine from this producer. 

Without a doubt, this is an excellent time to be trying some of these 2016 Bordeaux wines. Keep an eye out as they are really starting to flood into the store now. We will also be tasting several during our Bordeaux tasting tomorrow, which will be in all our stores (SF: 12 - 2:30pm, RWC 1-3:30pm, HW: 3 - 5:30pm). 

- Megan Greene

Megan Greene