Bordeaux 2018 report 


A vivid, pure and exciting vintage.


Having returned from tasting the 2018 vintage in Bordeaux this week, we wanted to give an overview of this hugely exciting vintage.

In Bordeaux 2018, we have a growing season split into two extremes. The winter of 2017/2018 was uncommonly wet;  one chateau owner commenting that a whole year’s worth of rain fell in the first six months of the year - this completely saturated the water tables of the Medoc. Then unseasonably wet & cool spring weather led to a very late budburst and an extensive threat of mildew across the region. Some chateaux suffered terribly - at Ch. Palmer, they reported they will make no Alter Ego in 2018 & just 6000 cases of the Grand Vin. Just how much will be released onto the market for Primeur remains a mystery – in recent vintages it has been only 50% of the production.

From June onwards there was a hot, dry & long summer - and with the water tables well stocked, most Chateaux reported no hydric stress for the vines, allowing the grapes to ripen beautifully. One theme across the Tasting week has been numerous vignerons praising the quality of their merlot crop and in many chateaux we see a higher than average percentage making it to the final blend. The glorious summer also allowed the petit verdot to ripen to perfection and it plays a very important role in 2018, giving the wines a violet character and helping the aromatics.

Most of the chateaux began the harvest around the second week of September; however a notable few started later (around the 26th September) - there is a clear & evident difference in those two sets of chateaux. On one side the winemakers wanted to retain the freshness of acidity & aromatics, while on the other concentration, power, phenolic ripeness & structure was the goal. At some properties, we have seen alcohol at just under 15%, this is virtually unheard of in the Medoc and if you look back at a vintage of similar power (2003) Ducru Beaucaillou came in at 13.5%!


As has been widely reported, the quality is not homogenous across the region; this is very much a vintage where individual chateaux stamped their mark on it. In our opinion, no commune proved to be ahead of another; there are stars across the entire region. From our prospective, this is a truly exceptional vintage and at some chateaux the wines are even better than 2015 or 2016. But, there are some properties that haven’t quite mastered what was an undeniably tricky year to manage. The best examples of the vintage have beautifully expressive, vivid fruit – perfectly ripe, with depth & layers rarely seen. The wines show wonderfully fresh acidity & aromatic fruit, are perfectly ripe, with superb direction, concentration & balance. Some wines were the best from barrel in recent memory.

Finally, to the question on everyone’s lips in Bordeaux this week – what’s the price of 2018? It is true, the Bordelais are concerned about the impact that the dreaded Brexit might have on the campaign for UK merchants. But, just how much of that will reflect onto prices, we simply don’t know at this stage. What we do know is that 2018 is a gorgeous vintage in Bordeaux - one that will age superbly in the cellar and one we can highly recommend to Seckford customers.


•    Ch. Leoville-Las Cases
•    Ch. Branaire-Ducru
•    Ch. Beychevelle
•    Ch. Rauzan-Segla
•    Ch. Margaux
•    Pavillon Rouge
•    Baron de Brane
•    Ch. Brane Cantenac
•    Blason d’Issan
•    Ch. d’Issan
•    Reserve de la Comtesse
•    Ch. Pichon Lalande
•    Ch. Pichon Baron

•    Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste
•    Ch. d’Armailhac
•    Ch. Clerc Milon
•    Ch. Mouton Rothschild
•    Ch. Pontet Canet
•    Ch. Ormes de Pez
•    Ch. Lynch Bages
•    La Chapelle de La Mission 
•    La Mission Haut Brion
•    Ch. Haut Brion
•    Ch. Latour Martillac Blanc
•    Ch. Latour Martillac Rouge
•    Ch. Canon

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