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Michael Peltier, Senior Fine Wine Specialist at Millesima USA LLC to be added to the Bordeaux Insider list
The seasons were miraculous this year, the climate pushed the vines back into its trenches before re-establishing the situation in an extreme fashion. After a very good 2015 vintage, the 2016 vintage is very promising: concise, consistent, and balanced. For many wine professionals the 2015/2016 duo seems to be in 2016’s favor. In addition, it will have a stand at Vinexpo this year.
After a mild winter followed the early budding of the vines. Spring slowed down the vegetative cycle, which allowed development of a nice aromas. The vines underwent photosynthesis during the day and rested during the night. There were significant water reserves that were stored from January until June. The equivalent of up to one year of rain fell during this period, especially in spring. Once the rain slowed down, and the temperature increased flowering began.
Followed by an extremely hot and dry summer, with only 7 mm of rain from mid-June to mid-January. Weather that had never been seen in Bordeaux! This drought caused excessive stress on the vines (especially the young vines that didn’t have roots deep enough to find the necessary hydration) and inhibited maturation on certain parcels of land. The rain was impatiently waited on; Tuesday September 13th, 40 mm of rain fell relieving the vines that were stuck just before the final maturation stage. Ripening was compact and homogenous with the late harvests (vendanges tardives), 2016 was a very late vintage. The wine makers, without being stressed, had the time to meticulously pick the parcels with care. The vines, relatively full, allowed heightened yields in Bordeaux (20% more in 2015 for the Grand Crus) with 50 hl/ha.
"This vintage is genius, in habitual, and inexplicable. A fabulous and very rare combination of the perfect balance between quality tannins, moderate levels of alcohol, and sustained but imperceptible acidity."
Jean-Marc Quarin, Freelance Bordeaux wine critic