GREETINGS from Farthinghoe


THEWEATHER With nearly ninety years’ experience cumulatively of En Primeur visits, one learns not to draw too many conclusions too early. Spectacular statistics on paper don’t always translate to the wine in the glass and vice versa. However, there were two climatic events last year that had a marked effect on the style, yield and quality of the 2021s. The Bordeaux region suffered a very cold frost on two successive nights in early April, nipping things in the bud (literally) for some estates’ vines, which had already started to push new shoots after a warmMarch. The severity reduced potential volumes by 10% to 20%. Châteaux near the frost-tempering Gironde River experienced virtually no loss, while others in colder spots were significantly more affected. This has no negative effect on quality, just the yields. Secondly, the early to mid-summer was uncharacteristically cool, wet and humid. The diligence, experience and often wealth of individual Château, in reaction to these conditions, explains the qualitative variation in the 2021 Vintage. If not kept in check these conditions encourage the rapid development of mildew across a vineyard, which inhibits the grapes’ maturity and aromatic compound flavours and development: it MUST be controlled! Châteaux had varying degrees of success with their treatments - a handful telling us they suffered no mildew at all on account of regular treatments, in some cases spraying small amounts over 20 times during the growing season. Ten would normally be deemed a lot! Others struggled to dedicate that level of attention and were less successful. Ultimately, one needs manpower andmoney.

TheTeamFarthinghoesales squadwasaugmented by our new buyer, Oli Barton, for four days on our usual whistlestop Bordeaux tour to taste the 2021 Vintage last week. It felt very good to be back in Bordeaux after three years away and, moreover, we were quietly impressed with what we tasted. “A RETURN TOCLASSICISM” It is proper, balanced elegant Claret of the old school, yet with the benefit of modern techniques - good news all round! At their best, the wines are elegant, refreshing and possessing the hallmarks of a cooler vintage - crunchy berries, classic pencil lead and garrigue herbs bringing energy and precision. Most wines are below 13% alcohol and a structure that will allow them to age well. The top winemakers coaxed elegant fruit without over extracting tannins. They favour savoury restraint over richer more fruit-forward vintages like 2009.



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