I was very impressed by this blog post from Christian Seely who is managing director of AXA Millésimes, and therefore in charge of a number of wine estates, including Pichon, Petit Village and Suduiraut in Bordeaux. Seely is quite rightly unimpressed by people writing off the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux without having tried the wines. I have rarely read a blog post packed with so much good sense.
It would be futile to try to pretend that 2013 is a great or outstandingly good vintage: any such attempt would just lack credibility. If I tried it you wouldn’t believe a word I said, either this time or next. On the other hand, to dismiss the year and its wines as “a bad year” would be equally, and completely, wrong.
I really like the point Seely makes about each vintage having its own character, and that this is part of the charm of Bordeaux. It’s not just salesmanship: he argues his point well. The wine collector who focuses on just the ‘great’ vintages really is missing out, or at least missing the point.
I think it is worth remembering that every year has its own personality. To limit oneself to buying and drinking only blockbuster years such as 2005, however good they are, would be to miss out on a fuller understanding of what the property you are following is about, and indeed what wine itself is all about, and would also be to miss out on an enormous amount of pleasure. Above all I think it is prudent to take any kind of hysteria with a pinch of salt, whether it is hyperbole about the wine being the greatest ever and that ever will be, or Schadenfreude at the idea that it is the worst. With a well managed great vineyard, the situation is rarely so black and white. Subtlety and nuance are at the heart of the wines we make, and I think should also be employed in the way that they are judged and appreciated.