Christian Seely talks sense on the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux

kirwan vineyard

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.

3 comments to Christian Seely talks sense on the 2013 vintage in Bordeaux

  • PJ

    He does write well and his point about hysteria is well made.

    As to his last paragraph, well yes people will still come to the en primeur tastings – much of the wine trade views it as a bit of a jolly and a chance to catch up with acquaintances.

    But in terms of selling 2013? Unless prices are dramatically reduced to at least 2008 levels and preferably below, there will be little or no point to trying to sell these wines.

    Maybe I’m cynical, but this post seems to be missing the last line “and this is why I will not be reducing my prices”

  • Ron Jones

    ‘Bad years’ make less than optimal wines in Bordeaux due to lac of ripeness and disease.
    I recently saw an offer of a celebrated chateau at a reasonable price.
    So I tried my own cellared bottle. The result was underwhelming and now I have one less 2007 in my cellar.

  • Ron Jones

    your comments are welcomed.

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