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Welcome to Bordeaux 2021. A vintage which tested the nerves and skills of the most experienced of vignerons but has produced a freshness and elegance across the best of the wines which have exceeded expectations. There are certainly gems to be found in both the Left and Right Bank.

Touted as a “classic vintage”, and a “winemakers’ vintage”, it is impossible to generalise 2021 in one sentence. The unique characteristics of each estate and their individual terroir personalities shining through – a markedly heterogenous year.

2021 was a year that tested the skills of vignerons across the region and terroir shined brightest. It clearly was a challenging and revealing growing season, where those winemakers blessed with enviable terroir and armed with top winemaking techniques stand clearly above the rest. It is clear that there are some huge positives to 2021; fresh fruit, high tannin and precision and complexity in the best of them. Those who have got it right, have made classically styled, elegant wines with moderate alcohols, something rarely seen in the last decade or two. However not everyone has achieved this so it is highly recommended to seek advice.

What we can all agree on is that this is a vintage for the whites, which have been unanimously praised and were a pleasure to taste. “Chiselled and intense, they exhibit considerable potential.” (WA).

This is a return to a “classic vintage” and we at Cru Wine are excited about what we’ve tasted. There are some exquisite wines, but there are less of them. Yields across the region are much smaller, with estimates of a harvest at 25-30% lower than the average, which means that allocations will be tight. 

You can stay up to date with this year’s campaign below as we bring you our daily updates on new releases, critic scores and insights from the team. Make sure you’re the first to know when new wines are released by registering your interest to receive offers for particular châteaux and appellations below.

If you’re new to En Primeur, you’ll find our detailed guide to the process in our article “Buying wines En Primeur”.

From the Experts...

William Kelley – The Wine Advocate

“Anyone who enjoys the great benchmark Bordeaux wines of the 1980s and 1990s should seriously reflect on what the 2021s may have to offer in 10 to 15 years’ time. It’s a style of wine that could come from nowhere else. Indeed, I suspect that the best 2021s are destined to be described as “better than expected” for most of their lives—except that the writing is, in fact, already on the wall. And if the 2021s’ balance is reminiscent of a vintage from yesteryear, the best wines benefit from all the precision of modern winemaking, displaying beautifully refined, polished tannins.”

Jancis Robinson

“The real takeaway from what I tasted is that 2021 is an absolutely brilliant vintage for white Bordeaux, whether dry or sweet, which I had the pleasure of tasting… The dry whites, all picked before late September’s heavy rain, were delightfully aromatic and full of fruit and zest – with great mastery of oak, and none of the flab seen in some riper vintages… I would suggest you look very seriously at the whites, which are already delicious but should have quite a future too.”

Antonio Galloni

“The 2021 Bordeaux have turned out to be such a surprise. Weather conditions were challenging, and yet the top properties turned out gorgeous, classically built wines that will absolutely thrill readers who appreciate freshness and energy. Restrained alcohols and mid-weight structures will remind readers of Bordeaux pre-2000s. The best wines offer a striking combination of old-school classicism with modern-day precision. Quality is inconsistent though, so choosing carefully is essential. Even so, there is much to like in the 2021s.’

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Cru Wine Ltd.

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