We now turn our attention to the en primeur tasting of the Right Bank of Bordeaux, home to wines dominated by Merlot from St-Émilion, Pomerol, and a handful of satellite appellations. In the Right Bank as the Left, the winter and spring were wet. Hail affected Blaye, Bourg and Saint-Émilion, reducing yields somewhat but overall Decanter reports that the yields were average.
Mildew did not end up being the problem some feared it would be—not to mention that it could be dealt with through sorting in the cellar. The main problem was the heat, albeit that was less of a problem in the areas with higher clay content in the soil. The biggest concern with high heat is that the grapes may reach sugar ripeness before phenolic ripeness. That is, in order for tannins and flavors to be in harmony the grapes may end up being too high in sugar and create wines that are overly alcoholic and lacking in finesse. That being said, those who chose to pick early and blend with other varieties to balance flavors were rewarded.
Top picks from the vintage were the stalwarts. From Pomerol, Vieux Château Certan received Wine Enthusiast’s top scores, with tannins balanced by the expression of Cabernet Franc. It should age handsomely. Château Petrus showed up dependably as well. In Saint-Émilion, Château Figeac made a strong showing, as did Ausone, Angelus and Cheval Blanc—there is a reason they are at the top of the Saint Emilion classifications!