En Primeur, Day Four: Big-Name Bordeaux Producers Take Back Seat

A review of the Margaux, Moulis and Listrac 2013 vintage, plus more top ratings from Bordeaux.


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Due to weather woes, many high end and typically stellar Margaux wines slipped up this year, while several lesser-known producers performed remarkably well.

Spring frost, a dry summer and an atypically hot and wet fall resulted in rot, which quickly spread through the vines. In most places, it moved too fast for producers to salvage grapes.

“It was worse than I could have imagined,” said Paul Pontallier, managing director of Château Margaux. “We had to start harvesting fast. I sent text messages and we had 250 people picking immediately.”

Despite Pontallier’s efforts, 2013 is the first Château Margaux that does not include any Merlot. And you’ll be hard pressed to find other producers who used the variety.

“Normally, we use more Merlot, but the Cabernet Sauvignon was in better condition,” said Catherine Ledoux, a representative of Château Monbrison. Their barrel samples were made up of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Still, some lesser-known producers surprised barrel tasters by offering up well-balanced wines that lacked the over-extraction and new-wood flavors of their big-name counterparts.

For instance, Brane-Cantenac and Cantenac Brown didn’t fare so well this year, but
Rauzan-Gassies, Durfort-Vivens and Ferrière—usually among the well-priced “also-rans,”—made my top 10.

So, if you’re looking to buy good Bordeaux at a reasonable price—and considering the top-rated Margaux—2013 just may be your year. But don’t look to buy these as futures, rather purchase them when they’re released in 2015–2016.

Here are my 10 top-rated wines from Margaux, Moulis and Listrac. You can read these reviews, plus 38 more ratings and reviews in the Buying Guide.

Tomorrow, I’ll provide reviews of Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Saint-Estèphe, plus announce my wine of the vintage.

Read these reviews, plus 38 more Margaux, Moulis and Listrac ratings and reviews in the Buying Guide >>>

95–97 Château Palmer 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
94–96 Château Margaux 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
93–95 Château Rauzan-Ségla 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
92–94 Château Kirwan 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
92–94 Château Rauzan-Gassies 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
91–93 Château d'Issan 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
91–93 Château Durfort-Vivens 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
91–93 Château Ferrière 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
91–93 Château Giscours 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)
91–93 Château Lascombes 2013 Barrel Sample (Margaux)

En Primeur 2014, Day One: Pontet-Canet Price Sets Tone >>>
En Primeur 2014, Day Two: Complex Right Bank Wines >>>
En Primeur 2014, Day Three: Fantastic Whites and Fair Reds >>>
En Primeur 2014, Day Four: Big-Name Bordeaux Producers Take Back Seat >>>

Read Wine Enthusiast's continuing En Primeur coverage >>>

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