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Bordeaux 2013 ‘uneven’ but no disaster

  • File - In this picture taken Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, cellarmaster Jozef Markovicz works with bottles of sparkling wine in a wine cellar of sparkling wine manufacturer Schlumberger in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

BORDEAUX: Bordeaux’s 2013 vintage will be variable in quality but is far from being the disaster it has been portrayed as, the president of a body representing top producers said Wednesday.

Heavy rains during the critical spring flowering season and, for some producers, during the harvest made life tough for winemakers, but Olivier Bernard said quality would vary from property to property.

“It is no worse and no better than 2011 and 2012,” said Bernard, president of the Union of Bordeaux grand cru producers (UGCB). “Not everyone had equal success, ‘uneven’ would be the best word to describe it.”

Concern over the quality of the grapes at their disposal has led one prominent property, the cru bourgeois Château Malescasse, to decide not to release any wine this year. They declared the vintage as “deficient, with no ageing potential and at times mediocre.”

But Bernard denounced that decision as a PR stunt by a property which, as a cru bourgeois, is officially ranked lower down the Bordeaux hierarchy than the UGCB members but, in practice, enjoys a better reputation and commands higher prices than many of them.

“You don’t use the entire 2013 vintage for your own promotion,” he said. “Those who are not going to be able to make good wines this year are not grand cru producers.”

Bernard said consumers could look forward to price cuts of 20 to 30 percent on the top Bordeaux properties but advised them to do their research carefully.

“There are people who had 30 mm or rain at the end of August and others less than five km away who had 5mm. That’s how it works.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 13, 2014, on page 13.
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Summary

Bordeaux's 2013 vintage will be variable in quality but is far from being the disaster it has been portrayed as, the president of a body representing top producers said Wednesday.

Heavy rains during the critical spring flowering season and, for some producers, during the harvest made life tough for winemakers, but Olivier Bernard said quality would vary from property to property.

Bernard said consumers could look forward to price cuts of 20 to 30 percent on the top Bordeaux properties but advised them to do their research carefully.


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