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Column: Bordeaux 2018 release recommendations

Annual Bordeaux release returns to B.C. Liquor Stores on Sept. 25.
Bordeaux 2018 release
Richmond News wine columnist Tony Kwan recommends some of the best value wines to buy at the 2018 vintage of Bordeaux wines release.

One of the most anticipated days each year for many wine connoisseurs in B.C. is the annual Bordeaux Release.  This year, B.C. Liquor Stores are releasing the 2018 vintage of Bordeaux wines.  2018 was an exceptional vintage for Bordeaux red wines. In 2018, there were extreme weather conditions in the Bordeaux region during the early first portion of the growing season, but fortunately, the growing season was long and fairly stable once summer hit.  The problem is that 2018 Bordeaux wines were bought by retailers/merchants like B.C. Liquor Stores pre-COVID at the height of an up swinging economy, so the prices for these wines are correspondingly expensive.  Left Bank wines are slightly better in quality compared to Right Bank wines.  For white wines and Sauternes, it was a decent but not exceptional vintage.   

With COVID, the way B.C. Liquor Stores releases Bordeaux wines has changed this year.  All of the high-end and expensive wines had to be pre-ordered between September 3 to 5, 2021.  The remainder of the less expensive wines will be released on September 25, 2021.  You may still get lucky on September 25 if you did want some high-end wines and did not pre-order them.   For my recommendations on the more expensive wines, click here

Many highly rated, expensive wines will take years to mature and are not ready to drink for the next 15 years.  But most consumers are looking for wines that won’t break their bank accounts and will provide drinking pleasure now.  So here are my top recommendations for value wines from the 2018 Bordeaux vintage.

Clos Floridene 2018 – this is a very dependable, early-drinking Bordeaux.  It is a blend of 72-per-cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 28-per-cent Merlot grapes.  This drinks very well after 1-2 years of ageing.  You will get classic dark fruit flavours and aromas.  It is medium-bodied and not overly tannic.  The price at B.C. Liquor Stores is $45.

Chateau Croix Mouton 2018 – although this is only a Bordeaux Superieur level wine, don’t get hung up on labels - it is a delicious wine that drinks well right away.  It is subtle and round and does not need much aeration.  It is a good way to experience Bordeaux at an affordable price, as it is priced at $32.

Chateau Puy Blanquet 2018 – this is another one of my favourite early drinking Bordeaux wines.  This comes from the Right Bank region of St. Emilion and that is created with a blend of 85-per-cent Merlot, 10-per-cent Cabernet Franc and five-per-cent Cabernet Sauvignon.  Because of the higher proportion of Merlot, it should be drink earlier and will be quite silky with a chocolate aftertaste.  It is priced at $42. 

Petit Figeac 2018 – if you feel like splurging, this is a wonderful wine.  It is the 2nd wine of Chateau Figeac, which sells for $500 a bottle.  The grapes used to produce this wine did not meet the rigorous to be included in making Chateau Figeac.  But you’ll be getting grapes from the same vineyards and the same winemaker as Chateau Figeac at a fraction of the price.  You are also getting a wine that is crafted for earlier consumption.  It is still pricey at $125, but you get to taste why Chateau Figeac is considered one of the finest Right Bank wines.

For more of my recommendations, visit my YouTube channel

Until next time, happy drinking!

Tony Kwan is a lifestyle writer.  Lawyer by day, food and wine lover by night, Tony aims to give you an insider’s guide to the best that life has to offer.