The great Bordeaux wines do their best to have their primeurs tasted

Struck for the second year by the Covid crisis, the Bordeaux grands crus had to redouble their ingenuity for the crucial week of tasting of their 2020 primeurs, by sending all over the world, under high security, samples of this vintage that the profession already judges exceptional.

Usually, 7 to 8,000 traders, brokers, journalists from Asia, Europe and the United States, flock to the Bordeaux vineyards for this week, organized this year from April 26 to 29.

But as in 2020, the health crisis has dampened hopes, only a few hundred came and it was necessary to ship samples of these great cities, Hong Kong, New York, Shanghai, London, Brussels or Frankfurt. raw.

According to the unique primeur model, these wines will be marketed between early May and mid-June, but only delivered in 18 to 24 months. A system that allows buyers to benefit from advantageous prices, and producers to have cash and avoid stocks when these wines are generally consumable several years later.

In the castles, the experience of last year made it possible to fine-tune the logistics for these expeditions.

A high-risk operation for wines during aging, unstable and fragile, which must travel with a luxury of precautions.

At Château Angélus, Premier Grand Cru Classé A of Saint-Emilion, the wines are shipped by air in small bottles, “Wit” (Wine in Tube) containing the equivalent of two glasses, and which keep the wines under pressure. and constant temperature. These should be tasted “within 15 days maximum”, underline Stéphanie de Bouärd-Rivoal, CEO of the château, and her father Hubert de Bouärd de Laforest.

To make up for the lack of visitors, videoconferences have become commonplace. “Usually, we welcome 3,000 people per week, there only 230”, underlines Marion Millaire, responsible for reception and events at the estate. But from April 15 to 29, more than 200 zoom tastings were organized, creating a certain excitement in one of the jewels of Saint-Emilion.

The owners of the castle multiply from one room to another, to greet their potential buyers from a distance.

For Stéphanie de Bouärd-Rivoal, the game is worth the candle because the 2020 Angelus vintage is “absolutely fantastic”, revealing “unprecedented floral and violet notes”. The culmination, according to her, of a work of several years to develop this exceptional wine towards more “elegance”.

– “Embellished in sight? “-

In Pessac-Léognan, we also got over it. On April 26, nearly 500 visitors were welcomed, this time in person, for tastings in four châteaux of the appellation. “It’s important to keep this link especially since we have a very great vintage,” said Laurent Cisneros, former D2 footballer with an entrepreneurial background, who took over the Château de Rouillac ten years ago. , then in escheat.

The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) is responsible for shipping, by refrigerated planes, a selection of its 131 members around the world.

Despite the Covid crisis and the drought of summer 2020 which reduced production in volume, the UGCB sees an improvement. Its president, Ronan Laborde, praises a vintage with “surprises, great successes, wines with an exceptional aromatic radiance”. According to him, “the low yield in 2020, probably down by 10 to 15%, could generate price inflation but which will remain“ reasonable ”.

The Institute of Life and Wine Sciences (ISVV) of the University of Bordeaux also sees coming “tasty dry white wines, rare but miraculous sweet wines and structured and balanced red wines”, while on the level economic, the Interprofessional Committee for Bordeaux Wines notes that “in recent months, the indicators have gone green”, such as “the suspension of Trump taxes in the United States”, the exit of China from the Covid epidemic with a length in advance and “the prospect of reopening restaurants” in France.

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