Bordeaux en-primeur

While complete and at an end, the 2019 Bordeaux vintage marked Wine Cellar’s 18th Bordeaux en-primeur campaign. Uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 meant that a 2019 campaign was initially doubtful. However, the delay was advantageous to buyers as the 2019s were offered at a discount during a shortened campaign, which we ran from June to July 2020.



Bordeaux 2019 vintage overview

2019 follows the long-term trend of drier vintages, which leads to increased quality. ‘It wasn't straightforward, with heatwaves, drought and a rainy finish along the way, but Bordeaux enjoyed a long, dry summer and harvest with just enough rain,’ reports JancisRobinson.com. The Bordeaux Institute of Wine and Vine Science scored the 2019 vintage 3.5 – 4 stars out of 5, making 2019 a high-quality year.


Overall, 2019 was a hot vintage with all the potential successes and pitfalls that this style of year brings with it; rich fruits, concentration, high alcohols, plenty of tannins,’ writes Decanter. The Left Bank 2019s are less lush and more structured than the 2018s and closer in style to the 2016 vintage. Writing for Decanter, Jane Anson adds that she has found more consistency lower in the rankings than in 2016. While the Right Bank 2019 wines are closer in style to the 2018s as they are generally more rich and lush with slightly higher acidity levels.


Early budding was followed by a period of wet and cold in April, May and June. From mid-June onwards, the weather became hot and dry and led to successful fruit set. In fact, the 2019 summer saw higher temperatures than average. July was mostly dry but saw some storms, while August and September were hot and dry resulting in a successful ripening and harvest season. Rain from September onwards allowed the Merlots to ripen well with high alcohols, but the Cabernet did particularly well with the rains as the ripening period was extended, lowering the alcohol levels, and allowing ‘for more ‘normal’ development after the hot weather,’ says Decanter.



Buying En-Primeur

Each year, Wine Cellar selects the finest and most popular 100-odd châteaux based on our 2 decades of en-primeur sales. On customer request, we can also source wines from almost all the châteaux that sell through the en-premier campaign. We also offer buying advice and can suggest a basket of wines based on your particular style and budget.


The big question is: Should you buy? En-primeur enables you to buy all châteaux with 1 invoice in various bottle formats and case sizes at a highly competitive price. So, if the Rand stays fairly constant or depreciates further, en-primeur is the cheapest way to buy Bordeaux in SA.


Sign up to our en-primeur newsletter to receive information on next year’s Bordeaux en-primeur campaign or email Roland@winecellar.co.za for any specific enquiries.