“Uncertain Smile”: Neal Martin releases Bordeaux 2019 En Primeur report

Why feel guilty about success? His 2019 puts a smile on his face, but it is shrouded by these uncertain times.”

Today saw the release of Neal Martin’s much anticipated Bordeaux 2019 En Primeur report, including over 900 scores and tasting notes, published on Vinous.

Like other critics that proceeded with tasting the wines, Martin did so in a socially distanced manner, from his home in England. In the report, Martin outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of tasting away from Bordeaux – the quiet time for reflection, the quality of the samples, the ways of interaction with the winemakers. Martin understands why some have “justifiably asked ‘why bother’ when the campaign was prefaced by apparently negligible demand for purchasing expensive unfinished wines called “futures” when the future is so unpredictable?”. He says that “a wine critic has a duty to review the new vintage irrespective of circumstances”, adding that “it seems like there is consumer demand out there” for Bordeaux 2019.

The report examines the market environment, as much as the growing season, the harvest, the winemaking, the quality of the vintage, before delving into specific appellations and wines.

Martin, regarded the most trusted Bordeaux EP critic by Liv-ex members, claims that “the 2019 is a wonderful vintage to finish the decade. It is a style of wine that I personally adore”. He further expresses: “I have no doubt that whatever criticisms are laid at Bordeaux’s doorstep, it will continue to produce exceptional wines, as it did in 2019”.

Martin’s top-scoring wines can now be found in the table below. Mission Haut Brion, released last week at 28.6% discount to its 2018, and Pichon Lalande, expected soon, share the first spot, coming close to perfection. Five more wines (no First Growths) received 97-99 points.

However, for Martin, “a score without a tasting note is just a number”. To read his full report, including tasting notes, click here.

Looking for more?

Our Bordeaux 2019 pages contain everything you need to know about this year’s En Primeur campaign; analysis tools, critic scores, reports and more.