Jeb Dunnuck is the latest critic to release his in-bottle review for the 2018 Bordeaux vintage, awarding no fewer than 11 100-point scores.
Taking both reports into account shows the rather divergent opinions on this vintage. Martin has been consistent in his view that certain meteorological factors in the growing season means even the very best wines do not approach “perfection”.
Dunnuck, by contrast, is much more bullish. His introduction to his review begins: “First and foremost, Bordeaux has an undeniably great vintage [his emphasis] on their hands with 2018. While I think it slots in just behind 2016, it is unquestionably in the same league and holds its own with any past great vintage, including 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2016.”
His enthusiasm for the vintage is evident from the profusion of 100-point scores alone. He awarded 11 in total, including to Les Carmes de Haut-Brion, Larcis-Ducasse, Angelus, Pavie and Montrose.
A further 10 wines were scored 99/99+ points, 18 wines scored 98 and 23 were rated 97-points.
By contrast, Martin gave just one 100-point score (to Palmer) and two 98-point ratings, while James Suckling gave four 100-point scores (with Lafleur, Trotanoy and Margaux being the only crossovers with Dunnuck).
Perhaps the main point of contention with regards 2018 Bordeaux from a critical assessment is the level of consistency across the vintage.
For Dunnuck there is no question that, “quality is high throughout Bordeaux, and it’s possible to find incredible wines from both the Right and Left Banks. In addition, the quality from the lesser-known regions and Côtes de Bordeaux is sky high.”
Although Martin likewise acknowledged the fairly even balance of quality across the great estates of the Left and Right Banks and the bright spots in lesser-known regions, he is far less sure of the overall consistency and warned that, “you do not have to step too far away from the best terroirs to find that quality dropped off faster than you might have hoped”.
Finally, there is the question of how these wines are holding up in the market. Dunnuck acknowledges that this was a vintage that was, “not cheap” but his following statement that, nonetheless, “prices have largely held steady”, is less compelling.
As recently examined by Liv-ex, many of the 2018s have “lagged” in price performance since release. Of 257 wines from the vintage traded on the Exchange, 82% are currently below their London opening prices.
Indeed, as seen in the chart below, eight of the 11 100-point wines are in the red currently, to a greater or lesser extent.
Although Martin’s appraisal of Chateau Palmer has caused an immediate reaction in the secondary market, it remains to be seen if other reviews have a similar effect.
Dunnuck’s full report and his scores can be found, here.