Sniff, Swirl, Sip, Spit, Repeat; A First Timer’s Bordeaux En Primeur

Millesima Blog Awards 2017 – En Primeur Week in Bordeaux
Thanks to all you dear readers who voted, I recently went on a wine enthusiast’s dream trip: a week in Bordeaux during En Primeur. What’s En Primeur? It’s the yearly event wherein buyers and wine writers from all over the world converge on Bordeaux for a week of intense tasting of the brand new “baby” vintage, in this case 2016. Major importers and distributors make their decisions on what prices they’ll pay and how much wine they’ll buy based on tasting the wine that has only just finished its fermentation and has not yet been through final aging and blending. It seems crazy, but in the high demand, limited supply world of Bordeaux, it’s how business is done.

For a first timer, the whole experience can be a bit overwhelming! Our Millesima hosts warmed us up with a single Chateau Tasting of Chateau Haut Bailly.

Note: in this photo-heavy post, I suggest you click on the first photo, enjoy the first slide show, then hit “escape”, then cruise to the next set of photos. Enjoy!

After our warmup on Sunday, Monday dawned bright and early and we were off for 2 hours of En Primeur tasting with the entire Union de Grand Crus de Bordeaux. A strategy was needed, as there was no way to taste everything! I decided to use this first event as a tour through all of Bordeaux.  I sampled wines from the Left Bank (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blends )from North to South, sampled wines from the Right Bank (Merlot dominant blends), then finished up sampling some Sauternes (sweet white dessert wines).

After our introduction via the Grand Tasting, we felt we were getting the hang of how this En Primeur thing works and how to approach it. Every day we attended at least one tasting of a whole community’s AOC such as Margaux, Saint Julien or Pomerol. Held at a host winery, only the wines from that community were shown. This was a great way to dive deeper into the individual identities of the communities.

Finally, we had the opportunity to taste individual wines at the Chateau. In some cases it was just our group with the winemaker or technical director, nice!

If you’re thinking: “that’s a lot of spitting!” you’d be 100% correct, and we had the purple teeth to prove it! Stay tuned for more posts on our memorable week in Bordeaux. I’ll be sharing some of the individual visits, tastings and dinners we’ll remember forever. Who knows, you might be tempted to add them to your trip to Bordeaux. You are planning a trip to Bordeaux, right??

Bordeaux En Primeur First Timer Report

Comments
7 Responses to “Sniff, Swirl, Sip, Spit, Repeat; A First Timer’s Bordeaux En Primeur”
  1. I know you must have swallowed some of the time, I know I would have. What a great experience.

  2. Fantastic! Isn’t it amazing! And overwhelming. I am dying to go back now that I know what’s going on. So glad you had such a great time. Millesima really does a great job hosting.

  3. Wow I would call this a mega post! Gorgeous photos. Thanks for the insights into the experience! Interesting to train your palate for the early versions of the wine.

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