Bordeaux 2016: the whites
The dry white wines of Bordeaux traditionally perform well when the weather is slightly cooler during the growing season. We found the 2016s to have less acidity than the previous three vintages, but were well balanced with good concentration of colour.
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Sémillon performed better than the Sauvignons, whose aromas were somewhat neutralised by the hot summer. The Sémillon added weight and texture to the final blends, with deep vinous notes of stone fruit.
There is, however, a trend towards a greater proportion of Sauvignon Blanc. Those that have excelled, like Domaine de Chevalier, have produced elegant wines, concentrated and very precise in intensity. At Ch. Haut-Brion the wine is bursting with energy and shows a lovely mineral persistence. The finest manage to combine good power, an herbaceous element and a suave texture with fantastic weight and balance, displaying an appealing citrus character, vivaciousness and a pleasing saline freshness.
The sweet wines of Sauternes performed well in 2016 with good quality, an attractive purity of fruit and the highest yields since 2009. The rain in mid and late September enabled noble rot to develop on the ripe grapes. Picking took place in late October in good weather and continued until early November. Quality is high but not homogenous, with the most impressive wines sharing the characteristics of the reds – having an attractive elegance, although perhaps not being as lively as the 2014s or as structured as the 2009s. The very best wines here exhibit great purity, with candied fruit and power rather than bright aromatics.