Bordeaux expert, Gavin Quinney, says that primeurs, while only a small part of the overall output, can tell us a great deal about Bordeaux's, as a whole.


Quinney remarks that, after looking at yearly output extensively, he concludes that the 2019 output will likely be less than the  previous decade average from 2009-2018; close to 2018, a bit higher than 2017, but lower than 2016.

2019 produced 486,300,000L, just a bit less than 2018's 498,600,000L

While 2019 is near the decade average, that previous 10-year span also saw 2 lower than average crop yields (2013 & 2017) and the ten years before that was actually higher yielding, but mostly due to a larger crop area.

Most of what was produced in 2019 came from red varieties (89%), while only 11% was from white. From those reds came mostly Merlot (66%), then Cabernet Sauvignon at 22%, Cabernet Franc at 9%, and the last small amount was among Petit Verdot, Malbec & a tiny fraction of Carmenère. The whites are divided equally among Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon (46% each), followed by a small percent of Muscadelle and then tiny fractions of everything else.

From the red grapes there was rosé, at just under 5%, and also dry whites were just under 10%, with sweet whites produced at 1.2%

Yielding good results in the best Bordeaux appellations

While the 2019 production year was close to 2018, the yield was better in the 7 best areas, up from the 2 prior vintages.

After the problems from 2018 (mildew threat) & 2017 (frost), Pomerol, Margaux & Pessac-Léognan rebounded in 2019 to the previous 2016 levels. Saint-Estèphe & Saint-Julien mostly avoided the 2017 frosts and continue their successes, while Pauillac have recovered from the part of their crop hit by mildew in 2018.

These areas have a high vine density, at 6k-10k vines per ha (hectare), which equals to 1 bottle per vine for an area with 6,000 plants per ha. A similar yield would only make 2/3 a bottle in a more dense area, such as Saint-Julien.

Poor weather for flowering

While the risk of mildew was down in 2019, the cold weather and rains affected the June flowering for any vineyard in an area not as fortunate as the 7 best, thus lowering their yields. Then a drought in summertime caused a smaller berry that produced not as much juices in those places hardest hit.

The average appellations have 3,000-4,000 vines per ha for normal AOP Bordeaux, while it can go up to 6000 for an area like Côtes de Bordeaux.

Refer to the chart below to see where 650,000,000 bottles originate from...

As much as 30% is Bordeaux rouge, with most coming from the land in-between the Garonne & Dordogne rivers called Entre Deux Mers, which is exclusively a 'white only' appellation.

The Haut-Médoc & Saint-Julien appellations have continued great yields, especially when compared to the 2017 'Right-Bank'.

The greenish circles on the map show where most of the dry white vineyards are, but it is not a full representation.

So, the 2019 Bordeaux vintage yielded great results for the best appellations and OK for the others. That's a great deal of wine that needs to be consumed, and at prices to match every budget!

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