About Bordeaux

The greatest vineyards have of course proved that they will produce great wine whatever the conditions. In a region as renowned and celebrated for its rich history as Bordeaux, twenty years is a mere blink of the eye. However, the changes over the last two decades have been profound. Vineyards have changed hands, new winemaking techniques have come and gone and of course the worldwide interest in the very greatest wines has gone into overdrive.

Fashions have seen the rise and fall of the garagistes and the influence of the consultant winemaker. However, for all of these human elements, the 1855 classification remains unchanged and, whether it has been the torrid heat of 2003, the gloom of 2007 or the glory of 2005, the greatest vineyards have proved that they produce great wine whatever the conditions.

In the next twenty years, we will undoubtedly see further pressure on supply at the top with prices continuing to stretch credulity. But what of the hundreds of smaller producers, who have struggled so badly in recent times? Theirs is not the good fortune of great terroir and in a fast moving world, it is here that reform is needed most strongly. The EU wine lake has been emptied and the bad practices that it encouraged are happily draining away too. For the consumer, the result must be the guarantee of ever greater quality because whatever the level of classification, if Bordeaux wants to maintain its position as the number one wine region in the world, quality must be at the centre of its plans.



Vintage Reports


The 2014 vintage in Bordeaux is a very good one. It is not a "vintage of the century" littered with "perfect wines" proffering a chance for critics to digitally sow their reputations in a great scattering of numbers. It is however, a vintage of very good, and occasionally excellent, quality with some notable high points. The highest points all have Cabernets in the mix. There was some lovely, pretty Merlot which lifted Vieux Chateau Certan and Conseillante to stunning heights and contributed to the masterwork at Lafleur, but we saw the greatest consistency where the Cabernets are king, especially in St Julien where all three Leovilles sang. Most of the significant names delivered, from the First Growths to Yquem, while vintage comparisons were wide ranging: 1996 and 2008 with more flesh were the two that made most sense to us on the left bank. On the right bank it was very tough to generalise with so much depending on soil type (free draining soils fared better than sand) and the volume of Cabernet Franc in the blend. 


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