LIVE opportunities: critical overview of Bordeaux 2018

  • Examining critics’ average scores for the Bordeaux 2018 vintage reveals the most enthusiastic and circumspect tasters.
  • Half of the critics looked at here gave out 100-point scores, but the majority of them were rating the wines 96 on average.
  • Neal Martin remains the critic with the lowest average score for Bordeaux 2018.

We have previously examined various aspects of the in-bottle reviews of Bordeaux 2018 in detail but what’s the overall critical impression?

The chart above takes the scores of 11 leading critics who have retasted more than 40 of the 50 wines in the Bordeaux 500 index from the 2018 vintage.

From this one can determine the spread of a critic’s scores over these key labels and, from their averages, their general assessment of the vintage.

Top scores

Right away it’s clear that over half of the critics rated at least one wine 100 – as related in a previous post, Jeb Dunnuck was the most generous with 11 of these top scores.

Only Neal Martin scored one wine 100, Château Palmer, but this was a serious outlier from the remainder of his scores.

James Suckling and Jeb Dunnuck gave the highest set of scores, rating most of the wines they retasted between 94 and 100, half of them falling into a 97-99-point range and with an average of 97.5.

Jeff Leve was the next highest scoring, half of his scores ranging between 96-99.

Law of averages

The greater part of critics, however, scored very closely to one another on average. Antonio Galloni at Vinous had the widest set of scores of any critic, from 89.5 all the way to 100.

Nonetheless, he, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Jane Anson, Chris Kissack and others had a fairly tight grouping of scores, with averages of 96 for the most part.

The critic with the lowest average was Galloni’s tastin g partner at Vinous, Neal Martin. Scoring between 91 and 98, we know he allowed just one 100-pointer, but overall his average was 95 – only Gavin Quinney with a 95.5 average was similarly so restrained.

In many ways this in-bottle assessment reflects the critical appraisal when these wines were tasted en primeur. Several critics such as Suckling, Dunnuck and Perrotti-Brown were very enthusiastic when tasting the wines in-barrel.

Galloni was more circumspect but with a smattering of high scores, while Martin, who tasted later in the year, was generally not overawed by the vintage and much more conservative with his ratings.

Do these critical averages reinforce or undercut the 2018’s claims to ‘greatness’?

For all Bordeaux 2018 LIVE offers, click here.

LIVE offers – Bordeaux 2018