• Wine world

How do you taste En-Primeurs wines?

  • Tue, Apr 23, 2024 at 12:00
Primeur red wine, tasting at the winery
Every year, the wine world eagerly awaits the Primeurs season, a special time when connoisseurs and experts alike can taste the latest vintages before they are even bottled. This allows connoisseurs to anticipate trends, discover new estates and follow the evolution of wines from one year to the next. To make the most of this experience, it's essential to know how to taste Primeur wines properly. Here's a practical guide to help you make the most of these promising wines.

Understanding En-Primeurs wines

En-Primeurs wines are wines that are released for sale before they are officially bottled. In general, these wines are tasted directly from the casks in the cellars of wineries or at private events. Buyers can then purchase these wines at a reduced price compared to what they will cost once they are bottled and available on the market.

The steps involved in tasting En-Primeurs wines

Tasting En-Primeurs wines is a discipline in its own right. Even if the final rating is based on quality after bottling, a certain amount of experience is needed to anticipate the wine's development. For a tasting of En-Primeurs wines worthy of a professional, the wine should be tasted at an optimal temperature, in suitable glasses, and in a calm environment, without odour or noise.

The steps involved in tasting En-Primeurs wines

  • En-Primeurs wines tasting: understanding the vintage, the terroir, the grape variety...

    Step 1: Understanding

    Before you set off to taste En-Primeurs wines, make sure you're well prepared. This means understanding the vintage, the terroir and the grape varieties typical of the region from which the wines you are about to taste come. Find out about the weather conditions in the harvest year, as these will have a major influence on the character and quality of the wine.

  • En-Primeurs wines tasting : observing the wine

    Step 2: Observation

    When tasting En-Primeurs wines, engage all your senses. Observe the colour of the wine to assess its density and hue. Pay particular attention to the intensity of the aromas escaping from the glass. Next, swirl the wine in your glass to release its aromas and observe the tears running down the sides of the glass to assess the wine's viscosity.

  • En-Primeurs wines tasting: smelling the wine

    Step 3: Smell

    The olfactory phase is essential to fully appreciate a En-Primeur wine. Take the time to discover the wine's aromas. Note the notes of fruit, spices, flowers or wood, which can indicate the complexity and richness of the wine. Note: wine brings out sensations and memories that are unique to each person, so it's OK if you can't smell the cherry or the flint.

  • En-Primeurs wines tasting: taste the wine

    Step 4: Taste

    When you taste the wine, let it coat your palate to appreciate its texture and body. Note the sweetness or acidity of the wine, as well as the persistence of flavours on the palate. Look for the balance between the different elements - acidity, tannins, alcohol - to assess the wine's quality and ageing potential.

  • En-Primeurs wines tasting: rate and compare En-Primeurs wines

    Step 5: Note and compare

    Don't forget to take notes during the tasting to keep a record of your impressions. Compare wines to identify differences in style, quality and potential. This will help you select the wines that best suit your preferences and budget.

The key factors of a En-Primeur wine

Acidity and tannins

It's crucial to recognise that En-Primeurs wines often have high acidity and rough tannins, especially red wines. But don't let these characteristics distract you. On the contrary, understand that high acidity means great ageing potential. It allows the wine to retain its freshness even after two decades. Similarly, the presence of tannins, even if they have not yet melted, is an asset for Bordeaux wines, since they will become softer thanks in part to barrel ageing.

The importance of aromas

Even if aromas can vary from one month to the next, a varied aromatic palette in a En-Primeur wine promises complexity and richness later on. It is an indicator of the wine's quality and potential for development.

Our 4 tips for finding a good Primeur wine

  • For red En-Primeurs wines, high acidity, powerful tannins and complex aromas are signs of great ageing potential. For white En-Primeurs wines, acidity and aromatic complexity define their ageing potential.

  • When selecting Primeur wines, it is essential to consider their intrinsic quality. Aromatic profile, complexity, balance and structure are crucial aspects to assess during tastings.

  • A well-balanced En-Primeur wine shows harmony between acidity, tannins and fruit. This balance is the sign of a Primeur wine capable of standing the test of time while improving.

  • For an informed selection of Primeur wines, consult the release prices of the châteaux and the scores awarded by specialist wine critics. This information, combined with your own experience, will help you make wise choices from among the Primeur wines.

En-Primeurs week in Bordeaux

This week marks the start of the long-awaited En-Primeurs period in Bordeaux, and tasting En-Primeurs wines is an exciting experience that requires a certain amount of know-how and preparation. By following these tips and recommendations, you'll be able to fully appreciate the nuances and complexity of En-Primeurs wines even before they're bottled. So, whether you're a passionate wine lover or a savvy investor, En-Primeurs wines offer an opportunity to discover the nuggets of tomorrow

At U'wine, the En-Primeurs week are a crucial time and we know that you, like us, can't wait to discover these En-Primeurs wines. Get ready, because the En-Primeurs shop will soon be opening its doors with the arrival of the first releases. 

Need some advice? Our Personal Shopper service is here to help and advise you! For those who would like to create their own collection of En-Primeurs wines, our team of experts is on hand to guide you.

Get ready and set up your alerts to make sure you don't miss out on any Bordeaux Grands Crus! 

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