The weather is not looking good for the harvest in Bordeaux. It’s been raining on and off since I arrived here on Saturday, and it just started raining again as I sit here and write this blog this morning and begin to blind taste a range of 1996 and 1995 Bordeaux.
I visited a handful of top estates yesterday, including Margaux, Pontet-Canet, Lafite, Palmer, La Mission and Haut-Brion. Winemakers and owners all had brave faces when they spoke about the prospects of the vintage. But I think they already know that they are not going to make great wines. It’s rained more in the last four days than in the entire month of August. And sugars in the grapes are dropping at a fast rate. Producers are also concerned that rot may set in if temperatures begin to rise. However, it remains mostly cool at the moment.
Maybe the warm and clear weather will return? It’s still not too late. But I have my doubts. We will know better in a few more days. The Bordelais know how to deal with this sort of weather during the harvest, and I think that top estates will make good wines. At La Mission I tasted some 2006 dry white from barrel, which will go into Laville-Haut-Brion, and it was excellent – fresh, ripe and rich. However, nobody is going to make another 2005 this year.
And what amazing wines the 2005s are! I tasted barrel samples at all the estates I visited yesterday. And the wines are breathtaking, better than when I tasted them this spring! The purity of fruit and intensity of character in these wines are some of the greatest I have encountered in my 25 years of working for Wine Spectator. Plus, the wines have glorious balance and ripe tannins with lively acidity.
Honestly, when I wrapped up my tastings last night around 7 p.m. with a sample of Haut-Brion, I didn’t want to spit it. It was too good!! It reminded me of my first days of my career tasting barrel samples in Bordeaux with the late author and wine guru Alexis Lichine. The 1982 reds we tasted were so good that we drank some for lunch.
“Great wines are great from the beginning,” said Jean-Philippe Delmas, the winemaker of Haut-Brion and La Mission. “They give pleasure when they are young and they give pleasure when they are old.”
Alex Cobb — Fort Worth, TX — September 19, 2006 11:14am ET
Dave Gottschalk — Ponte Vedra — September 19, 2006 1:37pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — September 19, 2006 2:55pm ET
Brent Sharpe — Toronto, Canada — September 19, 2006 3:10pm ET
Alex Cobb — Fort Worth, TX — September 19, 2006 3:27pm ET
Gary Cohn — Cardiff by the Sea, Calif. — September 19, 2006 4:32pm ET
Charles M. Mathis — Germantown, — September 19, 2006 6:53pm ET
Thomas Bohrer — Hong Kong — September 19, 2006 10:33pm ET
James Suckling — — September 20, 2006 1:58am ET
James Suckling — — September 20, 2006 2:05am ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — September 20, 2006 2:10am ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — September 20, 2006 2:20am ET
Glenn S Lucash — September 20, 2006 1:59pm ET
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