I was thinking this morning as I was getting into my first few 2005s in the tasting room of Les Sources de Caudalie that I probably won’t be tasting 1,000 reds in a couple of years when the 2007 Bordeaux are coming into the market in bottle. I don’t want to say that the region’s most recent harvest is bad, but let’s just say it isn’t going to be easy to find outstanding wines like in 2005. Apparently, saying that in 2007 it was a challenge to make high-quality red wine is an understatement, according to the few winemakers I have spoken to.
The growing season in 2007 started out well. April and May were warmer and drier than usual. The vines were even slightly ahead. But it all ended in June. I remember how miserable the weather was during VinExpo -- rainy and cold. And it stayed that way for the rest of the summer. August had more than double the norm ofr rain. If September had not been relatively sunny and clear, it would have been a complete washout. Diseases were rampant in the vineyard, especially mildew. Small grape growers without the financial means or know-how were devastated.
It is going to be a case of only the top vineyards and top winemakers making very good to outstanding wines in 2007. But it is still early days, and I have not tasted any reds from barrel yet.
The big exception is going to be Sauternes. I went to Yquem a couple of mornings ago and hung out with Pierre Lurton, the head of the estate (as well as head of Cheval-Blanc). They share the same owner, fashion magnate Bernard Arnaud. Check out the video of my meeting with Pierre in the cellars of Yquem.
He and his team say that the region made some excellent wines. They harvested about five or six times over a six-week period. The first harvest was during the first week of September – before most of the red wine producers in Bordeaux. But the majority happened during the middle of October.
Pierre said that the first part of the harvest produced wines like the 1997, which are rich and racy with bright acidities. The main harvest was very much like 1967, which is a legendary vintage and made rich, concentrated, and very powerful sweeties. I recently scored the 1967 Yquem 100 points in a tasting in Los Angeles. Check out that blog entry.
Anyway, I worked my way through about a dozen samples. They have to opportunity to make a complex blend in 2007. Pierre is very excited about the potential quality, as you can tell in the blog.
I also tasted the blends of the 2006 and 2005, which have not been bottled. Here are my notes and non-blind score ranges:
2006: This is super-pure and rich, with tropical fruit aromas and flavors from mango to papaya to lychee fruit. Full, medium sweet with spicy, botrytis fruit character. Long and racy. A baby 2001? 95-100 points, non-blind.
2005: This is bigger and richer than the 2007, with masses of opulent fruit and toasted oak, cream and vanilla bean character. Full, thick and very sweet, yet super-fruity and layered. Super powerful. 95-100, non-blind.
Radek Czarkowski — December 9, 2007 1:52pm ET
Greg — December 12, 2007 3:24am ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — December 13, 2007 3:18am ET
James Suckling — — December 13, 2007 4:22am ET
Theodore Mukamal — NY, NY — February 7, 2009 12:29pm ET
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