I am leaving for Bordeaux tomorrow and arriving in time in the afternoon to taste a couple dozen baby Sauternes, and then I am off to a dinner at a friend’s house with a number of high-profile château owners and managers.
Need I say it? I am going back to Bordeaux to taste the region’s newest vintage – 2007. The wines are now lying in barrel, waiting for the world of critics and wine merchants to come and give them a look. Most come at the end of the month, but I like to be a little earlier when the ambiance is calmer and I can taste more professionally. I have been doing this routine now for close to 24 years.
In fact, I think that situation with 2007 is going to be a whole lot calmer in general, especially after all the excitement over 2005s arriving on the market. Moreover, 2007 was a difficult vintage for most wine producers in Bordeaux due to wet and cold weather for most of the summer. Thank God for a sunny and relatively dry September. Most of my sources in Bordeaux said it would have been a complete washout in 2007 if they hadn’t had an “Indian summer” at the last moment. Check out my Bordeaux vintage report card for 2007. Nothing has changed, as far as I know.
The big difference now will be having personal information, which means actually sticking my nose in the glass and tasting the stuff from barrel. I am looking forward to the experience, despite early reports that a lot of wines are not up to much. There are always surprises to be found, and the very top estates in Bordeaux are wizards in getting the best out of their vineyards. Comparisons are already being made to 2001 and 1996 – two very good years with some outstanding wines. That might be too optimistic! But I will know better in a few days.
For example, one winemaker whom I always enjoy visiting is Jacques Guinaudeau, the owner of the tiny and illustrious Lafleur in Pomerol. He may be the best vine grower in the region and nearly always makes a great wine. He does most of the work himself with his wife and son. There are many producers like them, especially on the Right Bank.
Moreover, many of the large estates, especially the first and second growths, know how to pull genies out of the bottle from their vineyards. I have heard from a number of wineries that they are happy with the quality of their 2007s despite the hardships of the growing season. They must have made a serious selection of their best grapes and wines to do that!
For Americans, I don’t see any market for 2007 futures, regardless of how miraculous the young wines could be. I may be wrong, and I am open to discussion about this. But with the dollar at an all-time low against the Euro and top Bordeaux at record prices, what American in his or her right mind would buy the stuff? In fact, I am not sure anyone will buy 2007 now, except wine merchants who need to protect their allocations of hard-to-get bottles.
I might be wrong ...
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — March 24, 2008 1:35pm ET
Jordan Horoschak — Houston, TX — March 24, 2008 2:11pm ET
Clifford Brantley Smith — Portland — March 24, 2008 3:25pm ET
James Suckling — — March 24, 2008 5:20pm ET
David Allen — Lufkin, Texas — March 24, 2008 8:14pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — March 24, 2008 9:00pm ET
Patricio De La Fuente Saez — Hong kong — March 25, 2008 7:07am ET
Pat Heffernan — Fort Lauderdale, FL — March 25, 2008 7:29am ET
John Shuey — Carrollton, TX — March 25, 2008 9:25am ET
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — March 25, 2008 11:22am ET
Michael Hein — March 26, 2008 11:30am ET
John Freeborn — CA Huntington Beach — March 26, 2008 12:08pm ET
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