We’ve arrived safely in Bordeaux for the annual En Primeur tastings and hit the ground running with a morning sweep from a number of the Medoc’s top properties.
We’ll make a more detailed report at the end of the day, but some pleasant surprises so far have included Clerc-Milon, Mouton, and Cos D’Estournel.
Whilst it is too early to draw any firm conclusions, the wines seem to be elegant, classic clarets that will drink well in the medium term, but don’t possess the concentration or density of famous vintages such as 2000 or 2005.
Two factors which seem to have been particularly important in determining quality in 2007 are yield and picking dates. At Cos D’Estournel, Jean-Guillaume Prats told us that, in his view, working to reduce yield by stressing vines earlier in the season was a much better way of improving quality than applying even a strict selection at harvest time. The thick, ripe texture of his wine would suggest he was right. At Margaux, Marie Descotis mentioned that their Merlot needed 65 days between verasion and harvest as opposed to an average of 47 days.
It is also clear that there was a good deal of disagreement in the Medoc over the optimum picking time in a growing season so dependent on Autumn’s fine weather. At Caronne Ste Gemme, Francois Nony suggested that the Cabernets in particular achieved technical ripeness (as measured in the sugars, acids and tannins) sometime before achieving full physiological ripeness. Certainly those who risked a later harvest seem to have reaped the benefits.