2007 is a vintage that (with regards to Bordeaux at least) is looked down on by many sectors of the press, the train and by enthusiasts – so much so that the Bordelais have been taking extensive steps to encourage people to actually taste the wine, on their own rather in flights with other vintages.
The problem, you see is that it comes in a decade where many of the vintages have been very good indeed, it started with the exceptional 2000’s who have been followed up by 2005, 2009 and 2010 which have all been universally lauded as pure brilliance – this comes after a decade in the 1990’s that saw very good 95’s and 96’s but true greatness was only found in the book-end years of 1990 and 2000.
Vintages such as 2001 (which is now drinking beautifully) 2004, 2006 and 2008 have been overlooked in the light of this, but in almost any other decade would have been lauded as vintages to buy – AND they would probably have been more expensive too – and these are the vintages that I am currently buying given that I can’t afford even a single bottle of 2000. 2005, 2009 or 2010 (although the latter two are still to be released in bottle and it may be possible to pick up some bargains in French supermarkets in the next few years.)
2003 was in itself a complete one off, good for what it was and plenty of fruit, doubts remain of it’s longevity but the wines still had concentration and structure. That just leaves 2002 and 2007 as vintages – so they much be rubbish right?
Not really no, you see Bordeaux probably hasn’t had a really bad vintage since 1993, not that I pay much notice to his scores but Robert Parker gives both 2007 and 2002 between 86 and 88 points dependent on the appellation – which isn’t at all shoddy and compared very favourably with the 58 and 59 he gives St Emilion and Pomerol in 1991 or the late 70 scores he gives parts of Bordeaux in 1992 and 1993.
So you see, 2007 isn’t really all that bad – it’s just that nobody wants to buy them – which given the prices on release isn’t so suprising – but the prices have dropped and there are now bargains to be had, sure they probably won’t last forever but for drinking at 8 to 15 years they are very attractive if you know where to look.
I’ve tasted a range of 2007’s on a number of occasions – and whilst I don’t profess to be an expert who can definitively tell you what to buy and what to avoid – I can let you in on how I thought things lay. Notes are my quick impressions of wines as I sought to understand the vintage. If I were buying then I’d look for good value Cru Bourgeois, certain estates of St Emilion and Pessac / Graves seemed to come out best.
Pauillac were patchy, St Estephe a little tough and green, Margaux was mixed and there were some very good efforts in St Julien.
May 2011 Tasting
Pichon Lalande – Disappointing, lacking in depth. Thin and dilte.
Grand Puy Lacoste – A little bit austere and tight – but the fruit is good.
d’Armailhac – Quite tight but nicely perfumed. Nice leafy aromas and the fruit concentration is very good.
Clerc Milon – Lovely perfume and freshness. Really well made.
Talbot – Very fresh, lots of acidity, tight structure and layers of depth.
Langoa Barton- Quite big structure, deep fruit but lovely perfume and quite forgiving.
Leoville Barton – Real depth, impressive length and complexity. Fresh and balanced. Still tight. Nicely made.
Tour de By – Very appealing fruit, nice texture and balanced – just starting to enter its drinking window.
Cantemerle – Quite reserved and savoury. Needs time and it’s more backward than several others but the structure is all there with lovely fruit.
Poujeaux – Youthful with lovely freshness and harmonious fruit.
Chasse Spleen – Lovely perfume, bright fruits, rich and elegant. very good.
La Dominique – Quite a tough beast, will the structure soften before the fruit fades?
Figeac – Lots of leafy Cab Franc aromas going on, nicely perfumed with terrific texture, fresh acidity and impressive length. Possibly the wine of the vintage?
Chateau de Chantegrive – Quite gravelly with some green leafy aromas, lacking a little in intensity. Pleasant enough drinking.
Haut Bailly – Pure primary fruit flavours with lightish intensity and length. Quintissentially Graves.
Larrivet Haut Brion – Quite a meaty wine with brambly black fruit. Could easily be cooler climate New World though.
Latour-Martillac – Quite tight and a little short. Some nice fruit and a lot of structure. Perhaps a little over extracted with some bitter tannins.
Malartic – Lagraviere – Lovely deep colour, intense fruit and really complex – a lovely, lovely wine.
Pape Clement – Really big structure but some nice flesh around the bones and lovely texture. Intensity and structure in place – shows nice balance and good length.
Picque Caillou – Some nice density, complex and a little savoury. Nice rounded wine.
Smith Haut Lafite – A bit of a strange wine, a little short and a bit dumb.
Canon La Gaffliere – Rich and concentrated – lovely acidity – delicious.
Dassault – A little thin and weedy.
Clos Fourtet – Quite ripe, plump fruit. Some nice elegance – a complete wine.
Franc Mayne – Pretty texture the fruit is just a little thin. Aromas are pleasing.