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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
4 Apr 2001

See the tasting notes.

The 2000 vintage is the best in the Médoc since at least 1996 and possibly 1990 and 1989. The great difference since that pair of vintages of course is that general standards of winemaking and, particularly, viticulture are so much higher across the board. Almost everyone is trying to raise their game - even the lowlier crus bourgeois and such chronic underperformers as Rauzan Gassies.

The great thing about the best Médoc wines, and many of them carry the Pauillac appellation (even if Château Margaux is the single star of the vintage), is that they not only have lovely deep colours and ripe fruit, they have tannins that are not drying, aggressive and rustic, but refreshing and fully ripe that really do revitalise the palate.

Some delicious wines were made on the right bank too (see my list of my top 20 wines), but they represent a much smaller proportion of all the right bank wines I tasted. To my taste there are far too many wines being made in St Emilion, Pomerol and, increasingly, round about, to the modern winemaking formula, aping the infamous garage wines.

There's nothing wrong with making a small production wine with as much care as possible (see le Pin), but when grotesque exaggeration is mistaken for appetising concentration, then something is wrong. Not all garagistes are evil, just as not all of the more traditional vinifiers get it right.

Much is being made in France of the Bordeaux aristocracy (the Médoc classed growth owners mainly) briefing the French wine press against the garagistes. The argument goes that they claim to be defending terroir when in fact the Château owners have constantly modified their exact patch of soil over the decades, buying a bit of land here and selling a bit there.

This is not an argument I wish to enter. No-one bothered to brief me. Perhaps they assumed that since I am anglo-saxon, as the French say, I must adore the garage style.

But all I'm interested in is whether the eventual wine tastes good or not. The de Nieppberg wines for example (Canon La Gaffeliere and La Mondotte) by and large seem to succeed, whereas too many of the Jean-Luc Thunevin wines (and his tentacles are spreading further into the Médoc with a Listrac and Moulis to add to his wife's Margaux launched with the 99 vintage) seem too sweet, too tannic and too similar to my taste.

I hope that you will at least find my personal taste easy to detect in these notes, and can usefully correlate mine with yours so as to help you make the right decisions about what you might eventually buy - if the prices are right.

The notes are listed by appellation, in order by descending score. I have included detailed notes for all the wines I tasted from the major left bank appellations but scores only for the minor left bank and all right bank wines to which I gave a score of less than 17/20 (there were just so many of them...).

I'm off on holiday (my gums need a break) but let me know if you are truly, madly, deeply desirous of detailed notes on any wines noted with only a score.

Wine lovers are currently in a similar situation to exactly a decade ago. A recession may be looming, but there are great wines to be bought from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone. I know I regretted not buying the 1990s in 1991...

For further independent advice on specific Bordeaux wines, take a look at winemega.com and quarin.com.