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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
11 Feb 2016

11 February In the wake of Richard's musings on vintage assessments yesterday (much discussed on our members' forum), we are republishing as a Throwback Thursday contribution this professional ranking of recent red bordeaux vintages to which he refers in his article. Not to be taken as gospel! 

8 February At the end of last month's comprehensive blind tasting of the 2012 Bordeaux vintage in an upper room in the Swan Hotel, Southwold, on which I will report in detail over three days from tomorrow, the 20-odd tasters, all wine professionals and mainly representatives of Britain's leading wine merchants, were asked to rank the last 13 vintages in qualitative order. I thought you might be interested in the results. (If someone put a vintage in first place, that vintage was given 13 points – and so on.) Note that we all immediately assumed we were ranking the red wines.

  1. 2005 (221 points)
  2. 2009 (215 points)
  3. 2010 (210 points)
  4. 2000 (179 points)
  5. 2001 (165 points)
  6. 2008 (120 points)
  7. 2006 (118 points)
  8. 2012 (108 points)
  9. 2003 (89 points)
  10. 2004 (85 points)
  11. 2007 (60 points)
  12. 2002 (43 points)
  13. 2011 (25 points)

Those voting included Neal Martin and Steven Spurrier among my fellow scribes, and wine merchants (in strictly alphabetical order) Aidan Bell, Bill Blatch, Stephen Browett, Joss Fowler, Lindsay Hamilton, Matthew Hemming MW, Alex Hunt MW, Tom Jenkins, Paul Marus, Philip Moulin, Barry Phillips, David Roberts MW, Mark Savage MW, Tim Sykes and Hamish Wakes-Miller. For what I believe were entirely practical reasons (Rob works hard looking after us at Adnams), Sebastian Payne MW and Rob Chase did not vote.

My personal order (I have been enjoying the better 2004s, and will be reporting on a tasting of 2006s that took place after this year's Southwold marathon in due course) was:

  1. 2005
  2. 2009
  3. 2010
  4. 2000
  5. 2001
  6. 2004
  7. 2008
  8. 2012
  9. 2006
  10. 2003
  11. 2007
  12. 2002
  13. 2011

My place tasting the 2011s in Southwold in January 2015 was taken by Julia. This was last year's ranking of the previous 12 vintages:

  1. 2005 (171 points)
  2. 2010 (160 points)
  3. 2009 (158 points)
  4. 2000 (141 points)
  5. 2001 (118 points)
  6. 2008 (89 points)
  7. 2006 (86 points)
  8. 2003 (83 points)
  9. 2004 (81 points)
  10. 2007 (50 points)
  11. 2002 (29 points)
  12. 2011 (20 points)

So the dominance of the 2005 vintage remains unopposed, but the positions of the famous pair 2010 and 2009 have reversed, by a small margin, while the 2012 vintage, the subject of our deliberations this year, comes in at a thoroughly respectable eighth out of 13, a considerable way above the five least favoured vintages. Come back later this week to find out why. (See almost 250 tasting notes in Southwold 2012 whitesright bank reds and left bank reds.)