2007 bordeaux – how 'useful'?


26 Mar 2015 In the light of today's survey of nearly 100 bordeaux 2007s retasted blind recently, I thought these comments on my first look at them in bottle, in 2009, might be of interest.

22 Oct 2009 Andy Sparrow of Bibendum Wine alerted me to the fact that this picture (note the Samsung netbook with new, improved battery life) of me hard at work at Tuesday's presentation of the 2007 Bordeaux crus classés in London was up on Farr Vintners' website, which led me to read Stephen Browett's enthusiastic blog about these recently bottled wines, being shown at this moment in Paris, just as they were yesterday in Brussels.

His description of the wines reminds me a bit of his recent, similar enthusiasm for the 2002s after our big horizontal tasting of them at Farr Vintners. The argument seems to be that both vintages are early-maturing, not as expensive as most other vintages of bordeaux, and therefore 'useful' while waiting for grander vintages to mature. (I remember a fellow Master of Wine assuring me at a big tasting of 1993 red bordeaux that this was a thoroughly 'useful' vintage.)

All of which is fine, but works as an argument for buying them only if you drink bordeaux to the exclusion of all else. In the old days, there were many British wine lovers who tasted little other than bordeaux in their red-wine drinking, but surely this is simply not the case in most parts of the world and is becoming relatively rare even in Britain.

Classed-growth bordeaux, even from these lesser vintages, is still likely to cost you well over £20 a bottle – even if you avoid such ridiculously overpriced items as Carruades de Lafite 2007 currently being offered by Farr at £1,300 a case in bond. And there is the most glorious choice of alternative fine reds for so much less than this from the better producers of Spain, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa – quite apart from the fantastic range of bargains available from elsewhere in France such as the many delicious bottles at under £10 from the Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon. Not to mention the trouvailles that can still be found in Bordeaux at more modest prices outside the classed growths.

Even the Chinese are beginning to drink outside Bordeaux. Let us hope that the globalisation of wine will have at least one beneficial effect: that of softening prices for the favoured few of Bordeaux, at least in the less favoured vintages.

That said, yes there were some successful 2007s at that extensive Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting in the perfectly naturally lit Hamlyn Hall at Covent Garden – and not all of them were those glorious Sauternes. Julia and I will be presenting our complete set of about 120 tasting notes next week.