Bordeaux Vintage Guide 2000 – 2012

Over the last ten years I’ve tasted a lot of Bordeaux wines, from high end wines of every year to 2009,2010,2011 and 2012 budget wines for the Chinese market.

I’d like to start with a run down of my favorite vintages right now and some vintages to give a miss, starting with the best…..

  1. 2010
  2. 2001
  3. 2009
  4. 2005
  5. 2000
  6. 2012
  7. 2003
  8. 2007
  9. 2011
  10. 2006

Years to miss 2002, 2004, and 2008, and possibly soon to be 2007.

This is only my rule of thumb, obviously you can get great wines in bad years, and you only get what you pay for, but if buying the same wine from the same chateau in different years I’m sure you’d probably not be too far off putting the wines in my order!!

There are some more factors to take into consideration in Bordeaux which can really change the quality of a chateau’s wine in that year… the main 2 being location and grape variety. Location can play such a big part on a wines quality, for example one day it can be gleaming sunshine in St Emilion, but at the same time the left bank could be drenched in rain. The other very important factor is the grape variety, with the left bank wines having more Cabernet Sauvignon than the right bank it is possible to have a great year on the right bank (as the merlot is harvested earlier), and have an ok wine from the left bank as the cabernet did not get that little extra sun it needed before the cold weather came.

With that slight look into the technicalities over I’ll give my thoughts on each vintage….

2000 If you can find it buy it! Its rare that I get to drink a 2000, and getting rarer… if only we had bought the chateau a few years earlier I could have some in my cave (without breaking the bank!!)

2001 My personal favorite year to date – it is very well balanced and sophisticated – after all the talk of 2000 it got forgotten about.

2002 No comment

2003 This was a hot year… so the wine is hot (lots of alcohol) – not a bad thing I hear you say… ok so for now its still drinking well but it probably won’t stand the test of time very well.

2004 no comment

2005 This was another hot summer, not as hot as 2003 and turned out great – a year where great viticulteurs made exceptional wine… I am not going to go into too much detail as this is the year we drank at my wedding so it will always have a place in my heart!

2006 Not a bad year but with the choice of all the other years around it (we have been spoiled) why would you go for it?

2007 This is a funny year for me, it was a wet cold summer (in Bordeaux terms) so the vintage came in a little green (not ripe enough). I absolutely hated this vintage at first, but my good friend Francois (part of a very famous wine Family) said “just give it some time” he said “the greenness of the vintage will take the wine back to the 70′s when all the leaves got thrown in the tank too”…what he meant by this was that the wine was going to have a little extra acidity. He was right and after 3/4 years it started to drink a lot better. It will be interesting to see if this vintage stands the test of time.

2008 no comment

2009 With this vintage even the budget wines came out tasting great (although up to a certain quality a lot of the wines taste the same), it is not my favorite vintage right now, but I’ll end up looking back in a few years time thinking “what am I talking about”. So if you are looking for an every day drinking wine from Bordeaux over the next few years then you can’t go wrong with 2009 but if you are looking at spending big money it would be a shame to open it any time soon.

2010 All the talk was still on 2009 when this wine was bottled, as with 2001 I prefer this vintage to the one preceding, and once again it is more sophisticated, at the budget end this is a much more interesting year, each viticulteur managed to have a little more input into the taste. I’m not sure the wines will last quite as long as 2009 but a great wine across the board.

2011 Although this vintage is still young it has the samey same characteristics as 2009 without the quality – there is an overwhelming taste throughout most of the mid to budget wines.

2012 Tasted well at Vinexpo (June 2013), has promise, not to be a stellar year but a good year…

Don’t forget we will not see too many years as good as 2009, 2010, 2001 and 2000 – we have been a little spoiled over the last 12 years, but remember for the French viticulteur each year is a great year… they never have a bad year!!!